When we arrived to Livadia near Yalta, we went straight to Romanovs museum in the palace. This post is dedicated to the Russian Royal family murdered in 1918 in Siberian city Ekaterinburg.
Born 6 May 1868, Nicholas was the oldest son of Tsar Alexander III and his wife Maria Feodorovna. His parents took particular trouble over his education. Nicholas was taught by outstanding Russian academics at home, he knew several languages and had a wide knowledge of history, and he also quickly grasped military science. His father personally guided his education, which was strictly based on religion. Nicholas ascended the throne at age 26 after the unexpected death of his father in 1894.
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias.
Shortly after the death of his father, Nicholas married Princess Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt (a duchy in Germany). They had four daughters and a son, Alexis, who suffered from the disease haemophilia.
Although a well educated man, he felt unprepared for the hard task as the ruler of the Russian empire, he was not properly prepared to officiate as a monarch and was not fully introduced to top affairs of the state. Nicholas’s reign was marked by tragedy from the very beginning. A national celebration to honor the formal coronation of the new tsar turned into a disaster. Overcrowding resulted in a stampede and hundreds of people were crushed to death.
Nicholas was a confirmed autocrat, much like his father. In a speech made in January 1895 he said: “Let them (the people) know that I, devoting all my efforts to the prosperity of the nation, will preserve the principles of autocracy as firmly and unswervingly as my late father of imperishable memory.” But Nicholas did not inherit the strong will of his father and mostly continued the work his predecessors had started which brought rapid economical and trade growth. Devoted to his wife he was influenced by Alexandra, who shared his views on government and country and truly believed that autocracy was for the good of Russia and must be preserved at all costs.
However, unrest continued and in 1914 Nicholas felt obligated to prevent a German invasion of Europe and took Russia into World War One. He personally took command of the army and left Alexandra in charge. The Russian army suffered heavy loses and was defeated, resulting in a political crisis. Soaring prices and food shortages strained relations between the government and the common people, who had come to hate the ongoing war and blamed Nicholas for it. In 1917 a strike movement against the tsar broke out and even spread to the army.
Nicholas was arrested by order of the revolutionary government of Russia and was confined with his family within the royal residence at the Alexander Palace. At the time, the power of the Bolsheviks was growing as they prevailed over the other major revolutionary groups. They soon overthrew the temporary government. To prevent Nicholas and his family from fleeing abroad, the imperial family were exiled, first to Tobolsk and then to Yekaterinburg to the Ipatiev House. It became their prison, the house was fenced and large boards covered the windows, they were constantly guarded by Bolshevik soldiers who humiliated and insulted them. On the night of 17 July 1918 the Bolshevik Party, who had taken control after the revolution, executed the royal family to eliminate any possibility of restoring the tsar to the throne. Nicholas II and his family – his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children – the oldest at the time was 22 and the youngest 13 – were led to the basement of the Ipatiev House and shot by a firing squad.