Author Topic: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?  (Read 36238 times)

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Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2012, 03:41:51 PM »
As Kalafrana said above, it was perfectly normal before 1918 for every family in the middle class and above to have servants.

You need to remember that servants were trained and skilled in various areas of living.  Nowadays we use labour-saving devices, or we buy what we need (for food, shelter or clothing) from the nearest shop or we call in an expert and pay him an exorbitant amoount to fix the plumbing. In those days you couldn't do that. You either did it yourself, well or ill according to your own abiilities and training, or, if you had some income to spare, you employed people who were expert in those areas of living, and they were called servants.

In those days it was just as important for a servant to keep their position as it was important for the employer to have servants to work for them. If you look at it from the servant's point of view, it would have been a DISASTER for any servant at that time to lose their job, whether they worked for the IF or for anyone else. They would be unemployed, with no income and no safety net.

So there was another factor, that long-time servants to a family often became, in some sense, part of that family, and they could expect support from their employing family when they could no longer work, so they had a safety net for their old age.  It's a completely different system to what happens in developed countries these days, and it's difficult for people who have grown up in the consumer society to appreciate the difference.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2012, 04:19:48 PM »
I have a comment on post #18 the reason why Lenin and the Bolos had to deal with all these millions of orphans is because they created most of them. This is do to the Red Terror, Russian Civil war, and 1921 famine which were all results of Lenin's seizure of power. It should also be pointed out the killing didn't stop there it continued and got worse under Stalin. Also before this there were organizations that did take care of some orphans inculding the Russian orthodox church that was destroyed by Lenin and co. then there were the charities headed by Olga and Tatania which also took care of some of them but they went out of business when their father to Tsar abdicated in march 1917.

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2012, 10:34:29 PM »
Imagine!  When one thinks of the family going into exile, one does not think of them taking small village with them!

This list of retainers who were allowed to go with the family makes me wonder just what Kerensky was planning for the future.

We know that only four retainers were left when the family was executed, but Kerensky was long out of power by then.

I do see Annie's point about the logistics and the cost of maintaining and feeding such a group.  It is no wonder that as the government changed hands, the group was made smaller and smaller.

I think I can see griffh's point of view as well, but never having had a servant of my own, I can't quite see how keeping up appearances would have helped a family to endure the "Great Depression".  But then there is a loyalty in this that we no longer see in our modern world.


(This is not meant as a direct reply to Alixz's post above, just some observations on the points raised in several similar posts.)

Yes it does seem like a great many servitors for “prisoners” to be taking into “exile”.

While not meaning to dismiss such an evaluation out of hand, nor to appear to “justify” the situation, I would like to share some thoughts which have occurred to me over the years on this particular point and other, related ones.

The attitude of the Imperial family itself, of the Provisional Government, and of the guard detail to these questions evolved over a period of time while the political situation gradually deteriorated.

1) Political prisoners?
After the Emperor’s abdication, only Their Majesties were formally arrested. It was understood that the Imperial children were sharing their parents’ imprisonment voluntarily. Nor were Their Majesties ever formally charged with any crimes. All accusations of alleged treason were categorically dropped after a thorough investigation by the Provisional Government’s Extraordinary Commission. Kerensky and the Provisional Government emphasized that the Imperial family’s confinement was a form of “protective custody” and not legal arrest for criminal actions.

2) Exile?
Technically, since the Imperial family was only being held in “protective custody”, the move to Tobolsk could be seen as a "temporary transfer of residence", rather than true political exile of convicted and condemned criminals. Seen in that light, it does not seem quite so strange that the Imperial family took so many possessions with them, or that they were accompanied by so large a staff. And if one takes into consideration the size of the Alexander Palace and its regular staff, and all the Imperial family’s other residences, forty attendants might not seem so extravagant.

Count Benckendorff (see his memoirs, pp. 107-108, on the main Alexander Palace web-site) writes that Kerensky stated in front of witnesses that in November 1917, after the Constituent Assembly had met, the Imperial family would be free to return to Tsarskoe Selo or to go wherever they wished. Based on those assurances, Benckendorff had the Imperial family’s private apartments in the Alexander Palace sealed. So, the Imperial family at least hoped to be returning to Tsarskoe Selo, even if they considered it only a possibility. When they departed for Tobolsk in August of 1917, the situation was not nearly as grim as it later became.

