Российская Империя: Николай II, часть 3. [16/16] [English Subtitles]

Uploaded by TheComradeRussia on 26.04.2012

NTV presents
Dedicated to the tricentennial anniversary of the Russian Empire
and the foundation of St. Petersburg.
' The lmperial Sovereign in a casual overcoat'
The potrait of Nikolai ll painted by Valentin Serov.
The Emperor ordered it as a present to his beloved wife.
He posed for all the sessions in person.
Such a jolly bright - eyed colonel.
He was born to be a perfect husband and father and not to rule overthe Empire.
This picture an authentic copy of the original painting.
Which was presented to the tsarina and placed in the Winter Palace,
Which perished during the revolution sharing the fate of its prototype.
And the overcoat survived.
One of the wardrobes in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo
hosts the grey colonel overcoat of the Preobrazhenski regiment.
lt was the working uniform of the last Emperor.
His character and way of thinking
could greatly contribute to his smooth transformation into a constitutional sovereign.
The most decent ruler of Russia with little flairfor power
sincerely wished good to everyone
and sincerely belived in the salvatory role of autocracy for Russia.
He was a political conservative
and a technical innovator.
He adopted automobiles at once
and his garage in Crimea is considered to be the best one in Europe.
lt hosted 25 vehicles, among them 'Mercedeces' and ' Delaugne - Bellevilles'
Afterthe successful start of the Russian automotive industry
The royal fleet was augmented by ' Russo - Balts' as well.
The empress despised automotive vehicles.
And the Emperor used to drive around the Livadia palace with kids only.
The road to Livadia is still called the Romanov Lane.
Nikolai inherited the firmness of autocratic convictions of his father
Alexander lll but lacked his powerful autocratic will.
An autocrat who values his privacy most
has problems with preserving autocracy itself.
Leo Tolstoy wrote to Nikolai ll:
' Autocracy is an outdated form of rule
that might suit some Central African tribe
but not the demands of the Russian people
that is consistently sharing the worldwide tide of enlightment' .
There were four photo cameras in the royal family.
The sovereign himself took to filming Crimean landscapes.
At that time the professionals regarded the amateur photography
as they regard the instant photography of our days.
lt was already possible to take photos without any tripod
with no successive developing and printing routine
as there was an opportunity to send films away for processing and get back ready photos.
Here it is.
' The royal view from the terrace' emerged.
Russian capitalism got fully developed,
Followed its historic outline and reduced the role of the state and its sovereign.
The phrase ' The age of Nikolai' refers to the rule of Nokolai l
And 25 years of the rule of Nikolai ll are labelled diirefently
But none of these labels refers to the name of the last emperor.
He did not create this age.
He inhabited it as one of his palaces.
He followed habits of the contemporaries of comparable wealth.
Here is the study of Nikolai ll in the Alexander Palace
ln Tsarskoe Selo. lt was adjacent to the rooms of the empress.
There is nothing royal in the way it looks.
lt is a good example of the modern style
lt could have been the study of a successful businessman or a lawyer,
or a writer.
lt looks very much like the study of one of trendiest people of that age
writer Leonid Andreev.
And there is nothing palatial in the royal study.
lt could have looked appropriate in a posh Kamennoostrovky apartment,
Or in one of mansions at the islands or in a rich dasha.
The billiard table emphasises the military profession of the owner.
There was not a single Russian officer at that time who didn't have a knack forthe game.
Colonel Nikolai Romanov was very keen at billiards.
During the World War
this very table would host military maps.
This photo was printed out in hundreds of thousands of copies in the prerevolutionary Russia.
Famous writers:Gorky, Andreev, Bunin
side by side with the most famous man of the Empire:singer Fedor Shalyapin.
His fame reflected his age.
He was an insuperable bass singer, a brilliant opera actor
a popular performer of romantic and Russian folk songs.
And a handsome gentleman in furs.
Gorky wrote about Shalyapin:
' Such people emerge to remind us
how strong, handsome and taleted the Russians are!'
The national icon lives in both capitals of Russia.
He owns a house at the Garden Ring in Moscow
and an apartment at the Kamennoostrovski lane in St.Petersburg.
The 20th century saw the emergence of global art stars
equally renown all over the civilized world.
They had global tours and worked with global recording labels.
Here is the famous ' The master's voice' label with a doggie listening to the grammophone.
This album was released in the United States in 1908.
The same company sold patephones and grammophones.
This musical machine is called ' Viktrola'
This unique gilted unit was presented by the company to Shalyapin in 1912.
to commemorate the 10th anniversary of their cooperation.
The mouthpiece in such machines is placed over here.
As most people of his circle, Shalyapin was a frequent visitor of Capri.
There he went fishing with Gorky.
This small ltalian island was one of the centers of Russian life.
The permanent Russian colony already amounted to a thousand people
and swelled seasonally with numerous visitors.
Gorky attracted everyone: from radical leftist politicians
such as Plekhanov, Lenin, Dzerzhinsky to classics of contemporary writing
They all indulged in determining the future fate of their Motherland.
lvan Bunin would later become the first Russian winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
' Forthe recreation of the Russian character.'
lt all started at that time.
