Author Topic: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"  (Read 66317 times)

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Offline James1941

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2005, 12:36:00 PM »
Daniel's account of the Tsar's psychological burnout is right on the money. Not often mentioned but only hinted at by a few authors is the fact that the Tsar was also using harmful drugs. He regularly took cocaine for colds and stuffy nose. He was also taking "drugs" prescribed by a Tibetan faith healer whose name was Badmaev I think. The contents of these "drugs" is not known. This dosen't mean Nicholas was a drug addict in the illegal sense. Drugs such as cocaine, opium and morphine were widely used by doctors to treat all kinds of illnesses. However, the effect of these drugs on the body and the mind is now well known. Several accounts refer to the Tsar's  dreaminess and unaccounted for periods of elation, classic symptoms of drug use. Could this have accounted for his giving up so easily and his lack of fight?

Offline cochise_stone

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2005, 03:01:29 AM »
"I will adhere as unswervingly to the principles of autocracy as my father did"
Hey guys, got that quote, for a quote analysis of a sac tomorrow.....does anybody wanna help me disect it a little....

bluetoria

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2005, 10:35:15 AM »
Hello cochise-stone  :)
Didn't that speech dampen the expectations of many people who had expected a more liberal rule from Nicholas? I suppose he tried to live up to it - if only out of respect for his father & on the advice of his uncles & more reactionary advisors - but in the end he couldn't. Firstly he was forced to make the 1905 concessions & ultimately to abdicate.

Offline nigbil

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2005, 02:58:05 AM »
Thank you Daniel for the minutiae of the abdication - it is fascinating and it has been so often overlooked.

I wonder, like Erichek, what might have happened if Nicholas had been able to talk to his wife - either by telephone or by Hughes telegraph (was there one at the Alexander Palace?) on 1st March. She, presumably, might have persuaded him to try to stick it out by rallying whatever loyal generals he could find. Or indeed, what would have happened if, face to face, he demanded the loyalty of those around him in the name of Russia and 300 years of Romanov rule. Ever the fatalist, he went like a child, without resisting. Daniel is probably right when he says he was a broken man - but I don't personally have much sympathy for him at this point.

He clearly over-estimated his own abilities and should never have taken over the conduct of the war from NN. Had he been able to stay in the capital running the civil administration, he might have realised that feeding the cities was a higher priority than it was given. And as to having " ministers whom he didn’t trust much" strikes me as folly beyond belief..........

Offline griffh

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2005, 07:41:46 PM »
What a wonderfully reasoned thread on the abdication.  Just to say that March 2 fell on a Friday in 1917.  There is a great calander website that is really helpful but I forget it's name.  I will look it up however.  The other emotionally charged aspect besides the connection with Julius Ceasar was how closely the events of Feb and March of 1917 paralleled the events that lead up to the assassination of Nicky's grandfather, Alexander II.  Alexander II had been assassinated on March 1/14 and it was such a similar political situation.  Mil  


Offline lexi4

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2005, 08:49:57 PM »
Quote
Daniel,


Your detail of the day of the abdication is very good, I havent found books that describe it as well as that. Specifically the point of how Nicholas II had not signed the abdication document till the duma representatives arrived and amended it to include Alexei. What I have always wondered is what happened after Nicholas II abdicated, I know he went to mogliev, and I have read the Dowager Empress spent time with him but did his Imperial Guard and aides completely abandon him? It almost seems to me that he should have made preparations to for the worst and gotten assurances for protection from the provisional government for him and his family and at worst be sent to the crimea...  


I  have wondered that too. Why didn't he get some kind of assurances that he and his family would receive protection and leave the country? He probably wasn't in much of a position to bargain. But I wonder why he didn't try. I wonder if he fully realized what could be ahead for the IF. Do you think  Nicholas ever thought that the IF family would be executed?  I also wonder, what the out come of the situation would have been had he not been disconnected from Alexandra. She was his most trusted advisor and I think he had a hard time with decisions with out her.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"

Offline griffh

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2005, 09:44:55 PM »
What a wonderful thread on the abdication and how clearly and really for the first time the depth of betrayal is exposed.  Just to say that there is a really wonderful calendar website and Feb 16/ March 2 falls on a Friday.  

