Author Topic: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?  (Read 297040 times)

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #735 on: March 18, 2007, 01:27:27 PM »
What irony, Nicholas I was accused of the same administrative sins as Nicholas II.

I think they were the same sins only by a very general definition of attention to detail, Elisabeth.  The portait Nicholas Riasonovsky paints of Nicholas I in Nicholas I and Official Nationality in Russia: 1825-1855 is of a man obsessed with the details of government, not with the details of keeping an office in order.  Nicholas I's reign had begun with a revolt that involved segments of the nobility and the military, and it left him with a sense of deep unease about the possibility of resistance to his will within the orders of society who were generally viewed as the bulwark of royal authority.  Nicholas I's attention to detail manifested itself as a tendency to step off his royal dais, to travel widely around his realm with a very small coterie of attendants, to pay surprise visits to local dignitaries who were then drilled on their performance of their duties, and to triangulate the information he thus gathered against the official reports he received from senior ministers.

He was consequently not only an annoying master but a very threatening master to his senior officials, who would no doubt have preferred he restrict himself to thinking grand policy thoughts and leave the executional details to them.

This is not to say that Nicholas I thereby governed more effectively than he might otherwise have.  In fact, Riasnovsky tags Nicholas I's rule as essentially three decades of political evolution lost in Russia and one of the causes of the retrenchment of royal authority into a rigid conservatism out from which it was never again successfully to break.  If there was even a modicum of the originality of approach that marked the rules of Peter I and Catherine II left in the dynastic tradition by the time Nicholas I ascended the throne, it was gone for good by the time he vacated it. 


I should also note that all of Nicholas I's advisors and officials found him to be intellectually quite up to the job and very politically shrewd and savvy (unlike Nicholas II"s subordinates, half a century later). But Nicholas I, like his great-grandson Nicholas II, insisted that the job of the Russian autocrat was to rule "personally." And he, like his great-grandson, apparently interpreted that task quite literally.

Which goes to prove that one can get by for quite a while lacking wisdom if intellect and political shrewdness are present.  But when one lacks wisdom, intellect, and  political savvy, the borrowed time on which one is living can be short indeed.


"As Emperor, Nicholas I had sought to create the epitome of an eighteenth-century Western European police state, an absolute monarchy such as that fashioned in France by Louis XIV. But the world in which Nicholas lived was a very different one from France in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, for the French Revolution of 1789 and the Industrial Revolution had given birth to a vastly different social, economic and political order in the West" (Lincoln, p. 351). In other words, even in 1855, the year Nicholas I died, the Russian monarchy was demonstrably behind the times and seemingly intent on self-destruction.

It is true that the worlds in which Louis XIV and Nicholas I lived were different.  However, the whole concept of absolute monarchy as the Sun King knew it is often misinterpreted today.  Louis XIV ruled over a system that was riddled with feudal rights that imposed limits on the king's reach.  As did Nicholas I, Louis XIV experienced a revolt near the start of his reign.  But where Nicholas sought to deal with such revolt by a rigid imposition of his will on every aspect of Russian life (such as by limiting the right of the nobility to travel and study abroad), Louis sought to draw the energy out of a fractious nobility by luring them into the pleasure dome of the world he created at Versailles, where he could keep them financially strapped by creating absurd standards of decadent display, could keep them warring over petty court matters and inconsequential honorifics and preferments, and could keep his eye on them.

Interestingly, both systems ultimately failed for the opposite reasons.  Nicholas I nurtured a form of rigidly conservative absolutism that was too brittle to weather the changes of the 19th and 20th centuries.  Louis created a form of absolutism that relied on the charm and personality of the monarch but that left the underlying legal fault lines of feudal social order intact while trying to create a central, royal administrative authority without the proper foundation.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 01:33:39 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #736 on: March 18, 2007, 01:31:15 PM »
Maybe Nicholas needed to be secret like Belochka says.  Sometimes a tsar had to do things to control his country that he didnt' want every body to know.  Some place else here people said the police faked some stuff about jews which made every body in Russia hate the jews.  And that Nicholas knew it and read the stuff to his family.  Myabe Nicholas did not want a secretary to know things like this because he had to do it to keep people under control but he was not proud of it . . .

Even if the secret police in Russia wrote this stuff for Nicholas to use some people think it is true anyway.  Maybe it was really not faked and Nicholas knew it before anybody else today.  The tsar understood things more than any body else could.  Like Belochka said when Nicholas got crowned he quit being lake other humans and started to see things and to feel about things that no other human could.

