Author Topic: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty  (Read 45266 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2012, 06:54:38 AM »
On Sunday I heard a guy on a tour at AP say, "Oh, this was Anastasia's house? She's the one that got away, right?" And the tour guide said yes. -_-

Well, if you've spent much time arguing with the people who, despite the DNA findings on the Romanov remains as well as Anna Anderson, persist with hare-brained theories about Anastasia's survival, you might understand why a tour guide would just say "yes" and try to move on.

I find it very odd that Russia would want to celebrate the 400th anniversary of a dynasty of which more than a quarter of its tsars (5) were murdered, with 3 of those (plus a tsarevich) being murdered by their own family members or associates, and which saw itself and civil society destroyed through gross mismanagement of the key issues arising in the last half century of its existence:  land reform, industrialization, nationalist movements, foreign policy.

In 1613, the boyars of Russia elected a Romanov to head the government of Russia.  In the last Russian census of the Romanov era, Nicholas listed his occupation as "the owner of the land of Russia".  Why would any nation celebrate the departure of a dynasty that turned a call to govern into a seizure of the land and everything in it as a personal fiefdom?

Offline edubs31

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 999
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2012, 09:18:52 AM »
Can't say I disagree...

But that is an interesting fact you shared about Nicholas's personal assessment of his job description. I wonder how that went down. Do you think they led a census taker into the palace...perhaps a bit nervous and sweating from the brow...to meet with the head of this very large household? Nicholas sits down and takes a look at the form and then jokes with the man and those around him..."Ahh lets see, what should be an appropriate title for my occupation. Cobbler? Haberdasher? Ballet dance?...Oh how about just "Owner of the land of Russia." Sounds like it could have been a good laugh.

The two centennial anniversaries I'll be marking a point of acknowledging and commemorating are not until 2017 & 2018.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2012, 11:02:38 AM »
There are good reasons for Russians to celebrate some of what was attained under Romanov rule -- emergence as a world power under Peter the Great being foremost.

But there seems to be a lot of confusion between what was accomplished during Romanov rule and what was accomplished because of Romanov rule.  Russia became a nation not under a Romanov, but under a Rurikid, Ivan III.  Russia reached the apogee of her reputation not under a Romanov, but under a German princess who seized the throne from a Romanov and whose line descended from-m-m-m . . . wait for it . . . . . . . the Rurikids.

I'm not a big fan of Tolstoy's view of what drives history.  But there is something to his view that, instead of generating the great movements of human history, the perceived leaders are just along for the ride like everyone else.  Sure, the Romanovs produced a few great tsars.  But they also produced a few turkeys.  And the same can be said for almost any other dynasty, be it the Julians, the Rurikids, the Osmans, the Ptolemies, the Capetians, the Bourbons, the Plantagenets, the Hohenzollerns, the Hapsburgs, ad nauseum.  In Russia it was the Rurikids who brought Orthodoxy to Russians (Vladimir the Great), assembled and consolidated the Russian nation (Vasily II and Ivan III), and who gave it its greatest spurt of territorial growth (Ivan IV).

The history of the Romanov dynasty shows that the results it produced for Russia as a function of the rulers it produced were as random as they would have been had any other family been handed the throne in 1613.  (Remember that one of the reasons the boyars elected Mikhail Romanov was his perceived weakness and malleability in their hands, not his perceived strength or personal qualities.)  A Romanov won the Great Northern War and assumed hegemony in northern Europe.  A Romanov lost the Crimean War and exposed a hopelessly archaic military establishment.  A Romanov built the Russian navy.  Another Romanov almost lost it.  A Romanov emancipated the serfs.  Other Romanovs left them disenfranchised.  Some Romanovs courted liberalism and even constitutionalism.  Other Romanovs reversed course.  

In short, there is absolutely nothing mystical, magical, or even special about the Romanov bloodline that suggests it had the capacity -- on average and over time -- to produce rulers either more or less competent than any other family would have.  And that is exactly what it produced . . . a mix of greatness, mediocrity, and disaster.

Certainly one can understand a nation wanting to celebrate the glories of its past.  What unsettles me is that the current attempts to rehabilitate the Romanovs as a royal clan have to do with more than just recognizing Russia's past.  So much of it seems to arise from a belief that the monarchy should not only be remembered, but that it -- and that form of government -- are a solution for the problems that confront modern Russia.

