Author Topic: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?  (Read 212030 times)

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Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #105 on: September 05, 2010, 11:05:18 AM »
Okay, moving back on topic somewhat...

I think that poor Nicky was stuck in a job he didn't want, but felt he couldn't refuse.  After all, when God himself supposedly appoints you to the job, saying no isn't really an option.
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Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #106 on: September 05, 2010, 02:06:05 PM »
I wonder when the job became a divine appointment.  Before Alexander II inherited most of the Romanovs came to the throne through trickery and/or murder.  No divine intervention there it seems.

Alexander I was no saint and might have been involved in the murder of his father Paul I.  That made the throne pass to, not a son, but to a brother and the eldest of those, Constantine, declined the promotion.

It seems to me that it was Nicholas I (Alexander's next brother) who made the job into a divine appointment and introduced the "oath to the tsar" which then made everyone subject to the parameters of that oath.

Alexander II inherited in the usual way on the death of Nicholas I and Nicholas I died of old age (the only tsar to do so in the 19th century).  Alexander II was assassinated.  Alexander III died young of an illness (I suppose that is a natural death, but certainly not a death of years).

So how did Nicholas come to believe that he was divinely appointed?  Pobedonostov?  He should have taken a page from his great grand uncle Constantine and just "passed".  It was not as if a precedent had not been set.

Everyone talks of Nicholas passing the throne to Michael but George was still very much alive in 1894 and while not well, he was actually next in line at the time.  He died on August 9, 1899.  That five years would have made next in line, Michael 21 and ready to take over without a regency.

Interesting thoughts.  I think that because of George's illness, we tend to overlook him and think in terms of Michael and Michael being too young in 1894 to succeed without a regent.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #107 on: September 05, 2010, 02:15:49 PM »
I remember when my younger son went out with his friends and shot paint shots at friends in war games and when he came home all the boys were extremely excited and at the same time shaken by the activity.   It didn't matter how smart a person was  in war games,  they could have been  killed that afternoon if the bullets had been real and not paint shots.  

Nicholas II wasn't a stranger to the sites of war.  He saw the blood and the guts with the wounded and the dead.

If the revolutionaries had wanted the guns, ammunitions, boots to reach the front,  it would have happened.  But they didn't.  The revolutionaries, therefore,  were just as guilty of all those deaths as were the political leaders that created the Great War/ WWI.

Nicholas II was caught between a rock and a hard place.  He was damned if he did.  And damned if he didn't.  

Could he have made a Treaty with Germany in order to deal stop the fighting and be able to deal  with  the wounded soldiers and   the revolutionists?  Maybe, he shouldn't have declared war in the first place....  At what point in time was it the point of no return?

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« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 02:17:34 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #108 on: September 05, 2010, 05:18:59 PM »
Quote
Nicholas I died of old age (the only tsar to do so in the 19th century


Well, if the legend of Alexander I is true, that he faked his death and became a hermit, then he lived to his mid-80's.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #109 on: September 05, 2010, 07:46:16 PM »
I wonder when the job became a divine appointment.  Before Alexander II inherited most of the Romanovs came to the throne through trickery and/or murder.  No divine intervention there it seems.

Alexander I was no saint and might have been involved in the murder of his father Paul I.  That made the throne pass to, not a son, but to a brother and the eldest of those, Constantine, declined the promotion.

It seems to me that it was Nicholas I (Alexander's next brother) who made the job into a divine appointment and introduced the "oath to the tsar" which then made everyone subject to the parameters of that oath.

No, Alix, the "job" of tsar has been a divine appointment since the early modern period, that is, round about Ivan III, Ivan IV the Terrible, 15th-16th century, if not even earlier. This is when the real ideology of autocracy was born. And truthfully speaking, Muscovy/Russia was not much different than other European monarchies of the time, it just flowered a little later. The notion that kings are put in place by God, that in short they rule by divine right, is about as old as the institution of monarchy itself. Even in China, the emperor was literally "The Son of Heaven."