Sigh . . . .  There just really seems to be nothing more to add to this kind of wisdom.

Offline Binky

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #737 on: March 18, 2007, 01:40:58 PM »
Thanks Tsarfan.  I like your posts too but I think Belochka is more right most of the time because he understands Nicholas I think better than you because she speaks Russian.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #738 on: March 18, 2007, 01:45:54 PM »


What irony, Nicholas I was accused of the same administrative sins as Nicholas II. Read W. Bruce Lincoln's justifiably famous biography of Nicholas I, Nicholas II's great-grandfather. Nicholas I was also (in)famous for his refusal to delegate lesser state matters to secretaries and lower officials - in short, he had to have his finger in every pie (something of a control mania, perhaps understandable after the Decembrist Revolt of 1825). As one of his officials recalled, "from the time when...the system developed by which the Emperor would be acquainted with all minor matters, he has been smothered by administrative affairs and does not have the opportunity to give his attention to matters of real significance, to think about them, and to ponder important reports and proposals for new laws" (A.V. Golovin, quoted by W. Bruce Lincoln in Nicholas I: Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, p. 169).  The result was a bureaucratic backlog that was detrimental, but not fatal to the monarchy in the mid-nineteenth century, but might very well have been one of the contributing factors to the demise of the Romanov dynasty at the beginning of the twentieth century.


Welcome back to the forum, Elisabeth.  Sorry to burst your balloon, but "W. Bruce Lincoln" doesn't sound like a particularly Russian name, so hardly worth citing.  He probably mistranslated what Golovin said anyway.  In fact he was probably just trying to "mock" the Tsar -- Emperor -- isn't that obvious?

Haha, I'm laughing all the way to the bank, Rich. As if native English speakers couldn't learn Russian, and as if native Russian speakers could never learn English... whereas students and emigrés learn each other's languages every day of the week, as a matter of course....not to mention, as a matter of necessity.

But this bizarre idea, promoted by some in this forum, that only native Russians can "truly" understand Russian history, seems to me the equivalent of saying that no one outside a culture can ever pronounce a word of judgment, either for or against, that culture... In which case many of our greatest critics are rendered null and void. What about the Englishwoman Virginia Woolf, on the subject of the "Russian Soul"? Or, for that matter, what about the Russian nobleman Alexander Herzen, on the subject of Western Europeans and their political culture? What about the great Russian writer Dostoevsky on the same? (Obviously, he was wrong to make pronouncements against Western culture, since he was a foreigner... you think?) Is no outsider allowed to have an interesting opinion about a foreign culture, simply because s/he happens to be foreign to that culture? Well, excuse me for saying so, but if that's the case, then that would truly be the end of Western Civilization as we know it - including Russian culture, because face it, whether Russia likes it or not, she is more a part of Europe, i.e., "Western Civilization," than she is of Asia. (China? give me a break...just try to imagine that Russians are closer to the Chinese than to the Europeans... don't make me laugh, but hey, too late, now I truly am laughing, ha!).
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #739 on: March 18, 2007, 01:52:21 PM »
What irony, Nicholas I was accused of the same administrative sins as Nicholas II.

I think they were the same sins only by a very general definition of attention to detail, Elisabeth.  The portait Nicholas Riasonovsky paints of Nicholas I in Nicholas I and Official Nationality in Russia: 1825-1855 is of a man obsessed with the details of government, not with the details of keeping an office in order.  Nicholas I's reign had begun with a revolt that involved segments of the nobility and the military, and it left him with a sense of deep unease about the possibility of resistance to his will within the orders of society who were generally viewed as the bulwark of royal authority.  Nicholas I's attention to detail manifested itself as a tendency to step off his royal dais, to travel widely around his realm with a very small coterie of attendants, to pay surprise visits to local dignitaries who were then drilled on their performance of their duties, and to triangulate the information he thus gathered against the official reports he received from senior ministers.
He was consequently not only an annoying master but a very threatening master to his senior officials, who would no doubt have preferred he restrict himself to thinking grand policy thoughts and leave the executional details to them.

This is not to say that Nicholas I thereby governed more effectively than he might otherwise have.  In fact, Riasnovsky tags Nicholas I's rule as essentially three decades of political evolution lost in Russia and one of the causes of the retrenchment of royal authority into a rigid conservatism out from which it was never again successfully to break.  If there was even a modicum of the originality of approach that marked the rules of Peter I and Catherine II left in the dynastic tradition by the time Nicholas I ascended the throne, it was gone for good by the time he vacated it. 


