Nikolai II Czar of Russia
- Category : 1868-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (6,9,12,60)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 2
Russian Czar Nicholas II was the last of the Romanov dynasty that had ruled Russia for more than 300 years. He was charming and well-intentioned, but politically weak and unreliable. During his reign, Russia made economic progress, but failed to establish good relations with powerful neighbors.
Eldest of four children, Nicholas, first cousin of King George V of England, had a military education that attempted to prepare him for his future reign as czar. His father, Alexander III, was a large burly man who tried to ready his son for rule but died too early at age 47, before Nicholas was ready. Nicholas began keeping a daily diary at 14, uninterrupted until his death, leaving 50 notebooks in his neat handwriting filled with prose that sounded like poetry. Only 5' 6", shy and taciturn, a retiring man, Nicholas did not enjoy public life.
In November 1894 Nicholas's father died, the funeral was held and Nicholas and Alexandra were married a few days later. Not ready to take on the mantle of royalty, on his coronation date of 20 October 1894 Nicholas had over 50 titles and ruled one sixth of the world. A religious man, born on St. Job's Day, he always felt his suffering was meant to be and stayed true to his duties. An intelligent man, but not liking large meetings, he would talk to his ministers one at a time. Not wanting confrontations, he would agree with each in turn, then do as he chose.
Unlike most royals, after a confrontation with his father, Nicholas was allowed to choose his own bride, Alix of Hesse, a German princess, the favorite granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The couple loved one another and their children dearly. They had five children, Olga on 16 November 1895, Tatiana, 11 June 1897, Marie 27 June 1899, Anastasia 18 June 1901 and Alexei 12 August 1904. Their only son and the heir to the throne was born with hemophilia, a trait inherited from his mother.
Upon becoming czar, Nicholas followed his father's wishes and continued building the 6,000 mile Trans Siberian Railway, started in 1891 and rushed to completion for the Russo-Japanese war. He was responsible for convening the International Peace Conference at the Hague in 1898 and founding the Hague Tribunal in 1899. The Russo-Japanese war began 8 February 1904 and was a humiliating disaster as Nicholas didn't believe the Japanese would fight. They did, and he lost all hope of ruling China. On 22 January 1905, Bloody Sunday, 120,000 workers marched peacefully to the czar's palace to protest living and working conditions. Nicholas was spirited off by guards and the soldiers opened fire on the populace, killing men, women and children. Historians give a conservative estimate that 92 people were killed and several hundred were injured. This was in part a reason for his nickname, "the Bloody Czar," as well as the establishment of the Duma, Russia's representative assemblies, on 3 March 1905, and the introduction of moderate reforms with Peter Stolypin as premier.
Joining the Allies in 1915, the Russians fought the Germans in World War I. Several military disasters and the collapse of the domestic economy led to the Russian Revolution and Nicholas abdicated 15 March 1917. The family was kept in isolation until 17 July 1918 in Ekaterinburg, Siberia when at 2:30 AM they were taken to a basement with some servants and shot by the Bolsheviks on the orders of Lenin. Their bodies were supposed to go into a mine shaft, but the truck carrying them broke down and the bodies were put into a makeshift grave.
A holy canonization recognizing the martyrdom of the family took place in New York on 1 November 1981 at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign. The gravesite was found in 1979 and kept secret until 1989. In 1991 the bodies were exhumed revealing only four male and five female bodies. After exhaustive testing by U.S., English and Russian DNA experts it was agreed in 1995 that these were the Romanov's bodies. Anastasia and Alexie were missing. At the urging of the Orthodox Church and many others, on the 80th anniversary of their executions, 17 July 1998, the remains of the last Czar and his family were laid to rest in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. a sad closing to Russia's bloody revolution.