Author Topic: Alexei anecdotes  (Read 68365 times)

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Offline wakas

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #90 on: December 12, 2014, 06:36:00 PM »
Hmm, so that anecdote about Alexei is false. I thought as much.

Minzlov wrote other anecdotes of the IF. You can see them here: http://www.unz.org/Pub/LivingAge-1924jul26-00161

Since Alexei's anecdote proved to be wrong, I wonder if the rest is unreliable too. I'd like to have your opinions on it. Thank you very much in advance for your answers.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #91 on: December 13, 2014, 12:34:57 AM »
The author Minzlov's writings can't be taken literally at face value all the time, but then that's the case with almost anyone writing either contemporaneously with the I mperial Family or even after the Romanovs were dead.  In this case, I tend to think that his narrative of the Olga slapping incident is fairly accurate. Alexei did lash out impulsively when thwarted and certainly against Olga.
That Nicholas might threaten to spank or punish Alexei for that  is credible, though an actual whipping is a bit much.

I have to agree with edubs here. Though it's out of favor in modern parenting, spanking misbehaving children was quite common in this era and Alexei's misbehaving without facing serious punishment of some kind likely contributed to his being spoiled, which he was.

Though it's imperfect, Minzlov's little article is something to consider in context. Nice find, Wakas.
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #92 on: December 15, 2014, 06:07:47 PM »
Hmm, so that anecdote about Alexei is false. I thought as much.

Minzlov wrote other anecdotes of the IF. You can see them here: http://www.unz.org/Pub/LivingAge-1924jul26-00161

Since Alexei's anecdote proved to be wrong, I wonder if the rest is unreliable too. I'd like to have your opinions on it. Thank you very much in advance for your answers.


This hasn't been proved wrong. Belochka's opinion is that it is false -- and she may well be correct -- but we haven't been offered proof to discredit the story.
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #93 on: December 16, 2014, 03:41:08 AM »
Though it's imperfect, Minzlov's little article is something to consider in context.

On one point, there was no such person as "Harchenko" (see p 162) in Alexei's Suite.

On another point, Volkov was a servant (Nikolai II's Kamerdiner in fact) and would not be in any position to "repeatedly reprimand Tatiana" (see p 165)


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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #94 on: December 16, 2014, 03:59:11 AM »
Hmm, so that anecdote about Alexei is false. I thought as much.

Minzlov wrote other anecdotes of the IF. You can see them here: http://www.unz.org/Pub/LivingAge-1924jul26-00161

Since Alexei's anecdote proved to be wrong, I wonder if the rest is unreliable too. I'd like to have your opinions on it. Thank you very much in advance for your answers.


This hasn't been proved wrong. Belochka's opinion is that it is false -- and she may well be correct -- but we haven't been offered proof to discredit the story.

Why is it that an absurd anecdote such as this one has to be proven to be false? 

Surely common sense should override Minzlov's published anecdote, given that any trauma sustained by Alexei might have induced a medical event?


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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #95 on: December 16, 2014, 06:44:21 AM »

On another point, Volkov was a servant (Nikolai II's Kamerdiner in fact) and would not be in any position to "repeatedly reprimand Tatiana" (see p 165)

CORRECTION: Volkov was Alexandra Fyodorovna's Kamerdiner
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 06:48:13 AM by Belochka »


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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #96 on: December 16, 2014, 11:09:00 AM »
Hmm, so that anecdote about Alexei is false. I thought as much.

Minzlov wrote other anecdotes of the IF. You can see them here: http://www.unz.org/Pub/LivingAge-1924jul26-00161

Since Alexei's anecdote proved to be wrong, I wonder if the rest is unreliable too. I'd like to have your opinions on it. Thank you very much in advance for your answers.


This hasn't been proved wrong. Belochka's opinion is that it is false -- and she may well be correct -- but we haven't been offered proof to discredit the story.

Why is it that an absurd anecdote such as this one has to be proven to be false? 

Surely common sense should override Minzlov's published anecdote, given that any trauma sustained by Alexei might have induced a medical event?


Because it's good scholarship to do so. The incident is far-fetched, but it's not impossible. The tsar's reaction is highly questionable, but the behavior that allegedly prompted it is plausible -- we do have incontrovertible evidence of Aleksei being physically rough with people around him. None of us were there, and in the heat of the moment people occasionally do things that are otherwise out of character. Furthermore, threat of a whipping is not the same as a whipping itself, and would not have induced a medical event.

Without proof, none of us has the authority to assert that this particular anecdote never occurred. We can say there's no evidence to support the tsar's reaction, that it flies in the face of just about everything we know about his character, and that given Aleksei's medical condition it was an empty threat and therefore very likely apocryphal or at least exaggerated. (That's the most reasonable assessment, IMO.)

On the other hand, do we know if Nicholas II was morally opposed to corporal punishment of his children? Wan't it very much the norm at that time? Is it really so difficult to imagine that a father, frustrated by his son's bad behavior and his own inability to punish the boy effectively might momentarily snap and bark out such a threat?

It's improbable, but not impossible. To my mind, that's a very important distinction. Too often we forget that no matter how carefully we study these people, we cannot fully know them.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #97 on: December 17, 2014, 12:25:49 AM »
Though it's imperfect, Minzlov's little article is something to consider in context.

On one point, there was no such person as "Harchenko" (see p 162) in Alexei's Suite.

On another point, Volkov was a servant (Nikolai II's Kamerdiner in fact) and would not be in any position to "repeatedly reprimand Tatiana" (see p 165)


Yes, Belochka that "Harchenko"  ("Narchenko?") business was odd. Strangely, it could be thought of as an  amalgam of Nagorny and Derevenko, Alexei's sailor nannies. A little shorthand indicating familiarity with Alexei's care; or just nonsense?
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexei anecdotes
« Reply #98 on: December 18, 2014, 11:04:09 AM »
I agree with Rodney and Sarushka.

Spanking and other forms of corporal punishment were the rule rather than the exception until recently (I was born in 1959 and got plenty of spankings, mostly justified).

Alexei was certainly very badly behaved at times, and I would not be surprised if Nicholas occasionally became exasperated and threatened physical punishment. The problem then would be that if you threaten something you have to be prepared to carry out the threat, and if Nicholas didn't do so it would have contributed further to Alexei's being spoilt.

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