Author Topic: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?  (Read 203679 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #120 on: September 06, 2010, 07:12:27 PM »
Hypothetical question.  What could Nicholas have done to preserve his throne and that of his son.  

Should he have ended Russia's involvement in WWI, publicize Alexei's illness, create a better supply of food in the capital, reorganize the Duma?  

Any thoughts?  

It seems that other Romanovs realized how bad he was screwing things up.  If he would have listened to their advice instead of leaving everything in God's hands, he may have ruled until the end of his natural life.

I'm sorry, but I don't see a time limit in Robert's hypothetical question. 

Gotta run.   More later.

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #121 on: September 06, 2010, 07:42:30 PM »
First, thank you  for the compliments on my education. I went to boarding schools and had  good of teachers.  For the most part, that is. I do humbly  acknowledge the flattery.
 Elisabeth, I do understand your points.  Perhaps I am being pedantic,  but what you are saying was propaganda to keep the  peasants in line [or fear] There is a  line in Fiddler on the Roof,- " May God bless and keep the Tsar, far away from us" Not my favourite show,  but it illustart es the point.
  Now, Bear, we have been  adversaries for year, but if I can  refer to some obscure church Slavonic  book from  my old school days, she is certainly entitled to cite Blackwell. I find the volume rather simplistic, but just my way at looking at things'
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #122 on: September 06, 2010, 07:53:09 PM »
First, thank you  for the compliments on my education. I went to boarding schools and had  good of teachers.  For the most part, that is. I do humbly  acknowledge the flattery.
 Elisabeth, I do understand your points.  Perhaps I am being pedantic,  but what you are saying was propaganda to keep the  peasants in line [or fear] There is a  line in Fiddler on the Roof,- " May God bless and keep the Tsar, far away from us" Not my favourite show,  but it illustart es the point.
  Now, Bear, we have been  adversaries for year, but if I can  refer to some obscure church Slavonic  book from  my old school days, she is certainly entitled to cite Blackwell. I find the volume rather simplistic, but just my way at looking at things'

Of course it was imperial propaganda, Robert, that's the whole point. No government of this nature can survive without an ideology, which pretty much assumes there will be some kind of official (and unofficial) propaganda to put the message out.

One of the problems of the current regime in Russia is that there is no coherent ideology. What does exist is primarily based on nostalgia, and even that's muddled - one day Stalin is in, the next day he's out.

Plenty of empires have fallen for lack of a coherent ideology, or so I learned in my college course on Chinese history. If you compare Chinese history to Russian history it makes the latter look pretty amateur.
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #123 on: September 06, 2010, 11:42:26 PM »
No argument from me there, Elisabeth. IMO opinion, Nicholas was an incompetent fool As I said, just my opinion.   His actions speak louder than words.
 China was a bit different. The last emperor was a child and had no real control over the destiny of his dynasty. It is rather complicated,  but the theory was " Mandate of Heaven" which, if lost, made the country ripe for change. Much the same for the Shah.  Oddly, I was on my way to Iran when that revolution occurred. On a  Concord. What   a missed opportunity... but they burned down the  BA offices, so it not such a good idea. Another mis-guided monarch. Closed eyes,  failing to see the change coming. Refusing to compromise.  BIG mistake, as I see it. There are plenty of other examples- India  with the failure of the Mughals,  pretty decepit as it was,  the Ottomans,  and on and on.
 My point being, that all those regimes used the same technique- propaganda- to  try and control the people. It simply does not work for very long. Russia was not the only one to have "Potemkin villages'
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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #124 on: September 06, 2010, 11:48:00 PM »
'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

Ann - Thank you.  I know that males supplant females even in Britain.  I was told that even George V became not heir apparent but heir presumptive after the death of his brother Eddy who was heir apparent.  Perhaps the person who told me was wrong or did not understand the entire process.  Are you saying that only females are "heir presumptive" waiting for a male to supplant them?  Or can a brother like Andrew be "Heir Presumptive" while waiting for Charles to get his groove on and produce William and Harry.  

However isn't it true that if Charles had had only daughters that they would still have been in line of succession before Andrew as they were in direct line from the Heir Apparent?  Any child of Charles's would have supplanted his brothers even though the brothers were obviously male.

Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #125 on: September 06, 2010, 11:56:11 PM »
Comparing Russia to China makes no sense until they both adopted communism.  The mandarin culture of which the Emperor was the apex was in tatters by the time that the  last emperor's mother was took power in the name of her son.  In China, the upper reaches of the bureaucracy were firmly in control and in Russia, there was a top down autocracy.  The only similarity was that both were incompetent at the end.  Sun Yet Sen's takeover was completely different to the revolutions of 1917 and he managed to maintain a quasi democracy until the japanese invasions in the 30s (as opposed to having power ripped from his hands by a domestic rival).