Here's a novel concept for Russians.  How about trying democracy?  And not that neo-autocratic travesty of "managed democracy" that Putin is passing off as the real thing.  




Offline edubs31

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 999
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2012, 01:51:06 PM »
Quote
Certainly one can understand a nation wanting to celebrate the glories of its past.  What unsettles me is that the current attempts to rehabilitate the Romanovs as a royal clan have to do with more than just recognizing Russia's past.  So much of it seems to arise from a belief that the monarchy should not only be remembered, but that it -- and that form of government -- are a solution for the problems that confront modern Russia.

Here's a novel concept for Russians.  How about trying democracy?  And not that neo-autocratic travesty of "managed democracy" that Putin is passing off as the real thing. 

Bingo! I couldn't have said that better...

I was checking out a couple of websites who reported on some fairly recent polling data. One suggested that 19% of Russians favored a restoration of the monarchy but that only 6% favored an autocracy when asked about what form of government would be best lead to their country. Another result from the poll concluded that 6% of Russians would prefer a Romanov at the head of state in one form or another (presumably as constitutional monarch or autocrat).

The number of those in favor of restoring Communism is higher. In a separate poll taken back in 2006 (because apparently the desire to be ruled again by a monarch is gaining favor in Russia) the monarchy came in at 10%. A little less than a third (3%) of those respondents favor a full blown autocratic government. 22% meanwhile chose Soviet era style leadership as the most desirable form of government. 47% on the other hand still approve of the current "Democratic Republic" thing they use now.

Maybe what they can do is let individuals (Romanov family included) campaign to be a Tsar against other candidates. Schedule elections for every few years and in between you get yourself a King...oh, wait...that's kind of how it works now doesn't it!

Honestly though I'm not sure how much stock you can put in polls such as these. Take a poll on November 7th in the United States when a significant portion of the country is likely to be pretty pissed off because their guy just lost and I'll be you'd get some pretty wild opinions on how to improve our representational democracy. Even if 19% of Russians desire a return of the monarchy how many feel strongly about it? What they want is change, and they are naturally pulling from the other historical options they are aware of as substitutes; monarchy, autocracy, democracy, socialism, anarchy, etc.

I think what's happening here with the relatively small percentage of people who care to honor this 400th anniversary is a simple re-connect with the past. One of the interesting things about studying Imperial Russia is that it ended so suddenly and dramatically. Autocracy didn't linger on and on for decades becoming less and less powerful as the liberal forces from within waged a war of attrition. It took a hit in 1905 and was dead by 1917. The last of its representatives are frozen in time as well since so many of the Romanovs were brutally murdered.

In addition to all of the evil acts that occurred during the revolution and in the subsequent Soviet reign the Bolsheviks at the time were absolute fools...at least as far as their moral legitimacy and legacy would be concerned. By killing off the Romanovs and, especially, young women and children they made millions of people care (or care more) than they ordinary would have. Blame the events of 1917-1991 for blurring the overall 300-year legacy of the Romanov reign. At least 75% of the focus, I'd wager, is going to be on the end of the reign...right, wrong, or whatever. And now of that 75% a statistically large number of people are going to care more about Nicholas the man instead of Nicholas the ruler, Alexandra the devoted wife & mother instead of Alexandra the Empress, and poor martyred OTMAA/Romanov relatives, instead of the social and political catastrophes of the latter Romanov dynasty.

When the Bolshevik thugs went on their murderous rampage in 1918/19 they allowed for future generations to sympathize with the crown. Kings & Queens everywhere got a shot at redemption.

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2012, 04:56:00 PM »
Yes, there is a very large element of longing for a past -- any past -- that is different from a troubled present.

A poll taken at the height of glasnost euphoria under Gorbachev that asked people to name Russia's most outstanding historical figure found very few people naming Josef Stalin.  After it started to become apparent that Putin's "managed democracy" was not quite what Russians thought democracy would be, a poll found that 47% of Russians thought Stalin had exercised a "positive influence" on Russian history, and 31% said they would actually like to live under his rule.

A few years back, two western journalists were invited to observe a high school debate in Moscow on the nature of Russian political society.  They were astonished to find among these teenagers a strong support, even a longing, for an autocratic hand to set things to right in a country they felt denied them the stability and certainty they craved in trying to sort out the options for their lives.  As Tanya, one of their more assertive spokespersons, put it, "so I think to speak about democracy in our society, well, it is premature.  Our country needs this strong hand to establish order."

