Author Topic: Alexander III  (Read 89539 times)

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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2004, 10:53:37 PM »
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Coryne Hall in her book, LITTLE MOTHER OF RUSSIA, gives a good accoubnt of the wreck. Arturo Beéche


I have started to read Witte's personal memoirs, who was the Chief of Operations of the Southwest Railroad (1880 - 9), at the time of the Borki train accident.

Witte (pp 93 - 95) wrote that it was his belief that the accident was caused by excessive speed. However he earlier described the railway line structure itself, which to my mind appears to be the real cause of the accident.

Apparently he was aware that the railroad in his sector of concern could only carry a light passenger train, while a locomotive coupled onto a rapidly moving train could break up the road and jump the track.

He presented a report to Admiral Poset explaining his deep concern that the Emperor's train speed was not suitable for the light rails. Unlike the European systems which used steel ties, sand was used as ballast on Russian tracks. It was this structural anomaly which provoked the fear of a potential accident. The key was to ensure that the Imperial train should be made to travel at a slower speed that normal.

On learning of this unexpected change, the Emperor was displeased and told Witte: "What are you talking about? I have never travelled on other roads and nowhere else has my speed been reduced."

Just two months prior to the incident, Witte accompanied the Emperor on 'his' stretch of the railroad, and noticed that despite the reduced speed the Imperial rear car listed to the left.

In the middle of the night on October, 1988 Witte was awoken by an urgent telegram informing him of the tragedy. Investigations revealed that the Imperial train, pulled by two heavy locomotives travelled at the original high speed loosened the rails and the train plunged down the embankment.

As for the rumor about the Emperor raising the roof of the car, the translator of Witte's memoirs, Sidney Harcave, believes (Notes p 753), that it was the ghostwriter of Alexander Mikhailovich's memoir Once a Grand Duke, who was resposible for that liberal interpretation.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Mike

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2004, 04:26:29 AM »
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... the Emperor was displeased and told Witte: "What are you talking about? I have never travelled on other roads and nowhere else has my speed been reduced."

According to Witte, Alexander III also added: "It is simply because your railroad belongs to Yids" (the Southwest Railroad's chairman of the board was of Jewish descent).

Offline pushkina

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2004, 05:15:30 AM »
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According to Witte, Alexander III also added: "It is simply because your railroad belongs to Yids" (the Southwest Railroad's chairman of the board was of Jewish descent).



...which cross references perfectly with the thread on the anti-Semetism of the romanovs.
outrageous, alarming, courageous, charming.

Offline Angie_H

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2004, 07:03:59 PM »
Look at this pic of AIII with Michael it was taken in June 1894. You can really tell by just looking at him that he was sick

Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2004, 09:58:24 PM »
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According to Witte, Alexander III also added: "It is simply because your railroad belongs to Yids" (the Southwest Railroad's chairman of the board was of Jewish descent).


Mike I omitted that derogatory reference because I do not believe it added any substance to the real issue we are discussing here.  


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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2004, 10:39:22 PM »
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Look at this pic of AIII with Michael it was taken in June 1894. You can really tell by just looking at him that he was sick


Yes you can really notice the weight reduction and the tell-tale puffy fingers.

A very sad photograph of the Emperor.


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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2004, 11:31:54 PM »
Didn't they also say that in addition to the fluid retention in the hands, that his legs and feet eventually got so swollen he was basically confined to bed or a chair at the end? Must've been so painful considering all the pain medication we have now, but was unknown then.  :(  I always found it so gallant that even at the very end, when Alix arrived, he insisted on getting fully dressed so he could greet her 'properly'.  :'(
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Offline Greg_King

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2004, 04:10:17 AM »
I'm not exactly sure of the time frame in relation to 1894, but certainly there were a number of very powerful narcotics available that were regularly used, including chloralhydrate, morphine, opium, and cocaine; the first had certainly been around for a long time and been in use, and the other three were certainly used by Nicholas and Alexandra.  None of the accounts of Alexander III's last days that I have seen mention him specifically being in pain-he suffered nosebleeds, had trouble walking, couldn't sleep, had trouble breathing, etc., but I expect the 3 doctors treating him administered painkillers to him.

