Article The femme fatale of the house of the Romanovs. Bride and groom we started the story about the German princess Alice of Hesse. In particular, it was told how she, in spite of the circumstances, became the wife of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II.
Alice hastily arrived in Russia on the eve of the death of Alexander III. But, according to ancient tradition, the son of the deceased emperor could not marry during the mourning for his father. However, on November 14 (a week after the funeral of Alexander III), the mourning was canceled for one day under the pretext of celebrating the birthday of the dowager empress. At the same time, they held the wedding ceremony of Nikolai and Alexandra. This made an extremely unpleasant impression on Russian society. The people directly said that the German princess entered Petersburg and the royal palace on the coffin of the late emperor and would bring innumerable troubles to Russia. The coronation of Nicholas and Alexandra, which took place on May 14 (26), was overshadowed by the tragedy on the Khodynskoye field. This did not prevent the newly-made royal family from attending a ball held by the French envoy Gustave Louis Lann de Montebello (the grandson of the Napoleonic marshal) on the same day.
Moscow Governor-General Sergei Alexandrovich (husband of the sister of the new empress), despite numerous demands, did not incur any punishment for the ugly organization of festivities on Khodynskoye field. These events, as you understand, did not add to the popularity of Nikolai and Alexandra. The day of the Khodynka tragedy in Russia was then called "bloody Saturday". A gloomy prophecy began to spread among the people:
"The reign began with Khodynka, and it will end with Khodynka."
In 1906 K. Balmont remembered him in his poem "Our Tsar":
"Who began to reign Khodynka,
He will finish - standing on the scaffold. "
He will finish - standing on the scaffold. "
Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
Having become the wife of Nikolai, Alexandra did not change her character even here, avoiding both official courtyard events and informal communication with most of the courtiers. The aristocrats were offended by the coldness of the new queen, accusing her of arrogance and arrogance. In fact, Alexandra Feodorovna refused to fulfill her duties as an empress, and the courtiers abandoned by her repaid the "German woman" with contempt and even hatred. In this case, Alexandra literally followed in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette. This French queen also avoided balls and traditional events at Versailles. She made Trianon her residence, where she received only a select few. And even her husband, Louis XVI, had no right to come to this palace without an invitation. The offended aristocrats took revenge on both of them with ridicule, contempt and dirty rumors.
Alice's brother Ernst-Ludwig later recalled that even many members of the imperial family became her enemies, giving her the contemptuous nickname "Cette raede anglaise" ("The prim Englishwoman").
State Councilor Vladimir Gurko writes about Alexander:
“Embarrassment prevented her from establishing simple, relaxed relationships with the persons she introduced herself to, including the so-called city ladies, who carried jokes around the city about her coldness and inaccessibility.”
In vain, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the empress's sister, advised her (excerpt from a letter from 1898):
“Your smile, your word - and everyone will adore You ... Smile, smile until your lips ache, and remember that everyone, leaving your house, will leave with a pleasant impression and will not forget your smile. You are so beautiful, majestic and sweet. It is so easy for you to please everyone ... Let them talk about your heart, which Russia needs so much and which is so easy to guess in your eyes. "
However, as they say, whom God wants to destroy, he deprives him of reason. The Empress could not or did not want to follow the wise advice of her elder sister.
At the same time, Alexandra Fedorovna is a very domineering and ambitious woman, she turned out to be extremely suggestible and easily obeyed people with a stronger character. Nicholas II was not one of those. The same Rasputin spoke about Nicholas II and Alexander in the following way:
“The Tsarina is a painfully wise ruler, I can do everything with her, I will reach everything, and he (Nicholas II) is a man of God. Well, what kind of Emperor is he? He would only play with the children, and with flowers, and deal with the garden, and not rule the kingdom ... "
Nicholas II and Alexandra Fedorovna
Even the people knew about the power of Alexandra Feodorovna over the henpecked emperor. Moreover, rumors circulated throughout the country that the empress
"Intends to play the same role in relation to her husband that Catherine played in relation to Peter III."
