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Messages - Janet_Ashton

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Olga Nicholaievna / Re: Olga's cat Vaska
« on: August 22, 2004, 08:47:39 PM »
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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

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Incidentally, there have been at least two biographies of Ella published in Russian recently, and not by the usual suspects (Bokhanov et. al) - I plan to take a look to ferret out what primary material has been contributed, though I doubt my ability to manage the nuances of the text... :-/

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ANother random thought about Ella, which may not be very popular, but she strikes me as one of those people for whom it was easier to care about the world than the wards put in her charge.  :-/


I agree entirely. I think the mistake some of her biographers have made has been to assume that love for humanity in the abstract is the same thing as love in the particular, and that a religious zeal equals a sentimental soul. I don't think she was that way at all.

Janet

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Forum Announcements / Re: Welcome new Users (& advice for everyone t
« on: August 18, 2004, 04:23:33 PM »
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That being said, Janet A.,  I do think it's a bit rude to insinuate that other people's posts are junk that are wasting your precious time. I'm sorry if we are not all mind readers and unable to know before we post if it's something you don't want to see or waste your day on. There are a lot of people here and what you consider junk may be relevant to someone else. Also some topics, like the AA subject, are so complicated it should not be surprising there are so many comments on it, and how some of the same things may end up being repeated as a similar aspect is brought up that may have also been mentioned in another thread. Oh and the comment that some of us spend way too much time online, (in the AA/Anastasia thread) just plain wasn't very nice at all.


Annie; I'm sorry if I've offended you. Perhaps I can clarify:

I don't characterise anyone's posts as "junk". If I'm not interested in a thread, I don't read it. No-one wastes my time either: I have a job which is busy but ends when I go home; I spend a lot of my spare time doing Russia-related things, which sometimes means choosing to post in certain threads if I think I can help or if I want to discuss something, and when I make a promise I follow up. Right now I'm aware that I'm never followed up on the "Nicky's tattoo" thread, when I promised to find info about where his tattoo was. I will do so when I've time. On the other hand, I don't think anyone singles me out as a particular expert on any topic, asks me questions, or is disappointed if I don't reply when they've spent their time asking me something. So I don't feel bad. Think about it. Please.

I didn't say either that anyone spends "too much" time on the internet. Some people are obviously here a lot  contributing a great deal. My concern is that we all spend what time we have as productively as possible.

Hope that makes sense...

Janet

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Forum Announcements / Re: Welcome new Users (& advice for everyone t
« on: August 18, 2004, 12:58:49 PM »
Thank you Rob - as a user I quite agree. I have actually found it really frustrating on here of late because the same points seem to be made over and over again - and some posters reply to a reply by repeating their original point. This combined with the format of the board (not easy to simply download and delete posts one isn't interested in) mean I've given up reading most of it....Yesterday evening it took me several hours to read and post in four threads.
Again, this isn't personal, just a plea that people respect others' limited capacity to read stuff.

Janet

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The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: August 18, 2004, 12:28:35 PM »
Could I make a gentle plea here on behalf of the internet and the Board archive, not to mention a little private research?

Several times in this thread I've observed people asking questions which have either already been answered in an earlier thread, or which could actually be answered quite easily with a bit of research on the internet or in a library. Same goes for other threads too actually. I don't want to sound churlish here, but I believe in self-empowerment (rewarding thing, research!) and I do think a few minutes alone with Google could save the bother of directing a question at someone who is already really busy, gets a LOT of queries every day, and has limited time for the internet - whereas some of the posters here seem to spend a LOT of time on it and could maybe use it more productively.

That way no-one will be disappointed either.

Just a thought...

Janet

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The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: August 17, 2004, 03:36:59 PM »
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The Russian author Eduard Radzinski (sp? I'm sure I've butchered the name) and his book about the fate of the Tsar alluded to it. I don't remember exactly what the passage said, but I think it was fairly mild -- maybe that the girls were occasionally careless with their clothing and didn't tidy things up or that they might have been occasionally bossy to maids. Some of my books are in storage and I think that's one of them, so I can't look it up. Maybe someone else could.