Hmmm, not completely in agreement, Tsarfan. W. Bruce Lincoln's view of Nicholas I (and as far as I know, it's more widely respected than Riasanovsky's?) is of a man obsessed with bureaucratic detail, to the detriment of the larger scheme of things. He literally could not see the wood for the trees...  It might be true that he traveled around his empire, taking subordinates by surprise... still, so did Nicholas II (the Tricentenary Tour of 1913, remember?). Despite all this, Nicholas I remained mired in the bureaucratic redtape of the job. He did not delegate and he was over-extended. Out of such omissions come such tragedies as the Crimean War. It's interesting, some of his contemporaries actually believed that his sudden illness and death were the result of a deliberate and ultimately successful attempt at suicide. (Perhaps in the ancient tradition of the Roman Stoics...)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 02:04:03 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #740 on: March 18, 2007, 02:17:24 PM »
I don't know that we fundamentally disagree here, Elisabeth.  Both Nicholas I and II definitely had blinds posts when it came to forests.  But I still think that obsessing about bureaucratic detail is different from obsessing about office detail.  Nicholas I certainly failed to develop a vision for helping Russia evolve beyond her past, but he was assiduous in trying to understand how his government worked at every level and to keeping it in fine tune for what he, at least, expected it to do.

Let's use this example as a proxy for the argument.  Suppose it were Nicholas I who was on the throne during World War I (leaving aside for the moment whether he would have entered the war).  Do you think the rail system for delivering food and fuel to the cities would have broken down as it did in the winter of 1916-1917 while Nicholas II was running the show?

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #741 on: March 18, 2007, 02:39:16 PM »
I don't know that we fundamentally disagree here, Elisabeth.  Both Nicholas I and II definitely had blinds posts when it came to forests.  But I still think that obsessing about bureaucratic detail is different from obsessing about office detail.  Nicholas I certainly failed to develop a vision for helping Russia evolve beyond her past, but he was assiduous in trying to understand how his government worked at every level and to keeping it in fine tune for what he, at least, expected it to do.

Let's use this example as a proxy for the argument.  Suppose it were Nicholas I who was on the throne during World War I (leaving aside for the moment whether he would have entered the war).  Do you think the rail system for delivering food and fuel to the cities would have broken down as it did in the winter of 1916-1917 while Nicholas II was running the show?

I honestly don't know, Tsarfan, and that's the truth. For that matter, who knows, has anyone broken down the literal details of the food supply to Petrograd in the early winter of 1917 to this extent? Was the supposedly inadequate supply the result of bad management or the rail system or bad weather or unforeseen supply demands or all of the above? I've read in some sources that the supply of wheat to the capital cities of Moscow and Petrograd was in fact quite adequate and sufficient for the population of the time. I've read elsewhere that it wasn't. I'm still waiting for a definitive explanation of what the heck happened when the women workers rioted on Women's Day, February 23, 1917. But I suspect... the bread shortage was not a product of their imaginations.
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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #742 on: March 18, 2007, 02:45:38 PM »
Tsarfan - Nicholas I did make a bit of a cock-up of the Crimean War.   Of course he did, eventually, realise that himself.

The requistes for a successful tsar - an interesting topic, but perhaps not for this thread.    To be intellectual is probably of lesser imporance than political astuteness/awareness, native cunning, good communication skills, discernment and charisma.   Not necessarily in that order.

It is ironic that the ancestor Nicholas II admired most and wished to emulate was Alexei Mikhailovich - 'The Quiet One'.    Didn't quite work out that way, but it does give a strong hint of Nicholas II's instinctive inclination.

tsaria


Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #743 on: March 18, 2007, 05:22:03 PM »
Interesting debate about Nicholas II basically being his own Personal Secretary. To understand why he did so, instead of having one who would have helped, advised and alleviate the burden of office,  I would urge all of you to read Chapter 5 (« Autocratic Government ») of Dominic Lieven’s excellent biography of the Tsar.

There was no lack of clerical help and officials he could have turned to. Many institutions were already performing parts of the work an Office of a Head of State should have done (Ministy of Court Chancellery, Military Chancellery, Petitions Chancellery, Private Cabinet and…His Majesty’s Own Chancellery, to name only a few). Problem was they were never unified under a single roof and head who would have acted as Personal Secretary or Chief of Staff.