I just wanted to add that not only was there the striking parallel with Caesar, but there was the overwhelming parallel with Nicky’s grandfather’s assassination which had occurred on March 1/15 1881.  It will be remembered that in Feb. 1881 Loris Melikoff reported that a new plot had been laid by the Revolutionary Executive Committee, but its plan could not be discovered by any amount of searching. Thereupon Alexander II decided that a sort of deliberative assembly of delegates from the provinces should be called. Always under the idea that he would share the fate of Louis XVI, he described this gathering as an assembly of notables, like the one convoked by Louis XVI before the National Assembly in 1789.

The scheme had to be laid before the Council of State, but then again he hesitated. It was only on the morning of March 1 (14), 1881, after a final warning by Loris Melikoff, that he ordered it to be brought before the council on the following Thursday. This was on Sunday, and he was asked by Melikoff not to go out to the parade that day, there being danger of an attempt on his life. Nevertheless he went. He wanted to see the Grand Duchess Catherine, and to carry her welcome news. He is reported to have told her, "I have determined to summon an assembly of notables." However, this belated and half-hearted concession had not been made public, and on his way back to the Winter Palace he was killed.

Just like the political atmosphere in Feb 1881, the same revolutionary tensions and plots abounded in Feb. 1917.   There were so many plots to overthrown the crown that they are overwhelming in themselves and involved almost every member of the Imperial family in one way or another as a perpetrator or a principle.  

In February 1917 Nicky had returned from Moghileff for the opening of the parliament which he chose not to attend.  However he remained in close touch with his ministers as there was a very ominous feeling permeating the opening session.  It was a few days after this that Nicky decided to return to Moghileff but before he did this he called his council together on Thurs Feb. 22/Mar 8.  Like Loris Melikoff had implored Alexander II, Nicky’s ministers implored him to sign two edicts, one granting a responsible ministry which the Duma was demanding.  If that edict was not enough to quell the opposition, the second edict granted a constitution as a free-will gift from the Czar.  I think that this helps us understand the beautiful and generous wording of the abdication as almost a reflection of what the second edict must have sounded like.    

The ministers wrote out the two edicts and return that evening for Nicky to sign.  If this is not a parallel with Alexander II really don’t know what is and emotionally it must have drained Nicky, not to mention the fact that he had to then return to the Alexander Palace and face Alix.  I think that Alix even refers to the argument in her letters to Nicky after he returned to Moghileff, but maybe I am mistaken here and all my books are packed to I can not check my sources.  

Offline griffh

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2005, 09:45:44 PM »
I also believe that their argument was so heated that raised voices could be heard by the staff, but I also might be mistaken.  Anyway sometime that night or in the early hours of the Friday morning, Feb. 23/Mar 9 the edicts were destroyed   By Friday afternoon Protpopoff was given a signed blank that put unconditional power in his hands and permission to tell the council of ministers in his own time.  Against both Alix, his family and the council’s advise, Nicky bolted that afternoon back to Moghileff.  That same day the black bread riots erupted in St. Petersburg.  Whether they were orchestrated by Guchov or Protopopoff will forever remain a mystery, but clearly the shortages were a political ploy.  The disturbances became more violent and continued until Sunday Feb 25/Mar 11.  Still the council of ministers knew nothing of the destruction of the edicts and it hit everyone like a thunderbolt when it was announced in Sunday’s paper that the blank that Nicky had signed was used to dissolve the Duma.  It seemed to be such a double blow as the Parliament had voluntarily closed its session on Tuesday in order to give Nicky enough time to present the first edict which they were sure was going to be published in the Sunday paper.  Nicky had now been at Moghileff for two and a half days hiding out from everyone, it appears.  I don’t believe he had to be on drugs to feel totally drugged and in shock by the time he returned to Moghileff or as he quietly waited in dread for the response to his inability to stand by the edicts.  

