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Messages - Nadya_Arapov

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I didn't know that Tchaikovsky had actually dedicated works to Mme. Butakova, that's fascinating. Thank you for sharing that.

As for Pushkin, he had a rather close relationship with the Davydovs. He visited Kamenka on more than one occasion before the Decembrist Uprising and was even a bit in love with Vasily Davydov's niece, the Decembrist wife, Princess Maria (Raevskaya) Volkonskaya. Maria was the daughter of Vasily Davydov's half-brother, the famed General Nikolay Raevsky, hero of the Napoleonic Wars.

Is the Alexander Ivanovich Butakov (from the first post by Nicolá De Valerón) born in 1881, really the second son of general-adjutant and vice-admiral Ivan Ivanovich Butakov (1822-1882) (as mentioned by C-T von Christierson)? Rather unlikely, although not impossible, but Ivan would have been 58-59 by the time of Alexander's birth, one year before his death...


I agree that this is rather rare to hear (about dates of Butakov's birth and his father's age), but this is truth. There are a lot official and indirect documents confirming that Alexander Ivanovich Butakov (1881-1914) is the son of Rear-Admiral Ivan Ivanovich Butakov (1822-1882). I don't have my personal archive near at hand, but here is the excerpt of one of the Butakov's colleagues/friends in the Naval Corps and Russian emigrant, 2nd Rank Captain P. L. Svetlik: "Of course, it was sometimes a noticeable respect to such as my friend Alexander Butakov, nephew of famous Admiral Grigory Ivanovich Butakov and son of the Adjutant General, Admiral Ivan Ivanovich Butakov. But the boy himself deserved the attention for his human qualities.Then, he died gloriously on the land front, mortally wounded near the island of Janusz Kemp on 14 December 1914, commanding a company of the Separate Battalion of the Naval Guard Crew".

His parentage is also confirmed by the Alexander Davydov in his memoir "Russian Sketches". At the back of the book is a family tree. It includes his great-aunt:

"Vera Vassilevna Davydoff (1846-1920) m. Adm. Ivan Ivanovich Bugakov(sic) (1822-1882)".

Their children are listed as: "Grigori (?-1959), Ivan (1874-1879), and Alexander (1881-?)."

Alexander's parents are also included in the family tree at the back of Mariamna Davydoff's "Memoirs of a Russian Lady" -

"Vera Vassilyevna "Aunt Vera" (1846-1920) m. Adm. I. I. Butakov (1822-1882)."

Alexander Ivanovich Butakov descended from a fascinating family. His grandfather - Vasily Davydov - was a Decembrist. His grandmother followed her husband into exile and lived for many years in Siberia. According to Mariamna Davydoff, Alexander's cousin by marriage, Vera spent most of the year in St. Petersburg, but often spent her summers at the Davydov estate Kamenka in Ukraine. Vera and her children likely knew Tchaikovsky. The composer's sister married Vera's brother, Lev Davydov, and spent a great deal of time at Kamenka.

You're both welcome. Rita has always interested me because she was one of Olga's few friends, and such a loyal friend, too. For her to travel to Tobolsk, risking her life...she must have been an extraordinary woman. Olga must also have been quite extraordinary to inspire such loyalty.

Now, how did the Russian website obtain the letter, "one" would like to ask! (I don't know about you, but I'd like to find out more about Rita, who seems to have been quite a remarkable young woman.)

I don't know where the website obtained the letter, but I do know that the Hoover Institute at Stanford University has in its possession several letters written by members of the Imperial Family to Rita.

Margarita Sergeevna Khitrovo "Rita" came from a large family. Almost all of them survived the Revolution.

Rita was born in 1895 and died in New York in 1952. She married Vladimir Georgevich Erdeli b. 1883 d. New York 1959. He had a son Nikolai with his first wife Elizabeth Nikolaevna Stroganova. I don't know if Rita had any children of her own.

