Author Topic: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end  (Read 59566 times)

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Offline Grand Duke

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2005, 06:45:56 PM »
Quote
Paul is a very fascinating figure to study...at least from a psychological perspective. He was actually rather intelligent and he had a grandiose element to his personality. If not for his mental illness, Paul might have proven to be an unusually capable tsar.


I think these will help:

TSAR PAUL AND THE QUESTION OF MADNESS by Hugh Ragsdale.

"On the Education of Autocrats: Catherine's Grandsons" B.A. Essay by Kate Pickering of University of Chicago (Note of the Author: Please remember: I was young and dumb when I wrote it.)
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2005, 04:34:45 PM »
I have the Ragsdale book on order. I am attempting a study of Paul I and his reign and would like to know of any other books about him.
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Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2005, 11:40:03 PM »
The leader of the assasination was Count Peter Alexeyevich Pahlen.  He was the Governor of St. Petersburg and was trusted by Paul. Pahlen was supported by General Bennigsen, his friend, the Zubov brothers (one was Catherine the Great's last lover) and a number of commanders as well.  They knew they needed to gain support from Alexander but he was indecisive and he rejected an earlier conspiracy led by Panin (which failed of course).  

However, Paul became more crazy and threatened to replace Alexander with Eugene of Wurttemburg as Czarevich.  Paul also made Alexander read the passage descriping the death of Czarevich Alexei, who was tortured to death by Peter the Great.  

Pahlen emphasized that they did not want to take the life of Paul and they only wanted Paul to abdicate in favor of Alexander.  Once he had abdicated, he would be send away to retire with his wife and/or mistress.  Alexander finally agreed because he thought that wouldn't splatter blood onto his hands.  

The night before the assasination, Paul was rude, perhaps he guessed the assasins were coming soon.  After a concert, he looked at his wife "up and down with a sneer, crossed his arms on his chest, and nosily blew out his breath with his nostrils distended, his pupils small and hard".  Then he gave Alexander and Constantin the same look.  At last, he berated Pahlen .  At dinner, his family tried to thank him accofding to Russian custom but he gave them a sacrastic smile and left the room without saying good night to anyone.  

On the night of March 11, the 3rd battalion of the Semeonovsky regiment, which Alexander commanded, was in charge of guarding the castle.  That night, Paul was more friendly during dinner but he found every mirror in the dining room had a defect.  He said to General Kutuzov, "It shows me with my neck crooked."

At 11 o'clock, about 50 conspirators made their way to the castle in 2 groups, one lead by Pahlen and the other by Plato Zubov and Bennigsen.  The entered the castle through a side drawbridge, "climbed a narrow spiral staircase, and slipped into a library that served as antechamber to Paul's apartment".  The door was guarded by two sleepy footmen.  Awakened by the noise, one collapsed and the other fled in terror.  

Approx 10 men followed the Zubovs and Bennigsen into the bedroom but found it empty.  Bennigsen spotted bare feet behind a screen.  They grabbed the Emperor and forced him to abdicate.  Paul refused and Bennigsen and Plato Zubov left the room.    Paul continued to struggle against the officers and during the scuffle, the candle went out.  Somebody threw a gold snuffbox and struck Paul on the temple.  He collapsed and out of fear, some officers stranggle Paul to keep him quiet.  Paul, struggling for air thought he saw his son Constantine and pleaded for mercy.  Finally Paul died.  His wife heard the screams and rushed to his room screaming murder in German.  Bennigsen's soldiers stopped her while the others tidied the room up.  

From Alexander of Russia by Henri Troyat

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2005, 02:32:46 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful pictures and historical background.

But I would like to add, that I think the murder of Paul was as much an "accident" as the murder of his father, Peter III. In other words, it was very convenient, too convenient. Think about it, if Paul had survived this night, what would he have done to the conspirators? His son Alexander was of a gentle and retiring nature - there is no way he would have taken the throne, abdication or no abdication, whilst his father was still living, breathing, and protesting.

