In the days of the great struggle against the foreign enemy, which almost for three years has tried to enslave our country, God the Lord has seen it fit to send Russia a new ordeal. The arisen internal disturbances among the people will threaten to have a disastrous reflexion in the further conduct of the obstinate war. The fate of Russia, the honour of our heroic army, well-being of the people, the whole future of our dear Fatherland demand the war to be brought to the victorious end by whatever means. The cruel enemy is straining its last strengths and already close is the moment, when our valiant army together with our glorious allies will finally be able to break down the enemy. In these decisive days in the life of Russia WE have considered it to be the duty of conscience to facilitate for OUR people the close unification and rallying of all national forces, for the earliest reaching of the victory, and with the consent of the State Duma WE have considered it right and proper to give up the Throne of the State of Russia and to resign OUR Supreme Power. As we do not want to part with OUR son, WE pass OUR legacy to OUR Brother, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and bless Him to ascend the Throne of the Russian State. WE command OUR Brother to govern affairs of the State in full and inviolable unity with the representatives of the people in the legislative bodies on such grounds, which they will enact, and to make for that an inviolable oath. In the name of the warmly beloved homeland I call all true sons of the Fatherland to fulfil their sacred duty for Her by their obedience to the Tsar at a difficult moment of nationwide ordeals and help HIM, together with the representatives of the people, to lead the Russian State to the road of victory, prosperity and glory. May God the Lord help Russia.
2 March 15 h 5 min. 1917
Minister of the Imperial Court
Adjutant General Count Freedericksz
Assisted translation from Russian by Pauli Kruhse
The English translation of the renunciation by Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich of the adoption of the supreme power:
A heavy burden has been laid on me by my brother's will in transferring to me the imperial throne of All Russia at a time of unprecedented war and unrest among the people.
Inspired by the thought common to the whole nation, that the well-being of our homeland comes above all, I have taken the hard decision to accept supreme power only in the event that it shall be the will of our great people, who in nationwide voting must elect their representatives to a Constituent Assembly, establish a new form of government and new fundamental laws for the Russian State.
Therefore, calling on God's blessing, I ask all citizens of the Russian State to obey the provisional government which has been formed and been invested with complete power on the initiative of the State Duma, until a Constituent Assembly, to be convened in the shortest possible time on the basis of general, direct, equal, secret ballot, expresses the will of the people in its decision on a form of government.
3/III - 1917.
As his Majesty Nicholas II has abdicated from the Throne of the State of Russia and combined with it, the Supreme Power, and has passed his legacy to his brother Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and has blessed him at ascending the Throne, and as Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich has decided to accept taking of the Supreme Power only if the people of Russia in the forthcoming Constituent Assembly wants him to do it, the government of the State now will rest, until the Constituent Assembly is summoned, with the Provisional Government instigated by the State Duma and provided with the plenary power.
As to Finland, the most urgent summoning of the Diet and the formation of a Senate that represents the Society is projected by the Provisional Government.
As I declare this, I ask the Finnish population to uphold its law-abiding peaceful nature and to maintain full public order, to obey the law and war-time regulations and to show proper obedience to the authorities.
The acting holder of the office of the General Governor of Finland
Senator A d. L i p s k i j.
At Helsingfors, March 4/17, 1917. Source: Suomalainen Wirallinen Lehti (The Official Gazette of Finland), no. 64, on Saturday 17th of March, 1917 (April 4th in Russia). Translation from Finnish by Pauli Kruhse.
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Chronological list of selected events of 1917-1920.