Nikolaj Rysakov

Nikolaj Rysakov


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Nikolai Rysakov sa narodil v Tichvine v roku 1862. Navštevoval technickú školu v Petrohrade. Rysakov sa zapojil do revolučnej politiky a vstúpil do robotníckej sekcie Ľudovej vôle.

V roku 1881 bolo rozhodnuté zavraždiť Alexandra II. Bol vytvorený direktívny výbor pozostávajúci z Andreja Zeljabova, Timofeja Michajlova, Leva Tikhomirova, Michaila Frolenka, Very Fignerovej, Sophie Perovskej a Anny Jakimovej. Za vodcu skupiny bol považovaný Žeľabov. Figner ho však považoval za suverénneho a bez hĺbky: "Trpel dosť. Pre neho bola všetko nádej a svetlo." Zhelyabov mal magnetickú osobnosť a mal povesť silného vplyvu na ženy.

Zhelyabov a Perovskaya sa pokúsili použiť nitroglycerín na zničenie cárskeho vlaku. Terorista sa však prepočítal a namiesto toho zničil ďalší vlak. Neúspešný bol aj pokus vyhodiť do vzduchu Kamenny most v Petrohrade, keď po ňom cár prechádzal. Figner obviňoval Zhelyabov z týchto zlyhaní, ale ostatní v skupine cítili, že mal skôr smolu než neschopnosť.

Vôľa ľudu sa stále viac hnevala na to, že ruská vláda neoznámila podrobnosti o novej ústave. Začali preto plánovať ďalší pokus o atentát. Do sprisahania boli zahrnutí Rysakov, Sophia Perovskaya, Andrei Zhelyabov, Vera Figner, Anna Yakimova, Grigory Isaev, Gesia Gelfman, Nikolai Sablin, Ignatei Grinevitski, Nikolai Kibalchich, Michail Frolenko, Timofei Michajlov, Tatiana Lebedeva a Alexander.

Kibalchich, Isaev a Yakimova boli poverení prípravou bômb, ktoré boli potrebné na zabitie cára. Isaev urobil technickú chybu a bomba mu vážne poškodila pravú ruku. Yakimova ho vzala do nemocnice, kde dohliadala na jeho posteľ, aby mu zabránil obviniť sa vo svojom delíriu. Hneď ako sa spamätal, trval na svojom odchode, aj keď mu teraz chýbali tri prsty pravej ruky. Bol neschopný pokračovať v práci a Yakimova mala teraz výhradnú zodpovednosť za prípravu bômb.

Zistilo sa, že cár sa každú nedeľu vozil po ulici Malaya Sadovaya. Rozhodlo sa, že toto je vhodné miesto na útok. Yakimova dostala za úlohu prenajať si byt na ulici. Gesia Gelfman mala byt na ulici Telezhnaya, ktorý sa stal sídlom atentátnikov, zatiaľ čo dom Vera Fignera slúžil ako dielňa výbušnín.

Nikolai Kibalchich chcel vyrobiť nitroglycerínovú bombu, ale Andrei Zhelyabov to považoval za „nespoľahlivé“. Sophia Perovskaya uprednostňovala ťažbu. Nakoniec bolo rozhodnuté, že cársky voz bude vyťažený a ako druhá stratégia budú pripravené ručné granáty. Ak zlyhalo všetko ostatné, jeden z členov vražedného tímu by mal vykročiť vpred a cára bodnúť dýkou. Úlohou Kibalchicha bolo poskytnúť ručné granáty.

Okhrana zistila, že išlo o sprisahanie s cieľom zabiť Alexandra II. Jeden z ich vodcov, Andrej Željabov, bol zatknutý 28. februára 1881, ale odmietol poskytnúť akékoľvek informácie o sprisahaní. Policajtom sebavedomo povedal, že nič, čo môžu urobiť, nezachráni cárovi život. Alexandra Kviatkovského, ďalšieho člena vražedného tímu, krátko nato zatkli.

Sprisahanci sa rozhodli pre svoj útok 1. marca 1881. Sophia Perovskaya sa obávala, že cár teraz zmení svoju trasu na nedeľnú jazdu. Vydala preto rozkazy na bombardéry, ktoré umiestnil pozdĺž Jekaterinského kanála. Grigory Isaev položil mínu na ulici Malaya Sadovaya a Anna Yakimova sa na to mala pozerať z okna svojho bytu, a keď uvidela blížiaci sa koč, dal signál Michailovi Frolenkovi.

Cár Alexander II sa rozhodol cestovať po Jekaterinskom kanáli. Ozbrojený kozák sedel s vodičom a ďalších šesť kozákov nasledovalo na koni. Za nimi prišla skupina policajtov v saniach. Perovskaja, ktorá bola umiestnená na križovatke medzi týmito dvoma trasami, dala signál Nikolajovi Rysakovovi a Timofejovi Michajlovovi, aby hodili svoje bomby do cárskeho koča. Bomby minuli koč a namiesto toho dopadli medzi kozáky. Cár nebol zranený, ale trval na tom, aby vystúpil z koča a skontroloval stav zranených mužov. Kým stál so zranenými kozákmi, ďalší terorista Ignatei Grinevitski odhodil bombu. Alexandra zabili okamžite a výbuch bol taký veľký, že na výbuch bomby zahynul aj Grinevitski.

Rysakov bol zatknutý na mieste činu. Sophia Perovskaya povedala svojim súdruhom: „Poznám Rysakova a on nič nepovie.“ Rysakova však Okhrana mučila a bola nútená poskytnúť informácie o ostatných sprisahancoch. Nasledujúci deň polícia vykonala raziu v byte, ktorý teroristi používali. Gesiu Gelfmanovú zatkli, ale Nikolaj Sablin spáchal samovraždu, než ho mohli vziať živého. Krátko nato Timofei Mikhailov vošiel do pasce a bol zatknutý.

Súd so Željabovom, Perovskou, Kibalčičom, Rysakovom, Helfmanom a Michajlovom sa otvoril 25. marca 1881. Žalobca Muraviev prečítal jeho nesmierne dlhý prejav, ktorý obsahoval pasáž: „Vyhnaní mužmi, prekliatymi zo svojej krajiny, nech sa zodpovedajú za svoju zločiny pred Všemohúcim Bohom! Ale mier a pokoj budú obnovené. Rusko, ponižujúce sa pred Vôľou tej Prozreteľnosti, ktorá ju viedla, tak boľavú vieru v jej slávnu budúcnosť. “

Karl Marx s veľkým záujmom sledoval proces. Svojej dcére Jenny Longuet napísal: „Sledovali ste proces s vrahmi v Petrohrade? Sú to ľudia šterlingov skrz -naskrz .... jednoduchí, obchodnícki, hrdinskí. Kričanie a konanie sú nezmieriteľné protiklady ... pokúšajú sa naučiť Európu, že ich modus operandi je špecificky ruská a historicky nevyhnutná metóda, o ktorej už nie je dôvod na moralizáciu - pre alebo proti - potom ide o zemetrasenie v Chiose. “

Rysakov, Sophia Perovskaya, Andrei Zhelyabov, Nikolai Kibalchich, Gesia Gelfman a Timofei Michajlov boli odsúdení na smrť. Gelfman oznámil, že je v 4. mesiaci tehotenstva a bolo rozhodnuté, že popravu odloží. Perovskaja, ako členka vysokej šľachty, sa mohla proti svojmu rozsudku odvolať, odmietla to však urobiť. Tvrdilo sa, že Rysakov sa pri výsluchu zbláznil. Kibalchich tiež javil známky toho, že je duševne nevyrovnaný a neustále hovoril o lietajúcom stroji, ktorý vynašiel.

3. apríla 1881 dostali Zhelyabov, Perovskaya, Kibalchich, Rysakov a Michajlov čaj a odovzdali im čierne popravné šaty. Na krk im visel transparent s nápisom „Tsaricide“. Cathy Porter, autorka knihy Otcovia a dcéry: Ruské ženy v revolúcii (1976), upozornil: „Potom sa párty rozbehla. Na jej čele stál policajný koč, po ktorom nasledovali Zhelyabov a Rysakov. Sophia sedela s Kibalchichom a Michajlovom v treťom nádychu. Bledé zimné slnko svietilo, keď sa večierok pomaly pohyboval. ulicami, už preplnenými divákmi, väčšina z nich mávala a kričala povzbudzovaním. Vysokí vládni predstavitelia a tí bohatí, ktorí si mohli dovoliť lístky, sedeli v blízkosti lešenia, ktoré bolo postavené na Semenovskom námestí. Nenahraditeľný Frolov, jediný v Rusku kat, opitý pohrúžený do slučiek, a Sophia a Zhelyabov si mohli povedať pár posledných slov. Námestie bolo obklopené dvanástimi tisíckami vojakov a zneli tlmené bicie. Sophia a Zhelyabov sa naposledy pobozkali, potom Michajlov a Kibalchich pobozkal Sophiu. Kibalchicha viedli na šibenicu a obesili. Potom prišiel rad na Michailova. Frolov už takmer nevidel rovno a lano sa pod Michailom trikrát zlomilo váha lásky. " Teraz bola na rade Perovskaja. „Je to príliš tesné,“ povedala mu, keď sa snažil uviazať slučku. Hneď zomrela, ale Zelajov, ktorého slučka nebola dostatočne tesná, zomrel v agónii.

