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  #101  
Old 03-09-2008, 11:25 AM
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Lexi, I have forgotten one quote:

"It was about a month before my marriage in 1907 that the Empress asked Grand Duchess Peter to make me acquainted with Rasputin."

(also Chapter XI same Memoirs of Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova)
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  #102  
Old 03-09-2008, 11:53 AM
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Thank you again Avicenna. I really appreciate that you provide source information. I don't know where I got the idea that it was Anna Vyrubova who introduced Rasputin at court.
I have also read her memoirs, but it has been awhile. Perhaps I should read them again.
Lexi
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  #103  
Old 03-09-2008, 12:16 PM
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Lexi, seems as if we enjoy the same kind of books.

BTW from my point of view the ultimate downfall of the tsar was his strong belief in fatalism. A little bit Realpolitik is a far better basis for a head of state.

Also some advise of Rasputin wasn't all this bad ... didn't he recommend the tsar to stay out of the war? In fact he strongly opposed it, if I remember correctly. If only Nicholas would have followed this advice! But his majesty preferred to believe that a war would strengthen national feelings & Russia would emerge stronger than ever. Quite a common mistake - made even by today's politicians. Unfortunately one can never predict the outcome of a war. Too bad, Rasputin was far away in Siberia. His telegram had hardly any impact and could not change the mind of the monarch. Therefor I believe the true influence of Rasputin - at least on Nicholas - is overrated.
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  #104  
Old 03-09-2008, 12:35 PM
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You know, I hadn't thought about this. This is probably one of the few times that Alexandra went against the advice of Rasputin. I wonder why. I understand she thought it would solidify the Russian people which is, as you say, a common mistake. It is also interesting to note that Rasputin advised against war via a telegram that Alexandra did not heed. Yet in Spala, I believe it was a phone call from Rasputin that gave her such comfort. So I am wondering if Rasputin had not been in Siberia would she have paid more attention to him?

Here is the text of the telegram. It's from Nicholas and Alexandra; Robert Massie. pp. 283:
"Let Papa not plan war, for with the war will come the end of Russia and yourselves and you will lose to the last man." That telegram was delivered by Anna Vyrubova.

And, as you say, he wasn't always wrong. He knew that there was a food shortage in the villages. He advised Alexandra to insist that Nicholas stopped all passenger trains for three days so that trains carrying food could get to the villages. They didn't listen to that either.

I'm glad you brought this up, it is making me take a second look at my old ideas about Rasputin.
Thank you,
Lexi
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  #105  
Old 03-09-2008, 05:48 PM
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Spala 1912: it is my understanding that Anna Vyrubova cabled Rasputin on behalf of the Empress. Maria Rasputin described the events that followed in her book. Afterwards Rasputin sent a cable to the Empress telling her not to worry, her son will be alive (my words - I do not recall the exact wording).

No, I never said that Alexandra did not listen to him. In fact she did it too much. It was the tsar who was aware of the difficult circumstances. After all Rasputin was disputed before (by the church as well as by the Duma). Half a year before the incident at Spala Rasputin had to return to Pokrowskoje. In February 1912 Prime Minister Kokowzow as well as the President of the Duma Rodsjanko had asked the tsar to remove him. Additionally there was an inquiry - signed by 49 persons - in the Duma concering an illegal detention of press organs averse to Rasputin. Therefor Nicholas was VERY aware that this man Rasputin meant trouble for him.

The first political interference of Rasputin took place in Spring 1913. A warning that war was a bad idea. The Tsar visited his cousin in Berlin the same year and that was it.

June 1914 Rasputin was wounded one day after the assassination of Sarajewo. This time he sent about 20 (!) cables to the Tsar in order to warn him. However, in vain. The last one was ripped up by the Tsar according to the memories of Anna Vyrubova ... and the war started.
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  #106  
Old 03-09-2008, 07:47 PM
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Hello again.
Yes, she did listen to him too much. What I meant was that I hadn't thought about the times she didn't listen to him.....few though they were. So I am asking, how much influence did Rasputin truly have? When it mattered most, as with the war, it seems he had very little. I think Rasputin had a better feel for the peasantry than any of Nicholas's advisors. Not to mention that he was more in touch with them than Nicholas or Alexandra ever would be.

Massie also talks about the Tsar ripping up the last cable. Have you read any of Massie's books? I would be interested in your opinion of them.