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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2004, 12:42:45 AM »
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I always found it so gallant that even at the very end, when Alix arrived, he insisted on getting fully dressed so he could greet her 'properly'.  :'(


Absolutely! Despite his dehabilitation, he was able to display complete respect when he received Alix. A very special moment indeed ...

Greg,

From all the accounts I have read about Alexander III, I have the impression that he was not one to complain about any pain. It is quite likely that he received some sort medication, however the use of Chloral hydrate - as a sedative used to alleviate anxiety, is normally contra-indicated in those patients suffering renal and liver problems. But then, during those days the effects of this substance may not have been fully appreciated as it is today. Its use can prove fatal.

Chloral hydrate was available as a medication since the beginning of 1870.


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Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2004, 01:07:23 AM »
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Does anyone here know if the incredible cathedral by the place they had the crash in Borky has survived?


I have just viewed a documentary DVD detailing the history of Imperial Russia (part of a series produced last year by the Russian T.V. network, NTV), which clearly shows that the Bell tower of this cathedral does still survive in Borki.

The entrance is now sealed with ugly boards, while the facade is riddled by the damage of war - extensive sections are missing, coupled with all the years of neglect.  The roof structure is also missing. However while the commentator is seated nearby amongst the trees, you can appreciate the massive size of this existing structure standing alone in the field surrounded by a carpet of occassional wildflowers and tall grass.




« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2004, 06:34:06 AM »
Had this train wreck any casualties?  :(

Offline Belochka

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #41 on: September 22, 2004, 12:31:03 AM »
There were 21 fatalities and 35 who were wounded. Alexander III's favorite dog Kamchatka apparently was crushed to death, while Dagma's dog survived.

All of the Imperial family survived, however a cossack (Sudurov) who was part of Dagma's retinue lost his life.

[Ref: Little Mother of Russia, C. Hall, 2001 p 139]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline James1941

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Re: Alexander III
« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2004, 04:18:34 PM »
Like all accidents where man and machinery are involved it takes a combination of defaults coming together to generate the tragedy. The Titanic disaster is a case in point. With regard to the Borki accident, I read (I can't recall where) that in addition to the poor condition of the railroad bed, the excessive speed, that incompentence by members of the railroad staff also contributed. It seems that two engines were attached to pull the train but that they were mismatched in size and power. One engine acted against the other, causing uneven power to be applied, causing a wobble of the cars. This, compounded with the condition fo the roadbed was the combination of flaws that resulted in the train wreck. I believe that research has pretty much ruled out a terrorist assassination attempt. If I am wrong in any of my conclusions I would welcome correction. Thanks.

Offline kmerov

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First love of Alexander III
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2005, 05:39:20 PM »
Does anyone have some information on Princess Maria Emiljevna Mesjtjerskaja, first love of Alexander III.
He mentiones in his diary how much he has loved her, but now he must say goodbye to her. Its from March 1866.

Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: First love of Alexander III
« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2005, 05:11:31 PM »
Hi!

Indeed Princess Maria Elimovna (not Emilievna) Meshcherskaya (1844-1868 ), daughter of Prince Elim Petrovich Meschersky (1808-1844), Chamberlain of the Imperial Court and a poet, was Alexander III’s first love. Her life was quite short and tragic.

According to people who knew her well (such as Count Serge D. Sheremetiev and Countess Kleinmichel), she was one of the prettiest young women of St. Petersburg : she looked somewhat Oriental and had brown hair and beautiful large velvet black eyes which captured the hearts of St. Petersburg men. Orphaned at a young age, the wife of Nicholas I (Empress Aleksandra Feodorovna) took her under her protection but she was brought up by her aunt Princess Elizaveta Baryatinskaya.

