Nicholas II (Russia)

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Nicholas II (around 1909)

. Nicholas II ( Russian Николай II , scientific. Transliteration of Nicholas II , born as Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov , Russian Николай Александрович Романов , scientific transliteration. Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov , born May 6 . Jul / 18th May  1868 . Greg in Tsarskoye Selo ; † July 17, 1918 in Yekaterinburg ) from the ruling family Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp was the last emperor of the Russian Empire . Its official title wasEmperor and ruler of all Russia (Император и самодержец всероссийский, Imperator i samoderschez vserossijski ).

He ruled from November 1, 1894 until his overthrow on March 18, 1917 as a result of the February Revolution . By adhering to the autocratic policies of his predecessors and unwillingness to undertake democratic reforms, Nicholas played a key role in the collapse of the Russian monarchy during the First World War .

After his abdication , he was interned with his family and murdered by the Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg on the night of July 17, 1918 . On August 20, 2000, Nicholas and his family were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church because of their martyrdom .

Origin and youth

Nicholas with his mother Maria Feodorovna (1870)

Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov was on May 18, 1868 Alexander Palace of Tsarskoye Selo born. He was the eldest son of Tsarevich Alexander , who later became Tsar Alexander III, and his wife Maria Feodorovna (née Dagmar of Denmark). At birth Nikolaus received the traditional title of " Grand Duke of Russia" (Russian Velikij Knjas ).

As a member of the Romanow-Holstein-Gottorp dynasty , as was customary in the 19th century, there was a relationship with numerous European dynasties. On his father's side, Nikolaus was a grandson of the ruling Russian Tsar Alexander II and Marija Alexandrovna (née Marie von Hessen-Darmstadt), on his mother's side he was a descendant of the Danish King Christian IX. and Louises of Hessen . The annual visits to the grandparents at the Danish royal courts of Fredensborg and Bernstorff were regular family get-togethers with German, British, Greek and Danish relatives. Due to his predominantly German, Russian and Danish origins, Nikolaus was a cousin of the British King George V , the Norwegian King Haakon VII , the Danish King Christian X and the Greek King Constantine I. He was also a third degree nephew of the German Emperor Wilhelm II.

Nikolaus had five younger siblings: Alexander (1869–1870), Georgi (1871–1899), Xenija (1875–1960), Michail (1878–1918) and Olga (1882–1960) with whom the family mostly lived in St. Petersburg's Anitschkow- Palais resided. The coexistence within the family was described as harmonious and loving, which is why Nikolaus ( called "Nicky" in family circles ) developed a very close family bond, which he should maintain throughout his life. With regard to the origin and status of her children, Maria Feodorovna attached great importance to a domestic upbringing characterized by simplicity and modesty. In addition to Russian , Nikolaus also spoke English , German and French . An English tutor raised him - unusual for Russian society - according to the principles of a gentleman .

Heir to the throne (1881 to 1894)

Tsarevich Nicholas (1889)
Tsarevich Nicholas (1892)

On March 13, 1881, Alexander II fell victim to a bomb attack by the left-wing terrorist underground organization Narodnaja Wolja ( People's Will ). The twelve-year-old Nicholas was an eyewitness how his seriously wounded grandfather was brought to the St. Petersburg Winter Palace and died there from his injuries. Thereby Alexander III followed him. to the throne, and Nicholas became the new Tsarevich (heir to the throne) according to the provisions of the primogeniture . For security reasons, the family moved to the fortress-like Gatchina Castle after the attack and only stayed in the capital on official occasions. If the young Nicholas had previously lived isolated from the outside world - the siblings and a governess were the only playmates - the move further increased the social isolation of the heir to the throne. The isolated way of life, turned away from the life of the simple population, ultimately led to the detachment from all social strata of the empire.

The private education of the heir to the throne was supervised by the conservative clerical lawyer Konstantin Pobedonoszew , an adviser to the tsar. Pobedonoszew exerted a great influence on the Tsarevich's worldview. He rejected Western liberalism and emphasized the need for autocratic power development as an outgrowth of God's grace . Through the upbringing and instruction of his English tutor, Nicholas, described as a little insecure, had developed skills for calm, self-control and a sense of duty at an early age, but showed little interest in the activities of a ruler. Between 1885 and 1890 Nikolaus attended lectures on political science and economics at the Institute of Law at the University of Saint Petersburg . At the same time he began his officer career at the age of 19 and joined the elite Preobrazhensk body guard regiment . Joining the army had a liberating effect on the heir to the throne, who was now in permanent contact with his peers for the first time. He loved the atmosphere of barracks life, the casino camaraderie and felt comfortable in the company of officers . Nicholas rose to the rank of colonel .

