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Topics - Rodney_G.

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Anastasia Nicholaievna / Countess Anastasia?
« on: May 27, 2016, 07:31:23 PM »
Well, I must say that's a new one on me. "Countess" Anastasia, that is. That's how Anastasia was referred to in a book I'm just finishing. It's The Confidence Game and is about , well, confidence games. As in frauds, Ponzi schemes, cons, stings. The psychology, methods , and makeup of con artists and their victims.

Anastasia was mentioned  briefly in a section on the element of emotions, especially sympathy, in victims of a con, or in her case, impostures. Oddly, in the same sentence, she was both Countess Anastasia (definitely a first) and a Russian princess (closer, but not really).
"Or recall the many (!!!) Countesses Anastasia who litter history, playing on the global love and fascination with the young Russian princess whose body was never discovered when the rest of the Romanov family perished.The good story that raises your emotion..."

I can't say I lose any sleep over this carelessness in the Anastasia story now, but switching titles mid-sentence is a bit much. Also, the index has Countess Anastasia. Shaky.
The book itself is decent on the subject. The author? a youngish woman, yes, of apparently Russian descent: Maria Konnikova.

Edit. Maria K.  is indeed Russian-born and still writes in Russian.

The Final Chapter / Peter Voikov
« on: December 10, 2014, 04:12:26 PM »
This thread is about Pyotr (Peter) Voikov, Bolshevik revolutionary and key figure in the Ural and Ekaterinburg leadership at the time of the Romanov family imprisonment and murders in Ipatiev House and subsequent burial. I've known a fair bit about him for some time but have also recently discovered a bit more interesting about him. His name is not generally much associated with the actual executions because he didn't participate or deal directly with the IF ,unlike Ural Regional Executive Committeemen and Cheka figures like Yurovsky,Beloborodov,Safarov, Goloschokin, or even Sverdlov and Lenin.

Perhaps it should be. A revolutionary from his youth, and originally supporting Mensheviks, Voikov, nicknamed or codenamed "Petrus" or "Intellectual", Voikov  was a graduate in engineering from Geneva while in exile Returned to Russia at the outbreak of revolution ,he soon became Commissar of Supply in the Urals .In this role he was responsible for the provision of hundreds of pounds of both the gasoline and sulfuric acid used to destroy the bodies of the Ipatiev House victims. Previously he had personally lobbied for the choice of that place as the ideal place of imprisonment for the IF. He knew of Nicholas Ipatiev as a fellow engineer.

In 1920 in Moscow ,he began oversight of the confiscated Romanov jewels at the Armoury for sale abroad for the hard currency necessary for the funding of the desperate Bolshevik/Soviet regime. He was certainly not alone in that role.

For you Canadians out there, note this. In 1920, the Soviets were eager to establish foreign trade with several capitalist countries. After much drama and negotiation, a trade pact was signed in 1922. But when Peter Voikov was suggested as one of the lead soviet Trade Commissioners, all hell broke loose. His role in the Romanov murders was no secret . He often promoted it . The Soviets quickly withdrew his nomination along with another known Bolshevik revolutionary. Neither had any known commercial or international experience. July, 1918 was not that long ago.

Undaunted, the Soviet Foreign Ministry arranged for him to be appointed "Plenipotentiary Representative" to  Poland in Warsaw, as virtual Ambasasdor. There fate caught up with him. He got his  on June 7, 1927 when 19 year old Boris Koverda, a Polish patriot , monarchist, and sympathizer with the former Russian Imperial Family, shot him to death at the Warsaw railroad station. Koverda is thought to have been motivated  by revenge for the IF murders and saw his chance. The murder of Voikov is pretty much the sole instance of revenge against a leading Bolshevik associated with the Romanov executions, if not exactly one of the participants.

The assassination outraged the Soviets , as did Koverda's sympathetic treatment , but little came of it. Except that Voikov received the standard solemn Soviet martyr's burial in November of that year. I've seen a photo of it. He was then buried in the wall of the Kremlin, traditional tomb of Soviet hero-martyrs. I'm not sure if he's still there. I think so. The Soviets named a factory and coal mine for "Petrus" as well.

Very unfortunately, to my mind, travelers on Moscow's Metro to this day pass through its Voikovskaya station. Russian Orthodox Church efforts to have a Romanov family murders abettor  renamed have not been successful.

Ironically, Peter Voikov  is said to have claimed "the world will never know what we did with them" about the Romanovs and their servants. Wrong.

Nicholas II / Nicholas names Chess Grandmasters
« on: May 28, 2014, 03:38:02 PM »
By accident I heard a reference to the following. It seems Nicholas first came up with the term, "Grandmaster of Chess" (in Russian , presumably) and bestowed the honor and title on one Emanuel Lasker, winner of an international chess tournament in St. Petersburg, in April and May, 1914. Can't say I knew that. I don't think he himself played the game seriously, or at all, since he doesn't seem to have mentioned it in his writing,nor does any other account that I'm aware of say that he did .

