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Old 06-18-2019, 06:59 AM
 
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sorry, long post.

For a few years now, I've been deeply fascinated about Russia and its history, especially of that of the Romanovs. It started when I missed my dad too much (he isnt dead, just too far away) and started listening to his favourite songs, Rasputin (Boney M's). Since I knew next to nothing about Rasputin, i started reading and then got so caught-up with its history that i read several books starting from Peter the great to Tsar Nicholas II.
Assuming the source of information is correct, which i believe is correct as I read multiple books quoting the the same, here are my conclusions. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tsar Nicholas II: All facts, based on what I read.

1. He wasn't a useless ruler. The country was heading into revolution far long BEFORE his rule had started. Sasha Uliyanov, Lenin's brother, had already attempted murder on Alexander III. Peoples Will had already started and it was only a matter of time when they had caught up with the tsar'ist rule.

2. He was utterly ill prepared when Alexander III was assassinated. That doesnt give him an excuse as such but he was not a boy where the Russian court can model him into what the country needs, nor he was mature enough to be a tsar for the vast empire of Russia. naturally, he relied on (some of them) terrible counsel and made decisions that he wouldnt otherwise have made.

3. Kodyanka incident: He was off to a terrible start, right from the day of his coronation. But history proves that when the unprecedented crowds show up, there is bound to me a mess; unfortunately the number of people who lost their lives that day was also unprecedented, expect in case of war. He was badly counselled (time and again this was written in books) and pushed into attending the State party that night, which was forever held against him.

4. Marrying princess Alix of Hesse. He had met her at a wedding several years before and had set his heart on her. It had nothing to do with her being German. It was a young boy who fell in love with another girl. That proved to be a disaster in the end as she was German by birth but besides that, there was no reason why he shouldnt marry her.

5. Serfdom and Autocracy: To him (and for many people), he was an extension of God ruling over his subjects. He was deeply religious which perhaps got him to overlook Rasputin (because/ for his son Alexi).
From the beginning, whenever he made attempts to improve the situation of the serfs, the conservative aristocratic families would come down really hard on him.

6. Rasputin. he was not blind/deaf to the truths about Rasputin. He had no choice but to go along with Rasputin as he seemed to be the only person who brought some sense/relief to his haemophiliac son. No doctors brought him, not even temporary, relief. Naturally you cling on to one hope of saving the only son, who would be the Tsar one day.

7. Hague peace conference. One of its kind on which he truly deserved a Nobel prize.

Bad-side:
1. Japan: At times he comes across as someone who is not fit to be a mayor of a county, let alone a ruler of the nation. How could he not foreseen how Russo-Japanese war would end, given that Emperor Meiji was so well known for his resources and strength? Though the war was inevitable at that point, the logistics were completely off

2. Commander in chief: Probably one of his terrible mistakes is making himself the sole responsible person for any mishaps in the war. His cousin Nicolay was far more suitable to the role and certainly far more physically imposing. He had no business being the commander of his crew. Bad call.

3. Duma. By then Nicholas II should have known that Autocracy isnt going to last long and that he will be forced to accept some of people's representation in court. Holding on to it for far too long will eventually lead to complete overthrow of the government.

4. War, terrible/acute winter, severe food shortages, civil war at the door step should have brought him back to St. Petersburg. Misinformed, he continued staying at war with a long forgotten beliefs of why he is even fighting this war. senseless killing and a series of bad decisions/ counsel eventually led to his abdication..
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:00 AM
 
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Empress Alexandra Feodorovna:

Tragic past, no mother to look up to when growing up, completely taken over by the ideals of Queen Victoria of the British Empire. She does not come across as hysterical at all to me.

Wedding: many saw her as the woman who came behind a coffin, bringing in bad luck to the whole nation.
The wedding was so soon after the mourning period that even the bride herself wrote to her sister saying that she feels the whole thing as an extension of a funeral, only now I am wearing a white dress, instead of a black.The sudden death of Alexander III left her no time to prepare for the enormous shoes she is supposed to fill of that of Maria Feodorovna. She practically knew no Russian, her French (the official language of Russian court) was patchy and she had an accent. Those things arent easily overlooked when you are the Tsarista. And they werent. She practically had no friends (with the exception of a couple of them Anna V and Lili D).

