Author Topic: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs  (Read 6873 times)

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Offline Sergei Witte

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What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« on: April 22, 2010, 01:01:52 PM »
This is what I have been thinking lately: what made me interested in Russian history. Perhaps this was posted earlier but there might be new users of the forum who would like to share their reasons of interest.

My reason for interest in the Romanovs and the whole period before the revolution is a reaction to the emphasis on communism in history when I was at school.

Constantinople

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 02:19:34 PM »
I studied Russian history at university and also have a godmother whose ancestor was put on the Polish throne by CAtherine the great (and was subsequently removed from the throne by the same person).  I think that the beauty of Imperial russian architecture is unrivalled as was the sumptuousness of the ruling elite's llife style contrasted byt the abyssmal poverty of the serfs).  Imperial Russia was grand and anachronistic and produced such beauty that it is impossible to ignore it.

Offline Michael HR

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 08:40:37 AM »
For me there were two films that changed my life. Nicholas and Alexandra and the Ingrid Bergman film Anatasia. It fueled a passion in the period of Imperial history in russia that lasts to this day. When Nicholas & Alexandra was playing in the cinemas at first release the film used to loop rather than have set times. I used to sneak in and watch it all day all through the summer, that or in later times the film Oliver.

Over the years I have learnt so much and of course from this site and its members. There is always something new to learn and we keep going on.

Michael 
 
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2010, 09:32:00 AM »
I got interested in Russian history as a result of a family story that my maternal grandfather was a British mercenary in Russia during the Civil War. Unfortunately, I've never found anything to prove the tale, but it got me started on the Russian Revolution and then it was only a short step to the Romanovs.

Ann

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 01:17:15 PM »
Interesting story if you can prove it.
My favourite was the Australian tank regiment that fought in Siberia.  Tallk about a sudden change of climate.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2010, 09:56:46 AM »
Bit of a mystery. My grandfather worked his passage from Canada to join up in 1914. The ship docked in Cardiff and he found himself in the 11th Bn the Welch Regiment, spending most of the war in Salonika. He was demobbed in April 1919 and married in the August, afterwards becoming a civil servant in Liverpool (what a comedown after an adventurous youth - he was packed off to sea at 14 and stranded in Sydney at 15, then spent 10 years in British Columbia). So not much time for a sortie to Russia, but according to my mother it was the only part of his life he never talked about. Not impossible. His unit was running down from summer 1918 onwards, sending men home. The battalion's last move was to Constantinople after the Armistice, and my grandfather must have left them by then, as according to my mother he never mentioned Constantinople.

Unfortunately, it looks as though his full army service record was among those destroyed by a bomb in WW2.

Ann

Offline Tasia

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2010, 05:48:52 PM »
The Anastasia 1997 movie! You should watch it!!!

toscany

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2010, 04:22:28 PM »
For me, my father's family fled Russia (Ukraine) in 1905.  I wanted to know why...

Offline Tasia

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 04:25:57 PM »
Interesting!
I hope someone on this board can help you to find the reason!

Offline LauraO

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2010, 12:17:37 PM »
initially the 1997 film anastasia- which i physically can't watch now, although its a great film, but i stil thank God i watched it, because it brought me to the Romanov's. But after this the initial interest was fuelled by the fact that my grandfather is ukrainian and fled soviet Russia- i wanted to know more about his background, i still feel kinda privaleged that my great grandparents were under Nicholas's rule.

Offline TroubleTwin2

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2010, 10:54:00 AM »
Like a couple of other people here it was the 1997 Anastasia film, but then as I got older I started reading stuff about Anastasia and read a little bit about the revolution in my global history book, then I read more about the family as well and wanted to learn more so I just started looking up more stuff.

Lady Nikolaievna

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2010, 11:23:17 PM »
I really don't know... I remember I saw a piture of them in a book and I got interested. It was one of the formal photos of 1913 and I though the girls were beautiful. I also read Colin Falconer's book, "Anastasia", which I didn't think it was very good, but I got even more interested about that children who got killed.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2010, 07:55:26 PM »
For me, my father's family fled Russia (Ukraine) in 1905.  I wanted to know why...

There were a lot of horrible pogroms in Ukraine during the Revolution of 1905. Anti-semitism was rampant and violent, and hundreds of people, Jews, got killed. Was your family Jewish by any chance? Because that would definitely explain why they fled the Ukraine at this time. You're being very mysterious, but I suspect you already know all about this?

If your family was/is Jewish, and lived in Ukraine at the turn of the twentieth century, I have to ask you, have you read the famous story by the Russian-Jewish writer Isaak Babel, "My First Goose" - ? As you probably know, it's about a young Jewish boy caught up in a pogrom in Odessa during the 1905 Revolution. It's very moving, and, as I recall (?) semi-autobiographical. Babel is a brilliant writer.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 08:01:01 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline bonbon823

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2010, 10:05:44 PM »
My grandfather came from Minsk sometime in the 1910's to Chicago so I've always known I was 1/4 Russian.  I bought Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra in the 70's and I guess you could say that I really got hooked on all things Russian from that point on.  I still have some old Russian cards and letters that my mom's Uncle Pete sent from Russia many years ago...very interesting!

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What got you inerested in Russian history / the Romanovs
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2010, 05:29:50 AM »
It's after 5 in the morning here, I have total insomnia from jet lag and I'm bored as all get out. So I'll just make a really lengthy list of all the many roads that led me to Russia, and hopefully by the end of it I'll have fallen asleep.

1. Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, which I first came across as a little kid (my parents had borrowed it from some friend or other), I was transfixed by the photographs (so beautiful) and the fate of the poor family, especially the children (naturally, since I myself was still a child);

2. Olga Korbut in the 1972 Munich Olympics (give me a break, I was still a kid);

3. A very young and as yet not famous Anthony Hopkins as Pierre Bezukhov featured opposite Morag Hood as Natasha Rostova in the BBC production of Tolstoy's War and Peace, shown on Alistair Cooke's Masterpiece Theater in the early 1970s. Stellar. Probably nobody else here remembers this program, it was too long ago.

4. Nicola Paget (formerly of Upstairs, Downstairs) in the BBC production of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, shown on Masterpiece Theater a year or two later. Also very good, as I recall. So, being a little older by this time, I actually read Anna Karenina and fell in love not only with the text but also with the author.

5. My grandmother's copy of Henri Troyat's biography of Tolstoy, discovered that same summer. This only confirmed and deepened my love and respect for Tolstoy.

6. Russian ballet. Anna Pavlova, Maya Plisetskaya, Natalia Makarova, all these Russian ballerinas had a tremendous impact on my love for Russian art, history, and culture.

7. Solzhenitsyn. I read Gulag Archipelago around the same time that I was reading books about the Nazi regime and concentration camps and of course the many parallels did not escape me.

So, when I started college, I naturally chose a major in Slavic Languages and Literatures, specifically Russian, and a minor in Russian history, and there you have it.

And I'm still not asleep! Although probably everybody who's tried to read this list dozed off long ago.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 05:31:24 AM by Elisabeth »
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam