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Topics - Rachael89

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Felix Yusupov is a figure I've long known about due to his links to the Imperial family and Rasputin, but I've just started reading his memoir Lost Splendour (after picking it up by chance in a charity shop) and I'm finding it an absolute delight. It's incredibly vivid and he has a real talent for communicating the sensory nature of his past experiences; his account is obviously very selective and romanticised, but I really don't mind in the slightest. As a work of imaginative autobiography it's extremely impressive and a completely gripping read that brings the places and people of the era to life in a way I've never come across before. I've read the memoirs of Maria Pavlovna (the younger) and Marie of Romania, and while they're both interesting they're simply not as gripping or visceral as Lost Splendour.

Can anyone recommend any other colourful memoirs along the lines of Lost Splendour? I'd be particularly interested in reading recollections of high society living in Russia prior to the last decades of the empire, going back to the 18th century.

(There was another thread on the book, but it hadn't been touched in nearly 10 years and I felt a new thread was probably appropriate!)

While it's easy to find out the formal modes of address for royalty and nobles, it's quite difficult to find out how serfs/servants were addressed by people higher up the social ladder. Would they have been referred to by their name and patronymic, or by their first name only?

I'm asking because I'm writing a story set in mid-18th century Russia, and it features house serfs/servants quite prominently. I'd like to depict the power relations between them and their masters as faithfully as possible, so if anyone could advise on this topic I'd appreciate it.

Hi Everyone

Hs anyone here read this book? As far as I can gather the author is related to Natasha somehow and it explores her relationship with GD Michael. I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me a better idea of what the book is like and if it is worth reading, as I find books written by people who knew the IF personally highly interesting.

Thanks in advances for any help!


Hi Everyone

Ugh. Just give me a moment to vent, I was the high bidder on copies of the letters of Nicholas and Alexandra, and then, at the very last moment, I was outbid. I feel very dissapointed, they were quite cheap and in the end they only sold for £21.01, a penny more than my highest bid. Normally, the books are ludicrously expensive so I dobut I will get another oppurtunity to purchase them for an affordable amount, oh well, at least I have the copies in my university's library for now.

Just in case I do get a chance to buy the letters again, could anyone tell me what is the best version to get? There are many diffirent versions and I don't know whether or not they are all the same.

Anyway, moving on, I would just like to ask for people's opinions on the various correspondances that are avaliable. Luckily, I managed to order a copy of the correspondance of Maria F and Nicky very cheaply and I am sure it will be good. I have recently developed a fascination for old letters and diaries etc. so if anyone has any interesting ones they could recommend I would be grateful.

I have looked for threads on the correspondances, but have only really seen one for that shared between Nicky and Alix and I would be interested to see what (if any) letters besides theirs are avaliable.


Having Fun! / The Time of Contrast (a story)
« on: August 02, 2007, 03:55:42 PM »
Hi all

I like to think of myself as a writer, and so was testing writing a first person narrative, and for some reason found myself writing from the first person as if I were Maria. It's quite strange really, as I have tried to make this as true to the reality as possible whilst giving Maria a voice and appreciating how her view would of course differ to that of history.

I've tried to get the nicknames right, but I may of used some not actually used by the IF - sorry!

This is having to be divided due to word limit, I'll post more tomorrow.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading this and let me know what you think!



I find it deeply ironic that I, Maria Nicholaivena, Grand Duchess of all Russia who was christened accompanied by a trailing procession endowed with glorious pomp and ceremony made her last journey by means of a rickety old pony trap.

I and Natysa adjusted better to our reduction in circumstance. We got on well with the common people you see, I would speak to anyone, the gangling awkwardly dressed soldiers with their rifles positioned lopsided in their arms, the suspicion ridden peasant women as they held their squalling infants tightly – the façade mattered little to me, I recognized all as being human, all with some degree of goodness and warmth within them. It is a nice way by which to lead life, to set out with caring and warm perceptions of man – it makes it easier to understand and to accept why good people can do bad things.