Yes there were « stats-sekretary » as Margarita pointed out. But by mid-19th century the title had become merely honorary and bestowed to high officials as a personal favor from the Emperor. Alexander III gave the title to 12 officials, Nicholas II to 32, most of them members of the Council of the Empire, one of them being Anna Vyrobova’s father, Alexander Tanyeev who was also Head of the First (and only surviving) Section of His Majesty’s Own Chancellery (Sobstvennaya Ego Imperatorskago Velichestva kantselyariya). Unfortunately, his office only dealt with some official correspondence, prepared imperial rescripts and was supposed to run the Civil Service Inspectorate. The 2nd  Section (Law codification) & the infamous 3rd Section (Secret Police) had been transferred to Government Ministries. The 4th one which managed imperial charitables institutions was now independant, and the 5th & 6th sections had been abolished.

Dominic Lieven reminds his readers that the Emperor was still viewed as the patriarch of the Russian tribe and the last resort of his subjects betrayed by the omnipotent bureaucracy. Even after the reform of the judicial system and the 1905 Revolution, by law, he retained some enormous power over the everyday lives of his people. For instance, until 1913, even after a favorable Court decision, he had to give his personal sanction before a women could live apart from her husband. And « right down to 1917, no Russian subject could change his name withouut the Emperor’s consent. Which meant the Chancellery was flooded with petitions from newly respectable and educted peasants whose families had a generation or so before been blessed by fellow villagers with rude nicknames. » In 1895 Nicholas II created an independant Petitions Chancellery ( Sobstvennaya Ego Imperatorskago Velichestvo kantselyaria po prinyatiu proshenii na Vysochaishee imya prinosimykh) to handle petitions from all individuals (including peasants) seeking help or redress from the Sovereign (and there were many). It was put under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Headquarters so the bureaucracy wouldn’t interfere. The Emperor himself didn’t see all these petitions as officials from this special office answered most of them.  But every week the head of the Chancellery (last one was V. I. Mamantov) reported to the Emperor for up to 90 minutes : then the most difficult or serious cases would be dealt with. Wherever he went, people tried to hand the Emperor some petitions personally to circumvent the bureaucracy. They were taken by an Aide-de-Camp who dealt with them later as they did when the Emperor was staying at one of his palaces. Then an Aide-de-Camp was on duty at all times. Everyday he received the petitioners and had to write a short summary of each petition on a special form and place them in an envelope. At 8 PM he handed them over to the Emperor’s valet, who would place this packet on the Emperor’s writing table. The ADC sometimes received very urgent petitions, such as requests for a stay of execution : without delay they were passed on to the Emperor who had the sole power to make such a decision.

As some posters already pointed out, the Emperor did most of his own paperwork. He probably didn’t lick postage stamps on his envelopes because he didn’t need any : a special Corps of Imperial Couriers (Feldegersky Korpus) delivered the confidential correspondance from the Emperor (both within the Russian Empire and abroad) when it couldn’t be sent through the Imperial Telegraph. But he did lick his own envelopes because, as Head of the Court Cancellery Mossolov recalls in his memoirs (available online on the AP site) :

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Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #744 on: March 18, 2007, 05:23:47 PM »
« THE TSAR NEVER HAD A SECRETARY

As God's representative on earth, the Tsar conscientiously and systematically set himself standards to which the ordinary mortal could not aspire.

It is a significant detail, not, perhaps, generally known, that this Tsar of all the Russias never had a private secretary. He was so jealous of his prerogatives that he himself sealed the envelopes containing his decisions. He had to be very busy before he would entrust his valet with this relatively trivial task. And the valet had to show the sealed envelopes, so that his master could satisfy himself that the secrecy of his correspondence could not be violated.

The Tsar had no secretary. Official documents, letters not strictly of a private character, were written, of course, by third parties. Taneyev drew up the 'rescripts' to high dignitaries who were to be decorated. The Minister of the Court prepared the official letters addressed to the members of the Imperial family. The drafting of communications for foreign sovereigns would come within the province of the Minister of Foreign Affairs - and so on.

But there were other things that the private secretary to a sovereign could do - prepare reports, file papers, keep an eye on outstanding matters, receive correspondence, all sorts of things. There was enough of this work to occupy two or three confidential secretaries.

But that was the difficulty. It would have been necessary to take a third party into his confidence, and the Tsar hated to confide his ideas to anybody. (…)

The Empress had a private secretary, Count Rostovtzev; the Tsar had none!

He wanted to be alone.

