Author Topic: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife  (Read 19464 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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I was always under the impression that Nicholas Johnson, GD Michael Alexandrovich's secretary who was killed along with him, was British. But I am reading Michael and Natasha and according to the author, despite his name, N.J. was Russian. Is this true? Was he a Russian with British or Scottish or Irish ancestry then? He had to be at least that, how else would he end up with a name like "Johnson"?  ???

Offline felix

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Helen,I have read that his mother was Russian, father English.  I may be wrong  but did they meet when Michael was in England?

Offline Helen_Azar

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Helen,I have read that his mother was Russian, father English.  


That would make sense, but in Michael and Natashathe author seemed very insistent that he was Russian...It was kind of puzzling.

Offline hikaru

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I have found in the Memories of the Countess Vorontsov-Dashkov, whose husband was close friend of Mikhael, that Johnson studied together with Mikhail in
Mikhailovskoe Artilleriyskoe Uchilische and they became very very good friends since there.
When Johnson became the officer, he did not go to the regiment , but he worked as the secretary of Mikhael.
Maybe, he was some kind of russian british.
(In soviet books  it is written that he was British)

Offline Helen_Azar

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(In soviet books  it is written that he was British)


Yes, in all the books I've read (not Soviet) they always say he was British too, "GD Michael's British secretary", except for this one (Michael and Natasha), where the authot specifically made a point to say that he was Russian despite his name. Strange...  ???

Offline hikaru

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In book of Sokolov about the murder of IF, it is written about Johnson as Nikolai Nikolaevich Johnson.
So it can be assumed that he had russian citizenship.

Offline Belochka

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In book of Sokolov about the murder of IF, it is written about Johnson as Nikolai Nikolaevich Johnson.
So it can be assumed that he had russian citizenship.


The historian, Paul Avrich (in Russian Review, Vol. 43, 1984) claimed that Nicholas Johnson was English.  ???

However Crawford (@ p 141) claimed that N. J. was Russian who spoke English with a heavy accent. His mother apparently was a music teacher in the Court.

Perhaps his father or grandfather was of British origin?


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Dear Helen,

From "Step Daughter of Imperial Russia" by Nathalie Majolier: " I must mention here Johnson, the secretary. In spite of his extremely English name, he was a complete Russian, in fact he spoke English rather badly and with a strong accent. His mother Madame Johnson, was in the old days a very famous teacher of singing, and taught all the Royal Families of Europe. Her room was cluttered up with coroneted photographs, and she had a tremendous correspondence, with all of her old pupils. She had a very old and asthmatic peke, which looked very much like her.
I liked her, she was always nice, and would always listen to anything one had to say
."

"Three days after my birthday arrived a telegram from the above mentioned friend in Perm: 'Our friend and Johnny have vanished without trace'"

"This enigmatic telegram had been couched in deliberately ambiguous terms, but it must be remembered that Uncle Misha's secretary, though Russian, rejoiced in the name Johnson---the nickname 'Johnny' gave the clue."

Sunny

Offline Belochka

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Thanks Sunny for supplying that particular exerpt. It is more detailed than the one provided by Crawford.  

However we still do not know whether N.J.'s father or paternal grandfather was English.

What is Step Daughter of Imperial Russia by Nathalie Majolier about? I am not familiar with this book at all.

Thanks,

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


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Dear Belochka,

"Step-Daughter of Imperial Russia", was written by the daughter of Natalia Sergievna Sheremetevskaya, the Countess Brassova, and her first husband.

It was published in 1940, well before her mother's death, and I obtained a reprint from Royalty Digest.

Her style is quite simple, but it is strong on the details of her youth, and relationship with "Uncle Misha". The telling of her detention by the Bolsheviks, and escape from Russia, plus the nightmare that was created when her mother attempted to sell Michael's awards and orders, so as not to starve, make it worth reading.

From the book:

"One asks oneself what is the use of honouring a man, if one is going to take away from his widow her last means of livelihood? As an honour, it seems rather empty.

I could cry when I think of my mother, of the hopes I raised and the sore disillusionment that followed. I feel somehow responsible.

Morganatic or not, Mamma still remains the widow of the unfortunate man they decorated, the Grand Duke Michael. She is without means. The Grand Duke was closely related by blood to the heads of many states that so honoured him.

After all they are named 'Orders of Chivalry."

*********************************************
Before even Nicholas and his children were murdered Uncle Misha had been shot secretly. Why? Shooting is usually a death reserved for cowards or heroes; he was neither. He was just a gentle, kindly, and simple man, hardly characteristics worthy of death.

Politics ? Can the man who, after he had been despoiled of position and wealth, writes as follows
be a political menace ?

"2nd September 1917. Woke this morning to hear the proclamation of Russia as a Democratic Republic. Is it not all the same, whatever the shape of the government, so long as there be order and justice for everybody."

This was the bloody tyrant that they murdered
."

Sunny


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

Offline Belochka

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Thanks Sunny for your prompt response and additional exerpts! :D

Hopefully this book will be still available for purchase somewhere ...

All the best,

Belochka  ;D



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Offline Belochka

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Dear Belochka,

"Step-Daughter of Imperial Russia", was written by the daughter of Natalia Sergievna Sheremetevskaya, the Countess Brassova, and her first husband.

It was published in 1940, well before her mother's death, and I obtained a reprint from Royalty Digest.
Sunny



Hi Sunny,

I managed to purchase a copy of this book at Piccadily books in England yesterday. I never realized there were only 200 reprinted copies!

Now I have to wait patiently for the International snail mail.   :-/


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Hi Sunny,
 
I managed to purchase a copy of this book at Piccadily books in England yesterday. I never realized there were only 200 reprinted copies!
 
Now I have to wait patiently for the International snail mail.   :-/



Dear Belochka,

I'm glad that you were able to find the book, and hope that you are pleased with it. Piccadilly Books... puts me in mind of "84 Charing Cross Road".   :)

For quite some time, I've been trying to obtain a copy of Pauline Gray's "The Grand Duke's Woman", at a price remotely resembling reasonable.
The source for "Step-Daughter" is planning a re-print in six months...there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

By the way, I read your recommendation for "Life on the Russian Country Estate: A social and Cultural History"
and ordered it.

Sunny

Offline AGRBear

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What is Royalty Digest?

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline Belochka

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For quite some time, I've been trying to obtain a copy of Pauline Gray's "The Grand Duke's Woman", at a price remotely resembling reasonable.  
Sunny


Hi Sunny,

I have been searching for the same title as well for over a year. This title is very elusive. :(

Hopefully my previous recommendation will meet with your expectations. It is a very nice informative book. :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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