17 July 1918 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

Can a bloke be more unpopular, let alone a king? Such was the hatred for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia that his actions single-handedly brought about the demise of the royal Romanov dynasty, after he proved supremely ill-equipped to run his own country.

His anti-Semitism, rubbish war skills and extraordinarily decadent wealth, in the face of his people’s poverty, incensed his subjects. Out of the disenfranchised furore, the Bolsheviks rose up in a left-wing frenzy and threw him and his family bloodily out of power.

Tsar Nicholas II or Nicky to his mates was a bit of a non-starter. His dad had died following a sudden descent into poor health, so the process of schooling his son in the ways of the throne hadn’t even started.

Ready, or not

OK, so Nicky had a sound aptitude for school work, but he hadn’t been versed in how to run the country. Indeed his dad had banked on having at least 20-odd years ahead of him with which to bring Nicholas up to kingly speed.

But that never took place and the sudden propulsion into the limelight prompted even Nicholas to say ominously ‘what is going to happen to me and all of Russia?’

The fact that it all ended in World War, civil chaos and death of the monarchy, meant that things got about as bad as they could ever get, really.

However, life started off promisingly enough – he married for love and the bond was strong by most accounts. But from thereon in, things started to unravel.

Hate crimes

If you thought Hitler was the first to go down the anti-Semitic route, guess again. Tsar Nicholas was at it long before, and his bigoted stance was burgeoning. He even got his parliament in on the act, paying newspapers to print decidedly distorted and disturbing reports dissing the Jews.

Couple this with the bizarrest of approaches to war, where Nicholas literally buried his head in the sand, not even contemplating that the certain war with Japan could break out. Yet it did in 1904, rendering Russia the ill-prepared underdog.

Well, none of these stances won the tsar any mates and his blissful ignorance was to set the tone for his stricken reign.

And 1905 proved to be a punishingly pivotal point, especially when a priest chose to get in on the action – Father Gapon decided it was high time he let his feelings be known and he organised a march to hand over a petition highlighting key gripes. But what appeared to be an attempt on the tsar’s life just a couple of days beforehand made advisors jumpy and the king was told to retreat and not to meet the demonstrators.

Brits abroad

This even culminated in Bloody Sunday, where soldiers rained gunfire on the assembled masses – women, children and men alike were killed and as word spread so the numbers were exaggerated in true Chinese-whispers style. Even the Brits waded in with the PM branding Nicholas a ‘blood-stained creature and a common murder’.

The public felt even more disenfranchised and the retreat prompted Gapon to write a scathing letter attacking Romanov. Indeed, he was to prove a thorn in the Russian Royal’s side and Gapon eventually wound up dead – hanged in Finland while in hiding.

As for Russia, it was the beginning of the end of the war in 1905 that kicked off strikes galore and a general descent into revolution. So at this point a blinder was played – the first elected parliament was put in place, known as a State Duma. While the first two were not too hot, the third in 1907 was lucky indeed. It was less gung-ho than the former two so Nicholas began to warm to it and its successor in 1912.

His private life fared no better – the Romanovs had four daughters and one son, but the son and heir was poorly. Medicine didn’t help so they turned to healers and mystics…cue Rasputin, made infamous by Boney M’s homage.

Family at war

The war broke out in 1914, this time pitting Nicholas against his own cousin, Kaiser Willhelm – this time Russia called Germany’s bluff and before you could say ‘what is it good for’, World War I was raging.

As with the Japanese set-to, Russia fared no better here and with Nicholas caught up with the war, he left his wife in charge of Russia, with help from the seedy Rasputin.

That was to prove a big mistake, because she was German, and by default she immediately gained the nation’s distrust – they all branded her a spy.

It was a step way too far – they were in the throes of famine and inflation was sky-rocketing. Similarly, as with the previous war, Russia was left depleted. People endured serious hardship, fuelling the animosity and unsurprisingly civil unrest kicked off again, mirroring the discontent of a mere decade before.

Things spiralled out of controlled culminating in the ‘February’ revolution, in which Nicholas was forced to stand down, so he named first his sickly son, then his brother as the successors to the throne.

But his brother deferred, calling for people to be allowed to vote. The Bolsheviks seized the window of opportunity to grab power in 1917 and the Romanovs were put under house arrest.

It was during this time that the family was moved to the left-wing heartland of Yekaterinburg, in the Ural Mountains, and on 17 July 1917 they were taken to the cellar where Nicky, his wife and their children plus three servants were all shot.

Parallels can be drawn with the tsar’s earlier French counterpart Louis XVI, who was overthrown in the same way.

Also on this day

17 July 1793 – Charlotte Corday
17 July 1996 – John Joubert

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11 Responses to “17 July 1918 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia”

  1. julie Says:

    Sounds like it could not have happened to a more deserving criminal.

  2. Hello!
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    As you know, Russian Orthodox Church elevated the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and all his family to the rank of “Saint Martyrs”. Their images were used in icons. They are esteemed by orthodox Christians. Requiems are served to their memory in churches.

    Illustrated Calendar of Memorable Dates of Russian Tsar Nicholas II family.
    This calendar represents a photo album devoted to memory of the saint Tsar’s Family. Photo album is divided to monthes and each month contains important dates from life and activities of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II and his family. Each photo, icon or image in the album has a special inscription (in Russian) which helps to easily determine a person or an event showed on it.