Of course Nicholas could have refused to be tsar, but it would have meant bucking the system upon which his entire identity was based. Since he had been a little boy, since he was born in fact, he was always the appointed heir to the Russian throne after his father. He wasn't a reprobate like Alexander II's brother Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, he was highly principled and conscientious. Moreover, unlike Konstantin, he was born in the era of bourgeois kings who fulfilled their duty to God and country no matter what.

Also, sorry, but I can't let this pass, AGRBear, I have no idea where you got the notion that revolutionaries interfered with the Russian war effort. (What, do you think they were like French partisans in WWII, blowing up railway lines?) Could you perhaps cite your sources for such an extraordinary claim?
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #110 on: September 05, 2010, 08:06:25 PM »
I have been asked to comment, so I shall this time.  The throne was definitely not god's appointment. It was  an anointment at the coronation.  I am not sure how the Empresses were treated, as they could not become priests, even for that brief time  Meaning the Catherines, Anna & Elisabeth. For reference on this see Scenarios of Power by Wortman. Not an easy read, but worth the effort. Otherwise, the throne passed passedby the  judgement of the previos emeperor, not by god.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #111 on: September 05, 2010, 08:50:28 PM »
I have been asked to comment, so I shall this time.  The throne was definitely not god's appointment. It was  an anointment at the coronation.  I am not sure how the Empresses were treated, as they could not become priests, even for that brief time  Meaning the Catherines, Anna & Elisabeth. For reference on this see Scenarios of Power by Wortman. Not an easy read, but worth the effort. Otherwise, the throne passed passedby the  judgement of the previos emeperor, not by god.

That's certainly true by law, Robert. But it's not true in terms of the ideology of autocracy, which was quite different than the law. It was an unwritten, much older code, every bit as binding as the law, because it was custom and tradition, indeed, it dated back to Muscovite times. So while the emperor had the legal right to appoint his own successor (except that after Paul, all females were banned from succeeding), every emperor (and I believe even empress until Paul) was ideologically speaking considered God's representative on earth, indeed, even the embodiment of God on earth. Certainly, this was how the tsar was perceived by the vast majority of the population, the peasantry, up to Bloody Sunday at least.

The conflict between the 18th-century Petrine legal code (which theoretically at least placed the tsar under the restraint of the law) and the actual ideology of autocracy, which was considerably older (and basically placed the tsar above the law), would prove to be a source of endless trouble to Peter the Great's heirs, not to mention Russian reformers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #112 on: September 05, 2010, 09:58:50 PM »
 Sorry, but I still disagree.  Until an Emperor or Empress was anointed, they were not  "appointed by god"  Even the ROC  had this opinion. " God's representative on Earth" is an entirely different concept from "appointment".. .Technically, the office   was a political status with religious endorsement. Misconceptions may ensue,  however they do not change the  reality. See Theocracy & Autocracy  by Ryabuyov. Another  difficult read.  I  read it in school.  Was  a chore, but made sense. {may be hard to come by, as it is in Georgian  Slavonic, I read it in school and took took notes while  trying to translate the thing].
 Another reference  might  be  Divinity  Bestowed, a work on the the divine right of kings. I forget that author's name. But he was a Jesuit priest as I recall.
 And, of course, there is always the MUCH altered, over the centuries ROC manual of rites. Talk about a work to get through !  There is no mention now of the throne now, but it did in an old edition I read, also years ago, in school.  
 There is a definite difference in   appointment and anointment.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 10:01:52 PM by Robert_Hall »
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Offline Michael HR

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #113 on: September 06, 2010, 06:56:38 AM »
Robert sounds like you had a fabulous education!
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Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #114 on: September 06, 2010, 09:04:47 AM »
Sir Robert not only had a fabulous education but he has continued to learn and learn.

He has a great depth of knowledge about world religions.

I agree with him.  I had forgotten that before Paul I the reigning or dying emperor had the right to name his own successor.  Remember how Peter I died with the paper still in hand?

