Many contemporaries remember Nicholas II as a soft, well-mannered and intelligent person who, meanwhile, lacked political will, determination, and perhaps even a banal interest in the country's political problems. Famous statesman Sergei Witte gave the last Russian Tsar a rather unpleasant characteristic for a man. He wrote that “sovereign Nicholas II has a female character. Someone made the remark that only on the game of nature, shortly before birth, he was provided with attributes that distinguish man from woman. ”
Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov was born in the family of 23-year-old Tsarevich Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov (future emperor Alexander III) and his spouse of 21-year-old Maria Feodorovna - nee Maria Sofia Frederica Dagmar, daughter of Prince Christian Glucksburg, the future king of Denmark. As was the case for the crown prince, Nikolai received his home education, combining the programs of the state and economic departments of the law faculty of the university and the Academy of the General Staff. The lectures of the most famous Russian professors read the lectures of Nicholas II, but they did not have the right to ask the Tsarevich and check his knowledge, therefore a real assessment of the real knowledge of Nikolai Romanov was not possible. 6 (18) On May 1884, sixteen-year-old Nikolai took the oath in the Great Church of the Winter Palace. By this time, his father Alexander had been at the head of the Russian Empire for three years.
Back in 1889, Nicholas met 17-year-old Alice - Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse and Rhenish Ludwig IV and Duchess Alice, daughter of the British Queen Victoria. The princess immediately attracted the attention of the heir to the Russian imperial throne.
As befits the heir to the throne, Nikolai received the experience of military service in his youth. He served in the Preobrazhensky Regiment, a squadron commander in the Life Guards Hussars, and in the 1892 year, in the 24 years of age, he was promoted to colonel. To get an idea of his modern world, Nikolai Alexandrovich made an impressive journey to various countries, visiting Austria-Hungary, Greece, Egypt, India, Japan and China, and then, arriving in Vladivostok, driving across Russia to the capital. During the trip, the first dramatic incident occurred - 29 on April (11 in May) 1891 was attempted on the crown Prince in the city of Otsu. Nicholas was attacked by one of the policemen who stood in the cordon - Tsuda Sanzo, who managed to put Nicholas on the head with two saber. The blows came casually, and Nikolai rushed to run. The attacker was detained, and a few months later he died in prison.
20 October (1 November) 1894, Emperor Alexander III died in his palace in Livadia as a result of a serious illness at 50. It is possible that if it were not for the premature death of Alexander III, the Russian история at the beginning of the twentieth century would have been different. Alexander III was a strong politician, had clear, right-wing conservative beliefs and was able to control the situation in the country. His eldest son Nikolay did not inherit his fatherly qualities. Contemporaries recalled that Nikolai Romanov did not want to rule the state at all. He was much more interested in his own life, his own family, issues of recreation and entertainment, rather than state administration. It is known that the Empress Maria Feodorovna saw the sovereign of Russia her younger son Mikhail Alexandrovich, who, it seemed, was more adapted to government activities. But Nikolai was the eldest son and heir of Alexander III. He did not renounce the throne in favor of his younger brother.
One and a half hours after the death of Alexander III, Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov in the Livadia Holy Cross Church swore allegiance to the throne. The next day, Alice, who became Alexandra Feodorovna, adopted Orthodoxy to his bride. 14 (26) November 1894, Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov and Alexandra Fyodorovna got married in the Great Church of the Winter Palace. The marriage of Nicholas and Alexandra took place less than a month after the death of Alexander III, which could not help but leave an imprint on the general atmosphere in the royal family and in society. On the other hand, this circumstance leaves purely “human” questions - couldn’t the new sovereign could tolerate a marriage and conclude it at least several months after the death of his father? But Nikolai and Alexandra chose what they chose. Contemporaries recalled that their honeymoon took place in the atmosphere of requiem and mourning visits.
The coronation of the last Russian emperor was darkened by tragedy. It took place on 14 (26) on May 1896, in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. In honor of the coronation of 18 (30) on May 1896, folk festivities were scheduled on the Khodynka field in Moscow. On the field, temporary stalls were set up for free distribution of 30 000 beer buckets, 10 000 honey buckets and 400 000 gift bags with royal gifts. Already by 5 hours of the morning 18 May on Khodynsky field gathered up to half a million people, attracted by the news of the distribution of gifts. Rumors began to spread among the gathered crowd that bartenders handing out gifts from the stalls only to their friends, after which people rushed to the stalls. Fearing that the crowd would simply demolish the stalls, the bartenders began to throw paper bags with gifts directly into the crowd, which further increased the crush.
The police who provided order to 1800 could not cope with a half-million crowd. A terrible crush began, ending in tragedy. 1379 people died, even more 1300 people received injuries of varying severity. Nicholas II directly punished those responsible. The chief master of Moscow, Colonel Alexander Vlasovsky and his deputy, were removed from their posts, and the minister of the court, Count Illarion Vorontsov-Dashkov, who was in charge of organizing the celebrations, was sent to the Caucasus. Nevertheless, the society connected the crush on the Khodynka field and the death of more than a thousand people with the person of Emperor Nicholas II. Superstitious people said that such tragic events during the coronation of the new emperor did not bode well for Russia. And, as we see, they were not mistaken. The epoch of Nicholas II opened with tragedy on the Khodynka field, and ended with a much larger tragedy on a nationwide scale.
