Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Olga Nicholaievna => Topic started by: Lanie on February 14, 2004, 10:23:07 PM

Title: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Lanie on February 14, 2004, 10:23:07 PM
Anyone know what happened to Olga's kitty Vaska?
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on February 18, 2004, 08:52:37 PM
I would like to know this, too!  I find it interesting that, in a family of dog lovers, Olga would have a cat. And anyone know the meaning of the name Vaska, or--for that matter--the meaning of the name Ortino?
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Annie on August 18, 2004, 05:33:58 PM
I heard that Marie and Alexei also had cats. They were probably not just dog lovers but animal lovers! They loved horses and had the zoo too. I fear for what happened to the pets left at the palace after the revolution. What happened to them was probably not better than what happened to the family :( But then Joy had a happy ending, so you never know.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Dasha on August 18, 2004, 05:54:37 PM
Quote
I would like to know this, too!  I find it interesting that, in a family of dog lovers, Olga would have a cat. And anyone know the meaning of the name Vaska, or--for that matter--the meaning of the name Ortino?

Hello Janet

To answer a part of your question, Vas'ka is a diminiative of the Russian name Vasilii.  Vas'ka was and still is a popular name for a male cat.  Hope this helped somewhat.  My apologies for not having more information.

Dasha
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Janet_W. on August 18, 2004, 06:48:46 PM
Thank you, Dasha! "Vaska" is to male cats in Russia the way I suppose "Polly" is to female parrots and "Rover" and "Spot" to male dogs in the United States!

At some point maybe someone will discover what happened to some of the other critters, Vaska included. We know that many of the dogs are buried on the children's island; perhaps Vaska is there too.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Dasha on August 18, 2004, 07:08:24 PM
You're welcome Janet.  Glad to help in any way that I can.   ;D

Dasha
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: bookworm on August 18, 2004, 10:13:08 PM
I saw a picture of the cat somewhere. Could someone post it? Are there any of Olga with her feline friend? Olga always sounded more like a cat person to me than a dog person.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: livadia on August 19, 2004, 02:02:27 AM
on the AP imperial pets page, there's a photo of  Vaska, at the bottom...

http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/imperialpets2.html

SO CUTE!  i have the biggest thing for tabby cats.  ^^  my Princess Alice is a marble tabby.  :)
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: grandduchessella on August 22, 2004, 01:39:35 PM
Quote
I would like to know this, too!  I find it interesting that, in a family of dog lovers, Olga would have a cat. And anyone know the meaning of the name Vaska, or--for that matter--the meaning of the name Ortino?


Found this info on a cat lover's site--Olga wasn't the only one who liked cats!
Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich Romanov was an uncle of Nickolay II. Despite his title Mikhail Nikolayevich was a scientist, historian and a Chairman of the Russian Historical Society. He lived with a cat, whose name is lost to history. He was arrested by the Bolsheviks. When he was led to prison he took the cat with him. He was shot in Peter and Paul Fortress on January 28, 1919 and the Grand Duke met his end with his cat on his lap. We have no idea what happened to the cat, but we hope it has been reunited with its human in Heaven.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Penny_Wilson on August 22, 2004, 02:26:16 PM
Quote

Found this info on a cat lover's site--Olga wasn't the only one who liked cats!
Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich Romanov was an uncle of Nickolay II. Despite his title Mikhail Nikolayevich was a scientist, historian and a Chairman of the Russian Historical Society. He lived with a cat, whose name is lost to history. He was arrested by the Bolsheviks. When he was led to prison he took the cat with him. He was shot in Peter and Paul Fortress on January 28, 1919 and the Grand Duke met his end with his cat on his lap. We have no idea what happened to the cat, but we hope it has been reunited with its human in Heaven.


I think you've conflated two men here!  Michael Nicholaievich (died 1909) was an "uncle" of Nicholas II, being the last surviving son of Nicholas I.  He was a respected military man -- I think his expertise was in artillery -- and was the Viceroy of the Caucasus during the childhood and youth of Nicholas II.  He was the father of six sons and one daughter, known in the family as the "Wild Caucasians" or the Mikhailovichi.  They were cousins of Nicholas II, and one of them, Alexander or Sandro, married NII's sister Xenia.  The daughter was Anastasia Mikhailovich, whom we have been discussing recently.