What I find so depressing about this comment is how far back the attitude it reflects traces back into Russian history.  It is essentially the same attitude Peter the Great took as he tried to drag a reluctant nobility into the classroom and to replace corruption with regularized government process.  It is essentially the same comment Catherine the Great made when she threw up her hands in frustration at the resistance to her Nakaz in the 1770's.  It is essentially the same attitude Alexander I developed about Speransky's policies after 1812 and that later caused Nicholas I to utilize Speransky's methods, but stripped of their real purpose.  it is essentially the same argument made to Alexander II by his ministers when he set course for constitutional reform.  And it was the same self-serving hand-wringing in which Nicholas and Alexandra indulged right up to their downfall.

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1852
    • View Profile
    • Rex and Hannah Chronicles Wikia
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2012, 02:35:03 AM »
Quote
a poll found that 47% of Russians thought Stalin had exercised a "positive influence" on Russian history, and 31% said they would actually like to live under his rule.

I wonder if a similar poll was taken in Germany, how many would feel the same way about Hitler?

It is disturbing that people in Russia feel so fondly about a brutal monster who has the blood of millions on his hands.  Of course, most of these people probably weren't even alive when Papa Joe was around, so maybe they're looking at him through rose tinted glasses.

Some say "Well, he fought and defeated Hitler."  To them I say:  "Yes, but he also sat down and MADE A DEAL WITH HITLER (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) that allowed him to grab the Baltic states and a nice chunk of Poland."  Just because Hitler double-crossed him in the end (and anyone could have seen that coming, that one would eventually do this, the two toughest and meanest kids in the neighbourhood, of course they're gonna eventually fight each other) does not invalidate Stalin's early partnership with him.  And it was Stalin, not Hitler, that ordered the massacre of Polish prisoners in Katyn Forest (the Russians would not own up to this crime until 1990).

No, Stalin was no hero and no one to be admired.  He was no better than Hitler, a monster who had millions slaughtered to further his insane ideals.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2012, 06:55:44 AM »
I realize it seems condescending to say this, but there is something of an abused-abuser psychology in the relationship between Russians and their leaders.  To understand its current manifestation in Russian politics it is helpful to read Kremlin Rising by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser.  When Vladimir Putin appeared suddenly on the world political stage, many people in the West who heard about his KGB background assumed that Russians were not aware of it.  Quite the contrary was true.  Most Russians threw their early support to Putin not in spite of his KGB background, but because of it.  They craved the return of the strong, crsip hand of the KGB after the stumbling alcoholic departure of Yeltsin from the scene.

As Putin began to pack his government and the bureaucracy with soloviki (former KBG agents), Andrei Przhezdomsky explained, "at the current point of our country's development, these people [the soloviki] are required in power".

When Martin Shakkum, a United Russia candidate for the Duma, was asked why public policy debates were not part of Russian election campaigns, he answered, "but consider the level of development of Russian democracy -- it's very weak and society is not well prepared for this."

Dmitri Kozak, whom Putin appointed to reform the judicial system, ran into determined resistance at all levels of government.  He reported an argument he had with Vladimir Ustinov, Putin's Prosecutor General, thusly:  "he thought our country was not ready for such a high level of freedom.  I argued that if you don't give this freedom, the country would not be ready even in a hundred years."  (This argument was a sad reprise of the arguments that went on a hundred and fifty years earlier when Alexander II instituted trial by jury and then began to override verdicts that did not suit him.)

And then there was the comment by Viktor Shenderovich, the famous television satirist, on why Putin was able to oust independent management from all Russia's major media outlets:  "the majority of the people didn't feel freedom of speech to be necessary.  The majority thinks this is the privilege of the intelligentsia.  That's why the authorities were able to win."

Compare these comments on the Russian political landscape of the early twenty-first century with the observations Alexis de Tocqueville made in 1835 in his political science classic, Of Democracy in America:

"The Anglo-American relies upon personal interest to accomplish his ends and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of the people; the Russian centers all the authority of society in a single arm.  The principal instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude."

