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The Abdication of Nicholas II (1917)

Nicholas II signed his abdication on March 15, 1917 (March 2, Julian Calendar) at 3:05 PM. The document was counter-signed by the Minister of the Imperial Court and directed to the Chief of Staff.

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In the days of the great struggle against the external enemy, who has striven for nearly three years to enslave our homeland, the Lord God has willed to subject Russia to yet another heavy trial. The popular disturbances which have broken out threaten to have a calamitous effect on the further conduct of the hard-fought war. The fate of Russia, the honor of our heroic army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our beloved Fatherland demand that the war be brought to a victorious conclusion. The cruel foe exerts his last efforts, and the time is near when our valiant army, together with our glorious allies will decisively overcome him. In these decisive days in Russia's life, WE have deemed it our duty in conscience to OUR nation to draw closer together and to unite all national forces for the speediest attainment of victory. In agreement with the State Duma WE have acknowledged it as beneficial to renounce the throne of the Russian state and lay down Supreme authority. Not wishing to separate OURSELVES from OUR beloved SON, WE hand over OUR succession to OUR Brother, the Grand Duke MICHAEL ALEKSANDROVICH, and give Him OUR blessing to ascend the throne of the Russian State. We command OUR Brother to conduct the affairs of state in complete and inviolable union with the representatives of the nation in the legislative institutions on such principles as they will be establish, and to swear to this an inviolate oath. In the name of OUR deeply beloved homeland, WE call on all true sons of the Fatherland to fulfill their sacred duty to the It by obeying the Tsar in the difficult moment of national trials, and to help HIM, together with the representatives of the people, lead the Russian State to victory, prosperity, and glory. May the Lord God help Russia!

Pskov, 2 March 1917

15 hours 5 minutes


[Source: Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Vintage, 1990), pp. 315-316.]

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