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weakest; the idea being that on that account she would be most subservient to the nobles. She indeed signed a document accepting terms which they imposed upon her, making her a mere puppet and vesting all real authority in the High Council. But she soon repudiated that contract and made her favorite lover, Biren, a German Courlander of low birth, supreme. Biren distinguished himself by sending more than 20,000 political exiles to Siberia. Anna died after ten years on the throne and was succeeded by her grand-nephew, Ivan IV. Within the year Biren was expelled from court, Ivan was deposed and sent to prison for life, and Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Peter the Great, succeeded him. During her twenty years' reign Russia became assertive, made much advance in literature and the arts and defeated Frederick the Great of Prussia. She let the government be conducted chiefly by two of her favorites and finally drank herself to death. Her nephew Peter III succeeded her, but as she had brought him up in seclusion and ignorance he was utterly unfit for the place. He was a mere puppet in Prussian hands and gave back to Frederick the Great all that Elizabeth had taken from him. At that his wife, although herself a German Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, repudiated him and led the Orloffs and other nobles in deposing, imprisoning and murdering him. He was strangled to death by Alexis Orloff, who soon after betrayed to her death Princess Catherine, a daughter of the Empress Elizabeth.
CATHERINE THE GREAT These tragedies left Catherine, widow of the murdered Peter, supreme, and for thirty-four years she was one of the greatest sovereigns Russia ever had, and at the same time one of the most infamous of women in all the history
of the world. The splendor of her conquests and annexation of territory, of the international prestige which she had for Russia, and of her law-giving to the Empire was rivaled only by the monstrosity of her vices and the depths of moral degradation to which she and her succession of favorites plunged the Russian court. After her for five years came her son Paul, who began as a saint and ended as a demon and a lunatic and was assassinated by his own courtiers just as he was at the point of joining Napoleon Bonaparte for the conquest of India. His son, Alexander I, was the Tsar who dealt with Napoleon at Eylau, Tilsit, Moscow and Leipsic; who added Finland, Poland, Bessarabia and much of the Caucasus to his empire; who founded the Holy Alliance and thus provoked the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine, and who was driven almost to insanity by fear of assassination at the hands of the seditious secret societies which then began to spring up all over Russia. At the end of his twenty-four years his son Nicholas became Tsar for thirty years; a pronounced reactionary, who defeated and despoiled Persia and Turkey, who crushed the Poles and Hungarians, and who died of a broken heart in the Crimean War. His son, Alexander II, was as liberal and progressive as he had been reactionary, and gained fame as the liberator of the serfs; but perished after twenty-six years as the victim of a Nihilist bomb thrower. His son, Alexander III, peace-loving and domestic, reigned for fourteen years in terror and darkness, for fear of sharing his father's fate, and was thus driven to an untimely grave.
THE LAST OF THE CZARS His son and successor, Nicholas II, reigned more than twenty-two years and completed three hundred years of the Romanoff Dynasty. In his titles he epitomized the history and geography of the Russian Empire. He was officially styled the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, of Moscow, of Kieff, of Vladimir, of Novgorod; Czar of Kazin, of Astrakhan, of Poland, of Siberia, of Kherson-Taurida, of Grousi; Gousadar of Pskoff; Grand Duke of Smolensk, of Lithuania, of Volhynia, of Podolia, and of Finland; Prince of Esthonia, of Livonia, of Courland, of Semigalia, of the Samoyedes, of Bielostok, of Corelia, of Foer, of Ingor, of Perm, of Viatka, of Bulgaria and of other countries; Master and Grand Duke of the Lower Countries of Novgorod, of Tchernigoff, of Riazan, of Polotsk, of Rostoff, of Jaroslaff, of Bielosersk, of Ondork, of Obdorsk, of Kondisk, of Vitelsk, of Metilaff, and of all the countries of the North; Master Absolute of Iversk, of Kastalnisk, of Kabardinsk; and of the territory of Armenia; Sovereign of the Mountain Princes of Tscherkask; Master of Turkestan; Heir Presumptive of Norway and Duke of Schleswick-Holstein, of Stomarne, of Dithmarse, and of Oldenburg.
A GERMAN DYNASTY It must be observed that under a strict interpretation of the usual rule of dynastic descent, the Romanoff line would be held to have terminated with the death of the Empress Elizabeth in 1761. For her successor, Peter III, was the son of Elizabeth's sister Anna, whose husband was the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. As a sovereign is attributed to the house of his father and not of his mother, therefore, Peter III was not a Romanoff but a HolsteinGottorp, and was the first Tsar of a new dynasty, to which all Russian sovereigns since belonged. The Russian court insisted, however, that the greater family must have precedence over the less. Accordingly, when Anna Romanoff, daughter of Peter the Great, married Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp, the offspring of that union was held to be more Romanoff than Holstein-Gottorp. The Holstein-Gottorp alliance, however, was not ignored, and Peter III and all subsequent sovereigns were credited to the “House of Romanoff-Holstein."
There was thus a certain fitness in the circumstance that this German dynasty which long had tyrannized over Russia should come to an end in a war with Germany, and as one of the results of that war.
NIHILISM AND BIGOTRY The end of Czarism was precipitated partly by Nihilism and its crimes of violence, which maintained a reign of terror throughout the Empire while Alexander III was on the throne, and partly by the bigotry of the Procurator of the Holy Synod, who during that period was the power behind the throne. This fanatical ecclesiastic persuaded the Czar that the murder of his father and the other woes of Russia had been judgments of heaven, as punishment for laxity of faith and for too great tolerance of Jews and Dissenters. Accordingly a vast. campaign of persecution was maintained, with repeated "pogroms” or massacres of Jews, and these things were continued in the reign of Nicholas II.
These things, added to the great losses of the war with Japan, led to widespread disaffection among the Russian people, and the organization of a revolutionary movement. In January, 1905, occurred “Red Sunday.” A great multitude of workingmen, led by a priest, approached the Winter Palace for the purpose of presenting a petition to the Czar for an increase of civil rights. They were entirely peaceful in their demeanor, and offered no violence whatever. But the troops fired upon them, and hundreds were slain.
CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT There followed general disorder throughout the Empire, until in October, 1905, the Czar proclaimed a constitution and the establishment of a Duma, or national Parliament. The latter body met for the first time in April, 1906. It was dissolved on July 8th, having done little or nothing. A second Duma met in March, 1907, and had a stormy and ineffective career. The third met in December, 1907, and became a really authoritative and efficient legislative body. Thereafter there was a persistent fight for extension of parliamentary and popular power, and restriction of the autocratic powers of the Czar. In this struggle the democracy made slow but steady gains, and Russia was moving toward a genuine constitutional system.
The outbreak of the great war found government and people apparently united for a vigorous and unrelenting prosecution of the campaign. It was at the beginning of September, 1914, that the Czar by personal decree changed the name of the capital to Petrograd, and that moment marked the zenith of his reign. Soon there began to be perceptible indications of German influence. This was not sufficient to cause Russia's withdrawal from the war. But it did seriously hamper and at times defeat the operations of the armies. German spies continually betrayed Russian military plans to the enemy; and those spies were members of the court circle, if not of the imperial family. Worse than that, supplies of arms and ammunition were withheld from the Russian army, thus dooming it to defeat. The great disasters in Poland were probably