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  #101  
Old 02-23-2012, 09:43 PM
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My dear Erin9,

Alexandra did quite a bit when one considers her views on the autocracy, how she fought to protect the tsar's powers and her involvement in the removal of a great many ministers, who essentially were put there to run the country. Don't forget that in the famous Maple Room, she had a hidden balcony where she could lie on a chaise lounge and listen to Nicholas meeting with his ministers to discuss state matters, then she would give him advice on what to do.

And my dear Russo makes another good point--Alexandra saw many (but I don't think all) things in black and white. I think she was tolerant of some things, such as allowing others to practice religious beliefs but, like most people who are insecure, when it came to things that mattered to her or affected her, you were either for or against her. Insecure people tend to be intolerant of other points of view in my opinion.
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  #102  
Old 02-23-2012, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by AristoCat View Post
Nicholas was retreating into the role of a constitutional monarch, but ALix kept reinforcing his belief in the autocracy...
I really just.....disagree with this. lol

I don't have much time, but for one thing, Alix was hardly the only person upset about the Duma. His mother was. Nicky was VERY upset about the the Duma. He was NOT happy about it. I really don't think he would have "gratefully" become a constitutional monarch. He didn't want to be Tsar, but he did think God put him there.

And, well, I just don't put that much responsibility on Rasputin, period. I think his importance is over-stated.
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  #103  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Vasillisos Markos View Post
My dear Erin9,
Alexandra did quite a bit when one considers her views on the autocracy...
IA-- she was very protective of the Tsar's powers. No argument there. But, she was hardly the only one who felt strongly about maintaining the autocracy. IA- she didn't push him in a liberal direction, but I have trouble faulting her too much for that. Russia's history was that of an autocracy. There was no history of gradual liberal reform there--setting aside the brief period of Alexander II's reforms.

I know she certainly helped keep the revolving door of ministers moving....but so did Nicholas.

I'm not certain about this, but I think I read somewhere that the hidden balcony is a myth. I'm not sure though....

I don't deny that she HAD influence. I just don't think she had AS MUCH as other people do. I don't think her being there altered the ultimate result much either.

I do agree that Alexandra saw many things in black and white terms, that people were for her or against her. I hesitate to use the word "intolerant", but she wasn't the most flexible of personalities!lol
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  #104  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:24 PM
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I don't think Alexandra herself was the only one pushing for the the autocracy to be sustained, Nicholas himself had it drilled into his head that being an autocrat was his right I think he would have refused a constitution with or without Alexandra. She did encourage him in his beliefs because she had similar one's, but in no way was Nicholas Alexandra's passive husband whom she told to work against the idea of a Duma.
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  #105  
Old 02-24-2012, 01:33 PM
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I have to agree with you there; the combination of the two was just bad news.
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  #106  
Old 09-25-2012, 02:28 PM
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That is the very spirit of autocracy...

That the ruler himself will be blamed for the actions of anyone in the system, just as he is hailed, and immortalised for the good work done by others.
And my point here is after all the autocrats are humans..Their thoughts and actions are in no way complete or perfect. Hence there will always be some people on whom he heavily depends..either just mentally or even emotionally. All the attitudes and policies of these people are reflected in the rule of the autocrat.So it is inevitable that Nicolas II depend on someone..and unfortunately..with a very bad judgement and intuition ( in hindsight, of course), he turned to his wife..who neither comes from a ruling family..nor is aware of the Russian mindset nor tried to endear herself to the people of that country..

Ok that was that..But would Russia been still a Romanov Empire had Alexandra never interfered in the governance..Of course no way..the whole world was changing..But Russian monarchy wanted to stay behind..on the pedestal of autocracy "By The Grace Of God"..Its the simplest theory of evolution..Those who dont adapt themselves to changing environment..just perish..

Nicolas' grandfather..with lot of foresight, has started the reforms..But his father totally reversed them, only to doom his son's fate..Nicolas was hardly someone who would take charge and lead from front..So it is natural that he always prefers status quo..rather than the challenges of change..
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  #107  
Old 12-18-2012, 04:53 AM
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Well, Alexandra didn't do her bit in regards to socializing and making sure that the Crown was staying in touch with the people. The job of the Consort is to maintain social links and take a lead in society. She was born to that station and knew the job, but she refused to do it. She isolated herself, her husband, kids, and didn't tell the Russian people the truth about Alexei's illness. Lying and hiding it didn't help and it created a lot of mistrust. The Russians knew the Imperial Family were not telling them the truth about Alexei.

