Author Topic: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny  (Read 52466 times)

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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #60 on: October 02, 2006, 04:22:58 PM »
     
   In the footnotes to a chapter on Alexei in "Romanov Autumn" by Charlotte Zeepvat it is claimed that Derevenko was hoping to accompany the IF to Tobolsk and packed atrunk for that purpose. If that is true it puts Derevenko's alleged turning against Alexei in a different light.
 
   For one thing, it"s totally inconsistent with his many years of proven devotion to the boy, including in some very stressful periods.The pressure to turn against the Romanovs from revolutionary guards around them must have been great but Derevenko's prior loyalty is unquestionable. Also,he seems to have been dismissed just prior to departure for Siberia,which was after at least four months with the IF at the Palace. If he had wanted to desert the IF he would probably have done so right away , in March.
 
   That Derevenko might have turned on Alexei is disturbing, but Anna Virubova's account may not be completely reliable, as many of us have noted.
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #61 on: October 02, 2006, 10:57:32 PM »
     
   In the footnotes to a chapter on Alexei in "Romanov Autumn" by Charlotte Zeepvat it is claimed that Derevenko was hoping to accompany the IF to Tobolsk and packed atrunk for that purpose. If that is true it puts Derevenko's alleged turning against Alexei in a different light.
 
   For one thing, it"s totally inconsistent with his many years of proven devotion to the boy, including in some very stressful periods.The pressure to turn against the Romanovs from revolutionary guards around them must have been great but Derevenko's prior loyalty is unquestionable. Also,he seems to have been dismissed just prior to departure for Siberia,which was after at least four months with the IF at the Palace. If he had wanted to desert the IF he would probably have done so right away , in March.
 
   That Derevenko might have turned on Alexei is disturbing, but Anna Virubova's account may not be completely reliable, as many of us have noted.

Indeed! It's infinitely interesting to me that Vyrubova seems to be the ONLY source for that story of Derevenko's betrayal. I wonder why that is. Was she just mistaken? Was she trying to add some "oomph" to her story? Or...would there have been any reason for Anna Vyrubova to defame Derevenko's character intentionally?
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #62 on: November 07, 2006, 12:19:37 PM »
As well, Derevenko probably came into contact with Bolshevik propaganda.  The times were a complete reversal of all relationsips and levels of society.
But then why would he have been begging to accompany the family into exile in August of 1917?

We can concoct all sorts of reasons to explain Derevenko's alleged betrayal. But to me, the more interesting discussion is the discrepancy between Vyrubova's story and Zeepvat's research. If other evidence proves it's possible that Vyrubova could have been wrong, I think we owe the man the benefit of the doubt.
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Offline koloagirl

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2007, 08:06:12 PM »
 :)
I know that Derevenko was Alexei's sailor-nanny for many years --- but I was wondering just what that entailed....beyond the obvious standing at the ready behind Alexei to make sure he did himself no injury. 

Did he dress the boy?  Did he play with him?  Did he eat with him?  Did he sleep in his room? 

Was he just a lower-level servant who would have no real emotional contact with Alexei or was he involved in most of his activities on a more familiar level?  He must have had some latitude if he was entrusted with Alexei's welfare at such a young age -- he must have been able to question Alexei's own will if he thought it was dangerous in some way.

I guess what I'm wondering is the question which can't be answered......was he emotionally involved with Alexei and the IF or was he just a paid servant to be ordered around and not allowed any familiarities?  I know that he was of the "peasant class" but did that mean always that the IF treated you as if you were nothing but an object.

After perusing the Yale Albums for about the 100th time I am just struck by how many times Derevenko is in there with Alexei (almost every one without Alexandra) and just wondering about what his role was in the IF's lives.  It is hard to imagine.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2007, 06:01:12 PM »

  Koloagirl,

  You ask a good question, one that I think many of us have asked ourselves: just what was Derevenko's relationship with Alexei and the IF? You're correct in concluding we'll never know with real certainty, but I think we have enough historical input to form a pretty good idea.
  My thinking is this (though I'm away from access to my sources right now).
 He did play with Alexei ,though not in the manner his smaller friends would have. By play I mean being present at games and activities while still being the serious adult present and taking good care with A. I don't believe he would take meals with him because other family and servants would be close by then . My understanding is that Derev. did help Alexei dress , almost certainly at those times when he was most sick or crippled with attacks of hemophilia. I also believe he slept in a room nearby him so as to be ready to help him if he was in distress in the night and be available the next morning.