And consider the case of Ivan IV, two hundred and fifty years before de Tocqueville.  After having unleashed the brutal Oprichniki on his people, Ivan -- who was already showing signs of deadly madness -- became frustrated with his nobility's reluctance to bend to his will.  He withdrew into a monastery, threatening to abdicate the throne.  So what did they do?  They begged him to reassume power and sealed the bargain by dropping all resistance to his depredations.

Russian political society is tsarist to its very core, and the longer I watch events there unfold the more convinced I have become that it will remain so into the foreseeable future.  There was the era of classic tsarism under the late Rurikids and the Romanovs; then the era of tsarism-on-steroids that was the soviet state; and now the era of kinder, gentler tsarism of controlled campaigns and rigged elections masking as democracy that is the Putin era.  Whether the Romanovs return or not is immaterial.  Russians have lived no more than a few years without a tsar of one stripe or another in the past half millenium, and so it will go on.

Offline Louis_Charles

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1493
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2012, 09:44:56 AM »
Margaret Thatcher on the French Revolution:

"For me as a British Conservative, with Edmund Burke as the father of Conservatism and first great perceptive critic of the Revolution as my ideological mentor, the events of 1789 represent a perennial illusion in politics. The French Revolution was a Utopian attempt to overthrow a traditional order --- one with many imperfections, certainly --- in the name of abstract ideals, formulated by vain intellectuals, which lapsed, not by chance, but through weakness and wickedness, into purges, mass murder and war. In so many ways it anticipated the still more terrible Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The English tradition of liberty, however, grew over the centuries; its most marked features are continuity, respect for law and a sense of balance, as demonstrated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution . . .they really stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity . . ."

The Downing Street Years (HarperCollins:New York, 1993) p. 753.

I have a bit of an issue with the final statement (and it certainly hasn't been the Orthodox Church leading the fight for liberty in post-Communist Russia), but I think she is generally right, and this may be the ultimate problem with Russia. As Tsarfan points out, they have no experience with a non-Tsarist state. That lack of history may ultimately forbid the success of democracy in Russia, at least within our lifetimes.
"Simon --- Classy AND Compassionate!"
   
"The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, so take snacks and a magazine."

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2012, 01:19:26 PM »
Margaret Thatcher on the French Revolution:

"For me as a British Conservative, with Edmund Burke as the father of Conservatism and first great perceptive critic of the Revolution as my ideological mentor, the events of 1789 represent a perennial illusion in politics. The French Revolution was a Utopian attempt to overthrow a traditional order --- one with many imperfections, certainly --- in the name of abstract ideals, formulated by vain intellectuals, which lapsed, not by chance, but through weakness and wickedness, into purges, mass murder and war. In so many ways it anticipated the still more terrible Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The English tradition of liberty, however, grew over the centuries; its most marked features are continuity, respect for law and a sense of balance, as demonstrated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution . . .they really stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity . . ."

I, too, agree with what (I think) is Thatcher's general point:  that true, lasting progress in human affairs comes from measured evolution rather than from violent revolution.  However, the "history" she trots out to illustrate her point represents a rather alarming lack of knowledge.

First, she seems to forget that the British beheaded a king of their own and were under the thumb of an extremely idealistic Puritanical dictatorship during the Cromwell interregnum.  And she does not seem aware that the French Revolution began as a revolt of the nobility and trade classes against royal taxation and went through many phases, ending up as a hyper-national campaign of foreign conquest.  The Terror which, I suppose, is what she thinks was its utopian phase was but a brief interlude in a complex series of events, and one which is not often called utopian.

And the contention that human rights originated with Judaism and Christianity is to ignore the broad civil rights of Roman citizenship in the republican and imperial periods or those of many of the Greek city states, just too mention two ancient examples.  (If I remember correctly, the word "democracy" is of Greek origin, not Hebraic.)  It also rather conveniently ignores the complete comfort both Judaism and Christianity displayed regarding slavery and the rather sizzling witchcraft trials and burnings at stakes brought to us by our friendly Inquisition.

