Author Topic: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?  (Read 77842 times)

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Alixz

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Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« on: March 01, 2007, 10:54:51 PM »
I have read that comment so many times.  Nicholas and his family are constantly criticized for being wealthy.  They are criticized for spending more on boots that the average Russian earned in a year, or five years of a life time!

Nicholas and his family are not unique.  Not in the past and not now.

Do we criticize our sports heroes for making 10 of millions a year?

Do we criticize or Hollywood and TV stars for making millions on each movie or show?

OK, I know that the people I just mentioned are not the rulers of a country.  However during Nicholas's time, his income was no different and his expenditures no different from any US "robber baron" or European financier or royal.

For the US, those of you who live any where near Newport Rhode Island, should take a trip to see the "summer cottages" of the Vanderbilt's and the other wealthy "cottage" owners who built 75 to 100 room mansions that were used for perhaps two months of the year.

And I believe that the "Breakers" was still in the Vanderbilt family through 1969.  That was not so long ago. (for some of us  ::) ).

Through out history, there have always been the "haves' and the "have nots".  It is probably morally wrong, but certainly not a crime as long as the money was not made in a illegal manner.

I am disgusted by the upside down distribution of wealth to those who play games for a living or for those who simply "look good" in front of a  camera.   And that includes TV news anchors as well as actors who make hundreds of thousands of dollars "per episode"!

I also admit that there are those who are fortunate and who are also philanthropic.  I just wish more of their philanthropy was directed toward the needy in the US and not in South Africa or Darfur.  Not that those causes aren't noble because they are, but we have our own needy and don't they need help, too?

So Nicholas was rich and spent his money on himself and his family.  That only makes him just like every other rich person - royal or not.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 10:56:46 PM by Alixz »

Offline Belochka

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2007, 12:47:11 AM »
I have read that comment so many times.  Nicholas and his family are constantly criticized for being wealthy.  They are criticized for spending more on boots that the average Russian earned in a year, or five years of a life time!

Hi Alixz,

I am intrigued as to who those people are today who criticise the wealth of an Emperor who lived in another era?

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Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2007, 02:58:49 AM »
All to do with jealousy I think Alixz. Sad but true. They see people better of than themselves and they resent it and and some often try and rip them off!!!
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Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2007, 04:36:51 AM »
Well, it is hard to swallow seeing someone living in money while you're hungry, but, you know, jealousy and meanness are like that, you can't help.

In my opinion, there are worse sins to "blame" on Nicholas and his family, if we can blame him.

If his fate was determined by his wealth, I would suggest her majesty Elizabeth II to begin to considering running away while she can ;) (just kidding, please)

Alixz

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2007, 08:24:06 AM »
Belochka,

If you look into any of the threads such as "Who betrayed Nicholas" , or "Is Nicholas really to blame?", or even "The Causes of the Russian Revolution",  you will often find those who include that sentiment in their assessment of why Nicholas was "wrong, evil, inept, or just doomed to abdication and/or death.  There was even something in this part of the forum, in one of the threads under "The People v Nicholas II"  That is why I posted this here.

Kurt,

I almost included the gutting of Windsor by fire and how, when the Queen supposed that the British taxpayers would pay for the restoration, she found out that she would be better off paying the bill herself.  Which to me only makes sense.  She has a great deal of money and could more easily afford the restoration than the general taxpayer.

And I believe it is jealousy.  And it is very hard to be hungry and to see someone else living in luxury.

I also think that there is a view of Nicholas as "entitled" because of his birth status and that he had not "earned" the style of life in which he lived.

Which, of course, is different than say, Bill and Melinda Gates (who are philanthropic).

But the CEO's of various large corporations earn a million times what the workers in their corporations earn. 

Even Al Gore has come under fire, for using an excessively large "carbon footprint" while making a documentary telling the average folk to make their "carbon footprint" smaller.  Is that like Nicholas buying expensive boots when the average Russian has none?

