An exceptionally rare and highly important signed vintage photograph of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich by St. Petersburg photographer Levitsky.
5 3/4 x 8 1/2 in. (14,7 x 21,5 cm)
Condition: three spots in the right part, a short scratch on the upper rim.
Grand Duke Michael is wearing the white uniform of the Life Guard Cuirassier Regiment of Empress Maria.
The photograph is boldly signed in black ink:
Berlin – 1905
Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918), the youngest brother of Nicholas II and the last Russian Czar. He was the Czar only for several hours. By early morning of March 16, Michael was proclaimed as Emperor Michael II to Russian troops and in cities throughout Russia. On the same day he deferred acceptance of the throne until ratification by an elected assembly. Michael was permitted by the Provisional Government to live at his Gatchina villa outside St. Petersburg. After the Bolshevik Revolution (October 1917) , Michael was briefly under house arrest but later was released. On March 7, 1918, Michael and his secretary Nicholas Johnson were re-arrested and imprisoned at the Bolshevik Headquarters in the Smolny Institute. On March 11, 1918 he was sent to the city of Perm (the Urals), where he was murdered on June 12. Grand Duke Michael was the first of the Romanovs to be executed by the Bolsheviks.
Nicholas II abdicating in favor of his brother Michael on March 15, 1917.
The Abdication of Nicholas II (1917)
Nicholas II signed his abdication on March 15, 1917 (March 2, Julian Calendar) at 3:05 PM.
In the days of the great struggle against the external enemy, who has striven for nearly three years to enslave our homeland, the Lord God has willed to subject Russia to yet another heavy trial. The popular disturbances which have broken out threaten to have a calamitous effect on the further conduct of the hard-fought war. The fate of Russia, the honor of our heroic army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our beloved Fatherland demand that the war be brought to a victorious conclusion. The cruel foe exerts his last efforts, and the time is near when our valiant army, together with our glorious allies will decisively overcome him. In these decisive days in Russia’s life, WE have deemed it our duty in conscience to OUR nation to draw closer together and to unite all national forces for the speediest attainment of victory. In agreement with the State Duma WE have acknowledged it as beneficial to renounce the throne of the Russian state and lay down Supreme authority. Not wishing to separate OURSELVES from OUR beloved SON, WE hand over OUR succession to OUR Brother, the Grand Duke MICHAEL ALEXANDROVICH, and give Him OUR blessing to ascend the throne of the Russian State. We command OUR Brother to conduct the affairs of state in complete and inviolable union with the representatives of the nation in the legislative institutions on such principles as they will be establish, and to swear to this an inviolate oath. In the name of OUR deeply beloved homeland, WE call on all true sons of the Fatherland to fulfill their sacred duty to the It by obeying the Tsar in the difficult moment of national trials, and to help HIM, together with the representatives of the people, lead the Russian State to victory, prosperity, and glory. May the Lord God help Russia!
Pskov, 2 March 1917
15 hours 5 minutes