It was distressing when I learned just how ugly humanity has the potential to be, there were days when I’d doubt my optimistic appraisal of humanity, consider if some people hold no true capacity for love or compassion.

There are to be some things that I simply must explain. As I have mentioned, I am Grand Duchess Maria Nicolaivena, third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, Absolute Autocrat of all the Russias, and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Papa and Mama to us girls and Baby (my brother Alexei's pet name, though how he despised it towards the end! He was of course much too old for such childishness at thirteen!)

We lived a charmed life – it was almost as if we were in a fairy tale world consisting of gorgeous turreted palaces, adoring subjects and rolling stretches of land as our own to do with as we pleased. We had many homes, although I liked Livadia best, it was besides the sea and wandering tentatively into the waves was a pleasure so much greater than any afforded by our wonderful, elaborate toys. We were normal children in many ways, took pleasure in simple things – what made us different is that we had choice.  We had China dolls dressed in the latest Paris fashions with entire trousseaus, we had clockwork bears that lumbered across the nursery’s floor and we boasted beautiful clothes – dresses adorned with vibrantly colored ribbons in delicate white lace.

Essentially, we had too much.

There was a war; it broke out when I had just turned fifteen. It was a horrific, destructive demonstration of carnage and human brutality where Natysa and I could do nothing but smile and comfort the wounded and scarred in our little hospital; we were too young to train as Nurses like Olishka and Tanushka.
I loved our hospital. It was an escape from the palace walls, which I can only describe as restrictive, despite their noble beauty. I and Natysa got bored dreadfully easily, and Natysa was such a terror with it! Some of the tricks and jibes she made were simply wicked – but vastly amusing alongside their crudity. Her jokes were quelled at the hospital, or at least nearly, for she found the sight of dying men in agonizing pain and knowing we could do nothing just as upsetting as I did – her humor resurfaced only in lighter moods.

For example, once she and a solider were playing a game of chess to while away some time and he claimed victory with a final move; she feigned outrage and stomped around the ward - creating a great, melodramatic hullabaloo that resulted in an irrepressible clamor of laughter.

But things got worse as the war dragged and festered on. People began saying bad things about Mama and Papa. They spoke awful, horrendous things about mama – terrible wicked lies. We never knew for certain what they said about her, for no one was ever going to tell us. They slandered Father Gregory, our Holy Man who helped poor little Alexei so much during the worst days of his illness, worst of all. We heard the whispers and grew aware of the guarded looks shot in our direction by gossiping servants; we didn't need to know the words to comprehend the meaning.

Things grew worse in the city. There was a terrible, bitter cold, all of us children apart from me were sick with Measles and Mama came to rely on me, for it was a time of such terrible distress – she was unable to bear the unrelenting pressure by herself and so I ensured I was there to help her.

Hi everyone

I have just returned from holiday in Finland, and was lucky enough to find a book on the Romanovs! It is in Russian, but it is largely photos so I picked it up as it was a bargain (£4.00) especially considering Finland is a very expensive country, for example,, I saw an imported copy of Royal Russia for £30  :o!

From the photos inside, mostly of the Romanovs holidaying and relaxing, I'm assuming it's about their holidays (it has small sections on Alexander I, Nicholas I and Alexander II and then much larger photo sections of the last two Tsars and their families) but I have no way of being sure. I was wonbdering if there are any Russian speakers on the forum? I have included scans of the front and the back and would be extremely grateful if you could give me an idea as to what they mean!

I was very pleased because it contains quite a few photos I haven't seen before, I've scanned some of the ones that are new to me as they might be of interest but these aren't really a reflection of the books content as most of the photos are casual, there's also a very interesting photo of Anna V and Alix hugging, I definitely haven't seen it before - the only thing is it's over exposed! It's well laid out and well printed, with mostly good quality photos are some rarer ones that are less good quality but none the less fascinating. Anyway, here are the scans:

Thanks in advance for any help and I hope you find the scans interesting! I want to go and learn Russian now, I'll have to see if there's a course or something.