But to suggest that anyone, including Nicholas II, failed as a leader because he was rich, and in hindsight as well, is ludicrous.  Perhaps his wealth shielded him from the harsh realities of the world outside the palace and so we can say that "being rich" didn't allow him to truly see what was going on in Russia. 

But should he be judged as guilty of crimes against the people of Russia for being rich and not giving his wealth away?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 08:26:35 AM by Alixz »

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2007, 09:03:10 AM »
"not giving his wealth away" ??? Do you have any idea how many people were supported by the Emperor's Privy Purse? Every Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of age got their substantial allowances annually out of Nicholas' pocket. Every single employee of every single palace was not only paid a salary, housed, fed and clothed but they and their spouse/children received a stipend for life from the emperor.  Hundreds more were given stipends for services rendered or other charitable reasons.  Museums, libraries, schools and hospitals were build and financed from the Privy Purse.  Who paid the maintenance on every piece of Imperial property, like Livadia, Massandra and Novy Svet?? Somewhere I have just one year's budget for 1897, and as I recall, the sum spent just out of Nicholas' pocket that year was something like 2 million gold rubles, or something on the order of 2 BILLION US$ in modern currency.


Alixz

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2007, 01:12:29 PM »
Thank you FA,

I was waiting for someone to post just that information. 

I started this thread for those who have posted their opinions on Nicholas and Alexandra and their personal expenditures.

I was aware of the privy purse and I knew that Massie has said that at the end of the year, Nicholas would sometimes be almost bankrupt due to the amount of money that was allotted to the expenditures that you have so kindly posted for me.

I have seen posts about "trainloads of flowers" and the "cost of boots" and how Nicholas was guilty for not channeling that money to the poor. And there are those posters who have found Nicholas and Alexandra "guilty" of crimes against the Russian people for buying the boots or receiving the flowers.

I am glad that you took the time to post that for me.  I was getting around to looking it up.   :)


Alixz

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2007, 08:52:05 AM »
I know that this thread has not attracted many posters, but back when I started it there seemed to be many who would bring up the wealth of the Imperial Family, Nicholas and Alix in particular as a fault.

As if being born "in the purple" was a crime against the Russian people and that buying boots that cost more that a peasant would earn in a lifetime was a capital offence.

In every country in the world there are those who have and those who have not.  Anyone of us may spend more on a pair of shoes or a dress or a suit or even an old Romanov collectible or history book than some in our own country can spend on food or medicine.

Did the disparity in Russia show more than in other countries at the turn of the century?  No.  In the US the "Gilded Age" showed us the "Four Hundred" families that Mrs. Astor could fit in her ballroom were wealthier than most of the population.  And Mrs. Astor and the members of those "Four Hundred" mostly likely spent more on the flowers for her balls than the average worker in New York City earned in a life time at the turn of the century.

My intention in starting this thread was not to defend Nicholas and Alix for their spending habits, but to say that how much money they had and how much they spent and how they spent it was not a crime against the people.

Of course it caused jealousy and discontent.  Why wouldn't it?  When the citizens are cold and hungry and are pressing their noses against the windows of a fine restaurant watching wealthy people who are warm and well fed it would cause feelings of contempt for the wealthy and also ferment hatred of those who looked (to the poor watchers) callous and indifferent to their plight.

Many members of the aristocracy in Russia did seem to show disdain toward the less fortunate, but this was also true of the wealthy upper classes in every country at the time.

I have always thought about those poor lady's maids and valets who had to be awake when their employers came home at the crack of dawn to take their wraps and help them to bed when they had little or no sleep themselves.

And to this day, being a chauffeur must be "hell" having to wait for your fare to party all night while you sit with the car.  That goes for charter bus drivers as well.  Just what do they do while waiting for a group of tourists on a day long trip?

Well anyway, I just thought I would add another 10 cents (as eminem once said "my two cents is free). 