Bunin shared his life between Capri and his Oryol estate
and released an array of merciless novels.
The first one was ' The Village'
lt was quite a comprehensive title.
and Bunin could have replaced it with a more comprehensive one - ' Russia' .
This novel had 100 characters per 100 pages
and all characters and facts were interrelated
be they ancient princes of Russia or contemporary revolutions.
the state monopoly on vodka orthe First State Duma hearings.
A New Russian of the early 20th century,
Tikhon Krassov now owned the estate
where his grandfather had worked as a serf. And what?
No boosts in mirth, no cuts in sorrows.
And everybody was pursuing the Russian Happiness and the Russian Truth.
And truthseekers kept insisting that
only muzhiks knew this peculiar Russian way.
His brother Kuzma was on his way from the railway station.
The coachman initially claimed the fee of 7 roubles
and then set for 1,5 roubles.
Somewhere in the middle of the trip the coachman suddenly uttered:
' They say Makarov is alive, but it is forbidden to talk about him'
lt meant that Admiral Makarov who had perished during the recent Russo-Japanese war
aboard the Petropavlovsk armored steamboat, miraculously survived.
and wanted it to remain a secret.
Kuzma shrugged his shoulders:
' God knows what there is in these folkish brains!'
Maxim Gorky wrote:
' Besides its A - grade literary value,
Bunin's novel made us think not only about muzhiks
but whetherthere would be any Russia or not.'
There is a special tradition of the Russian elite to keenly look at this country from Europe.
At Capri Bunin stayed in the Quisisana hotel.
Now this hotel has undergone a lavish overhaul.
Bunin visited Capri forthree winters in a row.
At that time the fee for his novel about Russian muzhiks was enough to cover
an extended stay here forthe sake of working on his next hit
that was ' Sukhodol'
The family of the hotel owner is preserving Gorky's letter
of recognition of their cooperation with Russian writers.
After another swap of villas, Gorky
Moved to a house in a tiny road descending to the harbor.
Gorky daily negotiated the slope
while working on a series of novels called ' Russian fairy tales'
that centered on the idea that nothing could be set up properly in Russia.
And would never be.
After ending the 15th tale with the words:
' The fairy tale does not end here, but the rest of the story is in foul words'
Gorky still proceeded to
the 16th one.
' There lived a woman called, say, Matrena who worked for
a stranger called, say, Nikita and his numerous relatives and servants.
Besides these evil ones, Matrena was surrounded by lots of useless people
who looked at her and pitied her stamina with such words:
' Oh, ye suffering and wretched one!'
Some people amazedly exclaimed:
' You can not be measured, you are so great!'
And no reason can factoryou in!'
They said - you can be only believed in' .
A smith tried to win her heart, but Matrena regarded him
as a man of unreliable looks and naughty character
who lambasted:
' Only in the unity of ideas with me
...you, Matrena, will be able to proceed to your next cultural stage' .
Finally Matrena was saved by a hero
who turned out to be a tormentor far worse than Nikita.
And Matrena kissed and caressed and adulated him:
' You are my ltalian Garibaldi, you are my English Cromwel,
You are my French Bonaparte!'
And in the meantime she cried during the nights:' Oh God, oh God.
l thought something worthy will emerge from this
and it turned out to be such a disaster'
And the last remark of the novel was: 'Let me remind you that it's only a fairy tale'
Look at the harbor, boats of fishermen,
Advanced Russians walking along the beach.
They were deep in thoughts about theirfawaray Motherland covered with snow
And suddenly they were struck with a horrible piece of news from home.
theirfriend and comrade Fedor Shalyapin had kneeled in front of the tsar
in the Mariinsky theater during the bows after one of ' Boris Godunov' opera performances
The choir kneeled
asking the tsarfor a salary increase
And Shalyapin was caught off his guard and followed the example.
There was a tremendous scandal about that. Shalyapin was considered to be a traitor.
Gorky wrote to Bunin:
' One has to have a soul made of stone to live and see Fedor Shalyapin, a genius,
standing on his knees in front of Nikolai Romanov,
the worst - rate one of all the people.'
Gorky wrote to Shalyapin:
' lt is such a shame to imagine you on your knees in front of a bastard,
no, the worst European bastard'
The wide publicity that the event got
and the unanimous condemnation by democratic circles
would be called 'the badgering of a genius'
Shalyapin would go to his new visit to Capri with a lot of bad feelings.
There was no port at Capri.
The coming ships stopped in the harbor
and the passengers were brought to the shore by boat.
Gorky usually waited for his guests at home
or went to the embankment in rare cases.
Afterthe quarrel he met Lenin and Shalyapin
going to the ship himself.
Shalyapin burst in tears and was forgiven.
He really did not know about the manifestation of the choir.
The highest pleasure for Shalyapin was to give concerts for his friends.
Gorki usually asked forthe songs of the Volga region.
The contemporaries recalled the best performance Shalyapin gave at Capri
during the lunch that Bunin and his wife threw up in the restaurant of their hotel.
During his visits Shalyapin had sung at Gorki's villas
for admiring audiences.
But here at the Grand Hall of the Quisisana hotel
he gave not a home concert, but a real one.