    Detailed description & photos here on eBay (item #350084946963):

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  3. I have been reading the Royal Russian families histories and biographies for weeks now. I also have quite an extensive family who were forced to flee Russia from Cossack/Tsar anti-semitism as early as 1900. You are right that before Hitler began his bloody campaign the Tsar began his political propaganda machine. I need to say, as a mother and a teacher that the murder of the children deeply disturbs me. I understand the reasoning behind it politically, but it still leaves a bad flavor. However, I am reminded of the 1 1/2 million children murdered in cold blood during the Holocaust. History repeasts itself this is so, but protecting children is imperative. Thank you for listening.

  4. looking at our history, i must say we are some pretty ugly creators, polluting the world and painting it chrimson red, but looking closely most of the killing are by people with power so is it wrong to say that power infests on our humanity or that its in our humanity itself to destroy whats in our way?

  5. what they did to him was messed up

  6. Akira Says:


    Fact: He was murdered by a Jew, on the orders of a Jew, following the religion of Jew (yes, Marx).

  7. […] end in a Lubyanka cellar with a bullet embedded in his brain. He met a similar fate to that of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, who met their untimely ends 28 years […]

  8. Let me give you a few statistics, Mr. Self-Righteous common ‘bloke’:

    Soviet Persecution and Imprisonment Facts
    – In 1917, there were only 28,600 total prisoners within the Russian Empire, which was the largest prison population ever known in the history of Orthodox Christian, Imperial Russia.
    – After the Communists murdered the Romanovs and took over the government, the prison population slowly exploded into the hundreds of thousands. By 1927, a mere 10 years after the Bolshevik Revolution, there were over 300,000 Soviet prisoners, tens times more than Czarist Russia ever had.
    – Then, between the years 1929 and 1934 the prisoner population increased by twenty-three times, placing the total prison population in the millions.
    – In comparison to Czarist Russia, 14 million Soviet prisoners passed through the Gulag from 1929 to 1953, while an additional 6 to 7 million were forcibly exiled to remote regions of the USSR.
    – A 1993 study reveals that a total of 1,053,829 prisoners died in the Gulag between 1934 to 1953.
    – In reality, Czarist Russia imprisoned very few of their imperial subjects, while the Communists arrested, convicted, and sentenced millions of innocent people to a life of brutal enslavement and inevitable death.

    Soviet Anti-Jewish Facts
    – In the summer of 1919, nearly all Jewish properties, including synagogues, were seized by the Soviet authorities. Numerous Rabbis and other religious leaders were threatened with violent persecution.
    – In the mid-1930s, Stalin had any remaining Jewish leaders arrested and executed, while the Yiddish schools were forcibly shut down.
    – By the late 1940s, the Communist party had abolished any and all Jewish organizations, while only a few synagogues were left open and kept under strict surveillance by the KGB.

    Soviet Anti-Christian Facts
    – Within five years after Lenin and the Bolsheviks had seized power, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and 1,200 priests had been executed by the Soviet authorities.
    – Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the vast majority of the Russian Orthodox Clergy, along with many of its most devout believers had been shot dead or sent to the Gulag.
    – Between the years 1927 and 1949, the number of Russian Orthodox Churches dropped from 29,584 to less than 500.
    – From 1917 to 1935, 130,000 Orthodox priests were arrested. 95,000 of these priests were eventually put to death by the Soviet authorities.

    Because of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian people, and literally all the Slavic peoples, had to live under a brutally sadistic, no-nothing, blatantly hypocritical dictatorship composed of clearly immoral criminals whose only taste in art, music, literature, etc, came from the Czarist Christian past. Blessed be the Romanov Saints. Blessed be Saint Nicholas II, the honest and true Santa Claus for the next 1,000 years. Blessed be Saint Alexandra, his wife. Blessed be their daughters Saint Olga, Saint Tatiana, Saint Maria, and Saint Anastasia. Blessed be their only son, Saint Alexei and blessed be Russia, Ukraine, and all the Eastern European nations basking in the after-glow of freedom which the West may never understand.

    Yes, and even though I believe you to be absolutely misinformed about the history of international Communism, may the LORD God bless you too in the name of Saint Judas Maccabaeus.

  9. Dissembly Says:

    Actually, the October Revolution was not ‘bloody’ at all. And the Bolsheviks ‘seizing of power’ was, in fact, the taking of power into the hands of the Soviets (‘Councils’) – in October/November 1917, these were the most democratic institutions that had ever existed. So its incorrect to portray the revolution as bloody, or as a coup.

    The bloodshed only started when the overthrown minority government parties, the Mensheviks, right S-Rs, and Cadets, began to bloodily assault the Soviet forces and people, beginning a three year civil war that was to devastate the country, lead to necessarily oppressive war measures, and lay the groundwork for the rise of Stalin.

    The blame for Stalinism and the evolution from revolutionary democracy to authoritarian dictatorship lies largely with the White Armies and their “constitutional democrat” allies.

    Which is why its so disgusting to see comments like the one above mine, people who glorify bloodshed and side with war mongers and wealthy oppressors, slandering a revolution that, for an agonisingly brief period, created the most democratic country that has ever existed on Earth.

    And more mundanely, like I said, its just historically innacurate to call the October Revolution bloody, or to portray it as a coup.

  10. Isabel Naren Says:

    Its weird. I read another story about him that gave a detalied story of the exicution, and it made it seem as if he didnt do anything wrong, but now it seems as if hes a terrible person, like the early Hitler.

  11. Eddie Halstead Says:

    I don’t care if he was the most inhuman man that ever lived , his murder was appalling and the murder of his wife and children are something that should never be forgotten , what harm did the children do ,The Grand Duchess Tatiana was loved and respected by all Russians, she was what royalty should be about . RIP

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