Alone with his Conscience. »

In other words, Nicholas II wouldn’t delegate even the most menial administrative tasks, because he was a control freak and trusted almost no one in his entourage. The sad result was that he was overwhelmed by petty details and had no time, nor talent, to see the whole picture. Lacking time and expertise, he was unable to effectively coordinate the work of his own ministers.  As Dominic Lieven wrote « policy was decided in face-to-face audiences between the monarch and individual ministers, which made co-ordinated and balanced decisions impossible. »

No he didn’t know shorthand. And no minutes of his private meetings with his ministers, or other officials, were taken! Nicholas II relied upon his exceptional memory…and the long and tedious written reports he received and dutifully annotated. But « he failed to impose his will and strength of purpose on his ministers in a consistant manner ».  As he didn’t have an effective Personnal Secretariat, and no « Chief of Staff », no follow-up on his decisions were made, and often they were lost or distorted by the bureaucracy. « The Tsar felt cheated and chafed at ministerial sabotage of his wishes. Had he possessed energetic and politically mature officials in his Personal Chancellery whose job it was to pursue these documents and try to ensure that they were implemented some of the Tsar’s frustration could have been reduced. In fact not only did he have no real private office but he never even discussed politics with his entourage ».

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Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #745 on: March 18, 2007, 05:25:11 PM »
For a short while, after he complained he didn’t have enough time to read his favourite newspapers in the morning, V. Mamantov (then working at the Military Chancellery) set up a press-cutting service. It didn’t last very long : apparently « malicious gossip at court, many of whose members envied anyone who appeared to be closer than themselves to the monarch and were fully capable of playing on Nicholas’s suspicion that Mamantov’s selections from the press might be slanted to support causes to which he personally was committed. If so this is one example of features often noted in Nicholas, namely his fear of falling into the hands of any adviser, his suspiciousness, his lack of personal friends, and his susceptibility to malicious gossip. The chief executive officer of a governmemt needs to know what the press is saying.» 

As Lieven writes, only for a brief period did Nicholas II had the rudiments of a genuine Personal Secretariat when, in October 1905,  he appointed General Trepov as Commandant of the Imperial Palaces. Although his responsabilities were to ensure the safety of the Imperial Family he quickly became an trusted advisor. As the Tsar wrote to his mother : « Trepoff is absolutely indispensable to me : he is acting in a kind of secretarial capacity. He is experienced and clever and cautious in his advice. I give him Witte’s (the new Prime Minister) bulky memoranda to read, then he reports on them quickly and concisely. This of course a secret to everybody but ourselves. » Trepov functioned precisely as the head of the monarch’s Personal Chancellery ought to have done. He brought assistants to aid him. They prepared excellent comments and notations for the tedious and highly technical ministerial reports. Witte quickly notice it and was quite offended as he thought General Trepov had more influence over the Emperor than himself.

Sadly for the Emperor – and Russia – Trepov died a year after his appointment. Why he didn’t replace him with a similar official – as he now understood the benefits of having a Personal Secretary – can only be explained, in my view, by the fact that, due to his flawed personality, he was unable to find someone else he could fully trust and that would have been able to stand up to the politicians and bureaucrats he so despised and distrusted. As Lieven wrote in another book, «If the Romanovs hoped to prevail in such disputes with their ministers they clearly needed political heavyweights at the court, rather than comfortable personalities such as the stupid amiable Frederycksz and the flatteringly trivial Taneev. The weekness of institutions surrounding the supposed chief executive provides many hints as to the true nature of ‘autocracy’ in late Imperial Russia. »

Had he received independant advice from trusted advisors, he might have been able to challenge his ministers and change the course of events. Isolated, ill-informed, his desk overwhelmed by trivial matters, he was incapable of effectively governing a huge Empire which was emerging as a modern State, even less one at War. No wonder many of his most loyal generals turned against him to save Russia…or so did they think.

Daniel Briere

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #746 on: March 18, 2007, 08:32:55 PM »
strangely, Sen. Thomas J. Dodd. It was procured thru the gentleman's Congressman, and is a USA Govt. Printing Office job. Its "authorities" are strictly "kosher".

My friendly correspondent writes:

"You will find this a very sloppy snow job. The Jews have finally managed to get the Senate Committee to take the Protocols off their backs; they are still hoping to have the Crucifixtion of Christ removed from their backs by coming Ecumenical meetings! Perhap the PROTOCOLS are no longer of much importance since we now have the unexpurgated TALMUD to use. Nevertheless, as a taxpayer, it seems objectionable that tax-money was spent in issuing such a sloppy job of research on a subject about which there is such a vast literature.... One of their authorities cited, John S. Curtiss...is said to have published his impartial study in 1948. I have a copy of his book, "AN APPRAISAL Of The PROTOCOLS Of ZION". . . It was published in 1942, not 1948 . . . He notes that no mention is made of the Appeal decision in the Berne Trial, etc.


