March 01, 2017

Bid for the Best Backfires

Lest we think the cash-strapped Bolsheviks were alone in selling off Imperial Jewels, we have only to look at a bit further into history to find an interesting precedent. The year 1906 was one of turmoil in Russia. Following the Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 Revolution, state coffers were depleted. Peasant and worker unrest swept the land. And, ominously, in both 1904 and 1905 Tsar Nicholas II had chosen not to order an Easter egg by Fabergé.

This was a sure sign of trouble at the highest level.

A new law was enacted on March 8, 1906, on “Rules for the Review of State Expenditures.” For the first time, the Ministry of the Imperial Court was to have limited access to the Imperial Treasury. Funds for the upkeep of the tsar’s family and the entire ministry were to be frozen, which led to severe belt-tightening.

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