A Russian Orthodox believer holds a portrait of Nicholas II during the celebration of the anniversary of his birth in St. Petersburg.
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Saint or playboy, blood-stained autocrat or family man, incompetent leader or just a victim of circumstance?Independent polling center Levada last month found almost half of Russians feel positively about Nicholas II.An online poll by Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid last month found 33 percent blamed the events on "foreign secret services," but just 15 percent blamed the czar's wavering.For Romanov descendant Paul Kulikovsky, the moment of Nicholas' abdication is a big "what if". Kulikovsky, 56, is the only Romanov descendant living in Russia.After Nicholas' abdication, a provisional government took over but was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution.The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized the whole family as holy martyrs, which some believe means Nicholas II is beyond criticism.Monarchists this month announced a bust of Nicholas II in Russia-annexed Crimea was miraculously oozing myrrh – a claim denied by the Church.Nicholas' ambiguous status as a historical figure but also a saint affects his family, too.Nicholas delayed and by late February, the situation was "probably irreversible," Solovyov believes.
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