I think you and Antonio were actually talking about the same testimony - that of Elizaveta Ersberg, who apparently described the children to her own family in generally favourable terms, but certainly characterised Olga as "spoilt, capricious and lazy" at times. We have to remember that this is the way they might have seemes to people who had less easy lives - the likes of Elizaveta for instance would not have been afforded the luxury of a nervous breakdown while nursing; and had Olga been a soldier serving at the front - such behaviour could have got her shot.
This is not a criticism of Olga; rather more an observation that perhaps sometimes people who were friends rather than servants have a tendency where these Romanovs are concerned to charaterise as saintly or heroic behaviour which was really fairly unremarkable....

I think I come across as the negative voice here this week....:-)

Janet

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Also, itīs been always amazing for me the way Maria excuses anything her father did.


Children do this though! :-) It's like the offspring of divorced parents, who often represent the absent one as ideal and the one left to care for them (and discipline them) as a monster. I can't imagine Marie P. felt much different to this, particularly if she felt cold-shouldered by her aunt and smothered by her uncle. Her relationship with Dimitri has been described by one pair of writers (Perry and Pleshakov) as "psychologically incestuous".

Another analogy is the offspring of men killed in wars - and I'm thinking for some reason of Christopher Isherwood (perhaps because it's his centenary this week) who remembered his dead father rather fondly, yet persecuted an adoring mother for the whole of his adult life, forcing her to read manuscripts in which he lampooned and criticised her, and basically sponging her money when it suited him. A slightly tangential point maybe, but for now I consider Isherwood to be "on topic" here, because he was born ten days or something after the Tsesarevich, and his mother proudly noted that fact in her diary...:-)

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Being a Grand Duke was not only privilege, it was also duty before his country, the same country that supported all those privileges.


I certainly agree with you there!

Janet

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I see her softer when she was younger, but I don't imagine life like a porcelein doll with Serge would foster that much. Her letters in her younger years certainly indicate a girlishness and flirtatiousness. As for MP, I'm going by her own memoirs. She may have been abandoned by her father (her mother couldn't help it) but she had her brother and a uncle/aunt to take care of her which is more than many. Pehaps self-absorbed is better than spoiled. This she describes herself and she also gives the impression of realizing later that she was resentful and unappreciative of Ella & Serge taking her in, when it was indeed her father who chose a woman and another family over herself & Dmitri. Her aunt, 'Greek Minny' (no easy character herself) described her as 'full of life...but inclined to be self-willed and selfish, and rather difficult to deal with...Her Aunt Ella and she were so diametrically different in character that they only really understood each other when they came to part...Dmitri had a much easier character and had taken more of his parents' nature.". Greek Minny once she moved to Russia, had a good deal of contact with MP. It's also always the same 2-3 anecdotes of MP re: Ella that are quoted when a different picture emerges post-Serge. Perhaps that is where the difficulty lie--not within Ella's own being or desires. I get the impression Serge didn't want to 'share" MP or Dmitri even with Ella and probably sabotaged it in many subtle ways..


I think this is probably quite correct, and I find Serge's preoccupation with the children to be unhealthy. Yet to me many of Marie P's utterances on Ella have a self-flagellating nature - or if not that then certainly they are honest where her own ambivalance is concerned. Quite true - she DID have more than many children in material terms, but this may not have been the main thing she wanted. The emotional deprivation was not Ella's fault - Paul himself or Nicholas and Alexandra should take the blame here for separating the father from the children - but I doubt that Ella was the best equipped to deal with that needy a child - who, after all, she didn't "take in" but had foisted on her. Nor I think did Dimitri emerge unscathed from his upbringing, however amiable he may have been on the surface.
MP may be the most frequently quoted negative source on Ella, but she's not alone: Minnie for one found Ella's religious concerns to be vain and self-aggrandizing; so apparently did Alix. Both these opinions may be spiteful (Minnie was nothing if not petty) but they present a different image of her motivation, as it was perceived by those who knew her best. You're right, she was a complex character. I think MP was spot-on about Alix too. :-)

Janet




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The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: August 15, 2004, 04:14:35 PM »
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It sure didn't sound like that to me, oh well. But I agree, I never thought that either, that's why it's a shame it always comes back to that with all the other possibilities to be explored.