So the natural order of succession did not come into play until Catherine II's son Paul I and then his son Alexander I.

When I said that Nicholas I was the only tsar to die of natural causes I actually meant that he was the only tsar to pass the throne directly to his son without dying by murder or trickery.  Alexander I may have become a hermit and lived to a ripe old age, but whether he did or didn't he did not pass his throne on to a direct heir as he had no son to pass it on to and his daughters died young.  I think that was the reason that he didn't change the Petrine Laws.  If only one of his daughters had lived, he might have been moved to change those laws as his father had sought to remove women from the line of succession, Alexander could have put them back. 

His indirect heir or "heir presumptive" as the British would call it was his brother.

Heir apparent is the other term used for direct line succession from father to son or daughter (in Britain) as the case may be.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #115 on: September 06, 2010, 10:04:59 AM »
Sorry, but I still disagree.  Until an Emperor or Empress was anointed, they were not  "appointed by god"  Even the ROC  had this opinion. " God's representative on Earth" is an entirely different concept from "appointment".. .Technically, the office   was a political status with religious endorsement. Misconceptions may ensue,  however they do not change the  reality. See Theocracy & Autocracy  by Ryabuyov. Another  difficult read.  I  read it in school.  Was  a chore, but made sense. {may be hard to come by, as it is in Georgian  Slavonic, I read it in school and took took notes while  trying to translate the thing].
 Another reference  might  be  Divinity  Bestowed, a work on the the divine right of kings. I forget that author's name. But he was a Jesuit priest as I recall.
 And, of course, there is always the MUCH altered, over the centuries ROC manual of rites. Talk about a work to get through !  There is no mention now of the throne now, but it did in an old edition I read, also years ago, in school.  
 There is a definite difference in   appointment and anointment.

Robert, you and everybody else here have entirely failed to grasp my point. I am not talking about secular law, much less church law. I am talking about ideology, and how it impacts custom and tradition and popular belief, and vice versa.

The Petrine revolution legally affected the Russian monarchy, no question about it. Theoretically if not always in reality (because the autocratic principle survived!) it put legal restraints on this institution. But the idea that the tsar was God's representative, or even His embodiment, never died out of popular consciousness, nor did it die out of the consciousness of Peter the Great's successors on the throne of Russia. It was still very much alive as a tradition, and a very Russian tradition at that.

Robert, you are very erudite, but you have to understand, most of the Russian population in the 19th and early 20th century was not erudite - and I am talking not only about the peasantry or the middle class or the working class or for that matter the nobility, but also and especially about tsars like Alexander III and Nicholas II. Their beliefs about monarchy dated back to Muscovy, a good century or two before Peter the Great. A large part of the suicidal dynamic of Nicholas II's reign was constituted of this inherent, irreconcilable conflict between the ideology of autocracy (as propounded in the 19th-20th century by such erudite but nevertheless stupendously short-sighted, even stupid conservatives like Pobedonostsev) and the actual laws governing monarchy, not just church and secular laws dating from the 18th century but even and especially laws springing from the establishment of a constitutional monarchy after the Revolution of 1905-1906.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 10:08:53 AM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #116 on: September 06, 2010, 10:29:17 AM »
N.B. If you want to get a good grasp of the popular idea of the divine right of kings, or should we say tsars, then you only have to look at the history of royal pretenders in 17th-century Russia. During this period the numerous False Dmitriis who claimed to be the royal heir Dmitrii of Uglich (in fact murdered on the orders of Boris Godunov) were never asked to show that they had been "anointed" in a "coronation." On the contrary, they were "real" tsars because they supposedly had so-called "royal marks," i.e. physical signs like birthmarks which were thought to indicate their royal status. (There is an interesting article about this, recently published in a Slavic studies journal, but the name of the author escapes me.) All of which goes to show that in our modern age Anna Anderson and her ilk had nothing special to boast about (scientifically conducted ear measurements, give me a break!).
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #117 on: September 06, 2010, 10:38:41 AM »
'Heir apparent is the other term used for direct line succession from father to son or daughter (in Britain) as the case may be.'