One source says the she met young Grand Duke Alexander at a costume ball and that she looked stunning in an Egyptian costume with a sphinx head : for Alexander, it was love at first sight. However they first met they certainly had many occasions to meet at Court, as the Princess was appointed to the highly sought after post of Maid of Honour to the Empress (Maria Alexandrovna). Soon they were in love with each other. Then Alexander wasn’t Heir to the Throne and he might have thought he could be allowed to marry her. But, in 1865 tragedy struck : his older brother Tsesarevich Nicholas died and he suddenly became Heir. His dream of marrying Maria vanished : he knew that now he couldn’t possibly be allowed to marry someone not of royal blood.

Nicholas had been engaged to young Princess Dagmar of Denmark. For political reasons, Alexander II still wanted an Alliance between the two Ruling Houses of Denmark and Russia to take place so, only a few months after Nicholas had been buried, Alexander’s parents were talking about a trip to Denmark. The new Tsesarevich understood what it meant. Some say that Princess Dagmar had been prompted to choose another son of Alexander II as her fiancé and that, unfortunately for Alexander, she had chosen him. Whatever really happened, from the start he felt torn between his duty to his father and country and his love for Maria Meshcherskaya. He also felt he wasn’t prepared to become Emperor and thought of renouncing his position as Heir, which would leave him free to marry Maria. But he understood where his duty layed and he tried to avoid seeing her. On June 25, 1865, he wrote it was difficult as they used to see each other twice a day, but that he was thinking more and more about Dagmar and felt the need to have a wife (meaning Dagmar).  But soon his resolve wavered and, through summer and autumn 1865, his love for Maria deepened. On March 23, 1866 though he seemed resolved to the inevitable : he writes : « I will say goodbye to M.E., whom I loved as I have loved no one before. »

But two months later he, once more, had a change of heart. As a trip to Denmark was imminent (to ask for Dagmar’s hand), he wrote « I grew to love her (M.E.) even more fervently, strongly, passionately. Now I am only trying to get out of  this difficult situation, and if possible, to marry sweet M.E. I want to refuse to marry Dagmar, whom I cannot love and don’t want. » On May 18 Alexander II confronted his son with stories about him and Maria Mescherskaya in the Danish press. The Tsesarevich answered that he couldn’t go to Denmark and didn’t want to get married to Dagmar. The Emperor gave him 24 hours to reconsider. The next day Alexander II again asked his son about the Danish wedding : he replied that he didn’t not feel he could love Dagmar and added that he had decided to renounce his position as Heir because he didn’t feel he could do a proper job. Alexander II got quite angry, talked about their duty and then ordered him to go to Denmark, adding he would send Princess Mescherskaya away. Alexander obeyed his father, went to Copenhagen and proposed to Princess Dagmar. Oddly enough, when she made her conversion to the Orthodox faith Dagmar chose Maria as her new name. Maybe she did it so Alexander would indeed marry a Princess Maria…who knows?!

As for the other Maria, poor Princess Mescherskaya, Alexander II did ask her to leave Court at once. Along with her aunt, she went abroad.  In Paris she met a Russian diplomat, Paul Demidov (often spelled Demidoff), Prince of San Donato and soon married him. According to Serge Sheremetiev it was against her will, but he certainly was one of the most eligible bachelor of his time, having inherited one of the largest fortune in Russia!  The couple lived abroad. Sadly enough, Maria died in 1868, after having given birth to a son she would not live to see grow up and that she had named Elim, as the father that hadn’t lived long enough to see her grow up.

Oddly enough, fate would later bring Maria’s son close to Alexander III : in 1893, Elim Pavlovich Demidov, Prince San Donato, married Countess Sofia Illarionovna Vorontsova-Dashkova. She was the daughter of one of Alexander III’s closest friend, his Minister of the Imperial Court.
Friends of his mother said Elim had a stricking resemblance to her. As he died in 1894, I do not know if Alexander III ever met his minister-friend’s new son-in-law : but if he did, he must have thought about his first love and her tragic destiny…

Later Elim was to become Russia’s last Minister (Ambassador) to Greece.

I found these photos of Prince Paul and his second wife, but not yet one of Maria : http://www.jssgallery.org/Essay/Italy/Demidoff/Demidoff_2nd.htm

« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 12:13:27 AM by Svetabel »
Daniel Briere