In 1890/91 Nikolaus, accompanied by his brother Georgi and his cousin Georg of Greece, went on a world tour of several months on board the tank frigate Pamjat Asowa . This led, among other things, via the Suez Canal , India , Ceylon , Bangkok , Singapore and Java in the spring of 1891 to the Japanese Empire . There, on May 11, 1891, an assassination attempt on Nikolaus failed when he was attacked with a saber by a Japanese policeman ( Ōtsu incident ). Finally, on May 23rd, they reached the Russian city of Vladivostok , where Nikolaus attended the laying of the foundation stone of the Trans-Siberian Railway on behalf of his father . It took him three months to get back to European Russia across Siberia - on river steamers, in a carriage and in parts on horseback.

After his return, Nicholas received his first glimpses of the affairs of government by being led by Alexander III. was appointed a member of the Council of State . However, since the tsarist's court was of the opinion that the ruler, who was only 45 years old, would not have to pass his office on to his son in the near future, he was only involved in political decision-making processes to a limited extent.

Marriage and offspring

Painting of the wedding ceremony by Laurits Tuxen
Nicholas II with his wife Alexandra and their five children (1913)

On April 8, 1894, the engagement between Nikolaus and Alix von Hessen-Darmstadt , his second cousin, was announced in Coburg . Alix was the daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and the Rhine and his wife Alice of Great Britain and Ireland and thus a granddaughter of the British Queen Victoria . The couple met in Saint Petersburg in 1884 on the occasion of the wedding of Alix's older sister Elisabeth and Nikolaus' uncle, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich . Despite his mother's strong reservations about a German princess and Queen Victoria's concerns about Russia, as well as the religious Alix's initial refusal to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church , Nicholas succeeded in getting the love marriage through.

The surprising death of Alexander III. On November 1, 1894, the new monarch had to marry quickly, which is why the wedding planned for 1895 already took place on November 26, 1894. In the presence of numerous members of the European ruling dynasties, the wedding was performed in the Great Chapel of the Winter Palace and due to the mourning period, the ceremony was extremely modest by the standards of the time. With the conversion to the Russian Orthodox Church, Alix changed her name to Alexandra Feodorovna .

The marriage had five children, all of whom were murdered along with their parents on July 17, 1918:

As the succession to the throne had been vacant for a long time, the tsarist couple came under increasing domestic political pressure. It was not until 1904, after four daughters, that the long-awaited Tsarevich was born with Alexei, and the continued existence of the Romanov dynasty seemed assured. But the joy of the newborn boy was short-lived, as Alexei from the incurable "bleeding disorder" ( hemophilia suffered), who had inherited from his mother. The serious illness burdened the couple more and more; especially Alexandra, who was prone to melancholy, withdrew more and more and finally only attended inevitable public appointments. Nicholas moved with his family from the Winter Palace, the official residence of the tsars, to the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. He himself had spent parts of his childhood in the modest residence and felt more at home there than in the exuberant pomp of the Winter Palace. Here he was able to enjoy family life far more and only stayed in Saint Petersburg for government business and official occasions.

Alexandra, on the other hand, took refuge in deep religiosity and left no stone unturned to help her son. In order to stop Alexei's life-threatening bleeding, the tsarina recruited the mysterious itinerant preacher and alleged miracle healer Grigori Efimowitsch Rasputin (1906), who soon came and went at the tsar's court. The shady preacher was able to stop the boy's bleeding, which is why he quickly gained great influence over Alexandra, which should be the basis of numerous rumors.

Nicholas continued a tradition that his father Alexander III. It had started in 1882: every year at Easter he gave away one (or two) precious Easter eggs from the production of Peter Carl Fabergé . This became world famous; the Easter eggs are still causing a stir in the media.

Governing Emperor (1894 to 1917)

Scene from the coronation ceremony,
painting by Laurits Tuxen (1853–1927)
Imperial monogram Nicholas II.