As I recall, Witte also advised Nicholas against getting involved in the war. Russia was unprepared for the war, Witte knew this. But Nicholas was so convinced as was his wife.

Maria Rasputin said that her father's name and the stories about him were all concocted by enemies of the Tsar. I expected her to defend her father. Do you think there is any truth in what she claims?
Lexi
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  #107  
Old 03-09-2008, 08:40 PM
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Who knows. It was so many years ago and all the reports differ as to who the teller of the tale is. No one really knows if his secretary, Simonovich, wrote the "prophesies" or whether Rasputin did. Much of his advice, such as leaving the poor child alone at Spala, was good advice. Sergei Witte was dead set against war. Knew Russia did not have the ability to sustain itself. No one sees him as a prophet, just a sensible man.
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  #108  
Old 03-10-2008, 03:29 AM
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Let me start backward:
Certainly Maria Rasputin was biased. Truth, yes. However, how much was exagerated one will never be able to tell nowadays. Direct lies, no, I don't think so.

Witte: not only he was opposed to the war. Henry Kissinger describes in his book Diplomacy a prophetic memorandum of Peter Durnovo, a former Russian Interior Minister who became a member of the State Council. I wonder if the Tsar ever read it ...

Massie: no, unfortunately I haven't read any of his works so far.
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  #109  
Old 03-10-2008, 03:56 PM
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Nicholas II did not aspire to war because of Serbia. First he asked Caizer Wilhelm to help to transfer consideration of the conflict (of Austria-Serbia) in the Hague international court. However, diplomats were late.
Besides, Russian "hawks" (in the government) have deceived Nicholas and have provoked him to declare general mobilization. Before war (in the end of July) Wilhelm has declared mobilization of armies on border with France. However, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sazonov) has reported to tsar, that Wilhelm has declared GENERAL mobilization. Nicholas has declared general mobilization also in the answer. After that the Russian chief of a staff (Yanushkevich) has disconnected all phones in the Ministry of Defence (!) for that Nicholas could not cancel this general mobilization. All phones have been disconnected during 12 hours - until Wilhelm has declared war of Russia!
Source: A.Bushkov. «Rasputin. Shots from the past», Moscow, 2006.
Boris
P.S. Nicholas could not aspire to war because he knew not only from Rasputin (also from Durnovo and other politicians), that war will be pernicious for Russia, but Nicholas knew also from predictions and prophecies (of monk Avel, Serafim Sarovsky, Louis Hamon /Cheiro/), that the WWI will be collapse for Russia, for autocracy and for Imperial family too!
Source: B.Romanov, «Fatal predictions of Russia», SPb, Moscow, 2006.
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  #110  
Old 03-10-2008, 03:58 PM
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I have not read Kissinger's book. I am taking your comment as a recommendation. I'll see if they have it at the library. Can you share with me a little more about the memorandum?
Massie is ok. His books are basically "beginner's guides" for those just developing an interest in the Romanovs. My problem with him is that he doesn't do a very good job of documenting his sources. (That always frustrates me.) I have also found that in some ways, he is not very objective.
What other facets of Russian history interest you? I am enjoying our discussion and would like to continue.
Lexi
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  #111  
Old 03-10-2008, 06:29 PM
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The Durnovo Memorandum is outlined on pages 207 ff in the chapter on the Military Doomsday Machine. In his Notes Kissinger names as source: Frank A. Golder, Documents of Russian History 1914-1917, translated by Emanuel Aronsberg (New York Century, 1927) pp9-10.

"The main burden of the war will undoubtedly fall on us, since England is hardly capable of taking a considerable part in a continantal war, while France, poor in manpower, will probably adhere to strictly defensive tactics, in view of the enormous losses by which war will be attended under present conditions of military technique. The part of a battering-ram, making a breach in the very thick of the German defense will be ours ..."

Kissingers interpretation:
"In Durnovo's judgment, these sacrifices would be wasted because Russia would not be able to make permanent territorial gains by fighting on the side of Great Britain, its traditional geopolitical opponent. Though Great Britain would concede gains to Russia in Central Europe, an additional slice of Poland would only magnify the already strong centrifugal tendencies within the Russian Empire. Adding to the Ukrainian population, said Durnovo would spur demands for an independant Ukraine. Therefore, victory might have the ironic result of fostering enough ethnic turmoil to reduce the Tsar's empire to Little Russia"

Hear, hear, ... I find this statement incredibly wise.

