Author Topic: why not marrying a russian?  (Read 27315 times)

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Offline DanlScott

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2009, 10:39:59 PM »
GV, to answer your question directly, yes he could have married a Romanov princess as long as she wasn't his first cousin.  His bride had four criteria to meet: 1) she had to be of equal rank (royal); 2) she had to be Russian Orthodox; 3) she couldn't be a first cousin (this was a church rule - although GD Cyril and Ducky violated this when they were married); and 4) had to have the consent of the Tsar.  Thus, Grand Duke Alexander married Grand Duchess Xenia, and Grand Duchess Olga married Peter of Oldenburg.  However, the other thing to consider was the prestige of the bride.  Rarely were royal matches of the time love matches, and it wouldn't have been considered much of a match for the heir to the Russian Empire to marry some backwater princess from the bottom of the royal social ladder.  Although not from  major country, the hessian royal family was illustrious and well connected.  And, although his parents didn't approve of her, Alexander III knew his time was running out and his son was ill prepared to rule.  He figured if Nnicholas married the woman (Alix0 he loved, it would have some comfort for him.

BTW, many would disagree with me, but the marriage rules above concerned only Romanov grand dukes and princes, not the Tsar.  Alexander II married his mistress, a non-royal Russian aristocrat, and there is anecdotal evidence he was considering making her empress and their children grand dukes and grand duchesses.  As autocrat, he had supreme power; who could stop him?

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2009, 09:16:58 AM »
'It seems so strange, when in the british royals it's the opposite ...'

In fact, the practice of British royalties marrying British people is very recent. Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise (1848-1939) married John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, later Duke of Argyll, in 1871, but this was the first marriage between a royal person and a British 'commoner' since the future James II married Anne Hyde in 1660. When the future George VI married in 1923, he was the first prince to marry a British commoner since 1660. By then times had changed, there were far fewer reigning families left, and in the climate of the early 1920s it would have been politically quite difficult for an heir to the throne to marry a German. George V therefore encouraged his children to marry members of the British aristocracy, as all but one of them (the Duke of Kent) did.

James II only married Anne Hyde because he had made her pregnant, and when she miscarried he tried to get the marriage annulled on the basis that the wedding had taken place in secret.

Offline Alex Milleros

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2009, 12:37:48 PM »
I might be wrong, but I think the equal marriage requirement had the objective of avoiding other Russian Noble families to struggle for power. Thus, members of the Imperial Family would have to enter into marriages with foreign royals. If I am correct, it was Emperor Alexander I who included this specific requirement in the Laws previously sanctioned by his father, Emperor Paul Petrovich.

As it was stated in a previous post, maybe Alexander III's unexpected illness helped the Sovereigns to accept Princess Alix of Hesse as his son's bride. However, I doubt they felt Alix would have just a few months to learn the language and some knowledge of Orthodoxy and the Russian customs before becoming Empress.

I apologize if my English is not good enough.

Alex

Offline violetta

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2009, 01:13:24 PM »
I might be wrong, but I think the equal marriage requirement had the objective of avoiding other Russian Noble families to struggle for power. Thus, members of the Imperial Family would have to enter into marriages with foreign royals. If I am correct, it was Emperor Alexander I who included this specific requirement in the Laws previously sanctioned by his father, Emperor Paul Petrovich.

As it was stated in a previous post, maybe Alexander III's unexpected illness helped the Sovereigns to accept Princess Alix of Hesse as his son's bride. However, I doubt they felt Alix would have just a few months to learn the language and some knowledge of Orthodoxy and the Russian customs before becoming Empress.

I apologize if my English is not good enough.

Alex


as far as i remember, the idea of NOT marrying a russian originated at the time of peter 1. he thought that the families of the bride/groom would fight for the influence in court and goverment institutions that`s why his son alexey married charlotte braunschweig wulfenbuttel. also, marriage to a foreign prince/princess would strength the international position of russia and confirm its bonds with other european countries.

as for alix von hesse, no one obviously expected that she would become the russian empress so quickly, completely unprepared. maria feodorovna had been married to alexander 3 for 13 years before she became the empress.

Offline Alex Milleros

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2009, 02:27:24 PM »
What I meant is that it became LAW during the reign of Alexander I. As far as I know, there was no such a legal requirement for equal marriages before the Pauline Laws. Peter II was engaged first to Maria Menshikova and then to Princess Catherine Dolgorukova, so I am assuming that marriages to Russian Nobles were considered dynastic even after the death of Peter I and before Emperor Paul's Fundamental Law.
As I said, no one expected Alix would become Empress within a year of her engagement. I was just replying the original post where they asked why Nicholas' parents would accept an unprepared Princess as the future consort.