Revolucionista je odsúdený na zánik. Nemá žiadne súkromné ​​záujmy, žiadne záležitosti, city, väzby, majetok a dokonca ani vlastné meno. Celú jeho bytosť pohlcuje jeden účel, jedna myšlienka, jedna vášeň - revolúcia. Srdcom a dušou, nielen slovom, ale aj skutkami, prerušil všetky prepojenia so sociálnym poriadkom a s celým civilizovaným svetom; so zákonmi, dobrými mravmi, konvenciami a morálkou tohto sveta. Je jeho nemilosrdným nepriateľom a naďalej ho obýva iba s jediným účelom - zničiť ho.

Pohŕda verejnou mienkou. Nenávidí a pohŕda sociálnou morálkou svojej doby, jej motívmi a prejavmi. Všetko, čo podporuje úspech revolúcie, je morálne, všetko, čo jej bráni, je nemorálne. Povaha skutočného revolucionára vylučuje všetok romantizmus, všetku nehu, všetku extázu, všetku lásku.

Jeden plán zahŕňal ponorenie 250 libier dynamitu do zapečatených gumových vakov pod vody pod mostom Kammeny. Keď sa však kráľovský koč v polovici augusta prehnal cez most, žiadna bomba nevybuchla, pretože bombardér zaspal. Metóda, ktorá bola nakoniec použitá na zabitie Alexandra, bola najskôr napísaná v Odese, kde si Vera Fignerová a jej spoločníci prenajali obchod a potom tunelovali cestu pod ulicou s cieľom položiť mínu a vyhodiť do vzduchu cára, keď navštívil mesto. Verzia tejto hry sa hrala v Petrohrade. Pár s názvom Kobozev - to nebolo ich meno a neboli manželia - si prenajal suterénne priestory na ulici Little Garden Street, kde si otvorili obchod so syrom. Mal slnkom opálenú tvár a veselú bradavú bradu; hovorila upokojujúcim provinciálnym prízvukom. Obchod bol po ceste, ktorou cár každú nedeľu prechádzal od Zimného paláca k Hippodromu, kde kontroloval svojich strážcov. Na pulte bolo vystavených dostatok syra, aby uspokojil akéhokoľvek zákazníka - Vera Figner to vyskúšala kúpou nejakého rokfortu - ale podrobná kontrola sudov so syrom vzadu by odhalila skôr vykopanú zeminu než Camembert. Pretože každú noc navštívil obchod tím teroristov, aby vykopali tunel pod cestou. V prípade, že baňa, ktorá mala byť položená pod cestou, minula cára, boli tam dve záložné skupiny vrahov. Štyria muži by ho prepadli dynamitovými bombami v petrolejových plechovkách na konci ďalšej ulice, zatiaľ čo osamelý vrah by na nich číhal s nožom, keby prežil útoky z druhej vlny. Tento posledný atentátnik bol v skutočnosti zatknutý skôr, ako mohol byť uvedený na svoje miesto.

Vera Fignerová bola jednou z tých, ktorí celú noc sedeli s Kibalchichom, benígnym hlavným bombardérom, v byte, kde nervózne skladali bomby, zatiaľ čo v tuneli vedúcom zo syrárne bola narýchlo umiestnená veľká baňa. Ráno bombardéry pozbierali zbrane z bezpečného domu. Títo muži boli vybraní pre ich reprezentačný symbolický efekt, aristokrat, potomok strednej triedy, robotník a roľník. Jeden bol prakticky blázon; ďalší bol veľmi nápadne vysoký.

V prípade, že cár po obede so svojou morganatickou manželkou, ktorú rýchlo „zobral“ na stôl, aby odvrátil jej prosby, aby zostal doma, nešiel na hipodróm cez Malú záhradnú ulicu. O tretej popoludní však nariadil spiatočnú cestu, ktorá ho priviedla veľmi blízko k miestu, kde sa jeho vrahovia loudali. Keď jeho koč a kozácky sprievod prechádzali okolo vraha Rysakova, ten hodil niečo, čo sa zdalo byť čokoládovou škatuľkou pod kočíkom. Keď vybuchol, zhodil jedného z kozákov na zem, pričom rôzni okoloidúci boli zranení. Cár, ktorý nebol zranený, vystúpil z koča a povedal dôstojníkovi, ktorý sa ho pýtal: „Nie, chvalabohu, ale“, keď gestom ukázal na zraneného. Ako sa zdá byť jeho zvykom, Alexander pristúpil k zajatému bombardérovi a povedal: „Si v poriadku!“ Teraz už zazvonený vojakmi, cár sa vrátil do koča a takmer si nevšimol mladého Poliaka, ktorý držal balík zabalený v novinách. Vybuchla, zabila Poliaka a smrteľne zranila cára na nohách a spodnej časti tela. Jeho ľavá noha bola taká skomolená, že nebolo možné zastaviť krvácanie stlačením tepny. Cár šepkal, že mu je zima, a povedal, že chce ísť domov do Zimného paláca. Zomrel tam asi o päťdesiat minút neskôr. Pravdepodobne jeho posledné myšlienky boli o tom, ako začal jeho deň, keď sa s Lorisom-Melikovom dohodli, že do Štátnej rady budú vymenovaní volení zástupcovia, ktorí budú poskytovať poradenstvo pri reformách.

Šesť členov sprisahania s cieľom zabiť cára postavili pred súd koncom marca. Všetci šiesti boli odsúdení na smrť, aj keď keď sa zistilo, že Gesia Helfmanová je tehotná, bola odčinená. Zostávajúcich päť bolo verejne obesených a na krku mali transparenty s nápisom „Regicide“. Kibalchich, výrobca bômb, sa pokúsil zaujať úrady raketou na pohon ako spôsob zabezpečenia odkladu, ale nemali byť odklonení. Skutočnosť, že Helfinan pochádzal z ortodoxného židovského pôvodu, bola jedným z dôvodov násilných antisemitských pogromov, ktoré vypukli na vidieku Ukrajiny.


13. marca 1881 a#8211 Alexander II prežil pokus o atentát

Podľa svojho nedeľného zvyku cestoval cár svojim nepriestrelným kočom (dar francúzskeho cisára Napoleona III.) Do Michailovského Manège, aby si prečítal vojenský hovor. Sprevádzala ho polícia aj jeho vlastný strážca, vrátane jeho kozáckej osobnej stráže. V dave, ktorý sa zhromaždil na úzkej dlažbe, aby sledovali, ako Alexander prechádza, boli agenti z Narodnaya Volya („Ľudová vôľa“) usilujúca sa o atentát na cára s cieľom vštepiť nový poriadok komunistickej anarchie. Ako prvý zasiahol Nikolaj Rysakov, ktorý hodil bombu zabalenú do vreckovky. Explózia zabila jedného z kozáckych strážcov a zranila prizerajúcich sa a ďalších strážcov, ale Alexander pri vystúpení z koča dokázal, že nebol zranený. Polícia rýchlo zadržala Rysakova, ktorý kričal na niekoho iného v dave. Policajný prezident Dvorzhitsky, ktorý mal pocit, že je stále v ohrození, sa vrhol na Alexandra, narušil kráľovský priestor, ale dokázal, že si zachránil život, keď vybuchla druhá a tretia bomba.

Alexander by podľa atletického kalendára označil pokus o atentát za „udalosť z 1. marca 1881“, ako aj jeho prvý pokus o život v „prípade zo 4. apríla 1866.“ Dmitrij Karakozov strieľal na cára po rozdaní brožúry s názvom „#8220Priatelia-robotníci“ vyzývajúci na zvrhnutie. Alexandra zachránil klobúk a učeník Osip Komissarov, ktorý v čase, keď vystrelil, narazil do Karakozovovej ruky Komissarov získal titul a kostoly boli postavené po celom Rusku na oslavu, ale pokusov o život cára bude ešte viac. V roku 1879 Alexander Soloviev päťkrát strieľal na cára a minul. a o osem mesiacov neskôr Narodnaya Volya urobila proti nemu prvý úder bombardovaním na železnici, hoci vlak cár bol zmeškaný. Narodnaya Volya o dva mesiace neskôr znova zasiahla bombu v Zimnom paláci jedenásť, ale cár mu chýbal, pretože meškal na večeru.

