Author Topic: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk  (Read 7753 times)

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Offline Holly

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Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« on: March 22, 2011, 09:41:30 PM »
I was reading Greg King's The Last Empress and found one part very interesting/confusing.

Kerensky wrote that he chose Tobolsk as the IF's place of residence because of it's "[...] very small garrison, no individual proleteriat, and a population which was prosperous and contented [...]". Kerensky went to lengths to find a foreign place of exile and he wrote that he wished for them to be moved out of the country. It's well-known that the train carrying the IF to Tobolsk was disguised as a Japanese Red Cross Mission and the railway line they were using was deemed safe.

The fact that the IF had to wait so long for the house to be fixed up for their residency seems somewhat strange. Also the fact that Nicholas was told the destination of their departure was "unknown" and that they should bring warm clothing and furs. If they knew they needed warm clothing and knew the destination, why wouldn't they tell the family they were going to Tobolsk? When were they told exactly where they were going?

Did Kerensky have plans of taking them out of the country but they were halted unexpectedly?
"Господь им дал дар по молитвам их размягчать окаменелые наши сердца за их страдания..Мне думается, что если люди будут молиться Царской Cемье, оттают сердца с Божией помощью."

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Offline nena

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 09:50:54 AM »
Did Kerensky have plans of taking them out of the country but they were halted unexpectedly?

A very excellent question. Here is what I came across, sorry for rough English translation:

"It was decided (in a secret meeting) to seek to relocate the royal family any other place, and all the resolution of this matter was entrusted to me. I began to figure out this possibility. I was supposed to take them somewhere in the center of Russia, referring to the name of Michael Alexandrovich and Nikolai Mikhailovich. It turned out the utter impossibility of doing so. Unthinkable was the fact of the Tsar's removal of these places through a workers 'and peasants' in Russia. It was impossible to take them and to the South. There have already lived some of the grand dukes and Maria Feodorovna, and on this occasion there were already a misunderstanding. In the end, I stopped at Tobolsk. Remoteness of Tobolsk and its special geographical position, because of its remoteness from the center, did not suggest that there may be any natural excesses. I also knew there place the governor's house. On it and I stopped. Initially, as I recall, I sent to Tobolsk commission, which seems to be included Vershinin and Makarov, to ascertain the situation in Tobolsk. They brought

''Colonel Kobylinskii describes the departure of the Imperial: "Approximately one week before the departure of the Tsar came to visit us Kerensky, who called me, President Sovdep (Tsarskoe Selo) and chairman of the military section of the Tsarskoe Selo garrison Ensign Efimova. Kerensky told us that: "Before I tell you something, you take my word that all this will remain a secret. " We gave the word. Kerensky told us that the decision of the Council of Ministers of the entire royal family will be moved from Tsarskoe; that the Government does not consider this a secret from democratic institutions.good information. " Sokolov, N.A. 'Murder of the the Imperial family' . - Moscow: Soviet Writer, 1991. - S. 37-38.''
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 09:59:45 AM by nena »
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Offline Holly

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 11:10:08 AM »
Thank you for the full statement by Kerensky and Sokolov, Nena.

So, Kerensky planned to not take them to Tobolsk until he realized moving them further would be impossible and it was his idea to stop there?

King writes in his book that he believed it was possible that Bolsheviks had stopped the train at Tiumen. I'm still curious about this possibility.
"Господь им дал дар по молитвам их размягчать окаменелые наши сердца за их страдания..Мне думается, что если люди будут молиться Царской Cемье, оттают сердца с Божией помощью."

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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 06:22:29 PM »
I was reading Greg King's The Last Empress and found one part very interesting/confusing.

Kerensky wrote that he chose Tobolsk as the IF's place of residence because of it's "[...] very small garrison, no individual proleteriat, and a population which was prosperous and contented [...]". Kerensky went to lengths to find a foreign place of exile and he wrote that he wished for them to be moved out of the country. It's well-known that the train carrying the IF to Tobolsk was disguised as a Japanese Red Cross Mission and the railway line they were using was deemed safe.