Another issue is that she let Rasputin interfere in politics and also interfered in how the war was run. She never set solid boundaries that Rasputin would only be allowed to heal her son, nothing else.
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  #108  
Old 08-20-2017, 09:11 PM
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I hope no one minds possibly reopening this discussion. I do not find Alexandra to be just a scapegoat, the woman did many things that aided the Imperial family into destruction. Some of the apologists for her behavior remind me of modern feminist apologists; anything a woman does wrong is somehow not her fault plus her husband is to blame for her behavior as well. Alexandra made horrendous political decisions and those decisions are solely her fault and there were some signs she lacked common sense.
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  #109  
Old 09-23-2017, 08:30 PM
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^Thank you! Alexandra came from a culture of constitutional monarchy and knew the benefits of having a government handle the executives aspects of running a country and it would have enabled Nicholas to just represent his nation and that would have been a joy to him because he wouldn't have had the empire on his shoulders. She was the one who isolated herself and him from society, from his family, and from the people.

She knew there was better, but chose time and time again to pressure Nicholas to maintain the autocracy at all costs.
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  #110  
Old 01-10-2018, 03:56 PM
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Tsarina Alexandra was German by birth. For the Imperial Family and for the Russians generally, she remained Nemka, the German woman. On February 23, 1917 riots broke out as the starving populace looted shops looking for bread. These people chanted, "Down with the German woman, down with the Tsar."
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  #111  
Old 01-12-2018, 09:23 PM
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She was never able to feel comfortable in her position. Thus she demanded her husband to remain an autocrat, when autocracy was waning. Also, for the benefit for her son. She was never a realist. She was ever a very esoteric person. She was too shy for her position and no people skills. She came from a democratic existence, where her grandmother Queen Victoria was a Constitutional monarch and her mother, Princess Alice questioned monarchy, itself. Yet she continued this bizarre mystique, removing herself from daily life of her people. She had no idea of their travails. She had no idea.
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  #112  
Old 04-01-2018, 01:15 PM
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I don't blame Alexandra that much, just as I don't blame Marie Antoinette for the French Revolution. I think by the time Alexandra showed up the Russian monarchy was doomed anyway by their own ineptitude and unwillingness to change generations before. Just like the French monarchy was doomed long before Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette by constant warfare and overspending. Louis and Marie couldn't have saved the French monarchy and Alexandra and Nicholas couldn't have saved the Russian monarchy. Though I do think Louis and Marie had a better chance of not letting the French Revolution devolve into the terror and they totally bungled that. As much as people would like to imagine that revolutions happen quickly, in the space of a few months or years, when you go back and look you can see the warning signs are there for decades.

Did Alexandra and Nicky help hasten the end of the Russian monarchy? Yes, almost certainly. Did their actions cause it? Not really.

I have to admit, I find a lot of the ways people think Alexandra could have staved off the revolution to be frankly silly. Do people really think the proletariat would have cared if Alexandra got on and was social with the Russian high aristocracy? Absolutely not. The communists didn't just kill Nicholas, Alexandra and their children, they killed off the aristocracy. Being friendly with the aristocracy wouldn't have amounted up to a hill of beans to the communists. The whole system was something they wanted to destroy. Or do people think the White Army would have come faster if they had liked Alex? As if they let 5 innocent children die because they didn't like one woman. This revolution, unlike others in history, didn't come from the aristocracy/gentry so suggesting Alexandra getting on with them would have somehow had any effect whatsoever on the revolution starting or not is foolish.

There's also a lot of talk about how the Russian people would have been fine with the sole heir having hemophilia. They'd have understood. I don't buy that at all. If it wasn't such a big deal that the heir could die at any moment because there was loads of Romanov men running around then it wouldn't have been a big deal if Alex had never had a son at all and it was a BIG DEAL. I think Nicholas and Alexandra knew exactly how the public would react and that's why they kept their mouths shut. And let's not forget they were supported in this decision by their family. I have NEVER read where anyone suggested they tell the public. The ENTIRE family seemed to think keep Alexei's condition secret was the best decision. Let's not assume we know more about how people would have reacted than the people living in that time and in that place.

