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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Nicholas II's late decoration

John Gilinsky

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According to:

Zimin, Igor Viktorovich "Tsarskai Robota XIX - nachalo XXv. Povsednevnaia Zhizn' Rossiiskogo Imperatorskog Dvora"

Moskva (i.e. Moscow): Izdatel'stvo Tsentrpoligraf 2011 638 [ 2 ] pp.

ISBN: 978 - 5 - 227 - 02855 -6

Nicholas II the last Tsar of Imperial Russia was gazetted on October 25, 1917 [ ! ] with the St. George's Cross, 4th. Class. Surely this must have been a very late last gasp (mocking?) by the Kerensky Provisional Government.

Can anyone confirm if Nicholas ever received this decoration, the actual documented citation for same (such as in Russki Invalid, etc...?) and if this particular decoration now survives in the Winter Palace or Hermitage collections (or indeed anywhere?)?


John [ aka Ivan ]

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According to my notes from the book "Senarios of Power" Nicholas II recieved this medal on 27 October 1915 not 1917. I believe he wrote in his diary he was really pleased to recieve it. There are a number of pictures of him wearing this medal post abdication. I know the guards at Toblosk in early 1918 voted that all the officers had to remove their epaulets. Nicholas II removed his in February 1918 when going outside but contituded to wear them indoors until April 1918 (I think?). As for the medal I think the guards at the Ipatiev house forced him to take it off. I hope this is of some help. The site alexanderpalace.org might be able to provide you with more information.

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John Gilinsky wrote:

Nicholas II the last Tsar of Imperial Russia was gazetted on October 25, 1917 [ ! ] with the St. George's Cross, 4th. Class.


Are you absolutely sure that it was a St. George Cross, 4th Class? That decoration is a silver cross issued to NCOs in the Russian Army. My notes indicate that it was the Order of St. George, 4th Class which is a gold and enamelled cross awarded to officers.

Dick Flory

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In looking at photos of Nicholas II I am 99% sure it is the Order of St George 4th Class. the medal shows up white in some photos and the order was white enamelled.

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Thanks all for your helpfulness and information. Difficulties in interperting old contemporary b & w photos as to actual colour displayed that is gold, silver, brass etc....! Unfortunately despite some of our Russian members knowing or being able to read English and Russian we don't have anyone from Russia responding yet who can cite all the relevant orders and documents plus other evidence of what actually transpired. We do know that Nicholas liked the regimental life and that he dressed up as a private during the war possibly for propaganda purposes that may never have been used but which were retained in the private royal photos and photo album archives.

The source originally quoted in this thread is a very recent modern documented Russian source; still the decades of neglect, wilfull ignorance, censorship, scattering and destruction of archives, etc....have done their work!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Nicholas II did recieve the Order of St George 4th Class. While he did try out the new enlisted men uniform and gear pre WW I during the war from the photos i have seen of him he is usually in a officers pattern tunic with Colonels epulets. I think i spotted at least one picture of him wearing what looks like an enlisted mens tunic with epulets. Note: more than a few Russian officers of the period wore enlisted mens tunics with epulets during WW I. Before he became Tsar, Nicholas II was an army officer so I don't think anyone even in the Russian army would have been stupid enough to give him an award for enlisted men. In the British army this would be like putting an officer in for a MM instead of an MC.

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