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A few things that might surprise you about the Russian Revolution

Updated: Nov 22, 2019




The Russian Revolution was in fact a pair of revolutions

The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and was replaced by a provisional government in February 1917. The second revolution in October removed the Provisional Government and replaced it with a communist state. Lenin was born posh and lived, for a time, in Bloomsbury

Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks (Communists) was of noble birth with the right to be addressed as "Your Excellency". He and his wife spent one year in London in 1905 living in Tavistock Place, Bloomsbury. Lenin spent most mornings at the Reading Room at the British Museum plotting the overthrow of the Russian Royal Family. Lenin liked to compare his enemies to characters in novels

Lenin, considered to be the father of the Soviet Union, read Virgil, Ovid, Horace in the original Latin and liked to compare his enemies to characters in novels.


The murder of the Tsar was initially kept secret and Prince Philip’s DNA was used to identify the remains.

The Bolsheviks initially kept the murder of the Tsar, his immediate family and servants a secret until 1926.

In July 1991 Russian construction workers in Yekaterinburg found nine skeletons in a shallow grave. Since Prince Philip’s grandmother and the Tzarina's grandmother were sisters, his DNA could be used to help identify the remains as those of the Tsar and his immediate family


Rasputin’s murderer was a member of the Bullingdon club at Oxford University

Prince Felix Yusupov, the murderer of the mad monk Rasputin, studied at Oxford University where he was a member of the Bullingdon Club and established the Oxford University Russian Society which exists to this day.


Tsar Nicholas, whom history has generally judged incompetent, was in fact an accomplished linguist, and considered to be a very loyal, charming family man

Nicholas II is generally considered to have been incompetent shallow and weak ill equipped for the colossal task of ruling the enormous Russian Empire. On the other hand Nicholas II had enormous personal charm, love of family, deep religious faith and strong Russian patriotism and spoke Russian, French, German, Danish and English tinged with a slight English accent.


The Tsars children had been educated by an English man.

Yorkshireman Charles Sydney Gibbes was a tutor to the Tsar’s children. After the murder of the Imperial Family he underwent a religious conversion returning to England to set up a Russian Orthodox Church in Oxford. In the church he put on display the objects and icons he had brought out of Russia, some of which had been gifts from the family, including a pair of the Tsar’s boots that stood by the altar. Of the Tsar’s extended family forty-seven escaped execution and went into exile

Although the death of the Tsar, Tsarina and their five children are the best known, there were in fact sixty five members of the family alive at the time of the revolution in 1917. Eighteen were killed by the Bolsheviks and the remaining forty-seven went into exile. The Tsar’s sister, Xenia, settled in Frogmore Cottage in Windsor Great Park and died in 1960.



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