Written by Vladimir Moss



     There was no lack of plotters against the Russian autocracy in the first decade of the twentieth century, and in the Masonic lodges in particular the plots were assuming an organized form…

     The main plotter was A.I. Guchkov the Old Ritualist industrialist and Masonic leader of the Octobrist faction in the Duma. “Armis”, a pseudonym for a Duma delegate and a former friend of Guchkov, wrote: “Already in 1909, in the Commission of State Defence, its president, the well-known political and social activist Guchkov declared that it was necessary to prepare by all means for a future war with Germany.

     “In order to characterize this activist it is necessary to say that in order to achieve his ends he was never particularly squeamish about methods and means. In the destruction of Russia he undoubtedly played one of the chief roles.

     “In the following year, 1910, the newspaper Novoe Vremia became a joint-stock company, and a little later Guchkov was chosen as president of its editorial committee. From this moment there began on the columns of Novoe Vremia a special campaign against the Germans and the preparation of public opinion for war with Germany.

     “Guchkov wrote to the workers of Novoe Vremia, Golos Moskvy and Golos Pravdy, which were unfailingly ruled by his directives:

     “’Rattle your sabres a little more, prepare public opinion for war with the Germans. Write articles in such a way that between the lines will already be heard peals of weapon thunder.’

     “People who know Guchkov well say that in his flat, together with the well-known A. Ksyunin, he composed articles of the most provocative character in relation to Germany.

     “In 1912, during a reception for an English military mission, Guchkov turned to those present with the following toast:

     “’Gentlemen! I drink to the health of the English army and fleet, who are not only our friends, but also our allies.’

     “And within the close circle of the members of the Commission of State Defence, he declared: ‘Today Germany has suffered a decisive defeat: war is inevitable, if only the Tsar does not stop it.’

     “In March, 1914, Guchkov at one dinner warned his acquaintances that they should not go abroad in the summer, and in particular – not to Germany.

     “’I don’t advise you to go abroad. War will unfailingly break out this summer: it has been decided. Germany can turn as she wants, but she cannot turn away from war.’ And at these words Guchkov smiled.

     “To the question of one of those present: who needed a war?, Guchkov replied:

     “’France must have Alsace-Lorraine and the Rhine; Russia – all the Slavic lands and an exit from the Black Sea; England will lap up the German colonies and take world trade into her hands.’

     “To the objection that the Russian and German emperors would hardly enter such a dangerous world war, there followed Guchkov’s bold reply:

     “’We have foreseen this… and we shall arrange it so that both of them will find themselves before a fait accompli.

     “Then it was pointed out to Guchkov that the Triple Alliance represented a formidable military power, to which Guchkov objected:

     “’Italy, in accordance with a secret agreement with England, will not be on the side of Germany and Austria, and if the war goes well can stab them in the back. The plan of the future war has already been worked out in detail by our allied staffs (English, French and Russian), and in no way will the war last for more than three months.’

     “Then Guchkov was asked: ‘Tell us, Alexander Ivanovich, don’t you think that the war may be prolonged contrary to your expectations? It will require the most colossal exertion of national nerves, and very possibly it will be linked with the danger of popular discontent and a coup d’etat.’

     “Smiling, Guchkov replied: ‘In the extreme case, the liquidation of the Dynasty will be the greatest benefit for Russia…’”[1]

     Guchkov’s prognosis was extraordinarily accurate. This leads us to conclude that war in Europe and revolution in Russia were if not “inevitable”, as many thought, at any rate to a large degree determined by the Masonic solidarity of the elites in all the combatant powers.

     Only one human actor, as Guchkov admitted, could still say no and stop it – the Tsar; and only the one Divine Actor could prevent it if the peoples were worthy of it – He Who said of Himself: “I am He Who makes peace and creates wars…” (Isaiah 45.7)




     Given that the tsar’s rule was God-established, and that he had been anointed to the kingdom in a special church rite, the sacrament of anointing to the kingdom, how was he to exercise his rule in relation to the rebels against his throne, whose plot was known to him years before 1917?

     This was truly a most difficult problem, which required both the meekness of David and the wisdom of Solomon. For real one-man rule had become almost impossible by the early twentieth-century: not only had democratic sentiments spread throughout society in all the Great Powers, and public opinion as expressed in the press was a force that no ruler could ignore: the sheer complexity of ruling a large, increasingly differentiated and rapidly industrializing society inevitably involved a large measure of devolution of power.