... and about the historical goal of overcoming the Dardanelles ... another wise conclusion:

"(It) would not give us an outlet to the open sea, however, since on the other side of them there lies a sea consisting almost wholly of territorial waters, a sea dotted with numerous islands where the British navy, for instance , would have no trouble whatever in closing to us every inlet and outlet, irrespective of the Straits."

Additionally Durnovo comments on the economic profit and loss account. Again very realistic:

"... But even victory promises us extremely unfavorable financial prospects; a totally ruined Germany will not be in a position to compensate us for the cost involved ..."

On the spread of social revolution:

"It is our firm conviction, based upon a long and careful study of all contemporary subversive tendencies, that there must inevitably break out in the defeated country a social revolution which, by the very nature of things, will spread to the country of the victor."

All in all Diplomacy is really an excellent read, easy to understand even for people with other mother tongues. Sometimes however, I thought that this or that fact might have been ill interpreted. Kissinger not only quotes and retells, but likes to give his opinion on the events. At least this was my impression. I enjoyed his Notes giving me further reference material. You know, I am a mental magpie: information here, gossip there, tidbits everywhere. And yes, I love discussions based on facts (an accountants philosophy I guess). That's what made the interchange on this forum so attractive to me.

Finding English or American books in our libary is usually difficult in particular when it comes to this kind of material ... a small town in Germany with some 13 000 residents has other needs. Shall try to find an inexpensive version of Massie's book on EBAY. Thank you so much for the hint.

My main interests? The last 300 years, focus on Wars and Personalities, not only Russian, also e.g. Marlborough and Prinz Eugen and their fight against a french tyrant. When it comes to Russian I find it interesting how much interaction between the German Culture and Russian one has existed over the centuries. How much crossing over starting with Peter the Great and than Katharina. The change which was incited by blending foreigners such as Katharina into the existing system. She is such an astonishing personality, not only a true leader with vision. She offered thousands of German farmers the possibility to move to Russian soil including in her offer Freedom of Religion, Freedom of taxation and the right to dispose of the land. ... That's what I call headway. Not to talk about all her other achievements ... but I get probably carried away and this was supposed to be on Rasputin. My apologies to everyone who feels this is too much. Will try to stay focused.
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  #112  
Old 03-10-2008, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorisRom View Post
Nicholas II did not aspire to war because of Serbia. First he asked Caizer Wilhelm to help to transfer consideration of the conflict (of Austria-Serbia) in the Hague international court. However, diplomats were late.
Besides, Russian "hawks" (in the government) have deceived Nicholas and have provoked him to declare general mobilization. Before war (in the end of July) Wilhelm has declared mobilization of armies on border with France. However, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sazonov) has reported to tsar, that Wilhelm has declared GENERAL mobilization. Nicholas has declared general mobilization also in the answer. After that the Russian chief of a staff (Yanushkevich) has disconnected all phones in the Ministry of Defence (!) for that Nicholas could not cancel this general mobilization. All phones have been disconnected during 12 hours - until Wilhelm has declared war of Russia!
Source: A.Bushkov. «Rasputin. Shots from the past», Moscow, 2006.
Boris
P.S. Nicholas could not aspire to war because he knew not only from Rasputin (also from Durnovo and other politicians), that war will be pernicious for Russia, but Nicholas knew also from predictions and prophecies (of monk Avel, Serafim Sarovsky, Louis Hamon /Cheiro/), that the WWI will be collapse for Russia, for autocracy and for Imperial family too!
Source: B.Romanov, «Fatal predictions of Russia», SPb, Moscow, 2006.
First part - thanks, I wasn't aware of these circumstances.
Second part - Sorry, but I doubt Nicholas was truly aware what war meant. His father possibly would have understood what was at stake, never so Nicholas IMO. If he did not aspire it, why didn't he use his opportunities to avoid general mobilisation before the whole machinery started?
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  #113  
Old 03-10-2008, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Avicenna View Post
... but I get probably carried away and this was supposed to be on Rasputin. My apologies to everyone who feels this is too much. Will try to stay focused.
You are quite okay I believe! Besides, I'm the main hijacker on this forum!