From the remarks Nicky made about Protopoppoff especially after enough time had elapsed for him to get a good look at the man, Nicky does not appear to have much respect for him so it was not as if Nicky was convinced of the arguments about preserving the autocracy.  And as the government, especially the brutal nature Guchov, had targeted Alix for extermination and she rightly wanted him to be hanged, still Nicky could not sanction his wife incarceration in a monastery which was what Guchov was demanding.  Nicky went so far as to suggest that when the children recovered their health that for Alexis’ sake, Dr. Botkin had suggested that she and the children retire to the Crimea for the rest of the war.  Clealy Nicky was torn in so many different directions, plus the painful memories that even the weather must have brought back to him at twelve standing at the foot of his grandfather’s bed watching the mangled body die, and as the G.D. Alexander said, with hysterical sobbs of the blood drenched Princess Yourievskaya and the macabre rattling of Nicky and his mother’s iceskates which they were still holding.

By Monday Feb 26/Mar 12 building were burning in the capital and the town was in an uproar, but the cabinet met in Marie Palace in defiance of being disbanded and unanimously voted to dismiss Protopopoff (which was the first time a minister had been dismissed by his colleagues), then they all sent a letter of resignation to Nicky at Moghileff.  Protopopoff immediately begged for mercy and immediately turned on Alix in a failed attempt to clear himself but none of his last minute ditch efforts kept him safe and he ended up in the Fortress.  Mon Feb 26/Mar 12 Alix spoke to Nicky directly by their private wire on the phone telling him that she could see part of St. Petersburg on fire.  I think Nicky reassured her that General Ivanov was on his way to the capital.

Tues. Feb 27/Mar13 Rodzanko sent three telegrams to Nicky which Woyeikoff at first kept from him but they were so terrifying that finally Woyeikoff gave all three to Nicky who started at them uncomprehendingly saying that Protopopoff had assured him that there was no real danger (i.e. that the disturbances were to be staged).  Unlike the reports of Nicky being indifferent, once he caught on that this was a real disturbance and had reached threatening proportions in the capital he verbally whip lashed Woyeikoff and with rapid preparations the Imperial train was readied and departed two hours later on the evening of Feb 27/ Mar 13 hoping to reach the capital by Wed. Feb 28/ Mar 14.  That night the train was re-routed to Pskov.  On Thurs Mar 1/ Mar 15 Nicky talked with Alix on their private wire at Pskov and now she said that the fires in St. Petersburg had grown to an alarming degree but her main concern was the health of their children as Alexi was now dangerously ill with measles.  It was at Pskov on Friday Mar 2/ Mar 16 that Nicky abdicated to the deputation of ministers from St. Petersburg.  After the abdication was signed and the deputation of ministers were on their way back to the capital, Nicky again spoke with Alix over their private wire Friday Mar 2/ Mar 16 evening before departing from Pskov himself for Moghileff and he did not mention the abdication, understandably given Alix’s reaction over the two edicts from a week ago.  

When Nicky returned to Moghileff he did not attempt to use his quarters in the palace there but remained in his train.  There is no record of him talking with his wife by private wire for the next four days.  He was allowed to drive about freely and he spent a great deal of time with his mother who had come in her train from Kiev.  Woyeikoff tried to abandon Nicky and attempted to join the Maire’s staff but was rejected, fled and ended up in the Fortress along with Protopopoff.  On the forth day, Nicky was told that he was now under arrest.  

Offline Lass

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2005, 06:21:05 PM »
I started a thread in another part of the forums, but was told to come here for the answer. ::) Without trying to interupt the flow of thought here, may I ask - was it legal for the Tsar to abdicate for his son? I know he did it, but was it legal?

Offline Georgiy

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2005, 09:54:26 PM »
I think that is being discussed in a different thread - "Was Aleksey ever Tsar?" on the Alexei pages.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Georgiy »

Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2005, 12:17:48 AM »
I guess poor Lass will get tired of running around from thread to thread in the hope of getting an answer to his question!  :-/  He was right to ask his question in the “The Final Chapter” in the first place (where it belongs) and I for one, plead guilty to discussing the question of abdication here and elsewhere…So for Lass, here is a short answer: Nicholas II’s abdication on behalf of his son was NOT legal. As for Alexis, since he was a minor, he couldn’t renounce his own rights (or abdicate) until his majority (at 16).

