Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Alexandra Feodorovna => Topic started by: investigator on January 28, 2004, 02:49:57 AM

Title: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: investigator on January 28, 2004, 02:49:57 AM
Did Empress Alexandra have an affair with Rasputin?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Forum Admin on January 28, 2004, 10:13:07 AM
Absolutely without question 100% NO.

As I stated in another thread, the reality is that Rasputin and the Empress were never ever once alone together.  There was no way for this as the Empress was never without her body guards outside of the Palace, and we know from Palace records that they were never alone together on those few occassions when Rasputin had an audience at Court.  There is no single shred of genuine fact to support this silly rumor.

These were just ridiculous rumors from the time, which sadly became believed as true because so many people repeated them, and then by totally made up books written in the 1920's by people cashing in on the interest at the time.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sushismom on January 28, 2004, 12:42:25 PM
Even had there been an opportunity, Alexandra was so religious that I don't believe she would have had an affair. She already thought she was unworthy which was why god wasn't answering her prayers about Alexei.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: investigator on January 28, 2004, 08:35:20 PM
The reason why people believed that she had an affair with Rasputin was that she was desperate.  She was also a deeply religious woman but she was also feeling very hopeless.  I dont doubt her sincerity to the Tsar.  She was a good wife and an excellent mother.  Why she was desperate? Because of Alexei.  Rasputin was a immoral man and even if she was not alone with him, just being with him was enough.  It did the damage and Alexandra's already weak reputation was further damaged and those who were against her, it gave them another reason to criticize her. Now what i mean by reputation is the general opinion of the masses, they did not respect her because she was German by birth. Though i too believe that she did not have an affair with Rasputin.  Whatever the truth all this did a lot of damage.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Chris Snyder on January 28, 2004, 08:35:43 PM
Alexandra having an affair with Rasputin?? NO WAY!!  I believe that this was revolutionary propoganda at its best in attempts to embitter the people against the Empress. As evidenced by the many letters of the Tsarina to the Tsar published on the Alexander Palace home page, Alexandra was deeply in love with her husband and would have never  considered such a thing as an affair with Rasputin.  I also believe that Alexandra viewed Rasputin as a purely holy man sent from God to protect her son and husband.  Being as religious as she was, she would have never even considered a physical affair with a man of God. And I highly doubt that Rasputin would have jeopordized his position by encouraging a pyhsical relationship with the Empress.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: investigator on February 01, 2004, 03:19:50 AM
Agreed.  But you cant rule out her believe in Rasputin because her weakness was her son Alexei and Rasputin knew that.  Though i too believe that she did not have a physical relationship with Rasputin but she was influenced by him.  She loved her husband with all her heart.  Rasputin was an evil man and he should've had a horrible death.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: anna on February 01, 2004, 09:32:21 AM
I don't think so, she was deeply in love with Nicky!The Russian writer Edvard Radzinsky thinks she had an affair. Because of some letters they found she wrote to Rasputin. I think you have to see this in the context of the time they lived in. People used different words and looked at things in so many other ways as we do now a days. Alix even wrote to Nicky,( when he was in Stavka)
that she was afraid to invite Rasputin to the palace when he was not there, because of the gossip. What made me think , is the role Ania Vyrubova played.
She adored Alix, but also Nicky. Was she in love with him? And did Alix knew??? Would like to know how you people think about this topic.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Valmont on February 03, 2004, 01:11:21 PM
Ok I agree all of this hate against Alexandra was due to the propaganda against her, She lived a Secluded life in Tsarko selo, I can understand that the people, who did not have much contact with the Royal family, could believe all the gossips, and blame  Alexandra for everything that was happening.
I was reading a letter from Princess Zinaida Yussupova  to her son Felix, and  from the context, I could  get that she also beleived Alexandra was to be blame for what was happening in Russia she said "Nothing can be done unless the book (Rasputin) be destroyed and Valide (The Empress) be tamed".
Now, I know that at a time, Alexandra and Zinaida were friends, so she knew the empress, and The Dowager Empress, Grand Duchess Vladimir and Princess Yussupova Ruled  St. Petesburg's  High Society. and the three of them had reasons to beleive  Alexandra was to be blame too. Could they also be wrong?. Could it be that Also St. Petesburg's High society, and people who had access to the Empireal court was mistaken too??
I find that very difficult to beleive...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: cfaye on February 05, 2004, 12:52:11 AM
Empress Vicky was apparently underwhelmed by Alexandra's charms as a young woman and according to Catherine Radziwill remarked upon the engagement of Nicholas and Alexandra, "Alix is very imperious and will always insist on having her own way, and she will never yield one iota of the power she will imagine she wields; I use the word 'imagine' advisedly because my niece is given to very exaggerated ideas as to her own cleverness and importance"...  It is obvious that there were certain character traits and emotional tendencies formed very early on and by the time Rasputin came along Alexandra was well into hysteria and ripe for exaltation/exploitation.  

(not to mention that it was common at the time to treat the various physical and mental ailments she suffered from with opiates and hashish based teas and oils - lord knows how hopped up she may have been at times and with what results...in fact, Rasputin had given Nicholas hashish tea for his nerves and at the time of his abdication, he was being treated with cocaine for something or other) There obviously came a point where it was just too late for clear thinking.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on May 14, 2004, 12:31:26 AM
I was flipping through some of the Romanov coffee table books I have and a thought occured to me (certainly not an original one, I'm sure).  While MUCH has been written of the genuine, long-lasting, passionate love of Nicholas & Alexandra, their beautiful children and whether or not Alexandra's dislike of her role as Empress and her reliance on Rasputin, etc...contributed to the downfall of the monarchy, I began to think of another thread. Could she have actually (for all their love) have been a bad wife to Nicholas. There were SO many photos of Nicholas with his various family members (Russian, English, Danish, Greek) where he is so happy and relaxed and had such close relationships. While no doubt with his relatively early ascension to the throne his uncle's would've tried to bully him as they did, would family relations have deteriorated so disastrously without Alexandra? She seems to have over the years gradually "weaned" Nicholas from any family contact except their own private circle. She began close to some (ie Xenia) but gradually withdrew, she had her sister there for support and there were certainly many Romanovs she could've brought into her circle (maybe like Mavra?) while forcing Miechen to the sidelines. Visits to Denmark began to peter out (even before the 2nd Queen Louise of Denmark begun to discourage them) and she looks miserable in them. I find this so surprising considering a)she came from a large family mob and b) many of Nicholas's relatives were also her own. She even began to distance herself from her own siblings to an extent. I was surprised upon review to see how few photos after about 1900 there were with family members--they're almost all of the immediate family. Even as early as 1896 Queen Victoria began to notice an unattractive standoffishness in Alexandra during her visit to England. And she made such a bad Empress (and I say this, believe it or not, as a fan of hers)! I know people will say she was shy, etc...but having just read a bio of Queen Mary, I was struck by their similarities in character (and in both having an overbearing, bossy, mother-in-law), yet Mary rose spectacularly to the occasion. Granted England was much more stable than Russia and Mary had more time, but why couldn't Alexandra have done the same? She certainly had a husband who was 100% devoted and doting but she seemed to use this almost against him to nurture the worst in her nature rather than the best. I was also reading some of Minny's letters to Nicholas where she seems excited at the idea of welcoming a daughter-in-law. Yet, instead of reaching out to Minny in her immediate bereavement and understanding the difficulties in suddenly switching from Empress to Dowager, Alexandra seemed to feed her own insecurities of her position and things immediately got off to a bad start. Just think of the success she could've been if the warmth, etc she showed to a select few she could've shown to more and perhaps had tried to take some of Minny's advice rather than regarding her as interferring. I think this all shows a spectacular selfishness on her part that helped lead to disaster for them all. Just my own observations and I would love to hear ALL opinions people have on this. As I said, I am a fan of Alexandra's and maybe that's why this is making me feel so sour--I really think with her beauty and happy family life, if she'd gone about things differently, she had such potential to be such a successful and popular Empress.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on May 14, 2004, 12:49:14 AM
It will take thousands of words to adequately reply to your posting, Grandduchessella! And it's a bit late for me, so I'm going to supply only a few of them.

Alix certainly had an intense personality, shaped both by genetics and by environment. She was shy, and she did isolate--as much as she possibly could. And yes, she could be frosty. But Nicholas knew about her intense, self-conscious demeanor when he married her.  I think the long line of difficult pregnancies, yielding girls only, and then the short-lived triumph of giving birth to a son, followed by guilt, fear and secrecy. . . well, that would be the last straw for just about anyone.

Anyway, there's so much more to be said, but . . . goodnight!


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Merrique on May 14, 2004, 06:46:24 AM
I think that if Alix had had more time to adjust to everything maybe things could had turned out differently.But unfortunately with Alexander III's death Alix was just thrust into the thick of it without any time to cope and get used to her new life.Being the shy person that she was this must have been really hard for her.

I agree that maybe if she had done things differently things might have been somewhat different,but it's hard to say.I really don't think Nickolas being a "weak" ruler had much to do with anything Alix did.He just really wasn't prepared to become Tsar,and I feel most of the fault in that lays with his father.But then no one expected Alexander to die as soon as he did so maybe they thought there was time to prepare Nicky for his future role.But I don't think the blame for this can be put on Alix.

The what if's aren't going to change anything so to me they no longer matter.The only thing I feel I can do as a person is try to understand why Alix did things the way she did,to try and understand her.If I was in her shoes I don't know how I would have reacted or what I would have done.I wish I could go back in time so I can talk to this wonderful lady.So i can know her thoughts and feelings and to understand her as a person.

I think I'm starting to ramble now so I think I'll stop lol. :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarai on May 14, 2004, 07:27:41 AM
I agree that we can feel affection for Alix while also realizing that she was an imperfect human being and did have her faults, without always having to make excuses for her (as tempting as it may be). To reply to your main question, I think that overall she was a very good wife to Nicholas, she was supportive, she was devoted to him, she was his confidante, and she was his best friend. Besides that, she of course also had a deep, everlasting love for her husband.

In my opinion, the worst that could probably be said about her actions as a wife was that in the last years of their lives - i.e. the WWI years - she seems to utterly nag at Nicholas in her letters. She says he should do this or that, he should be stronger and firmer, she doesn't like this or that person, etc. Her advice is constant throughout her letters and this must have exasperated Nicholas at times, for all his patience and love for her, as in one letter he even replied to her with a rare show of annoyance and irritation. I know that she was just trying to help him, but it is annoying to have someone constantly tell you how to act and how to be, when you can't change the way you are, so this behavior is my only criticism for her as a wife.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on May 14, 2004, 11:50:09 AM
When you have your health, you have--if not everything--then quite a lot. After a good night's sleep and the knowledge that an entire nation is not judging me or creating expectations around me, I feel reasonably okay. . . but Alexandra, for all of her priviledges, didn't have it nearly so easy. Moreover, sleepless nights and poor health were only the half of it. Imagine living your life in a fishbowl--not the fishbowl of current times, certainly, but nonetheless in fishbowl around which numerous family members, courtiers, politicos, society types and even the folks watching you ride by in your carriage are all too willing to pass judgment on you.

I agree very much with the previous postings. And here goes the "if" game again, but if the Russian infrastructure--on all levels: political, economic, social, etc.--had been stronger and Nicholas had not been deposed and he and his beautiful family not met such a horrible fate . . . well, you and I might be discussing Alexandra, but certainly with not such fervor. Among Queen Victoria's grandchildren and indeed any of the other royal families of the time were personalities that also could be held up to close and equally critical scrutiny. Beginning with the announcement of her engagement, however, Alexandra has been singled and put on display and review by anyone who could wield a pen/keyboard.  

Yes, she did "nag." But she was a strong woman, and she wanted to preserve the throne for her son. She loved her husband without reservation while at the same time understanding that her strengths were not necessarily his.  Nicholas, in turn, relied upon her strength much of the time, but was also quite capable of listening to his wife and then making his own decisions. It is a credit to Nicholas and Alexandra, separately and as a unit, that in spite of those who tried to lure Nicholas into relationships with other women, he remained steadfastly faithful to his wife.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Silja on May 14, 2004, 02:39:50 PM
I agree that Alix was a "bad" empress but one has to define what bad really means in this context. Her great failure was not to promote herself to the people. It was  absolutely not her character and nature to do so, of course, and this is the tragedy. We all know how she loved the Russian people but they never knew because she did not make it clear to them. Whether one likes it or not, public relations has always been a necessary means to sustain power and to win people's hearts. Unfortunately, Alix never understood this. She was too private a person to be a suitable empress, and in this context, to  unsuited to be the wife of an emperor.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on May 14, 2004, 03:04:36 PM
Well, I guess I've been put in my place.  ;)  I realize it's a touchy subject for a lot of people, especially as she has many fans (and as I said I am one of them). I had just gotten to thinking about things and wanted to get feedback from others on the subject. I love the intensity people have on this board without getting nasty (unlike some boards). I definitely believe she gave Nicholas the best thing a wife can--love. It's just, as I said, so much potential and yet such a bad ending. I believe all her attributes (good and bad) would've been fine if he'd been a younger son or a cousin rather than Tsar (or even an English country gentleman as I think Nicholas expressed once)  but were disastrous in her position. Fate works the way it does though. As people have pointed out, if you put all the "if this, if that's" together you'd go crazy. Too bad the elder Vladimir's weren't the Imperial couple and N&A and their children could've lived a comfortable, stress-free life at one of the estates without all the responsibilities and most of the joys.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Jackswife on May 14, 2004, 03:33:37 PM
 I know Alix has come in for her fair share of bashing, both by historians and "regular folks", but I still think that she was good for Nicholas, and that she loved him and their children unreservedly. Had she been anything other than Tsarina,  I'm sure she would have been the happiest woman alive, even with Alexei's illness.  Her position was not only a strain on her health but also one on her personality, and by the war years she was more or less worn down by life events. Paradoxically, it seems to me that during their last months in Ekaterinburg, she seems to have had a little bit more serenity and equanimity than she had previously. As all have said, history is what it is, but it's still fascinating to ask "what if?" from time to time.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 14, 2004, 10:27:41 PM
Since marriage is between two people, it's only those two people who can decide what makes for a "good" or "bad" spouse. At the time Nicholas & Alexandra were married, most couples felt a "good" wife had no political opinions of her own. Instead, she expressed her husband's view if he was a political man. In this instance, Alexandra would have been considered a "good" wife, because all she did was reflect her husband's views.

Alexandra undoubtedly had both positive and negative attributes as a wife. The proof, as they say, was in the pudding. Nicholas remained happily married to her for the rest of their lives.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: masha on May 14, 2004, 11:32:39 PM
O.K. - & I'm sure that this has already been discussed or pointed out somewhere on this board, but here goes again..... For those of us old enough to have lived through the Lady/princess Diana days from start to finish, there are very obvious parallel lines to draw between the two women - starting with all the hounding from the public and the press - yes, Alix had to run & hide from crowds during her engagement, and let's turn it up a notch when she moves to Russia in adjusting to not only the attention from her subjects, but to the magnitude of courtiers, police, protocol - everything new & by someone else's rule book - namely her mother-in-law's. Let's not forget that for the first months of their marriage, Alix & Nicholas as Tsar & Tsarina lived in a few rooms in his mother's palace, & basically deprived of their privacy & freedom (everything was regulated according to Marie’s schedule - the Dowager even went so far as to order dresses for Alix which she hated.) it wasn't until the newlyweds returned from a brief get-away at the Alexander Palace, that Alix asserted herself by throwing away the wardrobe her mother-in-law gave her & basically did as she pleased.

So what does this have to do with Alix being a lousy wife & Diana's soul sister? Perhaps the fact that they ultimately had so little control over so many aspects of their lives with so many other people in the picture that they ultimately came to behave in ways that ticked many people off.  Except with one big difference - Alix had an incredible husband.

Masha
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on May 14, 2004, 11:58:52 PM
Well . . . let's say Alix had a husband who was more in tune with her!  ;)

To be in that sort of position has to be isolating. Marie of Roumania dealt with it--she loved the limelight--but Diana and Alix had different psychological makeups. They could eventually make peace with the exposure and publicity--Diana, of course, learned to work it--but they both found it threatening.

What I think they particularly had in common was their desire to have their children be socially concientious.

I do think that Alix had a better idea of who she was and what she wanted from life. But both were swimming upstream, and both suffered for it.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Adele on May 15, 2004, 08:58:18 AM
From what I've observed in others around me, it must be very, very difficult, not to say annoying, to be married to a very passive person----in this case, Nicholas. (Of course, there were reasons why he was so passive, but that's for another topic!)

I think this might have been  the reason for all the nagging in those letters that Alexandra sent him.

On the one hand, this passivity might be viewed by others as 'saintly', however Saints are very difficult to live with.

Generally, a passive person resists making decisions.  They wait for someone else around them to make their decisions for them; and if those decisions turn out to have been the wrong course, the person who made the decision (or the person who did all the nagging) is the one who is blamed.


Now Nicholas must have been verbally nagged at by not only Alexandra but by the generals, his relations, etc. If so, he was probably psychologically frozen, by the time WWI came to be.

But those generals, his relations, etc didn't write down every conversation they had with Nicholas, at the time; whereas we have Alexandra's letters .

Can you imagine, being married to someone who can't make a decision, who is totally passive in  this way, and here you have a social situation where you can see clearly what is happening; that the world you know is crumbling around you and you are totally powerless (you are 'just the wife' ) to do anything about it and here is the TSAR!!!!, the one who does have the power to do something.....and he does nothing!

I think we would have done the same kind of nagging if we were Alexandra.  What was her alternative?  She had to try to do something.

As for her other negative traits:  she was an Introvert.  It's just as difficult for an Introvert to become an Extrovert (and thereby please Society; parties, etc)---as it is for an Extrovert to become an Introvert.

I may have mentioned this before, but occasionally my friends try to get me (and Introvert) to attend parties.  I tell them (the extroverts), 'sure, if you promise, first, to sit still in my living room with me, for 2 hours and read a book'.  At that point with the look of horror in their eyes, they usually  leave me alone.


--Adele

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: NAAOTMA on May 15, 2004, 11:35:13 AM
As others have said so well on this thread, who could have been thrown into the situation Alix was plunged into and done well?
In addition, her mother-in-law most likely would have not liked any wife that Nicholas could have chosen. If Nicholas had chosen  a party-happy extrovert who insisted in asserting her rightful place as the leader of high society, the place that the Dowager Empress was intent on keeping for herself, the fur also would have flown. When the Dowager Empress refused to turn over the jewels that are by right the current Tsarina's jewels to wear at state functions it says alot about the welcome wagon that Marie put out for her new daughter-in-law. Marie set a tone, and others at Court followed it. That tone was hardly going to make her relationship with Alix a warm and happy one.
Add to all of the family machinations that Alix stepped into as an outsider and newlywed, her serious & earnest character, her health problems, and the heartbreaking and soul-destroying events in her personal life...what a huge burden to assume and carry for the rest of one's life. And that is just the tip of the iceberg...because THEN comes the official part of one's life, in which fate gave her no breaks...   Melissa K.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: BobAtchison on May 18, 2004, 01:51:06 PM
It has always been my feeling that Americans of the time had a different perspective on Nicholas and Alexandra and treat them with fewer pre-conceived attitudes and judging them on their own merits.

About the Empress Alexandra the US Ambassador Marye writes in 1916:

"After I came the conversation took a wider range and I was much impressed by the Empress' grace of manner and by the extreme elegance and imperial dignity of her presence.  Her beauty, too, impressed me and I had no difficulty in believing the many stories I had heard of her personal charm.  I saw so signs of the extreme shyness which had made it so hard for her to win the hearts of those who came to her as friends or attendants, and rendered it impossible for her to show herself in any numerous gathering as the gracious and kindly woman she ready is.  This same feeling prevented her at the outset when she first came to Russia as the young and beautiful bride of the ruler of the country from captivating the hearts of the entire Russian people who are emotional and ask only to be allowed to love. Her inability to show herself as she really is is one of the great tragedies of current history."

Nearing the End in Imperial Russia - George T. Mayre, 1928
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: NAAOTMA on May 23, 2004, 10:26:20 AM
Thank you for that post, Bob. A part of it also reconfirms the description of her that George Balanchine gave, and Robert Massie quoted in NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA: he described her in the Imperial Box looking exquisite, likening her to a young Grace Kelly in her appearance.

As the late Princess of Wales proved early in her marriage, the public can fall in love with a beautiful royal without that royal saying much at all, while the Royal Family and the Court are shaking their heads behind the palace doors. Alix, and later Diana, have always had my sympathy on that account, and about the fact that their shy natures were an obstacle in the royal role they found themselves in at a very young age.  Melissa K.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: londo954 on May 23, 2004, 10:48:49 AM
AS I have read in various biographies Alexandra's shyness was almost crippling for her. She showed extreme anxiety when appearing in public which to the Russians appeared as being snotty. She was also a part of a new generation of Royals that was emerging all over Europe that want to shake the status quo and that was virtually unsakeable in Russia, Was she not always frustrated by the fact that things were done the same from the times of Peter and Catherine the Great such as her favourite tea. One can only imaging the delight she took at being able to design the Alexander Palace the way she wanted. She was a marked contrast to the previous Empress who like to host the parties and gala balls that kept the Russian aristocracy occupied. She wanted to DO SOMETHING to contribute in a society where aristocratic women were limited on what they could do. Her postition in Russian society was not suited for her as a person I believe.
BRAVO I like the comparison of her with Princess Diana!!!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Angie_H on December 17, 2004, 03:50:54 PM
Many people thought badly of Alexandra because she wanted to be secluded at Tsarkoe Selo with her family and didn't want to participate in court functions. MF loved the balls, etc. but AIII didn't, he tried ending functions as soon as possible (ie. dismissing the orchestra members one by one so only the drummer was left). He preferred staying at Gatchina with his family. If he had lived do you think he would have thought there was nothing wrong with Alexandra's desires since they were somewhat similar to his own?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarai on December 17, 2004, 04:07:29 PM
Interesting question. I think that he may certainly have sympathized with her due to their similar characters, with regards to preferring privacy and home life over partying and socializing. I think men just tend to be more protective and tender towards women, while women can be awfully catty to each other, so going with this idea, ideally he would have helped to curb his wife's gossip against her and perhaps helped balance his wife's view of her and encouraged a friendship between them.

On the other hand, he realized that even though he hated going to gatherings and parties, it was his duty to do so, and he probably would not have approved of Alexandra practically isolating herself from society, at least in the early years before she was so ill. She was also not his first pick as a bride for Nicholas, so I don't know how this would have affected their relationship, at least at first.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Dennis on December 17, 2004, 05:17:30 PM
I think that MF and AF would have had a much better relationship!  MF could have kept her jewels and her royal precedence for some time, allowing AF to get adjusted to Russia, motherhood, and court life.  Nicky would not have been caught between wife and mother because his mother would have still been doting on AIII.  AF would not have needed to be number 1 at court because she would have had more of her husband to herself.

Perhaps too, AIII would have changed Paul's rules of succession as granddaughter followed granddaughter.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarai on December 18, 2004, 01:49:34 PM
Quote
I think that MF and AF would have had a much better relationship!  MF could have kept her jewels and her royal precedence for some time, allowing AF to get adjusted to Russia, motherhood, and court life.  Nicky would not have been caught between wife and mother because his mother would have still been doting on AIII.  AF would not have needed to be number 1 at court because she would have had more of her husband to herself.


Those are good points. Part of the problem with Alexandra was that she was thrust into the role of Tsaritsa so soon, while her mother-in-law had many years before becoming Empress to adjust to her new country and build relationships. Had AIII lived longer, Alix would have had the same opportunities and hopefully have developed a better relationship with Marie.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Angie_H on December 18, 2004, 10:10:08 PM
I guess I asked one of those "What If" questions huh? There are stories of how AIII never educated Nicholas for his future and how Nicholas never seemed interested in learning about it. I think that if AIII lived and Nicholas married Alix she would have made him take more interest in it (just going by her actions of how she goaded him later on).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovFan on December 20, 2004, 08:30:23 PM
I think Alexander III was still alive just before Nicky and Alix got married. I'm not sure, but I don't think he approved of the marriage between them....just as Marie Feodorovna didn't.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga on December 20, 2004, 09:47:58 PM
Yes, Alexander Alexandrovich did meet Alexandra Fyodorovna and approve the marriage. She made a rushed trip from Darmstadt to the Crimea, as Alexander Alexandrovich was dying.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on December 21, 2004, 11:44:57 PM
When Alexandra arrived at Livadia, Alexander III despite the misery of his illness attempted to dress in full uniform in order to receive her. Such was the Emperor's grand gesture to show full respect to his future daughter-in-law.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Teddy on December 22, 2004, 06:20:31 AM
Imagine that Nicolas and Alexandra married and Alexander had survived for 5 more years (miracle). What would be different?

(sorry for my bad English)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: missmoldavite on January 10, 2005, 07:24:40 AM
Hey!
I for one, do not agree with the comparisions with Diana. Nicky and Alex loved each other. A completely different scenario indeed.
Charles was FORCED to marry. And don't knock him or Diana or Alex it's not right, nor is it right to JUDGE another. Lest ye yourself be judged!

I feel quite peeved about it. I better go for a walk!.
Hmmmf!

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 10, 2005, 09:59:45 AM
The comparrison is offensive and as shortsightded as Alexandra was, IMO.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 10, 2005, 12:58:23 PM
Alix was, what psychotherapists would call today "controlling" and "a co-dependent"  ;)  ;D
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Val289 on January 10, 2005, 01:47:10 PM
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For I must confess that I get a bit annoyed sometimes when I get to read the same negative judgements about the Romanovs again and again on this forum. Those judgments are often written down with a certainty that isn't fully justified in my opinion. All we have is written information from various sources. No matter how hard people have tried to write down their impressions of the IF and their relatives in a unbiased way, their impressions are just their impressions and will be biased inevitably. And though we may have information from a large number of sources, all this information together can never replace personal encounters with the people involved. As we will never know them like we know our own relatives for instance, I'd rather not pass a final judgement on them.

And of course, this does not only apply to negative judgements but also to idolizing remarks. ;)




Very well stated Helen.  I couldn't agree with you more  :D
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 10, 2005, 01:53:16 PM
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Those judgments are often written down with a certainty that isn't fully justified in my opinion. All we have is written information from various sources. No matter how hard people have tried to write down their impressions of the IF and their relatives in a unbiased way, their impressions are just their impressions and will be biased inevitably. And though we may have information from a large number of sources, all this information together can never replace personal encounters with the people involved. As we will never know them like we know our own relatives for instance, I'd rather not pass a final judgement on them.
 
 Yes,  this is exactly what I have often said myself. We can only speculate what these people were like based on what others have written about them, and based on their own letters and diaries, which are also subjective. But we will never know anything about them because we will never meet them and know them personally.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on January 11, 2005, 01:15:44 PM
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For I must confess that I get a bit annoyed sometimes when I get to read the same negative judgements about the Romanovs again and again on this forum.

And of course, this does not only apply to negative judgements but also to idolizing remarks. ;)


Well, I always thought the whole purpose of this site was to memorialize the last Tsar and his family, so I too was a bit surprised to read some of the vitriolic remarks about them.  

Quote

Still its a free world too, and everyone has a right to his or her opinion.


Sure, everyone has a right to his or her opinion.  Who wouldn't agree with that?  But when opinions get stated as FACTS, as they were in The Fate of the Romanovs, I get angry too.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on January 11, 2005, 01:58:54 PM
I think this website can be (and is) many things to many people. For some, it is a chance to memorialize the Imperial Family.  Others want to deconstruct the mythology that has grown up around them. Some of us want to voice our opinions, and most of us want to learn. I think all are valid, as long as we maintain a good level of (here's that word again!) civility.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Silja on January 11, 2005, 02:31:14 PM
I think most people on this forum are quite aware of the fact that their judgements cannot be "final". No judgement in history or any scholarship can, but that's the whole idea of it, to see that there are different perspectives. But I think it's not only natural and quite okay but even imperative that one should put forward his or her personal conclusions. Another person will then challenge that view. This is the scholarly game.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 11, 2005, 06:04:05 PM
The thing with history is that it is unprovable, unlike some things in other disciplines that can be proven (physics, chemistry, etc.). There are no absolute truths in history as such, there are only theories based on evidence. We can speculate and come up with theories (aka "tentative" personal conslusions). Hence challenges are absolutely necessary, just like in any other discipline for that matter. Some people see challenges as a very negative thing, and possibly due to personal insecurities they take them as an insult to their intelligence.  But challenges are the basis of  learning, and everyone who wants to voice an opinion  publically must be prepared to be challenged and must be ready to defend his or her theory/opinion.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on January 18, 2005, 10:03:48 AM
      I have to disagree with the "Diana Paralels." Diana was a woman marrying the heir of a western constitutional Monarchy, not an autocratic state. Diana also had the atvantage of being familiar with the language and customs of the English, as she was English herself! (PS I was never a great fan of hers- dead or alive.) Alix did not have these options.
   Alix's negative atributes as a wife may be harder to pin down, as this is a highly charged topic -- What makes a good wife?  Is it Passion or Domestic skills?  Was she a shrew, a Stepford Wife, or a good companion? We are looking from a 21st century perspective at a woman who was proud of her Victorian heritage and much of this judgement can seem purely subjective.
   Alix had certain emotional issues, which were only exaserbated by her position as Empress. This may have made her a poor Empress, but it's difficult to say that this made her a bad wife.

rskkiya
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on January 18, 2005, 02:06:51 PM
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This doesn't mean we have to idolise them or curb unsavoury comments, even if they may be true.


I think this site definitely idolizes them.  Most definitely.  That's not to say I don't like the site or that it doesn't contain a wealth of information.  I enjoy it.  It is what it is and that's it.  Aside from the discussion board, I don't think you are going to find too many comments alluding to A's negative attributes as a wife, mother, or Empress on this site.

It's one thing to make negative comments about A or N and back them up with some evidence.  But I'm just one of those who doesn't like seeing false statements left unchallenged.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on January 18, 2005, 02:16:40 PM
Quote

I think this site definitely idolizes them.  Most definitely.  


   But I don't think that that is what was intended. I was under the impression that this site was meant to be a Historical discussion site.
   Am I wrong? If this is just a worship NAOTMAA site, then I really don't belong here!

rskkiya
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Elisabeth on January 18, 2005, 02:53:54 PM
Quote
The thing with history is that it is unprovable, unlike some things in other disciplines that can be proven (physics, chemistry, etc.). There are no absolute truths in history as such, there are only theories based on evidence. We can speculate and come up with theories (aka "tentative" personal conslusions). Hence challenges are absolutely necessary, just like in any other discipline for that matter. Some people see challenges as a very negative thing, and possibly due to personal insecurities they take them as an insult to their intelligence.  But challenges are the basis of  learning, and everyone who wants to voice an opinion  publically must be prepared to be challenged and must be ready to defend his or her theory/opinion.  


I think I understand what you are getting at overall, Helen, and I agree with the general outline of what you are saying, but I would challenge you on the notion that there are no absolute truths in history whatsoever. There are dates, for example. And there are victors and victims, to give another. I know it's fashionable these days to say that there are no absolute truths in the humanities, but I disagree when it comes to this field at least... if there were not some absolute truths, we would not be able to study history at all.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on January 18, 2005, 06:56:58 PM
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but I would challenge you on the notion that there are no absolute truths in history whatsoever. There are dates, for example. And there are victors and victims, to give another. I know it's fashionable these days to say that there are no absolute truths in the humanities, but I disagree when it comes to this field at least... if there were not some absolute truths, we would not be able to study history at all.


I agree with you Elizabeth. There are also places which provided the venue for those victors and victims to make their stand in history. Absolute truth presumes the telling of no lies.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 18, 2005, 09:28:28 PM
Quote
I would challenge you on the notion that there are no absolute truths in history whatsoever. There are dates, for example. And there are victors and victims, to give another.
 I'll accept that, Elisabeth, although this is not quite what I meant when I was talking about "absolutes". I was referring more to the interpretations we make based on the data available to us, and not the data itself. In some disciplines the conclusions we can make are more "absolute" than in other fields, and the data cannot be "fenagled" (for the lack of better term) as much as in others. I don't know if I am making myself clear, maybe not.

BTW, I am not saying this because it is fashionable to say it, I didn't even realize that it was, I am just saying it because this is the way I perceive it, being very familiar with both discipline types and thus being able to make the comparison between the two... that's all  :).

P.S. This is interesting because I am going to be writing a paper on a very similar subject this semester: how national heritage is 'created' using select historical events and artifacts, in museums of history and anthropology. I just started reading articles about this very thing.  :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Elisabeth on January 19, 2005, 10:08:14 AM
Quote
 I'll accept that, Elisabeth, although this is not quite what I meant when I was talking about "absolutes". I was referring more to the interpretations we make based on the data available to us, and not the data itself. In some disciplines the conclusions we can make are more "absolute" than in other fields, and the data cannot be "fenagled" (for the lack of better term) as much as in others. I don't know if I am making myself clear, maybe not.


I kind of thought that's what you really meant, and I hope I didn't sound too abrupt "challenging" you to clarify... Maybe I overreact a bit because I just got so tired in grad school of hearing some of my fellow academics spout postmodernist catch-phrases such as "there is no such thing as an absolute truth," which sounds like a spurious "absolute truth" in and of itself, only these people had no sense of humor and didn't get the joke. Anyway, point taken and thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Lourdes on January 19, 2005, 04:00:35 PM
Hi I just read your message. I always felt Alexandra was a very depressed woman. Although I am not a doctor, most of her pictures show a Misery. Maybe losing her mother so young affected her. Looking at pictures of her as a teenager, and as an adult woman, one clearly sees a real change of appearance. Alexandra may have loved her husband, but I don't think she was happy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mgmstl on January 19, 2005, 09:03:46 PM
No I think A.F. was far from a happy person.  She sounds more of a depressed person to me, and most of it seemed to be of her own making.  She probably was the wrong wife for Nicholas, and definitely emotionally unable to deal with the demands of the position of Empress Consort to the Tsar.  While I admit what happened to her during the early years of her marriage can be laid at the feet of the Empress Dowager, & her court.  

Many of her pictures show a person who never smiled, or looked anything but melancholy.  As her cousin Marie Louise told her (I am paraphrasing here) "You always play at being sorrowful, one of the days the Almighty is going to send you some real sorrow then what will you do?"  I think this melancholy was ingrained in her personality, she was a sensistive child who probably felt her Mother's death keenly, and was never the same outgoing child afterwards.  Perhaps growing up around this constant pattern of death & mourning affected her,
but she was definitely NOT a happy person.  

It is sad, because she probably had a great deal to offer a person as friend.  While not one of her "FANS" or or a "FAN" of any of the I.F.'s, I find that I have sympathy for her, and feel that she was given a worse reputation than she deserved.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on May 28, 2005, 11:39:48 AM
What were Alexandra's positive characteristics and what were the good things she brought to Russia.
One thing that comes to my mind is how dedicated she was when taking care of the wounded soldiers during the war. She did so despite her own health problems and with great kindness.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on May 28, 2005, 05:34:43 PM
    I will grant only that Alexandra was very good at administrating and creating ad hoc hospitals - she was instumental in organizing up to 87 (as I remenber).

   However as a nurse she was not really reliable. Her own nervous condition often kept her from performing any consistent nursing work.

rskkiya

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on May 28, 2005, 05:39:24 PM
I don't really agree, rskkiya. I think she was a very good nurse who overcame her own troubles in caring deeply about her patients & she succeeded in performing the most unpleasant & menial tasks in hospitals. (E.g. assisting in amputations, which is very difficult even for people who do not suffer from 'nervous troubles' :-/)

Also she took care to reassure the families of the wounded soldiers, writing personally to their mothers with deep empathy as the mother of a suffering son.

