History : Jul-Aug 2018
74 JULY/AUGUST 2018 BETWEEN MARCH 1917, WHEN NICHOLAS II ABDICATED, AND JULY 1918, WHEN HE AND HIS FAMILY WERE KILLED, THE ROMANOVS WERE KEPT UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN ST. PETERSBURG, TOBOL’SK , AND YEKATERINBURG. R evolution came to Russia in February 1917, and a month later Nicholas II, emperor and autocrat of all the Rus- sias, abdicated his throne to become plain Nicholas Romanov. With revo- lution at home and catastrophic failure in the First World War abroad, the Romanov dynasty, which had celebrated its third century in power in 1913, came to a swift end. Bolshevik forces held the Romanov family as prisoners, moving from place to place until one bloody night in July 1918. The entire family was wiped out, vic- tims to a fate that they refused to see coming. Head in the Sand Abdication could have been a relief for Nicholas, who took the throne in 1894 after the death of his father, Alexander III. Described as an unimagi- native and limited man, he was suited neither by his abilities nor temperament to rule during such turbulent times. Chronically indecisive, Nicholas would put off issuing an order until the last minute and then simply repeat the most recent piece of advice he had been given. A joke making the rounds in St. Petersburg said that the two most powerful people in Russia were the tsar and whoever had spoken to him last. Nicholas was not a progressive overlord and firmly believed in his divine right to rule, a view his wife, Alexandra, shared. The Okhrana— NGMAPS Atlantic Ocean BalticSea B lack Se aCaspianSeaURALMOUNTAINS Warsaw Moscow St. Petersburg (Petrograd) Yekaterinburg Tobol’sk Vienna Berlin RUSSIA GERMANY AUSTRIA- HUNGARY SWEDENNORWAY ROMANIA DEN. POLAND FINLAND 0 mi 200 0 km 200 Boundaries are shown as of the Russian Revolution, November, 1917.