The fact that the IF had to wait so long for the house to be fixed up for their residency seems somewhat strange. Also the fact that Nicholas was told the destination of their departure was "unknown" and that they should bring warm clothing and furs. If they knew they needed warm clothing and knew the destination, why wouldn't they tell the family they were going to Tobolsk? When were they told exactly where they were going?

Did Kerensky have plans of taking them out of the country but they were halted unexpectedly?
It's possible you're overthinking this matter. Kerensky's reasons (very small garrison, etc. )were true, i.e. valid. Both before (in considering at as a good site), and after(they got there safely and quietly).

Likewise with the suggestion  to bring warm clothing (they'd need it in frozen Tobolsk, at least after summer).

Likewise again for the Japanese Red Cross banners on the train ( to avoid inspection and stoppage by Bolsheviks anytime after departure)

Likewise and most important for  keeping it secret til they were well on the way. Their destination( even the mere fact that they were being sent out of Tsarskoe) had to be kept secret at all costs. The St. Petersburg Soviet would have blocked it immediately if they found out.Keeping it a secret meant from EVERYONE, most definitely including Nicholas himself.  "" Alix, dear, Kerensky has just informed me we're all to be sent to Tobolsk. The girlies were so hoping for the Crimea  but I'm sure they'll still be excited .He said to keep it a secret so we'll just keep the news to ourselves." And I'm sure the hundred or so guards eyeballing the IF constantly would never pick up a hint.

 Seriously, secrecy was absolutely crucial for the whole operation. I'm surprised the excitable AK was able to keep  the news under his hat.  The sending of the IF with 46 others in the party , plus  parts of three regiments, was a major undertaking. Kerensky was scrambling  through most of the night to arrange it without provoking militant train workers. Personally I'm surprised the whole operation was carried out successfuly.

Anyway, I don't think there's too much out of the ordinary in the choice of Tobolsk for the IF's exile. Except it's true the Governor's Mansion  needed some serious work to be  up to even ex- Imperial Family standards. Kerensk was just winging it anyway in matters great and small so there's no surprise here either.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 06:26:29 PM by Rodney_G. »
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aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 07:12:50 PM »
Re your Reply #3:  IMO, "Rodney_G.", your first sentence, et seq., find basic support in the maxim of "Occam's Razor."   Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 07:28:01 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline Holly

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 08:04:57 PM »
I'm not "overthinking" anything, I'm merely curious and confused as to a statement made by Greg King and if there was any more information to support his idea.

"[...] Kerensky's decision to send the imperial family to Siberia does not make sense. If he wanted to move the Romanovs out of the country, as he wrote ,why would he move them only as far as Tobolsk? Clearly he had no interest in keeping them in internal exile. The continued presence of the imperial family in Russia could only cause his government further problems. He undertook intense negotiations with the British government to try to obtain permission for a foreign exile. If they were going on a 'safe' railway line to Tobolsk, then why not go any farther? The risks of moving the imperial family out of the country would be small compared with those of keeping them in a safe internal exile. [...] It is entirely possible that Kerensky intended to move the family out of the country on this train and that the Bolsheviks discovered this while the train was en route, forcing it to stop at Tiumen. In view of Kerensky's attitude and the fact that when the imperial family arrived in Tobolsk they had to wait a week while the governor's mansion was fitted up, this explanation is entirely possible."

I'm aware of the reasoning for warm clothing and the need for secrecy; those are precautionary measures for any destination they were being sent to.  

Was the IF's stay in Tobolsk kept even from those who were supposed to set the house up for their stay, and that's why they took a week to prepare it?

Where did you get your quote from Nicholas to Alexandra? On August 11th Kerensky told the couple that they would be leaving for an "unknown destination".

"Господь им дал дар по молитвам их размягчать окаменелые наши сердца за их страдания..Мне думается, что если люди будут молиться Царской Cемье, оттают сердца с Божией помощью."

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aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 10:27:58 PM »
Re Reply # 3 and "Rodney_G.":  I neglected to earlier mention that your satirically invented "quote" from the Emperor to the Empress about secrecy was IMO hilarious and cleverly in the "tone" of the time (i.e. using the word "girlies," etc.). Of course a discerning reader would see through it, I'm sure, since you began the next paragraph with "Seriously."  Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 10:31:46 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline Holly

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2011, 10:33:00 PM »
Hilarious, indeed. I didn't catch the joke being too seriously interested in my questions. My apologies.
"Господь им дал дар по молитвам их размягчать окаменелые наши сердца за их страдания..Мне думается, что если люди будут молиться Царской Cемье, оттают сердца с Божией помощью."