Had she not been Tsarina, she might well have been a wonderful nurse. As it was, she had many other responsibilities to deal with at the same time & it was these, rather than her 'nervous troubles' which distracted her from her nursing work.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on May 29, 2005, 09:53:54 AM
Bluetoria
    She was a fine and caring person and had good intentions - but her own personal problems made her carreer as a nurse inconsistant. Had she not suffered from nervious complaints and exhaustion, she might have been of greater help... Although running and supplying numerous hopitals and 'proto mash units' (sanitary trains) is certainly no small work. In triing to do everything she limited her ability to do somethings very well.

rskkiya
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on May 29, 2005, 06:11:48 PM
Or, maybe not!  :)

Alexandra's legacy is undoubtedly a mixed one. And when talking about it, the "if" factor begins to predominate. "If she hadn't been so shy, "If her son hadn't been hemophilliac," "If the family had been exiled to the Crimea" . . . and so forth.

Whenever a beautiful, prominent, and young (or comparatively young) woman dies under tragic or mysterious circumstances, a certain amount of romance and/or mythmaking attaches itself to her, i.e., Mary Stuart, Eva Peron, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Marie Antoinette, Amelia Earheart, Cleopatra, Princess Kaiulani, etc. The tragic/mysterious circumstances are, I think, the critical factor; we admire certain women such as Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Marie Curie, Lillie Langtry, and Eleanor Roosevelt, but their deaths came much later in their lives and were not as sudden and/or unexpected.

Alexandra was controversial in her own lifetime--amongst her family, as well as her subjects--and remains controversial to this day. But most will agree that she was serious, well-intentioned, conscientious, loving, and idealistic. Moreover, she was one of Queen Victoria's most beautiful granddaughters--a "Cinderella" who married the handsome prince--and beyond the wealth and splendor, she and her prince loved each other, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, through sickness and through health.

These days not too many couples of any station can claim that type of staying power.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on May 29, 2005, 06:36:26 PM
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Or, maybe not!  :)


Whenever a beautiful, prominent, and young (or comparatively young) woman dies under tragic or mysterious circumstances, a certain amount of romance and/or mythmaking attaches itself to her, i.e., Mary Stuart, Eva Peron, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Marie Antoinette, Amelia Earheart, Cleopatra, Princess Kaiulani, etc.

So if Alexandra appeared ugly or deformed prior to her demise -- then we would not care about her?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on May 29, 2005, 06:45:12 PM
Certainly her beauty added to her mystique. But more than that was the devotion she and her husband had for each other, which continued on even as her looks began to fade.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on May 29, 2005, 09:38:21 PM
I agree Janet. They did remain devoted even until death. That has to mean that they were very good at communicating with one another imho. I also call to mind (I think I read this is Massie) the story of the soldiers during captivity in Tsarkoe Selo I think. Massie wrote about how she won over the guards, how they grew to see her in a different light. That to me indicates that she although she was shy, her warmth and compassion came through in one on one or small group interactions.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: hikaru on May 30, 2005, 12:23:56 AM
She gave birth to the 5 beautiful children who were able to be used as the commercial of the IF .
Children were cute and photogenic so Nicholas could raise the prestige of his family by selling a lot of the photo cards .
As far as I understand , she spent more time with the children than other Empresses before her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on May 30, 2005, 12:43:28 AM
Good point hikaru and good to see you.  :)
She was a good mother. I didn't know they tsar sold postcards of his family for income. Are there any of those still around?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: hikaru on May 30, 2005, 05:44:25 AM
I do not think that they were selling the post cards for incom. just for propaganda.
A lot of the photos from such postcards now we can see in this web site.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on May 30, 2005, 06:16:34 AM
Like Marie Antoinette, Alix was very much a victim of slander which seriously damaged the public perception of her - the perception, that is, of people who didn't actually know her. People who witnessed her kindness were amazed by her gentleness and genuine concern.
She tried hard to establish many charitable groups & to engage the aristocracy in useful occupations that would be beneficial to the people. Time & again her efforts efforts were thwarted by the aristocracy who simply couldn't accept her philanthropic outlook. Had they, instead, offered support, Alix might have been seen as a great Tsarina.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on May 30, 2005, 06:56:14 AM
I found some quotations from Anna Vyrubova which support what I just wrote!!

"The Empress possessed a heart and a mind utterly incapable of dishonesty or deceit, consequently she could never tolerate it either in other people. This naturally got her heartily disliked by people of society to whom deceit was a matter of long practice..."

"One of her early projects was a society of handwork composed of ladies of the Court and society circles, each one of whom should make with her own hands three garments a year to be given to the poor. The society, I am sorry to say, did not long flourish. The idea was too foreign to the soil."
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: BobAtchison on May 30, 2005, 05:20:18 PM
Her life was totally dominated by her love for her husband and her children.  The fact that he was Tsar was just his 'job'.  Had he been an officer or a shopkeeper she would have been the same person and had the same priorities.  Her number one goal in life was to create a wonderful home for her family and keep them protected and safe.  She believed in a personal God who loves each one of us - in His ultimate goodness and involvement in each and every event of our lives.

The seriousness she brought to her responsibilities is very much like her her mother Alice and both of her grand parents.

Bob
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on May 30, 2005, 07:26:40 PM
Well, I believe Aleksandra wasn't all that good looking. She was pretty when she was younger, but she aged quickly. Some good things about her: She seemed like a wonderful mother and wife.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on May 30, 2005, 11:07:04 PM
I have trouble pointing out 'good' qualities with Alexandra--she was just way too complex for me. I'm a simple person.  :)  For every one I came up with I could find a 'yes but' side to it. I will say that she was a spiritual person who I don't think did anything through malice or ill-intent and that she, moreso than many of her era and station, didn't care for the ostentatiousness that went along with it. I've always thought that she and NII would've been much more successful as constitutional monarchs like GV was--without the weight of being an absolute ruler and able to devote more time to the charitable endeavors one saw in the UK.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on May 31, 2005, 05:17:18 PM
grandduchess,,
I agree that they would have been more effective as constitutional monarchs. I think they were both in way over their heads.
I would be interested in knowing the things you think about and then say yes but. Might enlighten me.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 16, 2005, 10:58:44 PM
I don't think it's fair to say she was ineffective or unreliable as a nurse.  There's a letter from her to Nicky during the war describing some pretty horrific injuries to soldiers she was caring for.  She didn't seem to flinch - just dealt with the most gruesome things ever.  That takes strength.
As for other positive characteristics:  she was loyal (perhaps to a fault), nurturing to her friends, passionately in love with her husband and he with her, a good mother, practical in many ways, deeply spiritual, and an avid reader.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pinklady on June 17, 2005, 05:00:29 AM
In the Crimea where they built their holiday house there were heaps of hospitals for tuberculosis patients, and Alix always went to visit the patients and  she took her daughters with her. She said of taking  the girls with her, "They should realise the sadness that lies beneath all  this beauty" or something along those lines. Apparenty  she founded 2 of the hospitals herself and that was way before the 1st World War.
She sold her own needlework every year to raise funds for her hospitals. She and her daughters worked hard making things  themselves to be sold, and then the whole family worked at the stalls selling the items for charity.
That shows she was a caring person and was teaching her daughters to look around them at others less fortunate than themselves. :D
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Val289 on June 17, 2005, 10:01:52 AM
 There are so many other threads here that deal with Alexandra's negative aspects, it's nice to see one that deals with her more positively ;)

Certainly, Alexandra had her share of faults - no one here would deny that.    However, I think she had some great qualities about her too.   On a personal level, she was utterly devoted to her husband and her family.  It seems like she did her best to make life comfortable and safe for them - to the best of her ability, that is.  She was certainly giving and generous in her charitable acts, and she passed those traits along to her children.  She was quiet yet compassionate, and I believe that she possessed a great deal of warmth underneath her sometimes aloof exterior.  She was certainly a woman of complexities, which makes her all the more human to me.  I also admire her spirituality and faith, during times which were trying to her soul.  Certainly her beauty adds to her mystique and appeal, as well.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Marialana on June 18, 2005, 02:03:14 PM
Maybe I'm in the minority, but Alexandra has always been the Romanov that I've identified with & understood the most. I've always thought her positive traits have been unfairly overshadowed by her flaws.

From what I can see, Alexandra was the kind of woman that felt everything to the core. When she loved, she loved from the depths of her soul. What she despised, she detested just as equally. She may have made judgment errors & mistakes, to be sure, but they came from her heart and without fakery or deceit. I admire that immensely.
Much has been made of Alexandra's physical weakness, and emotional ups and downs. IMO, however, she was an incredibly strong woman. She dealt with the den of vipers that was Petersburg society in the only way she could have - sealing herself off from them & creating a nest at home in which she could be herself. She never tried to be something she wasn't - she adapted her life and the life of her family to protect them all from a vicious, trite society life.
Her compassion and warmth was real,and she exuded these qualities while trying to help in the hospitals in WWI. She witnessed some horrible things while tending to soldiers - something she never had to do - and did it without flinching. When she knew or felt that something was her duty, she went about it wholeheartedly despite anyone's ill-will or negative opinion of her.
Those are a few of the things I find admirable in Alexandra.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Abby on June 18, 2005, 07:27:58 PM
Well said, Marialana! I agree, I think Alix would have a difficult time being fake or hypocritical. She always acted upon her beleifs, and had a hard time hiding her feelings (she probably passed this trait onto daughter Olga)!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 19, 2005, 06:23:22 AM
Quote
Problem:  hypocrisey is not deliberate.  Alexandra was hypocritical (aren't we all, in some area or another?).  


In what way was she hypocritical? I would have thought that that was one accusation which could not be levelled against her. She made no show of pretending to like people she didn't like, nor to be enjoying something she did not enjoy. I would have thought that one thing which must be said in her favour is that she was totally sincere in all she did & acted according to her own beliefs (whether or not they were sometimes misguided).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pinklady on June 19, 2005, 07:31:20 AM
I have thought about this, and maybe Alix was hypocritical because she was such a "religious person" and yet she suffered from anti - semitism. A truly religious person would never want to discriminate against their fellow man because of religion, race or colour.
Just my thoughts. :-/
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 19, 2005, 07:37:00 AM
I don't think Alix was anti-semitic...she wrote to Nicholas asking for help for Jewsih people.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 19, 2005, 07:41:13 PM
Bluetoria
I MUST DISAGREE!
If Alix was not anti semetic then why did she read The Protocals Of Zion and The Great in The Small two notorious works of anti semetic propaganda!


rskkiya
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Robert_Hall on June 19, 2005, 07:57:49 PM
To be fair, Rskkiya, I have read Mein Kampf, but am not a Nazi nor anti-Semitic. I will agree that this is probably not the case with Alexandra, but, just to play devil's advocate...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 19, 2005, 08:11:45 PM
She commented in her diary on how correct and insiteful these books were !
That's anti semetism!

rs
CORRECTION AS OF 6/26/05
Nicholas make this comment not Alix!
Please see The Complete Wartime Correspondences for information on Alix and antisemitism

rs
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Robert_Hall on June 19, 2005, 08:16:31 PM
Yes, of course you are correct.  Hey, I am not a defender of the woman ! Perhaps she was just not intelligent enough to discern what she was reading ? She had some pretty "individualistic"  ways of expressing her religion, and was most likely fed this stuff by those who would exploit her to serve their own prejudices ?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pinklady on June 20, 2005, 05:01:27 AM
She embroidered BEAUTIFULLY.....
and played the piano and sang with a very pretty voice, however this used to make her nervous as she was naturally very shy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 20, 2005, 06:11:49 AM
Quote
Bluetoria
I MUST DISAGREE!
If Alix was not anti semetic then why did she read The Protocals Of Zion and The Great in The Small two notorious works of anti semetic propaganda!

You are quite deluded by suggesting that she was not anti semetic.
rskkiya

Rskkiya, please could you give the exact quotation which she wrote in her diary about these books?

Even if she said they were 'insightful' or something similar it does not necessarily mean she agreed with everything that was written. Like Robert, I have read books about Nazism' old Church texts condemning 'pagans' and even Protestants - & have commented afterwards that I found them fascinating to read - NOT because I agreed with what was written but because it was fascinating to understand the thoughts of other people.

Also, reading a book or making a statement is not indicative of her anti-semitism. Words mean nothing unless they are supported by actions. Do you have ANY evidence of Alexandra showing any prejudice to Jewish people? The evidence I have found is of her visiting Jewish soldiers and writing to Nicholas asking for help for them....Actions speak louder than words.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 20, 2005, 05:55:29 PM
The quotes can be found in her last Diary (printed rather recently) which unfortunately I have returned to my library... but I will be happy to check the text out again and print all the information here.

As I have stated before, Alix was quite good at sponsoring, supplying, organizing and running various ad hoc hospitals during the war. This work was something which she managed quite well and was in my opinion  far more useful than her attempts to be a "nurse" which due to her poor physical and emotional health she was  not able to be entirely reliable.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: koloagirl on June 22, 2005, 03:29:50 PM

On another post in the "Alexandra's clothes" thread...a
very insightful poster (Griffh) said and I quote:

"the thing about Alix is that she is totally exposed, her most intimate thoughts, her weaknesses, her strengths, her most private affairs as a woman, her greatest moments of beauty, her most tragic moments of disillusionment and defeat, and still she stands as a woman of heroic proportions in spite of her mistakes and this is perhaps because of the fact that she was never acting a part but was genuinely being herself and striving to live up to her highest concept of what was right."

This is one of the most insightful and lovely posts about Alix IMO that I have ever heard -- it reflects exactly the way I feel about her -- but I don't have the wonderful ability of this poster to express it.  

I know that Alix was a product of her times and circumstances, hence the intolerance noted.....but having said that, I still think that she did the best she could and was always true to herself.

And thank you Griffh for having said what I could never put into words so well!
 :)
Janet R.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 22, 2005, 06:40:22 PM
Quote


"the thing about Alix is that she is totally exposed, her most intimate thoughts, her weaknesses, her strengths, her most private affairs as a woman, her greatest moments of beauty, her most tragic moments of disillusionment and defeat, and still she stands as a woman of heroic proportions in spite of her mistakes and this is perhaps because of the fact that she was never acting a part but was genuinely being herself and striving to live up to her highest concept of what was right."

This is one of the most insightful and lovely posts about Alix IMO that I have ever heard -- And thank you Griffh for having said what I could never put into words so well!
 :)
Janet R.


I agree, Janet. It is a beautiful post; again showing griffh's wonderful insight.  :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 06:34:47 PM
I wouldn't say so.  First of all, she wasn't out in public enough to be seen as a role model for anything!

Secondly, I think she ordered her gowns once or twice a year, caring a lot about what was comfortable for her, rather than what was eminently fashionable.

She was well-dressed, though.  I just don't think that people wanted to emulate her style.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sunny on June 23, 2005, 08:32:48 PM
Quote
The quotes can be found in her last Diary (printed rather recently) which unfortunately I have returned to my library... but I will be happy to check the text out again and print all the information here..


I have that diary, and don't recall it containing anything of an anti-Semitic nature.

Sunny
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 09:43:27 PM
Alexandra read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and several other antisemitic booklets and responded positively to the opinions therein.  

<shrug>  It's in her diaries and also in some letters she wrote.  I don't have the exact cites, but it's in there.  

There really is no disputing that the entire Romanov clan was antisemitic.  There's a whole thread on that topic elsewhere that you can consult for evidence and discussion.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pinklady on June 23, 2005, 09:55:36 PM
It was not Rskkiya that first mentioned anti semitism. It was stated Alix was perhaps hypocritical by a poster, then another poster asked WHY?? and I thought about it and answered she was religious and yet anti semetic so therefore I considered that to be hypocritical.
Fair enough??
Alix was not raised as an anti- semite but Nicholas was.
The Romanovs were anti -semetic in general. (but obviously some were not)
And so Alix came under the influence of her husband as wives in that era tended to become more so than today.
Rasputin was not anti- semetic and Alix was under his influence and so she came to see the Jews differently especially after the outbreak of WW1.
That was when she saw them more sympathetically.
Anti - Semetism was rampant throughout the reign of Nicholas and Alix. It is not their fault, the Romanovs, Russia and Europe all suffered with this problem. Nicholas was raised in its midst.
In Nicholas day he was not considered overly anti-semetic but by todays standards he was and so is Alix. Remember we are judging them by our own modern standards of political correctness.
There were different values then.
Nobody is perfect, not even Alix. During the Japanese war Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna spoke badly of the Japanese and she was only a little girl very much under the influence of her mother and father.
Alix was guilty of anti semitism and racism, millions of people were. It was the times and the era they lived in.

Nobody is perfect, no need to bounce on the odd criticism of her, she had many more finer points, such as her charities and her efforts during WW1 and she taught her daughters in the end better than how Olga spoke as a small child in 1905.
Alix was just human after all and all humans make mistakes, could we say she adjusted her thinking of the Jews in later life??




Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 10:00:06 PM
Well, I agree that she pitied Jews later on.  I don't think she ever came to the conclusion that we didn't kill Jesus or that we aren't some sort of evil cabal trying to take over the world.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 23, 2005, 10:11:27 PM
While looking for something else from Alexandra's diaries, I encountered an entry from April 1918 in which Alexandra said Nicholas had spent part of the day reading to them from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This is how they were entertaining themselves three months before they were killed.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 24, 2005, 08:55:06 AM
Well, if we're not supposed to judge leaders in history, I guess that rules out criticizing Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceaoucescu, etc.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 24, 2005, 10:48:30 AM
Griffh wrote that Alix was 'trying to live up to her highest ideals & concept of what is right.' The anti-semitism aside (since apart from the fact that she read the Protocols, I have yet to see any evidence of it!) as a positive trait, I think griffh is spot on. Alix did have high ideals of morality & fidelity & she maintained them in spite of the mockery of the Court. She also, as I wrote before, went to great lengths to encourage the aristocracy to become involved in meaningful work, which would benefit the people, & she donated large sums of her own money (anonymously!!!) to those in need.
She took time to write individual letters to the mothers of wounded soldiers. She CARED about the people....even if sometimes her actions appear misguided with hindsight.

Rskkiya, there is no need to send me your evidence of her anti-semitism privately. If such evidence exists, please post it so we call all see it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 24, 2005, 11:12:35 AM
Quote
She also, as I wrote before, went to great lengths to encourage the aristocracy to become involved in meaningful work, which would benefit the people, & she donated large sums of her own money (anonymously!!!) to those in need.


I find knitting sweaters for the poor, while striving to deny them any voice in how they are governed, to be a rather limited approach to charity.

Likewise, I am not impressed by her donations of "her" money.  She had the free use of palaces galore.  She had an enormous wardrobe that required a staff of maids to maintain.  She sailed on the world's most luxurious yacht and travelled by private train.  She had entire churches built so that she could worship more conveniently.  She could use the world's largest collection of jewels at will.  Her family was coddled by an extended household staff of 17,000.

My Lord, if she hadn't turned some of her vast resources to charitable purposes, she would have been a monster.  In my view, charity does not begin until one truly denies oneself something they desire.

I've seen nothing to indicate that Alexandra's devotion to charity rose to even remotely saintly proportions.  It only looked good next to the ghastly standards of the St. Petersburg beau monde.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 24, 2005, 11:45:38 AM
I'm not claiming she was a saint because of her charitable works only that she did think of the welfare of the people. It is a difficult argument comparing the vast amount of resources she had, to what she actually did. It would probably, however, have been impossible for her to do as Ella did (Ella who caused such a scandal by giving away her wealth!!) As Empress, she had no choice in which palaces came with the job. I don't think she clung to these things, rather that she was landed with them. What could she have done? Donated all the palaces to the poor - there still would have been poor people. She did what she could for a few. It surely deserves some recognition. And yes, she certainly was more caring than the 'beau monde', which in itself brought her criticism rather than good will.

BTW do you really think one can only be charitable by denying one's self something? Had she done that, no doubt, shewould have been accused (as Ella was!) of making a martyr of herself. I just think she couldn't win, really.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 24, 2005, 12:02:40 PM
Actually, I don't really care what she did or didn't give to the poor.

My real beef with Alexandra is that she came from one of the most politically- and socially-englightened royal lines in Europe and, landing in Russia, became one of the most ardent supporters of an outmoded autocracy that sought to deny everyone participation in how they were governed.

Not even the resources of a tsarina could have made a noticeable dent in the low living and educational standards of the Russian masses.  Their real chance of relief lay in an evolution toward a more participatory political system, and Alexandra sought arduously to deny them that.

Much better to be sole proprietor of the table from which all crumbs drop than to let others share the table with you.

By the way . . . I like Ella.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on June 24, 2005, 12:30:23 PM
Quote
My real beef with Alexandra is that she came from one of the most politically- and socially-englightened royal lines in Europe and, landing in Russia, became one of the most ardent supporters of an outmoded autocracy that sought to deny everyone participation in how they were governed.
 


Yes, I agree it is rather a paradox to think of where she came from, & how her views developed. All the same, I think that she was trying to fit into the Russian culture where the Tsar was viewed almost asa god. I believe she saw it as her duty to maintain this.
A different character might well have dealt with all this very differently - Princess Alice, perhaps?? But I think it would have taken someone as strong as Catherine the Great to make a real difference.
Even Ella, as a long as Serge was alive, seemed to support the autocracy as it stood & the reason for this was, imo, that she & Alix had been told by QV that their first duty as wives was to support their husbands. This Ella did & only after Serge's death was she able to expand her own ideas & show the results of her liberal upbringing.
Alix, likewise, I think, felt her first duty was to support Nicholas in his God-given role (as he believed) as autocrat.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 24, 2005, 03:24:20 PM
Well, Tsarfan, there is a case of a Princess who came from an enlightened royal family, married into the royal family of a country with an authortarian government, and did all she could to bring about a liberal constitutional democracy in that country.  

She was Princess Victoria of Great Britain (Vicky) who became Empress Frederick of Germany and the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm.  Despite her best efforts and intentions, she utterly failed to accomplish any of the goals she sought to achieve.  Although her intentions were highly laudable, she probably inflicted more damage than good.  There's an excellent biography of her by Hannah Packula, An Uncommon Woman -- I read it years ago and couldn't put it down.

Even if Alexandra had shared her aunt's liberal ideals or posessed her level of brain power, I'm not sure she could have accomplished much in Russia.  Moreover, I'm sure Alexandra took heed of what happend to her aunt.

This isn't directed at you, Tsarfan, but I'm really perplexed at the rabid hatred some people on this board display toward Alexandra Feodrovna.  It really is way out of proportion compared to some of the other characters in the last days of imperial Russia.  It really reminds me so much of the RABID hatred some freaks in the United States feel today toward Hillary Clinton.  You would think these people cook and eat small children for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the way people foam at the mouth about them.  Ditto the way some Brits feel about Queen Elizabeth -- I'm just amazed at the level of hatred directed at the royals, especially by the British media.

Look at Felix Youssopov, folks.  Now there is someone who is truly lower than scum.  He was a filthy, scum sucking pervert (and I'm not talking about the gay stuff or cross-dressing) and cold-blooded murderer to boot.  And please, don't feed me any crap about how he killed Rasputin for the good of Russia.  He did it for kicks and he knew he would get away with it because of who he was.  He was Russia's Leopold and Loeb.  But of course he was a man and it's ALWAYS the women who come in for the most criticism and singular hatred by both men and other women.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 24, 2005, 03:31:45 PM
Yes, of course you are right.  Feelings about all of the Romanovs, individually, are very passionate.  Extreme, in many cases.

However, I don't loathe or despise Alexandra.  I admire many things, most particularly her ability to love deeply, loyally and passionately.  I admire her spirituality, although I don't like where it took her.  She was a better mother than some royals, who rarely saw their children except, perhaps, at tea time and right before bed.

I just find many of her actions to be appallingly bad.  Even though she did it with the absolute best of intentions.....

I have to say, though I am a Democrat, I don't care for Hillary, either.  I woudln't vote for her for President.  But I don't like the way she is portrayed as evil, either.  To me, she's just a person who isn't very genuine.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 24, 2005, 03:48:16 PM
Empress Frederick is an interesting comparison, but her situation was quite a bit different.  Her husband actually shared her liberal tendencies and, as a result, Bismarck -- perhaps the most consummate politician of the age --  maneuvered both Frederick and Victoria into a political shutout during the life of Wilhelm IV.  By the time Frederick ascended the throne, he was already terminally ill with throat cancer, and his reign lasted but a few months.  And Bismarck had made sure to drive a wedge between Wilhelm II and his mother, in a vain attempt to extend his hold on the monarch into the next reign.

The Hillary Clinton comparison is perhaps apt up to a point.  In fact, I'm a fan of Hillary and think the hysterical shrieking about her purported influence over her husband was just that -- hysterical shrieking.   And mysogynistic as hell, to boot.  I cannot believe the very people who were lambasting her influence as an "unelected official, responsible to no one" are the very people who think Karl Rove (likewise an "unelected official, responsible to no one") is the cat's meow.

But I truly believe Alexandra was a different case.  First, her husband was notoriously weak-willed and short-sighted.  Second, neither Victoria nor Hillary were prone to take advice from mystics with which they then assailed their husbands.  Third, neither Victoria nor Hillary were of questionable emotional and mental stability.  Fourth, neither Victoria nor Hillary would have encouraged their husbands to pull back in isolation from the challenges of their tenures.  Fifth -- and most important -- neither Frederick nor Bill left their wives in charge of the government while they were occupied elsewhere.

For that last reason, if for no other, Alexandra invites an analysis of her competence to be a central figure in the government of Russia.


P.S.  I know some will retort that Nicholas was still really running the government by staying in close touch with Alexandra.  However, he instructed his ministers to make their reports to her.  That meant that no minister could be sure Nicholas was getting all the information the minister intended, but only that which Alexandra chose to pass along -- usually with her own commentary.  It's the classic case of the real power coming to rest with the gatekeeper of the information and the reason the White House Chief of Staff has often been the most powerful job in Washington.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 24, 2005, 06:46:37 PM
Well thanks, folks.  Thanks for indulging me.  I don't want to sugar coat Alexandra, white wash the damage she did or try to quash a reasoned analysis of her legacy.  I'm just making a plea for some perspective here.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 24, 2005, 07:33:42 PM
Quote

Even if Alexandra had shared her aunt's liberal ideals or posessed her level of brain power, I'm not sure she could have accomplished much in Russia.... but I'm really perplexed at the rabid hatred some people on this board display toward Alexandra Feodrovna.  It really is way out of proportion compared to some of the other characters in the last days of imperial Russia.  It really reminds me so much of the RABID hatred some freaks in the United States feel today toward Hillary Clinton.  You would think these people cook and eat small children for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the way people foam at the mouth about them.  Ditto the way some Brits feel about Queen Elizabeth -- I'm just amazed at the level of hatred directed at the royals, especially by the British media.

 And please, don't feed me any crap about how he killed Rasputin for the good of Russia.  He did it for kicks and he knew he would get away with it because of who he was.  


Umm RichC ...?
   I don't HATE Alix - I think she may have been mentally ill. I have posted two or three times that some of her better virtues were in her organizational work to establish numerous hopsitals and ad hoc mash units during the war.
   As far as Felix...well HE thought that he was saving Russia by attempting to kill Rasputin (yes it doesn't appear 'rational' to me either) nevertheless that was his claim - you may have a point about it masking something else entirely.

I actually dislike Nicholas and Alixandra equally - but as I am way off topic - I shall stop now.


rskkiya

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pinklady on June 24, 2005, 07:41:19 PM
I dont hate Alix, I actually admire some of her qualities.
I think it is a bit much to say some people here have "rabid hatred" of the poor woman.
She did the best she could I guess in her situation, more criticism should be levelled at Nicholas, not Alix.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RussiaSunbeam1918 on June 25, 2005, 11:31:11 AM
I didn't know Alix might have disliked Jews... :-/ But here are a few things I find admirable about her.

-She was dedecated to her thoughts, beleifs, and what she did with her life and time.
-She was very spiritual.
-She was very in tune with what she felt inside.
-She loved her family deeply.
-She started a hospital and worked in it herslf.
-She could put faith in people (which I guess culd be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it...)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: ChristineM on June 26, 2005, 05:46:00 AM
Being born in a stable doesn't mean you are a horse.

Reading about the Italian mafia doesn't mean you are a member or a sympathiser.

Reading about Hitler doesn't make you a Nazi or a fascist.

How come reading the Protocols of the Elders of Zion makes one anti-semitic?

tsaria
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 26, 2005, 09:07:35 AM
Quote
How come reading the Protocols of Zion makes one anti-semitic?


The Protocols were an updated version of a much older tract that was republished in Russia with the editing and financial support of Nicholas' Interior Ministry.

In The Fate of the Romanovs by King and Wilson, they report that Nicholas commented favorably on the the tract as being "very timely" during his captivity.

The tract was found on the nightstand in the Grand Duchesses' bedroom after their murder.  I might read Mein Kampf to try to understand Hitler's pathology, but I'm not sure I'd want my children reading it until I was sure they had a context for its venom.

The Imperial Family was not reading this tract to understand the phenomonen on hatred in order to avoid it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on June 26, 2005, 11:29:36 AM
Here is what King and Wilson say:
Page 175 FOTR: "Incarcerated in the Ipatiev House, Nicholas read "War and Peace" for the first time, along with the works of popular satirist Michael Saltykov-Shchedrin, and, more ominously, a biography of the murdered Emperor Paul !. In addition to the religious works, another favorite was "The Great and the Small and the Coming of the Antichrist," an incendiary, rabidly anti-Semitic work by Serge Nilus; although Nicholas had disavowed the book when confronted with evidence that the OkHrana had helped forge its infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," he frequently read Nilus's book aloud to his family in both Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg, nothing that is made for "very timely reading."

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 26, 2005, 11:35:38 AM
Quote

Umm RichC ...?
    I don't HATE Alix - I think she may have been mentally ill. I have posted two or three times that some of her better virtues were in her organizational work to establish numerous hospitals and ad hoc mash units during the war.
    As far as Felix...well HE thought that he was saving Russia by attempting to kill Rasputin (yes it doesn't appear 'rational' to me either) nevertheless that was his claim - you may have a point about it masking something else entirely.

I actually dislike Nicholas and Alexandra equally - but as I am way off topic - I shall stop now.


rskkiya


No. You just called her an anti-Semite!  That's all.  A claim you can't even back up.  And yes, it is hateful to say something like that about someone when it isn't true.

I don't know what I would have thought of Nicholas and Alexandra if I had somehow had the chance to have met them personally.  I don't usually care for people who are haughty  or pretentious, whether they're like that because of some defense mechanism or not.  But I do think it's wrong to make up stuff about people or make exaggerated claims about them based on the thinnest of evidence, or no evidence at all.


Here's an excerpt from a letter written by Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (Sandro) to his brother Nicholas Mikhailovich, February 14, 1917.  It's an accounting of Sandro's meeting with Nicholas and Alexandra at Tsarskoe Selo:

In my conversation with A and N, I also touched on two subjects, which have been raised by Protopopov, the expropriation of landowners' land in favor of the peasants and equal rights for the Jews.  It's typical that Alix did not voice any protest on these questions, while he objected to the first and then appeared confused about the second, replying that it was equality only in the sense of a widening of the Pale of Settlement; I protested as strongly as I could, saying that concessions or new rights for the Jews were unthinkable, that we could not afford to be merciful to a race which the Russian people hate even more now because of their negative attitude towards the war and outright treason; it was noticeable that Alix didn't protest, obviously such projects do exist.

It's clear from this evidence that Alexandra supported equal rights for the Jews in early 1917.  Some anti-Semite.  And if her response is typical, as Sandro says, I think that's a pretty strong indication of where her sympathies lay all along.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 26, 2005, 11:45:29 AM
Quote
Here is what King and Wilson say:
Page 175 FOTR: "Incarceratd in the Ipatiev House, Nicholas read "War and Peace" for the first time, along with the workds of popular satirist Michael Saltykov-Shchedrin, and, mor ominously, a biography of the murdered Emperor Paul !. In addition to the religious works, another favorite was "The Great and the Small and the Coming of the Antichrist," an incendiary, rabidly anti-Semitic work by Serge Nilus; although Nicholas had disavowed the book when confronted with evidence that the OkHrana had helped forge its infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," he frequently read Nilus's book aloud to his family in both Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg, nothing that is made for "very timely reading."



Well, there's at least one factual error here.  In November 1898 Nicholas wrote to his mother in regard to Alexandra's latest pregnancy.

"The nausea is gone. she walks very little, and when it is warm sits on the balcony...In the evening, when she is in bed, I read to her.  We have finished WAR AND PEACE."

Also, I don't recall the Tsar reading the Protocols out loud to his family!

The notes in FOTR indicate a diary entry which I have been unable to find....




Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 26, 2005, 12:13:51 PM
This is supposed to be a thread about her POSITIVE traits.

You quoted a diary entry from one of Alexandra's pregnancies.  Lexi was quoting a recitation of an event years later.

RichC, we have discussed ad nauseum the antisemitism of the Romanovs.  It's pretty clear that like most Russians in their time, they were anti semitic, both from a religious perspective (Jews are said to be Christ-killers) and a racial perspective (they thought Jews were a race).  Alexandra was no different.  

I am interested that while I as a Jew can accept this and still consider the positive aspects of Alexandra and be fascinated by the Romanovs, you are having a difficult time.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 26, 2005, 12:36:07 PM
Quote

No. You just called her an anti-semite!  That's all.  A claim you can't even back up.  


Rich C
I have posted all the evidence under the the topic The  Antisemitism of the Romanovs.
   I will gladly admit that it was NOT in her last diary that she expressed anti semetic views, rather it was in  The Complete War Correspondences I admit my mistake and apologize for misattributing information to the wrong source.
   Nicholas DID read to the family in March and April {Alix notes this in her Diary on pages 91 and 100} from The Protocals and The Great in the Small - another antisemetic text.

   Alix was a complicated woman with many faults and many good points.
   I will correct my previous posts.

rskkiya
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 26, 2005, 01:29:51 PM
Quote
THis is supposed to be a thread about her POSITIVE traits.

You quoted a diary entry from one of Alexandra's pregnancies.  Lexi was quoting a recitation of an event years later.


I quoted a letter, not a diary entry.  Lexi was (correctly) quoting a passage from FOTR; I was pointing out that some of the information in FOTR is wrong.  

If this thread is about positive traits, what's wrong with my showing that posts about Alexandra being an anti-semite are wrong?

Quote
RichC, we have discussed ad nauseum the antisemitism of the Romanovs.  It's pretty clear that like most Russians in their time, they were antisemites, both from a religious perspective (Jews are said to be christ-killers) and a racial perspective (they thought Jews were a race).  Alexandra was no different.  


I think you are wrong.  I do not believe that Alexandra shared these beliefs.  

Quote
I am interested that while I as a Jew can accept this and still consider the positive aspects of Alexandra and be fascinated by the Romanovs, you are having a difficult time.


In tracing my family geneology back to the 17th century, I discovered my mother's family was jewish.  So, although I'm not of the Jewish faith, some of my ancestors were.  But my religion, or your religion is beside the point.  I have a difficult time with stuff that's untrue, or, at the very least exaggerated.  

The fact is that you cannot find any scholarly work that says Alexandra was an anti-semite because there isn't enough evidence.  No responsible scholar is going to say that.  Do you understand that?

Alexandra was not Russian.  She was half-English and half-German.  Neither she nor her sister were raised with the typical Russian attitudes toward Jews.  Why would she be sponsoring legislation for full-civil rights for the Jews (and it is clear she did so) if she was an anti-semite?