     Tsar Nicholas II was highly educated and intelligent, and, contrary to the clichéd image of him constructed by western historians, probably as capable of coping with the vast complexity of ruling a twentieth-century empire as any man. He was also the most tactful and merciful of men, and the least inclined to manifest his power in violent action. Once the head of the police promised him that there would be no revolution in Russia for a hundred years if he would permit 50,000 executions. The Tsar quickly refused this proposal… In view of what happened after 1917, some may wonder whether he was right to be so merciful; but this at any rate shows that the epithet given to him by the revolutionaries of “Bloody Nicholas” was in no way deserved…

     And yet he could manifest firmness, and was by no means as weak-willed as has been claimed. Thus once, in 1906, Admiral F.V. Dubasov asked him to have mercy on a terrorist who had tried to kill him. The Tsar replied: “Field tribunals act independently and independently of me: let them act with all the strictness of the law. With men who have become bestial there is not, and cannot be, any other means of struggle. You know me, I am not malicious: I write to you completely convinced of the rightness of my opinion. It is painful and hard, but right to say this, that ‘to our shame and gall’ [Stolypin’s words] only the execution of a few can prevent a sea of blood and has already prevented it.”[2]

     However, it was not the execution of a few (or even 50,000) revolutionaries that was the question or the solution ten years later, in the autumn of 1916. Only in the factories of St. Petersburg were they well-entrenched with their defeatist programme. The real problem was the legal opposition, the progressive bloc in the Duma, which professed to want the war continued to a successful end, but argued that success could be attained, in effect, only by destroying the Russian autocracy and replacing it by a constitutional monarchy in which the real power remained in their own hands.

     To this end they employed all kinds of dishonourable, lying means. They concealed from the general public the improving situation in the army and in the economy as a whole; they insinuated that the Tsar was ruled by Rasputin, when he was not[3]; that the Tsarina was pro-German and even a German spy, which she was not[4]; that the Tsar’s ministers with German names, such as Prime Minister Stürmer, were Germanophiles, which they were not. An atmosphere of morbid distrust and suspicion, fuelled by baseless rumours and gossip, reigned in society…

    In the Duma on November 1, 1916, the leader of the Cadet party, Paul Milyukov, holding a German newspaper in his hand and reading the words: “the victory of the court party grouped around the young Tsarina”, uttered his famously seditious evaluation of the regime’s performance: “Is it stupidity – or treason?” insinuating that the authorities wanted a separate peace with Germany. To which the auditorium replied: “Treason”.

     Major-General V.N. Voeikov, who was with the Tsar at the time, writes: “The most shocking thing in this most disgusting slander, unheard of in the annals of history, was that it was based on German newspapers…

     “For Germany that was at war with us it was, of course, necessary, on the eve of the possible victory of Russia and the Allies, to exert every effort and employ all means to undermine the might of Russia.

     “Count P.A. Ignatiev, who was working in our counter-espionage abroad, cites the words of a German diplomat that one of his agents overheard: ‘We are not at all interested to know whether the Russian emperor wants to conclude a separate peace. What is important to us is that they should believe this rumour, which weakens the position of Russia and the Allies.’ And we must give them their due: in the given case both our external and our internal enemies showed no hesitation: one example is the fact that our public figures spread the rumour coming from Duma circles that supposedly on September 15, 1915 Grand Duke Ludwig of Hesse, the brother of the Empress, secretly visited Tsarskoye Selo. To those who objected to this fable they replied: if it was not the Grand Duke, in any case it was a member of his suite; the mysterious visit was attributed to the desire of Germany, with the cooperation of the Empress, to conclude a separate peace with Russia.

     “At that time nobody could explain to men whether the leader of the Cadet party, Milyukov himself, was led by stupidity or treason when he ascended the tribune of the State Duma, holding in his hands a German newspaper, and what relations he had with the Germans…”[5]

     Treason was certainly afoot – but among the Masons. And so, it could be argued, the Tsar should have acted against the conspirators at least as firmly as he had against the revolutionaries of 1905-06. Moreover, this was precisely what the Tsaritsa argued in private letters to her husband: “Show to all, that you are the Master & your will shall be obeyed – the time of great indulgence & gentleness is over – now comes your reign of will & power, & obedience…” (December 4, 1916). And again: “Be Peter the Great, John [Ivan] the Terrible, Emperor Paul – crush them all under you.” (December 14, 1916). She urged him to prorogue the Duma, remove Trepov and send Lvov, Milyukov, Guchkov and Polivanov to Siberia…

     On December 16 Rasputin was killed by Great Prince Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov, Prince Felix Yusupov and a right-wing member of the Duma, Purishkevich. Yusupov lured him to his flat on the pretext of introducing him to his wife, the beautiful Irina, the Tsar’s niece. He was given madeira mixed with poison (although this is disputed), but this did not kill him. He was shot twice, but neither did this kill him. Finally he was shot a third time and pushed under the ice of the River Neva.[6]

     Now there is no doubt that during the war, Rasputin had become more influential and dangerous. For, with the Tsar at the front, control of home appointments de facto came under the control of the Tsarina, who always turned to Rasputin and to those who were approved by him... Voeikov points out that from 1914 Rasputin and the Tsarita’s and Rasputin’s friend Vyrubova “began to take a greater and greater interest in questions of internal politics”, but at the same time argues that the number of appointments actually made by the Tsarina were few.[7] Bakhanov calculates that there were no more than eleven… But these few included Prime Ministers, Interior Ministers and church metropolitans! Moreover, even the Tsarina admitted that one of them, the appointment of A.N. Khvostov as Interior Minister, was disastrous![8] It is hardly surprising, in those circumstances, that the reputation of the Royal Couple suffered...

