Author Topic: Alexander I and Nicholas I  (Read 16746 times)

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Offline Silja

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2004, 03:09:45 PM »
I must say that it is news to me that the Russian peasant expected Hitler to liberate them from Stalin's tyranny. As far as I know it was only the population of the Western Ukraine that initially greeted the Germans as liberators, but perhaps I'm wrong?

As to Napoleon, I actually doubt the Russians would have welcomed him because they have never actually welcomed any foreign invader. But things might indeed have improved for the people.
But generally, nobody likes liberators who come as conquerors. Napoleon's Code Civil did a lot of good in Germany, and yet, people despised the rule of the French. The same in Spain. There people, too, rallied around their king and fought the French tooth and nail.
And so did the Tyroleans, in vain however.
You cannot force people to freedom. They must choose it and strive for it on their own.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2004, 03:31:06 PM »
The Ukraine was a sizeable section of European Russia in 1941 and not to be discounted simply because they remembered Stalin's enforced famine of the early 1930s and held him accountable for some seven million or more deaths. In fact large sections of the Russian population in Belorussia as well greeted the Nazis as liberators, and would have understandably collaborated with the Germans quite happily, if it had not been for Hitler's racial policy, which ranked Slavs only slightly higher than Jews (the first tests of Zyklon B at Auschwitz were actually carried out on Russian POWs). Most Russians, however, did not know about Hitler's racial policy, because they had been told absolutely nothing about it - thanks to Stalin's censorship, and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which made the Soviet Union best buddies with Nazi Germany. Thus many Russian Jews - especially in the former Pale - were trapped by Hitler's Einsatzgruppen. They didn't know to flee. Thanks to Stalin's disinformation campaign.

It's far too easy to say that people don't want freedom except on their own terms - sometimes, as in Russia in June 1941, the situation is simply so desperate that people will take freedom on almost any terms. Only, in this case, the Russians mistook another, second tyranny for freedom. The worst of two evils, and that was the greatest tragedy of Russia in the twentieth century. Because they had no real choice - except between these two monstrous evils - Stalin and Hitler.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2004, 06:07:22 PM »
Great points Elizabeth and Silja. Very insightful. Why, given the conspiracy between Hitler and Stalin and the pact to invade Poland concurrently from both east and west, does history regard the start of WWII when Hitler invaded Poland rather than when Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland?
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Offline The_Ferret

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2004, 07:48:32 PM »
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Hmmmm. The Russian peasantry also expected to be set free by Hitler's invasion; they looked to him as the liberator from Stalin's terror. But, few tyrants ever make good on any populus expectations of kindness and generosity. There may have been some nuance differences between a Napoleonic-controlled Europe of enslaved peoples vs. the Romanovs, but it seems to me that 200 years of time has somewhat wrongly softened the view of Mr. Napoleon.

Good point. While this is not really the place to talk about it, many russians served under Hitler. Many of them in General Andrei Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army. While its true that Hitler didn't give a dam about the Russian people, it shows how desperate their situation was to serve a dictator who considered you to be racially inferrior.

Its also true that a number of Peasants and Cossaks also supported the Swedish King Charles when he invaded Russia and was defeated by Peter the Great at Poltova (I do not remember what year that was but it was somewhere around 1700). It seems that Peter was so disliked by his own people that many Russians would rather serve under a Swedish King.

Offline Mike

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2004, 03:52:38 AM »
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he had just a short while previously refused to consider reuniting Poland

I almost agree with almost everything Goula has said, but the Polish question was more complicated that that. Napoleon said what he said about Poland's reunufucation at a certain moment of time, under certain circumstances. The war against Russia was still ahead, and Prussia and Austria (both beneficiaries of the previous partition of Poland) were Napoleon's allies and supply bases. Had Napoleon defeated Russia, the situation would have changed dramatically. He would not miss an opportunity to have an easily controllable and thankful Polish state (probably with one of his relatives or marchals on the throne) as a counter-balance and constant pain in the ass for Russia, Prussia, Austria and probably Sweden.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2004, 12:06:43 PM »
Thanks Goula for the needed corrective on Napoleon. Very well said and supported.
HerrKaiser

Offline Grand_Duke_Alexei

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Re: Alexander I
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2004, 09:13:58 PM »
Hey everybody,

I posted this topic under the Imperial Family folder before I read this one, ya'll come check it out.
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Offline kenmore3233

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Re: How would history have changed if Napoleon had
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2005, 12:29:19 PM »
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Interesting to note also, the greatest reforms in Russia always follow military defeat. The Crimean War resulted in emancipation. The Russo-Japanese war resulted in the first Constitution. WW 1 resulted in Revolution. Afghanistan resulted in the fall of communism.


What you're saying about cycles of reform following military defeat in Russian history is true. I would not, however, put Afghanistan in that category.

The relationship between defeat and reform with respect to Afghanistan is the exact opposite of what you describe. Gorbachev's great reforms began independently of Afghanistan, and the Soviet army was pulled out of Afghanistan because of these reforms, and not because of any military defeat.