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Alixz

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 10:38:43 PM »
Holly, I believe that he was being "tongue in cheek" or sarcastic when he made up that quote of Nicholas to Alexandra.  He was trying to show that no secret could be kept if anyone inside the Alexander Palace knew the destination.

As to why the Governor's Mansion was not ready, that might seem strange, but it also might just mean that it didn't fit the standards of the family (as if they had a choice at that point) and so there was a effort to "clean it up".  But I seem to remember that the governor and his family were told to move out quickly ( I think I remember this anyway) just a Ipatiev and his family were evicted later in Yekaterinburg.

For most of their exile, the family still acted as if they deserved special treatment instead of being treated like the prisoners that they were.  That is why 46 other people accompanied them with train cars full of luggage and food and wines from the cellars of Tsarskoe Selo.  Not the usual treatment for a dethroned autocrat.

It might be that Kerensky hoped to get them out of the country at some future time and that would make sense for Kerensky as protecting a large and easily recognizable group as the Romanovs would have been very hard for him as he tried to begin running a new government.

But I think that Tobolsk was perhaps not so much a destination as a way station on a longer trip that Kerensky tried to broker with the British which, as we all know, never came to fruition.

I have always been intrigued as to why the Danish Royal Family didn't offer to help.  Nicholas was more closely related to them than to the Brits.  We know also that (I know they were hated) the Germans and also the Spanish offered some help.  But the main members of the Entente - France and the UK never thought enough of the man who had gone to war for them and allowed so many of his subjects to die for them to offer to take him and his family in.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 10:40:37 PM by Alixz »

Offline Holly

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 10:48:59 PM »
Holly, I believe that he was being "tongue in cheek" or sarcastic when he made up that quote of Nicholas to Alexandra.  He was trying to show that no secret could be kept if anyone inside the Alexander Palace knew the destination.
I got it after aleksandr_pavlovich's kind notification. I skimmed it without reading it, really. But thank you for explaining it clearly and understandably.

That's very interesting, I didn't know that the governor and his family were told to move out quickly. If they were living there so recently, why was there wallpaper peeling from the walls?

I agree they acted as if they weren't quite prisoners. It makes sense for Tobolsk to be a 'waiting station', so to say. It seems to me, from Kerensky's writings that he had some kind of ideas for getting them out of the country.

Thank you for your post, Alixz.
"Господь им дал дар по молитвам их размягчать окаменелые наши сердца за их страдания..Мне думается, что если люди будут молиться Царской Cемье, оттают сердца с Божией помощью."

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Alixz

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2011, 10:00:48 AM »
I may be wrong about the governor's house.  I haven't looked at that part of it for a long time.  If there was peeling wallpaper, then perhaps there had been no governor's family in residence for a long time.

I think it may be time for me to do some research.

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2011, 11:25:57 AM »
  It's not commonly known how long the previous Governor in Tobolsk had been out of his house before the IF's arrival, though some determined researcher could probably find out. I assume that a Regional Governorship was an Imperial appointment and that the Provisional Government removed the incumbent at some point and hadn't replaced him yet.

I'm not "overthinking" anything, I'm merely curious and confused as to a statement made by Greg King and if there was any more information to support his idea.

"[...] Kerensky's decision to send the imperial family to Siberia does not make sense. If he wanted to move the Romanovs out of the country, as he wrote ,why would he move them only as far as Tobolsk? Clearly he had no interest in keeping them in internal exile. The continued presence of the imperial family in Russia could only cause his government further problems. He undertook intense negotiations with the British government to try to obtain permission for a foreign exile. If they were going on a 'safe' railway line to Tobolsk, then why not go any farther? The risks of moving the imperial family out of the country would be small compared with those of keeping them in a safe internal exile. [...] It is entirely possible that Kerensky intended to move the family out of the country on this train and that the Bolsheviks discovered this while the train was en route, forcing it to stop at Tiumen. In view of Kerensky's attitude and the fact that when the imperial family arrived in Tobolsk they had to wait a week while the governor's mansion was fitted up, this explanation is entirely possible."[/quote