The sudden death of his 49 year old father Alexander III. after a short illness on November 1, 1894, the 26-year-old Nicholas made his successor as emperor. After lengthy preparations, the formal coronation ceremonies did not take place until 18 months later on May 26, 1896. The traditional coronation site was the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin . In a splendid Russian Orthodox ceremony, Nicholas crowned himself with the tsar's crown as emperor and autocrat of all Russians by the grace of God. He then crowned Alexandra Empress.

The celebrations were overshadowed by the outbreak of a mass panic in the Chodynka field . On May 30th, hundreds of thousands of people waited on the Moscow Chodynka field, which served the city garrison as a military training area, for gifts and meals to be given on the occasion of the imperial coronation. The field was extremely unsuitable as a venue, which is why 1389 people died and 1300 were injured after a mass panic broke out. Contemporaries interpreted the tragedy as a bad omen for the rule of the new emperor and Nicholas was considered a monarch who did not care about the sufferings and needs of his people.

Government style and conception of power

A short time after taking over the throne, Nicholas clarified his basic political stance. In a speech to Zemstvo representatives, he rejected vague hopes of liberal circles for democratic reforms and laid out the basic principle of his conception of rule:

“I am very happy to see representatives from all classes who have come to express their submissive feelings to me. But I have heard that recently in some Zemstvo representations there have been voices that were indulging in senseless dreams about the participation of Zemstvo representatives in state governance. Everyone should know that I will serve the well-being of the people with all my might, but that I will therefore uphold the principle of autocracy just as firmly and consistently as my unforgettable father. "

Nicholas was a conservative advocate of divine right and determined to rule the country like his predecessors as an autocratic autocratic ruler . The monarch's power to govern was not restricted by a constitution or an elected representative body, which is why ministers, governors and the military were solely responsible to the emperor and were dependent on his trust. Since Nikolaus received the members of his government exclusively in individual audiences and never held a cabinet meeting, it was possible for him to play them off against each other in order to then make decisions himself. As a result, the entire state power was concentrated on the person of the emperor. Nikolaus was vehemently encouraged by his wife in his conception of power.

In retrospect, Nicholas II lacked the political foresight and from the beginning a state concept that would have allowed him to assess the situation in his empire. Rather, the conservative doctrine of Pobedonoszew and the politics of his father served him as guidelines for his rule. Nicholas let the events run their course and then reacted instead of anticipating them. The emperor was too bogged down in detail, made all the decisions himself and gave his ministers little leeway. Through this type of politics, disappointment in the ruler spread even among staunch monarchists, which indicated a deep crisis in the state structure.

Domestic politics

Nicholas II around 1907 (painting by H. Manizer)
Nicholas II opens the Duma with a speech from the
throne (1906)
Nicholas II climbing a horse, origin: unknown cameraman of the Edison Company around 1905

The first years of Nicholas II's reign were a continuation of the policy of his father, whose minister and advisor he had taken over. A significant feature of domestic politics was the tsar's refusal to undertake political and social reforms, which were urgently needed at the turn of the century. In the course of the industrial revolution in the second half of the 19th century, new social classes emerged with the bourgeoisie and the working class , which increasingly demanded political participation and social reforms. Nikolaus, on the other hand, was not ready to give up his extensive autocratic claim to power and had the political opposition, in particular the workers' party RSDLP , founded in 1902, persecuted by the Ochrana secret police . Ignoring the conditions and needs of the population, Nikolaus fought a possible modernization of the state and stuck to the traditional, semi-feudal conditions . He based his power on the landed nobility , the army and the peasantry loyal to the tsar .

Nikolaus pursued an uncompromising policy of oppression against the self-government efforts of the national minorities (mainly Finns , Baltic , Poles ). In the Grand Duchy of Finland he issued a centralized constitution and pursued a tough russification policy ( February Manifesto 1899 ), he denied the former Kingdom of Poland autonomy and maintained the status quo as the province of Weichselland .

