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  #41  
Old 11-20-2007, 11:52 PM
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Ignorance was not bliss in their case.
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  #42  
Old 11-21-2007, 06:19 PM
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They weren't quite ignorant. Rasputin's "warning" letter tipped them off. But they seemed to just "give up" after that. Crazy.
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  #43  
Old 02-01-2008, 01:04 PM
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And might I add that he and his misquided wife were blinded by the belief that Nicholas was ordained by God to rule Russia.
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  #44  
Old 02-01-2008, 01:26 PM
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They were the Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of Russia. They weren't excactly evil people, but they kept on living in the luxury and power of past times, while the commoners were getting it worse and worse. They denied or ignored the problems, if they even knew of all the problems. It was hard for royals those days to understand how ordinary people lived. And their executions lead to communist dictatures.
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  #45  
Old 02-01-2008, 02:55 PM
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I find it difficult to compare Alexandra to Marie Antoinette, although I am aware that many do. It would make for an intereseting discussion.
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  #46  
Old 02-01-2008, 08:28 PM
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That would be interesting, as, I'll bet a topic on their female ancestors compare/contrast (Victoria and Empress Maria Theresa).
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  #47  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:31 PM
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They were often responsible for creating an atomosphere for violent attacks. Not that one should justify murder. Alexander II, was actually trying to reduce suffering of his people, but by that time, anger had welled to a great proportion. Nicholas and Alexandra were unrealistic, weak and dreadful monarchs. That still does not justify their murder and certainly that of their children. Those under them suffered far more than they.

Countess,
I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Nicholas and Alexandra. I think part of the problem was that they both believed feverantly that Nicholas was predistined by God to rule Russia. This belief was instilled in both of them I think that is one of the reason reform came so hard for Nicholas. That belief totally disabled him from being able to compromise or bring about reform. Recall the failed attempts of others to convince Nicholas to establish the Duma. He could not do it and Alex supported him every time. Personally, I think Alex should not have been so concerned with Russian politics, it was something she could not understand. She didn't grow up in Russia and had no understanding of the vastness of the country or the spirit of the Russian people. She meddled way to much and she was obsessed that the Russian throne remain in tact for her son.
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  #48  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:39 PM
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Lexi, didn't Greg King and Penny Wilson in FOTR mention that Alexandra was exposed to weak men (her mother with her father, a minor princeling, grandmother, Victoria and Albert) and just slid into her role as dominating? So that's one of the reasons why she was so meddling?
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  #49  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:45 PM
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I think that is right Russo. And she married a weak man. You know, his parents were opposed to the marriage. I've always wondered who they would have chosen for his bride. Alex wouldn't have even made the 5th runner up list.
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  #50  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:51 PM
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But it was a "love match" and Granny was happy with that.
That would be an interesting topic for discussion: Nicholas II choice of a bride.
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  #51  
Old 02-09-2008, 11:57 PM
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He was cursed by his position in life. He could have been a good and able employee and a wonderful family man. Had he been a constitutional monarch, where his presence would have been mostly ceremonial, he would have been a big success.
I agree with that. Robert Massie in his book, Nicholas and Alexandra, points out the similarities between Nicholas II and George V and noted that George V was by all accounts seen as a success while Nicholas II was seen as a failure. I often wondered whether Nicholas got his perception of what a successful monarch does by watching others on his family visits to Denmark and England - two countries that by this time had constitutional monarchies. Nicholas often reminds me of the well-meaning but hapless Louis XV who thought he would save himself and his family by reading up on the follies of Charles I of England so that he wouldn't repeat Charles' mistakes. He didn't repeat Charles' mistakes but since his situation was different, he made quite a few of his own.

In Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, he mentions the plight of Russia in the late eighteen hundreds. Russia for many years was seen as socially, politically, and intellectually backwards compared to Western Europe and despite Peter the Great's attempts to force Russia into the modern world, it was still considered backwards. In the eighteen hundreds, Russia superficially got some modern technologies (like the railroads) that seemed to exacerbate their problems rather than help them.

Conversely, one of the failings of the Russian system is that it couldn't get stuff moved around in a timely manner. There were stories of troops and rations being held up thousands of miles away from the front lines because there was no system of transport. The riots that ended with the abdication of Nicholas II started because bread shipments were so screwed up that the people of Moscow and St. Petersburg began rioting of their own accord.

In Massie's book, he goes into great detail about the inefficiencies of the Russian government at the time. All power was centered in the czar so much that a Moscow resident had to appeal directly to the Czar to get a divorce. Half of Nicholas' time was spent with foolish stuff like this. The push to get a Duma was less a push to give the people a voice in their government but rather a push to get some system of government that could deal with matters quickly and efficiently. Up until the bolsheviks took over, the Russians didn't have a system for anything so everything took an incredibly long time to complete. Everything was dependent on the person of the Czar and even if Nicholas had been the most competent and benevolent ruler on the planet there was no way that he could rule such a large and diverse country to the level of detail that was expected of a Czar.