Afghanistan was just a small sideshow of a war. Not in any way was it comparable to the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, WW1, the Napoleonic Wars, etc.

Further, the Soviet army was not really being defeated in Afghanistan. It generally had the upper hand against the guerrillas.

The problem was that the army would have to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely in order to eradicate the guerrillas, and this long-term reality posed problems for Gorbachev in the areas of international diplomacy and economic reform.

Gorbachev removed Afghanistan from his agenda because it was an impediment to his larger, more important and more far-reaching plans.

Soviet presidents prior to Gorbachev, no doubt, would have kept their army in Afghanistan for decades, or as long as it took to finish war on Soviet terms.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by kenmore3233 »

Offline polignac

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War of 1812 Questions
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2007, 11:24:29 AM »
Why did Napoleon occupied Moscow and not St. Ptersburg, once the second was the capital? And when the invasion of 1812 started, where did Aleksandr I went with the imperial family?

 ;)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 01:26:21 PM by Forum Admin »

Offline vladm

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Re: War of 1812 Questions
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2007, 06:14:52 PM »
Geo location of Moscow, I would say, on the way to St. Petersburg. Napoleon's army consisted of 100,000 infantry, 28,000 cavalry and 590 guns.  Russian (Kutuzov's) army consisted of 72,000 regular infantry, 10,000 semi-trained militia, 17,000 cavalry, 7,000 Cossacks and 640 guns. I would say close call, for the land better for Napoleon, but for the North part of Russia, it would be putting his troops against the Naval Russian defense, plus probably British. So, he probably though with Moscow, he will cut off St. Petersburg from Russian supply of manpower and food, and after some time, he could go to St. Petersburg. That was excellent plan, if he could have several million solders with him. But Kutuzov, as we know, burned Moscow, and pushed him to retread through the same place he came to Russia, what was looted by Napoleon's army. The rest we know.
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Nicholas I and Natalia Goncharova (Pushkin's wife)
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2007, 07:23:10 PM »
It has been said (and is most likely a fact) that Tsar Nicholas I had a crush on Natalia Goncharova, the wife of the famous Russian poet, and that because of this the Pushkins were invited to court, where otherwise they would not have been, and Pushkin himself was even given some lowly court position, so that his wife could attend the imperial balls....Through her connection to the emperor (it was completely innocent on her part), Natalia became well known, even infamous, in society circles.

I think Goncharova is an interesting topic, although there is not that much information about her out there, at least not in English. Perhaps someone with more info on her, and her imperial connection, or any other subject about Mrs Pushkin, can post it here. Thanks!



Natalia Goncharova Pushkina

Offline lexi4

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Re: Nicholas I and Natalia Goncharova (Pushkin's wife)
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2007, 09:04:49 AM »
Helen,
Do you think there is any truth to the rumor that she became Nicholas's mistress after her husband's death?
Lexi
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas I and Natalia Goncharova (Pushkin's wife)
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2007, 09:19:56 AM »
Helen,
Do you think there is any truth to the rumor that she became Nicholas's mistress after her husband's death?
Lexi

I guess anything is possible, but for some reason I don't think so. I think it was only one of those rumors that tend to circulate about someone like Natalia. If anyone has any reliable info about that, please feel free to bring it here. Lexi, where did you read about that? 

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Nicholas I and Natalia Goncharova (Pushkin's wife)
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2008, 01:39:19 PM »
Helen,
Do you think there is any truth to the rumor that she became Nicholas's mistress after her husband's death?
Lexi

If it did occur it would have been between 1841 and 1844. She was a devoted spouse to her second husband Peter Lanskoy whom she married in 1844. I wouldn't be surprised if she enjoyed a flirtation with Nicholas, but I think rumors of an affair were probably just that. When did Nicholas I's mistress, Nelidova, enter his life? If it was prior to 1841 than I doubt there was an affair.

Either way, he clearly did care about what became of Natalia after Pushkin's death.

From "The Cambridge Companion to Pushkin," by Andrew Kahn page 24:

"Pushkin was buried on 6 February 1837 next to his mother in their family plot in the grounds of the Sviatye Gory Monastery. Nicholas I generously took on Pushkin's debts and provided for his family, granting pensions to his widow and daughters and allowances for his sons. He also promised to publish the poet's collected works at state expense for the benefit of Natalia and her children."

I think Natalia has often been unjustly vilified. She strikes me as a bit of a simpleton with horrible judgment, but not terribly promiscuous, just a flirt, rather like Marie Antoinette. I’m not convinced her “affairs” ever went beyond platonic flirting. I don't think she was the scheming harlot some authors contend she was.

Meanwhile, Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès, a perfect pig in my opinion, was deported after the duel with Pushkin. Ironically, after his return to France he became a Senator. He outlived everyone else involved dying in 1895. He was later to almost fight another duel, this time with the critic Sainte-Beuve. What sort of man creates a scandal involving one woman, ruining her reputation and her marriage, and then marries that woman's sister?