The looming defeat in the Russo-Japanese War caused an enormous loss of authority in the autocratic system of government and did not, as Nicholas hoped, lead to a wave of patriotism . Due to the poor supply situation, a protest march of striking workers wanted to hand over a petition to the tsar on January 22nd, 1905, when the peaceful protest in front of the Winter Palace was bloodily suppressed by the police and army ( St. Petersburg Bloody Sunday ). This event was the trigger for revolutionary uprisings, workers' demonstrations, mass strikes , Jewish pogroms and mutinies (e.g. on the Potjomkin ship of the line ) throughout the empire. Reforms and political participation were called for. It was only after long hesitation and under the influence of Finance Minister Sergei Witte that Nikolaus approved the convening of a parliament on August 19, 1905 in a decree . In the October Manifesto drawn up by Witte (October 30, 1905), Nikolaus granted civil liberties , universal suffrage and the creation of a parliament ( Duma ). By being willing to limit his autocratic power in the context of reforms, Nikolaus and his government succeeded in channeling the currents of the revolution ( → see main article Russian Revolution 1905 ).

After the adoption of a constitution ( basic state laws of the Russian Empire ), Nicholas opened the Duma on May 10, 1906 with a speech from the throne . However, Russia was not a real constitutional monarchy , as the tsar had a right of veto and the ability to dissolve parliament. The monarch made use of this right twice by 1907, when he dissolved the second Duma with a majority of left-wing parties and by introducing three-class suffrage to ensure the predominance of conservative powers . This has largely invalidated the previous reforms. In 1906, Nikolaus appointed the conservative monarchist Pyotr Stolypin to be Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior , who resolutely opposed revolutionary currents and fought hard against political opponents.

Furthermore, the domestic policy of Nikolaus and many of his ministers and advisers was determined by an anti-Semitic attitude. Although (the Russian economy d. H. Useful and / or persons academically trained) was a tsar decree in 1904 at least "privileged" Jews also granted a right of establishment outside the cities in the country, but found alone from 1903 to 1906 to 600 pogroms instead, u. A. that in Kishinev . These riots were mainly due to nationalist , prozarist organizations, with whose ideas Nikolaus sympathized. In his view of the world, Jews contributed to both domestic and foreign political processes which, in his view, endangered his autocratic rule. When an investigation ordered by the Minister of the Interior proved the baselessness of the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " and exposed them to be a forgery, Nikolaus, who was previously quite impressed by them, is said to have given the order not to use them any longer, with the remark that a " pure matter "(as such he saw anti-Jewish attitudes) should not be" defended with dirty methods "( → see main article History of the Jews in Russia).

Foreign policy

The cousins ​​Nikolaus II. And Wilhelm II. In swapped uniforms on the liner SMS Deutschland (August 1907)

Nicholas II took office at the end of the 19th century during the heyday of imperialism . Russia, however, played a special role, as it did not have any overseas colonial territories like the great European powers . The tsar ruled over the largest contiguous land mass on earth and supported the course of foreign policy expansion (mainly East Asia , Central Asia , the Balkan Peninsula ). This policy of territorial expansion led to conflicts of interest with other powers such as the British Empire in Central Asia ( The Great Game ), Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.

Nicholas supported the aggressive foreign policy, particularly with regard to Russian interests in Manchuria and Korea . Russia's increasing involvement in these areas led to rivalry with the emerging Japanese Empire . This conflict culminated in a surprise attack by the Japanese on the Russian base Port Arthur on August 8th / 9th. February 1904, which culminated in the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War . Confident in the military superiority of his armed forces, Nikolaus saw the war as a national binding agent and, completely misunderstanding the situation, Nikolaus sent the Baltic fleet to East Asia, which was destroyed in the naval battle of Tsushima (May 1905). Russia was defeated militarily, but Nicholas, who was increasingly under domestic political pressure, only consented to peace negotiations through the mediation of the USA . In the Treaty of Portsmouth (September 5, 1905), Russia had to recognize Korea as a Japanese area of ​​interest and renounce lease rights and territorial claims in China . The defeat by Japan had an immediate impact on the internal stability of Russia when the revolution of 1905 broke out .

After the defeat in East Asia, Russian foreign policy directed its expansionist efforts to the Balkan Peninsula and the Straits of the Bosporus , with Nicholas standing in the tradition of his predecessors. Nikolaus saw himself as the protector of the Slavic Orthodox Balkan peoples and thus followed the ideology of Pan-Slavism . According to the ideas of the Pan-Slavists, all Slavic peoples should be brought together under Russian rule and united in a "Greater Slavic Empire" . As a result, Russia traditionally stood in opposition to Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the straits of the Bosporus and the ongoing tensions in the Balkans threatened to escalate briefly during the Bosnian annexation crisis in 1908. Nikolaus, weakened domestically by the revolution and militarily by the defeat against Japan, saw himself only conditionally capable of acting and had to accept the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary .

In terms of alliance policy, Nikolaus followed the course taken by his father, who had entered into a defensive alliance with France in 1894 . From then on, the alliance with France formed the foreign policy fixed point of the Tsar, which was underpinned by mutual state visits to Paris and Saint Petersburg . The joint diplomatic settlement of the Dogger Bank incident in October 1904 led to an understanding between Russia, France and Great Britain , which ultimately led to the overcoming of the British-Russian antagonism in Central Asia and culminated in the conclusion of the Triple Entente in 1907 ( Treaty of Saint Petersburg ). Attempts by the monarchs Nikolaus and Wilhelm II to bring Russia and the German Reich closer together , in particular through good personal contact, failed between 1904 and 1911.

First World War (1914 to 1917)

Nicholas II and General Brusilov (1916)

During the July crisis of 1914, Russia openly stood behind Serbia and declared, as a protecting power, that Austria-Hungary would not allow any attack on Serbia's sovereignty. During these days the "war party" at the St. Petersburg court had gained the upper hand and was able to influence Nicholas to take this step. The Tsar did not want war, hated violence and also knew that a war could mean the end of the old order in Europe, and yet on July 29, 1914, he gave the order for general mobilization . When Austria's ally, the German Reich , learned of this, an ultimatum was issued to Russia to stop the mobilization within twelve hours. But a peaceful solution could no longer be found, and so the German Reich declared war on Russia. The road to World War I was taken, which Russia led on the side of the Entente powers.

The outbreak of war hit Russia almost unprepared. Although the tsar had the largest numerical army in the world , the troops were poorly equipped and poorly trained. The command structures were out of date, the commanders were nobles and very rarely professional officers. Although the “Russian steamroller” immediately attacked the Central Powers , the advance was stopped after the catastrophic defeat at Tannenberg (August / September 1914) . A stalemate developed on the Eastern Front. France and Great Britain could never compensate for the material inferiority and considerable supply problems of their ally, which is why this circumstance was compensated for by the great effort of people. After a year of war, Russian casualties amounted to 1.4 million dead or wounded and 980,000 soldiers were in captivity . In the summer of 1915 Warsaw had to be evacuated and the warfare shifted almost entirely to Russian territory. Because of the poor overall situation, Nikolaus himself took command of the armed forces on September 5, 1915, against the advice of the ministers. The Tsar left Petrograd (formerly Saint Petersburg) and went to the front in the headquarters ( Stawka ) of Mogiljew . Here he appointed General Mikhail Alexeev as the new Chief of Staff and entrusted him with the strategic planning of the war. Although Nicholas II rarely actively intervened in the work of his chief of staff, the Tsar was subsequently held responsible for all further military failures.

During his absence from the capital, Tsarina Alexandra took over the affairs of state. However, she showed little talent for the job, firing old and appointed new ministers, so that the government was neither stable nor able to work efficiently. This resulted, among other things, in the catastrophic supply situation for front-line troops and the civilian population. Alexandra let herself be influenced more and more by Rasputin's selfish advice, which is why the “German” tsarina was soon said to have had a relationship with him (the death of Rasputin in December 1916 didn't change that either). As the subject of increasingly wild rumors, Alexandra was even assumed to be a spy in Germany.

February Revolution and abdication in 1917

In early 1917 Russia was like a powder keg. The morale of the troops at the front was extremely bad due to military failures, high casualties and inadequate supplies. Similarly, the situation at home came to a head, where the supply situation and a lack of reforms heated up the mood against Tsarism. There were mass protests, demonstrations, hunger marches and strikes every day. The absence of the Tsar had created a power vacuum in Petrograd and Russia threatened to become ungovernable. Nicholas II rejected the Duma President Mikhail Rodzjanko's request to appoint a government with a majority in the Duma. Thereupon the bourgeois parties of the Duma formed a committee under Prince Georgi Lwow , from which a provisional government should emerge. The Tsar misjudged the explosiveness of the situation, ordered the dissolution of the Duma and issued an order to shoot the insurgents (March 11th). However, the police and the military were unable to restore public order. Rather, they refused to obey their officers, mutinied and ran over to the demonstrators a thousand times over. More and more regiments refused allegiance to the tsar and defected. The pressure of the revolution became too great, and on the advice of the generals, Nicholas renounced the throne on March 15, 1917 in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail . At the same time he renounced all claims to power for his son Alexej. When Mikhail rejected the crown, 300 years of Romanov rule in Russia came to an end.

