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Messages - Tsarfan

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The Final Chapter / Re: When Did the Servants Stop Getting Paid?
« on: March 07, 2013, 12:21:27 PM »
. . . the Bolsheviks limited the IF's expenses to 600 rubles per person . . . .

That translates into about $6800 for the entire family in 2013 dollars (although such conversions are damnably speculative).  

For what time period was this the allowance?  Per week, per month, per annum . . . ?

Having Fun! / Re: How do you do OTMA's 'classic' pre-16 hairstyle?
« on: March 03, 2013, 07:54:04 PM »
I wonder what they could have been searching for and reading about online that directs them to such a link on the AP.

A place to stick a pencil?

Having Fun! / Re: How do you do OTMA's 'classic' pre-16 hairstyle?
« on: March 03, 2013, 03:39:28 PM »
Tsarfan, what in the world made you dig up this old thread.   It's been idle for years! :)

Oh, sometimes I just cruise the log-in register to see who's reading what threads, and I'll spot someone reading a thread that seems intriguing that I would not otherwise have dug up.

Sadly, I seem to have a taste for threads which seem to offer particular opportunity for sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek riposte.  It happens most often late at night and on weekends.  That should tell me something.

The Final Chapter / Re: How Did Jemmy Die?
« on: March 03, 2013, 11:56:02 AM »
Thanks.  I had forgotten he was with the investigators.

Having Fun! / Re: How do you do OTMA's 'classic' pre-16 hairstyle?
« on: March 03, 2013, 11:29:20 AM »
I was just wondering if anyone knew how to do OTMA's "Classic" pre-16 haistyle? You know, the on with the hair at the hairline kinda arched up?

It can't be all that hard.  Otherwise I wouldn't be seeing this kind of hair at Wal-Mart and in the parking lot of the local Baptist church every weekend.

The Final Chapter / Re: How Did Jemmy Die?
« on: March 03, 2013, 11:09:37 AM »
Was there anyone among the White investigators who would have had such intimate knowledge of the imperial family that they would have recognized the corpse of a dog as one belonging to the Romanovs?

The Final Chapter / Re: How Did Jemmy Die?
« on: March 02, 2013, 02:27:45 PM »
. . . either because she was in the way or as just part of the murderous frenzy of that night. Both of the latter seem to me to be the case.

I agree with this, Rodney.

I just don't see whatever malice the guards might have held toward the Romanovs carrying over to the dogs.  Remember that the guards who knew the family were not used as assassins that night.  People of more detached viewpoints were brought in for the job.

The Final Chapter / Re: How Did Jemmy Die?
« on: March 02, 2013, 11:56:41 AM »
. . . or was he never even given a chance specifically because of who he belonged to?

The Romanov's dog Joy was taken in and cared for by a guard, so I don't think there was any particular animus against the dogs because of their ownership.  I think the best guess is that the dogs lived or died based on which ones did or did not get in the way during the run-up to and the wrap-up from a massacre.

To people who were murdering eleven people that night -- including children -- and trying to keep it under wraps, it seems a little unrealistic to expect them to have paid much attention to dogs, one way or the other.

I think rgt9w brings up an interesting point.  The Bolshevik takeover and ensuing civil war unleashed vast forces of pent up resentment, anti-semitism, xenophobia.  And the relatively sudden release of those forces resulted in chaotic horrors of all sorts across Russia on both the White and the Red sides.  (It's worth reading Figes' A People's Tragedy to get a sense of just how universally violent and even sadistic the period became.)

I suspect the wholesale killing of Borzois based on association and the killing of the Romanov dogs tracked a distinction worth noting in the treatment of their masters.  Everything about the way the Romanovs' captivity and murders was managed reflected cold calculation for a specific political end.  Many members of the aristocracy were killed by mobs in the throes of an inchoate and unreasoning fury.

If anyone was motivated to kill the Romanovs' dogs to make a political statement, the dogs would have been killed while the Romanovs were alive.  You can't make a point to a dead person.

The Final Chapter / Re: How Did Jemmy Die?
« on: March 01, 2013, 09:00:07 PM »
Not even animals were safe from those Bolshevik butchers.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 3-4 million dogs are euthanized each year in this country because no one wants to care for them.

Dog meat is regularly consumed in quite a few countries from China to Switzerland (yes, Switzerland).

The Bolsheviks have a lot to answer for, but I'm not sure killing a couple of dogs would make the list.  And I say this as a life-long dog owner who currently obeys every whim of a dictatorial little Schnoodle with a moustache.

The Final Chapter / Re: How Did Jemmy Die?
« on: February 28, 2013, 06:03:48 PM »
it had large, round eyes; its teeth were exposed and always visible, its tongue hanging out its mouth.

A lot like Alfred E. Neuman . . . .

Meaning that Catherine's husband, Peter III, was not Paul's natural father.

Another Romanov question that modern DNA science could perhaps resolve.

Catherine certainly hinted in her memoirs that Sergei Saltykov was Paul's father.  And in the early years after his birth many at court also apparently believed as much, given the state of Peter's and Catherine's marriage.  However, as Paul aged he progressively resembled Peter more in looks and temperament, bearing no resemblance to Saltykov at all, and those courtiers in particular who could remember Paul came to discount rumors of illegitimacy.

It would have been an extraordinary thing for Catherine, nearing the end of her life, deliberately to sow doubts about her successor's lineage -- doubts that in that era could destabilize a government.  Even so, most modern historians feel that Catherine was so contemptuous of Paul that she did this to take a dig at him.  As for me, I don't find that argument quite convincing.  Catherine, while occasionally surrendering to passion and her emotions, never let them destabilize government -- something which she always approached with calculating logic and political finesse.