Imperial Russian History / From Nicholas II to Stalin
« on: May 23, 2013, 06:12:19 PM »
I'm reading An American in the Gulag by Alexander Dolgun, about a young American embassy employee swept up into the Soviet Gulag system in 1948 and his amazing survival story. It's inspiring and depressing at the same time. But here I just want to pass along a few items he mentions in his narrative that are   references or artifacts that have carried over,in a sense , from the time of Nicholas II's reign. In a way they are understandable,but nevertheless striking to me,or maybe just poignant.
In one prison, Lefortovo(?) he meets another prisoner, one Krovoshein. Though Alexander is only twenty-two, and  American-born,  he's able to recognise and have a sense for Nicholas' highly regarded Minister of Agriculture  First name(?) Krivoshein, who in the last years of WWI
tried to organise  Russia's dire food needs., only to be ultimately overtaken by political disaster. Alexander doesn't know if Krivoshein is related to the late Minister.

On another occasion as  Alexander was driven in an MGB van one morning through cold Moscow streets, he  saw that he was on Kalyaevskaya Ulitsa, named after the assassin who blew up Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich in February, 1905, Ivan Kalyaev. It's not clear if Dolgun makes the association.

Finally,(or for now), Alexander D. is transported to a   slave labor camp in Kazakhstan in a "Stolypin "railway car. These were apparently an innovation of Nicholas II's Interior and Prime Minister Peter Stolypin from the period post-1905 Revolution. They were prisoner transport cars attached to regular railway trains, but painted  as mail cars. They were originally sleeping wagons with four tiers of bunks converted to  cells to hold four to seven  times that number of 'passengers.' At least as described herein the conditions were horrible. These were Stolypin cars in the period of Beria and Stalin, though  undoubtedly without Orient Express comfort levels of comfort  even in Stolypin's original design.

Typically, Dolgun observed that Soviet citizens  rarely remarked on the need for four or five such  large mail cars on ordinary passenger routes.

The young man is observing things here that were between thirty and forty years removed from significance in Nicholas II's time. To me that is not much time at all. In the framework of high Stalinism, they seem references to a different world, one Stalin and his generation remembered well, but often chose to selectively forget.

The Final Chapter / Ipatiev House, north and west
« on: March 16, 2013, 02:46:38 PM »
We're all familiar with Ipatiev House, during the Imperial Family's captivity there, and to a lesser extent, before and after. But the well-known views of the house  are overwhelmingly from the south looking at its southerly side along Vosnesensky Lane,  and from the east , looking at its eastern facade along Vosnesensky  Prospekt , the wide avenue runing north and south. Sorry I can't provide photos , but these are the obvious views.

The question is , what were the properties like on the north side of the IH property, and likewise, what lay to its west, in both cases immediately adjoining IH property ? I think I know ,but I could go for some specific input. I think to the north was another house and to the west , on a downward slope was eventually a lake, though I don't know how far from the IH western property line.

The intriguing thing about this if I understand the layout more or less correctly, and from what we know independently,is that were no fences  or pallisades barring access to the IH from those sides, and yet the  Bolsheviks obviously  wouldn't have allowed  movement over those property borders. What was going on? Did they also control those adjoining properties? I think not. Did IH also originally have serious fencing along its western and northern facing sides? 

 I think I've seen photos, I think post-Romanov captivity, that show the IH situated pretty snugly among its neighbors on the north and west, but this is hard to pin down. Also,  nothing I've read about the Bolshevik concern with isolating the house says a word about those two sides.

So, what do  you all know about this?

Nicholas II / When did Nicholas start his beard?
« on: July 26, 2012, 02:30:46 PM »
This question has been touched upon, but without a definitive answer. The last photo I have of him beardless is from Japan, April, 1891. (sorry, haven't the photo here). Three years later, there are many photos of him with his beard. Does anyone have a photo of, or know of him  with a beard earlier than that?

Over time I've picked up on many of the nicknames that the last Imperial Family (NAOTMAA) had for those people in their lives who were not other  Romanov family, namely their friends,  members of their suite and household, servants , etc. I have in mind nicknames other than the standard ones for common  Russian given names like Alexander/"Sasha"; Maria/ "Mashka"; Tatiana/"Tanya".., etc.
Some of these nicknames were pretty clever, some obvious, some a bit  demeaning.

These names can be for anyone at any time, but just in connection with the last Imperial Family. Without further ado , and starting with some of my favorites.

