Why Did Tsarism Fall In Russia?

Written By
Father Nektarios Serfes
May 1998

Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II
Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II

There is so much to be said in regards to the question "Why did Tsarism Fall in Russia?" Many historians as well as the media (both "serious" and "popular") have tried to pinpoint the fall of His Imperial Majesty Tsar Nicholas II, who was not only the Emperor but also the Autocrat of All the Russia's. We cannot blame it on just a few individuals or because of any one single factor, but we must consider the whole historical and spiritual situation during the time the Tsar Nicholas reigned. We must consider historically development of Europe, its spiritual changes and also of course, the political aspects that had deeply affected the internal life of the Russian Empire and contributed to the downfall of the Tsar and his Empire.

When I speak of the spiritual changes that took place in Russia, I am speaking, about the way it's citizens began to turn away from their beliefs in God, and instead were influenced by new philosophical ideals and beliefs, many of which emanated from writers based in Germany. These writings had a tremendous influence on Russian political life. Atheism was the new philosophy! The outcome - highly significant for Russia - was the deliberate turning away from Divine revelation and from the former attitude of respect and love for the Tsar. This new attitude played its part in his downfall. Treason was also a significant ingredient.

From Germany, the Kaisers agents found Russians willing to collaborate with their plans of conquest, and used every means to influence supporters of the revolutionary cause. There were frequent, emotionally-charged rallies, and much use was made of the press to exploit the revolutionary atmosphere being created. Rumors were encouraged and spread rapidly, and most citizens simply believed what they read, whether it was true or not. Another important factor, and a highly emotive one, was the assumption that anyone who was not simply Russian had to be a German spy. Her Imperial Highness Tsarina Alexandra, the Empress and wife of Tsar Nicholas was accused of being a spy, simply because she was born in Hesse, Germany.

The venerable and most devoted Abbess of Ss. Mary and Martha Convent and Hospital Grand Duchess Elizabeth the sister of Tsarina was even accused of being a spy by some of the patients at her hospital, although in the end they realized this was not the case at all. The Grand Duchess and the Tsarina both simply loved the people of Russia, and demonstrated this by their actions and the good works they performed during the war with Germany. Both the Tsarina and Grand Duchess where 'provoslavnaya' to the tips of their fingers, and were, along with the Tsarinas daughters, very active during this time of immense suffering, and worked amongst the injured with such fervor that they were all considered as great crusaders by those they ministered to. (Please read my previous web pages on both these Royal Martyrs for more details) The earlier war with Japan in 1904 (although peace between Russia and Japan was signed September 5, 1905) did not help internal matters, nor the war with Germany in 1914 which lasted until March 3, 1918 when the Soviet delegation signed the German peace terms at Brest-Litovsk, to the great dismay of His Imperial Majesty Tsar Nicholas II because Russia lost some territory. Both of these wars severely damaged the economy of the Tsarist Empire, and the revolutionaires took advantage of these internal and political and economic problems, and manipulated them to bring about the end of the Imperial regime.

The Russian railway system had never been adequate, and the war had reduced its capacity to transport essential supplies. The lack of food and medical supplies, which could no longer be transferred from Western Europe by rail, accelerated the problems of the Russian Empire, and the Germans made sure the trains did not get through to reach the needy people. The distress and anger this caused also contributed to the downfall of the Russian Empire.

Then we must consider the political influences affecting the Duma at this time. Several members of the Duma where very much influenced by the new philosophy and sought means to bring about rapid change in the country; indeed some of them had the same ideas as the revolutionaries. The Duma helped to destroy the Empire by failing to maintain its traditional ideals and purposes.

Assassinations were on the increase too. In Moscow alone twenty administrators appointed by Tsar Nicholas II within the government at the time were a powerful influence in keeping the Tsar in power. The revolutionaries knew that the best way to promote the downfall of the Tsar was to get rid of those who worked with and supported him and the Russian Empire. We begin with the assassination on February 17, 1905 of Grand Duke Sergei Romanov who was the Governor-General of Moscow; then we must remember the devoted Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin (1862-1911) who was assassinated on September 1, 1911. The Prime Minister brought about reforms and found the means to help Russia with its internal progress and development. Stolypin had implemented significant new economic policies that astonished intellectuals across the world. His death had a deep effect on the downfall of the Tsar and his Empire.

Can we really with honesty just blame the downfall of the Tsar and his family, and all of his relatives and the more then 66.5 million people killed for the sake of the new government, a humane means of dealing with people? Was the only way to get rid of the Tsarist Government to eliminate those who highly supported the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias? New Martyr Priest Nicholas (Zagarovsky) and his grandson
New Martyr Priest Nicholas (Zagarovsky) and his grandson
One only has to read the writings of the famous Russian historian Alexander Solzehenitsyn, who himself became a giant confessor of this new secret 'country. This famous and outstanding partisan historian and outraged moralist, presented us with a black page in history, and opened up many eyes to the sufferings within the prison camps under the then Soviet bureaucrats. This great historian of our times even given us detailed accounts of the hourly and daily persecution of many Russian citizens who literally did not know when their last hour might come.