In 1915, many assured that the German queen wanted to remove Nicholas from power and become regent with her son. In 1917, it was argued that she was already a regent and ruled the state instead of the emperor. The notorious Felix Yusupov, one of Rasputin's killers, stated:
"The Empress imagined that she is the second Catherine the Great and the salvation and reconstruction of Russia depends on her."
Sergei Witte wrote that the emperor:
"He married ... a completely abnormal woman and took him into her arms, which was not difficult given his weak-willedness."
And at this very time, Alexandra Feodorovna meekly obeyed various "prophets" and "saints", the most famous of which was G. Rasputin.
G. Rasputin with Empress Alexandra Fedorovna and her children
Alexandra's charitable activities did not evoke a response in society. Even the personal involvement of the Empress and her daughters in helping wounded soldiers during World War I did not change the attitude towards her. The Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna recalled that the Empress, trying to cheer the wounded, said the "right" words to them, but her face remained cold, haughty, almost contemptuous. As a result, everyone was greatly relieved when Alexandra walked away from them. The aristocrats contemptuously said that “the Empress wore an ermine robe more than a nurse's dress", And about the princesses, dirty rumors were spread about their fornication with ordinary soldiers.
At the same time, only the lazy did not accuse Alexandra of spying on the Germans, which, of course, was not true.
World War I Caricature
Previously known as a zealous Protestant, Alexandra now imagines herself to be a true Orthodox, and the walls of her bedroom were covered with icons and crosses. However, the common people did not believe in the queen's religiosity, and the aristocrats in opposition openly mocked her.
To her close friend Anna Vyrubova, Alexandra Fedorovna once admitted:
“You know how we both (she and Nicholas II) love children. But ... the birth of the first girl disappointed us, the birth of the second upset us, and we greeted our next girls with irritation. "
The steps that the imperial couple took in order to contribute to the birth of an heir are very peculiar.
At first, under the patronage of the Grand Duchess Militsa, four blind nuns were brought from Kiev, who sprinkled the royal bed with Bethlehem water. It did not help: instead of the boy, a daughter was born again - Anastasia.
Nikolai and Alexandra decided to add "hardcore", and the holy fool Mitya Kozelsky (D. Pavlov) came to the palace - a mentally disabled, half-blind, lame and hunchbacked invalid. During epileptic seizures, he made some inarticulate and incomprehensible sounds, which were interpreted by the clever tradesman Elpidifor Kananykin. Some argue that Mitya gave the sacrament to the royal children from his mouth (!). One of the girls then developed a rash that was difficult to heal.
Finally, in 1901, the royal couple, who had already had four daughters by that time, invited the "miracle worker" Philippe Nizier-Vasho from France, which, of course, was a step forward. The former apprentice from the Lyons butcher shop is not a crazy goat fool after all: he treated the Tunisian bey himself in 1881. True, in his homeland, Monsieur Philip was twice fined for illegal medical activities (in 1887 and 1890), but the Russian autocrats were not embarrassed by this circumstance.
Particularly touching is Philip's gift to the Russian empress: an icon with a bell, which was supposed to ring when people "with bad intentions" approached it. Also, according to Vyrubova's testimony, Philip predicted the appearance of Rasputin to Nikolai and Alexandra - “a friend who will talk to them about God».
The foreign "magician" immediately ordered to remove all doctors from the empress. The visiting Frenchman apparently still possessed some kind of hypnotic ability. After communicating with him, the empress in 1902 showed signs of a new pregnancy, which turned out to be false. The most unpleasant thing was that the Queen's pregnancy was officially announced, and now there were very wild rumors among the people, which are reported, in particular, by the Secretary of State Polovtsev:
"The most ridiculous rumors spread in all classes of the population, such as, for example, that the Empress gave birth to a freak with horns."
It was also said that the emperor himself immediately drowned the monster in a bucket of water. Pushkin's lines were removed from the Tsar Saltan extravaganza, which was then staged at the Mariinsky Theater, at the request of the censorship:
"The queen gave birth to a son or a daughter in the night ..."
In Nizhny Novgorod, it turned out even funnier: a calendar was confiscated there, on the cover of which there was an image of a woman carrying 4 piglets in a basket - the censors saw a hint of the four daughters of the Empress.
After that, V.K.Pleve invited Nicholas and Alexandra to pray at the relics of Elder Prokhor Moshnin, who died in 1833, who is now better known as Seraphim of Sarov. This proposal was greeted with enthusiasm. Moreover, it was decided to canonize the elder so that he would become the personal patron of Nicholas II and Alexandra, as well as all subsequent emperors and empresses of the Romanov dynasty.
This attempt at canonization was not the first. Back in 1883, the head of the Moscow women's gymnasiums, Viktorov, turned to the chief prosecutor K. Pobedonostsev with such a proposal, but he did not find understanding with him. Some say that the reason was Seraphim's sympathy for the Old Believers, others - about the unreliability of data about miracles at his grave and the absence of imperishable remains, which were considered an indispensable attribute of holiness. However, now, in the spring of 1902, Pobedonostsev received a categorical order to draw up a decree on canonization. He tried to object, arguing that haste in such matters is inappropriate and impossible, but received in response Alexandra's decisive statement: “The sovereign can do anything". And in 1903 Seraphim of Sarov was canonized.
Finally, on July 30 (August 12), 1904, Alexandra nevertheless gave birth to a boy, who was immediately appointed chief of 4 regiments and ataman of all Cossack troops (later the number of regiments he sponsored increased to two dozen, and he also became the chief of 5 military schools). Already at the age of one month, it became clear that the child was sick with hemophilia, and there was practically no hope that he would live to the age of majority and take the throne. And then someone remembered the legend about the curse of Marina Mnishek, who, upon learning about the execution of her three-year-old son, predicted the Romanovs of illness, execution, murder (this part of the prophecy could already be considered fulfilled). But especially frightening was the concluding part of the prophecy, which stated that
"A reign that began with infanticide will end with infanticide."
Unlike the modest and well-mannered sisters, Alexey, whom his parents did not refuse in anything, grew up as a very spoiled child. Protopresbyter of the headquarters G. I. Shavelsky recalled:
"As painful, he (Alexei) was allowed and forgiven a lot that would not have gone healthy."
Investigator N. A. Sokolov, who was investigating the execution of the family of the former emperor, wrote in the book "Murder of the Tsar's Family" that Alexei
"Had his own will and obeyed only his father."
The Tsarevich's nanny, Maria Vishnyakova, practically did not leave him. Then two-year-old Alexei was assigned as a "uncle" by the former boatswain of the Imperial yacht "Standart" Andrey Derevenko. According to the recollections of Anna Vyrubova, during exacerbations of his illness, he warmed his ward's hands, straightened pillows and a blanket, even helped to change the position of numb arms and legs. Soon he needed an assistant, who in 1913 became Klymentiy Nagorny - another sailor from the yacht "Standart".
And here is how, according to the same Vyrubova, the attitude of Derevenko to the heir changed after the revolution:
“When they drove me back past Alexei Nikolaevich's nursery, I saw the sailor Derevenko, who, lounging in an armchair, ordered the heir to give him this or that. Alexei Nikolaevich with sad and surprised eyes ran, fulfilling his orders. "
Apparently, this sailor suffered a lot from his "pupil", and he never felt any love for the tsarevich.
Alexei took his status as Tsarevich very seriously and, at the age of six, unceremoniously expelled his older sisters from his room, telling them:
"Ladies, go away, the Heir will have a reception!"
At the same age, he made a remark to Prime Minister Stolypin:
"When I enter, I have to get up."
It is known that Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother Mikhail after his life surgeon Fedorov told him that Alexei had practically no chance of living to sixteen. The doctor was not mistaken. During his exile in Tobolsk, Alexei fell and since then never got up until his death.
The appearance of Rasputin
But let's go back and see that on November 1, 1905, an entry appears in the diary of Nicholas II:
"We got acquainted with the man of God Gregory from the Tobolsk province."
