Author Topic: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated  (Read 207432 times)

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Alixz

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #840 on: August 30, 2011, 04:01:55 PM »
Olga - had you lived then you would have been used to corsets and dress that go down to the ankle.  Every woman wore them from age 16 on.

I fact, I still have that "coming of age" thing engraved in my head even though I am not nearly so old and did not live in the 19th century.

Balls were her job.  Talking to people and being hostess was her job.

I agree with Selencia that both she and Nicholas wanted to "pick and choose' what parts of the job they wanted to do and what parts they did not want to do.  Being a good mother is, of course, a good thing, but being a bad Empress is not something she should have "chosen to do".

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #841 on: July 30, 2018, 05:23:44 AM »
This topic has fallen into oblivion for seven years, but I read it in full, and as it is still consulted and it has irritated me much I decided to relaunch it.

Why was the Empress hated by the imperial family and the Russian people?

1st: she was not hated by the Russian people but by "intelligentsia". She may have received false letters, but her travels were still appreciated outside St. Petersburg (Crimea, Novgorod, Pskov ...).

The Empress is a woman who:

- Dare openly to oppose the high orthodox clergy and its avarice

- Openly defended Jews and ethnic minorities (including the persecuted Tartars during the 1914 war)

- To criticize the casual and uninteresting life of the Russian aristocracy. Even Maurice Paleologue criticizes the "culture of boredom" of the Russian aristocracy. The Russian noble does nothing but enjoy himself, seduce and gossip.

- Dare to have friends who were not "normal". Yes, Madame Viroubova, Madame de Buxhoeveden, Rasputin ... were not rich, descendants of Rurik or owners of 300,000 dessiatines of land.

- Dared to take care of his family. I refer to a very nice anecdote of Xavier Paoli.

- Indicated, indirectly, to several members of the Romanov family that they were debauched or incapacitated. This is the case for many of them.

- Has engaged in social assistance in Russia. Reopening of the medical school for women in St. Petersburg, sanatoria (Halila, Crimea ...), sponsorship of university courses of Mrs. Stassova ...

- agreed to give up her beautiful dresses and pearls to treat war wounded. Who on this forum would have taken an arm cut in his hands without wavering?

Of course, she created enemies. She did that with:

- 5 very difficult pregnancies

- A child with hemophilia

- Serious health problems (even the Empress's enemies say she had blue hands, red blotches on her face and arms, drooping cheeks ...).

- The ill-will of the Russian imperial family. For example, Maria Feodorovna refused to abandon the presidency of the Russian Red Cross to the new empress, as is normally the rule.

The Empress had failings. It's not difficult, she admits herself. She was stubborn, irritable, shy, spoke poor Russian and not good French and she was conscious of not being very happy in public. One day she told Madame Viroubova that she was "a ruin". Alexander Spiridovich also says very just things about the Empress: she was very clumsy to show his gratitude to others. She gave a lot, but she was embarrassed to receive attention.

She had failings, but nothing bad. She was a very hard-pressed woman, very persecuted, but generous, altruist, respectful, faithful in friendship, brave, caring, intelligent. She was also funny (in her letters, her drawings ...) and I find full of "self-mockery". She was able to laugh on her own.

I do not say she had the ideal qualities to be a great sovereign. But it is unfair or ignorant not to love, at least a little, Alexandra Feodorovna.

She was the victim of prejudices, rumors.

She suffers = she is cold
She laughs = she is condescending
She says nothing = she is proud
She does not speak Russian = she is not Russian
She speaks Russian by making mistakes = people make fun
She speaks English = she has a "Teutonic" accent
She wears jewelry = she steals Russian wealth (she came from a very poor Grand Duchy)
She does not wear jewelery = she is not a real Russian empress
She defends the autocracy = it is an ultra-monarchist
She defends the Jews = she is too liberal
She refuses to abjure the Protestant faith = she is unloved in Russia
She is baptized in orthodoxy = she is hated in Hesse
She does not care for the wounded = she is indifferent
It deals with the wounded = it does not respect the dignity of its rank
She leaves too much freedom to her daughters = she prepares them badly for the life of court (and to be wives and mothers of big families)
She does not give them enough freedom = she is a possessive mother who suffocates her daughters

These are just some of the aberrations I read in my many readings. Until today I have read about 150 books of testimonies and memories written by contemporaries of the Empress (in French, Russian, English, Serbian, German) and about 5,000 press articles ( especially in French and English) written between 1890 and 1920. I read very few contemporary sources to avoid distortions.

I do not think I am a genius, but have read enough to say that the Empress was a woman who suffered much slander by ignorance or gratuitous wickedness.

I am not perfectly objective (I can not be so with the imperial family of Russia), but I have a PhD in history and the habit of not inventing or distorting the facts. If one must evoke the memory of a woman who can not defend herself, one must at least make the effort to read her writings and the testimonies of her contemporaries, especially the most "neutral".

Sorry if I made mistakes, I wrote a lot, things a little complicated, and I have the impression that some sentences are not very correct.

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #842 on: July 30, 2018, 05:28:22 AM »
A mistake:

"She deals with the wounded". My brain has gone into confusion!

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #843 on: July 31, 2018, 09:57:39 PM »
As we see time and again in politics the perception of our leaders (or those closely associated with them such as Alexandra) can turn on a dime as a situation deteriorates. People want scapegoats when times are hard. In the midst of a losing war, bread lines, a rising socialist revolution, and controversies surrounding Rasputin & royal intrigue it's not hard to imagine how N&A went from beloved to reviled by a majority of the Russian people within a few short years.

George H.W. Bush's approval rating stood at 89% after the success of the first Gulf War in early-1991. A year later his rating had plummeted into the 30s and he failed to win reelection in November of 1992. Why? As Bill Clinton once said, "It's the economy stupid!" The US fell into recession, the debt/deficit ballooned, urban plight & crime rates soared, and before long the good feelings surrounding Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War and the Soviet's throwing in the towel on the Cold War dissipated.

Churchill's conservatives got thumped in a shocking defeat to Clement Atlee's Labour Party in the 1945 parliamentary elections in the UK. It would have been hard to find a Brit more popular or respected than Churchill upon the end of WW2 and Allied victory. Yet a majority of British voters didn't think he or his party were the right people to lead England through the post-war rebuild and peace the way they were relied upon to win the War.

My point is that attitudes can change rapidly even when a country isn't in crisis. Considering the state of affairs in Russia after 1914 it's not hard to see why the population would have turned so viciously against an Empress who was never beloved in the first place.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...