Author Topic: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?  (Read 14885 times)

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Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2013, 09:11:46 AM »
BlessOTMA, do you have the source of the story where Maria yelled at the guards?
It's a well known incident  from Yekaterinburg, so it should be in most of the books...TN ran out of the room and Marie  said to the offending guard something along the lines of "  Is that the way to speak to a well born woman?  Speak decently "

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2013, 10:29:17 AM »
BlessOTMA, do you have the source of the story where Maria yelled at the guards?
It's a well known incident  from Yekaterinburg, so it should be in most of the books...TN ran out of the room and Marie  said to the offending guard something along the lines of "  Is that the way to speak to a well born woman?  Speak decently "

It comes from Speranski's book, page 57.

Incidentally, would anyone be willing to translate the anecdote from French? The book is out of copyright, so I can post a scan. I've always thought the English rendering seemed awfully stilted, and I'm curious whether it also sounds that way in the original.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2013, 10:32:59 AM »
She had more on the ground savvy in her little finger than her parents combined imo  It's what they were reduced to. None of it was by choice .  

I'm sorry, but parents -- even in captivity -- have a choice of whether they try to protect their children or whether they use their children for the parents' benefit.

The notion that an 18-year-old girl had more "on the ground savvy" than the tsar of Russia might well be accurate.  But, again, it speaks volumes as to why Nicholas and Alexandra found themselves in such a pinch in the first place.

One simply cannot imagine Peter I at Pruth, Catherine II facing exile or imprisonment by Peter III, or Nicholas I staring down the armed troops on Senate Square even considering sending their children into the breach to charm their tormentors.

No one really knows to this day what Yakovlev was up to in moving Nicholas.  Nicholas and Alexandra themselves seem to have thought that Nicholas was being taken to Moscow either to force him into signing some peace treaty or to stand public trial.

Why, then, would their own comfort have superseded a desire not to have their child exposed to either scenario?

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2013, 10:59:11 AM »
Marie . . . was there to care for and look after both her parents . . . her parents sent her back to the guard car at least 2 times on a charm offensive  to find out where they were going . . . .

An 18-year-old girl was there to look after both her parents (despite there being a doctor, a Prince, a maid, and two footmen traveling with the parents)?  They sent an 18-year-old girl to deal with guards they could not deal with themselves?

Extraordinary.  And easy to see why there was a revolution.

Posts like this make me wish there was a "like" button on this forum. ;^)

More to the point, here's the relevant line from NII's diary entry of 15/28 April 1918:
"Мария часто заходила к стрелкам - их отделение было в конце вагона, тут помещалось четверо, остальние в соседнем вагоне."
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2013, 01:20:49 PM »
Quote
I'm sorry, but parents -- even in captivity -- have a choice of whether they try to protect their children or whether they use their children for the parents' benefit.

Certainly, but N&A were no strangers to what they deemed acceptable risks with their children. They allowed their inexperienced eldest daughters to see first hand the terrible consequences of war during their nursing duties. They allowed Alexei to travel with Nicholas to headquarters in spite of his life threatening disease. So why would it seem so shocking that they chose to bring one of their children along with them on their "uncertain" journey to Ekaterinburg?

I suppose we can argue all day as to whether this makes them poor and negligent parents, or not. But while doing so I'd like to mention that it's often the same people who criticize N&A for sheltering their children in the imperial bubble who then also criticize them for allowing them to become nurses, or see the front, or travel with Mama and Papa in a time of need and great distress. So which is it? Too sheltered or too exposed? I guess if you don't thread the needle just right you're damned to being criticized for an eternity.

Quote
The notion that an 18-year-old girl had more "on the ground savvy" than the tsar of Russia might well be accurate.  But, again, it speaks volumes as to why Nicholas and Alexandra found themselves in such a pinch in the first place.

I don't think that's very relevant to their circumstances once placed in captivity, and certainly not regarding events that took place well over a year after the Tsar's abdication.

Quote
One simply cannot imagine Peter I at Pruth, Catherine II facing exile or imprisonment by Peter III, or Nicholas I staring down the armed troops on Senate Square even considering sending their children into the breach to charm their tormentors.

