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Messages - Suzanne

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Which book is this, Hikaru? I would be interested to read it. While I have certainly come across letters where Dmitri refers to his "Uncle Nicky", I have never heard of him calling Alix mummy. If the book is not availible, could you please post the letter here. Thanks very much

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Falling Down?
« on: July 22, 2005, 11:47:56 PM »
Maria N. was especially embarassed because the dinner where the tripped and fell was a state occasion. Crown Prince Carol of Rumania was visting Russia to discuss the war effort. Maria's fall certainly didn't affect Carol's good opinion of her. He asked the Tsar for her hand in marriage and was told that she was too young to marry.

Are you suggesting that Felix Yussupov should not have used the Yussupov name because it came through the female line. I can think of plenty of cases where a family name has endured through the female line.

Is this book still availible? If so, how do i go about obtaining a copy. Thanks

I also believe that Sophia is a really fascinating person. I actually wrote a short story about her, when I was in high school, for the school literary journal. Although the biography you had read is the only one I have seen about her in English, there is interesting information about her in Peter the Great by Robert Massie as well as Women in Russian History trans. Eve Levin.

Tatiana Nicholaievna / Re: Tatiana's attitude?
« on: July 14, 2005, 03:03:43 PM »
The New York Times Perspective is very interesting. The enduring public profile of Tatiana's warwork is futher demonstrated by Pasternak's novel Dr. Zhivago. Lara goes to the front as a nurse in a hospital train sponsored by "The Tatiana Relief Committe" - the translator's footnote stated - Tatiana Nikolayevna (1897-1918), second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II.

Olga's interest in more mature, emotionally stable men is certainly demonstrated by her interest in Pavel Voronov. However, when the Frist World War broke out, Dmitri seemed to "pull himself together" - while Felix was avoiding military service in Petersburg (Olga N criticises his "uselessness" in a letter to her father, that she worte after a visit to Irina and Felix), Dmitri acted as aide-de-camp to the Tsar and recieved the cross of St. George for rescuing a fellow cavalryman under fire (See Perry and Pleshakov - The Flight of the Romanovs). He was suddenly a military hero, as Voronov had been in the Russo-Japanese war.

In a letter Alix wrote to her husband in 1915, she listed the reasons why Aunt Miechen's son Boris was an unacceptable - basically saying that an innocent girl would suffer greatly to recieve a husband "fourth, fifth hand or more" - an allusion to Boris' debaucheries. Interestingly, she immeadaitely follows this critique of Boris with something along the lines of (I'm afraid I don't have the letter in front of me) "That is why you must counsel Dmitri and let him know what it means to be husband."

All of this makes me wonder if Dmitri's increased military prestige and apparent emotional maturity (NAOTMAA would probably have been unaware of his infaturation with Natasha Wulfurt, Grand Duke Mikhail's husband) along with the decreased feasibility of foreign princes during the war might have made him a potential suitor for Olga's hand once more, as he had been when Olga was very young.

Of course, any chance Dmitri had with Olga (and her family) ended with his participation in Rasputin's murder. A further interesting note, is a scene described in Duma minister Rodzainko's memoir "The Reign of Rasputin" where he describes a drunken assertion of Rasputin's, a month before the murder. Rasp. was asked in a cafe if he had slept with the Tsarina. He replied that he hadn't with the Tsarina but with her daughter Olga (nonsense of course, but Rasputin said a lot of things just to get attention) and that he could summon her to the cafe at any moment to prove this. According to Rodzainko, a blonde prostitute was summoned - in a fur coat to suggest royalty - who rasp. tried to pass off as "Olga".

I wonder if a garbled account of this scene - should it be true - ever got back to Dmitri - who had a history of acting emotionally without thinking first and if it impacted his descision to murder Rasputin., whom Dmitri might already have blamed for turning Alix against him the first time there was talk of an engagement with Olga.

All this is speculation of course but I really wish someone would write a good biography of Dmitri and really delve into his ever changing relationship with NAOTMAA and his reasons for murdering Rasputin. I think he's a fascinating character and that there is definately more to him - and the events and relationships in his life - than a first glance at the sources would suggest.

In Radzinsky's "The Rasputin File" - the author quotes the diary of a General Bogdanovich in July 1912 who describes Olga and Dmitry as engaged. Bog.'s source on this is not described so it is unclear whether he is describing an actual understanding or just court gossip.

What is interesting about the Rasputin File is that Radzinsky describes Alexandra - not Olga - as the member of the family that opposed the match and that Rasputin, noting Dmitri's own hostility to him and seeking to increase his stature with the Empress, backed Alexandra. When Dmitri left the Alexander Palace to spend more time with Felix Yusupov, the engagment was broken.

Now, Radzinsky, as a playwright often adds additional colour to his historical interpretations but I have always wondered if Dmitri's involvement in Rasputin's murder may have been rooted in Rasputin's opposition to a possible union between Dmitri and Olga. Olga's diary the day after the murder states that "father Grigori was killed by Dmitri". She made this assumption before the murder had been fully investigated. Interesting that although the murder was at the Yusupov palace, she did not assume that Felix comitted the actual killing - she had reason to assume that the culprit was Dmitri.