Bob_the_builder

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2007, 04:55:03 PM »
I think it is because he is living in giant palaces and is one of the wealthiest men on earth yet the people in his country don't have any food and then he spends money on Fabrege eggs. Just my opinion.

Offline mr_harrison75

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2007, 11:56:02 PM »
Wait wait wait...

I wonder why some people criticise the Tsar for being too rich, when today's governments are in the same position than he was?

It's true that the Tsar was very rich (one, if not the first, of the richiest men of his time), but, although it's true the Russians didn't have much in comparison, it is not true to say that they had nothing to eat. In fact, in the last years of his reign (just before WW1), industry was going well, harvests were bountiful, and the country was on its way back to prosperity (so much that the Bolsheviks were in despair, thinking they had no chance of seizing power).

What killed it is 1- Stolypin's assassination (architect of the reforms, and putting Russia back on the tracks), 2- The Great War and the state of unpreparedness of the Reservists, as well as the archa´c structure of the High Command, 3- The Tsar's decision to command his armies, and 4- When the food supplies didn't reach Petrograd in time, leading to riots and Revolution.

Perhaps the only real prejudice Nikola´ II did to the Russian people was refusing to acknowledge that the autocracy was impossible to maintain, and that it was time to change the absolute monarchy to a constitutional one (perhaps with more power left to the Tsar than, say, the Queen of England today).

Could you imagine how Russia would've fared if the Tsar had done so? I like to think it would be in a much better state than today...

As for the rest, I don't think that Nikola´ II had more blood on his hands than the previous Tsars, or the other governments of his time, for instance, who would sacrifice many millions of lives for a war that resolved nothing, because the second round of the same war started 20 years later.

So, please, don't do like the Communists of the time, who put all the blame to the Tsar: Nicholas the Bloody, Nicholas the Filthy rich, etc. and the same Communists did 10 times worst! See how Russia has a lot of trouble to recover from their rule, even today!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 12:01:25 AM by mr_harrison75 »

Bob_the_builder

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2007, 11:59:58 PM »
I'm not saying the Tsar is guilty for being rich. I'm saying that to the people who were starving in his country after WWI, it probably didn't sit to well that he had so much money when they didn't have anything to eat. I'm not saying it was right, but in their position I may have felt the same way .

Offline Belochka

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2007, 12:25:51 AM »
I'm not saying the Tsar is guilty for being rich. I'm saying that to the people who were starving in his country after WWI, it probably didn't sit to well that he had so much money when they didn't have anything to eat.

The aftermath of WWI was in the hands of the bolsheviks.


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Bob_the_builder

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2007, 12:39:14 AM »
I'm not saying the Tsar is guilty for being rich. I'm saying that to the people who were starving in his country after WWI, it probably didn't sit to well that he had so much money when they didn't have anything to eat.

The aftermath of WWI was in the hands of the bolsheviks.
Whoops. big mistake on my part. I mean "during world war I" when they were starving. ;D

Offline Belochka

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2007, 12:57:31 AM »
I'm not saying the Tsar is guilty for being rich. I'm saying that to the people who were starving in his country after WWI, it probably didn't sit to well that he had so much money when they didn't have anything to eat.

The aftermath of WWI was in the hands of the bolsheviks.
Whoops. big mistake on my part. I mean "during world war I" when they were starving. ;D

It was the bolsheviks who excelled in creating famines causing millions to die.


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Bob_the_builder

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Re: Why do some see Nicholas as guilty for being rich?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2007, 01:01:47 AM »
I'm not saying the Tsar is guilty for being rich. I'm saying that to the people who were starving in his country after WWI, it probably didn't sit to well that he had so much money when they didn't have anything to eat.

The aftermath of WWI was in the hands of the bolsheviks.
Whoops. big mistake on my part. I mean "during world war I" when they were starving. ;D

It was the bolsheviks who excelled in creating famines causing millions to die.

Yes, I agree the Bolsheviks were much worse. But were many people not also starving during Nicholas's reign?