The other thing I read a lot of is people talking about how they needed to get out there amongst their people more. This is a very modern concept of monarchy created by George V during WWI when he was scared he would loose his throne. He told his family they needed to get out there and be seen by the common people, be involved with them (you can thank him for the fact that George VI and the Queen Mum would go around bombing sites in WWII or the fact that royals are so hands on today)George V ā€“ The King Who Made The Modern Monarchy – Royal Central. Before that it wasn't something that was really done. You're not going to find stories of King Edward VII going down to local hospital to see how people are, hold their hands and hearing their stories (I love Queen Mary's quote of “We are the royal family – and we love hospitals” when a princess complained about going to yet another hospital). Empress Victoria of Germany was not ladling out soup at a soup kitchen. Prince Albert was not down visiting slums to see how to improve housing for the poor. Yes, they might sew clothes for people, raise money for the needy, might be patrons of societies, put together the Grand Exhibition but what Alexandra and her daughters were doing by being nurses was actually pretty extraordinary if unappreciated by any but those who they helped. In a way I think they were doing what George V was but they just weren't marketing it well.

So we need to stop judging these people with 20th/21st century eyes and stop coming up with 20th/21st century solutions to their problems. Solutions that would have never occurred to them. We might as well say they should have given Alexei clotting solution to take care of his hemophilia.

The reality is Russia was stymied in the past not just Nicholas and Alexandra but the entire upper class. To avoid the Russian revolution you needed to start 3 generations before, with the generation that saw the year of the 1848 revolutions. That's when the Russian monarchy/aristocracy should have looked around, saw all the revolutions rocking Europe and said "crap if we don't want this to happen to us we'd better change some stuff. We'd better free our serfs, put in the Duma, become a constitutional monarchy and move with the times." Instead Nicholas I's reign (1825-1855) is all about war, repression, economic stagnation and corruption. Heck Alexander I probably should have done it before 1825 when he saw the revolutions in the United States, France, Haiti and South America. They chose not to, instead the Russian monarchy/aristocracy chose to cling to their absolutest, agrarian ways (even the Industrial Revolution mostly passed Russia by) and ignore what was happening around them while Russian citizens went out and saw how very much the world was changing and brought that information back to the mother land. Nicholas could have been the strongest monarch alive but I think the die was well and truly cast by his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather. Maybe Nicholas and Alexandra could have staved the revolution off for a little while but that's all it would have been, a little while. Because the communists didn't want a constitutional monarchy, these weren't "children of the July Revolution", these were "children of the barricades", of 1848, when we went from liberal revolutions to socialists revolutions. They wanted to pull down and utterly destroy the monarchy and the aristocracy and that resentment and anger had been building for generations, since before they blew up Alexander II. To think two people could hold that back is to massively misunderstand what was going on in Europe at the time.

What I blame Nicholas and Alexandra for is for not seeing the writing on the wall and getting out or at least sending their kids away. If they wanted to stay and die or think they could somehow save the monarchy fine, but they should have sent their kids out of the country. To keep their girls and Alexei there was terribly selfish in my opinion. I'm sure they could have found a way to smuggle those children to their grandmother or other relatives early on. For that, there is no one to blame but Nicholas and Alexandra, who let their children down 150%.
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  #113  
Old 04-01-2018, 02:15 PM
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I am not blaming Nicholas or Alexandra based on modern ideas but on the issues of their time. If Alexandra and Nicholas had not been so closed off from everyone they may have been able to listen to people who were trying to help them mostly from Nicholas' family.
I don't see the Russian and French revolution being 100% identical; Louis and Marie Antoinette were just incompetent enough to be the victims of resentment that had built up over centuries. Nicholas and Alexandra on the other hand couldn't do their jobs well and didn't listen to people who were trying to help them. We are not trying to turn the Bolsheviks into monarchists because that is a losing battle; the point is how to keep them from gaining control of the country. They had an out in 1905 with the first revolution but Nicholas, spurred on by Alexandria, screwed it up.
Louis and Marie were more victim's of their revolution while Nicholas and Alexandra were more direct causes.
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  #114  
Old 04-01-2018, 04:01 PM
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No, the Russian and French revolutions weren't identical. The French revolution was a liberal revolution started, believe it or not, by liberal nobles and the upper class of France. They started with the aim of reforming the monarchy. The Russian revolution was a socialist revolution that completely cut off people from those classes. I don't care how much the people around Nicholas and Alexandra were trying to help them. Those people were far to cut off from the true heartbeat of the revolution, to really understand what was going on. Yes, Nicholas could have tried to make Russia into a constitutional monarchy in 1905 but the only thing it would have done was delay the inevitable. They still would have gotten pulled down because ultimately the people leading the revolution had a different goal and that was getting rid of the monarchy entirely. And if the people leading the revolution want you gone then you can do anything you like, listen to anyone you like but unless the person you listen to is the one who is saying "all is lost, get on a train and get out of Russia." then it doesn't matter. Truly there is nothing they could have done once the revolution cat was out of the bag.

