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  #441  
Old 07-14-2011, 06:40 PM
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It's just not right to refer to Russians as "ignorant."
No, but they certainly are different. Just read Elif Batuman's book "The Possessed". Really describes the complex Russian psyche. Fasinating. They are such a study in polar opposites. Also, I wanted to finish a bio. On Moura Budberg (lover of Gorky and HG Wells) and she was the same. (Somebody called it from the libary so I couldn't finish reading it)
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  #442  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:53 PM
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This is from the memoirs of Sergei Witte who watched as the royals disembarked from the royal train which carried the body of Alexander III to St. Petersburg:

"Emperor Nichaolas II, still a young man, left the train, followed by two women. Naturally, I was eager to see our future Empress, whom I had never seen before, and mistakenly thought the prettier of the two was she. I was astonished when I was told that the prettier one was her aunt, Princess Alexandra, wife of Edward, Prince of Wales. The young lady who turned out to be our future Empress seemed not only less good-looking , but also less sympathetic than her aunt. Of course, she too was pretty then, and still is, but her mouth always seems to be set in anger."

King, Kaiser, Tsar, p. 167.

I was struck by the similarity to this passage and an essay by Queen Marie of Romania, a cousin of Alexandra's. Marie thought Alexandra, going to her coronation as Nicholas's consort, looked angry at the world also, that she did not look as if she was embracing a new and glorious future but seemed to look as if she was going into battle. It is sad that, from the very start, Alexandra was ill-suited to be Empress and a very public figure.
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  #443  
Old 10-07-2011, 12:21 AM
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There is a recording on youtube of Nicholas' voice. I was struck by how different it sounded from what I had imagined. You always hear about him being so slight and lacking authority like his father, but he certainly had authority in his voice.
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  #444  
Old 10-07-2011, 01:42 AM
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I was struck by the similarity to this passage and an essay by Queen Marie of Romania, a cousin of Alexandra's. Marie thought Alexandra, going to her coronation as Nicholas's consort, looked angry at the world also, that she did not look as if she was embracing a new and glorious future but seemed to look as if she was going into battle. It is sad that, from the very start, Alexandra was ill-suited to be Empress and a very public figure.
I think it was a problem with her for a long time. She wouldn't let herself be happy about her new future role and ruined it for herself. She should have enjoyed Court life instead of harshly judging all and sundry.
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  #445  
Old 01-24-2012, 09:13 PM
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I read on the Empress's wiki that her marriage was "unflawed".I wonder what exactly does that mean.No marriage is perfect.I bet they had their fair share of fights and dissagreements.
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  #446  
Old 01-24-2012, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by IloveCP View Post
I read on the Empress's wiki that her marriage was "unflawed".I wonder what exactly does that mean.No marriage is perfect.I bet they had their fair share of fights and dissagreements.
Perhaps she viewed it as such because her husband hardly ever fought with her over anything. When one of his advisors asked why he didn't just get rid of Rasputin, Nikolai's answer was something along the lines of 'it's better to have one Rasputin than ten fits of hysteria a day'. However, by the time of the Revolution, Nikolai was going to Stavka for extended periods of time to get away from home. He even noted in some of his diary entries that he was tired. I can imagine Alix saying that her marriage was 'unflawed' when she was the one who called all the shots.
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  #447  
Old 01-24-2012, 10:00 PM
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I suspect "unflawed" refers to her husband being faithful and not taking mistresses like so many of his cousins and other relatives.
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  #448  
Old 01-24-2012, 11:05 PM
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That wiki needs to be changed - that's not objective encyclopedia language. Sounds like someone edited who was opinionated.

Anyone can change it, it's easy. If "unflawed" means he was faithful - it should say so.

BTW, how does anyone know that? Did she keep really good tabs on him?
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  #449  
Old 01-24-2012, 11:22 PM
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How does anyone know for sure if Henry VII was faithful to his wife? Or if Alexander was faithful to Maria? I assume there were people around who could judge the character of the men, how much time they spent with their wives and family and if they ever ran off for secret rendezvous' that nobody could explain. There are way to judge and come to a hypothesis without having been in the bedroom.
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  #450  
Old 01-25-2012, 12:26 AM
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Yes, there are ways to judge - but I wonder where those sources are. At any rate, Wikipedia is not the place for speculation or independent research. I suppose I should go edit it, but I'm too lazy tonight.
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  #451  
Old 01-25-2012, 12:38 AM
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Enough courtiers and even family members have written their autobiographies since the Revolution so I am sure if the Emperor had been having mistresses on the side someone would have written about it, perhaps even one of the women themselves. The published / exerpted letters & diaries of Nicky and Sunny seem to show a couple quite devoted to each other.
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  #452  
Old 01-25-2012, 12:44 AM
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Wiki also says that their marriage was "outwardly serene and proper, but based on intensely passionate physical love".According to that,it's nice that they had a happy marriage.

Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  #453  
Old 02-06-2012, 01:23 PM
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I think Nicholas and Alexandra's general unfitness to be Tsar and Tsarina hastened the fall of the House of Romanov, but I think it was coming anyway and had been for a long time. I'm not sure any autocract on the throne during WWI in Russia could have survived.

To me the saddest thing about N and A is how thoroughly the deck was stacked against them from day one--from Alexander III failing to properly educate or prepare his son, Nicholas's own weak willed personality, his domineering uncles (who often-though not always-gave poor advice), Alexandra's shyness, dominating personality, inflexibility, her own mother-in-law publicly working against her, her complete lack of preparation to go from a small modest court to the lavish, immodest Russsian one.....True, neither one ever "rose to the occassion"....but the whole situation is just incredibly sad to me. I just don't think either one of them really knew what they were doing.