Here is what Nicolas de Bazily (the lawyer who wrote the draft of Nicholas II’s abdication in favor of Alexis, not Michael) wrote in his memoirs about the succession: “As for the succession to the throne, it was regulated in the strictest manner by the Fundamental Laws. They stipulated that if the reigning monarch had a son or several sons, it would be this son or the eldest of these sons, minor or not, who should necessarily succeed him on the throne. The order of succession could not be modified by Emperor Nicholas. In fact, like his predecessors, Nicholas had at the time of his accesssion solemnly pledged to respect the manner of succession established by the Fundamental Laws. Only an amendment of these laws could introduce a change in the order of succession to the throne. Furthermore, since the reforms of 1906, no change could be made in the Fundamental Laws without the approval of the legislative chambers, that is, the State Council and the Duma. But no Fundamental law had been enacted to modify the provisions relative to the order of succession. Thus Nicholas II could only abdicate in favor of his legitimate heir, his young son Alexei.”

It is interesting to note that after Nicholas returned to Moghilev he changed his mind again and asked General Alexeev (his former Chief of Staff) to inform the Provisional Governement that he was ready to abdicate in favor of Alexis instead of Michael. General Alexeev declined to do so, answering it was too late for that. Maybe Nicholas had realized his decision had been illegal (who knows...), but he probably had understood he had made a big mistake in abdicating in favor of Michael and that, after his brother had temporarily refused to accept the throne, the only hope of saving the monarchy was to have the young and innocent Alexis as emperor. Although one could say that Nicholas II’s abdication was illegal too, as he had signed it under a great deal of pressure (as it was the case for Michael’s manifesto), my view is that immediately after Nicholas II abdicated, the crown had passed to Alexis. In 1797 Paul I edicted a law establishing the order of succession. He explained its aim: “that the State never be without a successor; that the successor be determined by the law itself; that there be not the slightest doubt as to the successor..."   He wanted to avoid the problems who had arisen a few times since the death of Peter the Great. There would be (so he tought!)  no more vacant throne or disputes about a successor. As the Fundamental Laws say, the Heir to the Throne succeeds immediately (and automatically by virtue of the law) after the demise of the Emperor. Therefore by law, tsarevich Alexis became Emperor Alexis II a few minutes before midnight on March 2/15, 1917.

A Constituent Assembly was to decide on the form of Government (to keep the monarchy or have a republic). This Assembly was later elected but the Bolsheviks dismissed it at gunpoint after its first and only meeting. As no freely elected representatives of the Russian People ever got to decide to abolish the monarchy, one could argue that, legally,  Alexis was Emperor of Russia until his death.
Daniel Briere

Offline strom

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2005, 01:25:40 PM »
To Daniel Briere:
I know how much the niceties of legalize sooth the shattered conscious of this age, but I wonder how much these mattered to the Emperor when he faced the disintegration of his immediate family, the only close support he had known for some time and especially since the death of Father Gregory.  No one would have wanted Alexis to succeed more than the Imperial couple but how could that have united a divided Russia at this critical moment in its political and cultural history.      

Offline griffh

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2005, 09:29:50 PM »
Strom I really think you have made a wonderful point that is very much closer to where Nicky was thinking.  One of the things was most tragic about the last few years of Nicky's reign was the interception of letters that the even family members were writing about the need to get rid of Alix that the secret police were then passing on to Nicky and Alix to read.  

While historians acknowledge the terrible impact that the intercepted letters had on Nicky and Alix as they began to understand how hated they were and how compromised their own family was.  I believe that Alix read both letters from Princess Z. Yousoupoff and her own sister that show complicity with the murder of Rasputin.  While historian acknowledge the depressing impact the intercepted letters had on Nicky and Alix, still they show so little understanding when interpreting scenes such as the GD Alexander's famous last interview with Alexandra.  They emphasize how inflexible and distant Alix is as she listens to the GD, even when he looses all control and starts shouting, with Nicky sitting quietly the whole time smoking.  

