End of Imperialism - Preceding Rasputin's Death

Peter Stolypin was Chair of the Soviet of Ministers (1907-1911). Stolypin's goal was to seal the rift between the government and the public. His scheme was a moderate one, based largely on Sergey Witte's earlier suggestions. Its essence was the creation of a prosperous and conservative element in the countryside composed of "the strong and the sober." On the whole, Stolypin succeeded with some improvements in the civic status of the peasantry, but did not expunge the barriers separating it from "privilege Russia". A revolutionary assassinated Stolypin in 1911.
 


Peter Stolypin


Most Russians were dissatisfied with their country's "cultural barrier" between Russia and Europe. They had an inferiority complex, thinking of themselves as less civilized, backwards, "Asiatic," and in doing so created a lack of respect among Russia's European counterparts. During World War I, when the Allies bullied Russia to get back into the war after their first retreat, they seemed to think of Russia as "stupid cowards." Germany made Russia soon to sign a treaty with Germany, after their army - embarrassingly enough - ran away from strong German defenses. If losing a war isn't enough to give people of a nation an inferiority complex, nothing is.

The Russian people unconsciously accepted the flood of western standards into Russia between 1890 and 1914. Not surprisingly, the Russians with their extra-long-sleeved shirts were complacent to this infuse of foreign culture, wanting to do anything to feel equal to Europeans.

In 1916, Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandria, were so estranged from the ruling circle that a palace coup was freely advocated. Before this, Alexandria had brought Rasputin, a faith-healer, to live with them in the Winter Palace at Petrograd. Alexandra believed he was holy and could save her son, Alexei, from dying of hemophilia. Rasputin ate into the woodwork of the Russian aristocracy, and Alexandra made sure that the members of the Duma did not tarnish him, and that they met his requests. Two revolutionaries murdered Rasputin in December of 1916, after being poisoned, shot, and drowned. Many members of the Imperial family and army generals in the field believed that, "If it is a choice between the Czar and Russia, I'll take Russia."



Nicholas II with Wife Alexandra

The British Ambassador to Russia, Sir George Buchanan, said to Nicholas II on January 12, 1917, "Your Majesty, if I may be permitted to say so, has but one safe course open to you, namely to break down the barrier that separates you from your people and to regain their confidence."

To this, Nicholas II replied, "Do you mean that I am to regain the confidence of my people or that they are to regain my confidence?" History took its course with the belligerent ravings of Nicholas II, and on March 7, 1917, a major demonstration ignited in Petrograd. After two days of heavy rioting, the soldiers called into to control the bunch and defend the regime gave up and joined in. On March 12, the soldiers in Petrograd would not obey the Czar's orders, and in several days this held for the rest of Russia. On March 15, Czar Nicholas II abdicated his Empire to the emissaries of the Duma.


Duma, 1916

In the night of July 16-17, 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police murdered Russia's last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their 14-year-old son, Tsarevich Alexis, and their four daughters. They were cut down in a hail of gunfire in a half-cellar room of the Ipatiev house in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountain region, where they were being held prisoner. To prevent a cult for the dead Tsar, the bodies were carted away to the countryside and hastily buried in a secret grave.

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