Shalyapin had a superb earfor music.
He could memorize and perform
entire operas accompanied just by the piano.
The whole length of ' Don Karlos' , 'Boris Godunov'
' Khovantschina'
He sang numerous lead parts, romantic and folk songs during that concert.
At that time he was the best voice of the world.
The First World War
had been cooked up by Russia as well as the rest of Europe for 20 years.
Nikolai ll was the heirto the throne with little knowledge of state secrets
when Alexander lll secretly concluded a mutual defence pact with France.
After his father's death Nikolai ll paid the royal visit to France
The alliance of two countries got widely publicised.
The day of the arrival of the Russian Emperor was declared a holiday by French republicans.
The price of a railway ticket to Paris was cut by 75 per cent
for every Frenchman to see the best friend of their country.
During the visit of the Russian tsar
more than a million of French provincial dwellers visited Paris.
This is 79,Rue de Grenel.
This mansion housed the Russian Embassy at that time.
as well as it does now.
On the arrival day all the windows
along the royal cavalcade route were let.
The best sites
like this one across the street from the Russian Embassy
enjoyed the price of 5000 francs per window.
lt is 900 dollars at the current exchange rate.
Nikolai ll wrote to his mother Maria Fedorovna:
' The reception is Paris was fabulous.
and can be compared only with my visit to Moscow.
The words ' visit to Moscow' referred to the coronation celebrations.
Since that time
the popular wisdom has it that the Russians are mostly admired in the West by the French
and that these two countries have been nurturing special relations historically.
The most exciting event of the visit was the ground - breaking ceremony forthe Alexander lll bridge
named after his father, the founder of the alliance.
lt is recognized as the most beautiful bridge of Paris.
One side is decorated with nymphs of the Neva River, the other one - with the nymphs of the Sena.
The following year would see the French building a bridge across the Neva
lt would be called the Troitsky bridge.
And the newspapers would write about setting up new bridges
or even ' the marriage of the Gallic cockerel and the Russian bear' .
The Russians wish the newlyweds 'love and good counsel'
The French talk about 'entente cordial' in such cases.
The word ' entente' or ' Antanta' stuck as the name of the alliance.
before the future World War l.
Former Russian allies - Germany and Austro - Hungary
understood perfectly well who this alliance was against.
The German Kaizer Wilhelm ll wrote to Nikolai ll:
' Dear Nikki!...if France goes on instigating you,
Russia will find itself drawn into the worst war
Europe has had so far!'
Wilhelm ll and Nikolai ll were distant in - laws.
They called each other ' Willi' and ' Nikki'
but the dynastic ties are good for peacetime, but easily forgotten during wars.
Moreover, George V of England was a much closer relative
He was a brother - in - law of Nikolai ll.
Georgie and Nikki looked like twins
and were very proud of it.
England secretly supported the alliance between France and Russia,
The English were very careful, but their hotility towards Germany was above all.
Russia with its principles
couldn't perform an act of balancing good relations with both Germany and France.
And the military clash between those two was inevitable
England was another rival of Germany
and after it joined the Entente, the tripartite union was formed.
The Balkans had been smoldering with a minor warfor a long time.
Austro - Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908.
Russia could lend a protective hand to its Slav brothers at that time,
But Stolypin believed
that to unleash a war meant to unleash a revolution.
And Russia swallowed the insult.
Stolypin was not there anymore and it was Serbia's turn this time.
lt had pretty hostile relations with Austro - Hungary that was supported by Germany.
Serbia was supported by Russia, so the chain reaction was inevitable.
The cause forthe battle between the Teutons and the Slavs was exemplary.
ln Saraevo within the captured Bosnian territory
Gavrila Printsip, a Serb, assasinated Prince Ferdinand, the heir of the Austrian throne.
The handgun shots in Saraevo
were answered by the large - caliber Austrian cannons firing at Belgrade.
And it was just the beginning of it.
July 31st saw the onset of the overall mobilization in Russia.
On August 1st Germany declared warto Russia.
On August 2nd France declared its support for Russia and started the overall mobilisation as well.
On August 3rd Germany declared warto France.
The following day saw England declaring warto Germany.
The war would get into its orbit 38 countries with the population of a billion and a half people.
Russia was delighted by the war.
The manifesto of the tsar was read in the Throne hall of the Winter Palace.
Then the sovereign appeared in front of the cheering crowds.
Nikolai emerged at the balcony of the Winter Palace
afterthe 10 - minute ovation in the Throne Hall,
but the square was even more high - spirited.
A huge crowd holding icons and portraits of the emperor
unanimously got on their knees and started singing: ' God, save the tsar!'
The French Ambassador Maurice Paleologue wrote:
Forthousands of people who were laying low there,
the tsar is really the autocrat marked by God
the military, political and religious head of his people
the limitless sovereign overtheir bodies and souls' .
The royal manifesto spoke about 'the unity of all Slavs in blood and faith'
Austria was labelled an agressor who ' started the war with the bombing of defenseless Belgrade'
and the Russians were urged to fight for a brother country
and for Russia's position among great powers.
ln St.Petersburg before the hostilities started
the crowd broke into the German Embassy revenging the Serbs.
