September 10, 1917
The Dowager Empress Marie of Russia "is critically ill with influenza and an affection of the lungs," reports the Marquise de Fontenoy. Empress Marie has been staying at Ai-Todor, the Crimean residence of her son-in-law, Grand Duke Alexander, since the "revolution last spring." This news was followed by an "official announcement by the provisional government," which stated that the ex-emperor and his wife are "prisoners of state," and are now at Tobolsk. The announcement added that "there no restriction whatever is placed upon the liberty of their children, who have accompanied" their parents to Siberia "of their own free will.
The statement was issued by "Dictator Kerensky, to relieve himself of the reproach of his native land, and especially abroad," of having banished "daintily reared young women," and the "terribly delicate and always ailing 13 year old" only son Alexis, to "so horrible and pestilential a penal settlement as Tobolsk."
The former tsarevitch is unlikely to survive a winter in Tobolsk, and, thus, the provisional government is "seeking to disclaim and repudiate any responsibility in the event of his death."
The government "probably would be very glad" to allow Nicholas II's daughters and their younger brother to "leave Tobolsk," for the Crimea or the French Riviera or Algiers. But for the fallen emperor and his wife, who is very much an invalid, to be "condemned to the separation from their children, and especially their boy, in whom they are so entirely wrapped," they might become "objects of great sympathy even on the part of those who regard them as responsible for the revolution."