Thursday, 7 July 2016

Nicholas II’s “Secret” Secretary

Nicholas wrote in his diary on January 10th, 1905 “… decided to appoint Gen. Maj. D.F. Trepov as Governor-General of the capital and district …”

Alexander II’s sons, Nicholas, Alexander and Vladimir lived in the 2nd Spare 7 room apartment in the southeastern part of the Winter Palace during the 1850s-60s.

In the spring of 1905 Trepov moved into the 2nd Spare. The decision was personally approved by Nicholas.
On October 27th, 1905, Trepov relinquished his duties as Governor General of St. Petersburg and was appointed Palace Commandant. He then moved into the large Commandant’s apartment on the 1st floor of the Winter Palace located to the right of the Commandant’s Entrance to Millionnaya Ul.

It was at this time in the fall of 1905 when he began to use Trepov as his secretary. It immediately became known not only to his inner circle, but the liberal opposition. Nicholas wrote to his mother “…Trepov for me is irreplaceable, a sort of secretary … This, of course, is a secret to all! …”

The attempt lasted a short time. He wrote on September 2nd, 1906 “… I learned of the sudden death of D.F. Trepov. A heavy loss of a trusted friend …”


The ramifications of having a “private” secretary happened during Alexander III’s reign. He tried with two confidantes but retreated when confronted by his ministers. It is fascinating reading A. Polovtsov’s diary of this episode.

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