Alex

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2009, 03:00:58 AM »
Peter II was in an unusual position because he died at 14 and those exercisng power on his behalf were trying to make Russia more 'Muscovite'. Catherine Dolgorukaya was the daughter of one of his regents and the marriage was a way of continuing her father's influence after Peter was adult. I think, though I'm not certain, that the Menshikov marriage project was similar. Of course, Peter died of smallpox before marrying.

Ann

Offline mcdnab

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2009, 02:25:46 PM »
My understanding was that Helene of Orleans was not particularly willing either. She'd fallen in love with Nicholas' cousin Prince Albert Victor (Eddie) Duke of Clarence - and it had gone so far that even Victoria (ever a sucker for a bit of romance) was willing to overlook the obvious disadvantages (Helene being French, the daughter of a mere pretender to the throne and Roman Catholic). She had apparently said she would be willing to convert in order that Eddie could retain his right to the throne but both her father and the Pope explicitly forbade it. In the end it fizzled (and it has to be said that Eddie seems to have been a bit more fickle in that regard). Hardly appropriate for her father to permit a conversion to Orthodoxy when he'd forbidden a conversion to anglicanism.
Ironically - Eddie's first choice was Princess Alix of Hesse,then Helene d'Orleans and a suggestion from "granny" that he marry Princess Margaret of Prussia - all of course suggested wive's for Nicholas. Eddie settled in the end for the family's preferred choice Princess May of Teck.

Offline Nicolas Peucelle

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2009, 07:17:24 AM »
To answer well here, I suggest that we first have to define what is "a russian?. Looking at the birthplaces of a lot of the family ancestors of Nicholas II it is obvious that they were not often born on russian soil (of the respective periods). Peter the Great who can be considered by all possible definitions a russian (even if his mother was not a typical russian neither with her partly Tatar ancestry). Let's agree that if Peter the Great is not a russian, than what is Russian Monarchy anyhow? Peter bascialy made his Russia by bringing into positions of influence foreigners. He went even so far to basicaly eliminating his first russian born wife and their commun descendance. To replace them with a woman he discovered in the baltics and that woman was not russian and neither of nobility by birth at all. She was a simple maid and Peter who was a "real russian" Tsar made of her what he had decided. He made her his official wife and later crowned Empress of Russia after a few years and he also changed the rules of succession for her so that the daughter this couple had together may follow the father on the Throne of Russia some day. (since all their sons died unfortunately before Peter died himself). So Catherine (I "the first")will be a crowned "foreigner" on the Throne of Russia without any nobility in her ancestry.(But her husbands Peter aura was outweighting everything, to be his wife and having been raised by him was simply enough). The fact that his wife and Empress was a bron foreigner and communer was not a problem for Peter the Great and he is one of the most efficent russian leaders in history. When you check the following weddings of any of the Tsarinas or Tsars to come after Catherine I, you will discover that "Nobody" was from Russia. I mean russian slavic blood lines. There is maybe a possibility that the Tsar Paul I was fathered by the lover of Catherine II the Great named "Saltykov" and not by her husband Peter who was a descendant of Peter the Great through his mother Elizabeth of Rusia, the daughter of Catherine I and Peter the Great. In any case the lover Saltykov can be considered a real russian by bloodline, too. (Today DNA testing may allow to verify all this). The definition of what is a Russian is therefore not so easy when to be applied to a Tsar family member. Because for royalists this family "is Holy Russia" , but has (nearly) no biological roots in the population which we call the russian people. There was a famus writer "Maxim Gorki" who sympathized with the revolutionaries. He took a glass of red wine and mixed it with water as many times as he quoted "non russian" spouses or husbands.. starting with the red wine glass representing "Peter the Great". When he filled the last glass with the more and more dliluted mixture of water and wine to represent the Tsarevitch Alexej..Gorki showed.. to his friends that the water was not even pink any more.. just plain transpareent water.. and he commented.. this is how much our Tsareveitch is russian today. Tsardom is a religious belief and his position is never a matter of passport of cause, neither.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2009, 07:35:09 AM by Nicolas Peucelle »
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Offline Nicolas Peucelle