What was the present - day answer to the bombing of Yugoslavia of the crowds
that gathered at the US Embassy?
Well, they came to the Embassy
they threw ink bottles at the building,
they hurled tomatoes and eggs.
All this looks laughable in comparison with 1914.
Then the crowd broke into the Embassy,
tore the wallpaper down
broke all the windows
threw out all the furniture
And stopped only after dismantling two huge brass horses on the roof.
They used to stand a little bit lower
than the present - day sign ' Dresdner Bank' .
One month afterthe break - out of the war St.Petersburg was renamed into Petrograd.
The German word ' burg' in the name of the capital had never worried anyone before.
Afew months before the warthe leader of the Duma right wing warned the tsar
that the war would cause enormous social problems
ln June the constitutional democratic fraction voted against increases in the military budget
But in August the patriotic tide carried everyone away.
' The king of the Russian poets' lgor Severyanin wrote:
.' And l, yourtender one, your only one, will take you marching to Berlin.'
Only the Bolshevik Party spoke in favor of the defeat of the Russian monarchy in that war.
Lenin, its leader,set forth a slogan:
' The imperialistic war must be turned into the civil war' .
But no one listened to such extremists at that time.
Russia struck Germany, its main rival in this war
simultaneously on two fronts.
The First Army hit the German group of troops at the border.
but it did not continue the offensive.
The Second Army was advancing through the territory of Eastern Prussia
without ever meeting any resistance or seeing the enemy.
without making a single shot.
This is now a city of Olshtyn in Poland that used to be the German city of Allenstein
this is the largest city of Eastern Prussia.
The Russian army occupied the city in August, 1914.
The troops moved into the city, marched along its streets
and the peaceful life around them continued.
as if nothing had happened.
The shops and cafes were open, the streets were full of passers - by.
They saw even young moms with baby carriages.
The inhabitants of the city looked at the enemy infantry in amazement,
but without any hostility.
Everything around the soldiers was absolutely alien.
No one understood what should be done with the captured city.
The army walked 50 kilometers from the border,
without ever meeting the enemy troops.
And shadows of anxiety emerged.
The Russian army advanced into Eastern Prussia saving the French allies.
The Germans advanced to Paris demolishing French armies.
The French government was evacuated to Bordeaux.
lnitial successes of the Russians worried the Germans,
they regrouped theirtroops
A German instructuion of that time read as follows:
' The Russians move very slowly
the Russian front has enough space for such maneuvers
that we can not afford with other enemies' .
Eastern Prussia was the German elbow in the heart of Poland.
The distance between the Russian armies at the German territory grew to more than 100 kilometers.
There was no coordination between the moves.
The radio exchanges between the commanders were not encrypted.
and the Germans defeated the Russian armies one by one.
The first to feel it was the army of General Samsonov
that took Allenstein and moved ahead
lts overstretched positions were hit from the flanks and from the rear.
Tens of thousands of soldiers, the army headquaters and its commander got encircled.
Laterthis would be called 'The Samsonov catastrophe'
Upon recognizing the inevitable prisoner status, Samsonov committed suicide.
The retreating army headquaters and its commander
got lost in the woods somewhere near a town of Villenburg
amid the dangerous Mazur marshes
The officers got off their horses
and walked in the darkness holding hands.
They ran out of matches and couldn't see the compass.
They decided to spend the night here.
They heard a shot somewhere behind the pines.
They could not find Samsonov's body in the darkness and were waiting forthe dawn.
The morning saw a new German offensive.
lt was the Germans who found and buried Samsonov's body.
Ayear later his widow with the help of the Red Cross
was able to return the remains to Russia.
Russia lost 130 thousand soldiers who were taken as prisoners in Eastern Prussia.
But the defeat is overshadowed by the victory in Galicia.
The Austro - Hungarian defensive lines were broken and the city of Lvov was captured.
Here it was - the reunion of all the Russian lands.
Even Yekaterina the Great dreamt of returning Galicia to Russia.
The victory cost 200 thousand lives.
The enemy losses were twice as much.
and the hopes for any quick victories vanished at both sides of the front.
Ayear later Galicia was lost by the Russians.
The period from the spring to the fall of 1915 saw the retreat of all Russian armies.
They were absolutely unprepared in the technical sense.
Not all soldiers had rifles.
The Supreme Headquarters even issued an orderto put axes onto long sticks
and to arm the infantry with these medieval devices.
The heads forthe Cossack spears were ordered in the US.
The German had a manyfold advantage in cannons
and a dozenfold advantage in ammo.
During the first 2 years of the warthe Germans occupied
dozens of Russian territories.
Russia lost all Poland, all Lithuania, most of the Western Ukraine,
most of Western Byelorussia.
The railways could hardly manage the military assignments.
such as evacuations ortroop relocations.
Petrograd was getting only a half of the needed food supplies.
The situation in Moscow was even worse.
Afterthe succession of defeats of 1915 the responsibility forthe situation
was taken by Nikolai ll who assumed the position of the Commander - in - Chief.
and left forthe army headquarters in Mogilev.
The routine of state governance was completely abandoned.