So I am at a loss.  I think the fact that Paul, even in portraiture from the era, clearly resembles Peter carries a lot of weight.  But I also have difficulty dismissing Catherine's memoirs entry.

Of these ten, how many would you say have a lower standard of living than they did a hundred years ago?

Certainly living standards have generally risen in many parst of the world in the past half century.

But your initial point was that diplomacy and more sensible government have helped us avoid wars in the latter 20th century.  I do not see the past half century as any more devoid of wars than most 50-year stretches of history.  Take just the U.S., for instance.  We have gone to war on average every 14 years since WWII.  That is not by any stretch an indicator of a more peaceable period in our history.

If there is any new force at work that has reduced warfare, at least between the nations of the highly-developed world, it is the internationalization of commercial interests.

And, yes . . . we're far off topic.

So, back to Mikhail Romanov.  No one has yet answered the question of why, if he actually became tsar immediately upon his election, his subsequent refusal to assume the crown did not nullify the election.  In fact, it was the threats of the boyars to forced him to take the crown that made him tsar.  And that did not happen on 21 February.

Also, Mikhail's election did not establish a dynasty.  As long as the tsar retained the right to appoint his own successor who need not be of Romanov blood, there was no Romanov dynasty, legally speaking.  People often make the mistake of assuming that Romanovs ascended the throne by right of birth.  That was not the case until the Pauline Laws of 1797.  Prior to that, while Romanov tsars favored male primogeniture as the means of designating a successor, it was a non-binding tradition.  Peter I explicitly rejected the tradition of primogeniture as binding on a tsar in his Law on Succession of 1722.  And, in fact, two people without a drop of Romanov blood -- the two Catherines -- sat on the throne for more than 12% of the time between Mikhail's becoming tsar and Nicholas II's abdication.  (Catherine II was actually a Rurik by remote descent, so one could argue that the Rurikids returned to power for the latter half of the 18th century, thereby breaking the Romanov run.  And, if Catherine's hints in her memoirs about Paul's birth are to be taken seriously, it was the Rurikids who finished the run to Nicholas II's abdication.)

But I reject the notion that we failed on all scores through the type of, largely, peaceful and sensible means of governing that characterize the latter-20th century and NOT the entire history of the world up to that point.

This seems a very Eurocentric point of view.

The U.S. was directly involved in five wars in the 67 years since WWII ended:  the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan war.  The Middle East has been a tinderbox of bombings, civil strife, open warfare.  Mexico is coming under the sway of drug lords and corruption to the point that it is unsafe for U.S. citizens to travel in most of it.  The Balkans have seen the return of warfare and ethnic cleansing.  Nuclear weapons are spreading into unstable or destabilizing parts of the world, and we are nearing the day when authoritarian dictatorships and terrorists will have them.  

It might look as if the world has calmed down when sipping a cup of coffee in a cafe by the Seine, but "peaceful and sensible means of governing" are not the experience of the latter-20th century in a very large part of the world.  And even in France, they have the 35-hour work week.

We vanquished Soviet Communism peacefully because we stayed the course of diplomacy instead of reverting to blood shed.

Diplomacy had nothing to do with it.  We won the Cold War because our GDP would support more sustained military spending than the Soviet Union's, and while we were waiting for them to go broke the threat of "mutually-assured destruction" from nuclear weapons stayed both our hands.

Our diplomatic mission during the Cold War was neither to make Russia capitalist -- as that would have been impossible -- nor to make peace with communist Russia -- because a communist Russia was not a goal of U.S. policy.

Our diplomatic mission during the Cold War was to prevent the spread of communism further into Asia, Latin America, and western Europe.  Our diplomacy failed on all scores.  Cuba went communist when our attempts to keep a corrupt anti-communist regime propped up failed.  And the subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis was not resolved through diplomacy, but through MAD.  South America is still riddled by communist insurgencies because our diplomacy never brought them to heel and we could not get enough arms into the region into enough honest hands.  In Europe, it was NATO, not diplomacy, that kept the Iron Curtain where it was first erected after World War II.  Remember the Berlin Airlift when, after diplomacy failed, West Berlin was kept alive only through massive military airlifts until Russia realized that keeping West Berlin cut off would result in all-out war?   In Asia, where war was not fought on terms with which we were familiar, communism spread and held.  Where military power failed us, diplomacy did not succeed:  Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea.

Do you think there is the least chance that we would have roared into an Iraq that was armed with nuclear weapons?  And what of Iran?  She is not building up her diplomatic corps with any appreciable speed.  She is developing her nuclear capability at full tilt.

We have actual modern mediums such as photograph and (occasional) video footage to see our subjects of interest, unlike the portraits of the 18th century.

This has an awful lot to do with the hagriography around Nicholas and his family.

But its deeper than that. 1918 wasn't even a century ago. The world was supposed to be less violent and brutal by then, right?

If you were an African American living in fear of the Ku Klux Klan, not really.  If you were an Armenian, not really.  If you were a Russian Jew, not really.  If you were a South African black, not really.  If you were a victim of gas warfare, not really.  It was a world that only looked calm and genteel to a thin crust of white people of western European stock.

If anything, the 20th century brought us the greatest mass murders in human history in Germany, Poland, Russia, China, Cambodia as well as the greatest wars.

The longest period of peace in the West was the two centuries of the Pax Romana from 27 BC to 180 AD.  Nothing approaching it has been seen since, and nothing like it looks to be anywhere on the horizon.

Consider the case of the United States:  the First Barbary War, the War of 1812, the Second Barbary War, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Irag War, the Aghanistani War.  And this doesn't count the three dozen or so Indian Wars and other wars in which we were involved other than as a primary combatant.  Yet we view ourselves as a peaceable culture.

The period around 1918 doesn't really stand out to me as signifying anything other than everyone catching their breaths to get ready for the next round.

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