Author Topic: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #1  (Read 190175 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pushkina

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 248
  • Wandering between two worlds,one dead,
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #60 on: January 25, 2005, 01:00:37 AM »
Quote
My point was: had the revolutionaries allowed the majority, i.e. the peasants to make their own decision, then nothing would have happened.


the peasants had a traditional communal system for local decsionmaking: the zemstvo.  many reformers, i.e. prince lvov, were involved in the zemstvo system in their gubernyas.  but the centralized bureaucracies were afraid of even that system, either its use or its expansion.  and so, when stalin finished what lenin began, he went after the peasants who had participated/benefited from this system first: they had leadership qualities, they became 'kulaks'.

Quote
So perhaps Lenin was right as far as that was concerned, i.e. the peasants don't necessarily know what's best for them, or even if they do, they won't necessarily do anything about it. Personally I don't know because I don't really understand them.


having lived among pre-revolutionary peasants in iran, i learned something that my maoist friends never wanted to admit: peasants are basically very conservative, very involved with self-interest and survival, but compared to intellectuals, they are reactionary.  they are a paradox: progressive looking after their self-interests but conservative socially, because as it was explained to me by the folks i was amongst, "when society changes, it is us who suffer."

indeed.
outrageous, alarming, courageous, charming.

Offline Belochka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4447
  • City of Peter stand in all your splendor - Pushkin
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #61 on: January 25, 2005, 05:19:54 AM »
Quote
peasants are basically very conservative, very involved with self-interest and survival


That was the very point I was trying to reach. It was the peasants themselves by their own ignorance and conservatism prefering the status quo , who were untrusting as to what Stolypin's changes meant for their longterm wellbeing.

Certainly the years for reformation were too brief, and this indeed was real Russia's tragedy.

Perhaps one other factor why Nikolai turned against Stolypin was based on reasons other than contrasting authority and intellectualism. Alexandra resented Stolypin because he warned Nikolai about Grisha's growing influence in SPb and within the court. Stolypin was brave enough in 1911 to order Grisha out of the city.

Despite this particular accomplishment, Stolypin was awarded for service to the State, and made him Knight of St. Alexander Nevskii by Nikolai a few months before his death.

Nikolai needed a strong Prime Minister, but unfortunately he failed to understand Stolypin's vision. Stolypin was an ardent supporter of the monarchy to the very end. Their relationship would have not been an easy one to bear. Surviving numerous crises with the Duma and State Council, it was hardly surprising that all this would effect Stolypin's physical and mental wellbeing.

What was extraordinary, was that Nikolai failed to express any formal appreciation for Stolypin's service to Russia, after his death. Nikolai could only write in his diary a few simple words:  poor Stolypin.  Whether this can be considered as a negative Imperial trait on the part of the Emperor or was it simply a process of mental closure is an interesting question.

Stolypin's murder it seems was tolerated and appeared to be the work of the Okhrana, with General Kurlov as the prime suspect, using Dmitri Bogrov to perform the deed, for which he paid with his own life. There have been suggestions that no Okhrana heads rolled too far, simply for fear of exposing their own incompetency on security matters.

Nevertheless, Stolypin's demise altered Russia's destiny ... no ifs or buts.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


Faces of Russia is now on Facebook!


http://www.searchfoundationinc.org/

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #62 on: January 25, 2005, 08:34:16 AM »
Given all the reasons we have discussed, I fail to understand how Stolypin's survival could have possibly changed Russia's fate. So let me bring up another issue: World War I. Could Stolypin have averted this catastrophe? I think not.