Nikolai ll wrote to his wife from the headquarters:
' You must be my eyes and ears in the capital.
You're responsible forthe concord among the government ministers.
Oh, my sunny one, l'm so happy that you've finally found a suitable occupation foryourself!'
But the empress was too emotional, too unexperienced
too intuitive in determining friends orfoes
to properly conduct the administrative duties
at the time when the state finances were hurt by the prohibition
and the state control over prices caused the food crisis.
The sales of meat in Petrograd during the war dropped fourfold.
ln 1916 sugar was rationed.
The Nevski Prospect and the Zagorodny prospect
saw breadlines at the bakeries.
Before the war Russians had never known what food lines meant.
The Empress graduated before the warfrom the medical courses
turned the Ekaterina Palace in Tsarskoye Selo into a hospital
where she worked as a nurse alongside with her daughters.
The Emperor personally headed the army forthe first time since Peterthe Great.
The tsarevich accompanied him in the rank of a private.
Later Alexei would be promoted to the rank of a lance corporal.
But as the time went by, the war and the authorities grew more and more unpopular.
General Yepanchin wrote in his book 'At the service of three Emperors'
' Earlierthe army used to be a social strata, and now
when the wars are conducted not by armies but by entire peoples,
any war with unclear goals is doomed to failure.'
The third year of the war for Serbs and for national prestige
saw the destruction of the regular army.
The units were increasingly complemented with reservists and draftees.
And 400 thousand elite soldiers of the Russian Expeditionary Corps
were sent to France in exchange forthe rifle supplies.
The only name of the First World War that rings a bell now is Brusilov.
ln early days of May, 1916 the forests of Volyn
surrounding the city of Lutsk were filled with the same silence as now.
The front line had not moved an inch for a year.
ln reality, the new commander of the South - Western front General Brusilov
was preparing an offensive.
The Russian troops were digging trenches from their positions to the enemy ones during the nights.
and hiding them undertree branches and grass in the mornings.
And when the kilometer distance between the positions
narrowed to 200 or 100 meters
afterthe artillery warm - up the Russian infantry launched
' The Brusilov breakthrough'
The attack was quite unexpected.
300 miles of the frontline positions of the enemy were demolished
Brusilov was advancing for all the summer of 1916.
Brusilov wrote to his wife:
You can not even imagine how many letters, telegrams and small icons
l'm getting daily and how many people pray for us!
Russia was so hungry for a victory anywhere!'
The Germans were trying to seize the French fortress of Verdun for all the year of 1916.
lt protected the direct road to Paris.
The Brusilov breakthrough put Austria on the verge of the catastrophe
and Germany saved Austria with 34 divisions
taking 11 units directly from the Verdun offensive.
The Brusilov breakthrough was not supported by other Russian armies
and in the fall of 1916 the war got back to the positionary one.
The Brusilov breakthrough pushed the warto the Entente's side
but it was of little value for Russia.
And Brusilov would be commemorated as the most famous general of the royal army
who switched to the Bolshevik side afterthe revolution.
The First World War was the first Russian war
where the country lost its people to death, wounds and captivity
in millions.
And it is the Forgotten Warforthe general audience.
During the Soviet times
even Marshals of the Soviet Union did not dare to weartheir St.George Crosses
and the list of the cavaliers included such names as Budenny, Zhukov, Rokossovsky.
All of Europe is marked with monuments to the heroes of World War l
and in this country the list of such monuments consists of one entry -
the tombstone of General Brusilov in the Novodevichy Monastery.
The plots to kill ' the saint devil' were numerous and had different goals.
The resultative one was formed at the highest level by.
Prince Felix Yussupov
Great Prince Dmitry Pavlovich, the Emperor's brother - in - law,
Vladimir Purishkevich, a stalwart monarchist and a State Duma deputy.
They were guided by a noble goal of cleaning the dynasty and Russia from this scum.
Priorto Rasputin's arrival
the Yussupov Palace was furnished with a special basement entry
and the basement rooms were turned
into something resembling a' sleek bonboniere'
or a posh candlebox.
Prince Yussupov lured Rasputin into visiting him secretly at night.
Poison was chosen as the means of execution.
Atremendous doze of calcium cyanide was prepared by Stanislav Lazavert,
one of the doctors from Purishkevich's sanitary train.
The conspirators assembled at mignight.
The thick walls of the basement could absorb any sounds, even the rattle of gunshots.
The events of the coming night would be
the most famous page of the complex history
of one of the poshest palaces of St.Petersburg.
Doctor Lazavert saturated the wine and cakes with poison.
The conspirators were sitting upstairs in the house waiting forthe outcome.
Rasputin was hosted by Prince Yussupov only.
Yussupov was feeding him the sweets for more than two hours to no visible avail.
Rasputin was about to leave
when Yussupov shot him in the back.
Upon hearing the shot the conspirators descended.
Purishkevich wrote in his memoirs:
' Rasputin was lying on the skin of a white bear.
and Yussupov towered calmly over his body with a revolver in his hand'
The conspirators planned to carry the body out later when the streets got quite empty.
They rose to the house
and evidently drank fortheir success.
then Yussupov went back to the basement.