Hi everyone

I was able to get hold of this other biography of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna from my library (I'm always lucky with my libary stocking good things!) I must say, I went in with great apprenhension because what I've read of it on random threads here was overwhelmingly negative - only  for me to find in a fascinating further insight into my favourite member of the Imperial Family.

There have been comments about this on other random threads but I couldn't find one soelly about this book, so I thought I'd start one as some people were saying certain parts of it were unrealiable - would anyone know whcih? It largely seemed well researched and reliable to me, it was quite interesting to see an objective view fo Olga A as The Last Grand Duchess is obviosuly far more personally, I am however always ready to be proved wrong!

I would love to know what you all think about this book!



Having Fun! / Coloured pictures XVII
« on: December 27, 2006, 11:02:53 AM »
Hi everyone

Hope nobody minds me making a new thread, it's just the last one was really long, and it may be taking a while to load by now for those with slow connections.

Anyway, great work everyone! Hope yiu all had a great xmas!

Alix 1910:



Having Fun! / Xmas photos?
« on: December 09, 2006, 11:24:05 AM »
Hi everyone

I was wondering if with christmas so close anyone knows if any christmassy photos of the imperial family exist? All I've seen is one of OTMA sat around an xmas tree - very cute! I was wondering if anyone knew of any more?



Having Fun! / Coloured pictures XVI
« on: November 19, 2006, 09:20:44 AM »
Hi everyone

Thought the last thread was getting abit big...taking a while to load! Hope no one minds me starting up the new thread again!

My new one, Anastasia, Alix and Maria:

Great work everyone, especially like your last one Justine!


Hi everyone

I was thinking of getting this book that contains letters from Princess Alice (Alexandra's mother) to her mother, Queen Victoria. I was wondering if the book was interesting or worth getting?

I'm usually interested in little anecdotes about family life so I'd love to know if it's got any of those.


Having Fun! / Coloured pictures XV
« on: October 12, 2006, 12:55:08 PM »
Hi everyone

Thought I'd start a new thread as the old one was getting a bit big....

Here's my new one, the children on the Day of White Flowers:



Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / The Amazon project
« on: October 07, 2006, 03:48:40 PM »
Hi everyone

I am currently in the process of reviewing the Romanov books on amazon that firstly I have read, and secondly have not got any other reviews, there are many obscure books that people know very little about, and deliberate over getting, so I thought it would be a nice idea to post reviews on Amazon for the more obscure titles which no one else has been able to review, so people can get a better and more precise idea of what they're all about.

I use, and have just reviewed The End of the Romanovs, however knowing how long Amazom takes to process reviews it will be a month of Sundays before it get's through.

Has anyone else posted reviews of obscure titles? Or is anyone else interested in doing so?



Hi everyone

I am interested in the case of Larissa Feodorvna someone who didn't actually claim to be anyone in partcular, but who some people feel might of been GD Tatiana. I find it interesting because she didn't actually claim anything and led a very secretive life untill she died aged about 28, something I find a lot more likely than a claimant screaming out that they're a member of the imperial family.

I've seen this book on Amazon and was considering getting it, I already have the Romanov Conspiracies but I wondered if anyone could tell me if 'No resting place...' has anything new to offer, as I found The Romanov Conspiracies to be incoherent in places.

Thankyou in advance for any help!



Having Fun! / Cleaning up photos...
« on: September 20, 2006, 12:13:28 PM »
Hi everyone

I'm a member of another board that specialises in this kind of thing (cleaning up old photos) and I decided to try it on a Romanov photo, I like this photo from Tolbosk, and it's always been in bad quality so I tried to clean it up:

The cleaned up version:

The original:

I think it's quite a significant improvement so I'm quite pleased  :)!

Does anyone have any bad quality Romanov photos they feel would benefit from having abit of quality improvement? Or have you cleaned any up yourself? Post them here!



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