These were far more delicate situations wouldn't you say? I'd say the decision of taking Marie with them was closer to the decision made by Theodore Roosevelt to send his daughter Alice on a diplomatic mission to Japan in 1904 then it compares to these examples, lol.

Quote
Why, then, would their own comfort have superseded a desire not to have their child exposed to either scenario?

It's possible that it was something of a selfish act. Wanting Marie's presence more for their own peace of mind and comfort rather than keeping her in Tobolsk out of consideration for her well-being. There was probably some self interest involved for N&A, but as it relates specifically to Marie she was chosen only after the decision had been made to take a daughter in the first place.

Alexei's poor health was the reason why they all didn't come along, and since Olga and Tatiana were the oldest, had nursing experience, and with the elder having poor nerves and the younger being most competent/matriarchal the decision boiled down to Marie or Anastasia.

Quote
An 18-year-old girl was there to look after both her parents (despite there being a doctor, a Prince, a maid, and two footmen traveling with the parents)?  They sent an 18-year-old girl to deal with guards they could not deal with themselves?

Well the phrase "deal with" can have multiple connotations, no? Perhaps that Marie was physically stronger than her sisters was given little consideration, but her sunnier disposition and "familiarity" with the guards could make her more useful than others. Also her personality provided some balance. Tatiana was closer to her mother and Olga more to her father. Anastasia being younger, less mature and probably less capable. I think Marie's personality perfectly counterbalanced Nicholas's sometimes withdrawn and lethargic personality, and Alexandra's morose and combative behavior. Perhaps she was seen as helpful in dealing with the guards in other ways, such as lightening the mood and disarming them from their natural impulses of despising the Tsar and Empress.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2013, 02:31:31 PM »
. . . N&A were no strangers to what they deemed acceptable risks with their children. They allowed their inexperienced eldest daughters to see first hand the terrible consequences of war during their nursing duties. They allowed Alexei to travel with Nicholas to headquarters in spite of his life threatening disease.

There was an immense difference on the one hand between allowing these kinds of activities when the tsar was in power, when no one would dare lift a finger against one of his children, when everyone around them was intent on serving and protecting them and on the other hand taking an 18-year-old girl into unknown conditions in a new stage of captivity or using a teenage daughter to cajole information out of guards.  Those guards could just as easily have turned on the girl as been charmed by her, and it was a big risk to take for no purpose other than to find out their destination a bit earlier.  They were going where they were going, whether they knew the destination or not.

And puzzle me this.  If, as some suspect, Yakovlev was trying to save the tsar from extremists, was it possible that his ability to do so was compromised when the train was stopped by the Ural soviet because, instead of just the lone tsar, Yakovlev had a frail woman, a teenage girl, and five retainers on his hands?

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2013, 04:44:42 PM »
here's the relevant line from NII's diary entry of 15/28 April 1918:
"Мария часто заходила к стрелкам - их отделение было в конце вагона, тут помещалось четверо, остальние в соседнем вагоне."

You may want to take a minute to translate this line before you argue the matter further.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2013, 05:12:05 PM »
I tried right after you posted it, Sarushka, but it didn't really make much sense.  (For instance, the Google translation was, "Mary often visited arrows - their office was at the end of the car, then placed the four, the other in a nearby car".  Another translation program produced, "Maria often came to arrows - their branch was in the end of the car, here was located four, остальние in the adjacent car.)

Could you perhaps help us?

I take it you are suggesting that Marie visited with the guards of her own accord, not at the prompting of her parents?  That may well be, as I had never heard the claim of sending her to coax information about destination from the guards until brought up on this thread yesterday.

But I still do not understand a decision to take a teenage girl away from a known into an unknown situation while in captivity, especially when being conducted by a man whom they had just met for a purpose which was not clear.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2013, 08:57:41 PM »
The first part, "Мария часто заходила к стрелкам - их отделение было в конце вагона" translates to "Maria often visited the guards - their office was in the last car." The remainder of the sentence seems to be dealing with the arrangement of the intervening cars.