The question of why the train with the IF didn't continue east beyond Tobolsk is certainly intriguing. Possibly the following.
The trip to Vladivostok from Tobolsk I believe would be over  three thousand miles. Getting safely to Tobolsk was no guarantee the rest of such a journey would be trouble free. Also, though Kerensky was sympathetic to the IF going into exile early on, this wasn't necesarily the case iat the end of July. Or rather, he may have been sympathetic but then lacked the exile abroad option. And Kerensky 'headed' the Prov. Gov. but he wasn't all-powerful. Other prominent PG ministers had a say in decisions and may have opposed exile abroad.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, was the question : foreign exile to where? No country was offering them refuge even then. The prospect of a train with the IF and a major entourage essentially being dumped at the Vladivostok train station with an enormous load of baggage, no housing, no country to board ship to, was pretty much unthinkable. Vladivostok or any eastern  debarkation port wasn't a viable option. Tobolsk did seem a decent choice in compa
 
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 11:31:43 AM by Rodney_G. »
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2011, 11:35:02 AM »
My apologies now for: the last half of the above quote is mine (Rodney), not Holly's .

R.
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Offline billmcl2

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2011, 06:55:29 PM »
Did Kerensky have plans of taking them out of the country but they were halted unexpectedly?

The following quotes are from King & Wilson's article The Departure Of The Imperial Family From Tsarskoye Selo posted at:

http://www.kingandwilson.com/fotrextras/departure.htm

The entire article is a long but very interesting read.

Speaking of Tobolsk, Kerensky wrote: “From there, we thought, it would be possible in the spring of 1918 to send them abroad after all, via Japan.”52 Clearly, then he wished to safely see the Romanovs out of Russia, in accordance with everything he had previously stated. This idea is not only reinforced but amplified in remarks Kerensky made a decade before his death. In exile in the United States, he often lectured at New York’s Columbia University, where he was asked about the Revolution and his relations with the Romanovs. In the early 1960s, while discussing the situation with a group of students, the former leader of the Provisional Government added something to his story of the Romanovs’ Siberian exile that possibly explains his decision. It was his never intention, Kerensky explained, that Tobolsk would be a place of exile. His prime goal was to get them away from Petrograd, and out of the reach of revolutionaries. It was his wish to send the Romanovs out of Russia by the Trans-Siberian Railway, to Vladivostock, then to Japan where, presumably, they would be free to select their own country of residence. In this conversation, his comments intimated that Tobolsk was to be nothing more than a convenient stopping point mid-way along the route, the Governor’s House a temporary resting place and not a final destination.53

Under the circumstances, it is at least possible that the when the Romanovs boarded the train at Tsarskoye Selo, they were in fact unknowingly leaving on a journey that would carry them out of the country and out of harm’s way. Tobolsk -- made known through the actions of Makarov and Vershinin; the revelations to Buchanan; and other selective leaks -- may have been nothing more than a piece of propaganda, conceived to throw Kerensky’s enemies off the scent while he arranged for the Imperial Family’s safety. But when local Soviets in the Urals began to interfere with the plan, sending warning cables out to organizations down the length of the Trans-Siberian, the plan had to be changed. The prisoners, through the ill-luck of discovery, were sent to Tobolsk; this in and of itself aroused no suspicion, as it had always been the announced destination. Had the operation succeeded, Kerensky could have announced its completion once the prisoners left the Empire; when it failed, and they arrived in Tobolsk, he simply claimed that Tobolsk had always been the intended -- if temporary -- destination. In view of Kerensky's attitude and the fact that when the Imperial Family arrived in Tobolsk they had to wait a week while the Governor's Mansion was fitted up, this explanation, admittedly speculative, is entirely possible.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Kerensky's Intentions on Moving the IF to Tobolsk
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2011, 07:15:26 PM »
It may not have actually benn a valuable piece, but kust a trinket. They probably had closets full of sucvh things, just to give out as gifts.
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