In the document where he declared his abdication, Emperor Nicholas II stressed that he “doesn’t want to leave his beloved son” (the tsesarevich Alexis, who was only 12 years old at the time and suffered from leukemia) and named his brother Michael as his successor.
On this day in 1917, Russian emperor Nicholas II signed a document where he declared his abdication. He thus stepped down from the Russian imperial throne, which he had held from his father’s death in 1894. In said document, emperor Nicholas II also stressed that he “doesn’t want to leave his beloved son” (the tsesarevich Alexis, who was only 12 years old at the time and suffered from leukemia) and named his brother Michael as his successor. Thus, Nicholas II abdicated both in his own name and in the name of his son. The document was allegedly signed at 23:40 in the evening.
Already the next morning, Grand Prince Michael was referred to as the new emperor. However, an odd turn of events occurred. When Michael woke up in the morning he found out that not only had Nicholas II abdicated in his name (Michael had not been informed about this before), but that a delegation of the State Duma (legislative assembly) would soon arrive to his house. At the meeting with the delegation, he agreed to let the will of the people decide Russia’s future form of government. Thus, he neither abdicated not accepted the throne, but left the entire thing “hanging in the air”.
This also means that there is no agreement as to whether Michael actually became the Russian emperor. If we consider the answer to be no, this means Nicholas II was the last Russian emperor. All mentioned candidates for the throne – Nicholas II, Michael, and the tsesarevich Alexis – were killed by the Bolsheviks already the next year (1918).