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2009, 08:04:25 AM »
Sorry I do not know how to edit my former comment, so here is my update with more text:
To answer well here, I suggest that we first have to define what is "a russian?. Looking at the birthplaces of a lot of the family ancestors of Nicholas II it is obvious that they were not often born on russian soil (of the respective periods). Peter the Great who can be considered by all possible definitions a russian (even if his mother was not a typical russian neither with her partly Tatar ancestry). Let's agree that if Peter the Great is not a russian, than what is Russian Monarchy anyhow? Peter bascialy made his Russia by bringing into positions of influence foreigners. He went even so far to basicaly eliminating his first russian born wife and their commun descendance. To replace them with a woman he discovered in the baltics and that woman was not russian and neither of nobility by birth at all. She was a simple maid and Peter who was a "real russian" Tsar made of her what he had decided. He made her his official wife and later crowned Empress of Russia after a few years and he also changed the rules of succession for her so that the daughter this couple had together may follow the father on the Throne of Russia some day. (since all their sons died unfortunately before Peter died himself). So Catherine (I "the first")will be a crowned "foreigner" on the Throne of Russia without any nobility in her ancestry.(But her husbands Peter The Great Imperial Aura was outweighting everything, to be his wife and having been raised to the Throne by him was simply enough). The fact that his wife and Empress was a born foreigner and communer was not a problem for Peter the Great and he is one of the most efficent and truely allmighty russian leaders in history. When you check the following weddings of any of the Tsarinas or Tsars to come after Catherine I, you will discover that (officialy)"Nobody" was from Russia. I mean russian slavic blood lines. There is maybe a possibility that the Tsar Paul I was (inofficialy) fathered by the lover of Catherine II the Great named "Saltykov" and not by her husband Peter  who was a descendant of Peter the Great through his mother Elizabeth of Russia, the daughter of Catherine I and Peter the Great. In any case the lover Saltykov can be considered a real russian by bloodline, too. (Today DNA testing may allow to verify all this). The definition of what is a Russian is therefore not so easy when to be applied to a Tsar family member. Because for royalists this family "is Holy Russia" itself , but has (nearly) no biological roots in the population which we call the russian people. There was a famus writer "Maxim Gorki" who sympathized with the revolutionaries. He took a glass of red wine and mixed it with water as many times as he quoted "non russian" spouses or husbands.. starting with the red wine glass representing "Peter the Great". When he filled the last glass with the more and more dliluted mixture of water and wine to represent the Tsarevitch Alexej..Gorki showed.. to his friends that the water was not even pink any more.. just plain transparent water.. and he commented.. this is how much our Tsarevitch is russian today. Tsardom is first a religious belief and his position is never a matter of passport of cause, neither. More the Tsar was really powerful, like Peter the Great was truely allmighty, the decisions of the Tsar were the law. What he thought to be good was good for Russia and if he decides to make a foreign housekeeping maid become the Empress of Russia, than this is the right wise choice of the man who was sent by God on earth to reign over Russia which he considered to be backward without his reforms and massive import of foreign staff and their intelligence and manners . The Tsar Alexander II who was a very interesting good man had choosen a "real russian" mistress, who soon after became mother of several loved children. These children had a russian bloodline rooting directly in the russian population through their mother, and their father was simply.. the Tsar!. Alexander II was about to change dynastic rules in favor of these "new" family members, but the Social Revelutionary terrorists killed him with a bomb. His russian  (second) wife had to leave russia with her children and Alexander III, the son of Alexander II and the (late) official Tsarina took his functions as head of state putting things back to "normal". Another non "foreign but russian" spouse of a Tsar is the wife of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Romanov (Brother of Nicholas II). It is a bit less known today that this Mikhail  was a Tsar, too (the last Tsar 1918...and that he had legaly married the russian woman he loved. No matter for him that she was a communer, twice divorced and mother of a daughter and still not married with him when their first commun son was born. This good Lady will be named later: Comtesse Natalia Sergueïevna Chremetievskaïa, comtesse Brassova. Despite the 19th century dynastic rules of the Romanovs concerning the qualities such a partner had to present, the brother of Tsar Nicholas II imposed his vision of family and love on the Romanov Family and the Tsar who will later legitimize the son of his "rebel brother". I hope these informations will add some aspects about the question of "russian" partners of Tsars and Tsarinas.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2009, 08:17:27 AM by Nicolas Peucelle »
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2009, 12:40:13 PM »
Nicho;as, to edit your post, go back after you have posted it and  click "modify". This must be done  within a certain time frame...30 mins. I think.
 As for marriiage; there were 2 other issues invloved.  One,  The Emperor or usually the heir had to marry equally.  As no Russian subject could be equal to a member of the IF,  he would have to  find a bride from the European courts.  Also, it was common practice for all  royal families not to marry a subject, as this would raise them above the other subjects, causing  resentment and invite partisan politivs. They could and did marry morgatically, but their childdren  could not be heirs in the line of succession.
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Offline Nicolas Peucelle