Sorry folks,  I know most of you disagree with me.  But nobody has been able to refute anything I have said.  And I have just as much right to post here as anybody else.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on June 26, 2005, 01:50:22 PM
RichC,
Thank you for pointing out the inconsistency regarding the reading of War and Peace. I have double checked the entry in FOTR and I did quote it correctly. Here is the documentation they used for that passage.
"N diary, March 27, 1918, in GARF, f. 601, op. 1. d. 266. For more information on this issue see King and Wilson, "Inheitance of Blood: Official Anti-Semitism and the Last of the Romanovs," Atlantis Magazine 3, no3 (2002): 25-51; also www.atlantis-magazine.com. See AF diary, May 3, 5,6,7, and 12, 1918 in GARF, f. 640, op, 1,d. 326
Correct me if I am wrong, but that annotation tells me I have no independent way to verify their information since I do not have access to GARF.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 26, 2005, 02:01:50 PM
Quote



The fact is that you cannot find any scholarly work that says Alexandra was an anti-Semite because there isn't enough evidence.  No responsible scholar is going to say that.  Do you understand that?


This is an incorrect statement please see my previously mentioned posts - as well as the scholarship of Fuhrmann, Figes and Crankshaw.

Rich C, you do not have to admit that Alix was anti semitic - she may have had other pleasant qualities ... please do express them here!

Where is the evidence of her legislation for Jewish right? A source please!

The facts remain the same
rskkiya

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Carol_Shvybzyk on June 26, 2005, 03:14:53 PM
A quick answer:
The way she was always able to take care of the wounded soldiers on the war;Her love for Nicholas and her children (in general).
xxx,
Ana Carolina.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 26, 2005, 11:15:55 PM
Quote
This is an incorrect statement please see my previously mentioned posts - as well as the scholarship of Fuhrmann, Figes and Crankshaw.

Rich C, you do not have to admit that Alix was anti semetic - she may have had other pleasant qualities ... please do espress them here!

Where is the evidence of her legislation for jewish right? A source please!

The facts remain the same
rskkiya



Well, a number of the snippets you posted on the other thread aren't even about Jews at all.  They are about freemansons, not Jews.

As to the rest of the quotes you listed, these statements could just as easily have come out of the mouths of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry S Truman,  John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon or even Jesse Jackson.  But none of these people are thought of as anti-semites.

You are applying a 21st century standard of political correctness to comments that were written 90 years ago.  And there is nothing in any of Alexandra's surviving diaries (so far) that indicates she was an anti-semite.  You also need to consider to whom she was writing and the context in which the lines were written.  

One of the quotes you site is actually about Alexandra advocating with Nicholas about the plight of a Jew who fought in the war, was wounded, and wanted to be treated just like any other Russian (same rights to live wherever he wanted, etc.)  That's hardly anti-semetic!

It is true that Nicholas read aloud "The Great in the Small" both in Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg but Alexandra doesn't appear to have been listening too intently as she refers to it in her diary as "The Small in the Great".  Also, this book apparently is about the anti-Christ appearing on Earth and the coming apocalypse.  The Jews, freemasons and socialists are all lumped together and blamed.  It's hard to believe that even Nicholas would have taken this stuff seriously, but Russia was in the midst of being taken over by an avowedly atheistic government, everyone they knew was being either arrested or shot, their entire world was turned upside down...  Given the situation, it's hardly surprising that Nicholas was taken in by this book which pandered to the typical anti-semetic outlook of most Russians.  

But I just don't see it with Alexandra.  The legislation is discussed by GD Alexander Mikhailovich in the letter to his brother, GD Nicholas Mikhailovich.  See my post, above.  It is also mentioned in Kerensky's memoirs, although I have not read his memoirs.

BTW, Nicholas Mikhailovich, the so-called "liberal historian" was in reality an extremely virulent anti-semite, on par with Alexander III.  He hated Alexandra with a venom that makes Pobedenotsev's hatred of the Jews seem tame!  To him, she was the "Hessian Hussy".
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 26, 2005, 11:45:06 PM
EXCUSE ME?  Richard Nixon and Jesse Jackson aren't consider antisemites?

That's news to me and the entire Jewish community.....
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 27, 2005, 08:15:55 AM
Quote

Well, a number of the snippets you posted on the other thread aren't even about Jews at all.  They are about freemasons, not Jews.

REREAD my posts .
In the Protocols, Freemasons were considered the puppets of the "Jewish conspiracy" [three post refer to Freemasons, the rest were regarding the Jews] and I am familiar with the issue of the emigrated Jew that Alix discusses in the letter - YES, I POSTED IT! She is more charitable there than in other comments -  yet she continues to make anti semitic comments elsewhere in later letters.
   I would recommend that you read these letters Rich C, you would find the text very interesting. It's also  true that many people today and in the last 80 years still express antisemitic views, I won't argue that fact.She was a creature of her time. But that doesn't change the evidence.
    Do you have a source for your claim that she tried to pass "legislation" to liberate Russian Jews...as a historian and scholar I am honestly interested in any evidence that you possess. It could make for an interesting positive trait but only if you can document it.

 positive trait She tried to take care of her family in spite of her own difficult emotional and physical health, and she wanted her daughters to fall happily in love, as she did.

rs

PS, RichC, PLEASE join me on the Anti semitism thread so that we can discuss this further there.!i
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 27, 2005, 09:03:28 AM
Lets open this up...what traits did the young Alix express?
I have read that as a child she suffered many personal tragedies - did she work to organize charities as a teen?
Any experts on Alix of Hesse out there?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RussiaSunbeam1918 on June 27, 2005, 09:41:35 AM
Well, people were against Jewish people more back then for whatever reasons they may have had. I think. Why would Alexandra have been any different?

Like the guy who wrote Wizard of Oz hid some racist remarks in his books, but in Baum's day, racism was a part of life, and wasn't unacceptable.

Please note, I am not saying either of them were RIGHT...I am not for either of these things....
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 27, 2005, 10:19:47 AM
Quote
REREAD my posts .
In the Protocals, freemasons were considered the puppets of the "Jewish conspiracy" [three post refer to freemasons, the rest were regarding the jews] and I am familiar with the issue of the emigrated jew that Alix discusses in the letter - YES, I POSTED IT! She is more charitable there than in other comments -  yet she continues to make antisemetic comments elsewhere in later letters.
   I would recommend that you read these letters Rich C, you would find the text very interesting. It's also  true that many people today and in the last 80 years still express antisemitic views, I won't argue that fact.She was a creature of her time. But that doesn't change the evidence.
    Do you have a source for your claim that she tried to pass "legislation" to liberate russian jews...as a historian and scholar I am honestly interested in any evidence that you possess. It could make for an interesting positive trait but only if you can document it.

 positive trait She tried to take care of her family inspite of her own difficult emotional and physical health, and she wanted her daughters to fall happily in love, as she did.

rs

PS, RichC, PLEASE join me on the Anti semitism thread so that we can discuss this further there.!i



Excuse me but *you* brought this up here with your comments, on this positive traits thread, saying she was an anti-semite, calling people deluded for disagreeing, not me.  Stop jumping all over me for defending her HERE.

When I say scholarly, I mean peer reviewed scholarship.  In my view, to call ones self a scholar, one has to be in the academy.  I'm just a guy who's interested in the Romanovs.  So, I'm not a scholar, but I don't think a scholar would label her an anti-semite based on what you have posted here; stuff that's been known for decades.  

Also, as I said earlier, but you ignored, you have to take her comments in the context of the situation in which she wrote those lines.  She was trying to get Nicholas to do what she wanted and she wasn't above appealing to his anti-semitic leanings to do that.  Her comments are hardly laudable.  She was a creature of her time and that doesn't change the evidence, as you say, but it does change how one judges it's meaning.  But you aren't doing that.  You are judging her as if she said these things on national television, today, in 2005, and I don't think that is fair.

You are holding her to a standard that, I dare say, you yourself have never been held to, or any of the rest of us.  All of her private correspondence and diaries are open for the world to see.  I wonder what one would find if one went through all of your private correspondence, or indeed, any random individual who didn't expect the world to ever see what they were saying.  That's why I say it is important to consider the context and to whose eyes those lines were meant for.  They weren't meant for your eyes, rskkiya...

What public statements did Alexandra make regarding the Jews?  None that I know of.  The only thing that I can find is the proposed legislation to give them equal rights, the source for which I have cited.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 27, 2005, 10:47:12 AM
Quote

Here's an excerpt from a letter written by Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (Sandro) to his brother Nicholas Mikhailovich, February 14, 1917.  It's an accounting of Sandro's meeting with Nicholas and Alexandra at Tsarskoe Selo:

In my conversation with A and N, I also touched on two subjects, which have been raised by Protopopov, the expropriation of landowners' land in favor of the peasants and equal rights for the Jews.  It's typical that Alix did not voice any protest on these questions, while he objected to the first and then appeared confused about the second, replying that it was equality only n the sense of a widening of the Pale of Settlement; I protested as strongly as I could, saying that concessions or new rights for the Jews were unthinkable, that we could not afford to be merciful to a race which the Russian people hate even more now because of their negative attitude towards the war and outright treason; it was noticeable that Alix didn't protest, obviously such projects do exist.


Please can you tell me where this letter is?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 27, 2005, 11:15:55 AM
Sandro's letter is (I believe) in the State Archives of the Russian Federation.  It's reprinted (in full) in A Lifelong Passion, (Doubleday, 1997).  The ISBN is 0-385-48673-1.  You can probably find it heavily discounted these days.  The letter, which is dated February 14, 1917, was addressed to his brother, Nicholas Mikhailovich, who as I said earlier, was a rabid anti-semite.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 27, 2005, 02:47:00 PM
Quote
In my conversation with A and N, I also touched on two subjects, which have been raised by Protopopov, the expropriation of landowners' land in favor of the peasants and equal rights for the Jews.  It's typical that Alix did not voice any protest on these questions, while he objected to the first and then appeared confused about the second, replying that it was equality only n the sense of a widening of the Pale of Settlement; I protested as strongly as I could, saying that concessions or new rights for the Jews were unthinkable, that we could not afford to be merciful to a race which the Russian people hate even more now because of their negative attitude towards the war and outright treason; it was noticeable that Alix didn't protest, obviously such projects do exist.

It's clear from this evidence that Alexandra supported equal rights for the Jews in early 1917.


I'm not really sure what this letter reveals one way or the other about Alexandra's position on the Jews.

Sandro says "it's typical that Alexandra did not voice any protest on these questions . . . ."  He's referring to two questions in this remark.  Does this then mean that Alexandra took a different view from her husband on distribution of land to the peasants?  Or could Sandro instead be reporting that Alexandra was not interested enough in these two particular issues to take a stance in contravention to her husband's?

Also, Sandro said Nicholas seemed confused about the Jewish question, thinking the only project was to expand the Pale of Settlement.  If Alexandra's silence meant there were further projects regarding the Jews, wasn't this tantamount to saying that there were significant government projects underway about which Alexandra was informed but Nicholas was not?

And, if that's the case, doesn't it suggest that Alexandra was more in control of the government than Nicholas shortly before the revolution -- something that others have adamantly argued was not the case?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Forum Admin on June 27, 2005, 03:26:37 PM
Please, take the anti-semitism discussion over to the appropriate thread. This thread is for discussion of Alexandra's postive traits. Please stay closer to topic.
Thanks
FA
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 27, 2005, 03:45:50 PM
Sorry, I was trying to take the discussion of Sandro's letter and Alexandra's position on Jews and spin it back into a discussion of just what Alexandra's role in the government was in the final weeks preceding the revolution.

I think the question of how she handled herself in those critical weeks sheds light on whether her traits as empress (as opposed to her traits as a person) were positive or negative in effect.

I'm not really sure that belongs on the anti-semitism thread . . . but I'll take it there if you insist.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 27, 2005, 08:38:03 PM
Quote
Please, take the anti-semitism discussion over to the appropriate thread. This thread is for discussion of Alexandra's postive traits. Please stay closer to topic.
Thanks
FA


Can't supporting civil rights for the Jews be an example of a positive trait?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 27, 2005, 08:45:36 PM
Sure.  Show me objective, factual proof that she advocated for this.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 27, 2005, 09:11:56 PM
Quote
Sure.  Show me objective, factual proof that she advocated for this.  


What Sandro is saying is that Alix refused to deny that there were plans afoot to give equal rights to the Jews.  Nicholas was the one who denied it, saying the new law was only meant to widen the Pale of Settlement.

It's quite clear that Sandro was upset that Protopopov was intending to give equal rights to the Jews and that Alexandra, at least, endorsed it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 27, 2005, 09:32:36 PM
Quote
Positive traits please...  
there's another thread for this...


Hello!  This is positive!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Georgiy on June 27, 2005, 09:47:21 PM
Maybe the fact that she has the posthumous ability to inspire debate and discussion nearly a century after her death could be viewed as a somewhat positive trait.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 27, 2005, 10:21:41 PM
I'm sorry, but neglecting to deny something is not advocating it.  NOT a positive trait.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 28, 2005, 08:27:29 AM
Quote
I'm sorry, but neglecting to deny something is not advocating it.  NOT a positive trait.


I disagree completely.

Sandro's letter is quite clear, in my view.  You don't agree, that's your opinion.  But there are a number of other people who see it the same way as I do; and there is a page about it on this website:

http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/newstudy.html

Protopopov would never have proposed such a law without Alexandra's support, at least.  Alexandra (and Nicholas) knew very well how much opposition such a project would generate -- that's why they were so closed-mouthed in the meeting with Sandro.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 28, 2005, 08:57:08 AM
Quote
Protopopov would never have proposed such a law without Alexandra's support, at least.  Alexandra (and Nicholas) knew very well how much opposition such a project would generate -- that's why they were so close-mouthed in the meeting with Sandro.


I find this letter utterly confusing.

Take the land reform question that Sandro mentioned.  If Alexandra's silence is taken to mean that there was a proposal and she knew of it, that means either that Nicholas was lying or that he knew nothing of it.

So . . . were major pieces of legislation being discussed with Alexandra of which Nicholas knew nothing?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 28, 2005, 09:42:18 AM
Quote

I find this letter utterly confusing.

Take the land reform question that Sandro mentioned.  If Alexandra's silence is taken to mean that there was a proposal and she knew of it, that means either that Nicholas was lying or that he knew nothing of it.

So . . . were major pieces of legislation being discussed with Alexandra of which Nicholas knew nothing?



Tsarfan, in regards to the specific question of full rights for the Jews, whether there was such a plan afoot, I don't think this letter is confusing at all.  

I do agree with you that it raises a number of other interesting questions such as you mentioned above, however.  I spent a lot of time at the U of C library last night looking for information about Protopopov.  Unfortunately, there is no good biography of him (there is a book about him, published in Russia in 1927, but as I don't read Russian very well, it's of no use to me).  

But I did find out that he was a respected liberal member of the duma, long before he got mixed up with Rasputin and that Rodzianko, of his own volition, promoted him in his political career.  Also, he wasn't "killed by a Petrograd mob" as I had previously understood, but he was arrested, imprisoned and shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

All very interesting stuff, but now, I agree, we are way off topic here.  Sorry!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 28, 2005, 12:10:19 PM
It is interesting . . . and maybe not off topic.

If Alexandra was, in fact, working with Protopopov on land reform and civil rights for Jews -- especially without her husband's knowledge -- it throws a tantalizingly different light on her in my book.

I have viewed her as part of the problem in the kind of support she gave Nicholas, fostering his reactionary tendencies rather than countering them.

Is it possible that in tsarist Russia's darkest hour, she actually saw more clearly than Nicholas that social issues had to be addressed as the only hope of averting a disaster?  And that she was taking matters into her own hands while her husband hid away at Stavka?

If so, this would be the positive trait to end all positive traits.

I view this as very unlikely . . . but if Sandro's letter can be taken at face value, the question does present itself.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on June 28, 2005, 02:00:44 PM
I agree Tsarfan and I wonder if there is a way to explore this further.
I am very curious.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on June 28, 2005, 03:36:23 PM
Well, it's a long shot, I'm afraid.

Alexandra had a hand in some rather unseemly ministerial appointments, and if she were working with the likes of a Protopopov it would have been quite a volte face.

So I'm going to reserve judgment until we get some more light shed on the Sandro letter.  I posited one possible reading of his letter -- but a reading that hinges on Sandro's having gotten his facts right.  He certainly felt she was in some degree of control, as the reason Sandro sought the meeting was to dissuade Alexandra, in particular, from what he thought to be her fatal interference in Russian political affairs.

But there is also the possibility that he was flat wrong about Alexandra's involvement.  He's certainly impugning her by what she didn't say rather than by what she said -- and that's usually pretty weak evidence.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: rskkiya on June 28, 2005, 05:34:13 PM
Tsarfan
Thats my point! If she had said "I am in favour of X" or "I approve of y" then it would have given Sandro a great deal more to complain about...But as all he said was that she did not respond -- it's very poor proof indeed.
  For all we can tell from the letter, she didn't respond because she was in no mood to discuss anything with Sandro pro or con!
  She was a very proud woman and she may well have felt 'threatened' by Sandro's confrontational style.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on June 28, 2005, 07:26:50 PM
Or she may have thought is was none of his affair. I agree, not responding doesn't prove anything other than that she didn't comment. We will probably never know why. It would be interesting to know what conversations she had with Nicholas after Sandro left. We know what he thought. Also, I wonder if his letter was written in anger? That would color his judgement.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 28, 2005, 11:24:39 PM
I am defending Alix on this thread because it's the positive traits thread and rskkiya started off by coming on here and attributing anti-semitic comments made by Nicholas in his diary, to Alexandra.  And everything I've said here is repeated on the main website.  So what's the problem, other than you disagree with me?

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on June 29, 2005, 09:48:25 AM
I'm putting this on both sites...

Alexandra wrote a letter to Anya telling her that she'd read the Antichrist book (which contained the entire Protocols of the Elders of Zion) and told Nicky to read it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 29, 2005, 10:14:52 AM
Here's what Massie says about Alexandra's nursing activities:

Ironically, the coming of the war transformed the empress.  Alexandra always seemed happiest when immersed in other people's problems, and war gave almost endless scope to this side of her nature.  Burning with patriotic enthusiasm, she put aside her own illnesses and plunged into hospital work.  "To some it may seem unnecessary my doing this," she said, "but help is much needed an my hand is useful."  The huge, ornate Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, used for receptions and balls before the war, was converted into a military hospital, and before the end of 1914 eighty-five hospitals were operating under her patronage in the Petrograd area alone.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on June 29, 2005, 10:18:45 AM
In this work, Alexandra did not become simply an imperial patron.  She enrolled herself and her two older daughters in a nurses' training course, and every morning at nine, dressed in the gray uniforms of nursing sisters, they left the palace for the hospital.  The atmosphere in this place was shocking and brutal.  Every day, Red Cross trains brought wounded and dying men - dirty, bloodstained, feverish, and groaning- from the front.  The empress and her daughters cleaned and bandaged these mangled bodies.  "I have seen the Empress of Russia in the operating room," said her friend Anna Vyrubova, "holding ether cones, handling sertilized instruments, taking from the hands of busy surgeons amputated legs and arms, removing bloody and vermin-ridden field dressings."  (end quote)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Georgiy on June 29, 2005, 04:11:21 PM
I think Rsskiya has made a good point here - that Alix was a devout Orthodox Christian - and I would go further and say on top of being devout, she was also a sincere Orthodox Christian - none of it was for show, it was genuine and from the heart. There are some people who can be very 'Orthodox', and go through all the motions, but the heart isn't there, I think with Alix it was though.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pinklady on July 03, 2005, 04:18:40 AM
I also agree, Alix was very sincere in her faith.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on July 04, 2005, 04:44:42 AM
I have been thinking more about Alix repeatedly urging Nicholas to 'be strong' & 'show them a strong hand' etc. etc. This has sometimes been described as a negative aspect of her, but in fact, considering the way in which some members of the family took advantage of his gentle nature, it may well be a positive attribute. Perhaps Alix could see that since Nicholas lacked his father's 'presence', certain members of the family - including his uncles - were likely to show him insufficient respect, and to dismiss his ideas.
Nicholas was in a very difficult situation because his uncles were all such strong characters &, combined with this, he had doubtlessly been raised to show deference to his elders. I cannot imagine how it must have felt to suddenly (at quite an early age) have to reprimand and stand up to one's own relations of an older generation.
Alix's prompting & urging may have shown greater insight than we have given her credit for. From the beginning of the reign, these older people - who should have supported him - were using him & playing him off against one another (e.g. the rivalry between Serge & Vladimir; the way Miechen used the Royal Box without permission, the way Pavel broke his allegiance and married...) When Nicholas did stand up to these people, the family divided against him. Vladimir, rather than accepting the reprimand of Miechen, wrote a very indignant letter to Nicholas. The dispute about whether or not to attend the Montebello Ball divided the family still further. No wonder Alix needed to urge Nicholas to, "Be strong!" I do not think this implied that he was weak, but rather as Alix said often, 'You are too kind...' meaning that the less scrupulous members of the family were taking advantage of his kindness.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on July 04, 2005, 09:19:03 AM
You have a point there.  Nicholas was so gentle that it really frustrated Alix and of course she was going to urge him to be strong.  Not just for him, but for the future of their son and his reign.

I think that this, combined with the fears she had for Alexei, the alienation she felt from the family, and the influence of Rasputin is what led, in large part, to the family downfall.  However, the urging to be strong alone is not a negative trait at all.

This just goes to show how the right intentions and reasonable desires can still lead one to do the wrong thing!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on July 04, 2005, 09:44:06 AM
Quote
This just goes to show how the right intentions and reasonable desires can still lead one to do the wrong thing!


Hmm...perhaps...but the more I think of this, the more I believe that the 'fault' lay, at least in the early part of the reign, with the family who failed to show Nicholas the respect owed to him as Tsar. Had they done so, Alix would not have needed to 'push' him so much.  :-/
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Finelly on July 04, 2005, 09:45:14 AM
well, if we're going back that far, then how about the fault lying with his father, who failed to give Nicholas the proper training and responsibility to take over when he passed on?  <g>
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: bluetoria on July 04, 2005, 09:49:34 AM
Yes, perhaps so. Maybe Alexander III thought there was plenty of time left to train him for this role...Both Nicholas & Alexandra had so little time to prepare themselves for the positions into which they were so suddenly thrust.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Jackswife on July 04, 2005, 01:21:28 PM
 Finelly brings out what I feel is one of the main shortcomings of the last Romanovs-Alexander's failure to adequately prepare his son for the demands of being Tsar. Nicholas was 26 when he ascended the throne-plenty of time for him to have been instructed and trained in the art of ruling.  He could have been much better informed about the politics and necessities of governing such a vast country as Russia if the Tsar had taken the time to do such instructing. I guess it's like the old proverb that the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining, and Alexander's failure to train Nicholas to take over the throne is one of those instances where the failure to teach had really disastrous consequences.  :(
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on December 20, 2005, 10:08:20 AM
It is too bad that there are not more posts to this thread because it is a good one. My thoughts about this question are as follows: I think that Alexander III, and Empress Alexandra had quite a bit in common because of the fact they both liked to stay home, and didn't like court entertainment and the like. They both liked to be Russian, and to understand the Russian soul, and understand the common people of Russia quite a bit. They both were very conservative, and believed in autocracy and the traditional values of the monarchy, they believed that autocrats should be strong and not give an inch of power over. I think Alexandra always encouraged Nicholas to be a strong autocrat, amd this was the way Alexander III  ruled. They were alike in this way, and I think in political views especially, they were alike. Both wanted Russia governed in the same way. ;)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on December 21, 2005, 10:18:43 AM
An interesting thought puzzle . . . certainly not amenable to any certain answers, but fun to try to assemble nonetheless.

First, let's start with what we know about the relationship that did exist.  Alexander III had not initially been a proponent of the marriage between Nicholas and Alexandra.  (Why this was so has been discussed extensively elsewhere.  My own view is that her coming from a family in which hemophilia was known to pass through the female line had a lot to do with it.)  But he eventually came around to accept it, probably in part because it was the first spark of determination to stand his ground that he had ever seen from his son.

No matter what his real reasons were for first resisting and then relenting, Alexander no doubt was poised to welcome Alexandra into Russia as an inevitability rather than as an ideal future empress.

From her end, Alexandra respected her grandmother's opinion, which held that Alexander III was a posturing boor who was ruling with an unnecessarily harsh hand over a backward country that, just under the surface, was on the boil politically . . . and whose foreign policy bore no particular goodwill for English interests.

So whatever views Alexandra eventually would develop of Alexander -- and how those views would interplay with and affect the views he developed of her -- would certainly have sprung from inauspicious beginnings on both sides.

Personally, I do not think their views would have ever comfortably melded.  While Alexandra and Alexander shared a superficial desire for a certain remove from public life, it was driven by two very different motives.  Alexandra was almost pathologically shy, not physically up to the stress of imperial social engagements, and profoundly domestic in her tastes and habits.  She would have sought a reserved life in almost any social stratum in which she found herself.  Alexander's removing himself from St. Petersburg had more to do with the physical security of himself and his family.  While he was not personally inclined to the lifestyle of the St. Petersburg fast set, he was quite willing to traffic with that crowd on the terms he set.  (Hence his indulging his wife with some of the social whirl in which she revelled, while putting an end to each event in his own unique way when he was ready.)  And, no matter what his personal preferences, he never would have risked the isolation of the ruling house from the upper social and military classes on which it depended for support.

He also had an unbending sense of duty.  Whereas Alexandra built a cozy and self-consciously-middle-class nest for her family at Tsarskoe Selo, Alexander imposed simplicity on his family almost as a matter of military discipline -- a view that self-denial and hardship built character in a tsar and his heir.

Alexander managed to remove himself physically from the center of St. Petersburg without isolating himself intellectually and emotionally from his nation.  While we may not like his policies, they were set with a clear view to the political and social situation in Russia.  (While the long-term effects of his policies might have deepened the radicalism of some elements in Russia, they at least managed to turn the larger political tide for a time and engender centrist support for the monarchy.  Nothing Nicholas ever did turned any political tide for any length of time.)

Alexandra's cocooning of herself in Tsarkoye Selo was but the outward manifestation of a deep-seated drive to build a fantasy world in which she could stay emotionally afloat.  In that world, the Russian peasants were the God-fearing, Tsar-worshipping children she wished them to be.  The Romanovs who pressed Nicholas to accept reforms were the effete, self-serving, untowardly ambitious connivers she thought them to be.  The ministers who challenged Nicholas' views or tried to bolster his resolve against her inclinations were the traitors she knew they must be to question their Tsar.

Had she been empress-in-waiting during the continuing reign of Alexander, she might well not have become the ultra-monarchist she became with her husband.  The political heritage in which Alexandra was raised was at odds with Russian autocracy.  Alexander had the strength to rule, which created a safety zone in which his methods and heavy hand could be questioned without risking the monarchy itself.  Had she not been dealing with a husband of notorious irresolution on key matters, to which she responded by becoming the cheerleader for absolutist rule, the more liberal strains in her background might have come more to the fore.  (While the evidence is contradictory, there are at least some indications that Alexandra had occasional bursts of liberal outlook regarding, for instance, the Jews.)  In other words, Alexandra's far-right leanings might have been more a response to Nicholas' weakness rather than a natural bent that would have cozied her up to Alexander politically had he remained Tsar.

I do believe Alexandra would have benefitted by "interning" under Alexander and Marie for a while before being thrust center stage.  But, ultimately, I believe she and Alexander were two very different streams that never would have had any real confluence.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Svetabel on December 23, 2005, 05:09:02 AM
Well-stated! I agree - Alexander III and Alix were very different persons to get along well.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on December 24, 2005, 09:51:00 AM
Also, we must remember that the final approval for the marriage was given when AIII was already ill.  He only lived for six months after the engagement.

I remember reading that he felt that, if for no other reason, Nicholas should marry to give him the "stablizing presence of a wife".

I do agree though, that if Alexandra had had more time to be the wife of the Tsarevich and not the Tsar that she would have had less trouble.  You are probably right that she would have encouraged NII to learn more and participate more in government.  

You are probably also correct in that since Marie would have had her precidence at court preserved that the jealousy and coldness would have not developed.  

Perhaps it would never have developed if the two women had had the time to get to know one another without the pressures of rank.

Also, if Alexandra had had her difficult pregnancies as Tsarevna (?) instead of Empress, the pressures on her for public appearances would have been less.

Perhaps she would have made friends and a
"younger social set" would have emerged.  Perhaps not.

But whom she saw and what she did would not have been so vitally important as Marie would still have been in the limelight.

Marie would have remained "large and in charge" and Alexandra would have no reason to have been jealous because it wasn't her turn yet.

Marie might still have treated Nicholas as a "boy" but Alexander would have been there to take her attention away from the couple.

Again, what if???

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 08, 2006, 05:18:51 PM
I think that everybody who has posted since me is right, it is true that the things they had in common were at merely superficial levels, and deep down they might not have too much in common at all, because their reasons for doing things were so different. It is doubtful if they ever would have gotten along in real life, had Alexander III lived longer past the marriage of Nicholas and Alexandra, yes. I think they were different people, but they might have had an easier time getting along than Alexandra and the dowager Empress proved to have. But though some of their ideas were alighned the reasons why were different, and they were different personalities. Of course Empress Alexandra would have benefited from an apprenticeship before she become an Empress as would most thrust into such a demanding position.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Azarias on January 17, 2006, 02:59:43 AM
If you look up and down the topics for Empress Alexandra it almost seems like lately she's been thrown to the wolves!

I admit she seemed out of place to the Russians, she certainly had her share of foibles that people still love to pick on BUT.....

Does anyone ever really considered life through her eyes? I'm not sure that people are  always fair with her. It's far too easy to pick on the lady, especially a lady with no voice today to defend herself!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PssMarieAmelie on January 17, 2006, 03:02:15 AM
She was a devoted wife, and a loving mother. But I'm sorry--I still prefer Maria Feodorovna.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on January 17, 2006, 03:02:22 AM

Poor Alexandra receives something of a regular lambasting on these threads, so to discuss her virtues will be a pleasant change... :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 17, 2006, 10:41:01 AM
She did have virtues, and it is sad we so often concentrate on her negative qualities, hey, we all have negative qualities, some more than others, tha's life. But Alexandra was intelligent, thoughtful, feeling, strong,( in whatever sense), and devoted and cared about her family, and knew how, at the end, to get through adversity. ;)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Joy0318 on January 17, 2006, 10:49:47 AM
A great idea for a topic. It does seem that most people want to bash Alix all the time. I think that she was:

A loving and faithful wife.
A good mother
Intelligent  
Compassionate and caring (worked as a nurse during war)


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: AkshayChavan on January 17, 2006, 01:37:30 PM
A loving and faithful wife- yes certainly!!
A good mother - Perhaps. But this can be debated.
Intelligent - Certainly Not! I don't think she can be called intelligent in any sense. Dismissing ministers during war, calling for banning the press and asking her husband to be "strong like Ivan the terrible to crush dissent" when people are revolting does not seem like "intelligence" to me.

I have read so many books (really a lot) about Russia and the Romanovs. I have tried but have failed to come across any good qualities in her except that she was a good wife and a mother. All books cannot be wrong. Her bad qualities for overweight her good qualities.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: leushino on January 17, 2006, 03:39:06 PM
A very protective, devoted mother, particularly to the heir. Beyond that.... ? I've no wish to demonize her but try as I might, I just can't seem to see much that is beyond the ordinary.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on January 17, 2006, 03:51:20 PM
Alexandra was, like all of us, a product of her childhood. While many who knew her, such as Marie of Romania, did not find her  convivial, she had many defenders, both during and after her lifetime. That Nicholas wished to marry Alexandra above all others says quite a lot; beyond her beautiful physical appearance, he appreciated her strength of character and sincere desire to lead a good and useful life. That these characteristics later worked against her and, ultimately, her family and all of Russia, is one of the many tragedies of this world.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: matushka on January 17, 2006, 04:13:20 PM
I would like to emphazise on 3 Alexandra's qualities: her sincerity, her charity, and something as a sense of organization.
Her sincerity: whatever she did - as it seems to me, I can be wrong- she did it with all her heart and conviction that it is really necessary. She did not work at the lazaret to show her, she worked giving all the possible time, knowledge, heart. She was not a supercificial women.
Her charity: she pay attention to the little, the poors, the wounded, the invalids soldiers. She found lazarets, sanatoriums and personnaly covered their work. She found houses for children without parents, a big house for the invalids of the Japanese' war and, once more, covered their work. She gave not only money but her own work. Invalids of this house and wounded of the lazaret "adore" her, as one of them wrote after years, adore her for her motherhood.
Her sense of organization. She tought about what is necessary for Russia, from the social point of view and founded interesting schools of artisanat, of folk arts, for nursing, to learn young girls how to take care of the children, how to sew and so one. Those girls then had to teach their knowledge. At the house for the invalids, she organize a lot of ateliers. Invalids could work, their received a little salary and receive news knowledge for their future.
Sorry, I can not explain what I really want to in english.
So, 3 qualities I found really attaching. The problem is that she did not always succeded in: her sincerity was not understandable, her charity stay in the shadow of her bad influence on the political life; her ideas about the future of Russia... well, nothing to comment!
Alexandra's story show once more than, as we say in french, "l'enfer est pave de bonnes intentions"!
I did not speak about the fact she was a loving wife and an attentive mother, because it is really an evidence.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: ChristineM on January 17, 2006, 04:20:38 PM
Her ability, after almost a century, to engage us in on going discussions, writers to write books and publishers to publish them.

An amazingly complex, rich, timeless personality which still has the ability to capture countless imaginations.

tsaria
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Marialana on January 17, 2006, 05:22:51 PM
There are several qualities that I find admirable in Alexandra. Here is my laundry list, so to speak... :)

1. Her sincerity was genuine. Right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle, most everything Alexandra did came from her heart. The story of her coming to Russia a shy, inexperienced girl thrust to the lions of Russian society has been told a thousand times, and it is true. Her shyness may have inhibited her from forming an "acceptable" circle of friends, but somehow I doubt it was just that. She found the fakery and banality of high society repugnant and refused to be a part of it. Many people accuse of her not fulfilling her duties as an Empress in this way, of being the anti-Maria Feodorovna, somewhat of a failure as a consort in this regard. While I understand her social role, in my own personal value system I admire her much more for not "playing the game" and remaining true to herself and what she believed was best for her immediate family.
2. She was charitable. Matushka's post summed this point up beautifully to me. She didn't just name hospitals and visit soldiers, she cared for them. People will question her motives, and delve into psychological reasons why she felt the need to do this, but I'm of the inclination that Alexandra was a nurturer who truly felt a desire to help (however misguided or resented her actions ended up)
3. She was loyal. Her love for Nicholas was boundless and she was utterly devoted to him. The fact that he loved her back in kind is a testament to her good qualities as well, as I believe that there are many good things about her which he saw and knew that we will never know about this intensely private woman. She married him knowing that she needed to produce an heir, true, but no one knew how difficult that was going to be. She went through sheer hell to eventually bear Alexei, at the expense of her physical and mental health. Her loyalty extended to her friendships (Sonia Orbeliani comes to mind) even to her own obvious detriment. People may say what they want about Rasputin, her attachment to him, etc., but from an objective standpoint I'd have to say that if I wanted a friend in my corner that I knew would have my back if I was threatened, I'd choose her over Nicholas in a heartbeat. Nicholas was a waffler, but not Alexandra. I appreciate that completely.
4. I don't think that Alexandra was perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. She had a LOT of faults, some of them exceedingly serious and the cause of much harm to herself, her family, and untold others. But I DO think she was greatly misunderstood. She had the best of intentions and truly loved Russia in the most honest and pure way that she knew how and understood. Unfortunately for herself, for her family, and for Russia, the shape of her intellect, heart, and opinions didn't fit into the mold that Russia wanted, and perhaps needed, them to fit into. That to me is the real tragedy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on January 17, 2006, 06:31:20 PM
I wonder how well Lady Diana Spencer would have done in Russia if she were in Alix's place.

Diana was just as shy and inexperienced, but (on her part) just as solidly in love.

We all remark on Alix's shyness and how she had no time to "get used" to Russia before she became Tsaritsa.

Diana had all the time in the world (but a non loving spouse) and just look at how dynamic she became!!

I am not a fan of Alix's, everyone says how strong she was and how weak Nicholas was.  Too bad she wasn't intellegent enough to use her strength to help him instead of compounding his failings.

But that said, she did love her close friends.  And right or wrong would defend them to the death (either theirs or hers).

Matushka - I got the part about "paved with good intentions" but what does ''l'enfer" translate to?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: koloagirl on January 17, 2006, 08:38:02 PM
 :)

I have always felt that Alexandra has been "demonized" for so many years - it is far too easy to put the blame on the "crazed, delusional, domineering spouse" -- I feel that she was a fragile woman in a position that she was just not suited for.

Having had no time to prepare herself for her role as Tsarina (unlike Minnie) she was immediately put in the role of the "funeral bride" and never caught the affection of the public.  Being so painfully shy in public certainly didn't help her - perceived as haughty and unapproachable, and with a mother-in-law who she didn't get along with - who could have mentored her - I think she just started off bad and got worse from there.

Her good qualities were many:  her enduring love for her husband, her love for her children, especially the heir - her true love for her adopted home, - her ability to be a true and devoted friend - her great belief in the Church.  

Was she suited to be a Tsarina, especially one in such a turbulent time in history?  No.  She was mentally fragile and made some bad decisions certainly.  But was she the cause of the downfall of the Monarchy?  No.  She was far more suited to be the Princess of one of English princes where she could live a quiet life and devote herself to her children and family.  

I have always felt very sorry for her.  Her haunting look in most of her pictures always strikes me as much more than just a "pose."  

Janet R.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GrandDuchess_Bella on January 17, 2006, 08:48:13 PM
Alexandra had many good qualities that I certainly appreciate:

1. Loving mother and wife - this quality stands out more that anything. Almost everyone see's it. It was one of the most obvious things about her.

2. Strong Will - She was determined to show Russia that she was a true russian at heart. I've always admired that.

3. Sense of humor - Not many people see this but Alexandra did have a slight sense of humor. It is difficult to see but when you read the IF letters, look between the lines.

4. Caring nature - Alexandra not only had a caring nature towards her family but towards others as well. She was more than willing to help any way she could to the sick while in the hospitals.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Russian_Duchess_#5 on January 17, 2006, 09:31:04 PM
Empress Aleksandra was just good.
I am sorry, these words may sound unfeeling, simple, and unintelligent. But, behind the words "just good", there is a true faith that the Empress Aleksandra was a kind soul, and had a humane sense of being.
She was one of the most important people in history, and will always be remembered that way.
I have never gaven a comment on the Empress that is harsh, or against her.
I respect her as we all should.

Sofia
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lovy on January 17, 2006, 10:28:41 PM
Empress Alexandra was DEFINITELY a loving and caring wife! No doubt about that! Read her letters to Nicholas. She's obviously devoted. ::)
I would say she was a good mother. I've read her letters to her children. She obviously cares about them, PARTICULARLY Aleksei! He was a haemophiliac and she stressed over his illness a lot and was always desperate to seek help.
Now I'm not sure about intelligence. She always did what Rasputin told her to do and that ended up trouble. She didn't even take a chance to look at the police reports of what Rasputin's true character was really like (though she was desperate to save her son)!
But she was loving and caring towards her family. She was an acceptional woman.  ;D
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: leushino on January 17, 2006, 10:45:27 PM
She was just good? Hmmm... when Stolypin died, her behavior seems anything but good. In fact, his widow took some relatively drastic measures to ensure the Romanovs would not enter the room during his last minutes and I've read in Kurth's book that Alexandra had this to say:

"... his destiny was fulfilled.... Believe me, one must not feel sorry for those who are no more." Kurth concluded, "There was one reason above all others for Alexandra's unfeeling dismissal of the man who had done so much to preserve her husband's reign: Stolypin had had the courage to take on Rasputin.

Now, I find it hard to equate goodness with this sort of behavior which to all intents and purposes smacks of: well... he got his just desserts.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on January 17, 2006, 11:45:32 PM
I think Alexandra made those comments to Kokovtsov, who succeeded Stolypin.  He mentions it in his memoirs, Out of My Past.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 18, 2006, 01:59:17 AM
Quote
She was just good? Hmmm... when Stolypin died, her behavior seems anything but good. In fact, his widow took some relatively drastic measures to ensure the Romanovs would not enter the room during his last minutes and I've read in Kurth's book that Alexandra had this to say:

"... his destiny was fulfilled.... Believe me, one must not feel sorry for those who are no more." Kurth concluded, "There was one reason above all others for Alexandra's unfeeling dismissal of the man who had done so much to preserve her husband's reign: Stolypin had had the courage to take on Rasputin.

Now, I find it hard to equate goodness with this sort of behavior which to all intents and purposes smacks of: well... he got his just desserts.


Leushino,  You have clearly not read the words she wrote to her brother about the attack and Stolypin's wounds before his death. These were words of compassion, that also showed that the situation was not exactly as some of us may think it was. If you would read those words, you might realise that your interpretation of the above quote is an unduly negative one.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on January 18, 2006, 05:24:55 AM
Do we read from most of the posts in this thread that Alexandra's most positive feature seems to be that she was a loving mother?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: matushka on January 18, 2006, 07:02:43 AM
Alixz: l'enfer is the contrary of the Heavens, is that hell in english? Inferno in italian, ad in russian, Hole in german. Well, that place Satan is living!!!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on January 18, 2006, 07:27:04 AM
Thanks, Matushka, I sort of thought that because in English we say that "The road to H-ll is paved with good intentions."

I just wanted to make sure.  And you are so right.  Good intentions do not make for a "good" person, " but good deeds do.

So many of us do all the wrong things for the right reasons.  I think that Alix was one of us.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 18, 2006, 08:29:54 AM
The comparison of Alexandra and Princess Diana's sitiuations was good; I think both were misunderstood strong women, although Princess Diana was more popular with the general public than Alexandra ever was. And I agree with Tsaria that if Alexandra wasn't worth discussing, just dismissing why are we still here so many years after she is gone, and the world is changed, and still discussing her? Obviously, she must be of some interest. And she is. She had bad qualities extensively covered on other threads, but this one is great because it shows us that Alexandra had many good qualities, and I appreciate the fact that other people thought of some great attributes of her's that I did not capture.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on January 18, 2006, 01:02:53 PM
Her IH Alexandra, was for all understanding, out of place. How well I understand the distance people can feel if one is not from a given country,group,team,etc. One feels ostrisized, surely. But, if one can be welcomed by those with true love and openess, one can feel more than welcomed. Her IH Alexandra, was for all, an outsider. Yet with all of these awesome set barriers, she took it upon herself to immerse herself as well as possible in all that she felt should and could do appreciatively.

80 years ago, women were hardly welcomed in a man's world.80 years ago is not at all like the many freedoms we have for today's world, and for women especially.

One cannot hold her to the expectations of today's world, whilst looking at the backdrop of history then in all it's maddness.

In all the expressions of sharing thoughts and actions of niceness of her IH Alexandra, she was all that NAAOTMA has stated, and perhaps more. I believe most of all, had her children lived, one would have seen all the positive energy and work of her motherhood that she gave to her children.

With all the saddness, pain, and infinite tragedies, she and her family went through, still today, we gain infinite strength in the knowledge, that of all the threads we look for of a human being's life, we look for that of "goodness". May it be so that at the closing of our lives, short or long, people will look for the good, more than anything else. With that, hope lives on for all of us.

Tatiana


Quote
Alexandra had her mother's trait of wanting to be of practical help to others instead of being a ceremonial figurehead at charity events. She took care of her babies hands-on, not the usual for her day. She trained as a nurse, doing any task assigned after completing her training as a middle-aged woman with a history of sciatica. She cared more about her childrens' happiness than the tidiness of her personal rooms. She hoped her children would marry for love. She was an animal lover, which very often indicates a compassionate nature in people. She had a deep faith in God and a deep streak of spirituality that was not fashionable. She had a large capacity for friendship. Like her maternal grandmother, she cherished the sentiment behind an object more than its intrinsic value. She was adventuresome enough to embrace the Style Moderne when it was hardly mainstream.

She was a marriage partner in a genuine love relationship that survived everything that Fate could throw at it. Despite all her flaws, large and small, Nicholas loved her as much or more on the night they died together as the day he married her. That alone makes her story extraordinary.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on January 18, 2006, 05:12:11 PM
During the Rasputin years, Nicholas was clearly frustrated with Alexandra, feared upsetting her and the like so perhaps it wasn't all roses to the end, as some here are determined to think.

Again, I'm not saying it WASN'T that way, but what evidence do we have?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on January 18, 2006, 05:29:14 PM
Well, when he was gone to the front he often wrote several times a day.

Here's one letter:

Stavka. 23 February, 1917

MY BELOVED SUNNY,

Sincerest thanks for your dear letter, which you left in my coupé. I read it with avidity before going off to sleep. It was a great comfort to me in my loneliness, after spending two months together. If I could not hear your sweet voice, at least I could console myself with these lines of your tender love.... I could not believe my eyes-this news was so unexpected. [the children having measles] ...In any case, it is very tiresome and disturbing for you, my darling....Well, my dear, it is getting late. Good-night. May God bless your sleep...

24 February.
.....May God keep you, my joy I kiss you and the children. In thought and in prayer I am with you all. Your little hubby
NICKY.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on January 18, 2006, 05:31:24 PM
and another

Stavka. 24 February, 1917

MY DARLING, SWEET SUNNY,
.....My heart is suffering from separation. I hate this separation, especially at such a time I I shall not be away long-direct things as best I can here, and then my duty will be fulfilled.

25 February.
....Good-bye, my love, my dear little Wify. May God bless you and the children!

Ever your most loving little husband

NICKY.


[I've edited out the long war news, etc...to capture the parts where he directly addresses Alexandra]
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on January 18, 2006, 05:35:12 PM
in other letters from the same period he writes to her as

'my treasure' and 'my dear Sunny' and that he was 'Eternally your NICKY ' , that 'In thought I am always with you',  that ' I kiss you tenderly' and with his 'Tender love'.

Even when his letters are very brief, he never fails to include some endearment and often more than one.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on January 18, 2006, 05:46:19 PM
Thanks for those letter quotes.

I rest my case.  :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: AkshayChavan on January 19, 2006, 02:07:49 PM
I dislike Alexandra the more as i read about her. However, it is important to be impartial. Despite being hardcore alix hater , i have to state one thing. She was not a "monster" she is made out to be. I don't think she meant any harm. Unlike Lenin who was cold-blooded and knew what he was doing. I don't think Alix ever realised how much harm and pain her actions were causing. She though she was doing the right thing. It is just that she didn't realise what she was doing. I think all have us have hurt someone without realising or intending it. Thus ,only good thing i can say about her is that her intensions were good.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 20, 2006, 08:31:18 AM
Alexanndra's intentions were good, and sometimes she may not have had her actions match her intentions as much as they perhaps ought to have, but this true of all of us. She and Nicholas did love each other to the end, and their letters prove this. They had a good relationship, which it seems to me was something that could never break, although they argued from time to time like any other married couple, as stated in another thread. I don't think we need to question this. She left an a impact on history, and indeed she was a good person.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: leushino on January 20, 2006, 10:09:47 AM
Quote
Alexanndra's intentions were good, and sometimes she may not have had her actions match her intentions as much as they perhaps ought to have, but this true of all of us. She and Nicholas did love each other to the end, and their letters prove this. They had a good relationship, which it seems to me was something that could never break, although they argued from time to time like any other married couple, as stated in another thread. I don't think we need to question this. She left an a impact on history, and indeed she was a good person.


Just a couple of small points:

First off, none of us can know with any certainty the intentions of another. Thus you cannot say what Alexandra's true intentions were. You can only guess based upon the things you have read here in the forum and from those authors whose material you have read.

Secondly, letters prove very little. Because one says such and such in a letter does not translate into substantial evidence that such and such is true. In fact, many claims are made in letters and journals only to be disproved later when one of the letter writers denies his/her intentions in that letter. Alexandra may have made certain claims in her letters and Nicholas responded in kind, but we can never know with any certainty that what they wrote is in actuality what they truly felt.

I will agree on one thing that you wrote. "She had an impact on history." I can only guess what impact you believe she had (since you don't state it other than to say she was a good person [which is solely your opinion]) but I will say that I believe her impact on history was not good. Had she restrained herself from meddling in politics, perhaps Nicholas would have relented in terms of granting the Duma real power. This is turn may have lead the country to reject the Bolsheviks and in turn the horror of communism might never have been realized.

It seems to me that where you err is in stating your beliefs as though they were facts. It is better to say, "I believe that Nicholas and Alexandra's love was abiding and remained strong to the end," rather than "She and Nicholas did love each other to the end, and their letters prove this." One is a statement of belief based upon your reading and interpreting of what you've read and the other is a declaration in no unequivocal terms that they did love one another to the end... period. We simply cannot say this particularly in matters of the heart.

Was Nicholas frustrated by his wife and aggravated by her repeated intrusions and meddlesome ways? But to avoid hysterics, he capitulated... he told her what she wanted to hear to maintain a semblance of peace? Who can really say?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 20, 2006, 11:08:02 AM
It seems to me that they state their devotion,love for each other, and mutual opinions in letters that were written not long before their death, but perhaps that's just my opinion...These letters were written in 1917, and they died in mid 1918. Either adversity pulls you apart from another person, or it forges you together more, and do I know what happened in Nicholas and Alexandra's relationship? No, I don't. I just stated what I believe.We don't know the intentions of people beyond ourselves completely, but I doubt that Alexandra had bad intentions. And just because she didn't does't mean she was perfect. Anyway, she did have some good traits, and that is what we are discussing here.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 20, 2006, 11:42:25 AM
Quote
Now, I find it hard to equate goodness with this sort of behavior which to all intents and purposes smacks of: well... he got his just desserts.

Leushino, I would first like to say that I think you were absolutely right in your last post: we will never know for sure what someone thought or what his or her intentions were.

What puzzles me, however, is an inconsistency in your posts. You bring to our attention that we will never be able to know whether Nicholas and Alix expressed their true - positive - feelings about each other in their letters, and you're right in this. But just a few posts earlier, you were not so careful in choosing your words when giving a cyncial negative interpretation to Alix's words after Stolypin's death and assuming that she had bad intentions. Would it not have been more appropriate to say that it was just your personal opinion - based on Kurth's book, which is also just a personal interpretation - that she must have thought he got what he deserved? After all, we do not know what her intentions or thoughts were when expressing the words you referred to. And these words could just as well be interpreted as "God is the only One who knows the place and time of our death. It is a tragedy for the people who are left behind, but you don't have to feel sorry for him, for he is in Heaven now, he is with God and in peace". The latter interpretation would be perfectly in line with the letter she wrote  just before Stolypin's death and would be far more in line with her character than your interpretation.  She had expressed similar thoughts with regard to people who had died and whom she had loved, so there is most likely nothing "vindictive" in it, as you tried to suggest elsewhere.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 20, 2006, 12:12:44 PM
Perhaps we each have a negative/positive view of a person, and that colors we we believe. ;), and what we think their intentions might have been if we think we can know their intentions at all.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: leushino on January 20, 2006, 08:29:31 PM
Quote

What puzzles me, however, is an inconsistency in your posts. You bring to our attention that we will never be able to know whether Nicholas and Alix expressed their true - positive - feelings about each other in their letters, and you're right in this. But just a few posts earlier, you were not so careful in choosing your words when giving a cyncial negative interpretation to Alix's words after Stolypin's death and assuming that she had bad intentions.


You're absolutely right. Mea Culpa. Fifty lashes with the wet noodle!
:-[
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on January 20, 2006, 10:49:29 PM
Well, since you copped to it, I'm sure the sentence could be lessened.   ;)  Mitigating circumstances and all.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Azarias on January 22, 2006, 09:42:42 PM
Empress Alexandra has certainly captured a great deal of attention, good and bad.

I have explained already on another thread that I believe we must be careful about history. Whose version is it? Is it fair or accurate? Understanding history (to me anyway) is to attempt to enter the time period with it's own norms and values as well as the personalities involved. Far too often people would judge according to their own personal standards and today's convictions.

Reading from the begining of this thread there are indeed many wonderful things to say about Alexandra Feodorovna. Is it possible that history has not always been fair to her? Have some of us here been even worse?

As I wanted to point out when I began the thread, if we could see life through her eyes, perhaps she wouldn't appear as she has been "made into" in other threads.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on January 22, 2006, 09:58:20 PM
We can't really know a persn's intentions unless we are them, true, but if we can see clearly based on their known chracter in history, we can sort of see, if not completely, and we should try to be unbiased, because Alexandra did have positive chracteristics, the whole point of this thread, after all.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 31, 2006, 12:03:12 PM
Anyways... I'm not a big fan of Alexandra either but I even I can admit she had many saving graces.  Three of my personal favorites: her extraordinary talent at embroidery, her ability at caricature (which I thinks proves she had a sarcastic side  ;) )and her genuine love of animals.

And many of you hit the nail on the head about the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  The road to Ekaterinburg was littered with them.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Joy0318 on February 01, 2006, 09:36:38 AM
It always does seem that we tend to focus on Alix's negative charactersitics rather than her positive ones myself included.  But as any human being she had both. As for postive traits I think that she was a faithful and loving wife and a devoted mother to her children. She was caring and compassionate working as a nurse during the war and she loved animals.  

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on February 01, 2006, 01:04:38 PM
 "I believe that Nicholas and Alexandra's love was
  abiding and remained strong to the end"    :-*

Tatiana+
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lilavanderhorn on February 01, 2006, 04:36:17 PM
Did they know that it was the father who determined paternity back then?  It is so ironic how everyone kept on popping out boys except for Alexandra.  The Czar had one neice, Irina.  Xenia had boys, Olga had boys, Michael had a boy, cousin George, even Cousin Willy had lots of boys.  The poor woman must have been going out of her mind with all those births.  Ella had no children, Irene had sick boys as well,  I wonder if people were looking at her sisters to add to her "failures."  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on February 01, 2006, 05:54:57 PM
I have asked that same question in other threads.  Did anyone know that having a ton of girls was not the woman's fault?

Also, it is important as our Native Americans would say, not to judge another without having walked many moons in his mocassins. (I'm sure that is a terrible paraphrase.)


And also, Alix was not "evil".  She was reactive to a lot of the situations she encountered and her reactions were unfortunate.

When she became pro-active, she chose to defend and support questionable people (Rasputin) and policies.

She didn't move to Russia with the intention of bringing down the House of Romanov.  She wasn't ploting or planning, she was just trying to get through.

She became haughty and overly "regal".  She refused to see what she didn't want to see, but she did have love and compassion for people and animals.

She is probably one of the most misunderstood women of the twentieth century.  But history is indeed written by the survivors and the victorious. Historians are only now digging deeper into the written accounts and finding out that the established and published accounts have been slanted or spun.

I picked up a book in the Springfield MA public library about 30 years ago that even then made me laugh.  I don't remember the title or the author, but I will never forget that the first page began (I can't quote exacatly) "The fault for all of the problems that befell the House of Romanov and the Russian people lay directly at the feet of the Empress Alexandra."

How's that for twisted history???
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on February 01, 2006, 06:26:52 PM
Dear Alixz,

Thank you for your objective sharing. I wonder how it would be for the many of us to have total strangers, offer a public statement about our own lives. How well would we stand up to such scrutiny?

As the book you chanced to pick up some years ago, entitled "The fault for all of the problems that befell the House of Romanov and the Russian people lay directly at the feet of the Empress Alexandra." I think this statement is unfounded, certainly untrue. If that was some 30 years ago, and we have posters still finding fault, based on those writings, how sad, and certainly twisted ! They barely knew her then, and we still barely know her now.

As Azarias started off the thread, I also wonder, how many have considered how her life was, through her eyes ?

Tatiana+

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on February 01, 2006, 06:52:03 PM
Quote
I picked up a book in the Springfield MA public library about 30 years ago that even then made me laugh.  I don't remember the title or the author, but I will never forget that the first page began (I can't quote exacatly) "The fault for all of the problems that befell the House of Romanov and the Russian people lay directly at the feet of the Empress Alexandra."

How's that for twisted history???


Wierd, I just read something about a book like that on the last thread I was on.  It was, I believe, by a man named Radizwill.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on February 01, 2006, 08:46:46 PM
You know it may just have been Radziwill.

The Radziwill family has been connected to a lot of European Royality.

I don't think I read the whole book, but I remember thinking "what a concept" at the time.

.

Tania  That book, I think, was written in the 1920s.

T Liz What is the other thread?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on February 01, 2006, 09:05:09 PM
I am sorry to post twice, but I had another thought about Alix's life through "her own eyes".

It reminds me of the early 1970s when women were just beginning to break through the glass ceiling.  I was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at the bank I was working for.  Today, that is nothing, but back then it was a big step.

About 6 months after my promotion, the "big guys" decided that my branch didn't need an assistant and brought me back to the main office to   ----- answer the phones!!!!!!!!!

I had gone into a new position (country) expecting to be recognized for my strengths and training and within six months, I was being used as a "utility".

I was hurt and felt underappreciated.  I was devestated by their callousness and thoughtlessness.  Not one of those men would have accepted that having been done to them, but as a woman, I was expected to take whatever they gave me.

With new prespective, I wonder if Alix didn't feel somewhat similar to me.  She came into the country to marry the heir and to be raised up to the position of Empress.  In many ways, she was just as underappreciated as I was.  I would imagine she was also just as hurt.

I have not always been a supporter of Alix's.  In fact, there are times when I feel she was a "jerk", but when I think of my humiliation over the "empty" promotion, I think she could have seen her rise to Empress as just as empty when Marie refused to give her precedence and treated Nicholas as a little boy.

Those "slights" would have begun to shape her future responses and future reactions.  That added to her considerable shyness and pension for fatalism might have caused her to begin to withdraw.

I quit the bank altogether after nearly 8 months of this humiliating treatment, but I had already given 5 good years to that bank.  But I wasn't married to it and I didn't love it.  Alix was married to Nicholas and loved him and his country.  Even if she didn't truly understand it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Azarias on February 01, 2006, 09:10:14 PM
Thank you Alixz, there is alot of food there for thought!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on February 01, 2006, 09:19:43 PM
That's one thing about this forum.  I have had second thoughts about a lot of my opinions since I began to read and post here.

This is about as nice to Alix as I have ever gotten.

Obviously a job at a bank and the position of Empress which Alix took to be with the man she loved is not quite the same thing.  And I doubt that she ever thought of "quitting".

Can you imagine, though, if they had not been so deeply in love?  Alexander II had his Catherine.  I am sure that divorce would have been out of the question, but who knows what else might have happened?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on February 02, 2006, 10:11:28 AM
I do believe Georgiy mentioned it (Radizwill) on the "Alexandra as a Mother" thread.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 02, 2006, 10:15:29 AM
Sometimes it is true that we can understand the emotions of people in history better if we can look at them through our eyes, because human emotional is universal, across the ages, and it never changes, but is forever new. And I think that is a good way to understand it, what Alixz posted. :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Nathalie on May 01, 2006, 05:07:04 AM
Hi all!

Once in a film club we all watched the famous movie with Vanessa Redgrave about the dancer Isadora Duncan; then at the end they asked, would we take Isadora as our confidant and friend-it is kinda catchy because though I adored the picture they drew about her in the movie, I also found her caracter hard. Somehow I feel the same with AF, and its an interesting question, if she'd be alive (or u'd live then:) )would you befriend her?
Honestly, I think I would be more afraid from her maybe and perhaps like her from far ::)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on May 01, 2006, 07:01:24 AM
Hi Nathalie, interesting question! I think I would find AF as a friend rather draining and possibly quite depressing. I think she would be very loyal though!!  :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 01, 2006, 08:25:55 AM
Not really. I think she was a very loyal person to people, and also a person who had many great qualities, but she also had much to deal with. In every day life, she was dealing with so many things, that you would rather end up like Anna Vyrubova, not that that's bad at all.  I don't think we would really would have much in common either, and I think the people of history should be left there. Whatever our world is, it's far away from hers, which would make it hard to relate. Alexandra was also hard to get to know, although she was defintely a woman who cared for those around her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 01, 2006, 12:00:49 PM
Other than fierce loyalty and valuing sensibility, I don't really have much in common with her. I love glamorous things and am not nearly as shy or reserved as Alix. I admire her love of family and intimate relationships, but I'd probably rather be a socialite. I relate much more to Marie of Romania than Alix.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nene on May 01, 2006, 06:29:01 PM
I'm sorry if this has been bought up before, but I haven't read anything about it around here. I'm trying to understand just what Alexandra was supposed to have done as Empress of Russia. Was she supposed to just be a socialite, like wear fancy clothes and give great balls, and generally be behind her husband? If only she loved these things, maybe the Russian people wouldn't have hated her so much. Could you guys help me out here?

As always, thanks again.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 01, 2006, 09:55:20 PM
In my opinion, the best way to understand Imperial Russia, its culture, and the aristocracy is to look at Alix's mother in law, Marie Feodorovna. Marie was in my opinion exactly what Alix should have been--glamorous, decadent, incredibly social, and outgoing. Marie loved clothes, jewelry, and gave balls/parties frequently when Alexander III reigned. Marie still did her part though --consorts could be involved in charitable work and/or patronizing and establishing institutions. She was also a huge support to her husband. As grandoise displays of wealth were a prominent part of the arisocratic lifestyle, an Empress of Russia would indeed have been expected to go along with them, if not encourage them. Alix, as Marie identified early on, simply could not do this. I don't think that Alix wearing lovely clothing or giveing more balls it would have completely smoothed things over--her personality and opinions were entirely unfit to meet the expectations of high society and unlike Marie, she made no real attempt to please those around her. Alix was rather hateful towards their flamboyant lifestyles from the very beginning.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nene on May 01, 2006, 10:03:53 PM
Wow!! Marie Feodorovna must have been an awesome historical person! No wonder alot of the Russian people loved her. Thanks so much for the information. I think right from the start, Marie saw the kind of person Alix was, and didn't really want Nicholas to marry her. Maybe she knew (Marie) what was going to happen if the two of them got married.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 01, 2006, 10:11:06 PM
Quote
Wow!! Marie Feodorovna must have been an awesome historical person! No wonder alot of the Russian people loved her. Thanks so much for the information. I think right from the start, Marie saw the kind of person Alix was, and didn't really want Nicholas to marry her. Maybe she knew (Marie) what was going to happen if the two of them got married.

Indeed. This was one of her main reservations about Nicholas' choice of bride--Alix was too stand offish and shy to meet the demands of being an Empress of Russia. Just based on their fate, I would say she was right.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 02, 2006, 04:45:29 AM
AF a socialite!  I'm sorry -- but it does bring a smile to the face.

Ortino - you describe MF as decadent.  Decadent?  How so, please?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 02, 2006, 06:00:12 AM
Quote
AF a socialite!  I'm sorry -- but it does bring a smile to the face.

Ortino - you describe MF as decadent.  Decadent?  How so, please?

Wouldn't you describe her as rather self-indulgent?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 02, 2006, 09:34:21 AM
She probably was, to a certain extent, yes, but not overly so for her position, in my opinion.  

I simply queried the word "decadence" because it seems to imply to me decay or moral corruption or similar.  I believe I understand what you mean.  Thank you.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 02, 2006, 10:17:31 AM
No, Alexandra wasn't just supposed to be a socilalite, but this was an important role as Consort that she didn't play. It isn't the mere fact of being in public attending and throwing the kinds of events that defined Imperial Russia all the while wearing a ball gown from Worth, and fabulous jewels. That was the outside. Had she done more of this, without connecting with the aristrocracy, and showing that she understood their way of life, and Russian Society, that she understood the people of the court, she would most likely have been called extravagant. Marie Antoinette was called this, and look at what happened to her. But had she played the role of traditional consort as social hostess, and connected with Russian society, lived by their mores, and shown that she could play her role well, and more of what kind of person she was, and done all this, she would have been far more effective as a consort than she was, and woudn't have bred hostilty.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lilavanderhorn on May 02, 2006, 05:57:26 PM
Being an active socialite would have certainly improved her likeability among the aristocrats, members of the court, nobility, etc, but I think Alix thought that the regular poor peasants of Russia were the ones who really counted.  If she felt that the people loved her as their "Little Mother", she was content with just that, and not the frivolities of the upper classes.  Sadly she was mistaken.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 03, 2006, 05:12:57 AM
It's interesting, isn't it? The double standards of a culture.

Alexandra didn't waste money on lots of fine clothes, jewels and throwing massive parties.  Instead, she focussed on building hospitals and such, trying to improve the conditions of the masses, and for that, she was hated by the aristocracy, and she was also hated by the people.

To be fair, I think whatever Alexandra did, she wouldn't have been liked.  She was damned if she did go to all the court functions (she would have been labelled as extravagant, uncaring, etc, as she was when she went to the ball after the Kodynka (sp?) field disaster after the coronation), and she was damned when she didn't and focussed on improving the lot of the average people (she was cold, she was proud, she was haughty, etc).  I think the court had it out for Alexandra from the beginning.  She was the 'funeral' bride, she pushed out Marie, who everyone loved, and she didn't like the way of life in St Petersburg.  To the people she was the haughty German, even though she was trying to help them. Nothing she ever did was right.  

Yes, Alexandra should have been more of a socialite, but it wasn't in her make up to do so.  She was shy and she found it hard.  She should have tried harder to get over this, seeing as it was her job to go to functions, but she didn't.  However, like I say, I find it hard to believe that she would have been accepted and liked if she had done so anyway.  The court seemed to be determined to dislike Alexandra, no matter what she did.  And so did the people.  What I find particularly interesting is that no one was ever bothered about Marie's foreign nationality, but it was a HUGE deal when it came to Alexandra.  Russia had had German Tsarinas for generations; why was all the blame put on Alexandra's head? Because she was an easy scapegoat, that's why, and it seems to me that she was used as one from the very beginning.

I don't admire Alexandra that much, but I do think she was treated abominably when there was no real reason to do so.

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 03, 2006, 08:06:35 AM
Quote
Russia had had German Tsarinas for generations; why was all the blame put on Alexandra's head? Because she was an easy scapegoat, that's why, and it seems to me that she was used as one from the very beginning.
 

 Perhaps, but I believe that a lot of the animosity towards Germans came about because of the Kaiser. He was stubborn, irrational, and overall foolish man, and I doubt that this could have done much to improve the image of Germany as a whole.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 03, 2006, 08:37:02 AM
Very true about the Kaiser, he was not good public relations for Germany as it were. I think this was one reson that Alexandra was looked badly at. Another one ws that she was shy, which she coudn't help. She was more concerned with the common people than the aristocracy; in another country or time, this could have won her great favour. But in that time and country it didn't, although she was right in in her concern for ordinary people more, even if she sometimes thought a bit naively of them. Alexandra was certainly not extravagent nor called so; but she was called everything else, and this doomed her in the end. I think it was unfair, in England Alexandra would most likely have pretty popular as a consort.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on May 03, 2006, 11:53:53 AM
Quote
in England Alexandra would most likely have pretty popular as a consort.

I would question this.  In my view, it was Alexandra's invisibility which really caused her unpopularity.  Because people couldn't see her, they could imagine all sorts of lurid things - and did so.  Maria Feodorovna's parents were born in Germany, her youngest sister was married to a German and her nephew was married to the Kaiser's daughter, but there was never any question in people's minds that she might be a covert German sympathiser because she was highly visible, and made her opinions clearly known.  Alexandra was invisible, didn't bother communicating to anyone outside her immediate circle, and the only things most people knew about her was that she was associated with a man of deeply unsavoury reputation, and was close to her German brothers and sisters.  Some measure of social communication would have mitigated this perception of her.

Queen Victoria's seclusion after Albert's death made her similarly unpopular.  Once Disraeli worked his magic, and she got out and about more, she became much more popular.   Queen Mary and Empress Dona were quite as virtuous as Alexandra, and not particularly dedicated to the social whirl, but both saw it as their duty to preside over court events, and generally be highly visible consorts whose loyalty to their countries could not be questioned, even if they had relations fighting on the other side.  And in a more raffish way, Marie of Roumania in WWI showed you could be identified with an adopted country without being born and bred there.  If Alexandra had shown herself in society frequently, however awkwardly, and rushed about the country during WWI handing out medals, attending charity bazars and visiting hospitals as other consorts did, rather than attending on the wounded as a nurse and running the country in a deeply incompetent fashion in relative isolation, she might never have become a figure of such genuine, and unfair, hatred.  At least people would have a better idea of where she stood.  

Given that in WWI her brother-in-law Louis Mountbatten was hounded from his position in the British navy due to his German origins , even if she had been queen of England Alexandra might have come in for some unpleasant flack.  But greater visibility might also have countered this.  

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 03, 2006, 12:44:28 PM
While I agree with all that CountessKate stated, I believe that Alexandra would have indeed made a better English consort. I don't think it would have necessarily made her more popular, but she would have been better suited nonetheless. Although born a German princess, it is clear that her leanings were always English. Her tastes, opinions, and reserved personality all reflect the English lifestyle and obviously therefore could never coincide with Russian ones. Looking back, even though Eddy was a tad crazy, I think she would have been better off marrying him than Nicholas.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Teddy on May 03, 2006, 01:20:51 PM
Yes, I would be friends with her. For me: Loyalty is a must.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Yseult on May 03, 2006, 01:47:19 PM
I don´t think so.

I feel tenderness and a great measure of compassion for Alix, but I think that If she were a friend of mine, I would be so exasperate about her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on May 03, 2006, 01:58:58 PM
I think for most, when one chooses to be a friend, or find a friend, respect and loyalty are a must. I don't think it matters what rank, or how much one has in terms of money or objects, these basic essentials are the glue that makes or breaks any relationships.

So I agree with you, for me loyalty is a must ! I would be friends with her as well !

Tatiana+

Quote
Yes, I would be friends with her. For me: Loyalty is a must.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 03, 2006, 02:20:54 PM
Quote
While I agree with all that CountessKate stated, I believe that Alexandra would have indeed made a better English consort. I don't think it would have necessarily made her more popular, but she would have been better suited nonetheless. Although born a German princess, it is clear that her leanings were always English. Her tastes, opinions, and reserved personality all reflect the English lifestyle and obviously therefore could never coincide with Russian ones. Looking back, even though Eddy was a tad crazy, I think she would have been better off marrying him than Nicholas.

Eddy may not have been ideal king material, Ortino, but he was certainly not crazy in any way.  I think you may be a little short on info regarding him?  ;)

Regardless of Eddy's strong feelings for Alix, they would have been a poorly matched couple.  However, she probably would have made a better Queen of England than she did a Tsarina of All The Russias, anyway.  In my opinion, she wasn't suited to play a lead role in any capacity.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: aleksandra on May 03, 2006, 02:53:53 PM
Yes absolutely I would because we have so much in common, family wise and in feelings. But I’m a little shy like alix.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 03, 2006, 06:21:42 PM
Quote
Eddy may not have been ideal king material, Ortino, but he was certainly not crazy in any way.  I think you may be a little short on info regarding him?

Actually, no. I don't know where you're getting your information, but Eddy was certainly mentally imbalanced.  :-? I mean Eddy, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, not David, Prince of Wales if that's what's confusing you.

And my point was that if she had become a British consort instead of a Russian one, she may have avoided certain problems/criticisms regarding personality and behavior.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Arleen on May 03, 2006, 06:43:09 PM
YES, I would befriend Alexandra!  I have always liked her VERY much.