1. Klementy Nagorny, tsarevich Alexei's last sailor nanny----Klim
2. Andrei Derevenko, Alexei's primary sailor nanny----Dina
3.  Sidney Gibbes, English tuto to the Imperial children--- Sig
4. Pierre Giliard, tutor of French to the children----- Zhilik
5. Alexandra Tegleva, nursemaid to the children , and later Gilliard's wife---Shura
6. Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, Alexandra's lady-in-waiting---Sophie
7. Maria Tutelberg, maid to Alexandra--- Toodles(yes!)
8. Anna Demidova, Maid to Alexandra--- Nyuta
9. Alexandra's friend, Julia Dehn--- Lili
10. Gregory Rasputin---Our Friend
11. Margaret Jackson, nursemaid  to the young Alix of Hesse---Madge, Madgie
12.  Mary Anne Orchard, governess to the young Alix of Hesse---Orchie
13.  Tatiana's admirer, Dmitry Malama, ---the golden one
14. Katherine Schneider, Alexandra's reader and aide--Trina
15. Anna Vyrubova,  Alexandra's close friend and confidante---Anya, and 'the Cow'
16. your turn

The Final Chapter / Church OnThe Blood , Ekaterinburg
« on: March 23, 2012, 05:51:41 PM »
 Mod, feel free to direct this post to the best location.

I've just done a Google map search of the Church OnThe Blood In Honor Of All Saints Resplendent In The Russian Land (a beautiful title,but a mouthful) in Ekaterinburg. To my surprise its location doesn't involve either Voznesensky Avenue or Voznesensky Lane, the two streets intersecting to form Ipatiev House corner. Instead,the Church is at 34 Tolmacheva Ulitsa (street). Has the llong and wide Voznesensky Prospect been renamed ? I thought there was also a Voznesensky Square  somewhat across from Ipatiev House but that seems not to be there now either. So, what's the deal?
Does anyone know about this? Better yet, to have been there?

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Tolstoy by Rosamund Bartlett
« on: February 07, 2012, 06:23:10 PM »

I'm about to start Tolstoy by Rosamund Bartlett, a British author on Russian cultural history. I'm ordinarily not that big on Russian fiction, but I do enjoy Russian social and cultural history more generally, and especially the inevitable overlay with Russian history and politics. Is anyone familiar with this book or its author? A brief scan makes it look really promising.  Any help out there?

Their World and Culture / The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« on: February 01, 2012, 05:55:57 PM »
 The War 1914-1918.

  Most of us, worldwide, and in whatever language,  call  the war of  1914-1918 World War I  or , less frequently now, the Great War. It was obviously not thought of as the First World War until the battles of 1939, maybe even up to 1941, gave it "First" status.
I know pretty soon after 1918, in the British Empire, and I believe more widely in the Western world,it was called the Great War  or simply "the war".  It seems the term "the Great War" had a lot more emotive content for Britons and probbly for the French and Germans as well in the years after 1918 than the term Second World War does now .

Did the other belligerent nations have different terms for it, either during it or in the years after? Obviously the participant nations each had their own  unique experience of it that may have colored how it was commonly referrred to.
And of course the political  far left called it the Imperialist War for ideological reasons, but that term was never widely used.
Does anyone know when , more or less exactly , the 1914-1918 War  became the First? It might have been a little disconcerting, after 1939, or 1941, to have the expression "the war" refer to a different conflict.

The Final Chapter / Chronology of news of Romanov murders
« on: November 08, 2011, 06:35:16 PM »
  What is known of the timing and sequence of revelations of the murder of the Imperial Family at Ekaterinburg? Specifically this:
Though the Bolsheviks publicly announced Nicholas" execution on the 18/19 of July, 1918, as we know they claimed that Alexandra and the family "were removed to a  safe place." Thus there was very little thought that Nicholas hadn't been shot.

The murders of the remaining six Romanovs were another story. The Bolsheviks, over time, variously denied, lied about,  and/or claimed ignorance of Alexandra and AOTMAA's fate. And yet gradually, and piecemeal, there were vague, and sporadic admissions  (or at least non-denials) that they had been killed. The first more or less official acknowledgement came in the late Twenties I believe. And yet, of course, people DID know. It couldn't really have been kept secret and wasn't . But the vagueness and uncertainty Did serve Soviet purposes, blame and condemnation having been delayed and diffused over time.

What I'm asking for, then, is posters' input, and as specifically as possible, citations of Soviet admissions of , or public revelations of , the Imperial murders. The reactions of King George V of Great Britain and , I think, US President Wilson are known, but what degree of certainty did they have? Or, when was the first confirmed report in a newspaper? Again, this is not about Nicholas, but about Alexandra and the children.

The whole phenomenon of how the Bolsheviks escaped having to account for the IF to the world is fascinating and to me, unbelievable. They in effect were allowed to claim that the most famous prisoners in the world, in their custody, just sort of got lost, misplaced, or wandered off. "Who are these Romanovs of which you speak? Oh them. Don't ask me, I'm just a Soviet diplomat. I heard they moved to Sicily or somewhere. Care for some more Soviet caviar?"
So, what was known, when, and in what circumstance?