Children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia (all girls) were born before the much wanted boy, Alexi. The parents doted on their girls as much as they doted on the boy. However, the future tsar was born with Haemophilia, a genetic disorder passed on by his mother, Alexandra. There was no cure to it and the episodes were frequent and painful. It overtook majority of her time.
She personally saw to it that all her children were properly home schooled, well mannered, breast fed all the children (much to the horror of the Russsian Aristocratic society). She took care of them personally when they were sick, though she had an army of people at her disposal to do that for her.

Health: Sciatica was something that bothered her all her life, specially after the birth of her son. Some of it is perceived as imagination but she wasnt "blessed" with good health like she calls it. She was constantly absent from her children's lives because she was so sick so often.

Personality: all through the memoirs, its constantly mentioned that the Tsarina was a shy and timid person. perhaps thats a big strike against her; as a Russian Empress you are expected to be vivacious, give brith to handosme/healthy boys, throw balls etc
She was disliked by the noble and the poor alike as she was German by birth, not withstanding her conversion to Orthodox church, her efforts to learn Russian, her charity works didnt matter.
When she faced rejection, she would shut herself and her family at Sarskoe selo.

I think its like she created this giant snow globe and lived in it along with her family; refused to believe anything else existed outside the world. Standart, the beautiful big palaces, unspeakable amount of wealth in the end didnt save the lives of her children, let alone her own life.

Its also constantly mentioned about the intense love that Nicholas and Alexnadra shared, its rare and remained intact until the moment they were murdered.

Rasputin. From what I had read in various books, Rasputin was just a page in her life that she had opened when she needed to get through a phase when no one else seemed to help her son, Alexei.
Tell me, if your only son was dying, wont you do anything in your power (and she had a lot of power) to make him better? that is what she did.
The allegations about Rasputin having any say over the affairs of State were unfound/ not proven. Most of the the power that actually was floating around was that of the Tsarina. She of course was as ill equipped in ruling the state as her husband as commander in chief.
She brushed off everyone who was against Rasputin for the whole reason, Alexei. Her son's condition was kept a state secret until they were all murdered.

Never does she comes across as this hysteric/ lunatic that a lot of people seem to believe she is.

For what its worth, while Alexandra and Nicholas may have been responsible for deaths (which monarch isnt? can you name one?), their children neednt have been murdered.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:02 AM
 
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Is there a question in there?
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:05 AM
 
1,087 posts, read 1,143,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
Is there a question in there?
no...was there supposed to be a question before I post?
it was an observation that I posted.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
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I agree with your assessments overall. I too love Romanov history. That particular era was fascinating in a pretty horrible way worldwide and those children just got caught in the web of killings, which were up to that point unprecedented. Very violent times of social upheaval.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I agree with your assessments overall. I too love Romanov history. That particular era was fascinating in a pretty horrible way worldwide and those children just got caught in the web of killings, which were up to that point unprecedented. Very violent times of social upheaval.
yes, its very interesting. I keep watching these shows on netflix too.
A lot of shows also mention the incorrect details; I mean, Britain/ France/ Italy didnt give refuge to the Tsar and his family not because he was evil or his wife was a hysteric half the time; its because they were all afraid that accepting the family in that turmoil would bring the revolution to their own doors.

I suppose history has proven that Lenin was far worse was the tsar, for all his faults and his wife.
I find it fascinating that the Romanovs was moved so deeply into Siberia that no one could even attempt to rescue them.

I recently read Helen Rappaport's Romanov Sisters. I loved that book for all the well researched facts that it seem to contain. It gives us a glimpse of the little diaries that the girl kept, their childhood crushes, their love for their parents, their "guru" Rasputin, their brothers illness etc
Their life behind the palace walls, their absolute innocence brings us close to tears. No wonder they have a shrine of their own now.
One day, I would love to visit Russia; I am sure I would love that.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:46 AM
 
9,181 posts, read 9,263,338 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maila View Post
sorry, long post.

For a few years now, I've been deeply fascinated about Russia and its history, especially of that of the Romanovs. It started when I missed my dad too much (he isnt dead, just too far away) and started listening to his favourite songs, Rasputin (Boney M's). Since I knew next to nothing about Rasputin, i started reading and then got so caught-up with its history that i read several books starting from Peter the great to Tsar Nicholas II.
Assuming the source of information is correct, which i believe is correct as I read multiple books quoting the the same, here are my conclusions. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tsar Nicholas II: All facts, based on what I read.

1. He wasn't a useless ruler. The country was heading into revolution far long BEFORE his rule had started. Sasha Uliyanov, Lenin's brother, had already attempted murder on Alexander III. Peoples Will had already started and it was only a matter of time when they had caught up with the tsar'ist rule.