     Rasputin had “prophesied”: “Know that if your relatives commit murder, then not one of your family, i.e. your relatives and children, will live more than two years…” Now Rasputin had been murdered by relatives of the tsar. Did this mean that resistance to the revolution was useless?

     However, the tsar was not as superstitious as his enemies have made out. One pseudo-prophecy could not have deterred him from acting firmly against the conspirators, if that is what his conscience told him to do. Rasputin was certainly the evil genius of the Royal Family, and they – or the Tsaritsa, at any rate – were deceived in believing him to be a holy man.[9] But his real influence on the course of events was only indirect – in giving the enemies of the Tsar an excuse for viciously slandering him…

     Rasputin’s significance lies not in his “prophecies” and their supposed influence on the tsar, but in that he was a symbol of the majority, peasant stratum of the Russian population in the last days of the empire. Though basically Orthodox and monarchist, it was infected with spiritual diseases that manifested themselves in the wild behaviour of so many peasants and workers after the revolution. The support of the peasants kept the monarchy alive just as Rasputin kept the tsarevich alive, stopping the flow of blood that represented the ebbing spiritual strength of the dynasty; but the majority of the peasants deserted the Tsar in 1917, bringing down the dynasty.

     “Rasputin,” writes Radzinsky, “is a key to understanding both the soul and the brutality of the Russia that came after him. He was a precursor of the millions of peasants who, with religious consciousness in their souls, would nevertheless tear down churches, and who, with a dream of the reign of Love and Justice, would murder, rape, and flood the country with blood, in the end destroying themselves...”[10]

     If we follow through the allegory a little further, we can draw another lesson. Rasputin was killed by representatives of the right-wing monarchists and aristocrats. Though supposedly loyal to the Tsar (and many of them were not), by their evil way of life they had done much to undermine the faith of the peasants both in the Tsar and in the upper classes. In a spiritual sense, the rotten upper classes, stupid and treacherous, killed the peasantry just as their representatives killed Rasputin…




    We come back to the question why the Tsar did not immediately imprison the plotters against his throne. Archpriest Lev Lebedev supposes that the Tsar, too, was tempted to deal with them “simply and speedily. We remember his words, that ‘with men who have become bestial there is not, and cannot be, any other means of struggle’ (besides shooting them) and that ‘only the execution of a few can prevent a sea of blood’. But there appeared before the Tsar at that time in the persons of Lvov, Rodzyanko, Guchkov, etc. not ‘bestialized’ criminal murderers like the Bolsheviks, but respectable people with good intentions! Yes, they were in error in thinking that by removing the Tsar from power they rule Russia better [than he]. But this was a sincere error, they thought that they were truly patriots. It would have been wrong to kill such people! Such people should not even have been sent to Siberia (that is, into prison). It was necessary to show them that they were mistaken. And how better to show them than by victory over the external enemy, a victory which was already in their hands, and would be inevitable in four or five months! The tsar did not know that his closest generals had already prepared to arrest him and deprive him of power on February 22, 1917. And the generals did not know that they were doing this precisely in order that in four or five months’ time there should be no victory! That had been decided in Bnai-Brith, in other international Jewish organizations (Russia must not be ‘among the victor-countries’!). Therefore through the German General Staff (which also did not know all the plots, but thought only about its own salvation and the salvation of Germany), and also directly from the banks of Jacob Schiff and others (we shall name them later) huge sums of money had already gone to the real murderers of the Tsar and the Fatherland - the Bolsheviks. This was the second echelon [of plotters], it hid behind the first [the Russian Masons]. It was on them (and not on the ‘noble patriots’) that the world powers of evil placed their hopes, for they had no need at all of a transfigured Russia, even if on the western (‘their’) model. What they needed was that Russia and the Great Russian people should not exist as such! For they, the powers of evil, knew Great Russia better (incomparably better!) than the whole of Russian ‘society’ (especially the despised intelligentsia). Did Guchkov know about the planned murder of the whole of Great Russia? He knew! The Empress accurately called him ‘cattle’. Kerensky also knew, and also several specially initiated Masons, who hid this from the overwhelming majority of all the ‘brothers’ – the other Russian Masons. The specially initiated had already for a long time had secret links (through Trotsky, M. Gorky and several others) with Lenin and the Bolsheviks, which the overwhelming majority of the Bolsheviks, too, did not know!