I'm not a pro, but I don't see anything in the rest of the entry to suggest Maria was sent by her parents to obtain information. I'll post a scan of the full entry if anyone with better Russian skills wants to double-check me.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2013, 09:28:12 PM »
blessOTMA mentioned that, according to Nicholas' diary entries, Marie was sent to the guards at least twice on the trip to obtain information.  Could there perhaps be a reference elsewhere in the diary?

But this raises another question for me.  If Nicholas did, in fact, use Marie in this way, would he have recorded it in his diary?  Surely he must have known that it could be confiscated and read by his jailers at any time, and using his daughter to manipulate the guards for information is something I should think he would not want revealed.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2013, 10:38:24 AM »
blessOTMA mentioned that, according to Nicholas' diary entries, Marie was sent to the guards at least twice on the trip to obtain information.  Could there perhaps be a reference elsewhere in the diary?

I'm going solely on the source notes in FOTR. This is the only entry they reference for this incident.

Aside from specifying the location of the compartment she shared with Demidova, I don't see any further mention of Maria in Nicholas's diary during the train trip. However, AF's diary for the same date notes that "Marie and Niuta got out once or twice to walk a little." She also sheds some light on the arrangement of the cars: "Nicholas & I in 1 compartment, door into Marie's and Niuta's, next door Valia & Yevgeny Sergeevich then our 2 men, then 4 of our rifles. to the other side the 2 Com. & their aides & a dressing room."
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2013, 10:53:19 AM »
Also, "стрелка," the word Google Translate had difficulty with, is explained in a footnote of my Russian edition of the imperial couples' diaries as referring to three soldiers of the garrison from Tobolsk upon whose loyalty the imperial family could rely. Based on this information it appears to me that the guards Maria visited were men known to her from Tobolsk, as opposed to any of Yakovlev's men -- which would account for N&A's otherwise puzzling lack of concern.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2013, 11:25:59 AM »
Thanks.  That's very helpful regarding the issue of coaxing information out of the guards.

I still don't quite understand why they would have taken her into the unknown situation with Yakovlev, but the answer may lie in something that transpired between Nicholas and Yakovlev about which we might never know.

Part of my problem is that Nicholas' reign was so riddled with bad decisions that I am never inclined to give him or Alexandra the benefit of much doubt.

Offline Kitt

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2013, 05:11:27 PM »
Some wonderful "Monday morning quarterbacking" here.  I feel that had N&A not brought Marie, then the children might have had a better chance of surviving.  I have no doubt that Nicholas with Alexandra had a fate to be killed.  There might have been 2nd thoughts about the children being killed.  While N&A did not accept the Kaiser's offer of rescue, with N&A out of the picture, the children might have been rescued.
All the best, Kitt

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Why Wasn't Olga Chosen to go to Ekaterinburg?
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2013, 05:45:01 PM »
Some wonderful "Monday morning quarterbacking" here.  I feel that had N&A not brought Marie, then the children might have had a better chance of surviving.  I have no doubt that Nicholas with Alexandra had a fate to be killed.  There might have been 2nd thoughts about the children being killed.  While N&A did not accept the Kaiser's offer of rescue, with N&A out of the picture, the children might have been rescued.
All the best, Kitt

These modest topics inevitably come around to some of the most basic, don't they? In this case to the question of Bolshevik practices and intents. And more specifically, to what they planned or decided to do with the ex-Imperial Family.

They wanted to kill them all and they did, exactly ninety-five years ago to the day, as it happens.

Given that, assuming they were going to kill N&A, which they did in Ekaterinburg, why would they not also have killed their five children,as they also did in Ekaterinburg.? Were they incapable of removing the children to a convenient killing ground? Were they likely have become humane in the interval? The killing of all the IF was no accident, a quirk of convenience. After all, they  had killed ex-Grand Duke Michail in Perm a month earlier and killed six other Romanovs(including a middle aged nun  as well as another inconvenient middle aged nun, Sister Varvara) in Alapeyevsk  within a day of murdering the IF at Ipatiev House.

I don't see the separation of Nicholas and Alexandra from one or all of their children on the move  out of Tobolsk as being other than a matter of circumstance (Alexei's condition) or time, not a question of the ultimate  survival of any of them, unfortunately.
Rodney G.