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  In the summer of 1904, the great Russian Empire was, unlike most of the countries of Europe by that time, still under the control of one man, the 36-year-old Tsar Nicholas II, who had ruled since the death of his father, Alexander III, ten years before. By many accounts a kind man with a genuine love for his country, Nicholas was nevertheless beginning to be pictured as a ruthless dictator by those who wished to see the empire democratized, and the complaints of his people were very much in the Tsar's thoughts that summer. One event, however, took Nicholas' mind away from his political difficulties. On August 12, he wrote in his diary “A great, day when the mercy of God has visited us so clearly. Alix gave birth to a son at one o'clock. The child has been called Alexis.”    Married to Nicholas since 1894, the former Princess Alix of Hesse Darmstadt and had given birth to four daughters―Olga.Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia―between 1897 and 1901. But the laws of succession decreed that only a male could succeed the Tsar, so the birth of Alexis, which assured the continuation of Romanov dynasty, was a cause of great rejoicing for his parents as well as throughout the vast empire.    But within a few months it became clear that the apparently healthy child was not healthy at all-he had hemophilia, a disease he had inherited through his mother from his great―grandmother,Queen Victoria, many of whose other descendants also had the disease. Hemophilia is a blood disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. A small, external scratch or cut presents no real problem as the bleeding can be stopped relatively quickly, but bumps and bruises create internal bleeding.This blood, in turn, gathers in knee and elbow joints, causing excruciating pain and, sometimes, permanent injury. Once Alexis' diagnosis was confirmed, however, it was decided that the boy's illness would remain a family secret. That decision may have changed history.    Despite his joy at the birth of an heir, Nicholas' political problems continued. Just a few months later, in January, 1905, government troops fired on a crowd of unarmed petitioners at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, killing over one hundred and wounding hundreds more. This in turn set off countrywide demonstrations against the government. Despite halfhearted efforts on Nicholas' part to satisfy the dissidents, notably the October Manifests of 1905, which converted Russia into a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, these problems would plague him for another dozen years.    In the meantime, in her anguish over her son's illness, Alexandra turned to religion and to a newcomer to the Russian court for help. Grigory Rasputin, born in Siberia in 1871, was an Eastern Orthodox(東方正教会) mystic who had been introduced to the court by one of the Tsar's numerous relatives. BONEY M - Rasputin    Although it was well known that he led a dissolute life, he had mesmerizing eyes that captivated many of the Tsar's courtiers. More important, he was able―although to this day no one knows how―to calm the young Alexis when he had hurt himself and, apparently, to ease his pain considerably. For the distraught mother, this was sufficient, and for the rest of their lives Alexandra heeded Rasputin's advice,both personal and political.    For nearly a decade after Alexis' birth, the political situation in Russia grew worse. Even the great patriotic fervor that greeted the empire's entry into the First World War took a downturn when the nation's early victories gave way to progressively greater defeats and the loss of hundreds of thousands of Russian lives. In an effort to stem the tide, Nicholas decided it was his duty to lead the army himself, and in 1915 he left St. Petersburg and took up residence at Army Headquarters, in effect leaving Alexandra to rule the country with Grigory Rasputin.    The increasingly dire situation at the front resulted in a repudiation of the war by many in Russia, which led to even more demonstrations at home by dissidents, most importantly the Bolsheviks, who wanted not a constitutional monarchy but, rather, a fully democratic state answering only to the people. The Tsar and Tsarina came increasingly under personal attack, as did Rasputin. The Russian people, not knowing of the Tsarevitch's (帝政ロシアの皇太子) hemophilia, could not understand why the mystic seemed to have so much power over the imperial family, and both he and Alexandra were much reviled in the press. Rasputin had also made important enemies at court. On December 16, 1916, he was assassinated by three courtiers.    Three months later, on March 15, 1917, the Tsar abdicated his throne, and on November 7th the Bolshevik Revolution brought the communists to power. Bolshevik ロシア社会民主労働党が分裂して形成された、ウラジーミル・レーニンが率いる左派の一派である。暴力による革命を主張し、徹底した中央集権による組織統制が特徴である。その特徴は、そのまま後身であるソビエト連邦共産党へと引き継がれた。(ウィキペディアより引用)    Less than a year later, on July 29, 1918, Nicholas and his family, including Alexis, who would have been the next Tsar, were executed on orders of Bolshevik authorities at Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, ending the three-hundred-year-old Romanov dynasty.