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #126 on: September 07, 2010, 01:22:11 AM »
That was the point, Const. China was indeed an anacchronist autocracy,  but it failed for the same reasons the Russian autocracy did.. The Chinese had a highly educated   ruling class, based mostly on  merit. Nut the rules just not change. The same with all the examples I cited. If Nicholas had listened to hiss competent  advisers, he might have adopted to change and save the monarchy. NOT the autocracy however. BTW, Pu Yi was not the Dowager Empress's son.  And neither did she rule in his name. She died shortly after he was appointed. His mother had nothing to do with his reign. This is a long story and very off topic here.
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #127 on: September 07, 2010, 04:16:08 AM »
'I know that males supplant females even in Britain.  I was told that even George V became not heir apparent but heir presumptive after the death of his brother Eddy who was heir apparent.  Perhaps the person who told me was wrong or did not understand the entire process.  Are you saying that only females are "heir presumptive" waiting for a male to supplant them?  Or can a brother like Andrew be "Heir Presumptive" while waiting for Charles to get his groove on and produce William and Harry. 

However isn't it true that if Charles had had only daughters that they would still have been in line of succession before Andrew as they were in direct line from the Heir Apparent?  Any child of Charles's would have supplanted his brothers even though the brothers were obviously male.

Alixz

There is quite a lot there and I will take your points one by one:
1) Strictly speaking, neither Eddy nor George V was heir apparent during Queen Victoria's lifetime - it was their father who was heir apparent. George became heir apparent in the normal way on Edward VII's accession.
2) A brother can be heir presumptive - the obvious example is George VI during his brother's reign. Had Edward VIII produced a child of either sex by a 'suitable' marriage, he or she would have supplanted the Duke of York as heir apparent (boy) or immediate heir presumptive (girl).
3) If Charles only had daughters they would be heirs presumptive in priority to his brothers.

Hope that sorts it all out.

Ann

Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #128 on: September 07, 2010, 05:40:10 AM »
Actually the mandarin system had the appearance of a meritocracy but the problem was how people gained access to the mandarin class.  By about 1700, the entrance exams were serriously flawed.  The test involved someone who rewrote the test so that the candidate's hadwriting could not be detected.  It did not take long before the testors understood that they could make a lot of money from rewriting the exams but changing the test answers so that the candidate passed.   A long time before the time of PuYi, the mandarin class was completely corrupted and ineffectual to the point where in the mid 18th century, China could not defend itself against the British who were selling opium to balance the trade imbalance that came from imports of tea.  By the time of Pu Yi, China was a basketcase and ruled defacto by a group of foreign countries.

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #129 on: September 07, 2010, 11:50:53 AM »
that should be by the mid 19th century

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #130 on: September 07, 2010, 12:11:06 PM »
Of course, the big difference is that the British monarchy has no real power, it hasn't for centuries.  Maybe that is why they've survived this long.
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #131 on: September 07, 2010, 02:16:23 PM »
.. [ in part]....
  Now, Bear, we have been  adversaries for year, but if I can  refer to some obscure church Slavonic  book from  my old school days, she is certainly entitled to cite Blackwell. I find the volume rather simplistic, but just my way at looking at things'

I view Russian history through the eyes of my ancestors, friends and others, who were  German-Russians.  None of whom knew about "some obscure church Slavonic book".  They lived and breathed their lives looking through a different Russsian portal than you and others.   Therefore,  I do appreciate your posts which inform us of  data I didn't know.

Yes, Blackwell is "rather simplistic" but sometimes simple words  help people  understand the complexity of Russian history and why it seems to have lost it's soul and cannot seem to find it.

AGRBear
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #132 on: September 07, 2010, 02:24:29 PM »
No argument from me there, Elisabeth. IMO opinion, Nicholas was an incompetent fool As I said, just my opinion.   His actions speak louder than words.
 China was a bit different. The last emperor was a child and had no real control over the destiny of his dynasty. It is rather complicated,  but the theory was " Mandate of Heaven" which, if lost, made the country ripe for change. Much the same for the Shah.  Oddly, I was on my way to Iran when that revolution occurred. On a  Concord. What   a missed opportunity... but they burned down the  BA offices, so it not such a good idea. Another mis-guided monarch. Closed eyes,  failing to see the change coming. Refusing to compromise.  BIG mistake, as I see it. There are plenty of other examples- India  with the failure of the Mughals,  pretty decepit as it was,  the Ottomans,  and on and on.
 My point being, that all those regimes used the same technique- propaganda- to  try and control the people. It simply does not work for very long. Russia was not the only one to have "Potemkin villages'

Robert, it's so good to have you back!

