Eight Things You Didn’t Know About The Russian Revolution By Stephen Davis, author of The Tsar’s Banker
One hundred years ago in 1917 the Russian revolution swept away the Russian Royal Family. Today, the story of Tsar Nicholas II, Alexandra and their family continues to hold a fascination for the world.
Here are eight facts you might not know about the Russian Revolution.
1). The Romanovs were the wealthiest family in the world and it is the Imperial Easter eggs made by Fabergé that are most identified with their splendour. The Russian jeweller produced sixty-four jewel encrusted eggs for the Romanovs. Each year Nicholas would present one to his wife and a second to his mother.
2). Nicholas II, the last Tsar, was related by blood and marriage to the royal houses of Great Britain, Spain, Sweden Germany, Denmark, Romania and Greece. This led to some highly incestuous relationships. One Grand Duchess wrote to a friend, ‘Both my sister and I married our mother’s first cousins. My father’s second sister was the sister-in-law of my sister’s husband; therefore, my sister became her own aunt’s sister- in-law! My husband’s father was my grandfather’s brother and I think I became my own aunt!’
3). When the Romanovs travelled they did not leave their luxurious lifestyle behind. There were carriages, yachts and cars but the most interesting was the royal train consisting of twelve carriages and twenty-six staff. One carriage was a power station supplying electricity for the train and others included a kitchen, wine cellar, staff accommodation, a dining room, a study, sitting rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and even a church car with a chapel and a small belfry containing a bell that jingled as the train travelled through the countryside.
4). Although the Tsar, Tsarina and their five children were murdered by revolutionaries seventeen members of the Russian Imperial family escaped into exile on a British warship, HMS Marlborough, sent by King George V to rescue them.
5). After fleeing into exile, the Tsar’s mother, together with her Cossack bodyguards, paid a visit to George V of Great Britain at Buckingham Palace. On seeing the King, who bore a striking resemblance to the murdered Tsar, the two Cossacks, believing the Tsar was alive, fell to the floor and began to kiss the King’s boots, much to George V’s embarrassment.
6). Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks (Communists) was born to a wealthy middle-class family and embraced revolutionary socialist politics following his brother's execution in 1887 for plotting the assassination of the Tsar. During 1905 he lived in London and spent most mornings at the Reading Room of the British Museum plotting the overthrow of the Russian Royal Family.
7). In January 1918 the congress of soviets adopted a resolution stating that the ‘main task of government was the destruction of any human exploitation by another.’ This was the excuse for the confiscation from the landowning class of their property, land and valuables. One Bolshevik leader coined a phrase for the landowners that became a chilling prophesy, ‘The yet unslaughtered’.
8). The remains of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II and his immediate family were interred at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg in 1998. The ceremony was attended by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The British royal family was represented at the funeral by Prince Michael of Kent who speaks Russian fluently.
About Stephen Davis
Stephen Davis began his writing career aged 27 with a column in the South Wales Western Mail. A regular contributor to business magazines, he is also the author of two business books as well as a sought-after speaker and broadcaster on business issues. He is author of ‘The Tsar’s Banker’ and ‘I Spy The Wolf’, in a series of novels that follows the fortunes of the Tagleva family between 1912 and 1946.