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2009, 08:47:27 AM »
Thank you for reading my comment. I wish to add here something more: The question of "Ebenbuerdigkeit" or Equality concerning brides of Royals is I suppose even a bit more complicated: You mention that in Russia "nobody can be equal to the Tsar Family" and therefore cannot be married to them. But I was reading that till the times of Peter the Great Childhood, or lets say till the times when his own father (a "pure russian bloodlined Tsar") where looking for brides, that the rule was completely different than what you explain: Any healthy woman could become a spouse to the Tsar and a kind of "public" announcement was done so that families may send their daughters to the jury in Moscow. Please check on this. This ressembles a bit the "ferry tale" way.. but it was really the law than. Of cause there were girls getting punished for having dared to show up.. because hostile other parties succeeded to "prove" bad intentions of bride candidates who "should have known ahead of time" that they were not suitable.. even a provocation.. to dare to show up.. and therefore eligible to harsh punishment... (p.ex. a girl not being a virgin could not just show up and than play the innocent one.. she would get punished etc..). But the rule was different and you will confirmme this because you know a lot I noticed on the forum. Now coming to the "equality" of Tsar Peters The Great Days... he has by his first "russian style made up children to children wedding" a fully russian wife by ancestry and birthplace. Here again we have confimration that Tsardom was able to regenerate itself without import of foreign females. Especially as a routine measure. Now what is Peter doing with this "traditional wedded wife" ? You know he got rid of her and obliged her to "marry Jesus" which was the legalway to divorce a woman in those days.. if that woman decides to chose Jesus and a Monastery. Peter had her dropped off in a Monastery and he was free to have a new wife. That one he found some time later in present day "Latvia or Estonia and she was from Lithunania".. I think. Probably she spoke also German? Anyhow.. it was in fact this "Maid" working for a protestant german tongue Protestant Priest who was the first "imported" bride to a russian Tsar in newer times. (Not to mention here the era of the vikings etc.) This counterdicts now completely what you wrote about "russians not being equal and high enough". Because that precise woman who even governed all by herself at the end, was not equal with anybody according to your criterials of "equalness". Sure is that she was not part of any former Boyard clan.. this can fit your arguments. So we may.. I say we may.. consider the "fashion" this new urge to "import" foreigners as the result of only Peters The Great first time in history choice to do so through this completely "abnormal" event of having a most basic communer and even not russian to become his wife and later also a crowned head of his state with his full consent during his life time. And it will be this kind of "newcomer" in the russian monarchy who will in fact avoid the choice of "real" russians as a perpetuation (except if Saltykov is father of PaulI). What can be the reason than? You write.. to avoid problems and rivalry. Very possible. It looks that when we use this argument that Tsardom had to stay out of "russian" society in ordert to remain on top of that crowd not being able to get allong as a functioning society? It is very possible that this policy was good for the old Russia since a lot of "foreigners" felt more attracted by a regime where "multinational" values could be shared and germans, svedes, french and british families could participate as part of the Imperial "team". This all will of cause add to the perception of the nobility as a cast of foreigners and artificial "add-ons", who are not like the russian people at all any more. But than we come to the point.. what is Old Russia than? Can it be just "russian" without all these "foreigners"? (Peter the Great said "NO"). Now to finish a few notes about the "equivalence" among the houses in western europe: For the Hohenzollern it was good enough that there was an ancestry having governed something.. so even if your family had hundreds of cousins, mostly unemployed.. and no territories under their control, the eligibility to become a bride was defined by the fact that the candidate bride family once had someone governing something like a kind of little state. So that made a woman "equivalent" to a Tsar in the 19th century.. but than we need to knwo that there have been a lot of descendants of former other Tsar families in Old Rssia and not just of the Romanovs(and not just first degree cousins). Other than Romanov Families who governed long before areas, more vast than what some of these western families were able to demonstrate in their family histories. So there must be still something else which made the choice of the 18th 19th centuries Tsars and Tsarinas favor the foreigners. I think it is also about feeling more comfortable among themselves.. since the Tsars were somehow "foreigners" in their own Empire? Thank you for more infos.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 09:10:00 AM by Nicolas Peucelle »
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Offline Nicolas Peucelle