Rita's parents were Sergei Konstantinovich Khitrovo (1865-1931) a "Gentleman in attendance" Lyubov Vladimirovna Molostovova (1865-1923)

She had several siblings:

7) Mikhail (1898-?)

So poor Rita lost two of her brothers in the Civil War.

A bit more about Rita's brother Mikhail. It seems that he also survived the Civil War and settled in United States. From the California Death Index:

California Death Index, 1940-1997 about Michail Serge Hitrovo
Name:   Michail Serge[vich] Hitrovo
Sex:   Male
Birth Date:   30 Apr 1898
Birthplace:   Other Country
Death Date:   4 Dec 1981
Death Place:   San Francisco
Mother's Maiden Name:   Molostov

He married a Croatian woman named Vjekoslava (1896-1974). I was happy to discover that Rita didn't lose a third brother in the Civil War.

One more tidbit about Rita. Source: "Historical genealogy: Volumes 5-8. Институт российской истории (Российская академия наук)., Soi͡uz potomkov rossiĭskogo dvori͡anstva (1995)"

"Erdeli, Margarita Sergeyevna, née Khitrovo, former maid of honour of Her Imperial Majesty, born on 17 October 1893, died on 26 March 1952, in New Jersey, buried in the the churchyard of the Novoye Diveyevo Monastery."

This would explain why TennPat couldn't find an obit for her in the NY Times, she actually died in New Jersey, not New York. She was buried in New York, however.

Stavropighial Convent of the Dormition, "Novo Diveevo" or "Novoye Diveyevo" Monastery is located in Nanuet, NY.

The Convent is located some 60 km from New York City. The founder and builder of this monastery was Protopresbyter Andrian Rimarenko (starets Nektarii of Optina died under his epitrachelion). In 1949, with the arrival in America of a multitude of refugees, Fr. Adrian decided that it was necessary to have a spiritual center. A former Roman Catholic monastery was built and a Russian convent was founded. Soon after an Orthodox church was built in honor of St. Seraphim of Sarov. The largest Russian Orthodox cemetery is located at the site along with a home for the aged. The convent has many sacred things: a full-length portrait of St. Seraphim of Sarov painted during his lifetime, a cross from the Ipatiev House and the cell icon of the Mother of God that belonged to St. Amvrosii of Optina.

Research Russian Roots / Re: Meshchersky Genealogy help please...
« on: April 09, 2011, 08:53:29 PM »
I know that my great grandmother was Elisabetta Sergeevna Meshcherskaya.  Her fathers name (my great great grandfather) was Sergei Meshchersky. And her mother's name (my great great grandmother) was Ekaterina.  I also know that Elisabetta Meshchersky married Micheal Kousminsky (Tatyana Behr's youngest son.)

Thank you!   

Hi Russ,

There was a Prince Sergei Borisovich Meshchersky (b. 4 November 1852) who married Princess Ekaterina Semenovna Abamelik-Lazareva (b. 20 Aug 1856) in 1879. I don't know if they were your ancestors, but their children would have been about the same age as Tatyana Behrs Kuzminsky's son, Mikhail; he was born ca. 1875 and died ca. 1938.

Good luck with your research!

The Danish Royal Family / Re: Princess Thyra's Illegitimate Daughter
« on: March 05, 2009, 10:20:18 PM »
Yes. But it was not broadcasted on TV until Anna Leche's series came out. It became public knowledge then.

It was first mentioned in a book (Huset Glucksborg) by Bo Bramsen published in 1975. It has been public knowledge that she had an illegitimate child for over 30 years now. Anna Lerche herself discusses this in an interview in 2006. A transcript of the interview in available here:

I'm not certain whether the Hannovers or the Danish royals have ever publicly addressed the subject either to confirm or deny the child's existence.