Útoky prišli napriek, alebo možno aj kvôli Alexandrovmu tlaku na reformy vo svojej ríši. Vyrástol medzi literátmi Petrohradu, stal sa niečím ako osvietený vládca a krymská vojna mu v ústach zanechala pachuť pre vojenské akcie. Kým bol upravený ako autokrat, Alexander nakoniec odmietol a podnietil legislatívu, ktorá by postavila železnice, zaviedla obchod a povzbudila korporácie. Zlepšil tiež miestnu jurisdikciu, reformoval právny poriadok podľa francúzskej módy, aktualizoval ozbrojené sily a vytvoril obecnú a vidiecku políciu. Najznámejšie je, že oslobodil poddaných svojim vyhlásením 3. mája 1861, čím sa vytvorila trieda spoločných, ale nezávislých slobodných.

Tento experiment s komunizmom, ktorý v tej či onej forme vždy patril medzi ľudstvo, podnietil ďalšie úvahy a prinútil niektorých historikov oceniť násilné výzvy na vzburu, pretože Alexandra vnímali na rozdiel od predtým samovládcov so železnou tvárou ako výzvu. Po útoku na jeho palác Alexander poveril grófa Lorisa-Melikova vyriešením teroristickej hrozby a gróf navrhol implementáciu plánov pre reprezentatívnu Dumu a policajnú akciu. Po jeho prežití v roku 1881 Alexander oznámil svoju dumu a na jeseň sa konali voľby. Po zavedení priamej politickej reformy veľká časť podpory na revoltu zanikla a Narodnaya Volya bola zničená operáciami bodnutia tajnou políciou Lorisa-Melikova. Radikalizmus ustúpil, keď verejné pohoršenie zmäklo a Alexander dokázal, že je natoľko železný, aby sa chránil.

Alexander II. Bude pokračovať vo svojich reformách až do svojej smrti v roku 1892, pričom Rusko s rastúcou silou Nemecka zmodernizuje na účinného konkurenta. Keď na trón prišiel jeho syn Alexander III., Nový cár sa snažil vládnuť v moci, ktorá bola pre kráľovský dom stratená, ale v roku 1895 zomrie, skôr než sa bude zaoberať verejnou byrokraciou. Mikuláš II. By bol slabším cárom, zdanlivo nezaujímajúcim sa o štátne záležitosti, aj keď bol ochotný vykonávať akékoľvek povinnosti. Jeho nevýrazná starostlivosť o modernizáciu ozbrojených síl by bola v prvej svetovej vojne katastrofálna (začalo sa to po hraničnom spore o jurisdikciu odcudzeného tovaru do Srbska), ale poradcovia ostatných spojencov umožnili Rusku dosiahnuť systém zákopov na zastavenie nabíjania Nemcov. od zabratia územia príliš hlboko do Ruska. Na konci vojny Rusko ekonomicky napredovalo a využívalo svoju infraštruktúru z dedičstva Alexandra II. Na zásobovanie Európy masami surovín z čoraz rozvinutejšej Sibíri. Tento vývoj by však viedol k znevýhodneniu Ruska, pretože Nemecko napadlo v druhej svetovej vojne. Nicholas III., Oslabený hemofíliou, zomrel na začiatku vojny a zanechal mladého Alexandra IV., Aby riadil exilovú vládu potom, čo ich nemecké sily prenasledovali z Moskvy.

Ruské impérium po vojne zanikne podobným spôsobom ako Británia a Francúzsko, pričom mnohé jeho vazaly na Ukrajine, Fínsku, Gruzínsku a viac ako tucet ďalších sa stanú odtrhnutými republikami. Mocenské vákuum by vstúpilo do hry neskôr v šesťdesiatych rokoch minulého storočia a vnieslo do neho novú generáciu príťažlivú pre konzervativizmus, pričom by si malo pamätať na veľkosť, ktorá kedysi bola.

V skutočnosti Alexandra II. Zabila druhá bomba, keď išiel na prieskum miesta výbuchu, a tretia nikdy nepotrebovala vybuchnúť. Alexander III. Prevzal ducha pomsty a tiež svoj úplne odlišný postoj k autokratickej vláde. Zrušil mnohé reformy svojho otca a až po revolúcii v roku 1905 verejný tlak prinúti Mikuláša II. K vytvoreniu Dumy. Napriek tomu to nestačilo a prvá svetová vojna bude základom pádu Ruskej ríše a vzniku Sovietskeho zväzu.


Len história.

Rodinné fotografie Romanovcov. Jediný, koho som mohol nájsť, kde vyzerali “ šťastní ”, a nie ich obvyklé prísne výrazy.

Nicholai Alexandrovich Romanov sa narodil 18. mája 1868 v Tsarskoye Selo neďaleko Petrohradu, bývalého domova cisárovnej Kataríny I., manželky Petra Veľkého na začiatku 18. storočia, a bolo najstarším dieťaťom dediča ruskej monarchie, Alexander III a jeho manželka Marie Feodorovna (dánska princezná Dagmar).

Keď mal Nicholasov starý otec cár Alexander II., Keď mal pobyt v Zimnom paláci, bol zavraždený bombou. Po tom, čo Alexander prežil niekoľko pokusov o atentát, bol v ten deň vonku vo svojom voze, po ktorom nasledovali dve sane plné kozákov a keď člen Narodnaya volya (Ľudová vôľa) Nikolaj Rysakov hodil pod kočiar balíček zabalený v bielom plátne. Pri výbuchu zahynul jeden z kozáckych strážcov, pričom sa zranil ďalší a niekoľko okoloidúcich, ale na pancierovom voze, v ktorom cár cestoval, nespôsobil veľké škody.

Napriek varovaniu svojho strážcu, že má opustiť oblasť, Alexander zoskočil z koňa a išiel preskúmať následky. Zatiaľ čo tam bol, ďalší člen tej istej skupiny Ignacy Hrynieweicki, ktorý počul krik svojho kamaráta z plotu, kde po výbuchu pristál, vyrazil dopredu a hodil cárovi k nohám druhú bombu. Vybuchlo niekoľko ľudí. Policajný prezident Dvorzhitsky, ktorý bol na jednej zo saní, našiel cára ležiaceho smrteľne zraneného, ​​s roztrhnutým bruchom a nohami, ktoré mu takmer všetky odfúkli, a naložil ho do jednej zo saní. Bol prevezený do Zimného paláca, kde bol privolaný jeho lekár. Cár o niekoľko minút neskôr zomrel, obklopený svojou rodinou vrátane mladého Mikuláša.

Cár Alexander II bol počas jeho vlády hybnou silou rozsiahlych reforiem v Rusku vrátane emancipácie nevoľníkov, novej legislatívy pre reformy trestu a súdnictva a reštrukturalizácie vojenskej brannej povinnosti v dôsledku slabej účasti na Krymskej vojne, ktorá odstránila 25 -ročné presadzovanie práva roľníkov a zahŕňalo obdobie služby pre všetkých, vrátane elity, ktorá bola predtým oslobodená. Vydal tiež príkaz na likvidáciu čerkeského obyvateľstva počas kaukazských vojen, ktoré je v súčasnosti uznávané ako etnické čistky a spadá do moderných hraníc genocídy. Jeho ďalším plánom malo byť vyhlásenie zástupcu ľudu Dumy vo vláde, ktoré sa malo uskutočniť dva dni po jeho smrti.

Cára nahradil jeho syn Alexander III., Ktorý sa trochu odcudzil svojmu otcovi a ktorý okamžite zastavil akékoľvek ďalšie reformy a obrátil ostatné už zavedené reformy. Alexander III bol podľa všetkého zvláštny muž, vzhľadom na svoju pozíciu dával prednosť tomu, aby bol doma oblečený ako roľník, jeho deti napriek tomu, že boli kráľovskou rodinou, spali na hrubých postieľkach. V tejto atmosfére Nicholas strávil svoje dospievajúce roky. Napriek svojej mimoriadnej atmosfére výstrednosti Nicholas neskôr uviedol, že si so svojimi bratmi a sestrami detstvo užíval, a hoci bol ich otec trochu prísny, jeho prítomnosť bola občasná a ich matka bola láskyplná. a výživné, opäť neobvyklé pre túto pozíciu.

Nicholas dostal mierne vzdelanie, rozhodne to nebola obvyklá výchova pre človeka, od ktorého sa očakávalo, že sa stane vodcom národa. Jeho otec sa predpokladal, že bude žiť dlhý šťastný život, takže keď sa to náhle skončilo vo veku 49 rokov, v roku 1894, nasledoval po ňom skôr zmätený a nepripravený cár Mikuláš II.