     “And what did his Majesty know? He knew that society was eaten up by Judaeo-Masonry, that in it was error and cowardice and deception. But he did not know that at the base of the error, in its secret places, was treason. And he also did not know that treason and cowardice and deception were all around him, that is, everywhere throughout the higher command of the army. And what is the Tsar without an army, without troops?! Then there is the question: could the Tsar have learned in time about the treachery among the generals? Why not! Let’s take, for example, Yanushkevich, or Gurko, or Korfa (or all of them together), whom Sukhomlinov had pointed to as plotters already in 1909 (!). In prison, under torture – such torture as they had with Tsars Ivan and Peter – they would have said everything, given up all the rest…! But then he, Nicholas II, would have needed to be truly like Ivan IV or Peter I from the beginning – that is, a satanist and a born murderer (psychologically), not trusting anyone, suspecting everyone, sparing nobody. It is significant that her Majesty joined to the names of these Tsars the name of Paul I. That means that she had in mind, not Satanism and bestiality, but only firmness... But she felt with striking perspicacity that her husband was ‘suffering for the mistakes of his royal predecessors’. Which ones?! Just as we said, first of all and mainly for the ‘mistakes’ precisely of Ivan IV and Peter I. Not to become like them, these predecessors, to overcome the temptation of replying to evil with evil means – that was the task of Nicholas II. For not everything is allowed, not all means are good for the attainment of what would seem to be the most important ends. The righteousness of God is not attained by diabolic methods. Evil is not conquered by evil! There was a time when they, including also his Majesty Nicholas II, suppressed evil by evil! But in accordance with the Providence of God another time had come, a time to show where the Russian Tsar could himself become a victim of evil – voluntarily! – and endure evil to the end. Did he believe in Christ and love Him truly in such a way as to suffer voluntarily like Christ? The same Divine providential question as was posed for the whole of Great Russia! This was the final test of faith – through life and through death. If one can live only by killing and making oneself one with evil and the devil (as those whom one has to kill), then it would be better not to live! That is the reply of the Tsar and of Great Russia that he headed! The more so in that it was then a matter of earthly, historical life. Here, in this life and in this history to die in order to live again in the eternal and new ‘history’ of the Kingdom of Heaven! For there is no other way into this Kingdom of Heaven – the Lord left no other. He decreed that it should be experienced only by this entry… That is what turned out to be His, God’s will!

     “We recall that his Majesty Nicholas II took all his most important decisions after ardent prayer, having felt the goodwill of God. Therefore now, on considering earnestly why he then, at the end of 1916 and very beginning of 1917, did not take those measures which his wife so warmly wrote to him about, we must inescapably admit one thing: he did not have God’s goodwill in relation to them! Her Majesty’s thought is remarkable in itself, that the Tsar, if he had to be ruled by anyone, should be ruled only by one who was himself ruled by God! But there was no such person near the Tsar. Rasputin was not that person. His Majesty already understood this, but the Tsaritsa did not yet understand it. In this question he was condescending to her and delicate. But, as we see, he did not carry out the advice of their ‘Friend’, and did not even mention him in his replies to his wife. The Tsar entrusted all his heart and his thoughts to God and was forced to be ruled by Him alone.”[11]

     There is much of value in this hypothesis, but it is too kind to the Masonic plotters. Yes, they were “sincere” – but so were the Bolsheviks! It seems unlikely that the Tsar should have considered the Bolsheviks worthy of punishment, but the Masons not.

     More likely, in our opinion, is that he thought that acting against the Masons would bring forward the revolution at precisely the moment when he wanted peace in the rear of the army.

     It must be remembered the Masons controlled the public organizations, like the Military-Industrial Committee, whose leader was Alexander Guchkov, and the zemstvos, whose leader was Prince George Lvov (who also happened to be the leader of Russian Masonry). These, in spite of their disloyalty, were nevertheless making their contribution to providing ammunition for the army and helping the wounded. The Emperor held the opinion that “in wartime one must not touch the public organizations”.[12]

     And so it was the war that both created the conditions that made the revolution possible, and prevented the Tsar taking the steps that were necessary in order to crush it… 

     Many people think that the Russian revolution was the result of an elemental movement of the masses. This is not true – although the masses later joined it. The February revolution was a carefully hatched plot involving about three hundred Masons; its organizer was Guchkov.