Russian Noble Families / Re: Photos of noble families!
« on: February 28, 2009, 07:02:15 PM »
The photos of the Ignatiev family at #66 are of interest to me because I believe that my grandmother may have been a servant in their Kiev household. My understanding is that she was a kind of helper to the nyanya, and in fact went with the family when it traveled to the country for the summer. One photo at #66 shows the family's governess, the nyanya, and a maid as well as the family itself; do other photos exist of the family surrounded by its servants? I would be interested to see if my grandmother might be among them.

The photos may exist, Vanya, but I don't have any others of the Ignatievs in my possession. Sorry I couldn't be of assistance.

I never really thought Alexander II and Maria actually cared for each other. I belived they got married for polticial reasons and money. The story of Alexander brother begging for him to marry Maria after he died on his deathbed I belive is a complete fairy tale.

Halinka, I believe you have Alexander II & Maria A. confused with their son and daughter-in-law. It was Alexander III – not Alexander II – whose brother, Tsarevich Nicholas, asked him on his deathbed to marry his fiancée Dagmar (Maria Feodorovna).

The Russian Revolution / Re: Soviet Atrocities
« on: June 07, 2008, 09:53:14 PM »
I agree, the regime that followed the Russian revolution was despicable and possibly unprecedented…I would still argue, though, that the American Revolution was out of proportion to its cause...that the response was excessive in regard to the impetus, that if we'd stayed an English colony and turned out like Canada things wouldn't be THAT bad, and the loss of life and general upheaval would have been less. I would also argue that we wear blinders about the cost of our system. To the Native Americans, to the slaves, to the laborers, the unionizers, the coal miners mowed down in corporate massacres, the interned Japanese, and the possibily soon-to- be-rounded-up "illegal" Mexicans... was our approach as bad as Stalinism? Of course not. But there was a cost, a cost disproportionate to the gain, and mostly unsung. And I would repeat my earlier point that capitalism outsources its atrocities. So, we don't turn our guns on our own people as much. But what is the difference? People are people. Is it better that we pay death squads to wipe out entire Latin American villages/regions? That we undo democratic elections in other countries?

On one hand you state that you do not believe the atrocities of others justify Stalin’s own crimes. Then you state that “people are people.” Is your point that we shouldn’t mention Stalin’s crimes because our government and other governments have also committed crimes? You ask “what is the difference.” Perhaps there is no difference, but that doesn’t mean his crimes should go unmentioned or unexamined because others were equally criminal and despicable.

There is no question that other nations/cultures have committed atrocities. Virtually every nation that has ever possessed power of any kind has abused that power. I’m well aware of the rape of Nanking by the Japanese. I am also fully aware of the abuses of the Communist Government in China against its own people, Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, the US government’s hideous abuses of power at home and abroad, the Nazis’ crimes, the atrocities committed by the British, Belgians, Spanish and the French over the centuries in their colonies. I’m not “blind” to any of that. Still, I don’t see what that has to do with Stalin.

No one to my knowledge has suggested that the Honduran death squads led by the CIA and John Negroponte in the 80s were the actions of just leaders. Of course they weren’t. However, the actions of the American government in Latin America and the Latin American dictators we supported, isn’t the subject of this thread. Neither is the subject of this thread whether or not the American Revolution was justified. Personally, I feel that is was justified and have no regrets about splitting from the British Empire. IMHO our one great fault wasn’t ridding ourselves of British rule, but that we have thus far failed to live up to the ideals set out in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. However, that is also not the subject of this thread. Neither is capitalism and its faults. I'm not suggesting that you don't have the right to discuss or broach other subjects here. I'm not a moderator and I have no right to make such assertions. I'm only making the point that Stalin and Soviet atrocities are the subject of this thread and that is the reason why they – and not the atrocities of other nations – are the main focus of this thread. It isn’t because all of the posters are “blind” to these other events or considered them some how less horrendous or justifiable.