I must say, I am in complete agreement with you here. I didn't mean to start a discussion comparing Chinese and Russian history, in comparing them (I might just have easily as compared Western Europe and China) I was only thinking about the broad sweep of history, the fact that the Chinese had a sophisticated civilization back when Europeans were still  living in mud huts. Moreover, China had plenty of peasant revolutions to boot, which the civilization has always somehow managed to absorb... I guess my point (adding to this discussion) is only that IMHO the Chinese have a far stronger sense of national identity than Russians do. Because they've been an identifiable country, an identifiable culture, an identifiable empire, for thousands of years, unlike Russia which has been all of these things, too, but for far, far shorter a length of time.

Also because, however flawed the Chinese bureaucratic system was, and I have no doubt that Constantinople is right that it became very flawed and corrupt, it nevertheless engendered this extreme emphasis on higher learning among ordinary Chinese. Which to my mind was a good thing. The Chinese, whether at home or abroad, as immigrants, stress the importance of education to their children in much the same way that Eastern European and Russian Jews did back at the turn of the twentieth century. This is not typical of all immigrant groups to the United States. For example, lot of working class English immigrants to the United States denigrated education and discouraged their children from seeking higher education (not only in a branch of the English side of my family within living memory, but I also have a friend who, when she was awarded her Ph.D. in English literature, was ribbed unmercifully by some of her English relatives and asked if she was now a real medical doctor, could she treat this or that or whatever, hahaha).
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #133 on: September 07, 2010, 03:02:34 PM »
All of this falls into  one's peer's group.  

One of the reasons we moved into the area in which we live is because the children from kindergarten to their senior year just assume they are headed for college. Therefore,  they would fallen in step with their peer group.  They did and they have.

When I visit farming communities,  where the life surrounds the farm,  it no longer frowns on higher education, however, not long ago,  it was different.  The peer group wanted their eldest son to take over the farm and take care of their parents until they died.  The younger children were to remain in this community as minister or priest,  doctors, lawyers, teachers....  Life circled around families.  Someone who broke away became  an "outsider" and never felt comfortable in visiting very long with their family.

Saw it with musical families who were successful.  

Families who's parents were teachers had son and daughters who's education were  higher than their parents.

The Romanovs had their own peer group which was connected to the other royals of Europe.  Because most spoke more than one language,  they even had their own language just among cousins which held a mix of Russian, English, German French  and probably Dannish since Dagmar was a Dane.  

The Chinese peer groups were  just as dominate under Imperial China as it is today. Communism has worked itself around and has absorbed the Chinese who never knew individual freedoms and has been of one mind for thousands of years.

Russia has been different due to it's many ethnic groups.  It never has been of one mind.  Nicholas II was a man in charge of   a country full of people he didn't know or understand how restless and ripe for rebelling they were.  He inherited this problem.

The USA is a huge melting pot that came very late in the history of civilizations.  We had the good luck of having our founders understanding what was needed for different people to live peacefully side by side.  We were given individual rights and freedoms.  True,  we've have many imperfections, but we keep trying to improve with age.  

If Nicholas II could have done something to preserve the imperial throne,  he would have had to have started the moment his father died.  

Knowing the history of Russia,  I'm not ever sure what he should have accomplished first.

AGRBear
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #134 on: September 07, 2010, 03:23:39 PM »
The Chinese peer groups were  just as dominate under Imperial China as it is today. Communism has worked itself around and has absorbed the Chinese who never knew individual freedoms and has been of one mind for thousands of years.

Russia has been different due to it's many ethnic groups.  It never has been of one mind.  
AGRBear

AGRBear, I can't really let this pass, you make it sound as if what reigned in imperial China, aside from an emperor, was one single political ideology, religion, culture, etc... It was in fact an astonishingly diverse array of all of these. Even hundreds of years ago China had many religions - Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, to cite only the major ones. It also had (and has to this day) a lot of ethnic minorities, chiefly because of its territorial expansion (much as Russia's territorial expansion added to its own ethnic minority population).

Your notion that Russia "has never been of one mind" while China basically always has  - is just so much nonsense. I don't understand why you have to mix up your very valid points about your family and your own experiences in the world with these historically unfounded musings. I have the impression you've certainly read widely about Russian history but your knowledge of Chinese history is even more limited than my own, if that's possible.
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