The sad truth is that Stolypin's reforms came too late for Russia. Even if Nicholas, the peasantry, and the landowning class had wholeheartedly supported Stolypin's reforms, even if the zemstvos had been encouraged to develop and more autonomous forms of local self-government had sprung up, even if, in short, we were not discussing Russia and the reign of Nicholas II but some fantasy country with an ideal tsar, World War I would still have come along and ripped apart the fabric of the entire society. Remember, even Stolypin admitted he needed 20 years to transform Russia. (A more reasonable estimate would have been several generations.) As it was, he got less than a decade.  
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Offline James1941

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 399
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #63 on: January 25, 2005, 12:44:13 PM »
I should like to address the threads in this post about the present day popularity of Nicholas II, Alexandra, and his family.
If, in 1917, the Provisional Government had packed Nicholas and his family off in a ship to England, or France or where ever, and they had been allowed to live out their allotted life span, would he have been remembered today as anything more than a historical footnote? I think not.
I contend that his popularity, even worship, today is the result not of anything he did while alive but because of the tragedy of his death and the mystery that surrounded it for so long. It has all the elements of a Shakespearean drama.
Also, please consider this aspect of the question. It is generally accepted by most historians, based on accounts by observers at the time, that the death of Nicholas was met with monumental indifference by the people of Russia at the time it happened. A great yawn.
Had the Bolshevik regime in Moscow given full press coverage of the death, let the bodies be buried in even a church ceremony and allowed reporters, etc. to get into the story, I contend it would all have soon been forgotten and so would have Nicholas.
He and his family were turned into martyrs because of the mystery and secrecy surrounding their last days which lasted for over 80 years, allowing all kinds of myths to be built up about the family. And because the Bolshevik regime proved to be such a greater horror than its predecessor, it has made people look back with nostalgia on Nicholas and his reign. It's the 'good old days' syndrome.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by James1941 »

Offline Janet_W.

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1888
  • ...And no one's grief has ever passed you by...
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #64 on: January 25, 2005, 01:22:19 PM »
Re: the proclivities of Hitler: I happen to be a vegetarian, and every now and then someone tries to goad me by stating that Hitler, too, was a vegetarian . . . to which I respond, "Not at all--he cannibalized [metaphorically speaking] millions of people."

Re: what James1941 just stated, I happen to agree with much of what he said. Because of their deaths, Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children have attained a tragic immortality, very much along the lines of fated characters in a Shakespearian play, that would not have been theirs had they lived out their lives in quiet exile.

On the other hand, the news of their deaths being met with "monumental indifference" is, from what I have read, highly subjective.

Since the nation was in such a state of flux, it makes sense that the deaths of the Imperial Family would have been just seven more among many to have been reported. And for those who were bitter about Romanov rule, naturally the disposal of Romanovs would have been a small matter indeed.

But there were many people who were stunned by this news. It was, after all, regicide. Removal is one thing . . . but assassination? That takes it to a different level. And many people had, for generations, had a sort of "relationship" with the Romanov family, fostered by all sort of public relations tactics, including the many photographs of his handsome family that Nicholas II encouraged to be taken and distributed. So, while I agree that bitterness and resentment and general political disfavor would have caused many people to be indifferent, if not relieved, at the news of the murders, conversely there were many people who were also shaken and distressed by the news. But, when you're in a state of emergency and struggling to keep your own life afloat, it's difficult to absorb everything . . . and would undoubtedly work against your own odds for physical and psychological survival. So it wouldn't be until a decade or so later that substantial memoirs would begin to appear, looking back at the last emperor and his family with feelings of (depending on the person and his/her experience) empathy, sentiment, nostalgia, etc.

Offline James1941

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 399
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #65 on: January 25, 2005, 01:47:48 PM »
  ;D  I find this thread so intresting. It shows again how wonderful it is to have such diversity in the world. How dull it would be if we all agreed with one another.
I should like to make a proposal to any readers who are interested,  AND, of course, with the premission and consent of the Forum Administrator.

My proposal---make a list of the positive acts of Nicholas II and of the malign acts of Nicholas II, as follows:

Positive or Goods Acts      Negative or Bad Acts
of Nicholas II                           of Nicholas II
_________________      ____________________
1.                                           1.
2.                                           2.
3.                                           3.