     The plot was successful. But it succeeded in eventually bringing to power, not the Masonic plotters, but the Bolsheviks, who destroyed all the plotters and all their Masonic lodges, forcing the Masons themselves to flee back to their mother lodges abroad… Thus in October Kerensky and his Masonic colleagues fled to France, where they set up lodges under the aegis of the Grand Orient. [13]

     Yana Sedova writes: “Already in 1906, after a meeting with the Emperor, A.I. Guchkov came to the unexpected conclusion: ‘We are in for still more violent upheavals’. Then he wanted ‘simply to step aside’. But already in those years he began to talk about a ‘coup d’état’.

     “In the next few years Guchkov’s attention was temporarily occupied by work in the State Duma. But in 1911 after the murder of Stolypin, as he later recalled, there arose in him ‘an unfriendly feeling’ towards the Emperor Nicholas II.

     “At the beginning of 1913, at a meeting in his Petersburg flat, Guchkov talked about a military coup in Serbia. The discussion moved to a coup in Russia. At this point one of the participants in the meeting said that ‘the party of the coup is coming into being’.

     “Several months later, at a congress of his [Octobrist] party in Petersburg, Guchkov proclaimed the principle by which he was governed in the next four years: ‘the defence of the monarchy against the monarch’.

     “The next year, during the ‘great retreat’, Guchkov created the Military-Industrial Committees, an organization whose official task was to help provide the army with ammunition. In fact, however, the committees turned out to be an instrument for the preparation of a coup.

     “However, Guchkov would probably have continued to the end of his life only to ‘platonically sympathize’ with the coup, and do nothing himself, if once there had not appeared in his flat the Russian masonic leader, N.V. Nekrasov.

     “The two of them became the ‘initiators’ of a plan: ‘a palace coup, as a result of which his Majesty would be forced to sign his abdication passing the throne to his lawful Heir’.

     “Soon another Mason, M.I. Tereschenko, joined the plot, and, as Guchkov recalled, ‘the three of us set about a detailed working out of this plan’.”[14]

     On September 8, 1915 a “Committee of National Salvation” issued “Disposition Number 1”. “It affirmed,” writes N. Yakovlev, “that there were two wars going on in Russia – against a stubborn and skilful enemy from outside and a no less stubborn and skilful enemy from inside. The attainment of victory over the external enemy was unthinkable without a prior victory over the internal enemy. By the latter they had in mind the ruling dynasty. For victory on the internal front it was necessary… immediately to appoint a supreme command staff, whose basic core consisted of Prince G.E. Lvov, A.I. Guchkov and A.F. Kerensky.”[15]

     Shtormakh considers that the main plotters were A.I. Guchkov, Prince G.E. Lvov, N.V. Nekrasov and M.I. Tereschenko, all of whom became ministers in the Provisional Government.[16] Lvov was leader of the Union of the Zemstva and Cities.

     Some of the plotters may have considered regicide. Thus Shtormakh writes: “’In 1915,’ recounts the Mason A.F. Kerensky in his memoirs, ‘speaking at a secret meeting of representatives of the liberal and moderate conservative majority in the Duma and the State Council, which was discussing the Tsar’s politics, V.A. Maklakov, who was to the highest degree a conservative liberal, said that it was possible to avert catastrophe and save Russia only by repeating the events of March 11, 1801 (the assassination of Paul I).’ Kerensky reasons that the difference in views between him and Maklakov came down only to time, for Kerensky himself had come to conclude that killing the Tsar was ‘a necessity’ ten years earlier. ‘And besides,’ continues Kerensky, ‘Maklakov and those who thought like him would have wanted that others do it. But I suggested that, in accepting the idea, one should assume the whole responsibility for it, and go on to execute it personally’. Kerensky continued to call for the murder of the Tsar. In his speech at the session of the State Duma in February, 1917 he called for the ‘physical removal of the Tsar, explaining that they should do to the Tsar ‘what Brutus did in the time of Ancient Rome’.”[17]

     According to Guchkov, they worked out several variants of the seizure of power. One involved seizing the Tsar in Tsarskoye Selo or Peterhof. Another involved doing the same at Headquarters. This would have had to involve some generals who were members of the military lodge, especially Alexeyev (a friend of Guchkov’s) and Ruzsky. However, this might lead to a schism in the army, which would undermine its capability for war. So it was decided not to initiate the generals into the plot – although, as we shall see, they played a very important role quite independently of Guchkov’s band, prevented loyal military units from coming to the aid of the Tsar, and themselves demanded his abdication.[18] A third variant, worked out by another Mason, Prince D.L. Vyazemsky, envisaged a military unit taking control of the Tsar’s train between Military Headquarters and Tsarskoye Selo and forcing him to abdicate in favour of the Tsarevich. Yet another plan was to seize the Tsar (on March 1) and exile him abroad. Guchkov claims that the agreement of some foreign governments to this was obtained.

