Closeup of a photograph of some of the members of the Imperial family, taken on a visit to Moscow in 1903.

You can see Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna at the front. Behind them are Nicholas’ uncle,  Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, who was Alix’s sister.

Next to Elizabeth and Sergei are the children of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich - Maria and Dmitri. (The couple were appointed the guardians of their niece and nephew after their father remarried in an unapproved  marriage to a commoner and all his properties were seized and he was dismissed from his military commissions)



On this day, 17 February 1905, the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, general-governor of Moscow, was committed in the Kremlin by the member of the Combat Organization of the Social-Revolutionary Party  Ivan Kalyayev. 

Grand Duke, son of Alexander II and uncle of Nicholas II, had a bad reputation and was known for his strong conservative position and antisemitism. Also he was accused of the tragedy on Khodynka because he was responsible for its organization in 1896. 

The bomb was thrown to the carriage with Grand Duke and tore his body to pieces. Kalyayev was arrested at the scene because he was in a daze and had no strength to escape. The last photo showed him after the assassination. Later Kalyayev was hanged. 

Among his comrades Kalyayev was known for his idealistic nature and romantic poetry. His figure inspired many authors - Alexander Block, Leonid Andreyev (The governor), Zinaida Gippius, Maxim Gorky, Albert Camus (The righteous) and so on. Also there is a book of his comrade, revolutionary Boris Savinkov,“The pale horse” based on this story. Savinkov described there a psychological portrait of Kalyayev and the book contains a lot of interesting material about revolutionary activity of that time.


Members of the Imperial family (and some of the guests at the coronation of Nicholas II) - from an official coronation album.

Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia and his younger brother Paul Alexandrovich, the youngest of six sons of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. The brothers were inseparable and they were known for their gentle nature, shyness, and strong devotion to religion. Both would eventually be killed by revolutionaries, Sergei by a terrorist bomb in 1905 and Paul by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1919.