2. He was utterly ill prepared when Alexander III was assassinated. That doesnt give him an excuse as such but he was not a boy where the Russian court can model him into what the country needs, nor he was mature enough to be a tsar for the vast empire of Russia. naturally, he relied on (some of them) terrible counsel and made decisions that he wouldnt otherwise have made.

3. Kodyanka incident: He was off to a terrible start, right from the day of his coronation. But history proves that when the unprecedented crowds show up, there is bound to me a mess; unfortunately the number of people who lost their lives that day was also unprecedented, expect in case of war. He was badly counselled (time and again this was written in books) and pushed into attending the State party that night, which was forever held against him.

4. Marrying princess Alix of Hesse. He had met her at a wedding several years before and had set his heart on her. It had nothing to do with her being German. It was a young boy who fell in love with another girl. That proved to be a disaster in the end as she was German by birth but besides that, there was no reason why he shouldnt marry her.

5. Serfdom and Autocracy: To him (and for many people), he was an extension of God ruling over his subjects. He was deeply religious which perhaps got him to overlook Rasputin (because/ for his son Alexi).
From the beginning, whenever he made attempts to improve the situation of the serfs, the conservative aristocratic families would come down really hard on him.

6. Rasputin. he was not blind/deaf to the truths about Rasputin. He had no choice but to go along with Rasputin as he seemed to be the only person who brought some sense/relief to his haemophiliac son. No doctors brought him, not even temporary, relief. Naturally you cling on to one hope of saving the only son, who would be the Tsar one day.

7. Hague peace conference. One of its kind on which he truly deserved a Nobel prize.

Bad-side:
1. Japan: At times he comes across as someone who is not fit to be a mayor of a county, let alone a ruler of the nation. How could he not foreseen how Russo-Japanese war would end, given that Emperor Meiji was so well known for his resources and strength? Though the war was inevitable at that point, the logistics were completely off

2. Commander in chief: Probably one of his terrible mistakes is making himself the sole responsible person for any mishaps in the war. His cousin Nicolay was far more suitable to the role and certainly far more physically imposing. He had no business being the commander of his crew. Bad call.

3. Duma. By then Nicholas II should have known that Autocracy isnt going to last long and that he will be forced to accept some of people's representation in court. Holding on to it for far too long will eventually lead to complete overthrow of the government.

4. War, terrible/acute winter, severe food shortages, civil war at the door step should have brought him back to St. Petersburg. Misinformed, he continued staying at war with a long forgotten beliefs of why he is even fighting this war. senseless killing and a series of bad decisions/ counsel eventually led to his abdication..
Nicholas II demonstrates perhaps more than any other ruler, the problems inherent in absolute monarchy.
He was poorly trained and educated for the task of leading any country at all. Even the most prescient ruler would have had difficulty preventing Russia from having a revolution. However, Nicholas undoubtedly facilitated the revolution that did occur through sheer ineptitude.

All the western European countries at that time had either eliminated monarchs or were transitioning rapidly into constitutional monarchies in which the King or Queen "reigned" over their subjects rather than "ruled" them. Most monarchs were intelligent enough to allow themselves to evolve into that role. Many realized that democracy was the wave of the future. Nicholas instead clung to the notion that God had made him absolute ruler of Russia and that even he had no business questioning God's judgment. Even the Russian nobility came to realize how absurd this position was.

When Nicholas had good men around him he got rid of them. He had Count Stolypin as a prime minister and Stolypin had excellent ideas for modernizing Russia. Yet, he stopped listening to him. Before Stolypin, he had Count Witte as Prime Minister and Witte succeeded in heading off a full revolution after the Bloody Sunday uprising in 1905. Witte also extricated Russia from Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. His reward for these acts was dismissal from office when he had done the minimal amount possible to prop up the Romanov Dynasty. During the final months before the Revolution of 1917, Nicholas was advised by British Ambassador Buchanan that he desperately needed to make changes in his autocracy and he refused to listen.

Nicholas and his family were brutally murdered in much the same way the French people disposed of King Louis and Marie Antoinette. Such treatment should serve as a warning to all monarchs who believe they are chosen by the Almighty to rule and choose to ignore their subjects.

