The tsarina exerts pressure on the tsar (1915-16)

The following excerpts are from the tsarina’s letters to Nicholas II during 1915-16. In them she exerts pressure on the tsar to make political changes and appointments:

September 2nd 1915

…Now the members of the Duma want to meet in Moscow to talk over everything when their work here is closed-one ought energetically to forbid it, it will only cause great troubles. If they do that one ought to say, that the Duma will then not be reopened till much later – threaten them, as they try to the ministers… Moscow will be worse than here, one must be severe. Oh, could not one hang Gutchkov?

November 15th 1915

Now before I forget, I must give you over a message from our Friend [Rasputin] prompted by what He saw in the night. He begs you to order that one should advance near Riga… says it is necessary, otherwise the Germans will settle down so firmly through all the winter, that it will cost endless bloodshed and trouble to make them move… he says this is just now the most essential thing and begs you seriously to order ours to advance, he says we can and we must, and I was to write it to you at once.

January 7th 1916

[Discussing ministerial appointments] Levy, I don’t know, but I should still think of Sturmer, his head is plenty fresh enough… Sturmer would do for a bit and then later on if you ever want to find another you can change him… He very much values Gregory, which is a great thing.

January 9th 1916

Oh, how I wish you could get rid of Polivanov, which means Gutchkov in his stead if honest Beliaev is too weak.

March 4th 1916

Remember about Polivanov…

March 12th 1916

Maklakov entreats to see me, also beseeching that I should implore you quickly to get rid of Polivanov, that he is simply a revolutionist under the wing of Gutchkov. Sturmer begged the same… Maklakov says quickly clear out Polivanov, any honest man is better than him.

August 8th 1916

…Our Friend hopes we won’t climb over the Carpathians and try to take them, as he repeats the losses will be too great again.

September 9th 1916

…Please, take Protopopov as minister of the Interior, as he is one of the Duma, it will make a great effect amongst them and shut their mouths.

September 14th 1916

Yesterday had Sturmer and spoke alright. I begged him quickly to change Obolensky, otherwise, we may have great disorders in the streets (on account of food) and he will at once lose his head and all are against him. God bless your new choice of Protopopov; our Friend says you have done a very wise act in naming him.

September 23rd 1916

Our Friend says about the new orders you gave to Brusilov etc.: “Very satisfied with Father’s orders, all will be well.” He won’t mention it to a soul, but I had to ask His blessing for your decision.

October 30th 1916

Forgive me for what I have done but I had to, our Friend said that it was absolutely necessary. Protopopov is in despair, he gave you that paper the other day, thought he was acting rightly until Grigory told him it was quite wrong. So I spoke to Sturmer yesterday and they both completely believe in our Friend’s wonderful God-sent wisdom… I had to take this step upon myself as Grigory says Protopopov will have all in his hands and finish up all the Unions and by that will save Russia… It will be a rotten Duma but one must not fear; if too vile, one closes it.

Dec. 13th 1916

He [Rasputinj entreats you to be firm, to be the Master and not always to give in to Trepov – you know much better than that man (still let him lead you) and why not our Friend who leads through God. Remember why I am disliked – shows it right to be firm and feared… We must give a strong country to Baby and dare not be weak for his sake, else he will have a yet harder reign… Russia wants to feel the whip, its their nature… tender love and then the iron hand to punish and guide.