'Amazing news from Petrograd’: Western press’ caustic reaction to abdication of Tsar Nicholas II
The abdication of Russian Tsar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, was met with a fair share of optimism and even rancor in many Western capitals and newspapers. Follow the urgent reports from revolutionary Russia as they unfold with RT’s #1917LIVE social media project.
BREAKING 100 yrs ago: Tsar Nicholas II abdicates amid mutiny & chaos in Russian capital
The United Kingdom welcomes the news and hopes that the revolution in Russia will help the Allies in WWI, which is its third year.
“Abdication of the Tsar of Russia – the Grand Duke Michael becomes regent – amazing news from Petrograd,” the Daily Mirror proclaimed cheerfully in its headline. Saint Petersburg was called Petrograd at the time and was the capital of the empire.
“Announcement that Russia had overthrown the autocratic government and joined the ranks of progressive nations was received here with unmixed joy,” the New-York Tribune reports from London.
The paper noted how swift the uprising was that overthrew the centuries-old Russian monarchy. “Until Sunday night, this pageant continued without serious interruption. Then in a flash, the whole scene lost its theatric quality; it became a genuine revolution,” the Tribune reported.
On March 18, it runs a cartoon showing a mighty peasant, representing the Russian people, unchaining himself and setting free from the old regime and “plutocracy.”
‘Blow to Teutons’
Although Russia is part of the Allied Forces at war against Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Russian Tsar and his entourage face criticism from British and American media who accuse the Romanovs of pro-German sentiments.
“The German influence appears now to be entirely eliminated from the government of Russia,” declares the New-York Tribune.
“Czar’s downfall blow to Teutons,” a headline in Evening Star, an American newspaper published in Washington, DC, screams.
Washington Evening Star reacts to the abdication of Nicholas II pic.twitter.com/hS1KHs48Je— Timur Z (@TimZlt) March 16, 2017
“Pro German Bureaucrats Caught in Their Own Trap,” The New-York Tribune headline the day after the abdication says.
“Russian chiefs, doomed to play Kaiser’s game, waited too long before attempting to check indignation of people.”
Huge animosity is reserved for the German-born Empress Alexandra. Rumors about her ties to Germany have caused major damage to the reputation of the imperial family since the outbreak of the war.
“Elimination of Czarina kills hope for separate peace with Russia,” the Tribune underlines.
Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother Grand Duke Mikhail, who refused the throne the next day, ending the 300-year rule of the Romanov dynasty.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a sarcastic cartoon, with the caption: "For the love of Mike, they fired Nick!"
"For the love of Mike, they fired Nick!" The @Weatherbird weighs in on the abdication of Czar Nicholas II, #OTD 1917. @STLyesterdaypic.twitter.com/jpoGvlMhVM— Roland Klose (@rwklose) March 15, 2017
Pointing out that only a very small portion of the population took part in the revolution, Spain’s major newspaper ABC says that “the notion that revolution is just an occurrence that has upset the balance and that the country will carry on organized and strong is far-fetched.”
“To think that the ‘muzhik’ [peasant] is excited about topics like ‘the struggle for rights’, ‘the struggle for civilization’ etc. is something inadmissible in a serious argument,” the conservative paper says.
#OnThisDay Today is the 100th anniversary of the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia - as reported in the SMH, March 17, 1917 @smhpic.twitter.com/DGc82NWrW2— From The Archives (@FairfaxArchives) March 14, 2017
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