This was an moral outrage that hardly anyone in the Western world paid attention too. They simply closed their eyes to this totalitarian society that was not concerned with opinions of others, nor the opinions of outsiders who actually said nothing at all! Anyone who did not believe in this new Communistic society where simply sent to labor camps which began to grow in great abundance. Included were those who were opposed to this new society, and those who simply believed in God and the Russian Orthodox Faith - or for that matter any religion - who did not live up the standards or the beliefs of this new government. They found themselves in the cold mountains and other hidden regions of the Soviet Union. Labor camps were full to capacity, and the Western world paid no attention to these horrors, to these persecutions, to these sufferings, to these cries, to these pains, to this starvation, to these abuses, to these inhumane actions towards the Russian people. Alexander Solzhenitsyn best said it well: "you laughed and danced, we cried."

It is our serious and honest obligation to not forget those who died for the sake of the new Soviet Empire, and that it must be affirmed that these millions upon millions of deaths and martyrdoms was not a mere fantasy, or a lie, but that truly did take place in Russia from the time of the downfall of the Tsar and the beginning of it's New Empire, the Soviet Union. Alexander Solzehenitsyn said it with great truthful honesty in his first volume of "The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956", and we have other writings which best express his feelings: "For years I have with reluctant heart withheld from publication this already completed book: my obligation to those still living outweighed my obligation to the dead. But now that State Security has seized the book anyway, I have no alternative but to publish it immediately" (note this statement on the back cover of this book).

The turning away from God and His Church also helped with the downfall of the Tsar and his Empire. God now was out of the picture, and atheism had become the new religion of the times. Revolutionist tried to influence the Russian Orthodox Church and those who believed in this faith to deny God and His Church! We have constant attacks upon the Christian believers. We have also seen the take-over of not only the Orthodox Churches by the new Soviet government, but also the institutions provided by the Russian Orthodox Church were all destroyed, - hospitals, schools, and philanthropic causes - all of which were established for the sake of reaching out to help the people of Russia. After the take-over of the new Soviet government only six Russian Orthodox Churches survived in Moscow, before the revolution there had been over 1600 Orthodox Churches, chapels and monastery churches: all where either closed or destroyed. A perfect example of this is the most beautiful Russian Orthodox Church of "Christ the Savior" in Moscow which, after it was blown up, became a swimming pool... today it has been rebuilt. Monasteries too were seized, and some used for as storage buildings, and Soviet offices.

The humble Russian Orthodox Patriarch Tikhon who also did missionary work in America was martyred March 25, 1925 and recently was canonized a Saint. Metropolitans, Bishops, priest, monks, nuns, men, women, and children suddenly all disappeared, and millions upon millions where martyred.St.Tikhon, Confessor and Patriarch of Moscow
St.Tikhon, Confessor and Patriarch of Moscow
In many Russian districts the priest began to disappear, and together with bishops, monks, nuns and hard working men, and women were found in the many prison camps and psychiatric hospitals throughout Russia.Very few survived! Some of those who did survive where able to exile to other countries! I personally have met many of these people. I once knew a monk who use to cook at a Russian Orthodox monastery, who in his early days cooked limited food at a concentration camp. I have personally met men and women who had escaped from Russia through China then to Australia and then finally to California, and others who had moved to Chicago and New York.

I as well met Russian Orthodox Christians who escaped through Europe. Many of these people had to walk to their freedom. How all these people who made it out alive from Russia was in itself a miracle. No one was allowed to leave Russia for decades! This finally happened after communism fell in the Soviet Union. Those who where left behind in the new Soviet Union now lived within the walls of a total concentration camp. Years upon years where spent to determining how they could get their families out of Russia. Then I met on a personal basis those who had never seen their parents, nor their brother or sister, cousin or friends, who often would say they where sent to the concentration camps because of their Russian Orthodox Faith! I have as well met Russian Jews who too found refuge in America, who had suffered the same way, and I came across many people from Siberia who had escaped, and often times when we had conversations about their escape it was done with tearful eyes - and then a plea for me to pray for those who did make it as well as those who did not make it to freedom.

I often was given a long list of names to pray for, remembering families who perished in the Soviet Union after the fall of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Nicholas II and his beloved family. In their eyes, and with deep faith, they now considered this family Holy Royal Martyrs and those who perished because of ones religious faith where considered New Martyrs of Russia. Those who made it alive out of the new Soviet Empire had respect and honor for the Tsar and told me on several occasions that they had peaceful existence under his reign. One elderly man who use to help his father on the farm in Russia as a boy once told me after the Tsar and his family where martyred, life was a terror, life was horror, and life was for him, every day, a hunger for food, and even a hunger for him to go to Church.