Each reader could list his or her acts, then they could be collated into a list to see how readers feel about Nicholas II. It would not be scientific, of course, but I think interesting.
I would volunteer to monitor this thread daily for about six weeks and take down each contribution, then weed out duplications and then collate and publish the list.
If the Forum Adminstrator or any other reader has an objection or alternative suggestions I am ready to oblige.
I would like to propose a hard and fast rule. If we do this, keep your suggestions short. No long two or three paragraphs explaining why you list this act. I am all too guilty of doing this.  We can discuss the list in subsequent posts.  For example:

Postive Acts                           Negative Acts
________________            ________________
1. Helped to estb. the              1. Took an unprepared
    the World Court at                 Russia into a war
    the Hague                              with Japan
 
Voila! There is may proposals. I humbly await your judgement.  ::)

« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 09:33:59 AM by Alixz »

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #66 on: January 25, 2005, 02:02:55 PM »
James, I think this is an excellent suggestion, although you would have to IM me to explain how you formatted the above pros and cons!

The only potential problem I see, is that every single point can be debated back and forth (and probably will be) into infinity. Which would nevertheless be intensely interesting, and perhaps that's the point!  ;)
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Dashkova

  • Guest
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #67 on: January 25, 2005, 04:15:20 PM »
Quote
I should like to address the threads in this post about the present day popularity of Nicholas II, Alexandra, and his family.
If, in 1917, the Provisional Government had packed Nicholas and his family off in a ship to England, or France or where ever, and they had been allowed to live out their allotted life span, would he have been remembered today as anything more than a historical footnote? I think not.


Not that you have suggested otherwise, but I suspect the entire family, or at least the children, had they been asked, would have preferred the footnote status and kept their lives.  Sadly, the parents had their heads in the sand and other areas.

Quote
And because the Bolshevik regime proved to be such a greater horror than its predecessor, it has made people look back with nostalgia on Nicholas and his reign. It's the 'good old days' syndrome.


Only a **VERY** few Russians, and the vast majority are non-Russians that look back in the ways you describe.  Good old days indeed.  ::)

Offline James1941

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 399
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #68 on: January 25, 2005, 10:08:54 PM »
I did not mean to sound harsh about the family. What I wanted to convey was that had they been allowed to go into exile and live out their lives, which I am very much sure they would have preferred, there would not have been the oceans of ink written about them nor would there have been the whole business of martyrdom and sainthood now associated with the imperial family. Alexander II was murdered also but he is not considered a martyr nor has he achieved sainthood like Nicholas and family and Elizabeth.
The Bolshevik regime in Moscow very tentatively and very carefully released the news of the tsar's death to "test the waters." When they saw that there was no
public outcry, no mass demonstrations, etc. they let it be known that the family had been killed also. No doubt many Russians were shocked by the killing of the children but Bloody Nicholas and the German woman were so unpopular that it is generally accepted by historians that their death left "most" Russians indifferent. In the Civil War the Whites, much as they would have liked to do so, were unable to use the Tsar and his family's death as a rallying cry. Nicholas and Alexandra were so discredited that no wanted to have their agenda associated with them. Even the monarchists were evasive about who would be tsar if there was a restoration.
When I used the term "good old days" I meant, not that Russians today want to go back to that time, but that people have a tendency to look back at the past, particulary the recent past, and see all kinds of things that seem better than things are today. "Back in my day we did things better" is oftent he cliche. There were no 'good old days" and I am sure most Russians would not like to return to the pre-Soviet era any more than most Americans would want to return to the days of slavery, child labor, and women having no vote either.
My point was that the tragic method of their death has made the imperial family into cultural icons that have little or no relation to their real lives. Would that the soviets had let them go to live to whatever fate would bring them. Far better than the belief that God made them into the Holy Martyrs as part of his divine plan for Holy Orthodox Russia, implying that they were perfect in life and there should be no criticism of their revered lives or pure actions.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by James1941 »

Offline Robert_Hall

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6649
  • a site.
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #69 on: January 25, 2005, 11:23:57 PM »
I understand what you are saying quite clearly and agree wholeheartedly.