Hrobka cára a cáriny a troch najstarších dievčat.

V roku 1884, keď sa 16-ročný Nicholas zúčastnil svadby svojho strýka, veľkovojvodu Sergeja Alexandroviča s princeznou Alžbetou z Hesse-Darmstadtu, všimol si jej o 12 rokov mladšiu sestru Alix. Písali si a vytvoril sa blízky vzťah, ktorý sa zmenil na lásku, keď ju navštívila v roku 1889. Napriek svojej blízkosti a očividnej príťažlivosti si Alix uvedomovala, že manželstvo bude znamenať jej obrátenie na ruské pravoslávie, ktoré ako oddaný luterán bolo pre ňu neprijateľné. V roku 1893 napísala a povedala mu, že ich vzťah už nemôže ďalej pokračovať.
V roku 1891 sa Nicholas vydal so svojim bratom veľkovojvodom Georgom a bratrancom gréckym princom Georgom na cestu po Ázii, ktorá bola prerušená niekoľko mesiacov po náhlom odchode princa Georga domov po chorobe a pokuse o atentát. V roku 1893 odcestoval do Anglicka, aby bol hosťom na svadbe svojho bratranca Georga, neskôr anglického Juraja V. s Máriou z Tecku. V tomto čase sa Nicholas oddával kontaktu s baletkou z Petrohradu Mathilde Kschessinskou.

V apríli 1894 cestoval Nicholas so svojim strýkom Sergejom a Alžbetou na svadbu jej brata Ernsta Ludwiga z Hesenska s princeznou Victoriou Melitou, dcérou Alfreda, vojvodu z Edinburghu a Saxea-Coburgu-Gothy. Zúčastnili sa ho kráľovná Viktória, Alfred a jeho manželka Marie Alexandrovič (sestra Alexandra III.), Juraj, princ z Walesu (neskôr Juraj V.), cisár Wilhelm II a jeho matka cisárovná Frederick (najstaršia dcéra kráľovnej Viktórie) a kurz Alix. Počas osláv Nicholas využil príležitosť a navrhol Alix. Odmietla s odvolaním sa na svoje luteránske presvedčenie.

Kaiser sa neskôr porozprával s Alix a pripomenul jej, že dva roky predtým sa jej sestra obrátila a bola tiež povinná to urobiť. Nicholas navrhol druhýkrát a tentoraz súhlasila. Alexander III a jeho manželka pôvodne protestovali proti únii, pretože mali pocit, že Alix sa pri predchádzajúcich návštevách prejavovala nepriaznivo, ale keď sa cárovo zdravie náhle zhoršilo, ustúpili. Kráľovná Viktória tiež zápas neschválila, údajne nie kvôli niečomu osobnému voči páru, len preto, že nemala rada Rusko.
V lete 1894 navštívil Nicholas Alix a kráľovnú Viktóriu v Anglicku, kde sa manželia zúčastnili krstu narodenia prvého dieťaťa vojvodu a vojvodkyne z Yorku, na ktorom boli predstavení ako božskí rodičia, a po pobyte niekoľkých osôb. týždňov sa Nicholas vrátil do Ruska. Zdravotný stav jeho otca sa rýchlo zhoršoval a v októbri Nicholas poslal svoju nevestu. Alexander trval na tom, že sa s ňou stretne v plnej uniforme, a potom o desať dní neskôr zomrel. V ten večer bol Mikuláš vysvätený za cára Mikuláša II. Nasledujúci deň bol Alix obrátený na Ruskú pravoslávnu cirkev.

Problémy začali takmer okamžite. Vzhľadom na nedostatočné školenie pre túto úlohu Nicholas vynechal pre svojho otca niekoľko kľúčových častí organizácie Štátny pohreb. Je známe, že sa priznal svojmu blízkemu priateľovi, že nebol vytvorený ako cár a v skutočnosti nechcel nikomu vládnuť. Navrhovaný dátum svadby na jar 1895 bol posunutý dopredu a uskutočnil sa v novembri 1894. Druhou Nicholasovou povinnosťou bolo čo najskôr splodiť dediča. V roku 1895 sa im narodila prvá dcéra Olga, po ktorej nasledovali Tatiana v roku 1897, Maria v roku 1899 a Anastasia v roku 1901.

Miestnosť, v ktorej boli popravení Romanovci.

Pri cárovej korunovácii v roku 1896 uponáhľaný dav vtrhol do parku Khodynka Field v Moskve, kde sa konali verejné oslavy, a následná tlačenica spôsobila, že viac ako štrnásť stoviek ľudí bolo pošliapaných na smrť v tlačenici a ďalších 1300 bolo zranených. Povesť, že pre každého nebude dostatok jedla a pitia, spôsobila, že sa zúčastnilo 100 000 ľudí. Park, ktorý sa bežne používal na vojenskom cvičisku, bol nerovnomerný v dôsledku praxe stavby zákopov, ktorá spôsobovala hromadenie sa, keď ľudia zakopli o boj zblízka. Zdroje sa líšia v tom, či bol Nicholas o tragédii informovaný a v akom bode dňa sa o ňom dozvedel, ak vôbec. Bez ohľadu na to, či to vedel alebo nie, pokračoval vo svojich vlastných oficiálnych oslavách, čím si vyslúžil vážny nesúhlas obyvateľstva i úradníkov, hoci sa tvrdilo, že bol informovaný iba večer pred slávnostným plesom, na ktorom sa mal zúčastniť francúzsky veľvyslanec, ktorého sa Nicholas odmietol zúčastniť, pretože sa chcel namiesto toho vrátiť do svojich izieb, aby sa modlil za mŕtvych a zranených. Jeho poradcovia mu pripomenuli, že Francúzi to budú brať ako osobnú urážku, pretože len nedávno podpísali francúzsko-ruské spojenectvo v roku 1894. Nicholas bol nútený zúčastniť sa plesu.

Cár Nicholas II bol veľmi odhodlaný nasledovať konzervatívne kroky svojho otca, nie radikálne reformy ako jeho starý otec. Po posilnení francúzsko-ruskej aliancie a politike mieru v Európe vrátane výzvy na ukončenie pretekov v zbrojení bol Nicholas a ruský diplomat Friedrich Martens v roku 1901 nominovaní na Nobelovu cenu za mier za prácu na Haagskej mierovej konferencii .

Napriek svojim mierovým zámerom voči Západu v Európe cár realizoval pomerne ráznejšiu politiku voči Ďalekému východu v dôsledku svojej túžby získať cestu cez Čínu do Port Arthur, ktorá vyvrcholila útokom Japonska na ruskú flotilu v r. prístav ako odplatu za narušenie vlastných plánov pre túto oblasť. Výsledkom bola rusko-japonská vojna v roku 1904. Po trápnej porážke Japoncov a sérii rozšírených antisemitských akcií sa hovorilo o vzbure a počet revolúcií sa zvýšil. Začiatky revolúcie sa konali v roku 1905. Došlo k štrajku a zorganizoval sa mierový robotnícky pochod za účelom podania petície cárovi. v Zimnom paláci so svojim zoznamom sťažností na čele s vodcom labouristov a kňazom Georgeom Gaponom, ktorý niekoľko dní vopred oznámil vláde dátum sprievodu.

Cárovi bolo odporučené opustiť palác a poradcovia sa rozhodli, že nie je v jeho záujme, aby petíciu dostal zástupca. Namiesto toho bol vytvorený plán na zvýšenie stráží a odstránenie Gapona z pochodu, akonáhle bol identifikovaný. V nedeľu 22. januára 1905 smeroval k palácu veľký mierumilovný dav, spojený rukami a pochodom, spievajúci hymny a štátnu hymnu. Plánovaný nárast stráží, pechoty, husárov a kozákov slúžil na zablokovanie všetkých prístupových trás, potom spustili paľbu na pochodujúcich. 92 ľudí zahynulo a stovky sú zranené. Sprievod sa rozišiel, vedúci sa skryli. Cára označili za vraha. Krv nevinných na rukách. Veľkovojvoda Sergej bol krátko nato zavraždený bombou a Kremeľ tak pravdepodobne odplatil. Vzbura čiernomorskej flotily a generálny štrajk vyrastajúci zo zázemia železničného úderu.

Cár, aby upokojil svoj ľud, znova zaviedol schému Dumy z čias jeho starého otca, ale bola to papierová trofej pre ľudí, pretože ich zastúpenie predstavovalo polovicu sľubovaného prídelu a cár si ponechal právo veta. Teraz skočím dopredu, aby som prerušil predvečer Veľkej vojny a zapojenia Ruska, okrem toho, že na domácom fronte bolo ruské obyvateľstvo stále viac rozčarované zo svojho cára a malo pocit, že je mimo. kontaktu so svojim ľudom.