In his private train, Nicholas returned to Petrograd, where he and his family were placed under house arrest by the provisional government in the Alexander Palace .

Assassination (1918)

Nicholas II (1917)

While under house arrest in the Alexander Palace, the Romanovs hardly had to accept any restrictions and could devote themselves to their family life. Nicholas himself appeared relaxed after his abdication and appeared liberated to no longer have to bear the burden of the crown. The situation remained that way until August 1917, when Alexander Kerensky (the new strong man in the Provisional Government ) declared that the family was no longer safe in Tsarskoye Selo and took them to the Urals . There she was billeted in the governor's seat in Tobolsk . The government's first deliberations had aimed at sending the ex-monarch into exile . The British King George V initially offered his cousin asylum , but had to withdraw the offer due to pressure from his government. Members of the royal government feared that the presence of the royal family might give rise to a revolution in Britain.

After the victory of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution in 1917 , the situation for the former tsar changed fundamentally again. From then on, Nicholas and his family were prisoners. In the spring of 1918 they were taken to Yekaterinburg , where they were interned in the Villa Ipatiev . Food was rationed, freedom of movement restricted, and almost completely sealed off from the outside world. The Trotsky biographer Isaac Deutscher writes that the Bolsheviks intended “to have the tsar tried by a revolutionary tribunal, like the one with Charles I and Louis XVI. Had happened; Trotsky intended to appear as the tsar's main prosecutor. "

This plan was thwarted by the outbreak of the Russian Civil War . Troops of the Czechoslovak Legions and General Kolchak's White Army began an offensive northward along the Volga in May 1918 , taking city by city. The royal family was executed on July 17, 1918, during the evacuation of the city, with the approval of the Bolshevik party and state leadership by the soldiers guarding them. The corpses were then placed in a disused shaft. One day later, two of the dead were cremated and the others buried in a pit disguised as a pavement. It is clear that Lenin, as party leader and head of government, as well as the then head of state Sverdlov , chairman of the secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia (Bolsheviks) and chairman of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee (GZEK), as well as other members of the party and state leadership, had approved the shootings in advance and then all approved.

On July 18, 1918, Sverdlov announced to the Presidium of the GZEK that counter-revolutionary civil war troops were approaching the city of Yekaterinburg ; It was to be feared that the former imperial family held there could be liberated and used as a living symbol of the struggle of the foreign intervention and civil war troops against the Soviet power. The Soviet of the Urals region had therefore given the order to shoot the tsarist family, which was carried out on the night of July 17th. The Presidium of the GZEK approved the decision of the Regional Soviet.


The family's bones were discovered in 1979 near the former Ganina Jama mine shaft , in the Four Brothers forest near Yekaterinburg. However, during the times of the Soviet Union, this discovery could not be made public. The bones were recovered on July 13, 1991 and identified perfectly a year later. Exactly 80 years to the day after the murder, the remains of Nicholas and his family were buried in the cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg in 1998.


Nicholas II. On an icon in the church of John the Baptist in the Kremlin Zaraysk

For the Russian Orthodox Church abroad , Nicholas II was considered a martyr and thus a saint because of his death . On August 20, 2000, Nicholas II, together with his wife and children, was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior , but involved in the canonization of 1,100 other people, mostly clergy, who were theirs during Soviet rule Died because of faith. This took account of the criticism that an exclusive canonization of the tsarist family would blur the line “between murder for political reasons and martyrdom”. Since then, icons with his depiction as well as with the depiction of his slain family have been hanging in many Russian Orthodox churches, both in Russia and abroad.

The 1465  m high Mount Nicholas on the Antarctic Alexander I Island is named after Nicholas II .