     The Germans got wind of these plans, and not long before February, 1917 the Bulgarian Ambassador tried to warn the Tsar about them. The Germans were looking to save the Tsar in order to establish a separate peace with him. But the Tsar, in accordance with his promise to the Allies, rejected this out of hand. It was then that the Germans turned to Lenin...

     Yet another plan was worked out by Prince G.E. Lvov. He suggested forcing the Tsar to abdicate and putting Great Prince Nicholas Nikolayevich on the throne in his place, with Guchkov and Lvov as the powers behind the throne. Lvov had hopes of Nikolasha because in October he and other Romanovs had tried to persuade the Tsar to adopt the constitutional path, while on November 6 he had had a stormy conversation with the Tsar at Stavka during which he had said: “How shameful of you it was to believe that I wanted to overthrow you from the throne!”[19] Then, in a private conversation  with his nephew, Prince Andrew Vladimirovich, Nikolasha had confided to him that he had lost all hope of saving the Tsar from his wife and from himself. So on January 1 Lvov sent a friend of his, the Mason A.I. Khatisov, to Tiflis to speak with him and his wife Anastasia (a notorious critic of the Tsarina) about his plot. According to Oldenburg, the Great Prince rejected the idea on the grounds of the monarchical sentiments of the army.[20] Sedova claims that Lvov actually offered the throne to Nikolasha…[21] In any case, as Katkov points out, ”there are no indications that Nikolai Nikolayevich reported Khatisov’s approach to the corresponding authorities, although this is precisely what duty required. And in this way the Great Prince willingly or unwillingly became a participant in a plot whose aim was to overthrow Nicholas II followed by his own ascent to the throne. That is, there took place precisely that which he had so sincerely renounced with an oath on November 6…”[22]

     At a meeting between members of the Duma and some generals in the study of Rodzyanko in February, 1917 another plot to force the Tsar to abdicate was formed. The leading roles in this were to be played by Generals Krymov and Ruzsky and Colonel Rodzyanko, the Duma leader’s son... Finally, the so-called naval plot was formed, as Shulgin recounts, according to which the Tsaritsa was to be invited onto a warship for England[23]

     Besides the formal conspirators, there were many others who helped them by trying to undermine the resolve of the Tsar. Thus “before the February coup,” writes Yana Sedova, “in the Russian empire there were more and more attempts on the part of individual people to ‘open the eyes of his Majesty’ to the internal political situation.

     “This ‘search for truth’ assumed a particularly massive character in November, 1916, beginning on November 1, when Great Prince Nicholas Mikhailovich arrived at Stavka to have a heart-to-heart conversation with his Majesty…

     “Very many considered it their duty to ‘open the eyes of his Majesty’: Great Princes Nicholas and Alexander Mikhailovich, Nicholas Nikolayevich and Paul Alexandrovich, the ministers Ignatiev and Pokrovsky, Generals Alexeyev and N.I. Ivanov, the ambassadors of allied governments Buchanan and Paléologue, the president of the Duma M. Rodzyanko, Protopresbyter of the army and navy G. Shavelsky,… the chief representative of the Red Cross P.M. Kaufmann-Turkestansky, the official A.A. Klopov, the dentist S.S. Kostritsky…

     “This is far from a complete list. It includes only conversations, but many addressed his Majesty in letters or try to influence the Empress (Great Prince Alexander Mikhailovich both spoke with his Majesty and sent him a very long letter and spoke with the Empress). ‘It seemed,’ wrote Rodzyanko later, ‘that the whole of Russia was beseeching his Majesty about one and the same thing, and it was impossible not to understand and pay heed to the pleas of a land worn out by suffering’.

     “But what did ‘the whole of Russia’ ask about? As a rule, about two things: the removal of ‘dark powers’ and the bestowing of ‘a ministry of confidence’. The degree to which the boundaries between these two groups was blurred is evident from the fact that the Duma deputy Protopopov at first considered himself a candidate for the ‘ministry of confidence’, but when his Majesty truly appointed him a minister, the name of Protopopov immediately appeared in the ranks of the ‘dark powers’. By the ‘dark powers’ was usually understood Rasputin and his supposed protégés...

     “It was less evident what the ‘ministry of confidence’ was. For many this term had a purely practical meaning and signified the removal from the government of certain ministers who were not pleasing to the Duma and the appointment in their place of Milyukov, Rodzyanko and other members of the Duma.

     “But the closer it came to the February coup, the more demands there were in favour of a really responsible ministry, that is, a government which would be formed by the Duma and would only formally be confirmed by his Majesty. That a responsible ministry was no longer a real monarchy, but the end of the Autocracy was not understood by everyone. Nobody at that time listened to the words of Scheglovitov: ‘A monarchist who goes with a demand for a ministry of public confidence is not a monarchist’.