If you don't know about Sen. Dodd (father of current senior Senator from Connecticut Christopher Dodd) he was a pretty remarkable fellow, despite some personal problems, most notably with alcohol. He was a leading figure in the Nuremberg trials and a staunch anti-Communist. He was especially angered, as a devout Catholic, on the attacks of the Soviet empire on religion. In 1959 he led the opposition to the American visit of Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev, "the butcher of the Ukraine." He was an equally staunch attacker on anti-Semitism--perhaps as the result of the brutality he had to document in Nuremberg.

In a speech in the Senate in 1960:

"For anti-Semitism is not a specifically German problem -- it is a world problem. It exists both in the free world and in the Communist world, in all those countries where there are Jewish communities and . . . in many countries where the Jewish communities are tiny or nonexistent." In the Soviet Union "there are some 3 million Jews. In a land where all minorities are persecuted, they are the most persecuted of all minorities. They have been victims of a policy that can only be described as physical and cultural genocide."

Dodd had a long record of support for minorities. He helped establish the first Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice and served as its Assistant Chief. His strong views in support of voting rights are articulated in an eloquent speech on the Senate floor, in which he affirmed that "this day . . . marks the opening of a crucial deliberation which will determine whether Congress shall reform through action . . . the unconstitutional system which circumstance, ignorance, and prejudice have erected in several States to deprive the Negro of basic, inalienable rights."

There is the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights and there is a center devoted to him at the University of Connecticut and was attended by such luminaries as President Clinton and Elie Wiesel.

Anti-semitic, ultra-rightwing and conspiracy sites like to trash him and use such canards as the gun control laws he helped pass in 1960s were based on the Nazi gun laws used to suppress Jews. It's ironic that they use a former Nuremberg prosecutor who spent his life in pursuit of human rights for their agenda.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 08:39:00 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #747 on: March 18, 2007, 09:26:45 PM »
... It seems that you have a stronger preference for one secondary source rather be accepting of the primary source to which I offered. Well so be it.

Rather a pity that the Russian Imperial definition for a Stats-secretary to His Imperial Majesty, does not accord with your view as to what the job description should entail.

AND

With regard to Rasputin
, the only influence that this man had was to offer spriritual guidance and conversation about religious issues. Any other considerations are the myths created by others who thought that they knew better. Oh dear, it must be those "reliable" secondary sources again ...  :o

Margarita

... I wasn't aware that Steinberg wasn't a reliable source.  Shame on you for saying that.



I would like to believe that it was not you who was "mocking" Nikolai's work ethic. As for Steinberg's opinion ... that is open for consideration?

Margarita
  ;)

It seems that you have read in to my two statements in the way it was not intended. I never claimed that Steinberg was unreliable.

The "reliable" secondary sources refered to in my comment  concerned a separate series of works which attempted to illustrate Rasputin's alleged influence over Nikolai II.

The reality is that very few individuals who had any real knowledge what that relationship was had published their observations. Those observations are at variance to the secondhand opinions. The latter tend to predominate the book stores and thus have a wider audience.

Trust I have clarified this matter to your satisfaction.

Margarita
  :)


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Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #748 on: March 18, 2007, 10:03:49 PM »
Well, at least one of those close to the situation whose observations were published was Alexandra, and her correspondence to Nicky at Stavka is peppered with "Our Friend says this" and "Our Friend says that". Now, it may be that Nicholas could shrug off Rasputin's direct influence upon governmental and military matters --- certainly Rasputin didn't want the Tsar to take Russia into the First World War --- but the man did have to deal with an hysterical wife, and she influenced him. So in the Six Degrees of Separation, Rasputin is pretty much up there.
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Offline RichC

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Re: Who Betrayed Nicholas II?
« Reply #749 on: March 18, 2007, 10:34:38 PM »
Thank you, Daniel Briere, for an interesting and informative series of posts.  It seems that Nicholas' inability to place his confidence in anybody to carry out even the most basic administrative tasks had very far-reaching consequences.  How ironic that this thread is called "Who Betrayed Nicholas II" when it appears that Nicholas' inordinate fear of betrayal so hampered his ability to govern Russia effectively that it may be one of the very things that brought him down.  What an illuminating thread.