Annie, Greg has never posted anywhere that he believes AA was Anastasia - all he has ever said was that he thinks there are puzzling unanswered questions here. That's true, whatever your perspective on the matter. On this board alone, he has said that he has no wishes either way, that it's not a question of disbelieving the DNA tests, and so forth. Additionally, he doesn't like posting on this topic, and when six months ago I first alerted him that this board had appeared, he told me that if he joined he had no intention of posting on this topic, for several reasons. Yet he does so, because people have questions and he is a kind and generous person who gives time to answer points that he CAN answer when they are topics he has researched - and because he thrives on intellectual discussion. The risk in this is that others (I don't mean you) post insulting comments suggesting that "Fate of the Romanovs" is just a prequel to some book about AA (how offensive, considering the work that went into it! - and considering how important and ground-breaking a book it is - whereas the principle ground-breaking research on AA was done twenty years ago by Peter Kurth). This sort of reaction is completely unhelpful, and I don't think it's helpful either for you to be posting comments suggesting that you think people (e.g. Greg and Penny) are artificially "trying to keep the issue alive" for the sake of future books. That isn't fair and it isn't true - this threda has been up on the board for six whole months, and FA of all people started it in recognition of the fact that people want to talk about it. I apologize if I jumped down your throat - this isn't about your opinions on AA at all - you can hold watever view you like on that or any historical matter. What it's about is the fact that I can tend to get a little upset when people post personal attacks on those who are important to me simply because they are trying publicly to help others out.

As for Gleb Botkin - he didn't even necessarily KNOW the Romanovs that well, so the sincerity of his opinion is pretty irrelevant to the question of who AA was. He could be sincere and still be wrong. This has been pointed out here before (albeit not quite in these words!) - by Penny Wilson.....

Janet

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Their World and Culture / Re: The Anti-Semitism of the Romanovs
« on: August 10, 2004, 07:45:11 PM »
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Many anecdotes have been posted on this website about Nicholas interacting very pleasantly with a variety of people, from all stations of life and all backgrounds. Some of these anecdotes have mentioned his amiable interactions with Jews.

 


Yes, but...these were arranged for his own benefit. It had, it seems to me, more to do with assuring himself of the loyalty of his subjects - "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world", perhaps? - than with any interest in actually seeing how individual Jews (or Russians) were doing, let alone with interacting with them as equals.

Janet

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The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: August 10, 2004, 07:18:43 PM »
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I agree with you regarding Gleb Botkin and the sincerity of his opinion. I think his reputation shouldn't be blackened without some proof to the contrary. But "nasty little Grand Duchess Anastasia?" LOL. Isn't that blackening the reputation of another dead person? Anastasia Nicholaievna was a high-spirited girl whose "nastiness" consisted of tripping palace servants, pulling her cousin's hair in childish fights over who was taller, and giving humorous imitations of people at the court. I'm sure she wasn't always a perfect little angel, but her naughtiness sounds like normal kid stuff to me. Let's not go overboard here.


Well...maybe  8). But my main point was that if anyone was going to sit around "hoping" that one of the kids had survived, it probably wouldn't be Anastasia they'd be dreaming about...

Janet

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I haven't heard of any cold behavior towards OTMA, but living in Moscow until 1905 and then retreating to the convent, she probably didn't see them all that much. She was a little mother to Ernie, Irene and Alix after Alice died--Victoria was a little brusque for that, she was more of father's helper it seems. Ernie, especially, seemed to feel that way. Plus, in a few family photos, children (cousins, etc) cuddle up to her and she an especial influence on Alice Battenberg. .


She didn't have that much patience for Alice though, it seems - Hugo Vickers finds taht letters were left unanswered. Possibly this means that she thought her niece could stand on own two feet and didn't need coddling, but it also appears to me that she may have considered Alice's interest in nursing unfocused and sentimental - others in the family did, and Alexandra Olsufieva for one characterises Ella as very driven and intolerant of petty concerns.
I don't see Ella as a terribly soft person, myself, and I don't think it's quite fair to describe Marie P. as spoiled and resentful. Resentful she may have been, but her abandoned upbringing left her anything but "spoiled". She's not the only person who had a negative take on Ella after all.