I'm not an expert, but I tend to think the last real chance to save the institution was when Alexander II was Tsar and was instituting his reforms, including a constitution. Had he not been assassinated and lived long enough to get his reforms firmly in place.....maybe things would have been different. Even then, that may have been "too little, too late." Beyond that, if Nicholas II had been serious about giving the people more of a voice after the 1905 Revolution....perhaps. But, he wasn't. He thought he was supposed to be an autocrat.
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  #454  
Old 02-07-2012, 12:34 PM
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Erin9, on the third attempt!!! Hello and I totally agree.

N and A put the last nail in a coffin which had been a long time in the making and the coming tsunami was impossible for them to prevent.
As Autocrats they were quite unsuitable but how a man who has been dominated all his life suddenly becomes one is beyond me and how does a girl, raised quietly and modestly, within the nunlike confines of QVs court, cope with the sophistication and loucheness of the Russian court where her resentful mother-in-law is very much Queenbee? I believe their marriage not unlike that of Victoria and Albert and it's possible they may have felt that if they led by example the court would follow.

To whom could they turn for advice on Aotocracy? Were there books? An Autocrat gave orders. As the fount of all knowledge they clearly had no need of advice and who would dare offer it? I imagine they followed what they perceived being done by their role models-for him, his father, for her, her Grandmother. However, they became as actors giving an unrehearsed performance because he lacked his fathers confidence and authority and the authority which sat so comfortably on Victoria's capable shoulders made her granddaughter look like a domineering woman who had the temerity to ridicule her Autocrat and Tsar of all the Russias husband, when all she was trying to do was convince him that he was a true Autocrat.

For them both, abdication would have been unthinkable and I believe they did their best and were always totally commited to Russia, but whether through lack of foresight or fear of change, it was the Russia it had always been, not the Russia it was capable of being.
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  #455  
Old 02-07-2012, 02:37 PM
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ICAM. Well said.

Nicholas and Alexandra were a product of how they were raised and who their primary influences were. Their basic character traits were formed before they came to the throne. I'm generally left with: How could have been expected to be much different than they were?

I'm always amazed-stunned really--at how spectacularly Alexander III failed to prepare his son. And Minnie....don't even get me started.lol

While I understand that Alexandra's job was to "fit in" in Russia, I certainly understand why she was appalled by what she found there. She was a shy, very moral girl from a small court-taught to spend her time doing useful things. She wasn't going to magically turn into an outgoing social butterfly filling her time with essentially frivolous activities. Plus, she was destined to be out-shone by her mother-in-law anyway. I know the problems between Minnie and Alexandra were a two way street and neither really "got" the other, but I always felt badly for Alexandra getting stuck with Minnie as a MIL.

Everything I've read about the Russian Court at the time leads me to believe it was quite an amoral place full of people who wasted a lot of time. No wonder they were resented. Alexandra really wasn't going to fit in with them--even had she made more of an effort than she did. IIRC, Alexandra did try to lead by example and probably thought that was also her job (to "fix" things)--like trying to get some of the ladies to spend their time doing useful things. They just didn't follow her lead.

As a general thing, I don't put too much of the responsibility for the revolution on Nicholas and Alexandra's shoulders. (Much like I don't put too much responsibility on King Louis XVI for France's Revolution.) Sure, they made some colossal errors that moved things along. No doubt. But, this revolution had been brewing for a long time. The basic, fundamental problems were already there: the huge gap between the very rich and mainly poor, the fact that the country was beyond backwards and behind the times, etc. There were no quick or easy solutions to the problems that took generations to get totally out of control. Everyone knew Russia was a very unstable place BEFORE Nicholas ever got on the throne. If there hadn't been WWI, Nicholas may not have been toppled and the dynasty could've limped along for a little while longer.

Like you, I really believe N and A were TRYING to do the right thing. I give them credit for that. They just failed spectacularly. All Russia had ever known was autocracy, and that's what they thought God had ordained them to keep in place.

If he had been a more brutal tsar, he might have stayed on the throne longer. I always found it ironic that HE got the title "Bloody Nicholas" out of all the Romanovs. How utterly ridiculous imho.
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  #456  
Old 02-18-2012, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by XeniaCasaraghi View Post
How does anyone know for sure if Henry VII was faithful to his wife? Or if Alexander was faithful to Maria? I assume there were people around who could judge the character of the men, how much time they spent with their wives and family and if they ever ran off for secret rendezvous' that nobody could explain. There are way to judge and come to a hypothesis without having been in the bedroom.
I'm not sure about Henry VII, but Alexander II was NOT faithful to Maria Alexandrovna; he had 4 children with his mistress Catherine during their marriage. He married Catherine a few days after Maria died.
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  #457  
Old 04-01-2012, 04:03 PM
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He did not deserve this, especially as such did not deserve his children.
But he was not a good governor, though it sounds cruel, the country needed a change. Of course, these are not cruel, but we paid for everything.
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  #458  
Old 04-21-2012, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by XeniaCasaraghi View Post
he certainly had authority in his voice.
He had authority not only in his voice. He always carried out his will firmly and insistently, and he had a great gift of doing it with patience unlike many other autocratic kings and emperors.

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But he was not a good governor... the country needed a change
I must admit that it was not the whole coutry but the minor (compared to the Russian population) number of the people behind the throne. And if you pay some attention to the statistics on Russia's development rates (these are easily accessible nowadays) in late XIX and especially in 1900-1914, I am sure you will change your mind of Nikolay as the governor.
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  #459  
Old 08-11-2012, 03:21 PM
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Empress Alexandra Fedorovna's dresses (the last 3 photos) from the State Hermitage collection http://fashionblog.com.ua/?p=39036
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  #460  
Old 08-11-2012, 03:27 PM
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Just love the gold velvet and chiffon beauty: very delicate, rich and elegant.
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