As an astute politician, I can accord Thatcher her due.  But a historian she ain't.  There was, after all, a reason she and Reagan got on so well.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 01:25:59 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Robert_Hall

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6649
  • a site.
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #39 on: September 21, 2012, 01:53:39 PM »
What amazes me  much more is the current wave  of neo-nazi punks/thugs, in Russia ! As for those who  wax nostalgic for Stalin,  most, in my experience are OAPs  From the Great Patriotic War and after, post war.
 As for Germany, I do not think there is as much support for Hitler's memory.  I have heard  some, but in Germany's case,  they generally keep quiet about it. Legally, I think it is forbidden to support him in public, but nothing  keeps them  discussing the subject in private homes.
 As I was not around then, I can rely only on what I read. Mein Kamp never sank in with me. I think every household had a copy but few actually read it.
 I recently received a copy of a very interesting book- The Fuhrer in Bertesgaden Berghoff. No political text at all,  just his private life as well as public  at his mountain "retreat".   Mostly post cards from the area. If one did  not know the history of the man, one would be charmed by him. His kindness towards children and animals. These were undoubtedly sold for propaganda souvenirs in the village as he had thousands of visitors up there. Of course this hid the evil within.  The highest Nazi leadership  had chalets there as well, to remain close to him. It was also a  huge SS installation, of his bodyguard. Not much is left now, and what has survived has been remodeled to eliminate any Nazi symbols.
 I may be mistaken, but I do not recall any such images of Stalin in such a peaceful, beautiful setting. He was isolated and deeply suspicious. Whereas Hitler was charismatic and outgoing. Excelled at public speaking
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Robert_Hall

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6649
  • a site.
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2012, 02:21:38 PM »
Edubs, you said "Monarchies everywhere  got a shot at redemption" or something to that effect. Did they now ? The German monarchies all went down to the bin, as did Austria-Hungary. Portugal had already fallen,  Spain was becoming unstable [the Throne]  Even  Ferdinand had to abdicate from Bulgaria, where there  was no love lost. Even the UK was in danger with workers  and decoms roaming around on the loose. At least that one was handled well. The Finish experiment came and went with no result.
 And, as to a Romanov restoration. Forget it, none of the current batch were even born in Russia [a legal requirement to rule, no matter what it is called] And  they do not even want to  reestablish themselves from relatively comfortable lives where they are.
 The Romanovs are clouded by a lot of romantic  fantasy.  People fall for the tragic fairy tale.
 IMO,  they got what they deserved [except N&As children]  They brought it on themselves, the whole dynasty.
 BTW, considering the whole clan was over 300,   only a small minority were actually  purged by the Bolsheviks.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Louis_Charles

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1493
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2012, 02:34:22 PM »
If the Jacobins weren't Utopian, what were they? A party which introduces an entirely new dating system clearly thinks of itself as a new order. And while the British beheaded a king, the French beheaded the King, his wife, his sister, old men, old women, children, nuns, priests and women, to say nothing of abusing the ten year-old Dauphin to death (my namesake). And yeah, sure, the French Revolution didn't start out to be what it became, but it devolved pretty quickly --- they were brutally murdering people on the very first day, and when the mob hit Versailles in October, 1789, they were fairly awful. And after a respite (of sorts), they were worse than awful in the September Massacres. I think Thatcher is right on the money in her comparison with the Bolsheviks, who after all murdered millions (better equipment, not more zeal). And the reason everyone gets exercised about the events of July, 1918, is that it is emblematic of the Bolshevik mentality --- you can make some sort of argument for Nicholas' execution, although to give the French and British their due, they at least put Louis XVI and Charles I on trial before they killed them --- but what possible legal justification could there be for the execution of the five children, to say nothing of the hapless servants. We even refer to the period that followed as "the Terror". And yes, of course, the French Revolution had stages, but Thatcher is right on the money in terms of what people mostly remember about the event: ask people to describe the French Revolution, and they don't start talking about the Estates General or the Directory, anymore than when we talk about the Third Reich we focus upon the regime's agricultural achievements.

I think you are on the money, Tsarfan,  in crediting human rights to the Greeks (with the normal historical provisos, Greek democracy being limited). Perhaps the value that Christianity adds to the discussion is that it imputes value to each individual life because he/she has an immortal soul. While not very comforting to the heretic being executed, it is possible to maintain that the Inquisitors operated on the assumption that they were doing both the victim and society a favor by either saving his soul, or preventing the contamination of others' souls and thereby saving them from eternal damnation. Yes, it's a grotesque idea in the 21st century, but we've only been in it for twelve years.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 02:38:12 PM by Louis_Charles »
"Simon --- Classy AND Compassionate!"
   
"The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, so take snacks and a magazine."