This does not necessarily suggest closeness or intimacy .I believe Derevenko's feelings for A. were quite fond. More than responsibility would be expected from someone in the role of sailor-nanny. he would be expected to be someone A. could relate to at some level. But I don't think this would have involved too great familiarity which would Not have been allwed or apreciated.
  I must admit that asmuch as written sources I'm concluding this from having seen hundreds of picture of the two together.
Although this view is subjective, I believe Derevenko related very well to Alexei ; was fond of him if not what we would call close.
Rodney G.

Offline koloagirl

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2007, 06:35:11 PM »
 :D

Dear Rodney:

Thanks very much for responding to my question -- I know that we'll never know what exactly Derevenko felt for Alexei -- but I think it is so fascinating to ponder the situation -- someone so closely involved in Alexei's life, but yet distant.

 :)
Janet R.

Offline Alexander_IV

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #66 on: April 24, 2007, 05:50:29 PM »
If sometimes find it hard to believe Derevenko would have had a grudge against the IF or Alexei.
I know it was his job to obbey orders and do as the IF asked him to do but you wouldn't expect someone who lived so close to the family for so long to not have some affection to the family.

Does anyone know just how or why he was chosen for this job?
And when he was asked, would he have been able to refuse?
Was he already close to the family before, did he have a high rank in the navy, did he apply for the job?
I can imagine being picked out of the navy to become nanny might not have been his favorite career choice - especially seeing the pay wasn't all that great as well - but I find it hard to believe he'd have been picked without checking if he'd be interested in the job.

grtz

On another note, I found this link somewhere and someone asked if it was an interview with one of Derevenko's relatives.
The name Derevenko seems to appear in the text but I can't read Russian so is there someone here who could tell me what it's all about?
Is it something ficticious (which the URL might suggest)?
http://www.oscar-film.ru/index.php
Thx in advance

Alixz

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #67 on: February 18, 2008, 09:45:46 AM »
Alexander IV - while I can not translate the text of your link, I too, have always wondered how the "sailor nannies" were chosen.  And why sailors to begin with?

Why not guardsmen?  Why not other people from other walks of life?  I know that they were "big burly" men who could carry Alexei easily but "big burly" men certainly existed outside of the navy.

The IF was, of course, close to the sailors from the Polar Star and Standardt.  Perhaps that is why sailors were chosen.  The crews had been looking after all of children since the birth of Olga.  Maybe it just seemed the natural extension of their duties to go with the family after Alexei was known to need the extra help on dry land.

Perhaps the men volunteered.  Perhaps there was some incentive in pay or the ability to stay closer to their own families.

Derevenko and Nagorny seem to be the only two ever recruited for the job.  Alexei lived for 14 years.  I am sure that the men did work in shifts as to give them time to attend to other duties and to sleep and eat.  I highly doubt that they ate with Alexei or any of the girls.  Meals for the children were served in the nursery and when they grew older, they ate with their parents.

I believe it was more that "just a job" to both men.  In fact, loyalty to a family who employed one in the last century was usually great as opposed to the attitude today.

Would I have gone into exile with the family?  I believe that would depend on my status with the family and my position in the hierarchy of the palace.  It would also depend a lot on whether or not  I had a family of my own to worry about and if my going would put my family in jeopardy.

This is an interesting subject.  I have read almost all of the prior posts and am going to finish and try to do some research on my own.

Offline Joanna

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #68 on: March 31, 2008, 08:02:52 PM »
I suppose he lived in the "ruins" belonging to the White Tower ensemble, certenly not in the Chinese Village, as far as i know it was reserved for officials(?). The white tower´s ruins served as quarters for the servants and is being restored right now. I saw it last summer and appeared quite well.The ruins have the shape of a castle´s entrance: two towers and a big door in the middle. This building is not visible from the Alexander palace side, it´s just behind the white tower and in a lower level.