It was a mistake for the conspirators to involve Alexander. Of course, they thought that this would protect them from later, inevitable reprisal. But in fact all it did was to inform Alexander of a plot against his father which could, and did, turn deadly. Therefore, for the rest of his life, Alexander lived with the knowledge that he had had a hand, however inadvertent, in the murder of his own father. Some say his sense of guilt contributed to his deep religiosity and increasingly sphinx-like character. At any rate the story of Paul's murder fed directly into the later myth that Alexander did not die in Taganrog in 1825 but instead "disappeared" in order to become a monk and expiate his great "sin."
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Oliver

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2006, 11:11:54 AM »
I recently read the biography on Tsar Paul I by Roderick McGrew, I really enjoyed reading the life of this obscure Tsar. It was interesting to learn about the life of Catherine the Greats son, her bad relationship with him, his upbringing, passion for the military, marriage, love affairs, harsh short reign and then his ultimate cruel demise.

Its hard to find books on him though, I was lucky enough to find the McGrew biography in a booksale.
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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2006, 07:51:13 PM »
Well, there is usually lots about him in biographies of his mother. They usually don't paint him in the most flattering light, for one reason or another. It is true that that he was very complicated. He had to grow up in the shadow of his mother, and he was more than a bit unstable. He had overtones of his supposed father in him ( Peter III), but maybe that was less genetic ( if he was his father), and more that his position as heir to the Russian throne under a dominating Empress ( his mother, not aunt, as it was with Peter III), made him act that way?

Offline Oliver

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2006, 10:52:54 AM »
It was interesting to find out about his love of all things chivalrous and how he became the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, creating a Russian branch of the order, didn't that cause some trouble? I read the book a few weeks ago and have forgotten some things.



Apparently his wife was one of the tallest Tsarinas, which posed a problem when she had to dance with her husband.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 04:04:32 AM by Svetabel »
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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2006, 04:23:41 PM »
He did have a interest in stuff like that. He was rather short, but it is the later Romanovs who owed their height to his wife. This was shown in Alexander III and his brothers, and basically every other Romanov male, until Nicholas II who was short. Radzinsky's book says that this was the Wurrtemburg height that came from Sophia of Wurrtemburg ( Maria Feodorovna).

Offline Oliver

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2006, 03:09:44 PM »
Was Catherine the Great supposed to be beautiful/attractive? Because Paul I certainly looks at least in his portraits looks unattractive, almost pixyish with that upturned nose.

I think he took after his father, wasn't Peter III supposed to be quite ugly?
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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2006, 08:20:48 AM »
Yes, Peter III was. It is said that Paul resembled him both in personality and in looks, despite some question about the paternity there. It's a curious thing, and kind of makes you think Peter III was his father. At any rate, Paul kind of worshiped his long dead alleged father. His mother Catherine was no beauty, and never claimed to be. When young, she might have been a bit attractive, but that was it. She had other attractions than beauty.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2006, 12:50:59 PM »
Was Catherine the Great supposed to be beautiful/attractive? Because Paul I certainly looks at least in his portraits looks unattractive, almost pixyish with that upturned nose.

I think he took after his father, wasn't Peter III supposed to be quite ugly?



catherine the great. i for one don't find her very beautiful and i can see likeness to paul...

but you can judge for yourself :)
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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2006, 01:10:09 PM »
Yes, although I am not sure that anyone ever noted his likeness to his mother. He would not have liked it if they had though. He no doubt prefered to think he looked like his father, or not, depending on who his father was. Catherine had many lovers, but she was no beauty, although she may have been attractive in a way the portraits of that age don't capture. But, Catherine always liked to be known for her intelligence,though and not her beauty, in my opinion.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2006, 02:28:47 AM »
she wasn't unattractive. i mean, every woman, no matter how ugly she is regarded by most people, has at least one man who thinks she's beautiful. it's all in the taste, and people whom we consider ugly today were considered beautiful at some point.



edited to add: that, above, was probably a flattering portrait. but i sincerely doubt that any man can sleep with a woman he finds completely ugly
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 02:30:50 AM by ilyala »
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Offline Oliver

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2006, 04:34:42 AM »
Whilst reading his biography I really was intrigued by one of his mistresses Catherine Nelidova whom he shared a Platonic relationship with and who wielded a lot of influence over him. There is hardly no information on the net about her which is a shame because she was very interesting.
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Offline Svetabel

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Re: Emperor Pavel - life and tragic end
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2006, 05:39:53 AM »
Whilst reading his biography I really was intrigued by one of his mistresses Catherine Nelidova whom he shared a Platonic relationship with and who wielded a lot of influence over him. There is hardly no information on the net about her which is a shame because she was very interesting.

There is a lot of  info on her on Internet if you type in Russian :).
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 04:05:22 AM by Svetabel »