Offline Forum Admin

  • Administrator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 4645
  • www.alexanderpalace.org
    • View Profile
    • Alexander Palace Time Machine
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2012, 02:55:00 PM »
At first, I thought the idea was rather inane to celebrate the 400th anniversary (read my initial posts here).  However, with Bob and the Tsarskoye Selo Museum people now in constant communication, I have come to realize that perhaps it is not the "Romanovs" per se that are being "celebrated".  As Tsarfan pointed out, for good and for ill the Romanov dynasty DID affect, direct and control Russia for 300 years.  Perhaps this anniversary serves the Russian people a chance to "Commemorate" if not "celebrate" a three hundred year history of their nation.  From what I have been hearing, the planned events are not to "glorify" any particular Emperors, but rather to look back at and explore the history of that period, which, let us not forget, was obliterated from the collective history memory of the Russian people for much of the 20th century.

I offer no "apologies" for the Romanovs, rather I'm beginning to think I understand the mind set of the current Russians who want to do something next year for the event.

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2012, 03:06:53 PM »
If the Jacobins weren't Utopian, what were they?

Uh, sociopathic totalitarians, maybe?  I didn't say the Jacobins were not seeking to usher in a new order.


I think Thatcher is right on the money in her comparison with the Bolsheviks . . . .

I agree that comparisons between the French Terror and the Bolsheviks are apt, up to a point (the big difference being that the Bolshevik Terror ushered in a lasting system of government while the French Terror did not).  My quibble is that the Terror was not the French Revolution.  It was a part of it, as was the Tennis Court Oath, the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man, the 1793 Declaration of the Rights of Man, the Convention, the Directorate, the Consulate, the rise of Napoleon, the Continental System, the attempt to conquer Europe.  To argue that the Terror was synonymous with the Revolution encourages the view that such depravity was an inevitable outcome of Enlightenment thinking and its loss of a political and social moral compass.  Catherine the Great certainly got there.  And I suspect Maggie's dress is made of the same cloth.


. . . Thatcher is right on the money in terms of what people mostly remember about the event: ask people to describe the French Revolution, and they don't start talking about the Estates General or the Directory, anymore than when we talk about the Third Reich we focus upon the regime's agricultural achievements.

True enough.  But ask most people what they know about Catherine the Great and you'll probably hear a story about horses.  


Perhaps the value that Christianity adds to the discussion is that it imputes value to each individual life because he/she has an immortal soul. While not very comforting to the heretic being executed, it is possible to maintain that the Inquisitors operated on the assumption that they were doing both the victim and society a favor by either saving his soul, or preventing the contamination of others' souls and thereby saving them from eternal damnation.

Yes, I'm familiar with the logic and sound reasoning religions bring to the table.

Offline Louis_Charles

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1493
    • View Profile
Re: 400th Anniversary of Romanov Dynasty
« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2012, 03:18:51 PM »
I have very little problem with equating Utopians with totalitarians. The sociopathic part I concede. But the ontological nature of utopianism is to remove choice.

The French Revolution lead to a series of governments --- the Directory, the Consulate, the Empire, the Restoration, Louis-Phillipe, the Second Republic, the Second Empire and the Third Republic --- whose chief occupation was to respond to the events of 1789-1794, when the execution of Robespierre ended the formal Terror. In that it is no different from the Bolshevik Revolution, which did not create an immutable government, either. Just as Peter the Great would have been flabbergasted by Nicholas II's conception of his role as Tsar, what on earth would Stalin have made of Gorbachev --- and we both know what Lenin thought of Stalin by the end of his life. The impact of the French Revolution upon 150 years of French Government post-1789 was no less severe than the Bolsheviiks upon post-1917 Russian governments. Thatcher may well be saying that the inevitable outcome of the Enlightenment was the Terror, but I hope she isn't; the American Revolution and Edmund Burke himself stand as correctives to that position.

And as for the bit about the horse, most people don't know who Catherine the Great was, so it makes sense that if they have heard of her, they have heard smut. My English students' concept of their own history is atrocious, because they don't have to take a meaningful history course in secondary school if they don't want to. My original point stands: the overwhelming majority of people who know about the French Revolution associate it with the Terror. Seriously, ask the average college student about the Tennis Court Oath and the name Venus Williams will surface.

As for the last point, I'm not trying to spread the faith!
"Simon --- Classy AND Compassionate!"
   
"The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, so take snacks and a magazine."