Not quite. An heir apparent is an heir who cannot be superseded as heir by a person with greater priority. In Britain we still operate on the basis of male primogeniture, so a daughter can only ever be heir presumptive.

Example
Prince Charles is the heir apparent because he is the Queen's eldest son. During his lifetime, nobody with greater priority can be born and so supplant him. By contrast, the present Queen was only ever heir presumptive, because until her father's death there was always the possibility that she might have a brother who would take her place in the succession. If Prince Charles were to drop dead tomorrow, Prince William would become heir apparent as he is eldest son of the eldest son - no one can supplant him.

Ann

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #118 on: September 06, 2010, 02:10:17 PM »
...[in part]...

Also, sorry, but I can't let this pass, AGRBear, I have no idea where you got the notion that revolutionaries interfered with the Russian war effort. (What, do you think they were like French partisans in WWII, blowing up railway lines?) Could you perhaps cite your sources for such an extraordinary claim?

 Do you think it was the factory owners who didn't want their supplies to reach the front?   If not them then who?  Do you think it was the soldiers who didn't want their countryman to have boots, guns and bullets?  If not, then who?  Maybe, you think  it must have been Rasputin's fault.  Or, maybe, you think  it must have been  the German born Empress because, according to rumors,   the Empress was collaborating with her uncle and his fellow generals and  causing the mess in transportation....

p. 22 of THE BLACKWELL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION edited by Harold Shukman
June 1917
>>Factory committee members were initially elected on a non-political basis, but as politics harden along party lines, members began to be elected on party slates.  In the early months, the moderate socialist dominated the committees as they did all labour organizations.  Being the committees were the first to register the radicalization that was occurring in popular attitudes.  Already the First Conference of Petrograd Factory Committees in early June the BOLSHEVIKS were in the ascendant, winning 290 votes for the resolution on control of the economy, as against 72 for the  MENSHEVIK resolution and 45 votes for the ANARCHIST resolution.<<

Let stop here for a moment.   The Mensheiks, Bolsheviks and Anarchist were REVOLUTIONARIES.  We are not talking about rebels or the simple peasants who felt they were being wronged.  Bolsheviks   >>...were a radical faction, [key words= terrorists]>> of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party when it split in 1903.  The Bolsheviks, meaning those in the majority (Mensheviks were the minority), were headed by Lenon, who believed that the revolution must be led by a single centralized party of professional revolutionaries. <<  p. 61 COMPANION TO RUSSIAN HISTORY by John Paxton.  

Mensheviks were of the same mind [terrorists] and followers of Axelrod and Trotsky who wanted a Proletarian Party to work with the liberals in order to replace the autocracy with a democractic constitution.  Better known as the group who opposed Leninists.

Anarchist-Communists.  p. 19 COMPANION TO RUSSIAN HISTORY by John Paxton: >>An utterly militant party whose members held many views similar to those of the Bolsheviks on individual issues, such as ownership of land, but, unlike them, did not believe in any state structure .  They drew their aspirations from Bakunin and Kropotkin.<<

p. 22 of THE BLACKWELL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION edited by Harold Shukman continued:  >>Even before the Kornilov rebellion the committees had become the Bolsheviks' firmest base of support within the labour movement<<

The factory owners were replaced by committee, who slowly released workers and slowed down everything and then closed down operations...

Example: >>200 mines had been closed... In response to such 'sabotage'....<< p. 22 of THE BLACKWELL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION edited by Harold Shukman.

Shall I continue or do you need more?

AGRBear
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 02:22:28 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #119 on: September 06, 2010, 05:41:07 PM »
Bear, you're talking about that revolutionary year, 1917, whereas I thought you were talking about the years 1914-1916. A complete misunderstanding, as usual.
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