And the famous thriller started. Rasputin came alive.
The prince had only wounded him.
Yussupov wrote in his memoirs:
Rasputin got to his feet in a sudden and robust move.
He jumped at me trying to get to my throat.
l got from his grip after almost inhuman efforts.'
The octagonal room in the stairway was designed as a clevertrap.
lf Rasputin thought of escaping, multiple reflections
would hinder his progress.
But Rasputin could somehow get through the trap in a single step.
Yussupov went mad with fear and could only cry for help.
At that point other conspirators got into the affair.
Rasputin had seemed dead a second ago
and now he was running across the yard.
The memoirs of the conspirators
and the conclusions of the investigators give different versions for later developments.
Rasputin who was running behind the fence
either received all four shots from Purishkevich
who missed the target twice
and upon biting his hand
to get sober after a very liquid celebration,
made two successful hits
orthe two successful shots were produced by Great Prince Dmitry Pavlovich
One of the mortal bullets hit Rasputin in the back and the other one in his head.
At the end of the century such shots would be called ' the control ones'
This night out ended for Rasputin overthere
close to that stand that reads 'The Yussupov Palace welcomes you'
A policeman came after hearing the gunshot sounds.
lnitially he was told that the company had killed a mad dog.
and laterthey bluntly stated that they had killed Rasputin.
The rumors started filling the capital in the morning.
The Empress wrote to her husband:
You can imagine ourfeelings - Our Friend has disappeared.
l can not and will not believe that he was killed.
Let our Lord have some pity for us' .
The Emperor left the Mogilev headquarters forthe capital.
The high society rejoiced at the assasination.
And the conspirators did not refuse the laurels of the saviors of the nation.
lt simply made no sense.
They proved to be very poor executioners.
They used the faraway Petrovsky bridge across the Malaya Nevka
to hide the body in an ice - hole.
The chains and the weight were not tied to the body, they were simply thrown from the bridge.
Afterthat, they found Rasputin's rubber boot in the darkness of the car.
and threw it to the ice - hole.
the boot missed the ice - hole and remained on the surface.
The investigators were quick
to find both the bloodstains on the bridge and the boot that led to the corpse.
The post - mortem revealed that Rasputin had died neitherfrom poison
norfrom the bullets, but got choked with water.
He was alive even when he was thrown in the ice - hole.
The body surfaced one day later at the same place.
The post mortem protocol of Raputin read as follows:
The bullet wounds in his head and back are complemented with a huge torn wound in his left side
inflicted with a knife or a spur.'
The tsar did not dare to send the conspirators to court.
Prince Yussupov was sent to his family estate.
Great Prince Dmitry was sent to the Caucasian front
The plea for his pardon was signed by all members of the royal family
and Nikolai turned it down.
The assasination of Rasputin did not strengthen the monarchy
and widened the abyss between the royal couple and their numerous Romanov relatives.
The crowned fans of Ole Gregory remained quite alone
On February 22nd, 1917
Nikolai ll left Petrograd for a week
forthe headquaters of the Commander - in - Chief in Mogilev
On the same day his son Alexei got sick with measles in Tsarskoye Selo
and infected all the four Great Princesses.
The next day saw the popular dissent in the capital because of flour shortages.
There was no bread in bakeries of the Zagorodny Prospect.
Angry housewives started breaking the windows of the bakeries.
' Give some bread to us!' was the most peaceful slogan of those days.
The dissent quickly grew into political manifestations
and the general strike.
The authorities initially could not understand the moods in the city
and later got frightened by the scale of protests
The soldiers of the garrison of the capital defected to the side of the rebels in flocks.
Mikhail Kalinin wrote in his memoirs:
' The soldiers were shouting - 'Where are the leaders?Lead us!'
l got up and said:
lf you want leaders, take them from the Kresty prison'
But free them first' .
The Petropavlovsky fortress used to be called the Russian Bastille
but the Kresty prison was very solidly built as well
So the liberators stormed the building
There was a lamppost lying on the embankment
20 soldiers picked it up, and hit the gates with it.
The prison cheered: 'Long live freedom. Hurray!'
The third blow broke the gates into pieces.
The criminals rushed to their hideouts and the political prisoners asked the soldiers for guns.
The Chairman of the Duma Rodzyanko sent a telegram to the tsar:
' The capital has been seized by anarchy. The government is paralyzed.'
Nikolai did not botherto answer him and ordered the head of the Petrograd garrison
to stop the disorders in the capital on the followng day.
But there was no more royal authority in Petrograd.
A huge crowd gathered at the Tavrichesky palace.
This was the building of the State Duma where its deputies
decided at the emergency session how to act.
The choices were simple: to join the rebels and thus head the rebellion
orto oppose it and face the angry crowd
that would tearthe deputies to pieces.
The decision was made by the most scandalous deputy of the Duma Alexander Kerensky
He went out to the steps and declared to the crowd
that from now on the Tavrichesky Palace became the headquarters of the rebellion.
The thing that was being planned, prepared,
but never got executed by generations of revolutionaries
simply happened by itself.
''The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies' emerged in the Tavrichesky Palace.
including one representative from every industrial plant.
