The generally accepted version says that the last Russian Tsar signed a manifesto on the abdication of the throne for himself and for his son, Tsarevich Alexei. There are historians who doubt that consent to a renunciation was given voluntarily, and not under duress. There are, finally, those who consider the act of renouncing the last Emperor a fake.
In the morning of 1 (14) in March 1917, the royal train was stopped at Malaya Vishera station with the news that an ambush of revolutionary-minded troops was waiting for him at Lyuban station. The sovereign then decided to head to the headquarters of the Northern Front in Pskov, where he arrived in the evening of the same day. There he was actually detained by the front commander, General Nikolai Ruzsky.
Under pressure from the generals, leading telegraph negotiations with the chairman of the State Duma, Mikhail Rodzianko, knowing about the seizure of power in Petrograd by revolutionaries, seeing the widespread sabotage of his orders, in the evening of March 2 agreed to renounce power. Under the law of succession, the Emperor was to be his son Alexei. However, the Sovereign, in his manifesto, denied not only for himself, but also for his son. He explained this by “unwillingness to part with his beloved son.” Nicholas II handed over power to his younger brother, Mikhail, who declared the next day that he would be able to accept the crown only by the will of the Russian people.
So, the Tsar renounced due to the collapse of the state apparatus and the convictions of those closest to him.
The act of renunciation is fake?
In our time, the historian Peter Multatuli substantiated the hypothesis that the act of the Emperor’s abdication was false, and the signature of Nicholas II under him was forged. In his opinion, the Tsar was trapped in a trap as a result of a conspiracy headed by Alexander Guchkov, an industrialist and leader of the October 17 Union. The conspiracy involved prominent generals. The king was immediately arrested in Pskov, and all subsequent alleged Tsarist acts were issued by conspirators on his behalf.
Without denying the existence of a conspiracy, it must be admitted that Petrograd was indeed already at the mercy of the revolutionaries. To convince the king of the futility of resistance was enough of this fact and sabotage his orders. Trotsky’s figurative expression that the Tsar agreed to renounce “at the point of the adjutant general’s revolvers” should be taken as a metaphor, not literally.
Finally, we can trust the testimony of the monarchist Vasily Shulgin, who came, on behalf of the State Duma, along with Guchkov, to persuade the Tsar to deny. Shulgin was an unbalanced, but honest man. The authenticity of the Tsar's signature under the act of renunciation was not questioned by any of his contemporaries.
The king denied not only for himself, but also for his son. According to the laws of the Empire, he had no right to do so. If the revolution then developed in a “legal way”, then in the future the act of renunciation could be invalid. It is quite possible that Nicholas II intentionally left such a loophole for himself.
But all subsequent events left no chance for the restoration of the monarchy. The fact of a real change of power makes idle the question of the legality of a manifesto on renunciation.
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