     “As for the idea of appointed people with no administrative experience, but of the Duma, to the government in conditions of war, this was evidently thought precisely by those people. All these arguments about ‘dark forces’ and ‘a ministry of confidence’ first arose in the Duma and were proclaimed from its tribune. Evidently the beginning of the mass movements towards his Majesty in November, 1916 were linked with the opening of a Duma session at precisely that time. These conversations were hardly time to coincide with the opening of the Duma: rather, they were elicited by the Duma speeches, which were distributed at the time not only on the pages of newspapers, but also in the form of leaflets. ‘We,’ wrote Shulgin later, ‘ourselves went mad and made the whole country mad with the myth about certain geniuses, ‘endowed with public confidence’, when in fact there were none such…’

     “In general, all these conversations were quite similar and usually irrelevant. Nevertheless, his Majesty always listened attentively to what was expressed in them, although by no means all his interlocutors were easy to listen to.

     “Some of them, like many of the Great Princes and Rodzyanko, strove to impose their point of view and change his political course, demanding a ministry endowed with confidence or even a responsible ministry. His Majesty listened to them in silence and thanked them for their ‘advice’.

     “Others, like General Alexeyev or S.S. Kostritsky, were under the powerful impression (not to say influence) of the Duma speeches and political agitation, which the truly dark forces who had already thought up the February coup were conducting at the time. Those who gave regular reports to his Majesty and whom he trusted were subjected to particularly strong pressure. If they began a heart-to-heart conversation, his Majesty patiently explained to them in what he did not agree with them and why.

     “There existed a third category which, like P.M. Kaufmann, got through to his Majesty, even though they did not have a report to give, so as to tell him ‘the whole bitter truth’. They did not clearly know what they wanted, and simply said ‘everything that had built up in their souls’. Usually they began their speeches with the question: could they speak to him openly (as if his Majesty would say no to such a question!), and then spoke on the same two subjects, about the ‘dark powers’ and the government, insofar as, by the end of 1916, the same things, generally speaking, had built up in all their souls. The speech of such a ‘truth-seeker’ usually ended in such a sad way (Kaufmann just said: ‘Allow me: I’ll go and kill Grishka!’) that his Majesty had to calm them down and assure them that ‘everything will work out’ 

     “One cannot say that his Majesty did not listen to his interlocutors. Some ministers had to leave their posts precisely because of the conversations. For example, on November 9, 1916 his Majesty wrote to the Empress that he was sacking Shtürmer since nobody trusted that minister: ‘Every day I hear more and more about him. We have to take account of that.’ And on the same day he wrote in his diary: ‘My head is tired from all these conversations’.

     “By the beginning everyone noticed his tiredness, and his interlocutors began more often to foretell revolution to him. Earlier he could say to the visitor: ‘But you’ve gone out of your mind, this is all in your dreams. And when did you dream it? Almost on the very eve of our victory?! And what are you frightened of? The rumours of corrupt Petersburg and the babblers in the Duma, who value, not Russia, but their own interests?’ (from the memoirs of Mamantov). And then the conversation came to an end. But now he had to reply to the most senseless attacks. And he replied. To the rumours of betrayal in the entourage of the Empress: ‘What, in your opinion I’m a traitor?’ To the diagnosis made by the Duma about Protopopov: ‘When did he begin to go mad? When I appointed him a minister?’ To the demand ‘to deserve the confidence of the people’: ‘But is it not that my people has to deserve my confidence?’ However, they did not listen to him…”[24]

     Almost all the plotters later repented of their actions. Thus “in the summer of 1917,” writes F. Vinberg, “in Petrograd and Moscow there circulated from hand to hand copies of a letter of the Cadet leader Milyukov. In this letter he openly admitted that he had taken part, as had almost all the members of the State Duma, in the February coup, in spite of the fact that he understood the danger of the ‘experiment’ he had undertaken. ‘But,’ this gentleman cynically admitted in the letter, ‘we knew that in the spring we were were about to see the victory of the Russian Army. In such a case the prestige and attraction of the Tsar among the people would again become so strong and tenacious that all our efforts to shake and overthrow the Throne of the Autocrat would be in vain. That is why we had to resort to a very quick revolutionary explosion, so as to avert this danger. However, we hoped that we ourselves would be able to finish the war triumphantly. It turned out that we were mistaken: all power was quickly torn out of our hands by the plebs… Our mistake turned out to be fatal for Russia’…”[25]

     So we must conclude that it was both stupidity and treason that manifested themselves in the actions of the February plotters. They were undoubtedly traitors in violating their oath of allegiance to the Tsar. But they were also stupid because they did not understand what the overthrow of the Tsar would lead to – something that Rasputin understood better than they…


May 3/16, 2016; revised March 1/14, 2017.