Last edited by markg91359; 06-18-2019 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
All the western European countries at that time had either eliminated monarchs or were transitioning rapidly into constitutional monarchies in which the King or Queen "reigned" over their subjects rather than "ruled" them. Most monarchs were intelligent enough to allow themselves to evolve into that role. Many realized that democracy was the wave of the future. Nicholas instead clung to the notion that God had made him absolute ruler of Russia and that even he had no business questioning God's judgment. Even the Russian nobility came to realize how absurd this position was.
.
Yes, this is what puzzles me. By then, his close cousins have already moved away from complete monarchy to more, how shall i put it, people-elected unions. How he held on to the hope of absolute monarchy is beyond me. Especially after the birth of his son; he should have known that Monarchy couldn't be sustained for much longer. I wonder if Duma took off, Romanov's would still be around, much like what we see in UK right now.

I am not really sure if Stoylpin would have succeeded in preventing the revolution though. I mean, yes, he did have fantastic ideas about modernising agriculture and Russia, especially Siberia saw a tremendous growth in agriculture...but, he did make the unpardonable (according to Tsar and Tsarina) mistake of being Rasputin's foe. Now, it was not really a mistake of course but even today, you mess with senior management, you bet something is coming your way.
Maybe he would have "delayed" the revolution because the whole revolution was sparked by lack of land to the common people and food shortage; which Stoylpin seem to be addressing.

Last edited by Maila; 06-18-2019 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Nicholas and his family were brutally murdered in much the same way the French people disposed of King Louis and Marie Antoinette. .
By the way, do you know if Marie Antoinette really did tell her subjects that if they dont have flour for the bread, they should just eat cake (something in those lines)?
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:59 PM
 
20,701 posts, read 13,720,547 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Nicholas II demonstrates perhaps more than any other ruler, the problems inherent in absolute monarchy.
He was poorly trained and educated for the task of leading any country at all. Even the most prescient ruler would have had difficulty preventing Russia from having a revolution. However, Nicholas undoubtedly facilitated the revolution that did occur through sheer ineptitude.

All the western European countries at that time had either eliminated monarchs or were transitioning rapidly into constitutional monarchies in which the King or Queen "reigned" over their subjects rather than "ruled" them. Most monarchs were intelligent enough to allow themselves to evolve into that role. Many realized that democracy was the wave of the future. Nicholas instead clung to the notion that God had made him absolute ruler of Russia and that even he had no business questioning God's judgment. Even the Russian nobility came to realize how absurd this position was.

When Nicholas had good men around him he got rid of them. He had Count Stolypin as a prime minister and Stolypin had excellent ideas for modernizing Russia. Yet, he stopped listening to him. Before Stolypin, he had Count Witte as Prime Minister and Witte succeeded in heading off a full revolution after the Bloody Sunday uprising in 1905. Witte also extricated Russia from Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. His reward for these acts was dismissal from office when he had done the minimal amount possible to prop up the Romanov Dynasty. During the final months before the Revolution of 1917, he was advised by British Ambassador Buchanan that he desperately needed to make changes in his autocracy and he refused to listen.

Nicholas and his family were brutally murdered in much the same way the French people disposed of King Louis and Marie Antoinette. Such treatment should serve as a warning to all monarchs who believe they are chosen by the Almighty to rule and choose to ignore their subjects.
Exactly!

Would also add that Nicholas II was clear example of pitfalls that come with a monarchy based upon primogeniture. As with Louis XVI and many others placing the heir who is next in line just because of their birth order does not translate into their being most qualified for the job.

The premature demise of his father (Alexander III of Russia) by a terrorist act placed the young and rather ill equipped to cope Nicholas II on the throne.

Worse Nicholas married the worst possible choice, Princess Alix Viktoria of Hesse-Darmdstat. She was completely unsuited to be a future Empress of All The Russias, and not much of a better choice as Nicholas's wife either.

He was weak, she was far too strong willed. There is nothing worse than a man who loves his wife too much, which is exactly describes the relationship between Nicholas and Alexandra. Just as with Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette (whom Alexandra idolized), a good part of the Czar's woes came due to his German wife.

To clarify a few points above, the Russian people as a whole didn't murder the Czar, his wife and family; Lenin and his followers did that nasty job. Just as Marie-Antoinette was basically murdered by Robespierre and his group.

There was no reason to murder an empress or queen consort, and certainly not the Romanov children. But revolutions are often about settling old scores, and also showing there is no going back to the old order so....

Truth to tell the execution of Louis XVI did *not* bring about the results Robespierre and others hoped. That man in particular made is fiancée come away from the windows as the event took place, and ordered the shutters closed. The only thing left was to go after Marie-Antoinette by drumming up all the hatred that began upon her arrival in France. Read the trail transcripts; had it been up to others queen MA wouldn't have been executed. But it wasn't so she was....
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