The "elder" at that time was 36 years old, the emperor - 37, Alexandra - 33. It was the fear for the life of Tsarevich Alexei that opened the doors to the Imperial Palace for Rasputin. You can find out about what happened next from the article Russian Cagliostro, or Grigory Rasputin as a mirror of the Russian revolution... Let's just say that acquaintance with Rasputin caused enormous damage to the reputation of the royal family. And it doesn't matter at all whether he was Alexandra's lover. And was the influence of the "elder" really such that with his advice and notes he determined the foreign and domestic policy of the empire? The problem was that many people believed in this criminal relationship and in Rasputin's constant interference in state affairs. Even the French ambassador, Maurice Palaeologus, reported to Paris:
“The queen recognizes him (Rasputin) as a gift of foresight, miracles and spells of demons. When she asks him for his blessing for the success of some political act or military operation, she acts as the Tsarina of Moscow would once have done, she brings us back to the times of Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Mikhail Fedorovich, she surrounds herself, so to speak, with Byzantine decorations archaic Russia. "
By the way, it was the rumors about Rasputin's omnipotence that basically made the "elder" all-powerful. Indeed, how can you refuse a request to a person who, as everyone around assures, literally opens the door to the imperial chambers with his feet?
State Duma deputy Vasily Shulgin, known for his monarchical views, later recalled the words of his colleague Vladimir Purishkevich:
“Do you know what's going on? In cinematographs, it was forbidden to give a film where it was shown how the Emperor places the St. George's cross on himself. Why? Because as soon as they begin to show, - from the darkness a voice: "Tsar-father with Egoriy, and Tsarina-mother with Gregory ..." Wait. I know what you will say ... You will say that all this is not true about the Tsarina and Rasputin ... I know, I know, I know ... Not true, not true, but is it all the same? I'm asking you. Go prove it ... Who will believe you? "
Caricature "Autocracy": Rasputin and Nicholas II
About the influence that Rasputin had on Alexandra Fedorovna, says the forced confession of Nicholas II to P. Stolypin:
"I agree with you, Pyotr Arkadyevich, but let there be ten Rasputins rather than one empress's hysteria."
This, incidentally, is evidence that the relationship between the emperor and his wife was not nearly as idyllic as they are now represented. The well-informed secretary of Grigory Rasputin, Aron Simanovich, says the same:
“Quarrels arose very often between the king and queen. Both were very nervous. For several weeks the queen did not speak to the king - she suffered from hysterical fits. The king drank a lot, looked very bad and sleepy, and from everything it was noticeable that he had no control over himself. "
By the way, contrary to popular belief, many of Rasputin's advice are striking in their sanity, and for Russia, perhaps, it would be better if the true influence of the "Elder" on the emperor corresponded to the rumors spread in society.
Some aristocrats considered Rasputin to be the source of evil that badly influenced the imperial couple. Rasputin was killed, but it turned out that many of the guards officers considered it a half measure and regretted that Grand Duke Dmitry and Felix Yusupov “did not finish the destruction,” that is, they did not deal with Nicholas II and Alexandra.
At the beginning of January 1917, General Krymov, at a meeting with Duma deputies, proposed to arrest the empress and imprison her in one of the monasteries. The Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, who headed the Imperial Academy of Arts, spoke about the same with the Chairman of the Duma Rodzianko.
AI Guchkov, leader of the "Octobrist" party, considered the possibility of seizing the Tsar's train between Headquarters and Tsarskoye Selo in order to force Nicholas II to abdicate in favor of an heir. The younger brother of the emperor, Grand Duke Michael, was to become regent. Guchkov himself explained his anti-government activities as follows:
«Historical the drama that we are experiencing is that we are forced to defend the monarchy against the monarch, the church against the church hierarchy ... the authority of the government against the bearers of this power. "
In December 1916, Elizaveta Fyodorovna, the empress's sister, again tries to explain to her the seriousness of the situation and says at the end of this conversation:
"Remember the fate of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette."