Arleen
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 03, 2006, 10:09:09 PM
I am off topic here, but I wonder where your information that Prince Eddy was "mentally unbalanced" came from?  It is a fairly typical view of him, admittedly, but it does not fit in with what is now known about Eddy and his life.  I'll say no more on him here, however...    

Back to topic - I agree with what you say about AF.  Being a British consort rather than a Russian one would have proved more suitable to her character but it is still hard to think that she would have handled it competently and become beloved of the people, but who knows?  :-/
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 04, 2006, 02:44:13 AM
I agree that Alexandra would probably have fared better as an English Queen; she certainly wouldn't have been murdered, that's for sure.

I think it would have been easier for her because she wouldn't have had SUCH a prominent role, seeing as our monarchy is constitutional, and she wouldn't have felt such pressure to have a son, etc.  Plus, of course, no Orthodox religion here, so her intensely spiritualist side wouldn't have had a chance to come out, and so no Rasputin.

I agree with Grace; Alexandra was simply not suited to a public role at all, but she was going to have to have some sort of public role, whoever she married, seeing as she was royalty.  Russia was probably the worst country she could have married into for her temperament, and if she had married the heir to the British throne, I think her life would have been a lot more comfortable and less stressful for her.  

She may though have suffered from the anti German feelings during the war, though I doubt to the extent she did in Russia.

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on May 04, 2006, 03:17:37 AM
My personal feeling is that Alexandra would have made a poor queen/empress consort for any of the European countries as she just doesn't seem to me to have been good consort material.  For Russia, she proved to be totally disastrous.  If she had been in England,  the governmental structure meant that she would have had no opportunity to influence political decisions, so her whole sphere would have been in the social/public arena, where she clearly demonstrated ineptitude even before her increasing isolation from Russian society.  The role of the consort in Europe (including Russia) was (1) to produce healthy heirs, gender depending on country but at the time male was preferred even where not required and (2) to support the monarch, politically depending on country but foremost socially/publically.  It should be remembered that Maria Feodorovna's apparent social 'frivolity' was in fact highly supportive of Alexander III's government as she put a public, accessible and attractive face on a monarchy where the autocrat was not himself sociable, particularly accessible, or attractive.  In Alexandra's case, her dislike and contempt of the social side of her role had a much higher importance in a regime where the ruler was so pivotal.  Nicholas had no consort at his side, publicly demonstrating her support of his regime, showing how much she enjoyed being in Russia and leading its society.  Instead he had a consort who shrank from her public role and appeared to think it beneath her.  That wouldn't have gone down well in any country.  If she had been 'just' a socialite, she would have been a much better consort whether she was in Russia or England, in my view.  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GD Alexandra on May 04, 2006, 10:29:55 AM
Quote
My personal feeling is that Alexandra would have made a poor queen/empress consort for any of the European countries as she just doesn't seem to me to have been good consort material.  For Russia, she proved to be totally disastrous.  If she had been in England,  the governmental structure meant that she would have had no opportunity to influence political decisions, so her whole sphere would have been in the social/public arena, where she clearly demonstrated ineptitude even before her increasing isolation from Russian society.  The role of the consort in Europe (including Russia) was (1) to produce healthy heirs, gender depending on country but at the time male was preferred even where not required and (2) to support the monarch, politically depending on country but foremost socially/publically.
 If she had been 'just' a socialite, she would have been a much better consort whether she was in Russia or England, in my view.  

Well, I second your opinion. She wound't had make it nor in England as she did not in Russia. On the part of producing healthy heirs, well it is clearly that she did not accomplished this task, for example, although Queen Victoria's son Leopold was hemophiliac, she had Bertie Alfred and Arthur to ensure the crown. If Alix would had had any other sons, the story might had been different.
On the other hand, I beleive that supporting the monarchy by socializing was a key point by that time to give a bright side to the ruling monarch.

So, yes in my opinion Alexandra's most important job was to be a socialite.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 04, 2006, 11:26:25 AM
There are many things I admire about Alexandra, and I don't think she should just be judged by Rasputin and the later years when she was under much stress and pressure. I guess I would just find her a little hard to relate to.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 04, 2006, 11:40:30 AM
Well, it would have helped if Alexandra had been more out and about in society. I think in Russia, she was pressured to produce an heir, and as well, she was exposed to the religion that she took too mystical of a leaning to it. And it was a dangerous country to be a consort and isolate yourself, especially given the role of the last consort in being out and about in society. I really think that the aristocracy and court were important in Russia, as the more common people really didn't have a chance to express their support or not for the consort, execpt the revolutionaries, and ignorant gossipers who spread lies about her. Other than that, the opinion of people, say in the provinces, didn't matter as much as in England. In England, there would have been more press, objective press that is, and more people would have understood her as a result. And the common people's opinions mattered more there. Isolation might not have been allowed her, although Queen Victoria was allowed it for awhile, but then she was widow, and people were critical even of her. But the things that in Russia brought out perhaps the not so good parts of Alexandra's character would not have been present in England. Alexandra was perhaps not suited to the role of consort, but if she had to play this in any country, she may have played it quite well in England.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Margarita Markovna on May 04, 2006, 05:02:37 PM
I think I probably would. I'm a bit more outgoing than she is, but she seems like the kind of person who means it when they smile, and isn't a phony. I admire that a lot.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Dasha on May 04, 2006, 05:23:01 PM
I think I would befriend Alix, because I too value loyalty and trust.  I think if one approached her correctly, she could be a very good and devoted friend.  I can definitely relate to that, so I think we would be able to understand each other.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 05, 2006, 08:17:07 AM
No.  Alexandra would have frustrated me too much.

It's interesting that Alexandra gravitated towards those she could mother.  Her closest friends were either younger than her or very needy people, towards whom she acted as a mother or older sister.  Alexandra wasn't really a 'friend' in the way I view a friend, she was more like a carer, and I wouldn't want to be fussed over and treated like a child by my friend.

Alexandra's inability to wake up and smell the coffee would be very irritating for me.  One personality trait I cannot stand in other people is ignorance.  

I think Alexandra was a wonderfully caring and beneficient person, but I just don't think I would have been able to be friends with her without throttling her.  If I was a more docile person and willing to be controlled, then perhaps I would have enjoyed Alexandra's company, but I'm not.  And I don't think Alexandra would have liked me much either because I would have told it to her straight. I'm very blunt.  And Alexandra didn't like that at all! She only made friends with people who wouldn't talk back.  

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 05, 2006, 06:37:10 PM
Quote
It's interesting that Alexandra gravitated towards those she could mother.  Her closest friends were either younger than her or very needy people, towards whom she acted as a mother or older sister.  Alexandra wasn't really a 'friend' in the way I view a friend, she was more like a carer, and I wouldn't want to be fussed over and treated like a child by my friend.
 
Alexandra's inability to wake up and smell the coffee would be very irritating for me.  One personality trait I cannot stand in other people is ignorance.  

I'm not surprised that Alexandra "mothered" other people considering that she lost her own at such a young age. Perhaps looking after others sufficiently filled that void.

I too have zero tolerance for ignorance. People should be aware of things and those who aren't, ought to be.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David_Pritchard on May 05, 2006, 06:39:21 PM
[size=14]One would never have had the oppurtunity to befriend the Empress of all the Russias and in fact the entire concept would have been viewed as rude, presumtuous and in direct conflict with the protocol of the Imperial Court. One would have had to wait to be invited to speak with the Empress and then if she found the company pleasing, she might have invited the interesting guest back to the palace for another social encounter. After many such encounters, the Empress might have taken one into her confidence. The offering of friendship was an entirely unilateral matter.

David[/size]
[/b]
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 05, 2006, 06:43:56 PM
Quote
[size=14]One would never have had the oppurtunity to befriend the Empress of all the Russias and in fact the entire concept would have been viewed as rude, presumtuous and in direct conflict with the protocol of the Imperial Court. One would have had to wait to be invited to speak with the Empress and then if she found the company pleasing, she might have invited the interesting guest back to the palace for another social encounter. After many such encounters, the Empress might have taken one into her confidence. The offering of friendship was an entirely unilateral matter.

David[/size]
[/b]

The technicalities of actually befriending the Empress are not in play here--this is entirely hypothetical and should be viewed as such. Evidently you missed the point of the thread.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David_Pritchard on May 06, 2006, 02:43:18 PM
Quote
Quote
[size=14]One would never have had the oppurtunity to befriend the Empress of all the Russias and in fact the entire concept would have been viewed as rude, presumtuous and in direct conflict with the protocol of the Imperial Court. One would have had to wait to be invited to speak with the Empress and then if she found the company pleasing, she might have invited the interesting guest back to the palace for another social encounter. After many such encounters, the Empress might have taken one into her confidence. The offering of friendship was an entirely unilateral matter.

David[/size]
[/b]

The technicalities of actually befriending the Empress are not in play here--this is entirely hypothetical and should be viewed as such. Evidently you missed the point of the thread.

I reviewed the first post on this subject and while the discussion is hypothetical, there was no caveat that this discussion was immune from the socio-historical norms of that time and place, please read below:

Once in a film club we all watched the famous movie with Vanessa Redgrave about the dancer Isadora Duncan; then at the end they asked, would we take Isadora as our confidant and friend-it is kinda catchy because though I adored the picture they drew about her in the movie, I also found her caracter hard. Somehow I feel the same with AF, and its an interesting question, if she'd be alive (or u'd live then )would you befriend her?  
Honestly, I think I would be more afraid from her maybe and perhaps like her from far


]If our discussions become purely hypothetical and devoid of socio-historical context and fact, then we might as well be participating in a creative fantasy discussion group rather than the Alexander Palace Time Machine: Romanov, Russian History Royalty Discussion Forum
(please note the inclusion of the words time machine and Russian history in the title).

David
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 06, 2006, 05:49:59 PM
The fact is that few, if any of us would have had the opportunity to be presented to her, left alone befriend her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 07, 2006, 05:37:51 AM
Ortino was simply pointing out that this was a hypothetical thread asking, from your opinion of the Empress' personality, whether you would like to be friends with her.  

Your point really has very little relevance anyway, because this discussion is about if you WERE in a position to befriend the Empress, which would imply a social situation allowing this to happen, would you want to? Everyone is fully aware that our social standing TODAY would not have allowed us to befriend the Empress, but in discussing this topic we are transcending the boundaries of time, place and position and putting ourselves in a hypothetical mindset where if we WERE in a position to be friends with the Empress, what would we do?



Rachel
xx

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: s.v.markov on May 07, 2006, 05:59:43 AM
Well said Rachel. This started as a very reasonable idea, and I'm certain that virtually everyone who viewed the thread knew the impossibility of such a situation ever arising (now or in the past), but was still intrigued enough to try and imagine it. Anyone finding it silly, childish or irrelevant has only to click off to another thread more appealing to him/herself. Humour certainly has a place on a site like this, and I have been hugely entertained in the past by the wit and repartee amongst those posting their comments. But the dividing line between humour and rudeness is easily crossed, and philosophical debate can sometimes look like pseudo-intellectual clap-trap if not carefully honed.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 07, 2006, 06:46:55 AM
Thank you Markov, you are quite right.

A lot of people on this site have an excellent sense of humour and I am frequently entertained by the witty discussions we have on here. 

Let us not forget that behind the screennames, there are real people.  Just because this is the internet, it doesn't mean people's feelings cannot be hurt.  

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 07, 2006, 07:00:58 AM
Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate your support.

 As for my supposed ignorance, I already speak 3 languages and am attempting to teach myself Russian. As I have absolutely no resources at the moment other than books, my inability to speak/read Russian is currently not by choice. I hope that in the future you will treat other members with more respect.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on May 07, 2006, 08:35:00 AM
Quote
....Humour certainly has a place on a site like this, and I have been hugely entertained in the past by the wit and repartee amongst those posting their comments. But the dividing line between humour and rudeness is easily crossed, and philosophical debate can sometimes look like pseudo-intellectual clap-trap if not carefully honed.

Sadly what one person perceives to be humorous others may interpret otherwise.  The distinctions can sometimes be blurred. On a forum such as this where we attempt to convey our thoughts into words, ideally we attempt to strike a reasonable balance. Not everyone succeeds, or is seen to succeed. When there is a perceived failure to humor others, it quite understandably raises the ire of some posters.

I am sorry that Ortino was hurt and perhaps David should be generous and consider this situation in a different light and extend his apology?
 :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ortino on May 07, 2006, 09:01:04 AM
Quote
I am sorry that Ortino was hurt and perhaps David should be generous and consider this situation in a different light and extend his apology?

I'm not hurt Belochka, merely vexed. I am no one's pet and will not be taken for one. There's no need for an apology--David has already made quite an impression on me. Now, perhaps we might return to the topic at hand?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on May 07, 2006, 05:42:47 PM
Yes, perhaps it's time to get back on topic.

David does have a very sharp sense of humor and I think, via cyberspace, it can be misinterpreted. Nonetheless, it was obviously received badly and I can see why and understand while it could be construed as offensive.

Not all of us can speak Russian (or any other foreign langauge) despite our presence on the site and I don't think should be faulted for that--while at the same time having admiration for the multilingual. I didn't understand what the comment was and, if MM hadn't already clarified, I would've looked it up. I would suggest that cutting & pasting comments into babelfish is a great help for smaller blocks of texts--not so good for larger ones as meaning can be lost in translation.  :)

I think everyone know understands the well-taken caveat of the difficulties in ever being in the situation to have a chance to befriend the Empress and perhaps the discussion can return to the strictly hypothetical one it was intended to be.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 08, 2006, 08:21:46 AM
Yes, if we could go back in history, none of us would have had the chance to be presented to Alexandra, let alone become friends with her. I think it's a good idea for a hypothetical thread though, keeping that word in mind. Some of us belong on threads like this, perhaps others of us belong on more serious threads. We ought to respect each other.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: s.v.markov on May 08, 2006, 10:47:58 AM
Yes, absolutely right. The great thing about this forum is that it is accessible to everyone, from the youngest or most inexperienced member just beginning to acquire an interest in the subject, to the expert researcher and academic who has been working in this field for years and years. And in between, of course, the majority of us pursue our various interests and gain such a lot of help and knowledge from one another ~ that is why the AP is so popular all over the world. If a question on a thread appears at first sight simplistic or naive, or if it is a point of view from a young person just beginning to think about a subject,  it still deserves a clear, serious and considered response, without recourse to long critical diatribes which will go over that person's head and, perhaps, make him/her hesitate before asking anothjer question.  These beginners are the historians of tomorrow, who will continue to keep alive the themes we discuss here on a daily basis. And we all had to start somewhere!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: hellokitty2121 on May 09, 2006, 07:13:26 PM
Ok ...
Even IF we suspend all the dynamics of cultural experience and worldview  that make us creatures of another century than AF - and if we also imagine that we could have had the opportunity and social status to have ever even met this lady - friendship is a relationship between two people- she might not care for any of us.

Sorry....I'm afraid that I cannot honestly pretend to have anything in common with AF. I'm not religious and I don't have children. (wink! ;) -But I guess I am a little paranoid!  ;D ;))

This is an interesting topic - but I think it would be better served in the Having Fun" sector .  

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: grandduchessella on May 09, 2006, 11:03:59 PM
There was a story told in the memoirs of Baroness Agnes deStoeckl that was illuminating when it came to whether one could get close enough to the Empress to befriend her.

The Baroness's husband was attached to GD George M and she was very close to GDss George (Greek Minny). One day she suggested that Minny and the Baroness's daughter Zoia should stop at Livadia on their way home. Minny 'hesitated; she had never been there uninvited. 'But surely', I suggested, 'you are intimate enough to visit the Empress.' Zoia was most anxious to see her friends, so they started.' Agnes returned to Minny's home, Harax. 'A little later they both came to my room red and angry. The Grand Duchess burst forth: 'I told you so. You are a fool to make me do such things.' Zoia also stood startled and upset. 'What is the matter?' I asked. Then the story was told. The Grand Duchess and Zoia drove to Livadia. They perceived the Emperor playing tennis with two of his daughters and an officer of the...Standart, the Empress reclining on a chaise lounge, and near her the Tsarevitch....The two visitors, rather quaking, went towards the players. The game stopped, the Emperor as usual charming advanced, followed by the young girls, and greeted them. Then they went up to the Empress. She scarcely looked at them, murmured something with an icy look. She did not ask them to sit down. The Grand Duchess, feeling her anger rising yet such was the aureole around the Emperor and Empress that she would never dare to show it. The game was resumed. Still not a word from the Empress. Zoia whispered: 'Let us go.' The Grand Duchess did not know what to do. The officers noticed the situation and felt uncomfortable, so the Grand Duchess waited until the set was over, said good-bye and left. She said: 'I knew it would be like that. Why did I listen to you? The Empress never will allow anybody to intrude on their privacy.' And such was her nature that, although the most sensitive of women, she could put this armour of steel around her...Anyhow, she showed that day to her own cousin that no one, not even her family, could come uninvited. All this fell back on the Emperor who was so different, yet loved his wife too dearly to go against her wishes.'
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on May 10, 2006, 12:52:02 AM
I don't know, I guess there are several ways of looking at what transpired. Of course in looking back, what and how protocol was, and perhaps in regards to imperial protocol, it does not seem so unusual. I would imagine that 'family day' was just that, for the immediate family, and in regards to this especially The Tsarina felt it to be an intrusion. Then as now, it was and would be advisable to call or write ahead to see if others [even extended family] would be or could be included for the day that they wished to visit. I don't see this as something to be out of the ordinary. It looked as if this was a split second decision, and she was pressed to try her hand at being intrusive. Naturally, she failed.

I think they, the IF, as anyone else, deserved to have family time to themselves. I don't think anyone can find fault with that. Perhaps, this was why she felt her cousin came without proper protocol.

I know for our family, we have a special day, usually Sunday. We stick to having just the immediate family to be together. People outside the family know that this is our together time and respect our wishes. I wonder if this is just something we do, or if others here or globally have their special only immediate family days ? One does not have to be royal to respond...

Tatiana+
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 10, 2006, 10:35:44 AM
Well, Alexandra was a very private person, and liked to keep her family to herself. She liked to live quietly with her family, as some do, and wasn't what we would call a social person. Some families and some people are more family oriented than others, and Alexandra was one of them. But even many who may not be particularly family oriented like to spend time with their family. Alexandra was a very loyal friend, but she liked to be close to her family. But sometimes it would be hard to make friends in that era if you were royalty anyway, as you had a tight circle around you of people, especially for the Imperial Family.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 12, 2006, 05:13:39 AM
Yes, with respect, we know she was an intensely private person who just wanted to be with her family...that was her main problem...

I think it was Willy who said that Nicholas should have been a farmer digging turnips, rather than Tsar...well, Alexandra should have been cooking them, in my opinion.

Her total dismissal of anything remotely required of her as Tsarina makes me so cross.  She didn't have to be a second MF but she didn't do ANYTHING.  >:(
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mazukov on May 12, 2006, 06:08:00 AM
I’m not really an Alexandra fan. But in all fairness to her she was placed in a rather unique situation. First of all she came to Russia behind a coffin. The peasants on the streets were saying  she entered our land behind a coffin she brings misfortune.

Also given her isolation when she first came to court. The dowager empress assigned Alexandra  a first  mistress without asking her. At one point Alexandra had asked princess maria galitzine  (I whish you would tell me something about these people then I would know what to talk to them about) what does it matter was the reply maria gave her, it’s an honor just to be in the same room with you.

So to me she did try to reach out but given the nature of the Russian court they didn’t help her at all that much. I was indeed impressed with her when the dowager empress tried to keep the crown jewels and Alexandra reply to her was Keep them. By doing that she shamed the dowager in giving them back seeing how the crown jewels were not her but belonged to the state.  

I do think that she was handed a tough situation and I think early on she made efforts to do what was right but between the two camps of her and the dowager empress she was caught in a no win situation. Which over time she managed to make even worse. But it was not entirely her fault.

I could be friends with her but I’m not sure I could be close friend. I’m rather blunt in nature and I think that wouldn’t have gone over well with her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 12, 2006, 06:27:41 AM
I have taken on board your comments, Mazukov.

I do realise the disadvantages she had when she and Nicholas came to the throne so early and with no experience of the Russian court, trying to embrace a new religion etc. and she did make some tentative steps early on in as Tsarina.  But she gave up so easily with everything!  Surely she would have realised that being Empress of all the Russias entailed more than just being a wife and mother some years into the role?  Just can't understand it...never will.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mazukov on May 12, 2006, 06:32:24 AM
Oh yes I do agree with you grace that she gave up way to easily to me it was a babyish reaction on her part it was more like Oh yea well take this I’ll give you all nothing. Plus I think the isolation of being always at the AP rather than in the capital brought further the distance between her the court and the most importantly the people.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 12, 2006, 06:58:13 AM
I am sure that she would have known deep down that more was expected of her as Empress than she gave and this would go some way to explaining the stress she always felt.

If you have an unpleasant job to do and continue to put it off and put it off, you feel worse about it than you would have if you just plunged in and did it.  

She knew she wasn't performing and as time went on, she got more and more nervous and withdrawn about reactions and what would would happen if she did try to do something worthwhile.  At least that's my opinion.  ::)

Back to topic - I don't think I would have "befriended" her exactly, if I had the chance, but I probably would have made some effort to try to understand her...then maybe or maybe not, I would have shaken her!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mazukov on May 12, 2006, 12:34:24 PM
I wonder what would have happened if she had gotten a decent answer when she had asked about "those people" so that she could have something to talk to them about. As do she could have tried harder which she didn’t it was nothing less than a haphazardly approach to affairs of court and state.

It’s hard to say how I would be with a friendship with her. I’m way too blunt and outwardly in my approach to life in general. But then in private one on one she may have been very different and I probably would have had something in common. But that’s just remotely thinking on my part.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alicky on May 16, 2006, 10:13:25 PM
One may as well ask if one could ever imagine being friends with (and therefore, feel equal to) one's bosses, teachers, "democratically elected" political leaders, favorite performers, or even one's own parents or some of one's in-laws.  

In most cases, probably not, but life can throw one surprises, and sometimes so-called "superiors"  have more of an egilitarian attitude than their intimidated "inferiors".  And sometimes the "inferiors" have more attractions of personality, if not of body, than they may believe possible, if they manage to catch their "superior's" eye.  Look at the relationship of Alexandra and Anna Vyroubova.  Sure, they might have attended the same social events at some time, but they were not of equal rank or education, experience, age, etc.  Still, something apparently, unexpectedly, clicked--- whether fortunately or unfortunately for either one, isn't the point.
  
I am afraid of my boss, but SHE apparently thinks well of me (however, I'm never going to tell her all the juicy tidbits of my life like some of my co-workers do.)  In my time, I was also befriended by one of my lifelong favorite actors and somewhat befriended by one of my favorite singers.  Sadly, this does more for one's ego than it probably should--- but again, that's not the point.  Since it's clear what THEIR special attractions and advantages are, what on earth made them notice ME?

Would I have befriended Alexandra if we shared the same timeframe and social contacts, and  if the opportunity had presented itself?  Probably would have been as kind and understanding as she was to me, assuming she'd be kind and understanding, but No... Because while I'm not blunt, I too have ways of communicating impatience with certain conditions and a hopefully tactful way of trying to get the conditions changed or ameliorated--- and resentment when things stay the same or get worse as I perceive it.  It doesn't make me right all the time, but it makes me too uncomfortable to endure the situation for long.  

Which perhaps means I have a lot more in common with Alexandra than previously suspected--- except for the religion part--- I am agnostic and neither wish to be convinced, nor to convince others.   There's such a thing as being so much like another person that you can never get along because it's in all the wrong ways.  Actually, when I was younger, I wished I had friends like the Grand Duchesses and Alexei--- they reminded me of how it was with my own sisters and one brother.  And being born on the cusp of the 20th century as they were, if they had lived, who can say what their fortunes might have been?  Maybe one or more would have ended up marrying below their station, as their own relatives did, and/or pursued careers, all of which might have made them that much more accessible.  And to add to their charms, they were very fond of animals, as I am.

I'm not sure if, having survived and lost her throne, Alexandra would have been any more accessible--- she seemed both too stubborn and sensitive to have adjusted and become even as comfortable as one suspects Nicholas might have been.   If she lost her son too, who knows, but that she might have broken down completely.   One would have to be a very special friend to rise to that challenge.

In conclusion, how one speculates s/he might have gotten along with Alexandra tells as much about himself of herself as it does about Alexandra's probable capacity for reciprocating a hypothetical offer of friendship.





.



Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 18, 2006, 03:32:29 PM
Great post, Alicky. We always speculate about friendship with the rich, amd famous. I suppose, chances are that we have little in common at all, if we had the chance of friendship. But then we might. Alexandra may have indeed been more different in private ( if you could get there), than in public as a friend. She had a giving, caring, nature and that certainly makes a good friend. But being blunt was not her way, nor the way of those around her. She woudn't have tolerated it, for sure. I myself am not blunt- I like to put life in fantasies and mute it a bit. Alexandra may not have been that way, but she was an Empress, imperial royalty. She had always somewhat lived in a illusion atomsphere, with no one around her saying anything bluntly, nor perhaps telling her the truth at times. I think she recognized the truth, but may not have wished to face it sometimes. I suppose most people may have a moment of that, although if you are blunt, perhaps not.

She entered Russia with many disadvantages of sitiuation, and she tried. She did get very wrapped up in her son ( completely understandable), and overly isolated. But, if a shy person had to deal with all she had to deal with, would they do better? As well, although she very much concentrated on her role as wife, and mother, she was encouraged to do so, pressured to produce an heir. No wonder she thought it was her main role as Tsarina, which perhaps it was.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: reashka on May 18, 2006, 11:51:50 PM
I would, some people misunderstood her because they didn't know her that much or maybe they didn't seem to get her attitude or something like that.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 19, 2006, 01:51:30 AM
Alexandra's modern day supporters seem to think she was not generally liked because she was "misunderstood" but I think she frankly came across as stiff, cold and uninterested in those around her and, empress or not, those are not characteristics that most people find appealing.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mazukov on May 19, 2006, 08:47:26 AM
I suppose that given what we have to go by, historical accounts from both friend and foe, we can only draw conclusions based on if you’re a Alex fan or not. Given the fact that she didn't enjoy court affairs, does that make her a bad person? No, was she a good mother and wife? Absolutely. Did she meddle In state affairs? Tried,  Was she effective not really. Does that make her a bad person? No. she didn’t do what any other mate would do when your significant other is in position of power.

I think that Alex, indeed did get  a very bad rap no doubt in my mind about that fact, so sometimes to me that misconception about her,  always leaves doubt in my mind if she was really ever that hard to understand. Like any other Mom. Her focus was her children producing an heir and her husband. Once the heir had been produced her main focus was his health. Like any other Mom she did everything in her power protecting his health. And she tried everything known at that time. Along comes Rasputin, this man has the ability to aid the heir health. As a mother she did what another parent would do. She protected her family.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 19, 2006, 09:21:25 AM
I am no Alexandra fan but I don't think she was a "bad" person either.  I just completely fail to see the positive qualities in her that others do, that's all.  :-/

It's not agreed by everyone that she was a good wife and mother.  Some have queried her manipulation of her husband, for instance, and have claimed she isolated and kept her children as children far longer than she should have.

Her focus should not have been 100% only on her husband and children.  She was the Russian Empress.

I can't agree that she protected her family.  She allowed an immoral, unwashed charlatan to control their lives when, as such a devout woman, she surely should have placed her faith in a higher source, though I don't pretend to understand the anguish she went through during her son's illnesses.

I think her very few friends were ones who would not challenge her in any way, and I don't think that's true friendship.    

 





Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 19, 2006, 10:08:58 AM
Well, I don't think any friends would have challenged her, given her position. There are different definitions of true friendship as well. Doubtless, we either see the negative or positive side of Alexandra based on what we think of her. Like any other person she had bad and good sides, we see what we want to see. She had a difficult character to suit her position as Empress well, but she did have many odds against her, and she tried her best. As a wife and mother, perhaps she was sometimes over possessive, but she had many traits that were good. She cared about her children, and tried to do everything to benefit them, whether what she did as a mother can be seen as good or bad by people.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 19, 2006, 10:18:04 AM
I agree 100%, Grace.

Alexandra did what she thought best, but that doesn't mean she did what was right.
She KNEW when she married Nicholas what her life was going to be.  If she didn't want that life, she had the CHOICE not to enter into it.  Unlike Nicholas, she was not born into that role, and she didn't have to accept it.  But she did, and in doing so, she should have been prepared to take on all of the responsibilites and duties that came with it.

Alexandra was domineering, stubborn and fanatical. She hid her children away and prevented them from having any real understanding of the world.  She tried to manipulate her husband into doing what she wanted.  She refused to heed the warnings of those around her that she was dragging her and her family's name into the mud through her relationship with Rasputin.  It was her way or the high way.  And you cannot get on in life with such an attitude.

When you are an Empress, your job comes first.  If Alexandra just wanted to be a wife and mother, she should never have gotten engaged to the heir to the Russian throne.

Yes, Alexandra was loving towards those she cared about, but she wouldn't allow any contradiction of her beliefs. She befriended those, like Lili and Anna, who needed a mother figure and who were so in awe of her that they wouldn't dare to ask questions.

Alexandra was not a bad person.  But she was a bad Empress and I don't think she was a particularly good mother.  She loved her children, but she didn't do what was best for them.  She did what was best for her in moving to Tsarskoe.  There is a difference.

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 19, 2006, 11:49:33 AM
I think as a mother, she was very good. All mothers have failings, and sometimes good intentions don't equal good parenting. For Alexandra, sometimes she had challenges to her role as a mother. But I have always thought of her as a pretty good mother, regardless. She did what was best for her children, I've never doubted it. As an Empress, she may not have been as good; her personality and her situiation were such that that made that hard. Of course, it is true she could have tried harder in the role of Empress. Friends never questioned her, but then whoever they were, they woudn't have questioned her anyway.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 19, 2006, 12:27:23 PM
I'm surprised you think she was a good mother, Imperial Angel.

I think Alexandra was certainly a loving parent, but from what I've read,I don't think she was a very good one.

For starters, both Anastasia and Maria felt unwanted by their mother, and Maria's letter to her mother I read in one of my books where she basically says she doesn't feel loved by Alexandra is really heartbreaking to read.  As her 'health problems' bothered her more and more, Alexandra resorted to sending letters to her children rather than actually speaking to them.  In keeping them at Tsarskoe Selo and preventing them from having friends of their own and any sort of independent life made them very underdeveloped emotionally and intellectually.

Plus, Alexandra spent most of her energies on her son; how do you think that made the girls feel? I know it is said they felt no resentment, but we don't know that for sure.

The way I see it, Alexandra was not a very good mother.  She undoubtedly cared for her children and wanted to keep them safe, but in doing so she prevented them from developing and from having access to ideas outside of her and Nicholas' own.  A good mother allows her children to grow and learn and spread their wings.  Alexandra wanted to keep her children children, and she treated them as such, even when her elder daughters were going into their twenties.

As I said, Alexandra I am sure thought she was doing the best for her children.  But it's quite clear to me that she wasn't.  Children with hardly any friends outside of their own siblings make for very emotionally and socially retarded individuals, and we know that was the case with OTMAA.  I can't remember who said it, but I distinctly recall someone stating that Olga and Tatiana, when in their late teens/twenties, spoke like 'twelve year olds'.  You can't protect your kids forever.  You have to let them go at some point. Alexandra seemed incapable of doing so; she reminds me a little of Nicholas' own mother, and her sister Queen Alexandra.  The suffocating and selfish type.

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on May 19, 2006, 12:29:38 PM
Dear Alicky,

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I couldn't have said it better, or agree with you more when it address that of addressing someone 'being equal'. In those days, one was never, ever at all, considered 'equal' in the instances and of those you have listed, overall. It was a different time, a different social standing, etc. [Today, people want to be more than equal, even perhaps to the point of almost making choices for you...]
But as to her motherhood; I think she was an excellent mother, and true to her faith, and a very moral person. For me, one baptized Russian Orthodox, it is of importance, and someone to look up to. Her children were delightful, and very sharing, and together. That to me is what family is all about. As a wife I think she was true in her feelings, and her husband and children were always first. Putting aside that of her being more a homebody than a Tsarina, I can understand her perfectly. I only hope I can protect my family as well as she did. God rest her soul !

Tatiana+




I'm not sure if, having survived and lost her throne, Alexandra would have been any more accessible--- she seemed both too stubborn and sensitive to have adjusted and become even as comfortable as one suspects Nicholas might have been.   If she lost her son too, who knows, but that she might have broken down completely.   One would have to be a very special friend to rise to that challenge.

In conclusion, how one speculates s/he might have gotten along with Alexandra tells as much about himself of herself as it does about Alexandra's probable capacity for reciprocating a hypothetical offer of friendship.





.



[/quote]
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 19, 2006, 03:33:41 PM
Nothing could change my view that Alexandra was a good mother, although that is not the subject of this thread. So many say she might have had good intentions but she could never carry them out or whatever. They might say she was selfish. But all parents are not perfect, and compared with the majority, Alexandra was far better than most, I believe. She got wrapped up in her son, but he was ill, and the heir, what she had struggled so long for. She was reacting normally there, even if perhaps her other children felt that she was centering herself towards him at times. As an Empress, she was not as good in that role as a mother. As a friend, she was defintely not very tolerant of bluntness and such, but she had never been raised to accept that. She was caring and loyal as a friend, but few could get close to her given her position. But those who did, I think, valued her friendship.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mazukov on May 19, 2006, 08:34:03 PM
Well she had to focus her attention on the heir, he was the heir and ill. As an empress she was, well. Awful no other way to put it really. But as a mom I can’t see how some say she wasn’t, a good mom  also because of there position having friends from outside the family would have been difficult at best. Between the police scrutiny and pressures having friends outside the family would have been very difficult  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on May 19, 2006, 11:12:12 PM
[size=10]Hello Rachel,

Gee, I could have sworn that this was offered earlier in terms of why many on the AP Thread read Alexandra's different than what the history books you may have read offered. I'm sure if past and future readers dig, they will find that we have gone over this stretch of issues, and what others had to say on this.

Anastasia and Maria were very young girls at the time you are refering to in terms of the letters received by their mother. In those days, and in those social norms, writing to one's children was not unheard of. [It is of vast difference today, and not the norm of course] But we are looking at a different age, and households that did not run as they are today in the 'modern' world. For anyone of today's world, reading what they think is being offered to a child of those days, it might sound heart breaking.
As their letters attest of the children, and their family values, and words of many others who knew them, they can attest, and did, that the childlren and family were all loving and very close knit family. Nothing was abusive, nor degrading. I think you are reading something into these issues that do not make sense at all, and never happened.

It is not fair to twist something in meaning or of what has happened to make it seem as if it were truth.
These are entirely your take only of the situations you speak about in your post to the forum, based of course on what other writers of history books may have tried to impart. But they were also way off base.

How do you know she resorted to just letters, and did not speak to her children. That does not make sound reasoning at all, or stand firm in terms of truth. I believe this to be far from actuality ! I don't see any resentment that the children had with one another, or to their parents. Again, you are misinterperting what was. In all of their years, where did any servent, family member, extended family member, friend or anyone find these children so greviously harmed, resentful, etc.

You are trying to read a normal way of life of what is the now, into a generation that had anything but the way they thought, acted, behaved, and carried on their lives then. In Russia, men lead the family lives, not the women...Children were seen, not heard...The parent's new best....The children were not equal to parent's or to any adult...

As well they were children of royalty, and in those days, the parent's had the right to select whom their children saw, or did not see, etc. In those days, Parent's still had complete control over their children's lives, education, and yes social lives. I know that is still not understood today, but that's the way it was, like it or not. Even in households who were not the priviledged classes, children still lived at home, well into and past their 20's. I think that in today's world, this is why so many women are upset, that some men choose to lead the family, and make the decisions. I'm not saying it is right or wrong, simply that this is why in reading about historical circumstances, and issues as this, it is why posts as yours come to find fault with families, as this. But again in reality, this was a totally different world, hemisphere. Also one more thing, in Russian families today, many still have this absolute rule, and many women in Russia as elsewhere still hold to these norms...Also, in the marriage contract, it reads that the women will be subserviant to their husbands. That's the way it was, and still is in some nations.