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2009, 09:57:34 AM »
BTW, many would disagree with me, but the marriage rules above concerned only Romanov grand dukes and princes, not the Tsar.  Alexander II married his mistress, a non-royal Russian aristocrat, and there is anecdotal evidence he was considering making her empress and their children grand dukes and grand duchesses.  As autocrat, he had supreme power; who could stop him?
[/quote]                                   ......I quoted this here before..but how can I make this look "blue" ????
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My reply:
Yes Sir I also consider that Alexander II was about to modify the laws in his favor. It is worth a deeper study. In fact I suspect that the terrorist bomb attack on this very interesting man modified terribly the destiny of the "world". It is a fact that Alexander II had signed the document providing further freedom to some of his subjects the day he was killed. It was his son Alexander III who apparently throw that document which was not yet transmitted to the ministers straight in the fire. Alexander II because of his personal understanding what life is about and humans as "weak not always perfect beings" seems to have been very much enclined to modify his Empire into something more modern. This would have included a reform of the Romanov Family rules, as you mention. It is really a terrible pitty that these social revolutionary terrorists who killed the Tsar Alexander II ignored how much "revolutionary" was in fact this Tsar building up an entire second familly inside his Palace... He was acting free as he wished in his most private sphere, first somehow hidden, and than more open ( p.ex. wedding with his former mistress and mother of his children) and how can be doubted that a man leading such a struggle in his own home would remain hostile to similar aspirations of other people in his Empire? The killing of Alexander II lead to a "reactionary" normalization which maybe his son Alexander III was able to lead as a winner (as Autocrat).. but when we see the psychological portrait of his son NicholasII, we may understand that for such a person the Empire left behind by an Alexander III was just too "hard" to manage.  Therefore the death of the "reformer" Tsar Alexander II may be considered as one of  the key event in recent history. (And showing that terrorist plots involving few actors can derail the path of world history)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 10:08:51 AM by Nicolas Peucelle »
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Offline mcdnab

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2009, 10:57:59 AM »
The idea of equal marriage is a largely central european (germanic one) that was exported to the rest of Europe throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Almost every reigning royal house and some former ones have abandoned the house or parliamentary rules that they abided by with some notable exceptions in the cases of those families that have retained the idea it has led in many cases to division, unseemly court cases and disputed dynastic claims. However many of the surviving monarchies still need either the monarch or their respective Parliaments or both to approve a Royal Marriage (if the descendants are to remain in the succession) and some have requirements relating to the religion of the monarch and their descendants.
Russia under Paul I adopted Germanic Salic law and introduced equal marriage largely driven by his personal dislike of his mother and probably his determination to exert control over his children and to avoid the political chaos that had followed the deaths of almost every one of his predecessors going right back to the 17th century (and further) - had the law been in force in 1613 every single Romanov would have been regarded as having married unequally with the exception of Paul and his father (Peter III) and his grandmother Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna (whose mother, Catherine I, was a commoner). However it's been a disaster for the family in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2010, 09:34:15 PM »
I have always agreed with those who say that if Paul I could make the law,then anyone after him could break it.

How weak all the following Tsars look as they were unable to change what Paul I put into law.  Even Alexander I who was said to be wise and strong left his successor in a bad way but not letting the public know that Constantine was giving up his right of secession in favor of Nicholas I.

Bring of the Decemberists.

Alixz

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Re: why not marrying a russian?
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2010, 09:44:02 PM »
So I have a question in the realm of "what if"?

How far back would you go to change history and prevent the murder of Nicholas and his family?  Should we go to the murder of Peter III and the accession of Catharine? Or would the elimination of Paul I do it?

Perhaps the proper ascension of Grand Duke Constantine instead 1925 instead of his brother Nicholas I?

How about preventing the assassination of Alexander II just when he was getting ready to give the county a kind of Duma?

Could anyone have prevented the death of Nixa thus leading to Dagmar marrying Nixa instead of Alexander III?

What about preventing Nicholas II (should we have even gotten that far) from marrying Alix von Hesse?

And then if we did get that far, we could have "black ops" Lenin and Rasputin at a very young age to prevent them from interfering in the lives of Nicholas and the Imperial family we actually got.  A sniper at 1/2 a mile would have gotten rid of either Lenin or Rasputin before they had a chance to leave their mark on the world.

Finally a little plasma (an outgrowth of later science) would have kept Alexis alive and given him a chance to rule in his own right.

Thoughts anyone?