V roku 1904 sa cár a jeho manželka tešili z narodenia dlho očakávaného dediča, narodil sa Alexej. Ich šťastie však netrvalo dlho, keď vyšlo najavo, že zdedil hemofíliu B „Kráľovskej choroby“, ktorá v dôsledku neprítomnosti koagulačného činidla v krvi vedie k predĺženému krvácaniu od najmenších zranení. Keď konvenčná liečba zlyhala, Tsarina sa zúfalo obrátila na exilového „šialeného mnícha“ Rasputina, aby jej pomohol. Ubezpečil ju, že jej modlitby boli vyslyšané a Alexejovo posledné zranenie okamžite prestane krvácať. Na druhý deň sa to stalo. Rasputin bol okamžite najatý ako jeho osobný lekár.

Od toho dňa bola Tsarina najmocnejším obrancom Rasputina. Stále sa povráva, že jej platby neboli obmedzené iba na platby menovej povahy. Despite his reputation as somewhat of a loose cannon, with a short vicious temper, Rasputin was surprisingly gentle with his young charge, pushing him to live as normal a life as possible, yet being on hand to carry the young boy when he was injured or tired. As the nature of Alexei’s illness was rigidly concealed from all but the closest staff and family members, Rasputin’s position within the family was often contested, perhaps this was the start of the rumours of the illicit nature of his relationship with the Tsarina.

As a result of Russia’s involvement with the Great War, the consistent failure of progressive Dumas to achieve realistic forward movement of people’s rights, coupled with an increase in poverty, high unemployment, poor economy and dire living conditions for all but a few, to which the Russian masses saw a Tsar removed from reality, out of touch with his people, living in opulence, the voice of revolution grew ever louder.

In 1917, encouraged by his advisors, Russia sued Germany for peace, and the Tsar was forced to abdicate. Placed under house arrest, the Romanov family were relieved of most of their retainers and restricted to a moderate lifestyle by their captors. Germany, with an ulterior motive of invading a torn nation paid for Russian exiles revolutionary Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov, later well known as Vladimir Lenin, to leave his exile and return to Russia, in an effort to fan the flames of rebellion. The splintered government run first by the moderate Menscheviks and then the more extreme Bolsheviks, needed a firm leadership to focus their strike for change. Lenin was to provide that momentum.

A revolutionary Communist, and staunch anti-Tsarist, Lenin had been expelled from the state following the execution in 1887 of his brother Aleksandr. Using the years of his exile to study politics and Law, Lenin was a radical Marxist. His more extreme brand of politics was to become widely known as Leninism. His idea to replace Capitalism with socialism, run by the Proletariat in the form of soviets, his dream to have a European revolution. Following the abdication and imprisonment of the Tsar and his family, by the communist army, a provisional government had been installed, but the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin soon overthrew them.

Following several months installed at the Governor’s mansion at Tobolsk, the family were in April 1918 placed on soldier’s rations, relieving them of all but ten of their servants, and reducing their food rations to basics, including a ban on butter and coffee, and the Tsar, Tsarina and their daughter Maria were moved to Ipatiev House, (The House of Special Purpose) Yekaterinburg. Alexei was forced to remain behind to be nursed by his other sisters, as he was deemed too sick to move. In May 1918, the family were reunited. Attempts were made through family members to negotiate exile with the English Royal family, which was originally agreed, but then the King underwent a change of heart when advised by his advisor Lord Stamfordham that their presence could trigger a similar revolution in Britain. Their invitation was subsequently revoked.

On July 16th, the White army, a loosely formed anti-communist militia closed in on the town where the Bolsheviks were keeping the Romanovs captive. Fearing that they were about to be captured with the Tsar and his family, the hasty decision was made to execute them, ostensibly on Lenin’s orders although debate about his knowledge remains. If the White Army had rescued the Tsar, he or any of his family would be in a position to be placed back on the Russian throne, by Europe as legitimate rulers. This would strengthen the anti-communist cause. In reality the White army, a Czechoslovakian legion, were unaware of the presence of the Romanovs, within their reach. Their target was the Trans-Siberian railway, in their control, which they wished to protect.

In the middle of the night, the family and their servants were awoken, and informed they were to be moved. Allowed to get dressed, they were led to a basement room to await their truck to the house. The Tsar requested chairs for his wife and son, three were provided. The Tsar took one, the Tsarina another, with Alexei laid between them on the third. The door opened and in walked a group of armed men. Still under the impression they were to be transported, the Tsar was taken by surprise when a mandate was read out by their guard Yakov Yurovsky, commandant of the House of Special Purpose, details the decision to have the family executed. He turned from his wife and son in surprise and exclaimed “WHAT? What?” at which point Yurovsky personally shot the Tsar, in the abdomen, followed by the young Alexei.

The rest of the guards drew their weapons and began firing on the group. The Tsarina and Olga were shot first, followed by random firing around the room. After several minutes, when every member of the group were laid on the floor, several more shots were fired and the door was opened to let out the smoke. The bodies were checked and some were found to be still alive. As further gunfire would be heard, the decision was taken to stab them to death with a bayonet.

According to official accounts, Yurovsky shot Alexei twice behind the ear as the first bullet failed to kill him. Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia were shot as they crouched in terror by a wall, at the back of the room, Tatiana was the last to die, as Yurovsky shot her through the back of the head. The bodies were taken outside and buried in a makeshift grave, but the next day rumours began to circulate so they were disinterred and placed in a truck and moved to the second chosen site. The truck broke down halfway to the destination, so Yurovsky hastily had the bodies buried in a pit, after being covered in acid. The pit was sealed and covered in rubble to disguise it, upon which railway sleepers were laid.

The site was on an old abandoned cart track, Koptyaki road, about twelve miles North of the town. Their grave remained hidden until they were rediscovered in secret in 1976, but left in place until the collapse of Communism. Finally in July 1991 they were recovered by the Russian Government. Following lengthy tests, including DNA samples from members of the British Royal Family, including Prince Philip, (due to his maternal relationship through Greece) and Prince Michael of Kent, who like George V bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tsar, the identities of the Romanovs and their servants were confirmed save for two of the children, Alexei and Maria, whose bodies were still missing.

On July 17th 1998, 80 years after their murders, the Romanovs and their servants were laid to rest in an elaborate state funeral in the Cathedral at St Petersburg. Despite the conclusive tests, many still refuse to believe the bodies really are those of the Romanovs, and wording at the Funeral was deliberately generic to avoid mention of names. Around ten years later, the remaining bodies of Alexei and Maria were found a little distant from the original grave, in a smaller grave. They were quickly identified as those of the two missing Romanov children.

In a final twist of cruelty, there are increasing calls for the exhumation of the remains of Tsar Nicholas, the Tsarina, and their three daughters, Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia, from their family crypt in the St Catherine Chapel of St Peter and Paul Cathedral, as doubt still lingers as to the authenticity of the DNA identification. Further humiliation for the family rests on the refusal of the Russian Government to allow the burial of Crown Prince Alexei and his sister Maria, whose scant remains reside in cardboard boxes in a storeroom of the Russian State Archives.


13 March 1881: The Assassination of Alexander II

On this day in history, 13 March 1881, Tsar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated by Nikolai Rysakov, a twenty-year old Russian revolutionary and member of the left-wing terrorist organisation Narodnaya Volya. The Tsar, as he was prone to do on Sundays, had travelled that day to the Mikhailovsky Manege for the military roll call by a carriage. Rysakov threw a bomb at the carriage which killed one of the Cossacks accompanying the carriage. There were two further bombers, Hryniewiecki and Emelyanov, involved. The Tsar was taken to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg where he was given Communion and last rites before dying later that day, in a horribly mutilated condition.

What drove numerous assassination attempts against the Tsar? Alexander II has traditionally been characterised by historians as successful, in comparison with both his predecessors and successors. Born on 29 April 1818 in Moscow to Nicholas I and his consort Alexandra Fyodorovna, Alexander was emperor for twenty-six years before his reign came to a grisly and bloody end in St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia at that time.

Alexander was tutored by Vasily Zhukovsky, a noted translator and liberal romantic poet. Under his tuition the Tsarevich became familiar with several European languages. Alexander is famous for being the first heir to the throne to visit Siberia, as part of a six-month tour of Russia in which he visited 20 provinces. In 1855, aged thirty-seven, Alexander succeeded the throne following the death of Nicholas I. He continued to prosecute the Crimean War then occupying Russia, before suing for peace aided by his councillor Prince Gorchakov.