The engagement - or lack thereof - between Dmitri and Olga was certainly more complex that the standard interpretation that Dmitri discovered the pleasures of the  Petersburg social scene and religious, straight-laced Olga was put off by this. Dmitri's motives in rasputin's murder may well have been personal instead of political

Anastasia Nicholaievna / Re: What Room?
« on: July 11, 2005, 10:47:46 PM »
I believe that Catherine the Great's views of Childrearing were influenced by the enlightenment thinkers she read, especially Rousseau - who wrote a great deal about the manner children should be raised. These philosophers warned of the dangers of pampering children and keeping them away from what was "natural" Catherine insisted that her grandson Alexander I sleep on a cot and take cold baths in the morning. The tradition continued from there.

That picture made me think of that excerpt from Tatiana's letter to her Aunt Olga, on hearing of the engagement of Ioann and Helena, in "The Romanovs: Love, Power and Tragedy". I don't have the book in front of me so I can't quote exactly but I believe Tatiana (aged 14) writes, "Did you hear that Ioann is to be married to Helene of Serbia. Isn't that funny? What if they have children? Can you imagine kissing him?"

Zeepvat states in Romanov Autumn that the marraige was surprise to the entire family since Ioann had considered becoming a monk and he was teased a great deal by his relatives about the romance.

Sad but true, Real Anastasia. Haslip states p. 426 "One of the chief links between the Empress and the Actress was their interest in every new slimming cure. In the case of Katerina Schratt it was a losing battle against middle aged spread and a fondness for rich food. With Elizabeth  it was a tragic obsession of a mentally unbalanced woman who had reduced herself to skin and bone in the delusion that she was growing stout."

P. 324 "Elizabeth insisted on weighing herself twice a day and if she exceeded even by a few ounces what she considered to be her top weight of 50 kilos, far too little according to the doctors for a woman of 5ft six inches in height, she immeadaitely went on a starvation diet of oranges and raw meat juice."

Having read a few biographies of Sisi. I notice certain similarities between the Austrian Empress and the late Princess Diana - the eating disorders, difficult relationships with their husbands, conflict with the royal establishment etc.

Sorry if all this is rather off topic from "swimming suits" - maybe its time to add a Hapsburg message board to this site! Elizabeth's last public appearance in Vienna, before her assassination was to recieve N&A on their 1896 coronation tour. Although Sisi was a fair age by this point, observers still though her beauty outshone that of Alexandra.

No, in those days, ladies did not "work out". It would never have been seen as  'proper'. Even among men of the time, Nicholas was considered VERY athletic, more so than most. The girls played tennis, and took long walks, but nothing like their father.

The exception to this practice was Empress Elizabeth of Austria who was so afraid to lose her slim figure to childbearing that she set up the nineteenth century equivalent of a "home gym" in her palace in order to do qymnastic excercises. According to Joan Haslip's biography "The Lonely Empress", Elizabeth's mother-in-law reprimanded her for "excercising her body like a circus performer" instead of attending her official duties. Elizabeth's extreme diets attracted an equal amount of dissaproval from the Archduchess.

Regarding Helena's stated visit to the Ipatiev house, where she met with the commander - presumably Avdeev - who agreed to pass on a message to the Imperial family, I wonder why Alix's 1918 diary does not mention this message. In the diary Alix is meticulous about recording who she wrote to and which relatives and friends kept in contact. Helena's memoirs - as described by Zeepvat in Romanov Autumn - mention that Helena recieved a message (verbally, from one of the Ipatiev House sentries) from the Imperial family, acknowledging her inquiry. Quite strange that Alix's diary for 1918 does not mention Helena. Are there any other primary sources that confirm the events described in Helena's memoirs?

Imperial Russian History / Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« on: June 28, 2005, 10:47:36 PM »
I Think that the passage from King and Wilson 141-142 jumps to certain conclusions that I believe to be insufficiently supported by the evidence at hand.  First of all, the Baroness was confined to the same cabins on the Rus as the Grand Duchesses - I doubt she would have been able to wander away from them speak to Rodionov without their knowledge - or at least suspicions- and if they were aware of her "betrayal", they would probably have told their mother, who would no doubt have been disgusted by Isa's behaviour and would not have anxiously asked Dr. Derevenko about her safety and the doctor recounts she did.

Most importantly, King and Wilson's account of the events does not match with the actions of the family's guards at the time. If Isa really did tell them exactly where the jewels were, it would have followed that they would have confiscated these jewels instead of waiting until the chaos of the murder on the night of the 17th, by which time the jewels might have been moved from their original hiding places.

Furthermore, if Isa had been so concerned with her own safety over that of the family - I doubt she would have joined them on the Rus in the first place.  She would have instead pocketed Soloviev's money (if that is indeed what she did - that is also inconclusive) and deserted the cause before the journey to Ekaterinburg

This is simply my interpretation based on what evidence I have read. I believe there is a great deal about the last months of the Imperial family's lives that cannot be determined from the availible evidence and the conditions of Isa's release is one of them. I do not believe that King and Wilson's presentation of speculative conlusions in the form of facts helps our understanding of the Romanovs'situation in 1918.  Speculation and theory should be clearly identified as such and not presented as the unquestionable truth.

Perry and Pleshakov's work "The Flight of the Romanovs" discusses Dmitiri's interest in Buddism and other Eastern religions and describes these beliefs as a solace during his period of Persian exile, following Rasputin's murder. He never seems to have formally renounced orthodoxy though, therefore it makes sense that his wedding and funeral were performed according to Orthodox practice.

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