The first Soviet decree was issued
upon the formation of the Soviets of Soldiers' Deputies that were responsible for preserving arms.
The State Duma deputy Mansurov wrote:
''From the very first hours
the Duma let the constant presence in its building of an organization
that usurped the name of the ' Soviet of the deputies'
but actually consisted of a bunch of murky types'
After understanding the full scale of drastic events threatening his family
the Emperor left the headquarters for Tsarskoe Selo on February 28th.
He proceeded with his suite in two trains.
The suite train was first to arrive to the station of Malaya Vishera late at night.
lt turned out that there was no way ahead to Tsarskoye Selo.
The following stations of Luban and Tosna had been seized by the rebels.
They decided to stop and wait forthe sovereign to arrive.
The suite officials issued orders
to seize the local phone and telegraph stations and to establish sentinel posts in the platform.
The train of the tsar arrived to Malaya Vishera after midnight.
Everybody were asleep in this train. Nikolai was woken up.
He listened to the dangerous information with a calm face.
He, the master of all the Russian lands, was denied the right of passage in his domain.
He later wrote in his diary: 'What a shame and what a disgrace'
He ordered to go to Pskov.
The royal trains were crawling along the station backwards.
The train of the tsar was followed by the train of his suite.
The last day of the Russian monarchy was starting.
Surrounded by large warring powers,
small neutral Switzerland seemed to be situated at another planet.
lt was clean to the medical grade, very wealthy and expensive.
Russian social democrats hoarded the German - speaking part of Switzerland at that time.
Lenin had lived in Austro - Hunngary priorto the war
but could no longer stay there as the Russian subject.
He moved to Bern and laterto Zurich
He longed forthis war.
The stability of the early 10s left him no chances.
and the war could heat up the situation to the revolutionary degree.
Lenin wrote to Gorky in January, 1913.
The war of Russia and Austria could have been a very useful tool forthe cause of our revolution
but there is very little probability
that Franz losif and Nikolasha would have provided us with such a chance.
Such a gift of revolutionary fate as the war between Germany and Russia
evidently went far beyond Lenin's dreams.
Later everybody went to war
But the revolution was slow to develop as the years went by.
Lenin would be 47 in 1917. What did he achieve by this age?
The same poverty of a political emigre, the same wondering prospects
in fact - no prospects.
ln the hopeless year of 1916 that was probably the most difficult of all the years of exile
Lenin applied to the Swiss police for an extension of his stay in the country.
forthe yearto come
at least until December 31st, 1917.
He listed the following address in the application form:14, Spiegelstrasse, Zurich.
Where and what should he go forfrom this place?
He couldn't even send a letterto Russia from Switzerland
and had to use a postal route via neutral Sweden.
There were 20 - 25 Bolsheviks who had not been in touch with their homeland for ages.
Lenin had stayed away from Russia for 10 years.
How could he influence the events at home
to come back victoriously?
The only remedy for despair was the passionate faith of Lenin.
' Our cause is just'
Lenin spoke at a convention in the Zurich Popular House:
The coming years are marked by war
and will lead to popular revolutions in Europe.'
The Volkshaus is the Zurich Popular house
lt looks like a House of Culture of the Soviet times and it has retained this look since Lenin's time.
Lenin had made numerous revolutionary forecasts
that never came true.
And during this convention he again said:
' The victory of the revolution is inevitable' but added a remark
' May be, we, old people shall not live to see the decisive battles of the revolution'
This statement was made in January, 1917.
Two months remained until the revolution in Russia.
The Zurich exiles learnt about the events in Russia on March 2nd.
Lenin was keen on going back to Russia.
This revolution was his last chance.
He had a poor vision of the situation
He thought that the tsar was preparing a counter - revolutionary coup.
and could cut a unilateral peace deal with Germany forthat purpose.
But in fact Lenin himself made a deal with the Germans.
They were enemies of the Russian authorities
and Germany gave them the right of passage through the German territory
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the German ambassador in Bern:
The transport forthe group is under strict military observation.
.The departure date and the names should be provided at a 4 - day notice.'
This is the list of the names of the deportees.
lt starts with Lenin and Frau Lenin.
On the day of their departure from Zurich the Russian Bolsheviks congregated here
in the Zeringer restaurant.
The train was to leave at 3.10 p.m. and they all assembled at noon.
The day before Lenin gave a speech at the Popular House forthe last time.
He spoke about the Russian revolution that he lived to see.
He used the word ' wunder' that meant a miracle.
He had no other explanation forthe revolution.
During the farewell lunch when the train moved into the platform
the Bolsheviks adopted ' The farewell letterto Swiss workers' written by Lenin.
lt contained references to greater miracles
lt called the Russian revolution the first stage of the world revolution.
lt seemed to follow from the text
that Lenin was the creator of this Russian revolution
And of the world one being in the center of all events.
ln reality Lenin was beginning a very risky undertaking.
He understood how compromising
his passage through the enemy territory looked.
and he had no idea what expected him in Russia.
When they stood on the platform
Karl Radek seemed to have said to Lenin:
' Vladimir llyich, in six months we'd either be ministers or be hanged.'