Russia had been badly hit by the Crimean War, leading the new Tsar to enact a phase of reforms. Alexander is perhaps most famous for instigating the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. This deeply affected the economic, political and social future of Russia as a nation, for the emancipation involved far greater issues than merely the freedom of serfs. Led by Konstantin Romanov, Yakov Rostovtsev and Nikolay Milyutin, the serfs gained freedom that year. The Russian government also reorganised and rearmed both the army and navy as a result of the devastating effects of the war, and universal military conscription was introduced in January 1874. Security of tenure was also enacted alongside a new penal code and a simplified system of civil and criminal procedure. In all, Alexander II's judicial reforms have by and large been considered successful.


Alexander II and his wife Marie Alexandrovna.

The Tsar is also famous for encouraging Finnish nationalism, Finland traditionally being a part of the Imperial Russian Empire. At the same time, separatist movements were suppressed, leading to the January Uprising of 1863-4 in which hundreds of Poles were executed and thousands deported to Siberia. Territories of the former Poland-Lithuania were excluded from Alexander's reforms. Native languages alongside Belarusian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian were banned from printed texts, while the Polish language was banned in oral and written form in all provinces except Congress Poland.

The Tsar's reign, despite the relative success of his reforms, was however plagued by repeat assassination attempts. In 1866 Dmitry Karakozov attempted to assassinate the emperor in St. Petersburg, but failed and was executed at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Repeat attempts followed in the following years. The Tsar's reforms were met with criticism and hostility by many of his subjects some believed he had gone too far while others argued that he had not gone nearly far enough.

Following Alexander's death his son, Alexander III, acceded to the throne. The "Liberator Tsar" had reigned for 26 years and his death was a setback for the reform movement. It is possible that, had he lived, Russia might have become a constitutional monarchy instead of becoming more oppressive during the reign of Alexander III. The assassination inspired anarchists to advocate "propaganda by deed" - ie. using spectacular violence to incite revolution or rebellion. The striking Church of the Saviour on the Blood was built, construction beginning in 1883, on the site of the Tsar's assassination and was dedicated to his memory. Alexander III used the Church to commemorate both his father's death alongside symbolising a return to Russian nationalist spirit and a rejection of the reforms and traditions associated with Peter the Great.


Above: The Church of the Saviour on the Blood was built on the spot of Alexander II's assassination in 1881.


The church then and now

The building of a memorial church was initiated by the next ruler of Russia and son of the murdered tsar, Alexander III. Construction began in 1883 and was only completed in 1907, during the reign of Nicholas II. The funding for the church was provided by the imperial family, as well as many private donors. The church now boasts over 7,600 square metres (81,805 sq ft) of mosaics with designs like no other. Many famous painters took part in designing the interior, among them Viktor Vasnetsiv, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel.

The church withstood the Siege of Leningrad, despite being a prime target for German air-raids. During the Second World War, it served as a morgue and as a potato warehouse. Now the church is a museum and welcomes visitors year-round.


Part 3 1880 – 1883

In the autumn of 1880 Esper became a member of Narodnaya Volya, a revolutionary organisation that was seeking the violent overthrow of the Tsarist regime. Narodnaya Volya or “People’s Will” had split from “Zemlia i volia”, “Land and Liberty” to take a more violent revolutionary path which included terrorism.

Esper became heavily involved with the group that had formed around naval officers on the island of Kronstadt, near St Petersburg. He took part in the writing of the constitution of Narodnaya Volya. He met with leading figures in the group, Andrei Zhelyabov, Nikolai Sukhanov, Lev Tikomirov who were members of the executive committee. His job on Kronstadt was taking part in propaganda activities, moving weapons and the printing of illegal leaflets and pamphlets.

Esper writes about this period in a book published in 1894 in Geneva, “History of the socialist movement in Russia”. He was strongly against using terror his motivation was to help the ordinary people of Russia and as a young man was thinking about changes to both the navy and the country that would improve the conditions of ordinary people.

In March 1881 a small group of Narodnaya Volya members plotted to kill Tsar Alexander II. This group had led a series of failed attempts to assassinate the Tsar, the last one being in February of 1880. This time the group had backup plans if the primary plan failed.

It was known that the Tsar went every Sunday to review the troops at the Mikhailovskii Riding School. The plan was to set a mine under the road and blow up the Tsar’s carriage. The group rented a cheese shop on the route the Tsar would take and spent months undermining the road while operating the cheese shop as a front.

On the 27th of February 1881, one of the leaders of the Narodnaya Volya, Andrei Zheliabov was arrested. This caused the Tsar and his people to relax, to think that the leader of the group that had caused so much trouble to the Tsar had now been detained. To the conspirators however it was a spur to action. They feared that their plot would be discovered and they would be arrested. So they brought forward their plans. The plan would be implemented on the 13th of March.

While some of the conspirators completed the arrangements at the cheese shop others gathered at the apartment of Vera Figner, preparing bombs that could be thrown to act as a backup plan, if the principle plan of the mine failed.

That Sunday 13th March 1881, the Tsar chose to travel to the riding school by the Ekaterinskii Canal and Italianskaia Street avoiding crowds on the Nevski Prospect. This route did not pass the prepared mine. The conspirator’s plans had anticipated this and 4 people lay in wait on the alternative route. There had been a lot of preparations and all the alternative routes had been noted.

After the Tsar had attended the review at the riding school, his party returned by the route they had taken. As the troops and carriage turned onto the Ekaterinskii Canal one of the conspirators gave a signal to the bombers to prepare. As the carriage approached a bomb was thrown and exploded under the horses pulling the carriage. The explosion killed one of the Cossack guards in the group of escorts, injured the driver and people on the pavement. The carriage, a bullet proof carriage given by Napoleon III, was only slightly damaged.

The bomb thrower, Nikolai Rysakov, was arrested immediately. The Tsar got out of his carriage to inspect the injured Cossacks and horses, and then another of the conspirators, Ignace Hryniewiecki, threw another bomb which landed at the tsar’s feet. That explosion fatally injured the Tsar. He was put on a sleigh and taken to the winter palace where he died later in the afternoon.

Narodnaya Volya’s plan was based on the people rising up after the Tsar’s death to seize power aided by groups of officers in the navy and army. However that did not happen. Instead the people seem to have been greatly shaken by the death of their beloved Tsar.

Vera Figner had been waiting in her apartment ready to provide assistance to plotters fleeing the police. But as time passed she became increasingly impatient for news. She left her apartment and found that everything was calm with no excitement in the streets. She assumed that the latest plot had been a failure.

In the days after the assassination she resisted all encouragements to leave her apartment. She was concerned that the apartment held printing presses and bomb making materials that belonged to the movement.

Eventually after nearly a week, a group of officers from Kronstadt, came to her apartment and moved the incriminating equipment out. They returned later to mover her away. One report has it that as the naval officers from Kronsdstat were leaving the apartment block by one door the police were entering by another.

Vera Figner was taken by the officers back to Krondstat and hidden there. Esper was one of those officers looking after her, and he is quoted as saying of her ” she brought a ray of sunshine to our gatherings”. After a few weeks she managed to escape to Odessa. She was eventually betrayed by a double agent, Sergey Degayev, who will feature again in this story. She was arrested and put on trial and sentenced to death. But that sentence was commuted to 20 years imprisonment. She died in 1942. Esper wrote about this time in a book called “Revolutionaries in the Fleet”.

Background, Narodnaya Volya

Narodnaya Volya was formed in the autumn of 1879 after a split of the members of an organisation called Zemlya i Volya (Land and Liberty). The aim of the group was to promote a mass revolt against the Tsar using acts of violence. The split had been prompted after a failed attempt on the Tsars life carried out by Alexander Konstantinovitch Soloviev. Soloviev was executed and there were many arrests. The cause of the split was a division over methods to achieve a revolution. The early Marxists favoured non terrorist methods using study circles and propaganda, building a movement from the ground up, they formed Chërnyi Peredel (Black Repartition).

The other group formed Narodnaya Volya they favoured terrorism which they hoped would achieve rapid change in society. One of their first acts in August 1879, was to pass a death sentence on the Tsar, Alexander II, for crimes against the Russian people. They started by building workers study circles in the principle Russian cities and created cells within military bases in St Petersburg and the naval base at Kronstadt.

The group was run by a self-selected executive committee. Some of the early committee members crop up in our story again, Lev Tikhomirov, Vera Figner and Sergei Kravchinskii. The organisation was always quite small though they always hinted that they were just part of a much bigger organisation.

As a foot note, in 1887 Alexander Ulyanov, a student at St Petersburg university and a member of a successive organisation from Narodnaya Volya, plotted to kill Tsar Alexander III on the anniversary of the previous Tsars assassination. However his efforts were well known to the secret police and he and his fellow conspirators were arrested. At his trial Ulyanov was sentenced to death. Alexander’s brother was Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov, better known as Lenin.