Nicholas II / His arrest- date?- circumstances?
« on: October 04, 2011, 06:15:01 PM »
I have seen different dates for Nicholas' arrest-- the 8th or 9th of March, 1917 (Old Style).I lean toward the 8th but am not sure. In any case, did it occur at Stavka (Mogilev) or upon his return to Tsarskoe Selo? These are some pretty basic facts which I've recently realized I wasn't sure about. Also, who specifically, what officer  or Provisional Government authority , actually arrested him? And, far greater question, did he expect it , or did think he could continue moving about as an ex- Emperor and civilian in a country experiencing a revolution? I myself think his arrest came as a surprise to him, though it probably  shouldn't have.

Also why did it take almost a week to decide to arrest him after abdication? I know the Prov. Gov. had its  hands full  with the SP Soviet as well as with starting to run a huge country at war , but this rather casual attitude to a deposed Emperor at large amongst his (former) troops is pretty bizarre, though then again , maybe not, since , as I noted, things were really chaotic then.

I realise I've thrown the door open to a number of significant topics( more than I'd originally intended), but what the hey, let's have at it!
Oh, one more thing, was the arrest of Alexandra and the Imperial children intended to be simultaneous with Nicholas' , and was it in fact?
Again, let's do it!

Rasputin / Houdini In Russia
« on: June 27, 2011, 04:33:56 PM »
 I'm reading a book now about the great escape artist and magician Harry Houdini. It describes a visit he made to Moscow in early 1903  for two months. No mention of St. Petersburg. He created a sensation  and "high society of the city attend each of his performances."  GD Serge and Elizabeth perhaps?

Interestingly, he was  performing in Moscow  at the time of the notorious Kishinev pogrom/ massacre in April that year. Scores were killed, hundreds wounded, hundreds of houses burned , a real horror.
 Houdini( real name Ehrich Weiss )who was Jewish , visited Kishinev afterwards and was horrified . He thought it could only happen in Russia. He maintained there was a ban on Jews performing on  the stage of any theater in Moscow (I doubt that). His advice on avoiding the ban "This is easily overcome by simply denying your religion. .. or you can go into Russia with a license, like a dog."
Houdini was rightly sensitive to antisemitism but not overly observant himself as a Jew.

There's a neat pamphlet from the time of his tour. It's a photo of the 29 year old Houdini  looking serious and bound in multiple  handcuffs around wrists ,upper arms (around his back)  , and neck to chest.

It reads,  in Russian

                                                      Harry Houdini

            Universally Reknowned Mystery Man,

           Called " King Of Handcuffs" 

I would think there might have been some mention of his visit in the Romanov "record" somewhere . I can readily see his act , (which really was fantastic) being something some of the Grand Dukes or Duchesses would love to catch.

Welcome New Users! Read 1st please. / avoiding double quoting
« on: March 23, 2011, 11:09:56 AM »

I've been around a while but still have this problem. Say I want to quote the last sentence of a 15 sentence post which itself contains a quote of an earlier post. I can get my desired sentence properly inserted but it needlessly brings along the earlier quote which I don't want and which defeats the purpose of using a limited specific quote. In other words quote clutter. I've tried manually deleting the earlier undesired quote but it doesn't really work.

Is there some technique to achieve this? I think there must be but I'm not getting It.

To start, I  wasn't sure how to title this topic or where to post it but thought here was best. Also sorry for drawing you here under false pretenses of a major topic area like Russian -German hatred in the world War I (and before) period. But I came across a glaring little oddity from that time and wondered what you thought.
 To frame the issue : At the outbreak of war with Germany in August 1914 , there was enormous hatred of the Germans by the Russian populace toward Germany itself but also against all things German within Russia . The German Embassy was attacked, shops owned by Germans in Russian towns and cities were damaged , even good Russians with German names were damned. Those hated for a German connection even came to include the Empress Alexandra herself (" that German woman")
 Given that reality, that context, namely a brutal ongoing war with Germany, I was very surprised to note the following. In Nicholas II's personal train, at Stavka, military headquarters in Mogilev ,  the small desk calendar, the kind where you tear off the sheets, was printed in German, i.e. made in Germany and with the months and days of the week in German!
I'm having trouble imagining high Russian Army generals meeting with Nicholas to discuss strategy and important military issues for the war against the hated German enemy with this German language calendar on the table near them. How to explain that? No good Russian calendars available to the Tsar?
I noted this anomaly in a scene from the documentary "Revenge of the Romanovs" which contained a scene filmed of Nicholas' original  wartime train car where his abdication took place. The scene was filmed by the Soviets in 1957 with Vasily Shulgin, an original oberver present.

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