Three of Michael Nicholaievich's sons -- George, Serge and Nicholas -- were assassinated by the Bolsheviks.  Serge was killed at Alapaievsk along with GD Elizabeth Feodorovna, Prince Paley and the three Konstantinovichi princes.  George and Nicholas were killed in the Peter-Paul in January 1919, along with GDs Paul Alexandrovich and Dimitri Konstantinovich.  It was this Nicholas -- Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, AKA Uncle Bimbo -- who was the historian, scientist and Chairman of the Russian Historical Society.

Nicholas Mikhailovich's cat was a young white long-hair, not much more than a kitten.  He DID carry it to his place of execution, but handed it over to a guard for safe-keeping.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Annie on August 22, 2004, 07:38:32 PM
I have always read he was shot with the cat in his arms, I'm glad the kitty wasn't executed too. But I have to wonder how 'safe' that Bolshevik guard would keep him:(
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 22, 2004, 08:38:25 PM
Probably depended on the guard. I don't know that all the Bolsheviks hated animals or those who had been companions to the Romanovs.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Janet_Ashton on August 22, 2004, 08:47:39 PM
Quote
I have always read he was shot with the cat in his arms, I'm glad the kitty wasn't executed too. But I have to wonder how 'safe' that Bolshevik guard would keep him:(



Maybe safe as the dog that was about when Felix killed Rasputin?  ;D
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: grandduchessella on August 22, 2004, 09:39:44 PM
Quote

I think you've conflated two men here!  Michael Nicholaievich (died 1909) was an "uncle" of Nicholas II, being the last surviving son of Nicholas I.  He was a respected military man -- I think his expertise was in artillery -- and was the Viceroy of the Caucasus during the childhood and youth of Nicholas II.  He was the father of six sons and one daughter, known in the family as the "Wild Caucasians" or the Mikhailovichi.  They were cousins of Nicholas II, and one of them, Alexander or Sandro, married NII's sister Xenia.  The daughter was Anastasia Mikhailovich, whom we have been discussing recently.

Three of Michael Nicholaievich's sons -- George, Serge and Nicholas -- were assassinated by the Bolsheviks.  Serge was killed at Alapaievsk along with GD Elizabeth Feodorovna, Prince Paley and the three Konstantinovichi princes.  George and Nicholas were killed in the Peter-Paul in January 1919, along with GDs Paul Alexandrovich and Dimitri Konstantinovich.  It was this Nicholas -- Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, AKA Uncle Bimbo -- who was the historian, scientist and Chairman of the Russian Historical Society.

Nicholas Mikhailovich's cat was a young white long-hair, not much more than a kitten.  He DID carry it to his place of execution, but handed it over to a guard for safe-keeping.


You're right. I'm usually pretty good at keeping those Romanovs straight, but ever now and then the old brain slips up.  :-[  There are so many of them with similar names! Michael Mikahilovich, Nicholas Mikahilovich, Nicholas Nikolaivich, etc.  :) I'm going to start keeping a big Romanov genealological chart above my computer. The irony is, I know all that about the Mikahilovichi as they're one of my favorites (Anastiasia, Olga-Cecile of Baden, etc...)
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Annie on August 23, 2004, 08:01:32 AM
Ella as soon as I saw your post I thought you had just mistyped, the names are confusing, but I know you knew who you were talking about.

I can only hope the cat ended up okay like Joy.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: grandduchessella on August 23, 2004, 09:26:12 AM
I just found the story so touching. Going to his death, with just his faithful companion.  :'(  The cat must've been mighty important to him to bring her to prison with him for those long months rather than leaving her to fend for herself. Considering reports of how little food the prisoners were given (recounted by 'Greek Minny' in her book), he must've been willing to share with his beloved pet.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Annie on August 23, 2004, 09:47:25 AM
It was lucky they even let him keep the kitty with him.

I have a lot of admiration for anyone who could love an animal so much. It says something about a person's heart (likewise I have a hard time feeling anything good for anyone who hates animals or takes pleasure in mistreating them) I only hope the Bolsheviks didn't torture him or anything like that. He'd have been better off going down together in the arms of his beloved owner if that were the case. Poor kitty. Poor Grand Dukes.

:'(
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Janet_W. on August 31, 2004, 04:04:58 PM
To support the concept of feline Vaskas in Russia, just thought I would mention that our local newspaper's Sunday travel section published an article this past weekend about a current Vaska.

