Nicholas II: The Last Russian Tsar
A brief biography of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, including an assessment of his performance as a ruler and as the monarch who presided over the downfall of the Romanov dynasty.
# 154020 | 2,037 words | 6 sources | 2014 |
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From the Paper:"The story of Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, is a sorry tale of a man with a desperately flawed character whose mismanagement and poor judgement led to the downfall of Russia's most illustrious dynasty, the Romanovs.
"Born Nikolay Aleksandrovich on May 8, 1868, he was the tsarevich (eldest son) of the tsarevichAleksandrAleksandrovich (Alexander III) and his consort Maria Fyodorovna (Princess Dagmar of Denmark). He was brought up by a tutor, a reactionary by the name of Constantine Pobedonostsvev, who indoctrinated him in the principles of autocracy and nationalism (Cowles 25). His conception of his autocratic role was naive: he believed that his authority came directly from God, and it was to Him alone that he was responsible. Consequently, it was incumbent upon him as his sacred duty to preserve his absolute power intact (Ferro 4). This conception of his role as monarch was to have a devastating effect on his reign. Also, as a religious man, he accepted everything that happened to him--even the disasters that he brought upon himself--as "God's Will" (Cowles 111).
"While still tsarevich, in 1891, he made a tour of Asia, visiting India, China, and Japan (Warth 9-12), the first member of the Russian royal family to do so. He had dreams of making Russia a great Eurasian power, with China, Tibet, and what is now Iran under its control. These grandiose dreams were to have disastrous consequences both at home and abroad.
"On November 1, 1894, at the age of 26, reluctant and quite unprepared for the role (Cowles 48), Nicholas became Tsar on the death of his father. As tsar, he continued the reactionary policies and autocratic rule of his father, but lacked his father's stature, resolve, and ability to command. He alternated between heavy-handed suppression of dissent and grudging acceptance of reform, often going back on his word later on and reversing the reforms he had agreed to."
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