I'm sorry Rachel, but this centuries reasoning, is way past that of those yester-year's, especially if you live in western civilizations. Today many western psychologists make a hefty living quoting what is good and what is not good for children, and why many of today's children have so much freedoms, etc.

But, to go back to the purpose of the title of this thread, of just the simple question, 'would you befriend or not befriend Alexandra'.

The question was not was she a good mom, a good wife, how her childrlen felt, did not feel, or specifically making inuendo's that the children may have been retarded, etc.

Thanks  Rachel for your time in taking time to reading my response.

Tatiana+[/size]
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 20, 2006, 04:40:44 AM
As always Tania, I respect your opinion, but I think you misunderstood my post.

I made it very clear that my opinion of Alexandra's skills as a mother was just that; my opinion.  I don't know everything that went on behind closed doors and I didn't claim to.  And seeing as neither do you, I don't think you can really claim that my opinions are 'way off base'.  I also didn't suggest anything to do with abuse or degrading behaviour; I don't know where you found those insinuations, because I said nothing of the sort and didn't imply anything of the sort either.

The way I see it, regardless of what time they were living in, Alexandra did not raise her children in a way that was healthy for them.  There is so much documentary evidence that the children were emotionally and socially retarded that it is near impossible to refute it.  That does not mean they weren't loved or cared for; I have said quite clearly that I don't doubt that Alexandra was a loving mother and thought she was doing the best for her children.  But, from what I know about the family, I don't think what she thought was best was right, and I am perfectly entitled to that opinion.  

As far as I'm concerned, investing most of your love and attention on one of your children to the detriment of the others, inviting a man of questionable reputation into your home and letting him mix with your adolescent daughters, locking your children away from the outside world and failing to give them an adequate intellectual, social and emotional education is not very good parenting, regardless of what age you live in.  Alexandra loved her children dearly, I have no doubt of that.  But was she a good parent, ie did she provide the best possible care and upbringing for her children? Did she put her children first? No she did not, in my opinion.  

I think some of us let our religious and perhaps emotional views of Alexandra cloud our judgement.  I am not emotionally or religiously attached to Alexandra and so I find it easy to take a step back and analyse her behaviour dispassionately.  What I see, I don't like, especially when it comes to her parenting skills.  If others want to believe she was a good parent, then I am fine with that.  But please don't tell me my opinions are 'way off base', as you don't know that.  You might think it, but thinking and knowing are two different things.

And I know this was not the original topic of the thread, but sometimes the best discussions come about when we go off on a bit of a tangent, don't they?

Thanks,

Rachel
xx

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mazukov on May 20, 2006, 09:50:46 PM
Excuse me here but I’m going to go somewhat off base if allowed. Rachel, had said something that Alex started sending letters to her children. Ok this is the point I would like to make. With my daughters who live in our house. I’m always shooting an email over to them almost daily, yet I’ll see them and talk with them constantly through out the day. to me an email is like sending a letter. So I don't find that very odd.

In thinking of this  I'm going to have that say that perhaps she was a little lazy if not a lot. I myself, have always had difficulties when relating to or being with acquaintances whom I feel are lazy.


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 22, 2006, 12:30:03 PM
I think it is true that we should not let our modern notions of what good parenting consists make us judge Alexandra or her parenting by the values of this time, rather than the historical values of that time. I's easy to do, especially when books we may have read have such modern assumptions. History might feel close and near, and in many ways it is. But it also happened a long time ago, and many things have changed, not least attitudes towards parenting. Judging one age's values, or one age's actions by those of another isn't really fair. Not everything is universal, but many things are. Alexandra was from a different age, class, and position. I don't think it is fair to read too many modern assumptions into things. We have already debated this, yes. Tania's post was the best I have read, and word for word I agree. She is totally right about this issue.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on May 22, 2006, 01:07:32 PM
Oh, I agree absolutely that we shouldn't judge historical personalities by modern standards.  I am the biggest advocate of that sensibility I know!  ;D

However, I think some of Alexandra's behaviours towards her children have nothing to do with the way society constructed motherhood and the roles of parents at the time, and everything to do with Alexandra as a person.

On this forum especially, out of all the history forums I frequent, posters tend to have rather excessive emotional attachments to the Romanovs.  I don't possess those.  Even so, I do like to try and see the best in people, and I do see a lot of good in Alexandra.  She was a very kind and caring woman, she had a lot of sympathy for those who suffered, she was very loving towards her husband and children, she was very devoted to her religion, etc, etc.  All nice qualities.

Alexandra's death and her position as a, I believe, 'passion bearer' (please correct me if I'm wrong) in the Orthodox religion perhaps make her unreproachable to some, but to me, she was a very flawed woman and some of her flaws DID involve her parenting skills, in my opinion, which cannot all be excused as Alexandra being a product of her time.  Somewhere along the line Alexandra herself has to be at fault for the mistakes she made in her life, and for the flaws in her personality that caused her to behave in the way she did. She wasn't perfect, and excusing her actions only serves to try and portray her as such.    

But, as this has very little to do with the original point of the thread, I will let this end of the discussion quietly die out.  Thanks to all those who expressed their points of view on the subject.  :)

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 22, 2006, 02:17:37 PM
Yes, I see where you are coming from. It is easy to get emotionally attached to the Romanovs, which is perhaps why we even have the question would you befriend Alexandra if you had had the chance. I suppose it tells us something about ourselves if we say that we would, or we say that we woudn't and why. Alexandra had flaws, we all do. But she was someone, who I at least, believe had good intentions, amd most of the time it turned out ok. She is someone I find a little hard to relate to, but not to understand.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on May 23, 2006, 04:19:46 PM
Quote
Alexandra had flaws, we all do. But she was someone, who I at least, believe had good intentions, amd most of the time it turned out ok.

You're entitled to your opinion, Imperial Angel, but I would have thought most of the time it did NOT turn out ok.  :-?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on May 24, 2006, 04:02:25 PM
I mean in terms of her parenting that it turned out ok. Not in terms of her being involved in the goverment or anything, if that's what you think. It didn't turn out ok most of the time there, of course.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: griffh130 on May 24, 2006, 08:17:30 PM
Oh my goodness, I just love this question, "Would you befriend AF?"  It is quite an ingenious question by the nature of its innocence and simplicity.  I have read all five pages with a great deal of care and my humble opinion is that I think the question is amazingly innocent and at the same time amazingly complex, so that the question itself has ignited an assassin's bomb.  And all kinds of concerns and perspectives have exploded in its midst.  And I find that quite marvelous, because that it what we are all about.  I am sure that all of us must agree that this explosion of ideas is quintessentially   Russian!!!!!   And I think, given the intelligent use of the fire extinguisher by the Forum Administrator, that this discussion is an extremely valuable lesson, only if we continue to love and value every contribution. This discussion is very valuable because it indicates how much baggage has to be unpacked before we can get to the question itself.  The question becomes, "Would you befriend.....what?  And by that I mean that the answer depends on what kind of an individual you think the late Empress of Russia was.  It is quite a wonderfully explosive question.  It is rather like probing one of those incredibly complex Chinese puzzles....you go to answer it, and before you know it you have got both your fingers caught inside the mechanism and it hurts.  

The mechanism in this case is Alexandra’s character.  Is it that easy to understand?  Just look at the battle field of this forum.  It is strewn with victims and yet each victim stays alive because every input is so relevant.  

Shortly after the question was presented several innocent contributors began to explore the dimensions of the question.  Then our British brother, David, quite correctly, reminded us of the imperial protocol that forbade the solace of the tender hearts of this forum from ever reaching Alexandra.  

We must appreciate David because he told us the reality of court life in Russia that would have never allowed any of our tender hearts to reach Alexandra's tender soul.  David was right intellectually.   And yet, perhaps David has learned not to allow his head to treat someone else’s heart like a dog.  I don’t mean to be critical and I must add that we need  David to remind us of the harsh reality and hideous restrictions that caused such tender heart as Alexandra’s to feel so hopelessly isolated from the kind of love and compassion this simple question has caused,  “Would you befriend AF?”  

You know, it might be helpful to give some kind of historic context to those letters that Alexandra wrote to her daughters.  The first letters to her children do not really occur until 1908 and are very rare during that year and addressed only to Olga who is already 13 years old and someone Alexandra appeals to as a guide to the younger children while she is struggling with her growing ill health.

We know historically that Alexandra's health was rapidly declining during 1908 and by 1909 her health had declined so rapidly that she was not allowed to leave her bed for long periods of time and Nicholas became so alarmed that the family went to Niehiem in Germany for a cure.  We also know that the cure was not successful and that by 1910 Dr. Bodkin was checking Alexandra's heart twice a day and by-the-by it was Botkin who ordered Alexandra to cut back on all court ceremonies that did not demand her presence.  

Interestingly enough, it is in this same year, 1910, that there erupted that tragic scandal in the children’s nursery by Mlle. Sophie Tutcheff over the supposed impropriety of Rasputin that led to her final dismissal.  I have always thought it was rather curious that Mlle. Tucheff (whose cousin was the highly conservative Bishop Vladimir Putiata of Moscow and the possible instigator of the scandal) was known for her vehement opposition to Alexandra’s “English upbringing of the Imperial children that denied them the ‘Slav Tradition’ of education.  Is it really surprising that suddenly in 1910, Mlle Sophie decided to create an “Imperial nursery” scandal that just happened to paralleled a equally vicious attack on the Empress by the newly installed Speaker of the House for the Duma, Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov whose very first message to the House in 1910 spoke of the “dark forces” that had made themselves known in the “highest summits of glory.”  And just who was this Guchkov?  He was a man who actually got in fist fights with his opponents in the Duma.  

When this combined attack of animal courage displayed by Mlle. Tutcheff and Guchkov landed at Alexandra’s doorstep in 1910 we tend to forget, except for David, that Alexandra was as much a subject of the Emperor as the humblest peasant in Russia. And Alexandra, as his subject, appealed to the Emperor for her relief.   And here is the rub, as Shakespeare would say.  Nicholas was slow to act, and even though Nicholas did not believe the malicious reports of Mlle. Tutcheff and certainly knew of her ties to Moscow’s religious bigots his actions were not as severe as his words.  When he finally called Mlle. Tutcheff he said:

“ Sofia Ivanovna, you will already have guessed why I have sent for you.  What is going on in the nursery?”  I then told him everything that had happened.  “So you also do not believe in the sanctity of Gregory?”

I will continue my arguement in the next reply.....griff
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: griffh130 on May 24, 2006, 08:21:39 PM
Ok Here is the rest of it.  

When Mlle. Tutcheff replied in the negative the Emperor said:

 “And what if I told you that all these difficult years I have survived only because of his prayers.”  

This statement did not impress Tutcheff and during the interview Nicholas asked Sofia Ivanovna again:

“But you do not know the man (Rasputin)!”

And when the Emperor suggested that she meet Rasputin before she continued to speak evil of him, Mlle Tutcheff replied to the Emperor:

“Never will I meet him!”

The Emperor reminded her, in any case, that if she had criticisms of a man that she never met, she should have made them known to the Emperor alone and should never have made them known to anyone in the imperial household or to the public.

In spite of Nicholas’ severe rebuke, Mlle. Tutcheff continued to spread her campaign of intrigue and eventually turned one of the Empress’ own ladies, Princess Oblensky, against her.  And if this was not enough, Mlle. Tutcheff had the audacity to speak against the Empress to her own daughters, Olga and Tatiana.  

Alexandra waited in silent pain until the Emperor decided to act and while she waited she naturally refused to visit the Imperial nurseries until her Emperor decided to dismiss Mlle. Tutcheff.   Alexandra knew only too well how reluctant Nicholas was to dismiss any person connected with his Court and I believe it took a year before Nicholas finally decided to dismiss Mlle. Tutcheff.  

During that year, Alexandra refused to visit her daughters in the Imperial nurseries until Mlle Tucheff was summarily dismissed and sent back to her home in Moscow.   That year is the origin of the letters to her daughters and never once in all those letters does Alexandra’s Christian character expose her enemy, Mlle. Tutcheff.  When Alexandra was fighting the increasing debility of heart problems, and the campaign of hate that infected her own daughter’s quarters, Alexandra had only two resources to maintain her motherhood, her letters and the sanctity of her mauve boudoir where she asked to see her girls in private.  

Well I will tell you one thing, if anyone is wondering……Oh Yeah, I would definitely be Alexandra’s friend….even though as a middle class American, I would never have gotten as far as her palace gate.        

Well anyway this is my attempt at giving a very limited glimpse into the complexity of this marvelously simple question.........griff
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tania+ on May 24, 2006, 10:29:17 PM
[size=10]Dear Griffh130,

Thank you for taking the time, the patience, the full understanding to that of the Slav way. For many of us, in our lives, we tend not to jump and say bad things about another, or strangers. You might say we are truly sensitized by our faith, and upbringing. So it was with the IF, and the Tsarina. Again you have kindly allowed our posters to understand the true character of all those involved in what you have addressed. That is why, and all the more, it is so very relevant and important to know the firm historical facts, before jumping to issues, and pushing ahead issues that are not fact based.

It is one of the reasons I finally could wait no longer and posted that of some jumping the gun before all the relevant information was shared. Time and time again it is distressing to see posteres make their address without sufficient and relevant understanding of given situations of history.

Thank you again. History can always use the voices of persons as yourself. You help to bring in the reality of what it meant to live in those times, those days, and of course of the duplicity then as now, that never seems to end.

I also would be a friend, if it were allowed...but in memory of their lives, of their persons, it is why there are persons as yourself still today to defend their names, their honor. Thank you.

Tatiana+[/size]
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RealAnastasia on May 24, 2006, 11:18:42 PM

Well said, Tania! But no problem. I'm from Western civilization and I think exactly like you about about those topics, you see...  ;)

But going back to our first topic, I think that the "quid" of the question is NOT if could befriend Alexandra Feodorovna...but if she could have brefriend ME!  ;D For me, a friendship with a person like her (I admire her highly) would have been certainly an honour...But I do not know if she would have thought about me as a good friend for her.  ::)

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: griffh on May 25, 2006, 08:23:10 PM
Dear Tania,

Thank you so much for your understanding nature and your considerate words.  I really loved what you said:

"I also would be a friend, if it were allowed...but in memory of their lives, of their persons, it is why there are persons as yourself still today to defend their names, their honor."  

I am a friend of the Empress' whimsical sense of humor, her womanhood, her devotion to duty, her elegance, her spiritual nature, her integrity as a wife and mother, her friendliness, her dainty manners, her gracious charm, her tender Christian character, her highly intellectual nature, her organizational skills, her charitable work, her musical gifts, her artistic talents, and her loyalty to friends.  And I am a friend to her sorrows, her disappointments, her mistakes, her uncertainty, her confusion, and her martyrdom.

Just last evening I was reading Countess Irina Waldimirovna Keller, nee Princess Skariatina's description of her formal Court presentation to the Empress Alexandra as first event of her social debut in St. Petersburg when she came of age.  

Princess Irina said that all the formality of the Court gave her the giggles as she watched the women before her execute a series of stately curtseys, then answer gracious questions, and finally bow and back out of the drawing room.  Just as the Empress was approaching her in the Circle:

“…a very stout lady in front of us curtseyed low and as she did so her tight satin skirt, fastened with treacherous snappers, (skirts and bodices were always made separately and fastened independently of each other using a series of hooks and eyes and snaps) suddenly burst open with a loud “terr,” right in the middle of her seat.  “Don’t, baby, don’t,” I heard my mother murmur in an agonized whisper, as I shook with laughter, stuffing my handkerchief against my mouth, just at the very minute the Empress came up to us.  Graciously she smiled at me and asked me a question, that I answered as best I could choking with laughter.

“Your little girl seems very gay and happy,” was all she kindly said about my disgraceful conduct as she smilingly turned to my mother and spoke to her for a few minutes before passing on to the other ladies of the Circle…”      

Well anyway I really love this question so much and once again Tania thank you for your supportive remarks.    

    
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet_W. on May 28, 2006, 11:49:25 AM
Given the chance, of course I would have befriended Alexandra. Whether she would have been open to accepting my friendship is another matter, but I think, perhaps, that she would have done so; it would have depended greatly on the time of her life, and what was going on in her life at that time.

Like so many respondants on this website, I feel a bond with Alexandra regarding her shyness, her commitment to what we now call "community service," and her tremendous capacity to be a loyal and steadfast wife, mother, and friend. I would have been wary but tolerant of her interest in mysticism; we cannot possibly have everything in common with all of our friends. Her later hysterics and stubborness, however, would have presented a challenge. But if you have a history with a friend you can understand where such behaviors are coming from, and your tolerance and patience can usually endure.

That Alexandra could be a friend, and a very good one, is indicated by her longstanding correspondence with friends of her youth, plus of course the memoirs of Anna Vyrubova, Lily Dehn, and Sophie Buxhoeveden. Although each of these women were employed--some more, some less--in official capacities, and although Alexandra and Anna went through some notably rocky times in their relationship, each woman wrote movingly of her relationship with Alexandra, as one who had enjoyed a friendship rather than a mere acquaintance or working relationship.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on June 05, 2006, 02:23:02 PM
Of course there are always things we disagree with in people we know as friends. Some differences with Alexandra would have been fine. Even understanding her is important as many people do not seem to understand this woman, who kept herself sheltered from the public eye. She was a public figure, but a very private person. Realistically, most of us couldn't have been friends with her. Nor would some of us have wished to, or been at all compatible with her in personality, interests, or beliefs. But some of us understand her, and do have thimgs in common when it comes to personality, beliefs or interests. I think she was capable of being a great person to know; she wasn't perfect, but only seeing her faults is an error.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: TheAce1918 on July 03, 2006, 11:44:19 PM
I would
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on October 26, 2006, 05:07:26 PM
We hear a lot about how Alexandra was influenced by her very British upbringing.  She had a simple taste in clothes, liked British interior design, etc.

However, I wonder how influenced she also was by Russian culture? Obviously she was a fervent Russian Orthodox Christian, and I presume she spoke and wrote Russian pretty well; I've seen copies of her letters to Anna Vyrubova in Russian during her captivity, when she was forced to communicate only in Russian.  Did Alexandra read Russian novels? Did she ever wear Russian clothes outside of formal court gowns? Did she embrace Russian customs and traditions?

Also, Alexandra is often referred to in contemporary literature as 'the German', etc.  Were there any German customs she clung onto? I know she spoke German, but did she ever choose to speak it to anyone? Did she read German novels? Did she correspond with anyone in Germany?

Culturally, Alexandra had a real mix of influences during her lifetime, and I find this interesting.  Did Alexandra ever really become a Russian Empress? Or was she still the Anglo German Princess she was born at the time of her death?

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on October 27, 2006, 12:53:51 AM
... Also, Alexandra is often referred to in contemporary literature as 'the German', etc.  Were there any German customs she clung onto? I know she spoke German, but did she ever choose to speak it to anyone? Did she read German novels? Did she correspond with anyone in Germany? ...
When writing to German relatives or friends who were more fluent in German than in English, she often wrote in German. Many letters to her sister-in-law, Grand-Duchess Eleonore, and to Margarete von Fabrice were in the German language.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on October 27, 2006, 08:21:43 AM
I don't think, from my knowledge that Alexandra was much influenced by German culture, although she had much of it in in her blood, and background. She was more like her mother's side of the family, in cultural influences, and just the way she was. She was raised more in England despite being technically a German princess, so her home, in many real ways was England when she was young. As she grew older, there were certainly many English customs that she transfered to her life in Russia, and she lived in many ways, in her private life in a very English way. She was never particularly German, whatever her detractors said. As for Russian, I am not sure she got into the culture so much as she tried to understand some of the cultural institiutions, and embraced their thought as her own. She became more fervently an autocrat than even her husband perhaps. Also, she always thought she understood the Russian common people, and their way of thinking. At times, that was debatable, but Alexandra did make sincere efforts to become Russian, as it were.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on October 27, 2006, 09:06:34 AM
I don't think, from my knowledge that Alexandra was much influenced by German culture, ...
She was raised more in England despite being technically a German princess, so her home, in many real ways was England when she was young. ...
The English influences are indeed undeniable. It's true that she spent a lot of time in England, but based on my information, I'ld say she spent the larger part of the year in Germany, not in Great Britain, when she was young. Her visits to England and Scotland usually lasted a couple of weeks, not months and months on end. Also, when she referred to 'home' in her younger years, she was always referring to Darmstadt and Wolfsgarten, not to Great Britain.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on October 27, 2006, 10:03:14 AM
So, technically she spent more time in Germany as a child and young woman. That befits her as a German Princess, but culturally, her home was never there. She still was more English than German, she never much responded to German cultural influence. I'd say she responded more to the Russian, actually. Her lack of engagment in German culture is ironic in view of the German spy rumours.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on October 27, 2006, 11:12:37 AM
I'm not at all sure that Darmstadt and its surroundings were merely a technical thing and did not exert much influence. But perhaps one should first try and define 'German influences'. :) I do know I've never seen a picture of her wearing a traditional Hessian costume ;), like the ones we've seen of Ernst Ludwig's daughter Elisabeth.

As regards her language, she did not only use the German language in letters, but also used it in everyday conversations with friends and dozens of people she met. She regularly went to the theatre to see German plays. She must have spoken, written and read it a lot: German is not my mother tongue, but I think German influences are certainly identifiable in her use of the English  language in writing. Her use of commas in many of her letters in English strikes me as typically German, even to the extent that phrases must have been ambiguous to native speakers of English unless they applied German punctuation rules to her English sentences. She also often put in German words where it was clear that she knew the proper English words for things, and she had a habit of writing single words or word groups in old German script :P :P in English sentences. ::)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on October 27, 2006, 11:22:18 AM
Well, yes, she loved her German home, and I am sure there was some practical and perhaps cultural influence from there for her, in her youth, at least before she became Russian by virtue of her marriage. What I meant, was she never wholly assimiliated herself into German culture, the way she did that of England and Russia. It was not as much of an influence on her as the former two were.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Elisabeth on October 27, 2006, 11:26:42 AM
Alexandra, like most Germans, adored the music of Richard Wagner. I recall reading somewhere that she had the entire "Ring" cycle performed every year at Tsarskoe Selo. Does anyone know if this is true? If so, it would have been a huge undertaking. And it would mean that all her children were probably exposed to the very best music the nineteenth century had to offer, at a very young age.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on October 27, 2006, 12:04:33 PM
So, she did like German music at least. I think it is easy to assume there wasn't much cultural influence from Germany on her, given the fact that she was much more into England and then Russia's culture. But I still think, and will always, that those cultures influenced her more. Wagner's music was very German, to be sure.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ena on October 27, 2006, 04:44:06 PM
In regards to England, QV and Albert were German.  Because of this, I sometimes have trouble understanding, other than activities and associates outside of QV's court, just how "English" many of these princesses were. 

I think it's possible that the pro-English princesses were unknowingly adding a lot of German influence into the courts of their adopted countries.  For instance, Ena (very pro-English), brought the custom of the Christmas tree to Spain.  This custom is German. 

I think it's impossible that Alix was void of German influences, and am curious about them (customs and the like) and what she adopted of the Russian culture.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on October 27, 2006, 07:18:47 PM
Everyone has brought up very interesting points.

A lot is made of Alexandra's English upbringing, but as Helen points out, Alexandra actually spent the majority of her time as a child in Germany; Queen Victoria was a physically distant, though emotionally strong, influence.  And, as Ena says, the British Royal family at the time were intrinsically German; how many of their customs, etc, that we like to think of as typically English, were actually German in origin?

It's interesting that Alexandra went to see German plays, listened to German music and used the German language much more than I thought.  This certainly shows an affection for her homeland that is often glossed over or ignored in accounts of Alexandra's life.  Much is made of her closeness to QV and her ties to England through her mother's relatives, but it must not be forgotten that she was born a German Princess, grew up presumably speaking German at home to her father, and was, when Ella married, the first lady of Hessen-Darmstadt and played an active role in the Duchy.  I wonder whether the German aspect of Alexandra's life and its importance to her make up has been downplayed in recent, more sympathetic accounts of Alexandra's life to disassociate Alexandra from the spy rumours and the accusations of her colluding with Germany during the war? Has there been an active attempt to erase the Germanic side of Alexandra on the part of modern historians, in order to make her the more sympathetic character that has become fashionable in historical reassessments of the Romanovs?

I find Ena's point about the British Royal Family being German fascinating and worth some discussion.  Being English myself, I think of the Royal family as a very British institution, but am well aware that the actual ethnic background of the Queen is probably about as English as our national favourite dish- curry! Victoria was raised by a German mother and her major male influence as a child was Leopold of the Belgians; this points towards Victoria having a perhaps more Germanic than English childhood.  Not to  mention that she married a German and married most of her children off to German princes/princesses.  There is a recurring theme here of a close tie to Germany and Alexandra cannot have failed to have been affected by this and to have absorbed a lot of Germanic traditions and tastes into her sensibilities. QV may have seemed to have run a very 'British' home, but did she, really? All of her children spoke German and Prince Albert certainly brought over his customs with him, such as the Christmas tree.  This must have rubbed off onto his children and grandchildren in turn, surely? So, when Alexandra was spending time in England with her grandmother, how dissimilar was that life in essence to the one she was leading at home in Germany, I wonder?

I know I've read somewhere that Alexandra considered herself to be a Russian woman after her conversion to Orthodoxy, and her  assumption of the role of a Russian Empress, and she certainly embraced a lot of typically Russian cultural traditions, such as the intense spirituality and mysticism that Russia is famous for.  However, I don't believe that her attachment to Russia ever went beyond religion.  Did she read the great Russian writers, or enjoy Russian music and the ballet? Alexandra was always unpopular with the Russians; is this because her behaviour was so alien to their culture? Do you think it would ever have been possible for Alexandra to truly become a Russian anyway? Can you give your heart and soul to another country than the one you were born in?  I don't think I could. 

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on October 28, 2006, 02:09:21 AM
Alix seems to have been more into music than into ballet. I don't know anything about any of Wagner's operas being performed at Tsarskoe Selo, but she was very much interested in the Frühlingsfestspiele, (Spring Festivals) that her brother Ernst Ludwig organised at Darmstadt in the years before WWI, staging several Wagner operas. Alix seems to have enjoyed Russian music too, but obviously not all compositions. For example, she liked Tschaikowsky's opera Pikovaya Dama, but once wrote that she didn't like the music of his ballet Swan Lake, which of course doesn't necessarily mean she didn't like ballet in general.

The custom of the Christmas tree is only indirectly related to religion, but basically her religion was German too. Alix was a Lutheran, not a member of the Church of England. The differences between these Churches may be less obvious than those between Lutheranism and Russian Orthodoxy, but there are marked differences; they seem not to have been an issue in everyday life, but probably weren't completely irrelevant to Alix either.



Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: kelly_anne_wright on October 28, 2006, 09:40:53 AM
  Did she read the great Russian writers, or enjoy Russian music and the ballet?

I believe she and Nicholas read "War & Peace" together.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on October 29, 2006, 01:12:22 AM

I know I've read somewhere that Alexandra considered herself to be a Russian woman after her conversion to Orthodoxy, and her  assumption of the role of a Russian Empress, and she certainly embraced a lot of typically Russian cultural traditions, such as the intense spirituality and mysticism that Russia is famous for.  However, I don't believe that her attachment to Russia ever went beyond religion.  Did she read the great Russian writers, or enjoy Russian music and the ballet? Alexandra was always unpopular with the Russians; is this because her behaviour was so alien to their culture? Do you think it would ever have been possible for Alexandra to truly become a Russian anyway? Can you give your heart and soul to another country than the one you were born in?  I don't think I could. 

Rachel
xx

I don't believe the Empress Alexandra was always unpopular with the Russian people, although there certainly were people at court who disliked her from the beginning.  I always thought the more widespread dislike happened during World War I.  I read an old New York Times article about Empress Alexandra once and it described her as an amazingly beautiful woman who carried herself with great dignity.  Prince Wolkonsky describes her as a "vision" when appearing at the theatre.  The press wasn't always negative. 

She did read Russian novels, sometimes with Nicholas, as when they read War and Peace in the late 1890's.  She certainly made more efforts to absorb Russian history and culture than her mother-in-law ever did.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on October 30, 2006, 08:33:37 AM
Well, I am sure that Alexandra cared about her homeland; who doesn't? Her blood was pretty much German, but the British Royal Family were more of a influence on her than anything in Darmstadt ever was. Of course, they could be very German too, which isn't surprising considering their blood. But I feel that the British Royal family were more German, etc before Queen Victoria than they were during or after her. Queen Victoria did embrace many things in English culture, and could be very British. She undoubtedly influenced Alexandra in this, as well as in German customs/ culture. In short, I feel however close Alexandra was at times to the culture of her homeland, that she was closer to English, and eventually, Russian culture.

Alexandra did make great attempts to put herself into Russian religion and cultural life, even thinking more like an autocrat than her husband. She was very Orthodox, and defintely understood that. She tried to understand Russian culture even if she was not always successful. But she made efforts in that direction, and she came to regard herself as Russian. She was more lastingly influenced by English culture though than anything else, except Russian Orthododoxy. As for Alexandra being disliked, yes she was. But she never made attempts to understand the nobility. She prefered to try to understand the common people, even if she wasn't successful there. I feel she tried very much to be Russian, and the fact she wasn't Russian seeming was not the only reason people disliked her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on November 01, 2006, 06:00:14 AM
Well, I am sure that Alexandra cared about her homeland; who doesn't? Her blood was pretty much German, but the British Royal Family were more of an influence on her than anything in Darmstadt ever was. ....

??? It's true that various members of the British royal family were important to Alix. While not playing down any British influences, I think the above statement ignores two very important people in Alix's life who happened to be Germans and who brought distinctly German influences to her life. Her father was a German who lived his entire life in Germany and was one of the most important people in her life. The same goes for her brother Ernst Ludwig. She was deeply devoted and very close to both of them and she spent much more time with them than with any of her British relatives; Ernst Ludwig even went so far as to state that - apart from her husband and children - he was the person she held dearest. Her father and brother influenced her by their tastes, preferences and thoughts and introduced her to many German people who may now be less well-known, but influenced her too.

Although Ernst Ludwig was just as much a grandchild of Queen Victoria as Alix was, Ernst Ludwig's education was more German in its orientation than that of his sisters, in view of his future position as Grand Duke of Hesse. Once he had succeeded his father as Grand Duke, the focus of his attention inevitably was Germany in general and Hesse in particular. He had taken an interest in the arts since childhood and wrote poems and plays in the German language. He also became a great patron of the arts. He surrounded himself with German architects, sculptors and painters and he was actively involved in staging various German opera's at the court theatre at Darmstadt. Alix's love of Wagner's music is clearly related to Ernst Ludwig's love for this music and his enthusiastic accounts of the Bayreuther Festspiele. Likewise, Alix's fascination with Art Nouveau/Jugendstil is clearly related to and inspired by her brother's interest in anything Art Nouveau /Jugendstil. It can hardly have been accidental that the Maple Room at the AP was created one year after Ernst Ludwig redecorated several rooms in that same style at the New Palace at Darmstadt. Ernst Ludwig also made suggestions about how to improve the park design of the new palace at Livadia. He was a German, and his influence, with all its German aspects, on Alix was unmistakable.

A few days ago, Rachel wondered whether the German aspect of Alexandra's life and its importance to her make up had been downplayed. I think it has been, by various causes and for various reasons. As Rachel wrote, one reason may have been to disassociate Alexandra from the spy rumours during WWI. But the emphasis put on her English roots may also be partly due to the relative unfamiliarity of the Anglo-Saxon world with her German relatives and friends, making them less interesting to write about, and the extra effort it takes for many people from the Anglo-Saxon world to find information on these German relatives and friends, as many sources were written in the German language. Some authors seem to prefer sources in the English language to German sources, and publications in the German language usually get less attention than publications in English, even when they are full of interesting details.
And that's a great pity. :(
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 01, 2006, 08:45:17 AM
I agree her brother was a great influence on her. I also agree that German sources are downplayed, for all the reasons you mentioned. She did like, and was of, German culture more than we usually give her credit for. But, at the same time, I think she was essentially English in thought. She was simply more oriented in that direction. But, her mother Princess Alice was very influenced by German thought and culture. I don't think the prevailing thought of her as being more English had anything to with playing down spy rumours. Those were just silly concoctions of the time...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on November 01, 2006, 11:50:54 AM
Yes, but what is 'essentially English' in thought, I wonder?

Is there an essentiality to any culture? It's like saying people are essentially 'female' or 'male'; what does this mean? Are all women born the same? Are all men? Of course not.  So, saying someone thought in an 'English' way is rather inaccurate.  There is no 'essential Englishness' I can put my finger on.

I'm English, but I view the world very differently from my friends, other members of my family, etc.  There are STEREOTYPES of Englishness, but this is very different from an essential line of thought.  Not all of us keep a stiff upper lip or enjoy queueing up in the supermarket.  There is nothing that makes anyone in particular 'belong' to one country in their thought processes.

However, I do think she was influenced by English culture.  I think she was influenced by English tastes to do with things like interior design and music and art and literature.  But to say she THOUGHT like an English person is completely inaccurate and very unscholarly.  No two people, regardless of their nationality, think in the same way.  Being influenced by and thinking like English people are two very different things.  Let's be careful to make this distinction.

Thanks to Helen for bringing up the role of Ernst Ludwig in Alix's life.  Her relationship with her brother is often underestimated because of the physical distance between them, but they certainly shared a very close bond with one another. 

What I find interesting is that when people talk of Alix's childhood, it's always with reference to the time she spent in England, the influence of QV, etc, etc.  The fact that she spent the vast majority of her childhood in Germany seems to be forgotten in the pursuit of making Alix as 'English' as possible.  Alix had a GREAT affection for her homeland and its religion; this is shown in her sincere struggle to give up Lutheranism for Orthodoxy.  Plus, Alix, though only for a relatively short while, was the first lady of the Duchy.  She had an important role in Hessen-Darmstadt as a young adult and this cannot be forgotten.  She was not an English Princess, but a GERMAN one.  I think the anxious attempts to make Alix out to be English, and the emphasis on her English relatives, really does a disservice to her German ties and influences, and does point to a historical agenda in guiding our modern perceptions of Alix in a certain direction.  Namely, a direction away from the rumours of her treachery against Russia. 

Rachel
xx

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 01, 2006, 12:48:17 PM
What I should have said is that I think that Alexandra was mostly influenced by English culture and thought rather than German. Of course, she was German, and actually spent more time in Germany, and did like German culture and such. All these things are vastly overlooked, because it is easier not to concentrate on them. The main view, or stereotype even, is that she was of mostly English culture and influence and I think that is true. But she didn't spend more time in England than Germany, as pointed out, and saying she was English in culture and thought for the most part, is ignoring things. I agree there, and also there is no thing as essentialy anything, you are right. That was a bad term to use, but I believe that the Englidh influence on  Alexandra was stronger than that of the German, if only a bit. But she never committed any treachery against Russia intentionally, and it seems that she was more Russian than anything by the time of her death.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Georgiy on November 01, 2006, 08:50:53 PM
I suspect that if Alexandra thought of her cultural roots, then she would have perhaps thought of herself as Hessian rather than German - which in those days might have meant Prussian.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 01, 2006, 08:54:58 PM
 That is quite true. There was really no unified Germany in history. It was more about the principalities, in terms of your identity. They always tried to be free from Prussia's influence with trying to unify them, and make them '' Germany''. But, in Alexandra's era, Prussian might have been the term rather than German. By Alexandra's era, Germany was more unified by Prussia in terms of the principalities, etc. But there still was that individual identity...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on November 02, 2006, 08:45:59 PM
I suspect that if Alexandra thought of her cultural roots, then she would have perhaps thought of herself as Hessian rather than German - which in those days might have meant Prussian.

