Khodynka Tragedy
The Khodynka Tragedy was a mass panic that occurred on , on Khodynka Field in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 during the festivities following the coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

, which resulted in the deaths of 1,389 people.

The events

Nicholas II was crowned Tsar of Russia on . Four days later, a banquet was going to be held for the people at Khodynka Field. In the area of one town square
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

, theater
Theater (structure)
A theater or theatre is a structure where theatrical works or plays are performed or other performances such as musical concerts may be produced. While a theater is not required for performance , a theater serves to define the performance and audience spaces...

s, 150 buffet
A buffet is a system of serving meals in which food is placed in a public area where the diners generally serve themselves. Buffets are offered at various places including hotels and many social events...

s for distribution of gifts, and 20 pubs were built for the celebrations. Nearby the celebration square was a field that had a ravine and many gullies. On the evening of 29 May, people who had heard rumours of coronation gifts from the tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 (the gifts which everybody was to receive were a bread roll
Bread roll
A bread roll is a piece of bread, usually small and round and is commonly considered a side dish. Bread rolls are often used in the same way as sandwiches are—cut transversely, with fillings placed between the two halves.-Various forms:...

, a piece of sausage
A sausage is a food usually made from ground meat , mixed with salt, herbs, and other spices, although vegetarian sausages are available. The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted.Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made...

, pretzels, gingerbread
Gingerbread is a term used to describe a variety of sweet food products, which can range from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. What they have in common are the predominant flavors of ginger and a tendency to use honey or molasses rather than just sugar...

, and a cup
Khodynka Cup of Sorrows
The Coronation cup, also known as Khodynka, The sorrow cup or The blood cup was made for the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna in 1896...

) began to gather in anticipation.

At about 5 o'clock in the morning of the celebration day, several thousand people (according to Jay Leyda, estimates reached 500,000) were already gathered on the field. Suddenly a rumour spread among the people that there was not enough beer or pretzels for everybody. A police force of 1,800 men failed to maintain civil order, and in a catastrophic crush and resulting panic to flee the scene, 1,389 people were trampled to death, and roughly 1,300 were otherwise injured.


Nicholas and Alexandra were informed about the tragedy, but not immediately. The new Tsar and his wife spent the remainder of the celebration day visiting people who had been hospitalized as a result of the stampede. A festive ball was to be held that night at the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 embassy to Russia. Nicholas thought it best not to attend, because it would make him appear he had no grief over the loss of his subjects. However, the younger brothers of Tsar Alexander III still wielded much influence over the court, and Nicholas's uncles said not attending the ball would be a slap in the face of Paris, which could be even worse for him than appearing uncaring about the Russian people. Despite the deaths, Nicholas attended the ball for diplomatic reasons.

There was an amount of large government aid given to the families of the dead, and a number of minor officials were dismissed. In the aftermath of the accident, the negligence of the imperial authorities caused further public indignation in Russia. Mystics had prophesied that Nicholas' refusal to decline the invitation to the coronation ball would lead to his doom. Konstantin Balmont
Konstantin Balmont
Konstantin Dmitriyevich Balmont was a Russian symbolist poet, translator, one of the major figures of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.-Biography:Konstantin Balmont was born in v...

wrote in 1905 that "Who started his reign with Khodynka, will finish it by mounting the scaffold".

External links

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