There are lots of moments where I think you can stop history from going the way it does, stop revolutions. George III could have let the Boston Tea Party go never instituted the coercive acts and I think the American revolution would have died right there, Charles I could have not been so pigheaded and bent and the English Civil Wars could have been avoided in half a dozen places, Charles X could have learned from his brother's downfall bent a little and no July revolution and maybe there's still a monarchy in France, but there's also a point where's no turning back, where wave is rolling in so hard and so fast you couldn't stop it with a mile high dam, and I think by the time you get to 1905 in Russia the time to stop it all is so far gone it's a distant memory. Now, I do think there was a time to stop the Russian revolution but it wasn't for Nicky. It was before that, before they blew up his grandfather.

I don't believe there was a monarch alive in 1905 who could have stopped what happened in Russia. George V totally transformed the British monarchy and I honestly believe he couldn't have saved the Russian monarchy. Maybe, maybe if Nicholas became something along the lines of Lenin or Stalin, ruthless, totalitarian he could have held it all together but then I have a feeling he would have just ended up assassinated in a different way. Perhaps I am wrong, Russia does seem to attract totalitarian regimes but I think you would have had to had Lenin or Stalin levels of ruthlessness and cunning to stop that revolution and find a way to harness all the anger and resentment that had been building for generations in another way and unfortunately for the Romanovs those guys were playing for the other side.

I do understand it is bewitching to think there was a way Nicholas could have stopped it, for the monarchy to have survived and for everyone to have lived. To say, oh if only he had married another woman, if only Alexandra had been nicer to the nobles, if only they had been honest about Alexei's health issues. If only, if only...But I really think that is to reduce the Russian revolution down to surface problems, which I understand because those seem easy to fix. Just get Alex to be friendlier, just get Nicky to have some backbone, just get them to be honest about Alexei.

The problem is, these things don't fix the wild inequality between the wealthy and the poor. It doesn't fix the fact that many peasants still felt they were little better than serfs. It doesn't fix wealthy who never came to their estates, or who didn't bother to speak the same language as their people and thus were totally disconnected from/resented by them (Tolstoy was commenting on these issues in the 1870s). Or government censureship of newspapers and books. It doesn't stop people disappearing into Siberia and never returning. It doesn't fix the fact that if you're Lenin, or any of the other exiles, and you go out to the world and see everyone caught up in the Industrial Revolution and come back to Russia and see people still living like it's the 18th century and wonder why your country is being left behind. It doesn't fix the fact that there was a massive amount of people who felt they were being taken advantage of and oppressed so a small number of people could live a glamorous lifestyle. If anything I think Nicholas and Alexandra were more connected to the average people than the people "advising" them were. But in the end, none of them, not Nicholas, not Alexandra, not their advisers could tap into that frustration, that anger, that sense of "we've had all we can stand and we can't stand anymore." that the communists could. Why? Because the elite could never get down to the root of the problems, the real reasons the people were so angry and frustrated. Just like I feel that many of the answers here never get down to the root of the problems. The answers people give here feel like the answers the aristocracy would have given, not the answers the people on the ground who were actually revolting would have given.