I quite agree.  Mark Steinberg, in his intellectual portrait of Empress Alexandra, says she thought of herself as Hessian.  But I believe most of her assistants and teachers were English, rather than German.  I remember reading that she spoke English fluently, with an English accent.  Indeed if she had an English accent, the English influence must have been quite heavy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 03, 2006, 07:56:52 AM
This is an interesting thread.

I have never really thought of Alexandra as "English", though, in anything other than a taste for chintz. Her perceptions of the world seem much more continental to me. Can anyone imagine an English princess of 1894 who would seriously have maintained the divine right of kings? But both the Kaiser and the Tsar did, and this is really the side that Alexandra came down on, with what appears to be have been very little effort. I am always impressed by the fact that she struggled over the decision to change her religion, but chucked a background in constitutional monarchy (surely she noticed it when she visited her mother's native country?) right over the side when she went to Russia. And her free-thinking mother was dead when Alix was a child --- surely the English influence was a little more sporadic than a daily factor in her life?

I doubt Alix thought of herself as a "German" once she went to Russia (and I think she thought of herself as a Hessian before she did), but I don't see a whole lot of evidence that her "Englishness" affected her more than in a superficial way.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Elisabeth on November 03, 2006, 08:44:26 AM
This whole discussion has really made me wonder how useful it is to categorize Queen Victoria's many descendants on the basis of nationality. Clearly there were both German and English elements in Alix's upbringing, and yet we also have to remember that she went to Russia as a new bride and empress at the still very young and impressionable age of twenty-two. How many American and British students enter graduate school at the same age and are marked by it for life, in their impressions, tastes, and future lifestyle choices? Especially if they are studying foreign languages and cultures?

All I am asking you to consider is that, when we are discussing some nineteenth- and early twentieth-century royalty (not all, but perhaps most), we are really discussing an international or very cosmopolitan group of people... I grant you, maybe "international" isn't the right term - after all, they weren't brought up with American or African influences - and obviously the Western European element was predominant. But I remember reading somewhere that the children of Nicholas and Alexandra spoke Russian with their own very distinctive accents, which were neither English, German, nor Russian. (I have observed the same lack of "nationality" in the accent of my husband, who was born in England of parents of mixed nationality and then grew up trilingual in the former Soviet Union.) It seems to me that if we have to characterize Alix as mainly German or mainly English, then that's a mistake, and triply so, when we consider that then we're also leaving out the Russian element of her education, which, coming as it did at a pivotal point in her young life, should not be discounted. I don't think it's far-fetched to assume that it was her Russian education, and not her German or English one, that convinced her of the rightness of the autocratic principle as the ruling political principle in Russian life.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 03, 2006, 08:53:45 AM
I think that's what I was trying to say by using the word "continental"; I think for many members of the royal families of Europe, it was their membership in that exclusive club that shaped them as opposed to one particular cultural background. An admittedly weak analogy would be today's culture of international celebrities.

That being said, why was it so easy for her to dismiss the cultural influence of English constitutional government? I understand that she might have thought that Russia wasn't ready for it, but she seems to have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of autocracy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Elisabeth on November 03, 2006, 09:09:57 AM
I think that's what I was trying to say by using the word "continental"; I think for many members of the royal families of Europe, it was their membership in that exclusive club that shaped them as opposed to one particular cultural background. An admittedly weak analogy would be today's culture of international celebrities.

I kind of thought that's what you were getting at, but I wasn't sure. At any rate, your post was my inspiration!

That being said, why was it so easy for her to dismiss the cultural influence of English constitutional government? I understand that she might have thought that Russia wasn't ready for it, but she seems to have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of autocracy.

I think Alexandra embraced the principle of autocracy because first and foremost she was concerned about the physical safety and well-being of her husband. The connection doesn't seem obviously apparent but remember that during Alexander III's reign the number of terrorist incidents in Russia fell off precipitously, due to the intensive ("autocratic") police regime the tsar enforced. IMHO Alexandra believed that only the tough tactics of an Alexander III would succeed against the revolutionaries. She wanted her husband to be "strong" like Peter or Ivan (or Alexander III) so that he would not be struck down by an assassin's bullet. That's the supreme irony of it all.

If you think my theory is far-fetched, all I can say is, everyone knows that when they fall in love "for the first time and last time" of their lives (in some people's lives, such as Alexandra's, this is really true), they exchange confidences, including those involving their innermost hopes, desires, and fears. I imagine that Nicholas's "confession" to his bride included a description of his ordeal as a twelve-year-old, when he watched his beloved grandfather Alexander II die from an assassin's bomb. What kind of effect this had on Alexandra can only be imagined, but I'm sure that from that moment onward she lived in fear not only for her husband's, but also for their future children's, lives.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 03, 2006, 09:45:52 AM
Yes, the royals of that era were very cosmopolitan, and international. They did have their own culture, that went from court to court, and that transcended any of their individual nationalities. They were very German in blood, but very international in outlook, without doubt. I think that most of them were perhaps more influenced by one country more than another, but that they really belonged to all countries. Alexandra would have no doubt technically been, and would have called herself Hessian up to her marriage, when she became distinctly Russian, both in her own mind, and in fact.  She seems to have belonged to the typical culture of royalty, though in being ''international''.

As for individual influences, her taste all her life was defintely English. It never changed, even after years in Russia, even after she had long since become totally Russian in ideas. She was no doubt influenced by Germany more than we think, but what was also true is that her taste remained mostly English. But, her thinking was defintely Russian later, after her marriage, whatever her thinking was in youth. I am not sure if she thought more along German or English lines when young, but she seemed to have a great natural apititude for Russian ways of thinking. She thought and believed in autocracy more than her husband, but I think it was that she wanted to preserve the throne for her son. She had gone through so much with him, both to have him, and then with his illness. After all that, he could not not have his heiritage, and this is supported by the fact she seemed more concerned with politics after her son's birth than ever before.I also think she truly believed that Russia needed autocracy, and that it was the only political system, that worked for Russia, and I think, despite her background, this thinking was quite natural to her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RichC on November 03, 2006, 12:12:39 PM
Can anyone imagine an English princess of 1894 who would seriously have maintained the divine right of kings?

I've never believed that thinking oneself as English meant having a more liberal attitude toward freedom and democracy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 03, 2006, 01:10:46 PM
I take your point, Rich, but it is nevertheless true that the Brits settled the whole "divine right of kings" thing in 1688, and the British monarchy had ceased to be an autocracy long before that. And while some of Victoria's grandchildren believed in it (like Wilhelm II, to the horror of his English mother, yes?), it still strikes me as odd that someone who is customarily regarded as heavily English-influenced was so willing to embrace the principle of "divine right".
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 03, 2006, 04:03:58 PM
Well, she had personal reasons to embrace the theory of divine right or autocracy. Her husband was an autocrat, and she felt that her son should live long enough to be one, and she did everything she could to preserve his life and his heiritage, which was autocracy. That led her down some darker paths, like with Rasputin, but that's what she believed was neccesary. Anyway, she wanted to make herself wholly Russian upon marriage, and this involved believing in autocracy, and putting aside everything she previoulsly knew to do so. She may have been more inclined to believe in autocracy than not, despite her background. That could be a factor as well, I think. She may not have been so much of her background as we might think. Some foreign princesses were condemned upon marrying into another country/dynasty for being too much like their home country. With Alexandra, this did happen, as she was called ''German'', but by that time she was more Russian than anything else.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on November 03, 2006, 04:24:30 PM
... She may have been more inclined to believe in autocracy than not, despite her background. That could be a factor as well, I think. She may not have been so much of her background as we might think. ...
I can vaguely remember that I once read an account of a heated discussion between Alix and Sergei and/or Ella about the pros and cons of autocracy and democracy. This discussion supposedly took place at Illinskoe in 1890. Alix was said to have argued that a democratic, constitutional monarchy like the British monarchy was the system to be preferred, whereas Sergei (or Ella?) pointed out that the Russian people were not ready for democracy. Does anyone know more details of this discussion/argument?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 03, 2006, 04:37:09 PM
I have never read of that, but it does sound interesting. I think that if this was the case, then it shows a change between Alexandra's youthful thinking, and her thinking later on. Which would be understandble, because she married Nicholas II, and wholly gave herself over to autocracy in contrast to her background, and perhaps youthful beliefs.She later came to believe what Sergei and Ella said, for their reasons, and also for more personal ones, such as those involving her son. I hope someone can supply more information on this-thanks for bringing it up!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on November 05, 2006, 01:31:54 PM
I don't think having a preference towards a divine right of kings made Alix less 'English' in her thinking.  When you think about it, ALL monarchies, whether autocratic or not, suggest some sort of 'divine right', as Kings and Queens are not chosen for their skills or talents, but simply by whom they are related to.  Britain may have reduced the power of its monarch, but they still accept the right of the royal family to rule because of their ancestry over any other Tom, Dick and Harry, don't they? Therefore, I don't see believing in a 'divine right of kings' being a drastic leap from believing in the right of someone to rule as figurehead over a country just because of who their relations are.

Thinking about this cultural issue some more, it's interesting that people have called Alexandra Hessian rather than German.  This is something I'd never thought about before, and perhaps it would be helpful and informative if anyone who knows more about Hesse than myself can give some information on Hesse's culture/religion/history, etc.

Also, it's very true to say that Victoria's relations and Victoria herself didn't really 'belong' specifically to one nationality.  There's such a hybridity of nationalities among the Royal Family even today that it's difficult to peg people down as being specifically English, German, etc.  It reminds me of the Romanov language, a mismatch of French,English, Russian, German, etc, that the family reportedly spoke.  With such a mesh of cultural backgrounds, perhaps we can't say Alix was more from one place than another.  Do we think, though, that she fully embraced Russian culture? This is what I'm trying to find an answer to.  In what ways did she relinquish her childhood interests when she moved to Russia, other than religion?

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 05, 2006, 01:39:22 PM
Sure, but the English monarchy is at the mercy of Parliament; they can replace the Royal Family tomorrow if they chose to do so, as they did in 1688. The success of a constitutional monarchy depends upon everyone's willingness to engage in "let's pretend". I don't think that you would have found a British monarch during Alix's lifetime who would seriously have maintained that "the divine right of kings" as understood to mean autocracy was acceptable. Victoria and Edward VII did a great deal to create the working constitutional monarchy, and these would have been the available role models for an English princess. My point is that Alexandra's cultural heritage was highly selective, perhaps because of the international nature of the royal mob. One took what one wished, and discarded what conflicted with the world view one had adopted. I think this points to a serious flaw in her character, by the way, since it means she lacked objective reasoning.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on November 05, 2006, 01:45:54 PM
True enough, Simon.

Even so, though, there is still the underlying message that someone 'deserves' to rule over someone else, not because of talent, but because of genealogy. This is true of ANY monarchical structure, regardless of its power.  I think THIS aspect of royal thinking especially was prominent in Alexandra's mindset.  She HAD to have HER OWN son ruling over Russia and no one else's, for example.

Also, in Britain, our monarch is head of the Church of England.  This link between royal authority and God was something Alexandra held onto in Russia too.

Maybe her ideas when it comes to monarchy are not as far away from the British after all?

Rachel
xx

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Louis_Charles on November 05, 2006, 03:46:09 PM
I don't think that either Edward VII or Victoria devoted much thought to the Church of England; at least, not nearly as much as Alexandra devoted to Russian Orthodoxy or Lutheranism (it's hard to imagine Edward VII losing any sleep over changing his religion if such a thing had been necessary). Your current monarch seems to take it seriously enough; I have always assumed that came from the cultural influence of her mother. Alexandra's mother was a free-thinker, so I have no idea where her religiosity came from. Of course, neither did Nathaniel Hawthorne when his daughter Rose became first a Catholic (horrors!) and then a nun
(full-blown seizure). As someone once remarked about Marcus Aurelius' son, the bloody Commodus: "He was a startling product for a good home to produce." Perhaps Alexandra, more than most royals of her day, was her own woman.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 05, 2006, 06:14:59 PM
Well, I think that having a preference for autocratic type thinking did make Alexandra less English in her thinking because it wasn't an English way to think. The English monarchy had long since been constitutional by the time of Queen Victoria, even. That kind of thinking in English monarchy was long gone by the Hanovers, and in fact died with the last of the Stuarts. It wasn't English but mich more Russian. It could be called European, maybe, and it was more German than English. But believing in autocracy really wasn't English. In this way Alexandra became Russian, even as much as she did in religion.I think she did fully embrace Russian culture, for sure, in she was more Russian than she ever was English or German.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on November 24, 2006, 11:10:46 AM
Wasn't part of the problem that she was not often on public view at all?  Because she wasn't constantly on show, frequently not appearing at public events due to ill-health, people interpreted her absences as disapproval or aloofness.  Sometimes not showing up can give a quite unintended message.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 24, 2006, 04:09:36 PM
Sadly, that's not something she ever realize- it is quite sad. But, she honestly thought she was fulfilling her role as consort, and she thought that she was doing what she could. She thought she was doing a good job of being consort in the public sphere, but indeed, her actions may not have looked to others as they did to herself.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grace on November 24, 2006, 04:33:26 PM
Sadly, that's not something she ever realize- it is quite sad. But, she honestly thought she was fulfilling her role as consort, and she thought that she was doing what she could. She thought she was doing a good job of being consort in the public sphere, but indeed, her actions may not have looked to others as they did to herself.

In my opinion, Alexandra knew full well she wasn't properly fulfilling her role as consort and that is the reason why, apart from the health worries of her beloved son, she suffered from so much stress.  I don't think she sailed through thinking she was doing a good job, but she did probably believe she was doing her best under her particular circumstances.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on November 26, 2006, 05:42:36 PM
Well, to me many of her statements in letters and many of the things you read about her in biographies make you inclined to think she did believe she was doing her best. Obviously, when you read some of this, you shake your head over what she believed, but you are left with the impression she did believe it. It seems she was misinformed more than anything else. She suffered much stress because of her son, yes. but also because of the role she found herself in that was by nature stressful and even more so when she realized she was not liked.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: jenjen on February 01, 2007, 02:08:53 AM
There are a lot of opinions out there on Alix on her as an empress and a private person.  What do we really think about her?

Me personally, as an empress, she really wasn't cut out for the job.  In her defense, she was always in a no-win situation with many of the Russian people.  She could have made more of an effort at times, but I think her shyness got the best of her and I can certainly relate to that.

 As a private person, I think she was a devoted wife and mother.  Controlling?  Yes.  Loving?  Yes.  A flawed human being with both her good and bad points.  I think that no matter the mistakes she made has a empress and a person, I don't think she ever meant to hurt anyone.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on February 01, 2007, 05:15:10 AM
Hello Jen Jen,

I don't think that she meant to hurt anyone either and I think that she had a hard time from the start because she was German.  However, I feel that she acted very stupidly at times - putting her faith in the evil Rasputin and ignoring the criticism of him and advising the Tsar to be authoritarian and against reforms.  She was even giving the Tsar advice about Government ministers which she got from Rasputin!  I can't say that I have that much time for her, really.

Regards,
Lisa
www.webwritereditor.com
www.bookaddiction.blogspot.com
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 11:02:02 AM
I think there are two camps on her. One, judge her harshly and blame her for everything that happened to the dynasty, even though she didn't rule the country, and wasn't to blame for everything by any stretch of the imagination. Another, is to see her as a human being and to see she made mistakes that didn't help the Romanovs, yet to realize that she wasn't the downfall of the dynasty, and try to understand her, although not admire her. Perhaps a third camp, is just not to pay attention to anything to do with her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 01, 2007, 12:05:23 PM
Ok - she married the right man, but it still impresses me how this Princess from Hesse became Empress of all the Russians!!  I wonder just what it was that Nicky saw in her.

I would love to read more about her days in Hesse as a young lady.

I can admire her stateliness and beauty. Oh and imperiousness. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 01, 2007, 01:08:15 PM
I wonder if you had been on the receiving end of her imperiousness you would still have admired it.
If you mean her imperial demeanor, then that is another thing.
It would be most interesting for a study to be done, using only observations by contemporaries--those that actually knew her--as to what people thought of her. List them one by one and quote what they said about her. Then compare how many were favorable to her and how many were critical of her. Only then can one begin to make a true judgement of her overall.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 02:39:52 PM

When she was in Hesse as a young woman, by all accounts, she had that imperiousness even then.I think that was part of her. She resented Victoria Melita being the first lady of Hesse, and then she couldn't do everything anymore, so she started to look around for another way, and that way was Russia. But, she certainly loved Nicholas, and didn't marry him because he was Emperor of Russia. In fact, she hated the social duties that went along with being Empress of Russia. She was never much of a social person, she might just have felt that Victoria Melita had a higher position than she, and didn't like that. Yet, that really wasn't her either. I think she wasn't haughty, as she was so often percieved, that it was more shyness, but unlike her sister Ella, she never attempted to understand the more common people.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 01, 2007, 04:22:04 PM
I read a quote that when the Princess left Hesse for Russia, the Hessians were glad to be rid of her.  How much of her personality was part of just the way she was and what it became because of Alexei's illness later?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 01, 2007, 07:04:44 PM
Much has been said about Alexandra's shyness, and how it caused her to act as she did. But that, in my opinion, was a character flaw that she failed to overcome.
I am going to give an example of two other women who were also unsophisticated and extremely shy when they were thrust into a public role, and how they re-acted to it.
1. The Grand Duchess Vladimir. Marie Alexandrine Elizabeth Eleonore of Mecklinburg-Schwerin who became Marie Pavlovna upon her marriage to the Grand Duke Vladimir. Only twenty-four, she came from a very modest German state, and was very shy. She married one of the most sophisticated of Alexander II's sons, and unlike Alix of Hesse had a husband who was a roue and cheated on her. Thrown into the hedonistic atmosphere of the Russian court, she blossomed. Instead of withdrawing she became one of the families grande dames and the star of a rival court. She grew into a woman who was "naturally charming and gay, with a flair for saying precisely the right thing at the right time." Russian Foreign Minister Serge Sazonov remarked that she was the woman they ought to have had as Empress.
2. Eleanor Roosevelt. Niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, she lost her mother at a very age and was raised by her maternal grandmother. Her father was a charming man but a drunk who was never around for her. She was also considered plain and unprepossing, something her grandmother pointed out often and loudly. She grew into a rather gawky, and very shy young woman. For some reason she attracted the attention of her handsome, charming and charismatic cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, and they married. She too began to have children, one right after the other. When Franklin began to go into politics, it was a horror for Eleanor who had to make public appearances. She never became a beauty, or a fashion plate, yet something in her allowed her to overcome her shyness and to become a proficient public speaker and campaigner. When her husband was stricken with polio but decided to continue his public career, Eleanor became his persona out to the public. She went on to become one of the most admired First Ladies to inhabit the White House, and she continued to work for the cause of the poor, the dispossed, the disenfranchised and at the United Nations was instrumental in getting the charter for human rights adopted. Right up until her death she was one of the most admired women in the world.
What was it that allowed these two shy women to overcome this disability and to become figures on the stage of history, while Alix shrank back into herself, withdrew as much as possible from public life, and as has been seen contributed greatly to the tragedy that befell her? Some have speculated that it was a physical illness, others a mental illness, and others a failure of character.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Raegan on February 01, 2007, 07:27:08 PM

Hi JenJen. I find Alexandra the most fascinating of the Romanovs -- for both her good qualities as well as her flaws. A friend of mine is working on a book containing letters Alexandra exchanged with a member of her family, and from what she has told me, they show Alexandra in a positive light. Through Alexandra, I have come to enjoy reading about her extended family, such as Queen Victoria. I suppose that is a topic for another thread, though.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 07:28:06 PM

Well, it seems from the account of the Hessians, that she had a great deal in her of her later character at any early age, I tend to believe much of her personality was there, only that Alexei's illness was a strain that caused things to become worse. If she had not been under that strain, I think her life and role in Russia would be seen in a better light. It was really after his birth that she withdrew more and more into her family, and ignored any social functions, although she always hated them. But, how much better she would be seen is hard to say. It was really her mother's death at any early age that might well have been the factor of her behaviour both in Hesse and later in Russia. She was never sunny after that.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: jenjen on February 02, 2007, 01:34:03 AM


That is something to ponder over.  How much of a role would she have played if Alexei been a healthy boy.  Her "health" problems wouldn't have been as bad and there would have been no need for Rasputin.  When she was first married she had children every two years and couldn't play too much of a role.  After that was Alexei and her focus became him and the family.  Despite Alexei's health, I still think the Revolution would have happened. 

Someone mentioned earlier about what she was like in Hesse.  I don't know much about her young adult life, but I read the biography on her by Greg King.  It seemed to me that her family was obsessed with death.  Her mother was when her brother died.  Her grandmother (who was a fine leader, but I wouldn't have wanted her for a mother) was after Prince Albert died.  There was always constant mourning.  No wonder she had such a sense of fatalism.  I think mourning is healthy, but at some point you have to move on a little bit. 

I think we can all agree that Alix was a very complex person.  Some liked her, some did not.  That's how it is for most of us, except her life was played out on a very public scale which will be analyzed for years to come.     
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 02, 2007, 06:47:51 AM

It was through her that I became interested in QV and her descendants, too!!

Just like every other human being, Alix had her flaws, and people should remember that.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 02, 2007, 09:26:24 AM


Someone mentioned earlier about what she was like in Hesse.  I don't know much about her young adult life, but I read the biography on her by Greg King.  It seemed to me that her family was obsessed with death.  Her mother was when her brother died.  Her grandmother (who was a fine leader, but I wouldn't have wanted her for a mother) was after Prince Albert died.  There was always constant mourning.  No wonder she had such a sense of fatalism.  I think mourning is healthy, but at some point you have to move on a little bit. 

I think we can all agree that Alix was a very complex person.  Some liked her, some did not.  That's how it is for most of us, except her life was played out on a very public scale which will be analyzed for years to come.     

Unfortunately, you are right about the Hessians and death.  It seems it hung over their family like a cloud.  "The Curse of Hesse" struck many times until finally that line of the family simply died out.

But Alix also came to Russia behind the funeral of Tsar Alexander III, called the Funeral Bride and considered an ill-omen to the very superstitious Russian people.  And IMO before she even had a chance, she was judged as something of an "albatross" to the dynasty.  Bringing hemophilia with her didn't help matters. 
Though as Imperial Angel said, much of her personality was in place by the time she married, nobody rushed in to help the young woman in her new role. Neither socially or personally.  Empress at 22 of 1/6 of the globe would overwhelm anybody.  To somebody like the fatalistic Alix, it was impossible to overcome.  Insulating herself with her children and husband was her only solution in her mind.  Not having social flair or "gift of gab" certainly didn't help her.  There were factors in place working against the Imperial couple long before they even took vows.  So who really knows which part of the equation could have been altered to help Alexandra overcome her shyness and innate Victorian upbringing and endear her to the hedonistic Russian court? ???
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 02, 2007, 10:00:22 AM
In 1889, Alix accompanied her father and brother to visit her sister in Saint Petersburg. It was sort of a "get acquainted" visit. For the most part, although most admired her good looks, the perception of her was negative. One hardened member of the court remarked on her: "Devoid of charm, wooden, cold eyes, holds herself as if she had swallowed a yardstick." It seems she never changed either.
And, I think the old excuse that she had children one right after the other is getting a bit thin. Maria Theresa, Empress and Queen, had 16 chidlren, in a day when medical science was medieval, and still managed to rule an empire without too much trouble. Queen Victoria had nine children, one right after the other, and one was haemophilic, and she still managed to do her job. Alix's own mother had six children, one of which was haemophilic, and still did her job as Grand Duchess without turning to mystics, faith healers and holy men. I think this excuse of her health is too often used to try to mask the fact that Alix simply wasn't up to the job of being empress. She just didn't have it. If she had been the wife of the ruler of some minor German principality, or married the sixth son of the ruler and had no responsiblities her "ill health", "her shyness", her "need for complete control" might have made no difference.
Does this failure make her a bad person--No. Does her inability to be a success as empress mean she should be excoriated--No. But, her failures should be acknowledged and not masked behind transparent excuses or blamed on mean ole people who just can't understand her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 02, 2007, 01:47:15 PM
I think much of what she was like in Russia can be traced back to Hesse. She was influenced by the negative stuff with that background, whereas Ella was influenced by the positive. Ella learned the lessons of Princess Alice well. Alix was really too young, and of a different personality than you needed to be. I think the fact that Russia was such a stressful country to be Empress- consort of combined with the fact that her son was ill, and he was the only son she had, contributed to bringing out her not so great side. She didn't respond well to stress, but if her mother had lived, and she had been '' Sunny'' longer in her childhood, maybe she would not have seen the world so darkly.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 02, 2007, 02:33:39 PM
Also after 1901, with the death of QV, Alix no longer had a maternal advisor. Someone who would have surely been able to reign her in w/the hemophilia and Rasputin situation.  The ONLY one in my opinion who could have dealt w/Alix would have been QV.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olishka~ Pincess on February 02, 2007, 06:15:05 PM
   Yeah that is true imperial angel if Alix's mother,sister and brother had not died Alix would have trusted the world alot more. Alix was happy and liked to have fun and was called Sunny because of her happiness before her mother and two siblings died. It put a dark cloud in her life when that happened it had effected her life. After she was six she began being sad and withdrawn mostly. Ella has a different belief for the world a more of a positive and trustful way not completly but somewhat. Alix was a carrier of Hemoplilia and she was so worried about her son Alexei she began to aged into a older woman due to her lack of exercise that also effected her life. I think its important to have a healthy diet and exercise in order to look younger especialy if your beganning to approach in the 40's. She had so much stress and worry. Her health was weak also she had problems in the heart legs and she could not walk sometimes and had to use a weel chair. Many people in Russia hated her because the say she is from Germany and she trust and is friends with Rasputin she relies on hin to help heal her son and she thinks that he is a holy man.They also think Anna Vyrubova was another person from Germany spying on Russia. I wish Alix's mother,sister, and brother did not die. It was so sad I feel bad that happened to Alix. I can understand how its like when a family member dies.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 10:57:45 AM
Also after 1901, with the death of QV, Alix no longer had a maternal advisor. Someone who would have surely been able to reign her in w/the hemophilia and Rasputin situation.  The ONLY one in my opinion who could have dealt w/Alix would have been QV.

That is very true. I agree, that if Queen Victoria had been around at the time of those troubles, she might have been able to do something. As it was, she didn't agree with any of her grand daughters marrying into Russia. She would have at least said something to Alexandra, as she was always opinionated on such matters. Alexandra even though as she grew older she grew increasingly stubborn ( at least to do with her son and Rasputin), always did listen to her grandmother more than anybody. It would have been interesting. Sadly, Queen Victoria was dead before the troubles in Russia really started to take shape, at least those involving Alexandra. Queen Victoria would have been a positive influence on Alexandra, from her background, rather than the at times dark Hessian stuff.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 11:34:07 AM

Absolutely.  Up until the old Queen's death, Alix would receive advice from her grandmother.  It was perhaps the old Queen's death that was the final blow that left Alix completely free and unchecked to act as she wished. It may have been one of many factors that was the cause of one of many dominoes to fall in the long chain of events that led to the downfall of the dynasty.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 05, 2007, 11:36:59 AM
Apparently though, a certain distance had emerged between Alix and her grandmother in the last years of the Queens life. Why I don't know.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 12:56:14 PM
Well, she was in a different country, and she was adapting to a different way of thinking. She was also very busy during those years trying to produce an heir for the dynasty. All those are reasonable factors. I think she just grew into a different role, and with distance she might not be reminded of her grandmother so much. Yet, her grandmother was always a important figure in her life. I agree about Queen Victoria's death being one of many factors.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 02:29:09 PM
I was also trying to say that distance contributed to Queen Victoria not having as much influence on Alexandra during the last years of Queen Victoria's life, although I think that was just natural, and their bond was always strong.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 02:32:24 PM
I agree.  Old age and her far flung family also probably was a factor in the Queen not corresponding as much.  Although she was noted for her voluminous correspondence w/her children and grandchildren all her life, towards 1901 she was ill and perhaps not quite up to it as much. And Alix certainly had her own problems to deal with.  Not to mention at the time of QV's death, she was pregnant w/Anastasia and could not go to the funeral :'(
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 05, 2007, 02:43:19 PM


I think they remained close. As Xenia wrote, Alicky was heart broken by her grandmothers death and wanted to start for England immediately but being pregnant with Anastasia was persuaded not to go. She wrote to Victoria how she envied her being able to see granny go to her final rest.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 04:15:01 PM
Her reaction to her grandmother's death does still speak of a close bond, for sure. She wasn't indifferent. She would still have had her grandmother have some influence on her thought later, I know. She didn't in later years really have anybody she listened to besides the obvious- Rasputin. It is also obvious that he was a bad influence. I guess how much you influenced her depended on how important you were to her. Generally, it was Alexandra that influenced people, not the other way around.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 05:08:09 PM
Very true. 

Imo, listening to Rasputin or even having him around, would have absolute HORRIFIED the Queen. Had she been alive and in her prime, Alix certainly might have had a better perspective of her situation. :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 05, 2007, 09:27:05 PM
Her sister Ella was closer to Alexandra than Queen Victoria was, much closer. Yet, in the end when Ella tried to reason with Alexandra, about Rasputin and other problems, Alexandra coldly dismissed her. "She threw me out like a dog" I believe was Ella's comment. So, why would Alexandra have listened to Queen Victoria. She would have simply written that the queen didn't understand the true situation and ignored any advice she got.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 06, 2007, 08:37:15 AM
Perhaps.  Anything is possible.  I just felt that QV's advice and opinions had a big effect on Alix.  And she wouldn't have taken any advice or otherwise from the Queen lightly. This is my opinion only though and since the Queen was dead by the time Rasputin came along, we really will never know for sure. :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 06, 2007, 09:10:56 AM
Her sister Ella was closer to Alexandra than Queen Victoria was, much closer. Yet, in the end when Ella tried to reason with Alexandra, about Rasputin and other problems, Alexandra coldly dismissed her. "She threw me out like a dog" I believe was Ella's comment. So, why would Alexandra have listened to Queen Victoria. She would have simply written that the queen didn't understand the true situation and ignored any advice she got.

Yes, but Ella was just her sister, who she was influenced by when young, and was pivotal in helping her marriage happen. While she played a important role in her sister's life, she was much more easily dismissed by Alexandra than Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was not only her grandmother, but as well was a mother figure to her in many ways, her mother having died when Alix was so young. So, in my opinion, she would never have totally dismissed Queen Victoria, even at a distance, as they would have been. Even after Queen Victoria's death, it is clear that she was still very important to Alexandra. I think she might not have turned to Queen Victoria for advice, but Queen Victoria would have had her opinions, and given them. She would have listened to some extent, at the very least.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Dulcinea on February 06, 2007, 10:06:39 AM
Regardless of Alix taking or not taking QV's advice, I think asylum would have most definately been extended in England.  Do you think Alix and Nicky would have been more likely to go to England if the offer came directly from Victoria?

Dulcinea
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 06, 2007, 11:53:26 AM
Not really Dulcinea. Nicky was close to George and they were in favour of going to England. They only thing I think QV would of done differently would that she would not be influenced by the goverment!!

Slightly different but when Vicky wanted to return home for a restorative visit following Fritzs death several ministers put up a fuss. QV wrote that it would be cruel to deny Vicky from visiting and told them not to mention it again!!! You have to admire her!! ;D
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 06, 2007, 12:48:53 PM
Accept for one thing, in the British constitutional system the government acts and the sovereign simply rubber stamps its actions. To do otherwise is to invite a constitutional crisis.
The Lloyd-George government agreed with King George about not allowing the imperial family to come to Britain because it agreed it would cause too much trouble. If the government had not agreed it would have continued to maintain the offer of asylum regradless of the king's wishes.
The same would have been true with Queen Victoria on the throne. She might have fulminated against the cabinet but if the cabinet had decided not to offer asylum it would have made no difference.
The fact is that the British government and the king weren't against helping the Romanovs get out, they were just against letting them come live in Britain, because of the intense upopularity of the Romanovs. And I think even Queen Victoria would have had to face that reality.



Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on February 06, 2007, 01:54:48 PM
What I really think of Alexandra can be summed up with one sentence: She was emotionally ill and frequently wrong.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 06, 2007, 01:57:55 PM
Anybody who was under such pressure and constant worry would have experienced "battle fatigue".  This would have led to a complete mental collapse on lesser people not in such an exalted position, imo.  Also, it certainly would have clouded her judgement.   Sometimes, I find it's hard to sum up Alexandra in one sentence. :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 01:04:30 PM
I think that is totally true, that is hard to sum her up in one sentence. I have never heard it put better. The issue is, that people try, and did in her lifetime, and still do now. I think it is time to stop doing that, and allow for the fact that whatever you really think of Alix, that she was a complex person, and is not someone you can just say was a certain way. The more I have looked at her in depth, the more it seems to me she is really rather hard to sum up, and maybe that's impossible.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on February 07, 2007, 02:27:12 PM
Call it stress, post traumatic stress syndrome, whatever you like. I still think she was emotionally ill and frequently wrong.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 02:54:57 PM
Call it stress, post traumatic stress syndrome, whatever you like. I still think she was emotionally ill and frequently wrong.

Well, it is the way you want to think of  it I guess. Alexandra has always inspired strong feelings, and arguments. She was certainly under much stress ( is that what you mean, or is it more serious?), but I am pretty sure she wasn't emotionally ill to began with. I've read that theory, and it makes no sense whatsoever to me.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 07, 2007, 03:41:06 PM
IMO she was emotionally fragile from the time she left Darmstadt, ill equipped as NII to rule the country -  but the birth of Alexei propelled her into emotional illness which she might have already been predisposed.  In all fairness though, not many people could have handled it if they WERE mentally sound to begin with.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 07, 2007, 03:44:35 PM
If one accepts the proposition that Alexandra, in the last, say, decade, was suffereing from this "battle fatigue" or emotional stress or however it may be described, due to worry over the heir's health, her own health problems, and the political situation, then we must consider this.
Soldiers who suffer battle fatigue, people who suffer depression or post traumatic strees syndrome are not allowed to continue in positions of authority. They are put in hospital, or under the care of a physician and given treatment. If Alexandra was suffering this and it explains her actions, then why was she still allowed to exercise a degree of power. She should have retired, completely, and not involved herself in situations that only added to her distress. This is why a political system like the autocracy was unsustainable. In any other system she would have been barred from any influence on politics. And, this is probably what the conspiracy of the family was intending. To send her to a convent where she could be treated for her illness, or mental health. Unfortunately they waited too late and events moved too fast.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 03:52:10 PM
Well, she wasn't ruler of the country. She was the consort. If she had been the ruler in charge of the country, what you say would certainly be applicable. She was also certainly suffering from emotional illness later, although it is true that she was more prone to that in her essential nature than say Ella, I don't feel that was present to began with, although I agree she was fragile. She was not suited by personality for a position such as consort, and the circumstances in which she was consort worsened things.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 07, 2007, 04:14:54 PM
She did often go for treatment for her nerves.  NII was well aware of his wife's precarious mental health.  But as in all areas his love for her blocked a crystal clear view of things as they really were.  He certainly wasn't going to ship her ANYWHERE.  He needed her. 

Certainly she required hospitalization, but everyone around her told her what she wanted to hear, that she had a bad heart, not that she was emotionally sick.  IMO, anybody who would have even suggested she was or that she be separated from her son and family for any reason would have been subject to banishment.  After all, towards the end, people were being banished for less. 