139 Years Ago Today, His Imperial Majesty Tsar Alexander II Was Assassinated by the Anarchist Terrorists Nikolai Rysakov and Ignacy Hryniewiecki. May God Rest His Soul.

Perhaps ironically, His Imperial Majesty was actually on his way to sign into law new parliamentary reforms (of his own making) which would've seen Russia become a Semi-Constitutional Monarchy.

That was a grief for Russia. I am glad at least that the members of the People's Will were hanged for that.

Shame that the authorities didn't manage to trail and annihilate the revolutionary organisations completely during Alexander III's reign.

However, I wouldn't really like a constitutional project of Loris-Melikov, which was almost accepted by Alexander II, either.

P.S. I recommend you check on the cathedral in St. Petersburg called Saviour on Spilled Blood

Stupid assassins screwed themselves and everyone over. His son became a reactionary because of this, and Nicholas II was only interested in preserving the status quo.

Perhaps ironically, His Imperial Majesty was actually on his way to sign into law new parliamentary reforms (of his own making) which would've seen Russia become a Semi-Constitutional Monarchy.

This is wild speculation that isn't really realistic for Russia of that age. It was more likely that the Consitution would have failed. Tsar Alexander's government was straining with its crumbling institutions and lagging economy. Its likely that this supposed Constitution would have failed as the economy and the fundamental root of the problems with the ailing Russian state wouldn't be solved with a Simple Constitution.


Book Review: Alex Butterworth, The World that Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents. New York: Pantheon Press, 2010.

THE TERRORIST IS NOBLE, irresistibly fascinating, for he combines in himself the two sublimates of human grandeur: the martyr and the hero” (127). The man who spoke these words was Sergei Kravchinsky, the Tsarist officer turned anarchist who went on to assassinate the chief of the Russia’s secret police and expose that country’s autocracy before the world in the best-selling book Underground Russia. Terrorism was not restricted to Russia’s early revolutionary movement. In Chicago, the Alarm told its readers in 1884 that ‘one man armed with a dynamite bomb is equal to one regiment of militia’ (203-4). German immigrant Johann Most went further with a call to “rescue mankind through blood, iron, poison and dynamite” (203). “Enough of organisation,” thundered Luigi Parmeggiani’s L’Internationale in London in 1892, “let’s busy ourselves with chemistry and manufacture: bombs, dynamite and other explosives are far more capable than rifles and ‘barricades’ of destroying the present state of things, and above all to save our precious blood” (309).


An 1893 portrait of François Koenigstein, aka Ravachol, by Charles Maurin.

In the later years of the nineteenth century there was a rise in terrorist outrages like the explosion at the Greenwich Observatory fictionalized by Joseph Conrad in The Secret Agent, or the famous succession of bombings in Paris undertaken by François Koenigstein (“Ravachol”) in 1892. The geographer and anarchist Élisée Reclus saw in Ravachol “a hero with a rare grandeur of spirit,” while the symbolist poet Paul Adam praised him as a “violent Christ” (304-5). The list of establishment figures the anarchists shot and bombed is remarkable: Nikolai Rysakov of the People’s Will killed Tsar Alexander II on 13 March 1881 the Pennsylvania industrialist Henry Clay Frick was shot by Alexander Berkman in 1892, but survived the Chief of the Tsarist secret police Georgii Sudeikin was killed by Sergei Degaev for the People’s Will in 1883 Gaetano Bresci killed King Umberto I of Italy in 1900 inspired by Emma Goldman, Leon Czolgosz killed President McKinley on 6 September 1901 in Buffalo Kropotkin fan Gavrilo Princip killed the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914, precipitating the First World War.

One could easily account for the rise in terrorism in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by pointing to the violence of the state, and in the broadest sense this is correct. Repression in Russia, Germany and France, and the use of private militias against strikers in America, all raised the political temperature. Still, a closer look at the terrorists, such as that Alex Butterworth’s The World That Never Was provides, shows that terrorism was taken up by people who were losing the argument with the mass of ordinary people. Violence, it was hoped, would be the shortcut to social change that was slipping from their grasp. The isolation of these small bands of would-be revolutionaries tempted them to see chemistry and dynamite as easier routes to social transformation than organization.

The political debate that foreshadowed the growth of terrorism took place amongst the radicals of the International Working Men’s Association, or First International, which had affiliated parties in most European countries. The event that sharpened the differences was the war Napoleon III launched, but quickly lost, against Prussia in 1870, leaving Paris under siege from Bismarck’s army. When Adolphe Thiers’s government offered to surrender a disarmed capital to the Prussians, the Parisians rose up, making their own Commune to resist Bismarck and the French government alike. The International supported the Commune, and Karl Marx wrote a pamphlet announcing the first workers’ government.

Marx’s rivals in the International, the anarchist followers of Mikhail Bakunin, also supported the Parisians’ revolution, but balked at Marx’s conclusion that the Commune showed the need for workers to seize state power and use it to put down the propertied classes. Bakunin even showed up with a decree to abolish the state at the Town Hall in Lyons, where there was support for the Commune. But, having refused on principle to gather any armed back-up, Bakunin had to beat a hasty retreat from the gendarmes.[1] In Paris, by contrast, the Commune fought to the last against Thiers’s army. The repression that followed was terrible, with thousands killed and thousands more deported to the Pacific colonies, while others fled to live as refugees in Britain, Switzerland, and America.

After the defeat of the Commune, the argument between Marx’s supporters and the anarchists took a definite turn. Bakunin, and his young acolyte Kropotkin, denounced Marx as a centralizing dictator, wedded to violence. Engels remonstrated that “a revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part.”[2] By contrast, Kropotkin put his faith in a spontaneous and instinctual revolution of the peasant masses, and here Butterworth speculates that Kropotkin’s fierce anti-intellectualism might have stemmed from a guilty conscience over his own education (125). But the irony was that it was the anarchists that turned to violence, and with it the dictatorial methods of conspiracy, as the masses drifted away from the Communards’ ideal.

In 1877, Bakunin’s disciple Errico Malatesta, with Carlo Cafiero tried to launch an insurrection among the peasants of Matese, in the Southern Italian highlands, ransacking government offices. “If you want to, do something,” shouted Cafiero, ”if not, then go fuck yourselves” (118) but the Matese peasants could not understand his dialect, let alone his point. In 1879, Russian populists met at Voronezh to debate a new path. Lev Tikhomirov demanded violence and the “formation of an organisational elite to coordinate the new strategy” (141), to which Georgi Plekhanov, who would go on to be Lenin’s mentor, responded, “you can count me out.” At the same meeting, the anarchist Andrei Zhelyabov argued that he should be made ‘Revolutionary Dictator’ once they had killed the Tsar (149). Two years later, at the anarchist international meeting in London in July 1881, Élisée Reclus convinced Kropotkin of the need for small conspiratorial groups (167).

The anarchists became more ardent the less support they had. They loathed the masses for letting down the revolution: as if the world ought to bend to their will. Octave Garnier, a leader of the anarchist “Bonnot Gang”—the first stick-up crew to use a getaway car—wrote in 1911, “Why kill workers?—they are vile slaves without whom there would not be the bourgeoisie and the rich.”[3] The difference between the anarchists and the Marxists was not that one side preferred violence: the use of violence in and of itself is not necessarily a matter of principle. The difference was that the anarchists could not accept that the revolutionary tide had ebbed, thinking that it was a failure of will alone. Their answer to the retreat was more and more aggressive actions. This left them waging war against the masses as much as the elite. “Long live anarchy and death to society!” cried Luigi Lucheni, the assassin of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth in September 1898 (369). Terror was a substitute for the harder work of winning over mass support.

As they got older, leading anarchists were dismayed to find that the path they had cleared led to the cult of the bomber Ravachol. Kropotkin rued that “a structure built on centuries of history cannot be destroyed with a few kilos of explosive” (303). This time Malatesta agreed, writing of Ravachol’s followers, “It is no longer a love for the human race that guides them, but the feeling of a vendetta joined to the cult of an abstract idea, of a philosophic phantasm” (313).