If you went to Church under the then Soviet Union you did not have a good opportunity for work, or even for a proper education - you were simply told what to do, and if you did not do it, you where sent to a concentration camp. I once met a woman who with her father and mother hid on top of the Trans-Siberian rail road train, and made it from Moscow finally to Endicott, New York. Her name was Tatiana, and she has since reposed in the Lord. Memory Eternal to these beloved souls in Christ our Lord! As new archives become available from Russia and more people present us with new insights -that is the truth presented, we begin to realize it was not just one person, or one factor that brought the downfall of the Tsar and his Empire; there is a combination of many factors to be considered.

Often we hear it was the Tsarevichs illness! It was Rasputin! It was the Tsarina! It was not just one of these factors, as many rumors grew out of proportion, and were designed to win over the people, who themselves became victims. Fables existed, as well as slanderous gossip against the Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II and his beloved family, that was directly supported by the revolutionaries. This too helped with the fall of the Tsar and his Empire.

I would strongly advise all those who desire to learn more about these causes to seriously investigate the many great writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. In these books you will learn of the true situation in the concentration camps, and the continuous persecution by the Soviet Union of its own people. Then we have a well-known book that reveals in a wonderful way the blood of the new Christian Martyrs of Russia. This is Russia's Catacomb Saints, Lives Of The New Martyrs, published by St. Herman Of Alaska Press, Platina, California, 1982. This book gives several lives of those martyred during the times of persecutions in Russia.

Many more volumes will have to be added as time proceeds. These accounts of the Christian martyrs in Russia will astonish you and perhaps shock you. To realize that more Christians were martyred in Russia from the time of the 1917 revolution up until the early 80's, than in the first three centuries of early Christianity!

We have some contemporary writers who are now making contributions in giving us more information that the earlier Soviet Union had kept secret. One such writer whom I have been in contact with is an historian from Harvard University, Richard Pipes who is the author of The Russian Revolution, who has as well published another book that now finally gives a good account of the Fall of Tsarism: Three "Whys" Of the Russian Revolution. In reading this book we also get a better understanding of how did the Bolsheviks triumph? I also suggest you read the chapter on Why did Stalin succeed Lenin? I also seriously suggest you read the chapter on Why did Tsarism fall in Russia? We cannot continue to be blinded by false reports that previous communistic believers wanted us to believe in the West, as well as their own people in Russia.

The lies are over and the slander is finished against the Royal Martyrs of Russia Tsar Nicholas II and his beloved family, as well as those of the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and her companion the New Martyr Barbara, and all the New Martyrs of Russia who are now great intercessors before the Throne of our Gracious and Loving-God!

Let us pray earnestly that our hearts, minds and souls are open to great sufferings and struggles of the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and his family, and all those who loved them; the people of Russia who gave much love and dedication not only to the Tsar, but also to their country and to our God. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia had canonized the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and his beloved family, the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and the New Martyr Barbara, and all the New Martyrs of Russia in 1981. The Patriarchate of Moscow is considering the furtherance of the holy canonization as well, in the years to come, although Ss. Elizabeth and Barbara, and several Hierarchs (Metropolitans and Bishops), have been recently canonized in Moscow, Russia under the Patriarchate in the last few years, and further holy canonization of the New Martyrs is also being considered too as year by year more names are added to the list.

In regards for further readings on the concentration camps read: "Prison Camp Speech, A Survivor's Glossary", compiled by Meyer Galler & Harlan E. Marquess, University of Wisconsin Press, 1972. To learn more about the individual lives of the New Christian Martyrs of Russia please read: "The New Martyrs of Russia", by Archpriest Michael Polsky, Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev; Monastery Press, Montreal, Canada, 1972. This book can be obtained at Holy Trinity Monastery, which also has other series of publications about the individual New Martyrs of Russia. Write to: Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore, P.O. Box 36 Joranville, New York 13661.

For further readings on "St. Tikhon the New Martyr & Confessor of Russia", please address myself for this publication:

Father Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702.
The photograph of the Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II is from a personal collection of Father Nektarios Serfes. The photo of St. Tikhon the Confessor and Patriarch of Russia is also from the collection of Father Nektarios Serfes. The photo of the New Martyr of Russia Father Nicholas (Zagarovsky) and his grandson is from the book: "Russia's Catacomb Saints", p.375.

I would like to humbly thank John Wilson Smith who kindly assisted me in this text presentation.

Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia

Holy Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas, Tsarina Alexandra, Tsarevich Alexis, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia

Pray Unto God For Us!

Holy Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Holy New Martyr Barbara, and All New Martyrs of Russia

Pray Unto God For Us!

Glory Be To GOD For All Things!

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