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16 Mar, 2017 23:17

'Amazing news from Petrograd’: Western press’ caustic reaction to abdication of Tsar Nicholas II

'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.

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!"

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.

RT offers you a chance to follow one of the most turbulent periods in Russian history in real time, a hundred years later, with our #1917LIVE Twitter project. You also have an opportunity to engage with the Russian Revolution and become part of our project by creating your own historical Twitter account under the #1917CROWD concept.