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  #281  
Old 08-14-2010, 04:31 PM
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Quite good. I snagged it at the library. Well worth the read.
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  #282  
Old 08-14-2010, 05:17 PM
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When done with this book try "Alexandra" by Carolly Erickson. Very interesting book. Alexandra does not come through as a quiet, religious, misunderstood, very sympathetic person.
Odette, "does" or "does not"?
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  #283  
Old 08-14-2010, 10:05 PM
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When done with this book try "Alexandra" by Carolly Erickson. Very interesting book. Alexandra does not come through as a quiet, religious, misunderstood, very sympathetic person.

I just re-read The Last Empress (finished it about a month ago) and Erickson does not paint a totally sympathetic portrait of Alexandra. Erickson points out that Alexandra could be aloof and hot tempered and pronce to impatience which she would take out on servants. But I don't recall any criticism by Alexandra about her father -- just the opposite if memory serves me well.

Go the Alexander Palace Time Machine web site and take a look at an article penned in 1904 about the Romanovs. In it, the author mentions the short reigns (typically less than 20 years for each sovereign), how Nicholas does not seem suited for the role of Emperor and even though it mentions the love match between Nicholas and Alexandra, it also mentions that Alexandra looks unhappy, was ill at ease in social functions, and how her predecessor, Empress Marie, loved the court processions and protocol. Very insightful for back then.
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  #284  
Old 08-15-2010, 07:17 AM
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To say that neither one of them was qualified for the job is to put is as mildly as possible. Of course Marie and the Court did not make her feel welcome but Alexandra lacked imho the maturity to deal with her responsibilities. I always thought Rasputin was brought into the mix to help with Alexei. Erickson's was the first book I read that makes mention of the butcher the French authorities were looking for, the fraud who insinuated himself into their circle and held seances with both the Tsar and Alix. Apparently both of them believed that holy man as well.
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Odette, "does" or "does not"?
Does not. It portrays Alexandra as a woman with many insecurities who became aloof and haughty after her engagement to Nicholas. Even Queen Victoria mentioned that she had changed.
Marie was a beautiful vivacious social butterfly but inmho she raised two sons who ended up being henpecked by their wives. The disaster for Nicholas was that he was the Tsar, ill prepared for the job he never wanted or saw himself fit for, with a wife who had scores to settle from the Romanov family to anyone she saw as a threat to Nicholas's God given rights.
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  #285  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:02 AM
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Odette,

I believe Massie mentions the same quack in Nicholas and Alexandra. And I agree with your assessments about Alexandra. Sure, things might have been different with another mother-in-law, if Nicholas was not put on the throne at such a young age, etc. But others in similar situations rose to the challenge but Alexandra just did not have it in her to be both a loving wife and gracious Empress. It was beyond her abilities or beyond her insecurities.
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  #286  
Old 08-16-2010, 03:54 AM
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Dr. What's his face. His name escapes me. Seems he was rather responsible for a hysterical pregnancy Alix suffered. HOwever! Russo is reading Nabokov's book "Speak, Memory" and it seems his mother was all into the seances, table-knocking, etc. I had heard that it was all the rage at the turn of the century and that Melitsa and Anastasia (the Montenegran Princesses) were not totally responsible for it's popularity.
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  #287  
Old 08-16-2010, 09:59 PM
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I just remembered -- PHILIPPE VACHOT!
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  #288  
Old 08-17-2010, 05:31 AM
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A man, or indeed a second person, responsible for an hysterical pregnancy?
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  #289  
Old 08-17-2010, 07:03 AM
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He had her convinced that she could conceive a boy with his help. Of course he did not give any "physical" assistance. Just immersing herself in some waters at a monastery and other ways...She was convinced she was pregnant and it lasted for 9 months before the realisation hit that there was no pregnancy.
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...Massie mentions the same quack in Nicholas and Alexandra.
Thank you. I read the Massie book twice, years ago but somehow the first quack did not make an impression and I forgot about him...I need to reread that book.
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  #290  
Old 08-17-2010, 10:08 AM
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He had her convinced that she could conceive a boy with his help. Of course he did not give any "physical" assistance. Just immersing herself in some waters at a monastery and other ways...She was convinced she was pregnant and it lasted for 9 months before the realisation hit that there was no pregnancy.
When was this?
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  #291  
Old 08-17-2010, 11:04 AM
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The book on Alexandra by Carolly Erickson goes into great detail about the hysterical pregnancy. I cannot recall at the moment exactly when this occurred, i.e., whether it was after Anastasia's birth or before, but I think it was after, so between 1901 and 1904.
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  #292  
Old 08-17-2010, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Vasillisos Markos View Post
The book on Alexandra by Carolly Erickson goes into great detail about the hysterical pregnancy. I cannot recall at the moment exactly when this occurred, i.e., whether it was after Anastasia's birth or before, but I think it was after, so between 1901 and 1904.
That is correct. Then James Blair Lovell took that info. (In his book: Anastasia: The Lost Princess) and claimed a real princess was born named Alexandra and lived in Denmark. However, he was proven to have lied.