As you yourself state, horrific acts committed by others do not excuse Stalin. They merely serve to condemn the leaders who carried them out. They do not change the fact that Stalin was a monster. Comparing the suffering of others is pointless. One cannot quantify or measure suffering. The victims of Stalin deserve to be remembered and the crimes of Stalin recognized, just as the victims of other atrocities deserve recognition. If people are to overcome their history rather than repeat it they must first learn to honestly assess history. That rule IMO pertains not only Russia but to all nations. I would agree that we in the West are equally guilty of failure in that respect.

As for outsourcing atrocities, the Soviets did that too. In their case primarily to Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.

The Russian Revolution / Re: Soviet Atrocities
« on: June 07, 2008, 09:34:24 PM »
You are welcome, Tania. I don't question the assertion of other posters that other societies have committed atrocities, or that Tsarism was far from ideal and that crimes were committed during that period, but it is absurd to suggest that Communism was an improvement. As the age old saying goes - two wrongs don't make a right. I imagine my own comments will seem arrogant to some. They aren't meant to be and I apologize in advance to anyone they may insult. I'm rather blunt and I just can't help but respond to something I believe is untrue or incorrect. You are right that no one knows it all, though. We all have our opinions based on what we have read (or failed to read) and they must be taken for what they are worth. ;-)

No. I think even Stalin was horrified at the extremes to which he was able to go, by the end. No one stopped him. Unbelievable. It wasn't just Stalin. The Russian people rolled over and gave him their throat. There was a guy who sat in a basement executing Polish officers with a pistol. Thousands. 8-10 hours per day, a shot to each neck. Just a day's, week's, month's year's, several years' work. What is UP with a person like that? …Like I said, I think even Stalin was horrified at the extent to which people were willing to go. His subjects were like algae, like lichens, just fighting for a foothold, really. Willing to do whatever it took for a few moments of sunshine. Stalin was like a kid testing limits, and no one set any.

There is nothing, no evidence whatsoever, to suggest that Stalin was “horrified” by the brutality he instigated. If you know of any source that suggests otherwise I would be sincerely interested in reading it. Everything that I have ever read indicates that he had no regrets about what he had done to his people and continued to commit atrocities right up until the very end of his life. His daughter Svetlana stated that he felt no remorse. She described her father as “"a moral and spiritual monster.” Even the works of those Western European historians who were openly in favor of Communism didn't suggest that Stalin regretted his actions. There were those who claimed Stalin was unaware of atrocities occurring in Russia, but that claim can be easily disproved. His wife Nadezhda committed suicide, because she could no longer stand his misdeeds. His only response was to privately declare her a traitor. He then had her relatives put in gulags. Not precisely the act of a remorseful man, you must admit. He allowed his son from his first marriage to perish in a concentration camp rather than save him. Why did he leave him there? Because he believed that ALL Russians who had the misfortune to be captured by the Nazis during the war were “traitors.” Yakov Dzhugashvili was shot in 1943 while trying to escape from the Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen. As for the other unfortunate Russian POWs – many of them were freed from Germans concentration camps only to be shipped by Stalin to Russian gulags for the “crime” of being captured by the Germans. Real patriots, you see, wouldn’t have allowed themselves to become POWs in Stalin’s opinion. There is no evidence that Stalin ever felt compassion for, or showed mercy to, any living soul. Stalin wasn’t a “child testing limits”. He was a paranoid sociopath who attacked any and all persons he considered to be “enemies”.

As for the Russian people rolling over and giving Stalin their throats, nonsense. What were they supposed to do? They had no way of reaching Stalin. You can argue that dying in a noble act of resistance is preferable, but very few people are that brave in reality. History proves that fact time and again. The Russian people are not to blame for Stalin’s behavior. He alone chose to commit murder and it seems unfair to blame Stalin’s victims for his crimes.

You are correct that it wasn’t “just” Stalin. Every dictator needs flunkies - like that executioner in the basement - to carry out their orders. The fact remains that Stalin, not that officer executing Poles, was the leader of the USSR. As the leader the majority of the blame for all that occurred during Stalin’s time at the helm lies at his door, not on the shoulders of his underlings, regardless of how despicable they were.