The reign of Nicholas II had years of maximum revitalization, flourishing and triumph of the Russian revolutionary movement. Economic problems, an unsuccessful war with Japan, and, most importantly, the stubborn unwillingness of the Russian elite to accept the modern rules of the game contributed to the destabilization of the political situation in the country. The form of government of the country to the beginning of the twentieth century was hopelessly outdated, but the emperor did not go to the abolition of class division, the abolition of the privileges of the nobility. As a result, more and more broad strata of Russian society, including not only and not so much workers and peasants, as intellectuals, officers, merchants, and a significant part of the bureaucracy, turned against the monarchy, and especially the sovereign Nicholas II.
The dark page in the history of Nikolaev Russia was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the defeat of which became one of the direct causes of the revolution of 1905-1907. and a serious factor in the country's disappointment in its monarch. The war with Japan exposed all the ulcers of the government system of the Russian Empire, including colossal corruption and embezzlement, the inability of officials - both military and civilian - to effectively manage the areas entrusted to them. While the soldiers and officers of the Russian army and fleet died in battles with the Japanese, the country's elite led an idle existence. The state did not take any real steps to reduce the scale of exploitation of the working class, to improve the situation of the peasantry, and to increase the level of education and medical services for the population. A huge part of the Russian people remained illiterate, one could only dream of medical care in the villages and workers' settlements. For example, at the beginning of the 30th century, there was only one doctor for the entire XNUMX thousandth Temernik (the working outskirts of Rostov-on-Don).
9 January 1905, another tragedy occurred. The troops opened fire on a peaceful demonstration, moving under the direction of priest George Gapon to the Winter Palace. Many demonstrators came to her with their wives and children. No one could have imagined that their own Russian troops would open fire on peaceful people. Nicholas II personally did not order the execution of the demonstrators, but agreed with the measures proposed by the government. As a result, 130 people died, another 229 people were injured. 9 January 1905 was nicknamed "Bloody Sunday" by the people, and Nicholas II himself was called Nicholas the Bloody.
The emperor wrote in his diary: “A hard day! Serious unrest occurred in St. Petersburg due to the workers' desire to reach the Winter Palace. The troops were supposed to shoot in different places of the city, there were many dead and wounded. Lord, how painful and hard! " These words were the main reaction of the monarch to the tragedy. To calm the people, to understand the situation, to make any changes in the system of governance, the sovereign did not consider it necessary. Only large-scale revolutionary actions that began throughout the country pushed him to the adoption of the Manifesto, and army and navy servicemen were increasingly being drawn into it.
However, the final point in the fate of both Nicholas II and the Russian Empire was put by the First World War. 1 August 1914, Germany declared war on the Russian Empire. 23 August 1915, due to the fact that the situation on the fronts was rapidly deteriorating, and the Supreme Commander Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich could not cope with his duties, Nikolai II himself assumed the duties of the Supreme Commander. It should be noted that by this time his authority in the army was significantly undermined. At the front, anti-government sentiment increased.
The situation was aggravated by the fact that the war seriously changed the composition of the officer corps. Officers distinguished soldiers, representatives of the civil intelligentsia, among whom revolutionary moods were already strong, were rapidly promoted to officers. The officer corps was no longer the unequivocal support and hope of the Russian monarchy. According to some researchers, opposition sentiments to the 1915 year were struck by various sectors of Russian society, penetrated its very top, including the immediate environment of the emperor himself. Not all of the representatives of the Russian elite were at that time against the monarchy as such. Most of them counted only on the abdication of the unpopular Nicholas II among the people. It was planned that his son Alexei would become the new emperor, and Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich would become the regent. 23 February The 1917 strike began in Petrograd, which in three days took on an all-Russian character.
2 March 1917, Emperor Nicholas II decided to abdicate the throne in favor of his son Alexei under the regency of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich. But the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich refused the role of regent, which surprised his brother a lot. “Misha denied it. His manifesto ends with a four-quarter for the elections through the 6 months of the Constituent Assembly. God knows who advised him to sign such disgusting! ”- Nikolai Romanov wrote in his diary. He handed a telegram to General Alekseev in Petrograd, in which he gave consent to the accession to the throne of his son Alexei. But General Alekseev did not send a telegram. The monarchy in Russia ceased to exist.
Personal qualities of Nicholas II did not allow him to even pick up a decent environment. The emperor had no reliable comrades-in-arms, as evidenced by the speed of his overthrow. Even the highest strata of the Russian aristocracy, the generals, and large entrepreneurs did not speak out in defense of Nikolay. The February 1917 revolution of the year was supported by most of Russian society, and Nicholas II himself abdicated the throne, without making any attempts to preserve the absolute power, which he possessed for more than twenty years. A year after the abdication, Nikolai Romanov, his wife Alexandra, all the children and several closest servants were shot in Yekaterinburg. Thus ended the life of the last Russian emperor, whose identity is still the subject of fierce debate at the national level.