Radek's fate would follow his both forecasts.
He would first be one of the Bolshevik leaders
and would be purged in the late 30s.
The emperor's departure forthe headquarters divided the royal family.
During horrible February days the Empress stayed in Tsarskoye Selo with her sick kids.
All the communication with the Emperor stopped
and bad news from the capital were augmented by ignorance
and the inability to provide support to each other.
Both Petrograd and Tsarskoye Selo garrisons rebelled.
There was no electricity in the Alexander Palace and the phones went dead.
There was nowhere to run from the palace.
The railway station had been seized by the rebels.
They had thoughts about defending themselves.
But the tsarina had only one infantry batallion, two Cossack companies and two cannons.
Nikolai ll wrote in his diary on March 1, 1917.
l could not get to Tsarskoye. And all my thoughts and feelings are there!
How lonely Alix must be feeling during all these events!
God help us all.'
The royal train retreated to Pskov
to the Northern front headquaters of General Ruzski.
When the train arrived to Pskov,
contrary to the usual practice
No military or civilian official met it.
Finally General Ruzski unwillingly emerged from the doors of the railway station.
The arrival of the tsar seemed to have gone unnoticed,
although everybody in the city knew about it.
The emperor made lonely strolls along the platform,
But no one seemed to pay any attention to that.
Within 24 hours of his stay in Pskov Nikolai calmly signed three decrees:
' The decree on the responsible ministry' or about the government.
that would be responsible to the State Duma.
' The decree on the abdication in favor of my son Alexei'
' The decree on abdication in favor of my brother Mikhail'
The age of thrones and crowns came to its end in Russia.
The idea of abdication
was initialy suggested by the Chairman of the Duma Rodzyanko
in a phone conversation with General Ruzski.
Other military commanders were informed about this suggestion
and voted for it.
ln the name of Russia and keeping the troops in the trenches
the abdication was doomed necessary.
They spoke in favor of Alexei getting to the throne
as it was legal and the tsarevich was popular with the troops and the common folk.
But aftertalking to his doctor,
Nikolai decided to abdicate both for himself and for his hopelessly sick son.
This text would become his last manifesto.
The royal train turned out to be his last official residence.
lt served both as his palace
and the headquarters of the commander - in - chief.
After becoming citizen Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov
he wrote about the events of that day in his diary:
and the last phrase became historic: 'Only treason, cowardice and lies are around' .
But he had to perform his last autocratic act before that.
He was sent the draft manifesto.
That meant that he was told what to write in his farewell letter.
But Nikolai composed his own text.
The Manifesto on the Abdication of Nikoali ll read as follows:
...We considered it to be Our debt of honor to facilitate to our people
the close unification and cohesion of ranks
and We deemed it appropriate to abdicate from the Russian throne
and to take the supreme power off our shoulders'
Great Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich was not informed about
the transfer of the crown to him.
Nikolai sent him an apologetic telegram
that was addressed to tsar Mikhail ll.
Mikhail abdicated on the following day
delegating to the future Constitutional Assembly
the right to determine the way Russia would be governed.
The Empress read her husband's manifesto in newspapers and didn't believe it.
After speaking to him on the phone,
she decided that by abdication Nikolai had preserved for himself his country, family and God.
General Lavr Kornilov arrived to the Palace on March 8th.
He told the empress in this hall:
' l have a complex task of informing you about your arrest.'
The royal guards were replace with sentinels.
The palace was turned into prison.
During all the night the empress was destroying her papers, letters and diaries.
Nikolai came in the morning of February 9th.
Even at that time everybody understood
that the future was pretty bleak forthe royal couple.
Russia would be declared a republic by the Provisional Government
on September 1, 1917.
Then the Bolsheviks would conclude a unilateral peace treaty with the Germans in Brest.
and would strip the country of huge territories that had taken centuries to conquer
and the royal family would be shot.
But two years laterthe new Russian rulers would return all of its former lands
and would even attack Warsaw.
And the new treaty of 1939 with the Germans would return the Baltic states to the empire.
as well as Bessarabia and even Galicia with its city of Lvov.
fulfilling the dreams of Yekaterina.
There would be a failure with Finland.
where Mannerheim, a Russian general and the Finnish commander - in - chief
would defend the independence of his native land.
Then after World War ll
The Soviet empire would rule over Warsaw and Prague and Budapest
and a half of Berlin and the Balkans.
And the surviving monarchist emigres would rejoice
at the expanse of the new empire.
ln its peak the empire would consist of 15 Soviet republics
and 30 countries of the Soviet bloc.
And the power would remain royal in its character, and its growth high and wide
would be considered to be the national character and the national idea.
The Crown of the Russian Empire is now in the State Depository of the Russian Federation.
ln 1700 Peterthe Great launched the Northern War.
After his first victories he was called the Emperor
First by the English who knew a lot about the empires
and later afterthe final victory Peter himself assumed it as his official title.
The fact that the tricentennial Russian Empire is alive today
is recognized both by its fans and its opponents.
For some the empire is the answer to the first damned Russian question:
' What is to be done?'
For others, the empire is the answer to the second Russian damned question:
' Who is to blame?'