Louise Michel, “the Red Virgin,” whose bravery on the barricades and at trial made her into a heroine for many, expressed the frustration that many exiled Communards felt at the time. Returning from exile in the Pacific, Michel drew massive crowds and threatened retaliation against the oppressors. Michel was accompanied on her speaking tours by an equally remarkable figure of Victor Henri Rochefort, the Marquis de Rochefort-Luçay, who had become a member of the Commune government despite his aristocratic background. Like Michel, Rochefort had been exiled to the Pacific, though unlike her he had the finances to influence French public life, even founding his own newspaper, L’Intransigeant. Rochefort organised meetings for Michel to condemn the corruption of the Republic, though increasingly these took on a scripted or theatrical air. At the time, Louise’s mother warned her, “you’ve become their pet exotic animal on the end of the leash, and they’re making you dance to amuse the crowds.”[4]

Having lost touch with the masses in the post-Commune years, the anarchists were shocked, when the Left began to recover and the Socialist International met in London in 1896, to find that they were not welcome. “What we advocate is free association and union, the absence of authority, minds free from fetters, independence,” anarchist Gustav Landauer pleaded to the delegates: “it is we who preach tolerance for all—whether we think their opinions right or wrong—we do not wish to crush them by force or otherwise” (354-5). Landauer had changed records, and put Bakunin’s old tune back on the turntable, asking that the issue not be put to the vote for fear of losing. Even Michel promised that “the bombs are past history.” But the socialists had been too often derided as cowards for failing to start the revolution, had struggled too often to pick up the pieces after anarchist bombings, and had had to cope too often with the resultant police repression and popular disgust while the bombers themselves melted into the background. They voted to exclude the anarchists. Louise Michel protested that the Marx’s followers had founded “a new Papacy.”[5]

Reforms that extended the franchise and the growth of the socialist vote left the anarchists even more isolated than had the preceding decline in working class militancy, such that they more confused than ever about what to do. Louise Michel dismissed democracy, saying, “it does not matter who emerges from that false-bottomed trunk known as the ballot-box.” Whoever wins, “he’ll always be one of the bourgeoisie, one of your exploiters.”[6] Rochefort’s paper rallied to the cause of military government under General Georges Boulanger, and to anti-Semitic campaigns: first against the Jewish financiers of the Panama Canal Company, and then later joining in the denunciations of Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Dreyfus, falsely accused of passing military secrets to the Germans. For her part, Louise Michel refused to condemn Rochefort’s proto-Fascist Boulangism, insisting that the fight between democracy and military government “is not the moment for me to choose one side over another in a factionalist struggle.”[7] She similarly refused to take sides in the Dreyfus Affair, declining to attend pro-Dreyfus meetings. But then the anarchists had been long accustomed to playing the anti-Semitic card: Years before, Bakunin denounced the London Congress of the International as “a dire conspiracy of German and Russian Jews” who were “fanatically devoted to their dictator-Messiah Marx” (64).

Kropotkin, too, disappointed his supporters in later years, rallying to the Allied cause in the First World War and returning to Russia to join the fight against “Bismarckism.”[8] Malatesta returned to be detained under house arrest in Italy, where Il Duce graciously spared the life of the man who had once been his mentor when he was a young anarchist (409-11).

Butterworth’s book is fascinating in its treatment of the many undercover agents and agents provocateurs in the anarchist movement. But he is generous to a fault, repeating many anarchist slanders against the Marxists. Nevertheless, he does not fail to make the critical point: that the anarchists’ rage was impotent, their terrorism a sign of weakness, not strength. The story of the anarchists shows how destructive it is to make revolution into a moral imperative outside of its historical grounding. Years ago, the philosopher Hegel characterised the beautiful soul that “lives in dread of besmirching the splendor of its inner being by action…[T]o preserve the purity of its heart, it flees from contact with the actual world and…is reduced to the extreme of ultimate abstraction.”[9] That was the psychology of the anarchists’ love of “the two sublimates of human grandeur: the martyr and the hero” or the “violent Christ.” Their insurrection turned from being a war to free the masses from repression into a war against the masses, dissolving in the end into the worst kind of opportunism. |P

[1]. “Marx to Beesley, 10/19/1870,” in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Selected Correspondence, 1846-1895, vyd. a trans. Dona Torr (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1941), 306.

[2]. Frederick Engels, “On Authority,” in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Selected Works, zv. 2 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969), 379.

[3]. Quoted in Richard Parry, The Bonnot Gang: The Story of the French Illegalists (London: Rebel Press, 1987), 125.

[4]. Edith Thomas, Louise Michel, trans. Penelope Williams (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1980), 187.

[8]. Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, trans. Max Eastman (London: Pluto Press, 1977), 687. For Kropotkin on Bismarckism, see Butterworth, 135.

[9]. G. W. F. Hegel, Fenomenológia ducha, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 400.


WI : Alexander II of Russia avoids his assassination?

As his Sunday custom, the Czar traveled in his bulletproof carriage (a gift from Emperor Napoleon III of France) to the Mikhailovsky Manège to review the military roll call. He was escorted by the police as well as his own guard, including his Cossack personal bodyguard. In the crowd that gathered on the narrow pavement to watch Alexander pass were agents from the Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will") bent on assassinating the Czar to instill a new order of communistic anarchy. Nikolai Rysakov was the first to strike, throwing a bomb wrapped in a handkerchief. The explosion would kill one of the Cossack guards and injure onlookers and more guards, but Alexander would prove unhurt as he stepped from his carriage. The police hurriedly apprehended Rysakov, who shouted to someone else in the crowd. The surrounding guards and the Cossacks urged the emperor to leave the area at once rather than being shown the site of the explosion.

But the Tsar insisted on seeing the wounded first. The 6 remaining Cossacks assigned to protect the Czar were distracted by the crowd who were excitedly gathering at the scene. Colonel Dvorzhitsky, district chief of police, rushed up and urged the Tsar to get into his carriage. Alexander agreed, but began to wander over to look at the site of the explosion. Feeling the Czar was still in danger, Dvorzhitsky threw himself into Alexander and violently pushed him into the carriage, violating the royal space but proving to save his life as a second bomb exploded. A surviving guard was later to write :

"I was deafened by the new explosion, burned, wounded and thrown to the ground. Suddenly, amid the smoke and snowy fog, I heard His Majesty's voice cry, 'Help!' Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the emperor. Colonel Dvorzhitsky was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm. Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but his legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them. Twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them. Through the snow, debris, and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabres, and bloody chunks of human flesh. Thanks to God, the Czar was still alive".

The carriage was immediately ordered to flee away. Just in time a third bomb was thrown, but it fortunatelly it didn't explode. Alexander was urgently carried to the Winter Palace to his study where, twenty years before almost to the day, he had signed the Emancipation Edict freeing the serfs. Alexander II planned to release a plan for the duma to the Russian people. He was now hesitating. His grandson, Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, was able to convince to sign this decree. In a matter of 48 hours, Russia was set to follow a path to constitutional monarchy instead of the long road of oppression that defined the reigns of his predecessors.

With construction starting in 1883, the Church of the Savior on Blood was built on the site of Dvorzhitsky's sacrifice and dedicated in his memory.


Životopis

Alexander was born in Moscow, Russian Empire on 29 April 1818, the son of Czar Nicholas I of Russia and Charlotte of Prussia. Alexander became the new Czar of Russia in 1855 on the death of his father, and he managed to extricate Russia from the Crimean War against the United Kingdom and France in 1856. Alexander turned his attention to Russia's domestic issues, primarily serfdom.

Reformy

In 1861, Czar Alexander passed the Emancipation Reform of 1861, abolishing serfdom and giving land to the emancipated serfs. He also established the rural zemstvo system in 1864, and he gave representation to the townspeople and private landowners. In 1864, he reformed the legal and judicial system (introducing trial by jury and public trials), created municipal dumas in 1870, and reformed the Imperial Russian Army in 1874. Alexander would crush the Polish nationalist uprising of 1863 and introduced a Russification campaign in Poland, and he promoted expansionism in Siberia and Central Asia. Russia acquired maritime provinces northeast of Manchuria, establishing the port of Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan. Alexander's reforms and actions served only to increase demands for further reform, and middle-class radicals launched the narodnik movement in the 1870s. Alexander considered the possibility of further reforms due to a rise in opposition in the 1870s, and interior minister Mikhail Loris-Melikov proposed establishing a representative council to advise the czar on reforms. On 13 March 1881, Alexander agreed to its formation. 

Atentát

The death of Alexander II

Later on 13 March, Alexander and some cossacks headed to the Mikhailovsky Manege for the military roll call, a hobby that Alexander had taken up. As the carriage moved along the narrow streets, Nikolai Rysakov threw a package bomb under the carriage, but the bomb failed to dent the vehicle. Rysakov was arrested almost immediately, but he shouted out for Ignacy Hryniewiecki, who threw a bomb at the emperor's feet. Alexander was mortally wounded, with his legs being torn away, his stomach ripped open, and his face mutilated. He was given communion and last rites before he died later that day of his wounds.


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Komentáre:

  1. Harman

    Prepáčte, mix tém. Odstránený

  2. Mufidy

    I do not even dare to call it an article.



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