The most damning aspect of the Soviet regime was its refusal to let people emigrate.

Again, I would beg to differ.  The refusal to allow emigration, while unfortunate and unjust, wasn’t the “most damning” aspect of Soviet rule IMHO. The most damning aspect of the Soviet system was that it punished and murdered millions for no reason. Once again, just to make myself clear, that isn’t to suggest that other societies have not done the same, but their actions don’t justify Stalin and Lenin’s crimes.

And, finally, were not those who rose up in protest against the brutality of the Soviet regime the true heroes?

Yes, of course they were. I don’t question that many Russians disapproved of their government’s tactics. Frankly, I don’t think the Russian people as a whole can or should be blamed for most of what occurred after the Revolution. The atrocities that took place during the Stalinist era, certainly, were the result of the actions, political beliefs and decisions, of a relative few. The average Russian had absolutely no control over their government and the Russians/Soviets were themselves the primary victims of Stalin (who was actually Georgian not Russian). To condemn Stalin and Lenin is not to condemn the average Russian. You can question the decency of a nation’s government without questioning the decency of her people. The Russians are deserving of great praise for their rich culture, pride and perseverance. I don’t think anyone who posts on this board would disagree with that.

The Russian Revolution / Re: Soviet Atrocities
« on: June 07, 2008, 08:12:01 PM »
I also disagree about Stalin's horror at his own abuse of power. On the contrary, everything I've read indicates he reveled in the slaughter of innocent people.
Yes, that is also the officially accepted point of view. So it's only natural that you hold such an opinion. You need to set a higher standard for yourself.

It isn’t a “point of view” or matter of opinion. There is nothing to suggest that he ever felt the least bit of remorse regarding his actions. As for the actions themselves, it is a proven fact that Stalin sentenced millions of his own people to death and exile in gulags. The records kept by his own government – not some body hostile to him – but HIS OWN government (I feel that point should be emphasized) confirm that as fact. Why would the Cheka and their successors at the NKVD and the KGB have lied in their own records about murdering people? These were private records that they never expected anyone to read apart from perhaps Stalin himself. There would be no reason for them to fabricate tales of brutality implicating Stalin. If anything, to do so would have been to risk their own lives if they displeased Stalin.

Now you could argue that these people – Stalin’s victims - deserved to be exiled, imprisoned and/or murdered, but I would love to know what in your opinion would justify their persecution.

I would suggest you try to broaden your own horizons and read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago”.

The Final Chapter / Re: Murder or execution?
« on: June 07, 2008, 07:25:29 PM »
Was it illegal to murder the IF? Putting all emotions aside, looking at this from a purely legal sense, perhaps the Tsar could have been legally sentenced to death for treason. Frankly, I think that claim would have been legally unjustified. He was an incompetent ruler, but he didn’t deliberately betray his country in any way. I don’t see how one could legally execute someone for incompetence. However, as the military and political head of the nation they could have charged and tried Nicholas for treason and have executed him “legally” - from their perspective - on that basis.

Given Alexandra’s role (albeit more-or-less unofficial until about 1915) in government, she might have been tried on the same charges and perhaps her death could have been considered legal, too. I believe such a sentence would have been equally unjustified, though. Her only crimes were willful ignorance and hubris. Those merit exile, perhaps, but not the death penalty. She never actually committed the genuine crime of treason.

Now were the Bolsheviks capable of arranging anything other that a kangaroo court to try someone for their supposed crimes? No. The Purges in the 30s stand as proof of that. If one isn’t able to receive a fair trial than how could any execution be considered legal?

The children, meanwhile, had absolutely no role in government. I can’t imagine how anyone could legally justify their execution. It may have been politically expedient for the Bolsheviks to murder them, but that doesn’t make it legally justifiable. There simply weren’t genuine legal grounds for their execution. Think about it. What would the charge have been? Being born into the wrong socio-economic group, the wrong family? That isn’t a criminal offence. At least it isn’t in any lawful nation. Their execution certainly could not have been “legally” carried out according to the laws, as they stood in 1918, in either Western Europe or the United States, because they had not committed offences warranting the death penalty. However, they were not in Europe or the States. Was their "execution" legal according to the laws as set out by the Bolsheviks? Even if their execution hadn’t been legal the Soviets would have simply declared it to be legal after the fact. So that is basically a moot point.

