Today, March 15, marks the centenary of the Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and the end of 300 years of Romanov Rule. On this day in 1917, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia signed the abdication manifesto aboard the Imperial Train headed to Tsarskoe Selo, a favorite family residence. The Tsar abdicated in the aftermath of the February Revolution, in the midst of WWI, when the Russian people were protesting their conditions and involvement in the war. After initially deciding in favour of his only son, the hemophiliac Tsarevich Alexei, the Tsar abdicated in favour of his younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, who declined to accept the throne unless the people were allowed to vote for the continuation of the monarchy or for a republic. Tsar Nicholas II issued this statement;
In the days of the great struggle against the foreign enemies, who for nearly three years have tried to enslave our fatherland, the Lord God has been pleased to send down on Russia a new heavy trial. Internal popular disturbances threaten to have a disastrous effect on the future conduct of this persistent war. The destiny of Russia, the honor of our heroic army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our dear fatherland demand that the war should be brought to a victorious conclusion whatever the cost. The cruel enemy is making his last efforts, and already the hour approaches when our glorious army together with our gallant allies will crush him. In these decisive days in the life of Russia, We thought it Our duty of conscience to facilitate for Our people the closest union possible and a consolidation of all national forces for the speedy attainment of victory. In agreement with the Imperial Duma We have thought it well to renounce the Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power. As We do not wish to part from Our beloved son, We transmit the succession to Our brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, and give Him Our blessing to mount the Throne of the Russian Empire. We direct Our brother to conduct the affairs of state in full and inviolable union with the representatives of the people in the legislative bodies on those principles which will be established by them, and on which He will take an inviolable oath. In the name of Our dearly beloved homeland, We call on Our faithful sons of the fatherland to fulfill their sacred duty to the fatherland, to obey the Tsar in the heavy moment of national trials, and to help Him, together with the representatives of the people, to guide the Russian Empire on the road to victory, welfare, and glory. May the Lord God help Russia!”
The Tsar finally reached the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, where he was placed under house arrest with his family until August 1917, when they were moved to Tobolsk, Siberia until April 1918. Finally, they were moved to Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, where on the morning of July 17, 1918, the entire family and a few loyal servants were shot, and their bodies disposed of. The bodies were discovered in 1991 and 2007. They are buried at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.