The Bolsheviks, for their part, did see it as exile and portrayed it as such in their newspapers. But, as S. Melgunov makes clear in his Sudba Imperatora Nikolaia Posle Otrecheniia [The Fate of Emperor Nicholas II After His Abdication, pp. 201ff] — and despite what Kerensky may have written in later years — the Provisional Government transferred the Imperial family to Tobolsk more out of fear of a right-wing attempt at rescue or restoration, than for fear of revolutionary “excesses”.

3) Excess of servants?
When General Kornilov placed the Empress under arrest, the members of the suite and the servants were given the choice of either leaving the palace or else of remaining and sharing the Family’s imprisonment. The majority chose to leave, but a faithful few remained. Thus, it was out of loyalty and devotion that those people freely chose to accompany the Imperial family to Tobolsk. Obviously, however, they were not all allowed to actually live with the Imperial family in Tobolsk or wait upon them.

Other, more practical, considerations probably also played a role in their decision to accompany the Imperial family, such as job security, guaranteed room, board, and wages, etc. Perhaps they counted on returning to Tsarskoe Selo with the Imperial family and resuming their regular duties. In revolutionary Petrograd they would have been treated as pariahs. When they departed from Tsarskoe Selo in August of 1917, they could not have known that merely being associated with the Imperial family would later endanger their very lives or prove to be their doom.
And as the Empress herself pointed out to M. F. Zanotti and others, they were still better off in Tobolsk where food was plentiful and certainly much cheaper than in Petrograd.

4) Why so much jewelry and precious stones?
The Imperial family probably took so much jewelry with them for several reasons: to prevent the things from being pillaged during their absence, and to have something to live off of in the event of being compelled to flee abroad. At the outbreak of WW I, the Imperial family had transferred all its funds then found abroad back to Russia in order to support the war effort.

The Provisional Government (and subsequently, the Bolsheviks) first froze all the Imperial family’s assets within the country, and then later confiscated and nationalized them.
As the Empress notes in her letters from captivity, the Imperial family eventually had to pay their attendants, and even their jailers, out of their own funds in order to pacify them, when the government neglected to send their wages on time.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 10:40:39 PM by Inok Nikolai »
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2012, 08:32:00 AM »
According to Tyler Whittle, 'The Last Kaiser', Wilhelm II went into exile in Holland with a following of 40 (more accompanied him as far as the Dutch border and were turned back there).

Ann

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2012, 09:53:42 AM »

The complex (and often conflicting) issues of master-servant relations, especially after the Revolution, are recounted very vividly, and movingly in Serge Schmemann's "Echoes of a Native Land".

Schmemann's book is featured here (and mentioned in other related threads too):
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=979.0
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Offline Seend

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2013, 03:02:40 PM »
Volkov's wife and daughter also went to Tobolsk and lived at the convent, they did not go to Ekaterinburg.

Also Volkov's three grand children, the youngest one Magdalina is now aged 96 and lives in England, she is my mother in law. 

Offline abbica

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Re: Which servants went in captivity with the IF?
« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2015, 10:47:52 AM »

4) Why so much jewelry and precious stones?
The Imperial family probably took so much jewelry with them for several reasons: to prevent the things from being pillaged during their absence, and to have something to live off of in the event of being compelled to flee abroad. At the outbreak of WW I, the Imperial family had transferred all its funds then found abroad back to Russia in order to support the war effort.

The Provisional Government (and subsequently, the Bolsheviks) first froze all the Imperial family’s assets within the country, and then later confiscated and nationalized them.
As the Empress notes in her letters from captivity, the Imperial family eventually had to pay their attendants, and even their jailers, out of their own funds in order to pacify them, when the government neglected to send their wages on time.


I read that the Grand Duchesses sewed the jewels into their clothes before they travelled to Ekaterinburg. Apparently the soldiers didn't know they where there. That's also why the jewels where sewn into the dresses when IF and servants where murdered.