Bringing it back to our old friend Grigory, just exactly when did Alexandra go from just fawning to worship of Rasputin? There seems to be a time when she was just on the periphery, then it seemed she just dived head first into adulation. I can't think of when it happened.
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  #114  
Old 03-10-2008, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Avicenna View Post
The Durnovo Memorandum is outlined on pages 207 ff in the chapter on the Military Doomsday Machine. In his Notes Kissinger names as source: Frank A. Golder, Documents of Russian History 1914-1917, translated by Emanuel Aronsberg (New York Century, 1927) pp9-10.
Thank you so much. There's a lot there to digest. I am going to have to read the book.
About Massie, don't rush out to buy his books. As I said, they are great for those who are just beginning to learn about Russian history and the Romanovs. I consider them cut your teeth books. I find Katherine remarkable as well. I've gotten carried away too. These are topics for other threads.
Thank you again for posting the information from Kissinger's book and I look forward to more discussions.
Lexi
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  #115  
Old 03-10-2008, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Russophile View Post
You are quite okay I believe! Besides, I'm the main hijacker on this forum!

Bringing it back to our old friend Grigory, just exactly when did Alexandra go from just fawning to worship of Rasputin? There seems to be a time when she was just on the periphery, then it seemed she just dived head first into adulation. I can't think of when it happened.
Perhaps it was Spala? Just a guess.
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  #116  
Old 03-11-2008, 01:42 PM
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Could be Spala. That was very well near death, wasn't it? I haven't Massie's book, I do have his The Romanovs' the Final Chapter though, but that's for the un-opened forum I'm eagerly awaiting!!
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  #117  
Old 03-11-2008, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Avicenna View Post
First part - thanks, I wasn't aware of these circumstances. Second part - Sorry, but I doubt Nicholas was truly aware what war meant. His father possibly would have understood what was at stake, never so Nicholas IMO. If he did not aspire it, why didn't he use his opportunities to avoid general mobilisation before the whole machinery started?
Avicenna:
Nicholas was the initiator of convocation of the Hague conferences on disarmament in 1899 and 1907 and of the Hague international court (for prevention of wars). Nicholas had heavy experience of the Russian-Japanese war. We can be assured, that he did not want the war (WWI) too.
As to predictions and prophecies you can read about it more in detail on my site:
http://www.petroprognoz.spb.ru/articles/12apr7-NicholasII.html (in English)
and in much more details in Russian:
http://www.petroprognoz.spb.ru/articles/Imperator-11-10-2006.html
or (in English):
http://worldofroyalty.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=974800%3ABlogPost%3A11691
Regards
Boris
P.S. Not everyone know, that decisions and charters of the Hague peace conferences then have laid down in a basis of charters of League of the Nations and the United Nations too. Thus, we can tell, that Nicholas II stood at sources of a way to the United Nations.
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  #118  
Old 03-21-2008, 08:45 PM
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Alexandra was really tragic it is sad that she trusted Rasputin. I think he really was a complete fraud to the whole government. I think he tricked the imperial family just to get control over Russia. All of his healing tricks were fake. Alexei was a hemophiliac and there wasn't any cures for the sickness at the time. Alix reminds me of Ella.
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  #119  
Old 03-22-2008, 12:59 PM
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Alexandra was really tragic it is sad that she trusted Rasputin. I think he really was a complete fraud to the whole government. I think he tricked the imperial family just to get control over Russia. All of his healing tricks were fake. Alexei was a hemophiliac and there wasn't any cures for the sickness at the time. Alix reminds me of Ella.
It little matters what we think of Rasputin, because we're unable to influence Alexandra. What matters is what she felt and understand her emotions. She was a desperate mother, who knew she had passed hemophilia on to her son which carried a great deal of guilt. In her desperation she was reaching out for help. Rasputin wasn't the first person to whom she brought into their lives. There were many, including the best doctors, but they didn't have any answers.

Along came Rasputin who did help Alexis in two very important ways. He was able to calm the child using various techniques. And, secondly, he stopped the doctors from giving Alexis aspirn, which we know today thins the blood, which, of course, was counter productive in Alexis situation.

I believe Alexandra could and did overlook all of Rasputin's flaws. Why? Because she could see Alexis was being helped through his attacks, and, he was surviving.

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  #120  
Old 03-22-2008, 01:33 PM
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Can you imagine the pressure Alix felt to produce an heir? And when she finally did, he was ill. I would say she was pretty desperate. Did she pay to much heed to Rasputin? With state matters, I would have to say yes, but that is my opinion. She believed that the future of the empire rested on her shoulders and those of her son. I call that a lot of stress.
Lexi
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