A current view of the White Tower adjunct building where Derevenko lived and then later Kuchumov. It was still being restored in 2006 but appears to be completed. I wonder what will be displayed here and if the White Tower itself is now open which I will check out next month.
http://pics.livejournal.com/catherine_catty/pic/000ge8ky/

Joanna

Offline Kitt

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #69 on: April 06, 2008, 06:22:58 PM »
I know I am replying to an old topic, but I just read the Memories Of The Russian Court,  and the scene that Vyrubova stated she saw: regarding Alexei and Derevenko occurred as she was being escorted out of the Alexander Place to be incarcerated. She had begged to say goodbye to the IF. Nicholas was outside, so she could not see him, but she was allowed to see the Empress and the Grand Duchesses.  It was on her way out after a hugely emotional time that she stated that she witnessed this scene.   She wasn’t spending a long time at the open door. My guess is that with being physically ill(measles), emotionally charged, and just plain frightened of the prospects before her, she misjudged what she saw. 
Kitt

As well, Derevenko probably came into contact with Bolshevik propaganda.  The times were a complete reversal of all relationsips and levels of society.
But then why would he have been begging to accompany the family into exile in August of 1917?

We can concoct all sorts of reasons to explain Derevenko's alleged betrayal. But to me, the more interesting discussion is the discrepancy between Vyrubova's story and Zeepvat's research. If other evidence proves it's possible that Vyrubova could have been wrong, I think we owe the man the benefit of the doubt.


Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #70 on: September 05, 2010, 10:48:38 AM »
I am bumping this topic due to some misinformation about Derevenko being posted.

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #71 on: February 26, 2011, 11:24:31 AM »
  Has anyone else noticed a change in Derevenko's physical shape, that is, his body, over the course of his time as Alexei's nanny? He was his nanny/ protector for about eight years and in both earlier photos and film he seems to have been less stout, thick around the middle , than in later views. He was always strong and sturdy but I think I've noticed him fleshier in the later years.
I wonder if this was simply natural loss of trimness as a man passes out of youth and/or a less active pursuit of Alexei after the latter ceased to be a little boy and less active and wild.

I wish I could post sample photos or film, but I can't . In any case, I thought I'd noticed this and wondered if it was noted by others.
Rodney G.

Offline Joanna

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #72 on: June 11, 2016, 05:00:58 PM »
Details of official inclusion of Derevenko in the lists of the court household in 1906:

The palace chancellery tried to find precedents to explain the appearance of the sailor Derevenko with the Tsarevich.  In October 1906 Nikitin, Office of the Clerk of Empress Alexandra, prepared a certificate stating "...that the former clerk's office of Alexander III, now state councillor Siegel, that there never took place "uncles" ... until 1888. To the children was attached Guards sailor Bukin for about 5 years ... on retirement was defined as valet to their Imperial Highnesses..."

Count Rostovtsev, head of the Office of the Empress, wrote to Frau M. Geringer on November 12, 1906 that "Her Majesty the Empress Alexandra said on May 13, 1906 in the rooms of HIH Tsarevich Alexei N. that Quartermaster Guard crew Andrei Derevenko was called "uncle" with His Imperial Highness".  Thus the registration procedure of "uncle" had become official.

RSHA F. 525 Op. 1

By 1913 the officials started to become concerned when Nagorny was appointed. In December Dr. E. Botkin wrote to Count Rostovtsev " On the appointment of the newly recruited ... sailor Nagorny, assistant to Derevenko. From what Her Majesty said to me, I realized that in fact ... Derevenko will still be called uncle ... But legally it has to take the place of a valet, and his assistant Nagorny, cloakroom attendant".

Joanna

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #73 on: June 12, 2016, 07:23:13 AM »
So Derevenko joined Alexei when he was still an infant, I.e. Not yet two. I had assumed it was rather later, around five.

Ann

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Derevenko the Sailor-nanny
« Reply #74 on: June 12, 2016, 12:50:06 PM »
Very interesting. This means Derevenko cared for Alexei ,by my calculation, for well over  three quarters of the latter's brief life. And all that time would be what are considered formative years. It's unfortunate  from an historical perspective that neither he nor Nagorny survived to write or speak about the heir to the Russian throne, however long Alexei might have lived.
Rodney G.