[1] “Skrytaia Byl’” (A Hidden Story), Prizyv’ (Summons), N 50, Spring, 1920; in F. Vinberg, Krestnij Put’ (The Way of the Cross), Munich, 1920, St. Petersburg, 1997, pp. 167-168).

[2] Archpriest Lev Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1999, p. 430.

[3] In fact, the Tsar as often as not ignored Rasputin’s advice. See S.S. Oldenburg, Tsarstvovanie Imperatora Nikolaia II (The Reign of Emperor Nicholas II), Belgrade, 1939, vol. II, pp. 190-191.

[4] V.F. Ivanov, Russkaia Intelligentsia i Masonstvo ot Petra I do nashikh dnej (The Russian Intelligentsia and Masonry from Peter I to our days), Moscow, 1997, pp. 411-412.

[5] Voeikov, So Tsarem i Bez Tsaria (With and Without the Tsar), Moscow, 1995, p. 137.

[6] A joint investigation by British and Russian police has now come to the conclusion that the third and fatal shot that killed Rasputin was actually fired by a British secret service agent. See Michael Smith, A History of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, London: Dialogue; Annabel Venning, “How Britain’s First Spy Chief Ordered Rasputin’s Murder”, Daily Mail, July 22, 2010, pp. 32-33.

     The Tsar did not condone the murder. But Yusupov was justified by his close friend, Great Princess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, who said that he had only done his patriotic duty – “you killed a demon,” she said. To Yusupov’s parents she wrote: “May the Lord bless the patriotic exploit of your son” (Yusupov, op.cit., p. 235). And to the Tsar she wrote on December 29: “Crime remains crime, but this one being of a special kind, can be counted as a duel and it is considered a patriotic act… Maybe nobody has had the courage to tell you now, that in the street of the towns people kissed like at Easter week, sang the hymn in the theatres and all moved by one feeling – at last the black wall between us and our Emperor is removed” (Alexander Bokhanov, Manfred Knodt, Vladimir Oustimenko, Zinaida Peregudova, Lyubov Tyutyunnik, The Romanovs, London: Leppi, 1993, p. 237).

[7] Voeikov, op. cit., pp. 50, 143.

[8] Bakhanov, Imperator Nikolaj II, Moscow, 1998, p. 371.

[9] Two women close to the Royal Family during the war, Princess Vera Gedroits and Valentina Chebotareva, believed that the tsar “without doubt did not believe in either Grigory’s saintliness or his powers, but put up with him, like a sick person when exhausted by clutching at straws” (Helen Rappoport, Four Sisters, London: Pan Books, 2014, pp. 243-244). General Spiridovich claimed that Grand Duchess Olga had always “instinctively sensed that there was something bad in Rasputin” (op. cit., p. 279). And even Grand Duchess Tatiana, in spite of being very close to her mother, told Valentina Chebotareva not long after his death: “Maybe it was necessary to kill him, but not in such a terrible way” (op. cit., p. 279).

[10] Radzinsky, Rasputin, Moscow, 1992, p. 501.

[11] Lebedev, op. cit., pp. 473-475.

[12] Sedova, “Ne Tsar’, a Ego Poddanie Otvetsvenny za Febral’skij Perevorot 1917 Goda” (Not the Tsar, but his Subjects were Responsible for the Coup of 1917), Nasha Strana, N 2864, March 14, 2009, p. 3.

[13] G. Katkov, Fevral’skaia Revoliutsia (The February Revolution), Paris, 1984, pp. 175-82.

[14] Sedova, op. cit., p. 3.

[15] Yakovlev, 1 Avgusta, 1914, Moscow, 1974, p. 13.

[18] Sedova, after arguing that the generals were never initiated into Guchkov’s plot, goes on: “Finally, nevertheless, Guchkov revealed his plan to Ruzsky. But this took place already after the coup. On learning of the plot, Ruzsky cried out: ‘Ach, Alexander Ivanovich, if you had told me about this earlier, I would have joined you.’ But Guchkov said: ‘My dear, if I had revealed the plan, you would have pressed a button, and an adjutant would have come and you would have said: “Arrest him”.’” (“Ne Tsar…”, p. 4)

[19] Katkov, op. cit., p. 222.

[20] Oldenburg, op. cit., vol. II, p. 228.

[21] Sedova, “Byl li masonskij zagovor…?” Nasha Strana.

[22] Katkov, op. cit., p. 223.

[24] Sedova, “’Razgovory po dusham’ Fevral’skikh Impotentov” (‘Heart-to-heart’ Conversations of the February Impotents), Nasha Strana (Our Country), N 2834, December 29, 2007, p. 7.

[25] Vinberg, Krestnij Put’ (The Way of the Cross), Munich, 1920, St. Petersburg, 1997, p. 151.

‹‹ Back to All Articles
Site Created by The Marvellous Media Company