Biography of Nicholas II, in Russian,By a White Russian Author Who Turned RedAnd Was Later Executed by Stalin

И. М. Василевский (Нe-Буква). Николай II. Петроград, Москва: Издательство “Петроград,”1923.

I. M. Vasilevsky (No-Letter). Nicholas II. Petrograd, Moscow: Petrograd Publishing House, 1923.

Printed wrapper, covers foxed, front cover detached, edgeworn, with “Printed in Russia” stamped on front. 144 pp. Cover design signed lower right. From the Igor Sikorsky estate (unmarked).

Ilya Markovich Vasilevsky (1883-1938) was a Russian author and journalist. Many of his works were published under the pseudonym Нe-Буква (No Letter); a name he took in homage to another writer, a writer of Fairy Tales, who also went by the name Vasilevskyand the pseudonym Буква (Letter). Like many White Russians, he floated on the tides of the Civil War to the Crimea. From there, he immigrated to Constantinople, in 1920, and thence to Paris and Berlin. While he started off as an opponent of the Bolsheviks, he quickly saw the Specter of Communism glowing brightly and became a supporter of the Soviet government. In 1923, in the company of fellow writer Alexander N. Tolstoy (a distant relative of Leo Tolstoy, who became known by the sobriquet “Comrade Count”), he returned to Petrograd, where he published White Memoirs, a negative assessment of the memoirs of various figures on the losing side of the Civil War. Through the same publishing house, he also released his study of Nicholas II.

According to the Foreword to Nicholas II by L. Nezhdankov, this book is not a work of history, but a psychological sketch. However, Vasilevsky “managed to collect a lot of facts; small everyday touches that allow one to focus on the last Russian Autocrat. His book is not devoid of interest.”

Nezhdankov also says that Vasilevsky makes the case that Nicholas II always followed “badadvice,” not because he was weak-willed, but because he was the … instrument of a certain class worldview…. [The Tsar] only had the support of the reactionary nobility and the union oflandowners who opposed the peasantry and the working class.”

Vasilevsky was arrested on November 1, 1937 and charged with participation in a counter-revolutionary terrorist organization. He was later executed on the orders of Stalin.

Post contributed by Dan Bowen. Sources: Russian Wikipedia.

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