Did not the Montenegrin Princesses introduce Phillipe to the Tsaritsa?
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  #293  
Old 08-17-2010, 08:17 PM
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I don't know, but they introduced her to Rasputin.
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  #294  
Old 08-17-2010, 09:33 PM
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Did not the Montenegrin Princesses introduce Phillipe to the Tsaritsa?
Yes, according to Erickson. She writes that Vachot had become the leader of the Montenegrins' circle, so it appears that they must have then introduced him to Alix and Nicky, who called him "our friend Philippe." While looking that up, I revisited the chapter about the hysterical pregnancy. It was in the summer of 1902 or approximately a year and two months after Anastasia's birth. The Empress expected to deliver in August of 1902. The court physician, in order to spare Alix further embarrassment, said "Thanks to a departure from the normal course, the interrupted pregnancy has resulted in a miscarriage."
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  #295  
Old 08-18-2010, 02:10 PM
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When was this?

Empress please check below I think post 398 Vassilissos found the exact information you are asking about..
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  #296  
Old 08-21-2010, 06:34 PM
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To say that neither one of them was qualified for the job is to put is as mildly as possible. Of course Marie and the Court did not make her feel welcome but Alexandra lacked imho the maturity to deal with her responsibilities. I always thought Rasputin was brought into the mix to help with Alexei. Erickson's was the first book I read that makes mention of the butcher the French authorities were looking for, the fraud who insinuated himself into their circle and held seances with both the Tsar and Alix. Apparently both of them believed that holy man as well. Does not. It portrays Alexandra as a woman with many insecurities who became aloof and haughty after her engagement to Nicholas. Even Queen Victoria mentioned that she had changed.
Marie was a beautiful vivacious social butterfly but inmho she raised two sons who ended up being henpecked by their wives. The disaster for Nicholas was that he was the Tsar, ill prepared for the job he never wanted or saw himself fit for, with a wife who had scores to settle from the Romanov family to anyone she saw as a threat to Nicholas's God given rights.
OK, I know I'm letting myself in for it, but here goes anyway:

While I might agree that Nicholas and Alexandra were not the right people for the Russian Imperial Throne at the time Nicholas succeeded, my sympathies are still in their favor.

Nicholas was denied the proper education for a Tsesarevich by his father, Alexander III, and between his father and Pobedonostsev, his only schooling was in a highly conservative political thought process. He was never offered the opportunity to learn more liberal ideas of ruling. During his first years as Tsar, he was bullied unmercifully by his uncles into making some terrible decisions, such as the one to attend the French Coronation Ball, which he and Alexandra did NOT want to do in light of the Khodynka catastrophe. Better to have "offended" the French, and earned the respect of their subjects by withdrawing from that ball, praying and visiting the wounded, and seeing to the burial of the dead.

Alexandra came from a small German court, and stepped onto the throne immediately she was married, following on the heels of the death of her father-in-law. She was paralysingly shy, which was interpreted as aloofness, rather than recognized for what it was. She had a decidedly Victorian upbringing, both at her mother's skirts, and then at her grandmother's, and was ignorant of the profligate ways of the Russian court. Of course she frowned at the extreme decolletage, the flirtatiousness, and the not-too-discrete affairs of the Russian aristocracy! The pressure to bear an heir was laid squarely at her feet (never mind that it was Nicholas' genetic contribution that mandated the sex of the child, not hers) and she bore four daughters in a row. When the heir finally appeared, he unfortunately had inherited Victoria's flawed gene, leaving her guilt-ridden and fearful for the remainder of her life.

For those of you whose hindsight is 20/20, what might you have done differently in her place, and why?
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  #297  
Old 08-22-2010, 03:23 PM
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But Alexandra was allowed to withdraw into herself and I wonder if she had made the effort whether she might have overcome her shyness and been a better consort. Many people are shy and it has been shown that many performers become just that, peformers, because of their shyness as children.

Also, don't forget, that Alexandra interfered with the government's operations during World War I which proved to be disastrous and Nicholas, in my opinion, did nothing to stop her meddling. Even when the world was crashing down around them, Alexandra seemed to be in another world where reality was suspended and I don't think she realized the enormity of the situation until placed under arrest.
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  #298  
Old 08-22-2010, 07:44 PM
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You are right. Everyone is nervous on a new "job". This was a new "job". So, instead of growing into it, she hid. Instead of getting her involved with entertaining and interacting, she was allowed to become a stiff caricature of an empress.

Her interference in government was, inordinately, inapporpriate. She had no talent nor knowledge of what to do. She was not politcally astute. All she had was this single minded idea about autocracy and how they got their orders from God. Poor God, poor them.
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  #299  
Old 08-23-2010, 07:40 AM
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The Knodynka massacre would have qualified as a faux pas on their part and would have easily been forgotten if their reign was better managed.
Besides, although they did attend the reception, they spent their afternoon visiting the wounded in hospitals and from their own funds, they gave money to the families of those who perished.
I agree that Nicholas was ill prepared for what the accident of his birth became his "right". However he never allowed his mother, his loud uncles or his more wise brother to give him any advice about just about anything. He relied entirely on Alexandra for support and advice. She was ill prepared, neurotic and posessive.
The war with Japan could have been avoided if he had kept his word and did not assume the mighty Russian navy would crash Japan. I believe that was the beginning of his reign's demise and what followed was one bad choice after another. There was a point he could still have saved his throne and his head if he had followed advice and removed Alexandra from the center and off to a monastery.
He may have been a loving husband to her but he was a disastrous ruler and she helped him along the way, all the way to the basement of Ipatiev's house.
I feel sorry for the children and those loyal servants and their end was a crime but the one I cannot feel too much sympathy towards is Alexandra.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:09 PM
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I've always felt especially sorry for the girls. Didn't Marie Feodorovna say that they were prisoners of their mother's paranoia? And maybe she had a point.
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