No one make mention of the fact that one of the GD Alexander's brothers has openly stated Alix should be illiminated.  How is Alix going to react to the GD Alexander's pleas for a more liberal government when behind that plea a plot against her life.        

But you know, actually as I have thought about it I think that the real culprit of the revolution is not Alexandra, Nicky, or even Rasputin, I think that they were all scapegoats.  I think the real cause of the Revolution was WW1.  

When my books are unpacked I will try and share some of the statistics of what happened to America when it tried to mobilize a million men on entering the last year of the war and the near crisis and popular revolt it brought on.  I think reviewing those facts will give a much clearer sense of how remarkably well Russia did through three long years of war.    

In connection with this I was also aware that if you study the year that the GD Nicholas was Commander and Chief you begin to read descriptions of how altered his behaviour becomes after a year of the constant slaughter of the Russian Army and then the reverses in Gallacia, and how the GD Nicholas becomes distant and depressed.  The description of his mental state just before he was replaced by Nicky are very similar to the descriptions of Nicky close to the abdication.  

I feel that the abdication was a way of Nicky trying to save Alix life' and the what ever would be left of his son's life.   I think that on a personal level, as Strum has said, the abdication is Nicky's last desparate attempt to save all that he really had in life, his dear misunderstood wife and his precious children.  

It also occurs to me that no historian wants to look at the abdication too closely as it would compromise too many people including the Allies.  I have always found it rather curious that America did not enter the War until the Czar abdicated and that America was the first nation to recognize the Provisional Government as legitimate.  

The Allied Ambassadors involvement in the Revolution has always remained a unsolved question especially when one considers that Paleologue at one point offered asylum for the Empress in France for the remainder of the war, and Princess Cantacuzene repeats a conversation just before the revolution with a woman she describes as Lady ____, who she describes as the wife of a dipolmat and who could be non other that Lady Buchannan the wife of the British Ambassador.  

While calling on the Lady, the Princess relates that the topic of conversation had focused on the hard conditions in St. Petersburg, newly renamed Petrograd, when Lady ______, the wife of the dipolmat said:

"But really, what can you expect when the party in power is a Germanophile party, led by a woman not normal, who is in the hands of the enemy, and working for them?  It is really terrible about the poor Empress, you know; all all those horrible creatures about her!  I am sure if no one does anything about it there will be a revolution one of these days!"  And the Princess adds that the last part of the statement was made in a threatening tone as the Lady settled her skirts with great energy.  

Princess Canatcuzene did not let the matter rest there without defending the Empress's honor and replied to the Lady:

"Why surely, dear Lady_____, you don't believe all the gossip you hear?  One must not, you know.  We don't; as for instance, there are rumors being floated that your husband was mixed up in Rasputin's murder, and we don't believe that; so you must not accept as truth all that the busy-bodies say of us Russians at court.  We are not half so bad, really, as we are made out to be."

The Princess said that the diplomat's wife changed the conversation immediately and spoke instead of the lovely Order of St. Catherine that the Empress had recently decorated her with.  

Oh and I wanted to add that I just learned, and I am sure that everyone else already knows this, so forgive me my ignorance, but the Julian calander for the 19th century was 13 days behind our calander and in the twentieth century 12 days so I am sorry to have challenged that dates and mine were two days off in the thread.  

Offline Georgiy

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2005, 05:08:32 PM »
Quote
the Julian calander for the 19th century was 13 days behind our calander and in the twentieth century 12 days

Other way around! It became 13 days different with the 20th Century, and is still 13 days different.

Offline Erichek

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Re: "Sam ikh privel v podval..." "he led them to the basement himself"
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2005, 12:07:37 PM »
Or, in proper English: "he led them to the basement himself".

I do remember Radzinsky making this comment about Nicholas II, and he referred to the basement-like chamber in Ipatiev house where Nicholas II and his family were shot.

Thus, Radzinsky puts the 'blame' for the Romanovs' awful end on Nicholas' shoulders.

Dear forum members, what are your thoughts on this one?


Erichek