No, Alexandra, unlike her husband, felt the impending danger. Intuition told her that a catastrophe was approaching, and she appealed to her husband, who did not understand the seriousness of the situation, in letters and telegrams:
“In the Duma, all are fools; at Headquarters they are all idiots; in the Synod there are only animals; ministers are scoundrels. Our diplomats must be outweighed. Disperse everyone ... Please, friend, do it as soon as possible. They should be afraid of you. We are not a constitutional state, thank God. Be Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible and Paul I, crush them all ... I hope that Kedrinsky (Kerensky) from the Duma will be hanged for his terrible speech, this is necessary ... Calmly and with a clear conscience, I would send Lvov to Siberia; I would have taken away the rank of Samarin, Milyukov, Guchkov and Polivanov - all of them also need to go to Siberia. "
In another letter:
"It would be nice if he (Guchkov) could be hanged somehow."
Here the Empress, as they say, guessed right. Later, a spokesman for the intelligence of the French General Staff, Captain de Maleycy, made a statement:
“The February revolution took place thanks to a conspiracy between the British and the liberal bourgeoisie of Russia. The inspiration was Ambassador Buchanan, the technical executor was Guchkov. "
A. I. Guchkov, "technical director" of the February revolution
In another letter, Alexandra instructs her husband:
"Be firm, show an imperious hand, this is what the Russians need ... It's strange, but such is the Slavic nature ..."
Finally, on February 28, 1917, she sends Nikolai a telegram:
“The revolution has taken on terrible proportions. The news is worse than ever. Concessions are necessary, many troops have gone over to the side of the revolution. "
And what does Nicholas II answer?
“Thoughts are always together. Great weather. Hope you feel good. Loving Nicky dearly. "
The most logical thing in this situation was to order to strengthen the protection of the family, to blockade the rebellious capital with units loyal to him (but not to bring them into Petersburg), to conclude an armistice agreement with his cousin Wilhelm, finally. And start negotiations from a position of strength. Nicholas II left Headquarters, where he was invulnerable, and in fact was captured by General Ruzsky. In a final attempt to hold on to power, Nikolai turned to the other front commanders and was betrayed by them. His abdication was demanded:
Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (Caucasian Front);
General Brusilov (Southwestern Front);
General Evert (Western Front);
General Sakharov (Romanian Front);
General Ruzsky (Northern Front);
Admiral Nepenin (Baltic Fleet).
And only A. Kolchak, who commanded the Black Sea fleet, abstained.
On the same day, finally realizing the scale of the catastrophe and finally losing heart, Nicholas II signed an act of abdication, which was adopted by the Duma deputies A. Guchkov and V. Shulgin. Believing that his son would not live to come of age and would not be able to ascend the throne, Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his younger brother. However, in the conditions of growing anarchy, Mikhail Romanov also renounced the throne. The time-honored legitimacy of power was destroyed. In St. Petersburg, irresponsible Duma "talkers", demagogues and populists came to power. The supporters of the monarchy, who had lost their pretender to the throne, were disorganized and disoriented, but nationalists of all stripes raised their heads on the outskirts. If the legitimate heir to the throne was healthy, no one could abdicate for him before his majority. The only thing that the cowardly Michael could have done was to refuse the regency, which was not at all critical, another person would have been appointed regent. For example, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, who was popular in the army, could have become one. Thus, the fate of the Romanov dynasty was decided back in 1894 - at the time of the marriage of Nicholas II to Princess Alice of Hesse.
And then Nicholas was betrayed by the allies in the Entente. Only a formal enemy - the German emperor Wilhelm II, agreed to accept his family. And one of the tasks of the German ambassador Mirbach, who arrived in Moscow after the conclusion of the Brest Peace, was to organize the transfer of the family of the former emperor from Tobolsk to Riga, occupied by German troops. But soon William himself was overthrown from the throne. Everyone knows what happened next. During the entire period of the imperial family's exile, not a single attempt was made to free the former emperor. And even the majority of "whites" did not want the restoration of the monarchy, making plans to create a bourgeois parliamentary republic. The lines written in the emigration of A. Vyrubova are characteristic:
“We Russians,” she wrote, referring not to the people, but to the aristocrats, “too often blame others for our misfortune, not wanting to understand that our position is the work of our own hands, we are all to blame, especially the upper classes. . "