Pedigree of Emperor Nicholas II

Heraldic Imperial Crown of Russia.svg
Paul I
⚭ 1773
Wilhelmine of Hessen-Darmstadt

Friedrich Wilhelm III. von Prussia
⚭ 1793
Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Ludwig I of Hessen-Darmstadt
⚭ 1777
Luise of Hessen-Darmstadt

Karl Ludwig von Baden
⚭ 1777
Amalie von Hessen-Darmstadt

Friedrich Karl of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
⚭ 1780
Friederike von Schlieben

Karl von Hessen-Kassel
⚭ 1766
Louise of Denmark and Norway

Friedrich von Hessen-Kassel
⚭ 1786
Karoline Polyxene von Nassau-Usingen

Frederick of Denmark
⚭ 1774
Sophie Friederike von Mecklenburg

Great grandparents

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Nicholas I (1796–1855)
⚭ 1817
Charlotte of Prussia (1798–1860)

Ludwig II of Hessen-Darmstadt (1777–1848)
⚭ 1830
Wilhelmine von Baden (1788–1836)

Friedrich Wilhelm of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1785–1831)
⚭ 1810
Luise Karoline of Hessen-Kassel (1789–1867)

Wilhelm von Hessen -Kassel (1787–1867)
⚭ 1810
Louise Charlotte of Denmark (1789–1864)


Heraldic Imperial Crown of Russia.svg
Alexander II (1818–1881)
⚭ 1840
Marie von Hessen-Darmstadt (1824–1880)

Christian IX of Denmark (1818–1906)
⚭ 1842
Louise of Hesse (1817–1898)


Heraldic Imperial Crown of Russia.svg
Alexander III (1845–1894)
⚭ 1866
Dagmar of Denmark (1847–1928)

Heraldic Imperial Crown of Russia.svg
Emperor Nicholas II (1868–1918)


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  • Olga Barkowez, Fyodor Fedorow, Alexander Krylow: Beloved Nicky ... The last Russian tsar Nicholas II and his family . edition q, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-86124-548-5 .
  • Hufvudstadsbladet , November 27, 1894 (second edition) page 2, column 3 (Swedish) National Newspaper Library
  • Armin Jähne: Nikolaus II. "A crowned rabbit before the jaws of the revolution" (Society - History - Present, Vol. 42) . Trafo-Verlag Dr. Wolfgang Weist, Berlin 2018, 282 pages, ISBN 978-3-86464-039-1 .

Web links

Commons : Nicholas II (Russia)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Both in contemporary usage and abroad, it remained customary until 1917 to continue to speak of the tsar. This usage of language has been preserved in the consciousness of posterity. What this affected was not the current claim to dignity of the empire, but the continuation of the specifically Russian reality in the form of the Moscow tsarist empire, which served as the basis of the new empire. In the 19th century, this led to a conceptual language in literature that was not appropriate to the source and to an outmoded conceptual apparatus in German literature. In: Hans-Joachim Torke: The Russian Tsars 1547-1917 . Munich 1995, p. 8; Hans-Joachim Torke: The state-related society in the Moscow Empire . Leiden, 1974, p. 2; Reinhard Wittram: The Russian Empire and its shape change . In: Historische Zeitschrift , Volume 187, H. 3 (Jun., 1959), pp. 568-593, p. 569.
  2. For a better understanding and standardization, only the dates of the Gregorian calendar are given below.
  3. Andreas Rüesch: The second conquest of Siberia. With the start of construction on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia demonstrated its willingness to modernize. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, May 31, 2016, p. 6.
  4. Quotation to the left: History of Russia from its beginnings to today . Darmstadt 2006, p. 147.
  5. Also on the following Frank Grüner: Nikolaus II. [Nikolaj Aleksandrovič Romanov] In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Vol. 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , pp. 588 f. (Accessed via De Gruyter Online); Heinz-Dietrich Löwe : Antisemitism in Russa and The Soviet Union. In: Albert S. Lindemann and Richard S. Levy (eds.): Antisemitism. A history. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2010, p. 175.
  6. Isaac Deutscher: Trotsky; Volume I: The armed prophet, 1879–1921, Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 1962, p. 393.
  7. Isaac Deutscher: Trotsky; Volume I: The armed prophet, 1879–1921, Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 1962, pp. 393–394.
  8. M. Harvey, MC King: The Use of DNA in the Identification of Postmortem Remains . In: WD Haglund, MHSorg (Ed.): Advances in Forensic Taphonomy Method, Theory and Archaeological Perspectives . CRC Press, Boca Raton 2002, pp. 473-486.
  9. Last tsar's family canonized . Handelsblatt .com, accessed on August 19, 2009.
predecessor Office successor
Alexander III Emperor of Russia
End of the monarchy