Here's one of the photo captions: "Vaska the cat, at 12 the oldest of the Hermitage museum's mice hunters, naps in one of the museum's lobbies. Cats have been part of the Hermitage's secuity system since its founding days in the 1760s." (Nothing, I might add, is said about how cats during the Siege of Leningrad were eventually used as food.)

The article is brief but fun, mentioning that several staff members are assigned to manage "the cat corps," and that the Hermitage also advertises cats for adoption on its website.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Sergei on August 31, 2004, 08:35:08 PM
Hi, I'm sorry but I can never remember sources but I know that I have read in one of the many Romanov books (maybe the one about Sydney Gibbes?) that the Family made arrangements for the cats to be fed from the AP kitchens after their exile to Tobolsk. I seem to remember that one of their "people" would come in through the kitchen entrance to do this.
The reason I am so sure of this is because i was so struck by the human-ness of it (if there is such a word). I mean, arranging for the pets to be fed , when we are away from home is such a normal thing to do. I guess I was also impressed by their taking time to do this in the midst of their world crumbling around them as they left the AP. I picture the Empress making a list..."pack Tiaras and diamonds, arrange for the cats to be fed..."
Title: Alexei's elephant
Post by: Sergio on October 06, 2004, 09:26:13 AM
Now, that`s what I call an Imperial pet!  :o  ;D

Alexei had a small baby elephant which was kept on the grounds of the Imperial park at the Alexandre Palace.

(http://www.geocities.com/vienna/8919/elephant.gif) Alexei's elephant, a gift from the king of Siam.

Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Janet_W. on October 06, 2004, 11:18:43 AM
Which, of course, begs the question--"What ever happened to the elephant?!"
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Angie_H on October 11, 2004, 07:18:00 AM
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/imperialpets2.html
On this page towards the bottom is a pic of one of the girls chasing kittens. Which one is it?
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Olga on October 12, 2004, 01:40:05 AM
It looks like Anastasia Nikolaevna to me.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Merrique on October 12, 2004, 06:48:26 AM
I agree with Olga.It looks like Anastasia Nikolaevna to me too.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Grand_Duke_Alexei on October 21, 2004, 05:50:18 PM
I am pretty sure that it is Anastasia Nikolaevna too.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: felix on November 19, 2004, 09:38:08 PM
Silly as it may seem , I think Lili Dehn in her book  said the cat was left behind,  F
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Annie on November 19, 2004, 09:43:56 PM
In one of the books I read, I think it was Buxhoevedon's, she says how only 3 dogs were taken along and all the other dogs, cats and whatever had to be left, and she always wondered what happened to them. I wonder if they fared any better than their owners:(

Speaking of cats, I just got done reading comments about that French Rasputin movie. One guy said that the real Felix and Irina were in the introduction, and that Irina died from pneumonia she caught saving her cat from the roof in the winter. What a nice person to love a cat so much.
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: La_Mashka on March 31, 2005, 02:04:49 PM
Sometimes cats get lost, or they just wander around, and the property was so large, and also having the town nearby... who knows.. if there isnt a grave for Vaska in the children's island, then maybe he left and couldnt find his way back, or found another family   ;)
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Georgiy on April 03, 2005, 05:07:37 PM
And Vasiliy is Russian for Basil :)
Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Guinastasia on December 31, 2005, 05:27:55 PM
Another cat lover here!  I read that Vaska didn't get along so well with Ortino and since the two of them used to sleep with Olga and Tatiana, respectively, Vaska used to hiss at Ortino and scratch her if she got to near.  

I also think Alexei had a cat-at one point he took it to Stavka with him, and the cat ran and hid under a train or a shed and he had to coax him out.

Title: Re: Olga's cat Vaska
Post by: Sophia_Skymind on March 02, 2006, 08:33:27 PM
Hi!

Hey everybody, you this photo with small Anastasia (well, so I think) chasing kittens?

Well, it's not the only one from this photoshoot. Here are some others.  ;D

The five children
http://www.livadia.org/ana/1907-1912/6.jpg

Nastya (I'm really sure it's her)
http://www.livadia.org/ana/1907-1912/8.jpg

Maria and Tatiana
http://www.livadia.org/mashka/images/tm1908_1.jpg

They are some of Alexei, too, but I don't have them right now. Enjoy!