Personally, I do not particularly care for the Romanovs themselves, but am quite interested in their chapter [footnote, whatever] in history.

On this forum, opinions one way or the other tend to bring out extremes and nasty emotions.  To my way of looking at things, this is a definite lack of historical objectivity.
So be it.  Some will stay convinced of the "royal martys' others of the "useless leeches" roles we tend to assign them.
No one is going to change another's  image of them.
You wre quite right- at least I think- in that if it had not been for the dramatic events that enveloped them, they would hardly rate a mention  by any of us.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Belochka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4447
  • City of Peter stand in all your splendor - Pushkin
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #70 on: January 26, 2005, 12:45:33 AM »
Quote
you're all making wonderful points about NII: on another thread we had /have hoped/hope to do the same albeit in trial form.  our prosecutorial team has dwindled away. maybe some of you might be available to assist the prosecution?


I would like to invite James1941 onto the Defense team, not ignoring Elizabeth or Pushkina's presence, because I am aware that you both were aligned with the Prosecution team. I am simply trying to  persuade James1941 onto my team, because you have previously expressed your admiration of Nikolai as Emperor and you have presented good discussion points. If you are interested in enjoining LisaD and myself please PM me.

Elizabeth, I understood from your previous statements that we should not introduce "what if" scenarios, therefore to discuss WWI and Stolypin in one plane would fall into this hypothetical situation would it not?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


Faces of Russia is now on Facebook!


http://www.searchfoundationinc.org/

Offline James1941

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 399
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2005, 12:53:43 AM »
I feel I must issue an apology if I offended anyone by my comments on the sainthood of the imperial family.
Since I am not a member of the Russian Orthodox communion I have no right to judge one way or the other. I am an Anglican and therefore  I am totally ignorant of the criteria the Russian Orthodox Church sets for sainthood. Obviously the imperial family and Elizabeth met that criteria. I have no issue with that, and if I offended I ask for forgiveness.
They were made, not maliciously or to denigrate anyone's belief, but because I get carried away with my arguments, to my later regret. After all, who am I to say what God's intent is or was.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by James1941 »

Offline pushkina

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 248
  • Wandering between two worlds,one dead,
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2005, 02:32:09 AM »
ah, belochka,

the defense is so very well populated and also carries the emotional goodwill of most of the list members while the prosecution suffers, limps even!

but i know that if he joins your team, it was by fair means, not foul...

but the invitation to join the prosecution is extended to all here who wish to critically examine NII and his actions.
outrageous, alarming, courageous, charming.

Offline Belochka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4447
  • City of Peter stand in all your splendor - Pushkin
    • View Profile
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #73 on: January 26, 2005, 05:15:30 AM »
Of course Pushkina!

everything must be seen to be fair and reasonable for both sides.



Faces of Russia is now on Facebook!


http://www.searchfoundationinc.org/

Offline AGRBear

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6611
  • The road to truth is the best one to travel.
    • View Profile
    • Romanov's  Russia
Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #74 on: January 26, 2005, 12:02:54 PM »
James 1941,  I think, according to this statement that you can take the  "unprepared" off the list of "negatives" and place this under the "postitives:

Quote
When looking for something else,  I ran across Fige's statements about Russia and if it was prepared for WWI.  He said on  p. 253:  "By 1914 Russia was spending more than Germany on her armed forces:  over one-thrid of all government expenditures.  It is not true, as historians later claimed, that the Russian army was unprepared for war.  In manpower and material it was at least the equal of the German army, and, thanks to the recent improvements of Russia's western railways, took only three days more than its enemy to complete its mobilization."


Perhaps the blame should fall on the Commander-in-Chief and his generals who didn't run the war correctly.

For example:   The generals continued to charge their mounted soldiers against machine guns.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152