Janet

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The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: August 10, 2004, 06:47:59 PM »
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My goodness there is no need to be so cruel to what I said! You COMPLETELEY misunderstood. When I listed all that, I was only trying to show you that I was not against Anna and that I honestly would like to believe, and I have tried to  believe, and at one time I did believe. But with the DNA tests, and all the pictures and opinions and evidence on both sides I have studied completely, and moreso after joining this board, I have sadly concluded that I am unable to believe there is any chance AA was Anastasia. It is nothing sweeping or emotional, it was after much research and scrutiny. Although I do feel now that my former belief in Anna was more emotional and wishful thinking than reality, for I can no longer even see in the pictures what I saw before.


I don't think there was anything cruel in what I said. I just asked you to remember that not everyone starts from the same position you do, and that you cannot therefore asume you know anything about their conclusions, their motives or their methodology. I asked you specifically to note that when Greg addresses the issue of Botkin's honesty, it is a unjusitifed leap to assume that he is talking about the Anderson issue per se - which you *did* assume. You certainly have not not studied this issue the way some others have, so it might do you some good to look at their posts, step by step, piece by piece - *without* assuming that they are all about Anna Anderson being any one individual. Especially if, as you say, you want to look at the "missing body" issue from all sides.


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Still, I cannot speak for anyone else and never said or implied anyone did believe for that reason. I don't know what anyone else's reasons are, I can't read their minds. The harshness with which people are sometimes met when they oppose this view is unecessary! Are there people with an agenda who thrive on keeping the AA story alive? The fact that some are so defensive at the mere suggestion of the idea only leads me to lean in the direction that possibly it is true. But then again anything is possible!


Oppose WHAT view? What agenda could anyone possibly have in "keeping the AA story alive" if it were a dead duck? - To undermine their own reputability?

Again you completely misunderstand. My only point was that this isn't ALL ABOUT ANNA ANDERSON BEING ANASTASIA.

Janet

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The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: August 10, 2004, 05:09:40 PM »
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Again I must say, I am NOT against AA, I think she was a wonderful lady, and I believed in her for years. I can't say how overwhelmingly happy it would make me to know that Anastasia(one of my favorite historical figures) survived to old age, and ended up living in Virginia (my home state!) with a bunch of cats (my favorite animal!) That would be the 'coolest' thing in the world to me! I WANT to believe! But sadly, it's just not realistic :'(.


Sorry - I don't think you understand. Greg didn't say: Gleb Botkin believed in AA therefore she was Anastasia. He didn't say: I believe in AA and will do anything to prove it. He simply said: there is no reason to doubt the honesty of Botkin's opinion. I wonder why it is that you assume that this a posteriori observation from someone who knows Botkin's daughter well and is familiar with the affects that her father's obsession had on her childhood supports some specific agenda? Don't you think that Gleb Botkin was a human being with a reputation that deserves support regardless of whether one agrees with his conclusions? Or do you perhaps think it's "all about the Romanovs"?

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Since I don't believe anymore, after re-looking at the pictures years later, and after the DNA tests, I am looking for things to explain the 'mysteries' in the story, as anyone interested would do. I also am saddened to see so many good researchers and scholars hanging onto the AA story and still trying to prove it, or at least leave the door open for it, when there are other things to be explored! There are still questions surrouning Anastasia that have nothing to do with Anna Anderson Manahan. I would love to see investigation into other things that may have happened.




Sorry - who do you think is "hanging onto" a story? Who do you think is trying to "prove" what? Which questions do you imagine will be left unanswered by whom?
I can assure you, I am a LOT more familiar with these said "good researchers and scholars" than you are and I personally see no grounds for your condescending assumptions about their opinions and methodology.

Janet

PS I am not an Anderson supporter; I don't count the nasty little Grand Duchess Anastasia as "one of my favourite historical characters". On the other hand I do study history with an open mind, piece by piece, fact by fact - I don't draw sweeping conclusions and I don't impute my own emotional agenda re. Romanovs onto others. If you "want" to believe she lived to be a dear old lady surrounded by your favourite animal - that's fine. Please don't assume that others proceed on the same basis.

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