Biography of Zar de Rusia Nicolás II (1868-1918)

Russia Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty, born in Tsarskoïe Selo (near Petersburgo) on May 6, 1868 and died in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918. He/She was the eldest son of the six that had Tsar Alejandro III and Dagmar of Denmark.

Biographical synthesis

Honest but weak, Nicolás II wasn't able to adapt to the enormous social changes that shook Russia during all his reign. Inspired by the example of his father, Alejandro III, and influenced by his wife the czarina Alejandra, wanted to rule authoritatively when from various political sectors are demanding reforms. It had ambitious projects in foreign policy, which together accounted for a failure and accelerated its decline. In the far East, after the conquest of Manchuria collided with the emerging Japan, which defeated with ease to the Russian forces (1904-1905). His interference in the Balkans eventually indirectly lead to the outbreak of the first world war, which would provoke in Russia a serious political crisis, just when the good economic situation was calming social discontent. When the Russian armies began to be defeated, the unpopularity of Nicolás II was expanded, already badly considered by the influence of a strange monk, Rasputin, had on his family. Forced to abdicate in March 1917, when the Bolsheviks took power, from October its fate was sealed. A few months later it would be killed along with his family and some servants.

Nicolás I, a hesitant zar

Young era of indolent character, little interest in the Affairs of State (in 1892 was appointed Chairman of the Commission that built the Trans-Siberian railway line, but not dealt with just this). A few years before he/she had met Alicia of Hesse, which fell in love; It did not much parents, as her grandmother Queen Victoria of England had much influence on it. Nicolás was sent in 1891 for a ride to the world along with Jorge of Greece, his cousin, who seemed boring, and even in Japan, was attacked by a fan, which struck him but not serious. It made sad impression in London in June 1893, on the occasion of the wedding of the future Jorge V of England. But despite his weak character, it did show decision insisting marry Alicia de Hesse, in 1894 ended by asking her hand and obtain your consent through the mediation of the German kaiser Guillermo II.

Wedding is not held until November 26 of that year, in the Palacio of winter of St. Petersburg, when it was Tsar for some weeks, since his father, Alejandro III, died 1 November in the presence of Nicolás and other members of his family. The coronation as Emperor and autocrat of all the Russias was held on May 26, 1896, in the Cathedral of the Ascension (Uspensky) of Moscow. On the other hand, with Alejandra (Russian name Alicia adopted) would have five children: Olga (1895); Tatiana (1897); María (1899); Anastasia (1901); and the Tsarevich (Crown Prince) Alejo (1904). Nicolás II, which had about 26 years of age to be crowned, did not feel prepared to deal with such a great responsibility, which was due also to a poor education. His wife Alejandra would be at the first moment you infuse the Authority requiring, generally indicating the path of autocracy. But both were seen by the nobility and the people as rulers away and sad.

Nicolás II wanted to base its policy on his father, and refused therefore to establish a representative Government, as utopian. This decision, in a political environment again agitated, irritated much encouragement, earning the enmity of Liberals. Their indecision was reflected in its measures, very variable. In the early years of the century XX, in addition, be had reassembled groups terrorist, more numerous and organized; also formed two large parties revolutionaries, the Social Democrat, who adopted Marxism and acted among the workers, and the Social revolutionary, very active among the peasants and promoter of numerous murders.

The events of 1905 and the role of Rasputin: revolution

Thus, in January 1905, a pope of Petersburgo called Gueorgi Apollonovich (Gapon) stood in front of a peaceful working demonstration that it carried religious icons, by submitting to the Palacio winter a letter calling for political and business improvements. Nicolás II, that he/she was at his usual residence, Sarskoie Selo, a few kilometers from the city, did not go to get it and read it, but left the control of the situation to the police, which, in turn, asked helps the army that, nervous, eventually firing on the crowd, killing a large number of people (Bloody Sunday). The incident caused a big scandal in and outside of Russia.

The Tsar, who sincerely believed that the common people adored him, tried to resort to military victories to regain prestige. It had large project of conquest, as the annexation of the Straits, Persia, Tibet, Korea and Manchuria. Some of them had already put into practice, as the occupation of Manchuria in 1900 (since 1896 has had prolonged the Siberian region); the operation, which had been a success, was complicated when in 1903 he/she sent Russian troops to Korea. Japan, which had interests in the country, reacted and in 1904 declared war on Russia (see: Russo-Japanese war). The imposing but disorganized Russian army was beaten by efficient Japanese troops, and also the Navy at the battle of Tsushima (May 1905, a few months after Bloody Sunday). Nicolás II had to ask for peace, accepting some territorial losses and spreading unrest throughout the country.

In October it had to face a general strike accompanied by attacks, theft and disorder in general; He/She must send the army into the main factories to avoid that newly created councils (soviets) workers of Leon Trotsky did with his control. Finally, Council of Sergei Witte, he/she decided to adopt a semidemocratica Constitution, an elected Parliament (Duma). It didn't last long. In July 1906, when Deputies asked reforms more open, you scared and abolished the Duma. He/She would return to reopen it, but which returned stability to the country at the moment was the direction of the efficient Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin.