They wanted to find one or two people to blame the whole thing on. Because if you can do that then if you get rid of those one or two people or change some of their behaviours you can change the outcome. But the reality is so much more complex. Did the common people who revolted hate Nicholas and Alexandra? Probably. But I doubt they hated them anymore than they hated the aristocrat who's fields or factories they toiled in. That's why the problem was so much bigger than two people and their ability or inability make nice with people of their social set and listen to people who also didn't really have a clue why the people on the ground were so furious, because I have never gotten a sense anyone advising Nicholas understood the revolution. The cold hard truth is the entire system was flawed. The whole of Russian aristocracy, the whole of the upper classes needed to change and that wasn't going to happen, because in the end the upper classes didn't want it. They didn't want to downsize their estates and speak Russian and pay workers more and be taxed or in any way really put themselves out to change their lifestyles in any meaningful way and you can see that time and again. They should have done it, they should have learned the lessons of the English Civil Wars and the French Revolutions and the Year of Revolutions 1848 but I suppose they got complacent, as the rest of Europe did and they thought it wouldn't happen to them, as so many before them. So they ignored the signs and in the end the Russian aristocracy fell, like so many others in the 1910s. It wasn't the fault of Nicholas or Alexandra but an entire system that refused to change.
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  #115  
Old 04-01-2018, 04:27 PM
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On the contrary I do hold Nicholas and Alexandra responsible for the turmoil Russia was thrown into following World War I. Even before the war and around the Revolution of 1905 Nicholas did not hesitate to use progroms and oppression in his fight against the growing dissent in the Russian Empire. Measures that amongst other things led to millions of Jews fleeing the Empire for USA.
After 1905 Nicholas, egged on by his wife and the ultra conservative faction at court, sabotaged the Duma in order to maintain his autocratic rule.
Had the Duma been allowed to function as was intended it could have either saved the monarchy or at least postponed its downfall. Most importantly it could've led to it being abolished in a more orderly manner that kept the Bolsheviks from seizing power and thereby sparing the Russian people decades of unimaginable suffering.
As rightly stated above Russian society as a whole suffered from social injustices and inequalities unimaginable to most European today but a more competent ruler who might not have been able to turn the tide would at least not have done everything in his power to work against the interest of his people and his country.
The monarchy's fall might have been unavoidable but the Bolshevik revolution and the Civil war was not.
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  #116  
Old 04-01-2018, 05:11 PM
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As de Tocqueville noted that “the most dangerous time for a bad government is when it starts to reform itself.”
Even the feeble introduction of the Duma pleased NO-ONE, not those pro-Autocracy, not those seeking meaningful reform, and certainly not revolutionaries..The timing too [after the catastrophe of the Russo-Japanese War, and the 1905 revolt], showed such reforms were born of naked fear, and not by a genuine desire to alleviate the lot of the people, or hope for the future.
Imo NO leader or ruler in the history of the World could have prevented the cataclysm of the Revolution once Alexander II was blown to smithereens [along with the hopes for a reformed Russia in his pockets], let alone the overwhelmed Nicholas, and his hapless 'wifey'!
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  #117  
Old 04-01-2018, 11:34 PM
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Forgive me for being lazy but I don't read posts that amount to 2 full single spaced notebook paper; so I will just respond to the last 2 posters.
I believe that Alexander's death didn't mean the monarchy had to end the way it did, his son held things together well enough.
The Duma could have staved off calamity for awhile if Nicholas had worked with them instead of against him. His actions alienated almost all sectors of Russian society, noble, peasant, military even his family. He wanted to act like his father but didn't have the strength of character to be his father; while at the same time he refused to let got of his belief that God made him autocrat and nothing else matters.
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  #118  
Old 04-02-2018, 09:26 AM
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My big "what if" is what would've have happened if Alexander III continued with his father's reforms rather than repudiated them. Alexander does fit the bill as a strong, competent and ruthless leader, and I think that if Russia had continued on the trajectory that they were on with Alexander II then perhaps the Russian Revolution would have been prevented, or if not prevented, then it may have been less cataclysmic.
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  #119  
Old 04-02-2018, 10:26 AM
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Kellydofc: Your in-depth, expert examinations of the historical circumstances are highly appreciated. The points with respect to the dissimilarities between the "liberal" revolutions and the "socialist" revolutions in Europe during the 19th century are highly thoughtful.
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  #120  
Old 04-02-2018, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
Kellydofc: Your in-depth, expert examinations of the historical circumstances are highly appreciated. The points with respect to the dissimilarities between the "liberal" revolutions and the "socialist" revolutions in Europe during the 19th century are highly thoughtful.
I didn’t have time to read and process all the posts. and probably wion’t have as I am quite busy today. However, it must be said that there were two “liberal” revolutions in Russia prior to the November 1917 revolution, namely the revolution of 1905 and the revolution of February 1917. The November (or October) “socialist” revolution was actually a coup against a weakened provisional constitutional government that was in disarray in the middle of a crisis aggravated by the war.
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