russian empire

Last Words of the Romanovs

Alexei I: “I would never have married had I known that my time would be so brief. If I had known that, I would not have taken upon myself double tears.” 1676

Peter the Great: (1, written).“Leave all to…” (2, spoken). “Anna” He was calling his daughter’s name but was unconscious when she returned to his room. He died the next morning. 1725

Peter II: “Get the sledge ready, I want to go to my sister.” Spoken while delirious. His elder sister had died two years earlier at age 14. 1730

Peter III: “It was not enough then to prevent my reigning over Sweden, and to tear from my head the crown of Russia! They must have my life besides!” 1762

Paul I: “Gentlemen, in heaven’s name, spare me. At least give me time to say my prayers.” Strangled after refusing to sign his abdication. 1801

Alexander I: (1). “What a beautiful day.” (2). “Give me the remedies that you judge necessary.” 1825

Elizabeth Alexeievna: “Do not worry too much about me, but if I dared, I would like to follow the one who has been my very life.” 1826

Nicholas I: “Now I shall ascend to pray for Russia, and for you all. After Russia, I loved you more than anything else in the world. Serve Russia.” 1855

Alexandra Feodorovna: “Niki, I am coming to you.” She’s referring to her late husband, Nicholas I of Russia. She died in 1860, in the Alexander Palace.

Alexander II: Home to the palace to die…His guards heard him utter this phrase after he was attacked with bombs by anarchists in an assassination attempt. His stomach and legs were bleeding profusely and he died hours later in the Winter Palace. 1881

Alexander III: (1). “I feel the end approaching. Be calm. I am calm.” (2). “How good!” as the priest placed his hands on his head after he received the Last Rites. 1894


Nicholas II: “What? What?” He uttered those words in shock after he was told that he, his wife, five children and four servants would be shot immediately. 1918

Sergei Mikhailovich: “Tell me why? I have never been involved in politics. I loved sports, played billiards, and was interested in numismatics.” 1918

St. Elizabeth Feodorovna: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Those words were reportedly uttered by Elizabeth shortly before she was struck in the head and thrown in an abandoned mine shaft. 1918

Dmitri Constantinovich: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Spoken while he and other 3 Romanovs were being lined up to be shot. 1919

Olga Alexandrovna: “The sunset is over.” 1960

March 20, 1917 - Russian Provisional Government Vows to Stay in the War

Pictured - A double-headed eagles holds a scroll reading “Enlightenment,” while the banner at the bottom is the founding date of the Provisional Government. Inside the shield reads “This is what makes Russia strong.”

Russia’s new democratic government immediately set to work ending the worst abuses of the Tsarist regime, releasing prisoners from the gulags and curbing Russia’s aristocracy. But even these reforms could not placate many die-hard revolutionaries, especially when the government promised to remain in the war against Germany, honoring Russia’s commitments and debts to the Allies.

Petrograd’s rival center of power, the Petrograd Soviet, immediately decried the decision. So too did Lenin when he heard, still in his Swiss exile. A new slogan emerged in the capital city: “All Power to the Soviets!” The government’s Foreign Minister, Paul Miliukov, ignored their protests and vowed Russia’s commitment to the Allies. “She will fight by their side against a common enemy until the end, without cessation and without faltering.” The former Tsar too went to military headquarters at Mogilev and told the troops there to be loyal to the Provisional Government and the prosecution of the war. Their commitments were huge relief to the British and French, who feared a Russian withdrawal that would allow the Central Powers to turn all their might against the Western Front.

From 1865-1904, the Russian empire banned the publication or distribution of any all Lithuanian-language publications printed in the Latin alphabet. This was done encourage the adoption of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.

Opposing imperial Russian authorities’ efforts to replace the traditional Latin orthography with Cyrillic, and transporting printed matter from as far away as the United States to do so, the book smugglers (Lithuanian: knygnešys, or plural knygnešiai) became a symbol of Lithuanians’ resistance to Russification.

Book Smuggler Vincas Juska, Lithuania, 19th century.