I think Lisa makes an excellent point regarding Hitler’s rule and technical legality. Technically, everything he did - Anschluss, Lebensborn, the Holocaust, the experimentation on Polish prisoners, etc. - all of it was “legal”. Yet I don’t think any sane person would claim that it was just. Apartheid in South Africa was legal, but was it just? No. Segregation in the American South was also legal, but unjust. The past mistreatment of Aborigines in Australia (watch Rabbit-Proof Fence) was also legal but unjust. Was what the Belgians did in the Congo, brutalizing the Congolese, technically legal? Their King considered it legal, but it was unjust. You get the point.

Perhaps the real question should be were the Bolsheviks’ laws just, not were their actions legal. That question has no clear cut response (as pointed out by others) because it is a matter of opinion. IMHO the Bolshevik laws were arbitrary and unjust. After all, if the leader can rewrite the laws at will to suit his immediate political desires than how can those laws be considered anything other than arbitrary? For that matter how can any law dictated by one man, not the people, not a judicial body, but just one person be considered fair?

Do you believe Olga Nicholaievna was a snob or an emotional passionate duchess? I personally do not like it when random websites say Olga was a snob and no one in the royal family liked her! How cruel is that?!

The simple answer to that question is no. Those websites are full of nonsense if they claim otherwise and one has to question whether they’ve ever actually read anything about the IF.

By all accounts Olga felt things very deeply…too deeply, perhaps. She may have actually possessed more emotional depth than any of the sisters according to contemporary accounts. She was the one who made a point of helping the needy (snobs rarely bother with charity). As for being passionless, those devoid of passion rarely delight in poetry the way that Olga did. My impression of her has always been that while she was, apparently, forthright and open with her opinions, she kept her emotions to herself sharing them only with those closest to her. She was also overshadowed by the more regal Tatiana. She was certainly the most perceptive member of the Tsar's immediate family. She appears to have been the only one who realized that they were in real jeopardy after the Revolution.

I was wondering if any of you have seen records or references about the manner Olga N. was considered by the other Romanovs, servants, tutors, etc.

From At the Court of the Last Czar, by Alexander A. Mosolov (London, 1935)
“At the time, Olga was at seventeen already quite a young lady, but she still behaved like a girl. She had beautiful light hair, her face – a wide oval – was purely Russian, not particularly regular, but her remarkably delicate colouring and her pretty smile, which disclosed remarkably even, white teeth, gave her a great freshness…Olga’s character was even, good, with an almost angelic kindness.”

From Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, by Pierre Gilliard (London, 1921)
“Olga, the eldest of the Grand Duchesses, was a girl of ten, very fair, and with sparkling, mischievous eyes and a slightly retrousse nose. She examined me with a look which seemed from the first moment to be searching for the weak point in my armour, but there was something so pure and frank about the child that one liked her straight off.”

“Through her (Tatiana’s) good looks and her art of self-assertion she put her sister Olga in the shade in public, as the latter, thoughtless about herself, seemed to take a back seat. Yet the two sisters were passionately devoted to each other.”

“The eldest, Olga, possessed a remarkably quick brain. She had good reasoning powers as well as initiative, a very independent manner, and a gift for swift and entertaining repartee. She gave me a certain amount of trouble at first, but our early skirmishes were soon succeeded by relations of frank cordiality.

She picked up everything extremely quickly, and always managed to give an original turn to what she learnt.”

Ashanti, that is such an adorable photograph! Very usual too, given Maria's Georgian costume (at least I assume it is Georgian given the boys' attire). I have never seen it before. Thank you for posting.

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