Almost at the same time confirmed that his son and successor, Alejo, had hemophilia (inherited from her great-grandmother Queen Victoria through the czarina Alejandra). Incurable disease, caused a trauma to the wife of Nicolás II, Alejandra, and nourished by the religiousness of this circumstance in which appeared Grigori Yefimovich, better known as ('depraved'), a quirky monk Rasputin's magnetic personality. Confidence of the tsars earned to show is able to relieve the pain of the child, but his dissolute life earned you the enmity of the Court and the Government, who did not understand the confidence Nicolás II and Alejandra had her (Alejo disease had kept secret). Stolypin, who tried to keep him in 1911, would be killed at the end of the year, depriving the Tsar of his most valuable collaborator on the other hand. The 300th anniversary of the Romanov, held in 1913, was a failure for the imperial family by this disease not known to the public who attended, unable to understand the behavior of the absent of the tsars.

Meanwhile, Nicolás II resumed his imperial, looking now at the Balkans projects, what was inevitably confronted with Austria-Hungary. To extend his guardianship over the Balkan Slavs, the destabilisation of Austria on the one hand promoted the formation of the Balkan League, and on the other through Serbia. The Balkan League declared (and won) the war to Turkey, and Nicolás II would have participated had not been because Rasputin advised the Tsarina not to do so. Interestingly, the economic situation improved with some speed, at the time that developed industry and agriculture. The revolutionaries, including the ('majority') Bolsheviks Vladimir Ilich Ulianov, "Lenin", Social Democrats worried about loss of influence.

The first world war and the fall of the Romanovs

The outbreak of the first world war was going to change the situation: in June 1914, Serb terrorists that had been instigated by agents of Nicolás II killed the Archduke Francisco Fernando (heir to the Austrian throne) and his wife. Austria declared war on Serbia, and the Tsar, proclaimed protector of this country, went to Russia in the conflict. The game of alliances would run and other States involved. Rasputin, when war seemed already imminent, tried to convince Nicolás II not adjudge it, but widespread patriotic fervor forced him to do so, for once accepted as ruler by almost everyone.

As so often, the Russian army was disorganized, and before the German suffered huge losses; Nicolás II took directly from troops in August 1915, leaving the Empress to the care of the other affairs of State, deteriorate the political situation by the influence of Rasputin on this, that the Tsar did little to diminish. Defeat after defeat, had already lost appreciation popular at the beginning of the war. Finally, the excesses of Rasputin would lead Prince Félix Yusupov and others to assassinate him (December 1916). Not now reacted Nicolás II, refusing to respond to multiple requests from relatives and Ministers that left up to others the command of the army and establish an open government. In March the situation an interim Government headed by the social revolutionary did you hands, when broke out a widespread strike in Petrograd (St Petersburgo), declaring themselves in rebellion the army and forming the Duma Alejandro Kerenski. But of the direction of the masses a soviet took over. March 14, Nicolás II abdicated, first in his son Alexios and then his brother Miguel, who resigned almost immediately. After three centuries of Government fell the Romanov Dynasty. (See Russian Revolution).

Nicolás and his wife, who like tsars had made numerous mistakes, behaved bravely during the tragic events which starred the following months. They and their children were arrested in the Palace of Tsarskoe Selo, but with some freedom of movement; When the Bolsheviks began to show signs of activity renewed in July 1917, Kerensky sent them to Tobolsk (Siberia) to protect them, good living conditions and still respected. Its situation worsened to the imposition of the Bolsheviks in November; their new guardians constantly humiliated them. From April to May 1918 they inhabited in the House of Ipatiev in Yekaterinburg (near the Urals). Finally, the morning of July 17, Nicolás and the imperial family (and some servants) were suddenly awakened and taken to the basement; a picket a such Yakov Yurovski-driven executed them with gun shots, seems that by order of Lenin.

His remains were hidden in a mine, a few kilometers from the site of the shootings, as it would turn out to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989. Exhumed in 1991, already with Boris Yeltsin as President, they were subjected to DNA tests, which confirmed that they belonged to the imperial family. The Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II, did not accept it officially since according to a tradition they had been transferred long before Western Europe. In any case, the remains were buried in the chapel of Saint Catherine of the Cathedral of San Pedro and San Pablo de San Petersburgo, in the presence of important authorities (including the own Boris Yeltsin). In August 2000 Nicolás II, his family and the servants who died with him were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church (already had been by a dissident branch of the Church in 1981).


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LIEVEN, D. Nicholas II Emperor of all the Russias. (Pimlico, London: 1993).

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MASSIE, R.K. The Romanovs: The Final Chapter. (London, Jonathan Cape: 1995).

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Links on the Internet ; Page with info about Nicolás II and the Romanovs (in English). ; Page with a chronology of Nicolás II (in English). ; Page with genealogical data of Nicolás II (in French). ; Page about the Romanovs (in English). ; Page with various information and images on the Romanov (in Russian). ; Page with information on the recovery of the remains of the Russian imperial family (in English). ; Page with information about the canonization of Nicolás II and his family (in Spanish). ; Page with a biography of Nicolás II (in English).