A Tsar’s Brother

Mikhail.
Mikhail.

Tsar Nikolai II of Russia’s rather dashing younger brother Mikhail (Michael) born in 1878 at Anichkov Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia he was the last Romanov to reign in Russia as Tsar ending a dynasty that had ruled for 1613.

Mikhail however reign a very short time  hours in fact, he sadly was also killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, he had married a commoner Natalia Brasova in 1912 the two had just one son who because he was born out of wedlock and to a commoner Mother would never have been entitled to rule anyway, so this going with the fact that Mikhail was a reluctant Tsar his death is another revolting murder on behalf of the Bolsheviks.

Just before his brother Nikolai and his family were taken away Mikhail was allowed a brief visit with his elder brother it was to be the last time the brothers would ever see each other bits of the visit are described by Alexander Kerenensky, Prime Minister he said that the brothers exchanged awkward pleasantries “fidgeting all the while, and sometimes one would take hold of the other’s hand or the buttons of his uniform” did either one suspect neither would survive to see each other again we will probably never know.

On 21 August 1917, guards surrounded the villa on Nikolaevskaya street where Michael was living with Natalia. On the orders of Kerensky, they were both under house arrest, along with Nicholas Johnson, who had been Michael’s secretary since December 1912. A week later, they were moved to an apartment in Petrograd. Michael’s stomach problems worsened, and with the intervention of British ambassador Buchanan and foreign ministerMikhail Tereshchenko, they were moved back to Gatchina in the first week of September. Tereshchenko told Buchanan that the Dowager Empress would be allowed to leave the country, for England if she wished, and that Michael would follow in due course. The British, however, were not prepared to accept any Russian Grand Duke for fear it would provoke a bad public reaction in Britain, where there was little sympathy for the Romanovs.

On 1 September 1917, Kerensky declared Russia a republic. Michael wrote in his diary: “We woke up this morning to hear Russia declared a Republic. What does it matter which form the government will be as long as there is order and justice?”

On 12 June 1918, the leader of the local secret police, Gavril Myasnikov, with the connivance of other local Bolsheviks, hatched a plan to murder Michael. Myasnikov assembled a team of four men, who all, like him, were former prisoners of the Tsarist regime: Vasily Ivanchenko, Ivan Kolpashchikov, Andrei Markov, and Nikolai Zhuzhgov. Using a forged order, the four men gained entry to Michael’s hotel at 11.45 p.m. At first, Michael refused to accompany the men until he spoke with the local chairman of the secret police, Pavel Malkov, and then because he was ill. His protestations were futile, and he got dressed. Johnson insisted on accompanying him, and the four men plus their two prisoners climbed into two horse-drawn three-seater traps. They drove out of the town into the forest near Motovilikha. When Michael queried their destination, he was told they were going to a remote railway crossing to catch a train. By now it was the early hours of 13 June. They all alighted from the carriages in the middle of the wood, and both Michael and Johnson were fired upon, once each, but as the assassins were using home-made bullets, their guns jammed. Michael, whether wounded or not is unknown, moved towards the wounded Johnson with arms outstretched, when he was shot at point-blank range in the head.  Both Zhuzhgov and Markov claimed to have fired the fatal shot. Johnson was shot dead by Ivanchenko. The bodies were stripped and buried. Anything of value was stolen, and the clothes were taken back to Perm. After they were shown to Myasnikov as proof of the murders, the clothes were burned. The Ural Regional Soviet, headed by Alexander Beloborodov, approved the execution, either retrospectively or beforehand, as did Lenin. Michael was the first of the Romanovs to be executed by the Bolsheviks, but he would not be the last. Neither Michael’s nor Johnson’s remains were ever found.

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