The system itself was defective because there was no system - autocratic or democratic.
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  #52  
Old 02-10-2008, 12:07 AM
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Countess,
I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Nicholas and Alexandra. I think part of the problem was that they both believed feverantly that Nicholas was predistined by God to rule Russia. This belief was instilled in both of them I think that is one of the reason reform came so hard for Nicholas. That belief totally disabled him from being able to compromise or bring about reform. Recall the failed attempts of others to convince Nicholas to establish the Duma. He could not do it and Alex supported him every time. Personally, I think Alex should not have been so concerned with Russian politics, it was something she could not understand. She didn't grow up in Russia and had no understanding of the vastness of the country or the spirit of the Russian people. She meddled way to much and she was obsessed that the Russian throne remain in tact for her son.
Lexi
I think Nicholas feared being overthrown by one of his uncles or his popular cousin Nicholas Nicolaevich if he gave up too much power. I also thought the Romanovs suffered because Alexander II and his wife Marie of Hesse sacrificed the education and upbringing of their younger children in favor of their heir Nixa and when Nixa died their hopes died with him. If you look at the termperaments of Sasha and his younger brothers, there seems to be an element of Neanderthal about them.

Nicholas' uncles (who were the younger sons of Alexander II and the younger brothers of Nixa and Sasha) seemed really intimidating and intolerable and favored autocratic rule.

Now if Nixa had stayed alive and Marie had married him and Nicholas had been their son, I think he might have had a chance but the Russians needed to get a working system of government first.
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  #53  
Old 02-10-2008, 03:20 AM
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Massie also talked a lot about the graft. When Nicholas Nicholievich was asking for provisions sent to the front, his cousins had lined their pockets by short shifting the army. Who was it? Boris? Brother of Andrei and Cyril that was in charge of clothing and totally shorted the army.
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  #54  
Old 02-13-2008, 11:22 PM
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I think a lot of things would have been different for Russia had Nixa lived. I think Nixa would have carried on his father's reforms. Alexander III was pretty ruthless and abolished all changes made by his father.
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  #55  
Old 02-17-2008, 09:49 PM
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You are all correct. Everything was put into Nixa. Man plans and God laughs. So, they were then faced with the uneducated Alexander III. Yet, if you think about it Alexander was strong and decisive, not right many times, but forceful. Marie held her ground, too. Yet Nicky vacillated and had no real strength behind him. His mother was a better politician than he. Unfortunately, Alix drew him away from her counsel. They were sucked into the vortex of revolution, as they never allowed themselves to see the real unhappiness and inherent problems. The 1905 Revolution could have opened gates to excellent reform, but, of course, they didn't. Grand Duke Sergei's demise, certainly, put them on alert. But only to their own safety, not what caused the problems.
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  #56  
Old 02-18-2008, 01:22 PM
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I don't think Nicholas had it in him to make the reforms necessary to stave the revolution. Unlike his grandfather, Alexander II, Nicholas was very short sighted. Alix''s counsel didn't help. She really knew nothing of the spirit of the Russian people or their culture.
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  #57  
Old 02-18-2008, 02:18 PM
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I have read almost all the books written about this tragic family. None, has justified to me the massacre of a whole family, including their servants. If Nicholas II was a tyrant or monster, the Russian people surely didn┤t gain by the atrocity commited in Ekaterinburg. For the real monsters and tyrants would come afterwards and certainly creating many more victims than the Tsar ever would. Or anybody thinks that those Bolsheviks were saints? Russia paid and paid dearly, for believing those lies.
Nicholas II was not a saint, nor was his wife, but he is a man I respect and love. His religious beliefs, as well as those of his family remained true to the end. He was much abused during his imprisonment, but never complained.
I am not of the Orthodox faith, but I was very happy when they were procclaimed martyrs.
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  #58  
Old 02-18-2008, 02:29 PM
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I don't think so either, Lex. Russia was so vast and he didn't trust his advisor's any. Pity, because he could have broken it down into sections and ruled it that way. But then again, hindsight IS 20/20. . .
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  #59  
Old 02-18-2008, 04:32 PM
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No he didn't Russo and that was part of his downfall.
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  #60  
Old 02-18-2008, 05:02 PM
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One viewpoint was that Sasha put a Band-Aid on the problems of Russia which was like a gaping wound that was growing and festering even as he ruled. This viewpoint maintains that the effect of Sasha's rule was that the problems while growing ever larger were even hidden more than before and when Nicholas came to the throne, he didn't have the ability to make the Band-Aid stay.

If you take a look at some of the articles in the Mark Twain thread, you can see that in contemporary American literature of the time, several Americans were being exposed to some of the policies in Sasha's Russian including the treatment of prisoners in Siberia. Perhaps they overdramatised as literary figures often do, but the reception they received bespeaks to several perceived injustices of the Russian system that were noted during Alexander III's reign.

Given this, one may well doubt whether another czar of Sasha's character could have effectively kept a lid on things for another reign.
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