As far as why she was allowed to continue to "excercise a degree of power" that's a story within itself.  For that matter why was Rasputin allowed to?  Totally for another thread and discussion.

Anyway, I agree that the rest of the family assessed the situation correctly but not in enough time. :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 04:31:11 PM
Alexandra was certainly told what she wanted to hear, and saw what she could see. Nicholas is of course why Alexandra had some power during World War I, although she not only didn't show much interest before, she didn't have much. She tended to be seen as an invalid to some extent, and she did have sciatica, I believe. I am not sure of the truth of her health problems with her heart, but the origins of that were certainly emotional in nature. It is true that she seemed to take on a better light when she was imprisoned and not in the center of power, and  not under so much stress.

I think you can see some improvement, although maybe that's because in those days, she had no chance to have any power, and be seen in a bad light. Yet, Alexei was always a matter of great concern to her that would have caused her emotional and physical problems, and that would have continued whether she was in the center of power or no. I just don't think she was suited for positions of power, but she would never have said that, nor would anyone have suggested that to her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on February 07, 2007, 05:15:17 PM
Well, she wasn't ruler of the country. She was the consort. If she had been the ruler in charge of the country, what you say would certainly be applicable. She was also certainly suffering from emotional illness later, although it is true that she was more prone to that in her essential nature than say Ella, I don't feel that was present to began with, although I agree she was fragile. She was not suited by personality for a position such as consort, and the circumstances in which she was consort worsened things.

She may not have been the ruler Imperial Angel, but she was very influnential on her husband. She was heavily influenced by Rasputin, He told her what to do, she told Nicholas and he listened.
Yes, she should have been sent away to recover. I actually think her emotional problems started with the death of her mother. In actucality, she was really very weak when you consider her relationship with Rasputin and the power he had over her. I think she felt she was powerless and so she asserted power in the only way she could..over her husband. She truly was emotionally ill.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 07, 2007, 05:52:40 PM
Has there ever been a psychiatric study done on Alexandra? I know that doing one without actually having the person as a patient, or even having documentary health records, is subjective. I read a fascinating study done on Crown Prince Rudolf a few years ago, using what was known about his physical and mental health. It was very revealing and addressed some issues and questions that have intrigued people for a long time. I think one done on her would be useful, keeping in mind that it based on non-clinical observations.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ena on February 07, 2007, 06:59:18 PM
Very true. 

Imo, listening to Rasputin or even having him around, would have absolute HORRIFIED the Queen. Had she been alive and in her prime, Alix certainly might have had a better perspective of her situation. :)
I wonder about this given QV's allowing John Brown to have so much run of the house.  It just seems like Alix was following her lead in choice of controversial friends.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: James1941 on February 08, 2007, 12:40:44 AM
You are entirely right about the Queen and John Brown. He was, perhaps, the only real friend she had after Albert's. I won't go into the controversy about whether they were married. She allowed him to speak and treat her as not even her children were allowed. When she died she had his picture put into her hand and locks of his hair entwined with her body. But, he was no Rasputin. His role was in public. Everyone knew about him and that he was the queen's highland servant. He rode out on her carriage, he was at her side at public events, he even saved her life during an assassination attempt. In my opinion if Nicholas and Alexandra had been as open about how Rasputin fitted into their family crisis, it would have gone far to diffuse the situation. Had they taken the public into their confidence about Alexis' illness it would not only have explained why the empress depended on Rasputin but also elicited sympathy for the family. To hide his true relationship only invited gossip, guessing and innuendo. John Brown was a good Scots Presbyterian who, except for getting drunk on occasion, led an upstanding life. Rasputin drank, and a lot more. I think Queen Victoria would have had a few things to say to her granddaughter, and underlined them three times.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 08, 2007, 09:03:47 AM
I think so too.  I think that by the time Russia knew about Alexei, it was too late for sympathy.  The damage was done.  Everyone but Alix could see the debauched life Rasputin was leading.  She simply refused to believe it or made excuses for his behavior.  If they had revealed his health problem earlier on, certainly the mystical Russians would have understood.  Although IMO it would have been (and was) another strike against Alix for bringing the "royal disease" into the House of Romanov in the first place.

As lexi pointed out, Alix was open to anything by the time Rasputin came along and her emotional illness had reached a fever pitch by that point.  The hemophilia certainly being a contributing factor in helping along whatever was already brewing.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lexi4 on February 08, 2007, 09:04:10 AM
I have always thought that N & A would have been better served to come clean about Alexei's health. Secrets breed gossip. Unlike John Brown, Rasputin's behaviour outside of the palaces walls was despicable. People saw him and knew his reputation. So, they wondered and gossiped about his relationship with Alex. Had she been more upfront about it all, it might have been different. Yet she feared public knowledge of Alexei's ill health. Somehow I don't think that is how Victoria would have handled it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 08, 2007, 11:07:22 AM
Yes, there would have been much less stress and strain on Alexandra I believe, if they had been more open about Alexei's illness. Much of the strain on her was the fact he was ill, and because she was a hemophilia carrier as well, which made her feel some guilt.In addition, she was Tsarina of Russia when she should not have been the consort of such an important country, at least, she should not have had any access to control matters of policy. But, she had that in her husband, and he let her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 08, 2007, 11:39:03 AM
Well the war played a big part.  The Tsar didn't trust anybody BUT Alix.  And left the running of the country to her to go to the front.  (albeit at her suggestion from Rasputin of course!)  I had read where many people who had audiences w/the Tsar would hear or see her peeking in and listening as if NII couldn't handle things alone and she needed to brief herself on everything.  So maybe that was why she felt she could run things while he was away. 

But I agree that coming clean would have been the best tactic.  As for QV, did she come clean about Prince Leopold?  It wasn't the same, I know, as he wasn't heir to the throne, but I was just wondering as a comparison of how she might have acted in Alix's place.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tsarfan on February 08, 2007, 01:48:00 PM
There has been extensive discussion on other threads about the purported secrecy surrounding Alexei's illness.  But the cat was clearly out of the bag by 1912 when a story on Alexei's "bleeding disease" and its frequency among Victoria's progeny ran in The New York Times, if I remember correctly.  The article is posted on the main AP website. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on February 08, 2007, 04:04:04 PM
Really, I don't think Alexei having haemophilia made much of a difference.

Alix was always a shy and diffident character, and her religious fervour and belief in Nicholas' role as a ruler ordained by God and so not accountable to anyone but himself were always going to equal a disaster in a world so rapidly changing its values.

Alix was already unpopular before Alexei was born. She was already the person she was after Alexei was born. She didn't all of a sudden change her personality. She just became a more extreme version of herself, and unfortunately she latched onto a figure that would drag her name even more into the mud.

The war and her being German didn't help either, of course.

However, I don't think we can really hinge all of Alix's problems on Alexei's haemophilia, because many of the difficulties Alix faced both with her own personality and health issues, and the perceptions of her in Russia and at the court, were already in existence before his birth.

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 08, 2007, 04:46:19 PM
There has been extensive discussion on other threads about the purported secrecy surrounding Alexei's illness.  But the cat was clearly out of the bag by 1912 when a story on Alexei's "bleeding disease" and its frequency among Victoria's progeny ran in The New York Times, if I remember correctly.  The article is posted on the main AP website. 

That is true. Alexandra though never did let people know about the real reason for Rasputin, and that was perhaps the most damaging part of her son's having hemophilia. It did nobody any good to just hear rumors without really knowing why he was in the palace.There were rumors about Jon Brown as well, and Queen Victoria was a bit unpopular about that, hard as it is to imagine that now, and as well, for her seclusion after her husband's death. But, it is true that his personal behavior was much better than Rasputin's. But, if the Russian people had known the real reason Rasputin was in the palace, that might not have been popular either, in my opinion. It is hard to say.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kurt Steiner on February 11, 2007, 03:53:48 AM
I don't think that all the blame was on her part. In the situation that she lived, many people would have made similar mistakes -or worse ones. She, of course, took some unfortunate decissions, but, within the whole affaire, there were many mistakes and disasters, and not all of them were done by Alix.

Anyway, as it has been said many times before, the seeds were there before she married Nicholas.

PD: Finally I've been able to call her Alix. ;D With all due respect from my part, of course.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Katherine The O.K. on February 11, 2007, 10:07:13 PM
Alright, my opinion of Alexandra:

 She was narrow minded, selfish (accept in the case of Alexei) and panicky. In fact, she was a lot liker her grandmother Queen Victoria. Why was she this way? Well, she seems to have been the neglected child growing up- she was much younger than her glamorous (well, more so than she) sisters, she wasn't one of the innocent departed (May and Frittie), and she wasn't a boy (Ernst). She seems to get a little lost in the shuffle. Maybe this is why she prescribed herself (and her family) so much importance, as a way to assuage her own fears of inadequacy. And on top of this inferiority complex, she seems to have inherited her grandmother's Hanoverian genes for hysteria and melancholy.

So, you take this nervous, sheltered, (perhaps even somewhat unstable) girl who has an insatiable need to control those around her (not surprising given her tumultuous childhood), and you marry her to the sweet, earnest, weak heir to the Russian throne, who thinks everything is up to God and is perfectly willing to be bossed around. A perfect love match, certainly (they complemented each other well), but a disaster in the ruling department.

Alexandra was never exposed to court life in the real world (meaning outside her grandmother's cloistered family circles). She grew up in a family dominated by a single woman who had total and complete control. It only makes sense that she would apply this childhood model of hierarchy to her married life. And, also owing to her cloistered childhood, Alex was very emotionally immature, and would remain so her whole life. She understood little of the outside world and seemed to care little (especially when compared to her mother). Again, not surprising given her upbringing.

Well, that was quite the ramble... but there you have it. At least, my opinion of it!




Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on February 12, 2007, 09:37:30 AM
Well, all royalty were cloistered to some extent. However, they didn't have to survive in the confines of the ordinary world, but rather in their royal world. Thus, it was not a matter of as much concern. In those days royalty even more than today lived in their own world. Of course, the court of Russia and the comparably provincial court of Hesse-Darmstadt were two different things even in the royal world. But, this is certainly not the only, or even the main explanation of some of Alexandra's behavior, I think it was more things inherent in her than where she was raised. After all, many fellow provincial German princesses came to Russia as consorts and did much better, including, most famously, Catherine the Great.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ra-Ra-Rasputin on February 12, 2007, 01:42:20 PM
Well you can get all Freudian about it and blame it on her childhood if you want, but personally I think the reason Alix behaved the way she did was because she really wasn't that intelligent and she was also very shy.

This meant a) she wasn't good at making informed decisions and so relied on superstition and the influence of others, also with questionable intellect, to make decisions.
                b) she didn't like spending time with anyone but her immediate family, making her unpopular with her court and her public.

Now, if she had have had a husband with a strong, decisive and rational intellect, who revelled in his role as a very PUBLIC Emperor, who insisted on living in St Petersburg, truly understood the needs of his people, and was willing to change with the times, this wouldn't have been a problem. However, she didn't. Alix and Nicholas were too similar, and so unable to neutralise the problems each of them had within their minds and personalities.

Alix didn't bring down the dynasty on her own. Nicholas had a very fair share in doing that too. And so did his ancestors. The end was coming anyway; Nicholas and Alexandra had the opportunities to delay and lessen the impact of that end, but they ignored those opportunities and so they were really the instruments of their own destruction.

Rachel
xx
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on February 12, 2007, 05:29:16 PM
IMO Alix was far from unintelligent.  But not prepared to make informed decisions.  By the time she had reached her "nervous breakdown" she was more susceptible to mysticsim and superstition which, isn't all that far from the common Russian peasant of the day who believed in those things.

It's true she did not like holding Court in St. petersburg society, but in Darmstadt she didn't display the same anxiety and nervousness that she did in Russia.  She was more in her element.

I absolutely agree that it was many factors that brought down the mighty Romanovs.  One can't simply boil it down to one Princess from a remote duchy in Germany.  After all, Catherine the Great came from just such a small German state.

I agree, the seeds were sown long before Alix even met NII.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Noelle Royale on April 26, 2007, 06:24:19 PM
Well,I find Alix as being quite beautiful.But,what I really wished for her was that she could have been more happier.I mean it hurts me sometimes to read about how hard she prayed for a son.And when the Tsarevitch finally arrived,he was found terribly ill.It just breaks my heart.I am amazed by her though.She still had great faith after that.She really loved God.If it was me, I'd buckle.It really shows me Her Majesty was made of stronger stuff.I'd love for people in my generation to draw inspiration in this.We are living in such difficult times and our faiths at time is shaken to its foundations.Her Majesty and the way she utilized her faith would be a good example to us.I must say she looked incredibly magnificent.I see a beautiful golden blond Hessian-British Princess that became a Tsaritsa,who lived in incomparable luxury,but had a perpetual look of sadness about her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on April 27, 2007, 09:58:58 AM
While many people have vastly different opinions on the Tsarina, I often feel that she was as much a victim as she was a victimizer. 

But one of the many things that drew me to this unfortunate woman and her family, was their never ending faith in God and their great capacity to love each other under the most horrid circumstances.  No matter what your position in life, imprisonment, mental abuse and almost tortuous captivity and subsequent execution sounds like no picnic to me.  And while some may think Alix deserved such a thing, I feel that nobody got what they deserved in that story, period.  And when you look at it from as far away as almost 100 years, it's still hard not to feel SOMETHING for this woman.  Her love for her husband, her children, her God, her adopted country.  Unfortunately, none of this went the way it should have for her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Taksa on May 18, 2007, 02:00:25 PM
Ive never liked her much but after I read about Rasputin and his infuence on her...i disliked her even more. he spoiled her. of course, it wasnt her fault - she only wanted to do all her best for her dear and the only son. its natural for a mother. but she practically ruled the country and didnt like to listen to her husband and she didnt, i think, esteem his opinion. she was very rude to her sister - Ella. why?! I think Ella was much more a better person.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: TheAce1918 on May 18, 2007, 03:18:16 PM
To me, the Empress was a woman of intelligence, prestige and moral toughness.  That being said, I have to say that she also is a child of times that introduced a new found paranoia.  As in, the fervor of religion, mythology, philosophy and other popular topics of her time. 
I can completely understand that she only wanted the best for her family.  She was a natural born nurturer, and to me that is to be respected. 
My only issues with her were her friendship with Rasputin, that did nothing more than (ironically enough) end her life, her beloved adopted nation, and her views on others who were not as close to her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Eddie_uk on May 18, 2007, 03:29:14 PM
I agree Ace but I think it's important to remember that Alixs relationship was purely based on the fact that she believed he could help her son. If only Alexei had not suffered from heamophilia, everything could have been different and there would have been none of Rasputins damaging influence!!!!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Bob_the_builder on May 18, 2007, 06:48:14 PM
I think that Alix was very VERY strange and was almost obsessive with her religious beliefs.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mary R. on May 18, 2007, 08:19:55 PM
Alix lived in "splendid isolation" shut off from the every day workings of Russia. She was definitely a product of her childhood environment under the guidance of Queen Victoria who taught her to be discreet and modest at all times. This came off as aloof in the grand society of St. Petersburg. She was never able to get out and be seen by the people like her other European counterparts (Mary, Maud, etc.) I think this was a definite factor in the downfall of the Romanov dynasty.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: TheAce1918 on May 18, 2007, 10:25:33 PM
If only Alexei had not suffered from heamophilia, everything could have been different and there would have been none of Rasputins damaging influence!!!!

So true.  However, had Aleksey not have had hemophilia, I don't think that a lot would be totally different.  And by that I mean the revolution, Russia's failure in WW1, and other major events/issues.  But in terms of his personal health, the familial strains, and Rasputin...I agree.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mary R. on May 19, 2007, 12:44:40 PM
This is a discussion question I thought would be interesting to hear thoughts on.
If Alexei didn't have hemophilia would Alexandra have been so protective and attached to her son? (because he was her only son and heir to the throne)

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: TheAce1918 on May 19, 2007, 12:51:15 PM
I think she would have been protective whether or not Aleksey had hemophilia.  Mothers are like that.  And after all, he was her only son, the heir nontheless.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mary R. on May 19, 2007, 01:31:40 PM
I agree, he was her only son and the long awaited heir. The hemophilia seemed to only increase her resolve to protect Alexei.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on July 04, 2007, 12:49:53 PM
I doubt I would have befriended her. She seemed rather cold and remote. Her friendships always seemed to need to be of an unequal nature. Look at Anna V for example. No I think she wanted submissive friends. She would not have liked anybody who did not share her opinions. She was utterly terrible to her dear sister Ella when she visited her in an effort to warn her of the foolishness of her ways. No this was not a woman you could be friends easily with. Olga her sister-in-law tried to like her but ended up realising it was not possible to do so. All in all a sad woman.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on July 04, 2007, 01:36:14 PM
I think Alexander would have found her most strange. He and Minnie, Maria Feodorovna, were much against the marriage and only consented to it once he knew he was dying. I think he would have thought she was an appalling Empress. Thankfully he did not live to see all he held dear destroyed by his son and daughter-in-law. I doubt there would have been a revolution if he had remained Tsar. He would have also kept out of wars.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: loulia on July 09, 2007, 05:29:36 PM
I would have like to meet her and I think we could have been friends and I could have learn from her, she was a very strong woman to manage to ever keep her husband madly in love with her and in the same time raise five children, take care of Alexei health and deal with her job as Czarina of the biggest country in the world!! What's more she was a very loyal and kind friend, in which you can trust. Furthermore she cared a lot about people around, especially in her job as  a nurse. I think all this qualities are really not common and I would be glad to find a friend like that
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on July 11, 2007, 02:14:27 PM
I think I would very much like to have known her.  Not as an empress, but as a person.  It's hard to pass judgement on a woman who lived a century ago and who has been maligned by many a book or paper.

It was said by her family that though she could be aloof, when she was a friend, she was fiercly loyal and considerate. And a friend for life.  Though she may have been proud, I feel she had many good virtues that she passed to her daughters who, if they had lived, would have turned out to be fine young women. 

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on July 12, 2007, 07:11:26 AM
Have a look at the television program, "Love and Revolution" from the excellent series, "A Royal Family". It is quite brilliant and apart from telling much about Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, it also reveals her family, including Alexandra Feodorovna. This series is truly magnificent as it looks at people from the point of view of their own family. They are quite candid and honest. It is fascinating and I would highly recommend it. There is an accompanying book which is also wonderful. It is called "A Royal Famiily". The series and book trace the family of King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark. Obviously Alexandra Feodorovna was their granddaughter-in-law. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Annie on July 25, 2007, 04:07:14 PM
Would I befriend her? Considering me, and considering her, I wonder if we could ever have even gotten that close! Of everyone in this enormous saga, I may feel sorriest for her, and relate the most to her. I see in her a lot of my own traits, many of them not good by most peoples' standards. I am not a very party or social person, I feel intimidated around crowds, I am very afraid and uneasy to make friends, I worry myself sick from stress, and most of all I do what I can with difficult problems, but I usually mess up badly. So I'd like to have her for a friend, to talk about all this, if she'd have me!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on July 25, 2007, 04:18:47 PM
... would you befriend her?

To be honest, I don't think so. She was a little too closed minded for my taste, and too much on the self-righteous side. But she probably wouldn't have befriended me either!  ;)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Annie on July 25, 2007, 04:24:27 PM
... would you befriend her?

To be honest, I don't think so. She was a little too closed minded for my taste, and too much on the self-righteous side. But she probably wouldn't have befriended me either!  ;)

I never thought of her that way, but yeah I don't like those traits either. Self righteous, holier than thou types really do bug me. (I've known my share)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on July 25, 2007, 04:25:37 PM

She definitely had that attitude... She thought she was always right (even though she may have meant well).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Annie on July 25, 2007, 04:36:20 PM
I'm certainly not like that! When a problem comes along I have to deal with, I almost never think I'm 'right' but  I have good intentions and do the best I can with what I have but it usually backfires anyway. That's what I meant about being like her that way, she sure screwed up! Lost the whole damn country and everything including her own life!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on July 25, 2007, 04:47:18 PM
I am going by the letters she would write to Nicholas, where she would upbraid one person or another, saying they don't know what they are doing, etc., while of course she always knew the right thing to do... All based on superstitions or some other such nonsense. I think she even used to criticize Stolypin, who was probably the best thing that happened to Russia at the time, under the circumstances... Another example is when she spoke out against the constitution and told Nicholas that he should never give in to it, when it was obvious that it was the right thing to do at the time. She criticized Grand Duke Nicholas and played a big role in convincing her husband to take over the command of the army from of him... which was a disastrous decision, I think. But she never saw any errors on her part and kept on being convinced right up until the end that she was always right...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Annie on July 25, 2007, 05:21:02 PM
I am going by the letters she would write to Nicholas, where she would upbraid one person or another, saying they don't know what they are doing, etc., while of course she always knew the right thing to do... All based on superstitions or some other such nonsense. I think she even used to criticize Stolypin, who was probably the best thing that happened to Russia at the time, under the circumstances... Another example is when she spoke out against the constitution and told Nicholas that he should never give in to it, when it was obvious that it was the right thing to do at the time. She criticized Grand Duke Nicholas and played a big role in convincing her husband to take over the command of the army from of him... which was a disastrous decision, I think. But she never saw any errors on her part and kept on being convinced right up until the end that she was always right...

Probably a lot of that came from her extreme belief in and devotion to Rasputin, making him perfect and everyone else the bad guy. What a shame. I think of the lines from the movie N and A "Oh Nicky, what a mess I make of things..." Yeah, for sure.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen_Azar on July 25, 2007, 05:33:57 PM
I think of the lines from the movie N and A "Oh Nicky, what a mess I make of things..."

Except that in real life, I don't think she ever saw it that way...  She continued thinking she was right all along, and if anyone thought differently than she did, she saw him/her as her "enemy". This is what I meant by her being closed minded and self righteous...   
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Annie on July 25, 2007, 08:06:45 PM
I think of the lines from the movie N and A "Oh Nicky, what a mess I make of things..."

Except that in real life, I don't think she ever saw it that way...  She continued thinking she was right all along,

Not me, when I goof, I beat myself up for it and go on a miserable guilt trip that annoys everyone.

I wonder if she EVER, even near the end, realized just how wrong she was, and if only she had done things differently things wouldn't have gone so badly. I also always wondered if N blamed her. Really, they were both weak or wrong many times, and the mistakes were the fault of both, either together or separately.


Quote
and if anyone thought differently than she did, she saw him/her as her "enemy". This is what I meant by her being closed minded and self righteous...   


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Mary R. on July 25, 2007, 08:30:15 PM
That's a really great analogy Annie!  :)

Mary R.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on July 27, 2007, 12:56:40 AM
I feel enormous sympathy for what was Alexandra's painful journey in life. I would respect her as the consort of the sovereign and be loyal to them both. However I would never have been in the position to be a close friend with Alexandra because I would have little to offer her personally. With a vastly different outlook on life and religion it would be doubtful that I would have been regularily entertained tête a tête by the Tsaritsa over cups of tea (which I do not drink).

Margarita  :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on July 27, 2007, 08:58:06 AM
I have often thought about what her friends meant to her.  She had so few that she truly considered her friends, one being Anna Vyrubova whom Alix refused to give a "position at court" because she wanted her to be just a friend.

But even with Anna, Alix behaved as she did with the soldiers in her hospitals.  She was the care giver and also the care taker.  She valued Anna as a friend, but was Alix was the dominant one in the relationship.

There is not much mention of friends she might have had before her move to Russia.  I don't suppose there were girls of equal rank in Darmstadt for her to pal around with.  Her sisters married when she was young and her cousins were either kept from her (as in Vicky's girls) or lived too far away.

Actually, as Annie has said, I have found that I am very like her in a number of ways.  I would tire of endless balls.  I would not condone endless gossip.  I would want to do something positive to help the poor and not just lip service to a charity that I gave my name to. I think that I would have fought with Dagmar, just the way Alix did, too.

History shows that Alix, while she was shy and introverted in some ways, was the dominant one in the Imperial relationship.  Nicholas pursued her with a single mindedness that was awe inspiring, but then that one streak of independence disappeared and from the very beginning of their relationship, she was the one to "forgive".

I would like to think that I could have been her friend and perhaps helped her to better adjust to the position she had chosen, but with my dislike of a lot of the things that she disliked even if I had become a friend to her, I probably would not have helped her in any way, only made things worse by agreeing in principle with her and therefore strengthening her resolve and widening the chasm between her and the rest of the Imperial family.

I have to say that when reading about her, I immediately disliked her and thought that she was a foolish, single minded, intransigent woman who should have been sent to a convent long before the rest of the family ever thought of it.  But there must have something very deep within her that spoke to Nicholas because as

loulia said:

 "she was a very strong woman to manage to ever keep her husband madly in love with her and in the same time raise five children, take care of Alexei health and deal with her job as Czarina of the biggest country in the world!! "

Of course we know that she handled the "job as Tsaritsa of the biggest country in the world" quite badly, but she was a very complicated and interesting person.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lunarspacer on September 15, 2007, 07:09:45 PM
Bringing this topic back up after 2 months. It must feel a little weird. :D

I don't know if I would have made friends with her or not, but if I had the chance to, I would have tried. I don't like to be babied, but I have a weird definition of "babying" somebody. Maybe she would have been the care giver that I actually like, I don't know.

Actually, as Annie has said, I have found that I am very like her in a number of ways.  I would tire of endless balls.  I would not condone endless gossip.  I would want to do something positive to help the poor and not just lip service to a charity that I gave my name to.
History shows that Alix, while she was shy and introverted in some ways, was the dominant one in the Imperial relationship.  Nicholas pursued her with a single mindedness that was awe inspiring, but then that one streak of independence disappeared and from the very beginning of their relationship, she was the one to "forgive".

 as loulia said:

 "she was a very strong woman to manage to ever keep her husband madly in love with her and in the same time raise five children, take care of Alexei health and deal with her job as Czarina of the biggest country in the world!! "

Of course we know that she handled the "job as Tsaritsa of the biggest country in the world" quite badly, but she was a very complicated and interesting person.

Amen! A toast to Alixz and Loulia. I tend to be extremely shy. I might have made good friends with her, seeing as I annoy myself with my  "recessiveness" (is that a word?) toward being friends (I'm not dominant). She might have used this quality to her own advantage. I might have gone with it, but I wouldn't have liked it, that's for sure. I think I'm like her in some ways too, like Alixz said, especially the part with the service for the poor.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on September 15, 2007, 10:45:16 PM
I think the very saddest thing about Alix was her ability to alienate others. She basically knew nothing about Russia or her position as Tsarina when she married Nicholas. She managed to alienated the one woman who could have helped her the most, her mother-in-law and the eventually the rest of the Romanov family. That was sheer folly indeed. She always thought she knew best and never listened to those who were far more able. She even alientated her beloved sister Ella through such tactis. She never really learned throughout all the years she was in Russia. Of course the illness of Alexis was an enormous tragedy. This however does not make up for the rest of her behaviour.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on September 16, 2007, 10:23:44 AM
Which brings us to another thread about her metal health.  And not on topic here.

But her intransigence and her inability to make friends of those who could have helped her would have made her difficult to know.  I am not sure how a fairly well educated and some what worldly (she did travel before her marriage to Italy and other countries) could change almost over night into the cold domineering woman who withdrew into her fairy tale land of Tsarskoe Selo.

It does make sense in one way.  She was deprived of her mother's love at the age of 6 and also she witnessed the deaths of her brother Frittie and her sister May.  I think she was very needy emotionally and when she found Nicholas who wanted to make her the "sun" in his life, she hung on as tightly as she could.  Here was one person who would not leave her and whom she would not let leave her.

It too bad, because she was an intelligent and multifaceted woman who could have done so much good for Russia had she worked on her shyness (which I know is not easy).  I also believe that she had difficulty with social cues and interpreting the actions and manners and expressions of others.

One other note, I have been reading the autobiography of Arch Duchess Stephanie Crown Princess of Austria and wife of Arch Duke Rudolph  I was to be Empress, and when she lists all of the social obligations that she had (she was acting in place for Sisi, because Sisi didn't want to do any of it) I can't imagine how anyone could keep up such a rigorous schedule and not get a little crazy.

If Austria's royal family had so many things to contend with, how much more did Russia's imperial family have?

I think that being Alix's friend could have been fun.  She was well read.  She was talented musically (in private).  She cared about the poor and the soldiers and their families.  But she was a religious fanatic and that might have been difficult as I tend to look at all religions and try to understand their tenants and beliefs not truly belonging to any particular one. (She might not have liked that in a friend.)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Lolita on October 05, 2007, 05:47:19 PM
Yes,I don't really think she was fit for the job as Empress

but,when i read the royal diaries(fiction....i know),as a person,i didn't think much of her,i thought she was too serious and strict and i don't really warm up to those kind of people.But when I started reading Nicholas and Alexandra,I realized how warm and compassionate she was and how much she cared for Nicky and her kids,especially Alexei when he was hurt she would be by his bed side almost 24/7.So as a person,i have tons of love and respect for her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on October 06, 2007, 04:47:07 AM
That Alexandra loved Alexis there can be no doubt.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: anna11 on October 06, 2007, 04:52:19 AM
I don't think there can be no doubt that she loved her whole family. I do think she was a bit 'up with the fairy's' so to speak, but that doesn't mean anything. So am I. I think she was just a good person with faults, like anyone. History is a harsh judge of character, but I think we can see that Alix did her best, what she truly believed was right, even if it wasn't necessarily so. She was a loving wife and loving mother, whose 'whole joy was in her family'
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on October 16, 2007, 12:15:02 AM
Just my opinion of her...

Alexandra, to me, seemed to think she was better than everyone else. (If she did, not her fault really, since she was probably raised to believe it.) She even said Bloody Sunday "had to be done."

Still, you have to be understanding, since she had such a sad childhood and never caught a break. (Everyone outside her family hating her, pressured to have a son it took her nearly 10 years to have, and finally having one, and learning he could die at any moment.) Then on top of that, feeling guilty for passing it on to him, even though she had no control over it.

So, my feelings on Alexandra are sort of love/hate.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Terence on October 16, 2007, 12:43:53 AM
Just my opinion of her...

Alexandra, to me, seemed to think she was better than everyone else. (If she did, not her fault really, since she was probably raised to believe it.) She even said Bloody Sunday "had to be done."

Interesting, never heard of that.  What is your source?

Terry
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olishka~ Pincess on October 17, 2007, 06:57:08 PM
Yes  I think that Alexandra was a very tragic person. She was very worried and over protected over Alexei. I do agree with clockworkgirl21 that Alix have thought that she was better than everyone else. Even in her letters, she always wrote like she seemed to be the one who knows alot about things. Alexandra did have a tragic childhood her siblings and mother died when she was so young. Imagine having to have with such...a tragic childhood like Alix did? your asking yourself, how would you realy act in society and life. What would people think of you? Many people disliked Alix, becuase she was born in Germany, and thus they believed she was a German spy. She was not just German she had English relations. She was raised in England mainly stayed there and English was her main langauge. She even called Nicholas as 'poor child' or something like that.

I think that Alexandra had Nicholas as under 'domination'. She of couse loved him, they both did but Alix seemed to be the one who dominated Nicholas somehow. Alix seemed to be a caring, dominating, and religious person. I think that Alix was both sad and caring. This is only my opinion on her...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on October 18, 2007, 09:50:18 PM

I think that Alexandra was one of the most tragic figures in history.  The love match between NII and AF worked BECAUSE she was the strong one.  In his diaries she wrote in the margins something to the effect that she would be strong for him.  Being raised German and brough up English ill prepared the princess for the culture and court of Imperial Russia.  Having no precedent, she was intimidated by her position in the beginning and gave off the air of arrogance.  When IMO, I feel that her real concern was a true family life.  There are hundreds of books and documents in the Kremlin describing thier marriage as one long honeymoon.  Not many people are that lucky.  Unfortunatley, IMO that WAS what her concentration was on.  Not to mention the immense pressure on a young empress with no mentor or anyone to guide.  Having QV as an advisor was both  good and bad.  But QV was a firm parent and Queen many of her traits came from loving Albert forever just as NII and AF.  Maybe Alix concentrated more on family life than her duties as Empress.  Not to mention being the carrier of hemophilia.

So IMO I think she was misunderstood and very wrong for the job of Empress.  But completely right for the wife of Nicky
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on October 18, 2007, 10:27:58 PM
I think that Alexandra was one of the most tragic figures in history.  The love match between NII and AF worked BECAUSE she was the strong one.  In his diaries she wrote in the margins something to the effect that she would be strong for him.  Being raised German and brough up English ill prepared the princess for the culture and court of Imperial Russia.  Having no precedent, she was intimidated by her position in the beginning and gave off the air of arrogance.  When IMO, I feel that her real concern was a true family life.  .... Maybe Alix concentrated more on family life than her duties as Empress.  Not to mention being the carrier of hemophilia.

So IMO I think she was misunderstood and very wrong for the job of Empress.  But completely right for the wife of Nicky

Thank you very much for these considerate comments about Alexandra Fedorovna.

IMO you have captured the essence of her life and personal trials perfectly.

Margarita  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: JBenjamin82 on October 20, 2007, 12:23:30 AM
Not to sound overly simplistic, but I like Alexandra.  Like all of us, she had bad, annoying habits and personality traits (e.g., she could be stubborn, pushy, narrow-minded, etc.), but she was well-intentioned and honest.  After reading her letters, I always come away with the impression that she wanted nothing more than to do the right thing for her God, her family, and her country. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olishka~ Pincess on October 20, 2007, 09:16:39 AM


I agree with you Lori, I think Alexandra was one of the most tragic woman in history. Her story was so sad and tragic. Have you read her biography? I am uncertain about what name it is, but I remember seeing a portrait/painting of her on the book. I read the whole book. Anyway it was a very great book written on her. I found the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Alexandra-Carolly-Erickson/dp/1841197823

Erickson portrays Alexandra as a shy, yet willful and intelligent woman. But there isn't much evidence to prove the latter. Alexandra interfered in government, putting pressure on Nicholas to assume command of the Russian armies during WWI and to appoint Rasputin's friend, Boris Sturmer, as a minister in the government. She also had him take Rasputin's comb along as a talisman. Alexandra shows symptoms of a borderline manic-depressive, alternating periods where she took to bed with migraine headaches with days working herself ragged at military hospitals.
Many of the dramatic turns of the last tsar's reign are glossed over: Bloody Sunday, Rasputin's assassination, the stampede during Nicholas's coronation, even the murder scene in Ekaterinburg. There is some new material concerning Rasputin's son-in-law, Boris Soloviev, who tried to help the Romanovs escape before being arrested. We also learn that Alexandra managed to smuggle numerous messages past the Bolshevik guards, one of which found its way to the Cheka.
A major disappointment was the dearth of pictures, only eight pages. The daughters also receive scant attention.
I found the footnotes and the bibliography beneficial. We find out what happened to Boris Soloviev and others. Some of the titles seem intriguing, Bykov's THE LAST DAYS OF TSARDOM, and especially Rasputin's murderer Prince Felix Yusupov's LOST SPLENDER.

There was many both positive and negative comments on these book. I thought it was great myself, this is only my opinion.


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olishka~ Pincess on October 20, 2007, 09:28:42 AM
Hey Justine,
Here is a picture of the cover of the book.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1841197823/ref=sib_dp_pt/105-2532624-4463609#reader-link
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on October 21, 2007, 03:21:02 AM


I thoroughly enjoyed the book and agree that some issues were glossed over.  But it's only my opinion that her disastrous mistakes during the time NII was at the front and she was left to run the country in essence was due to as you commented her mental condition by that time, her view of the way the country should be ruled was in stark contrast to the reality of Russia.  Russia was not Germany or England and IMO I think without taking direction of people who had been born and lived in Russia all their lives, she convinced herself that Rasputin was the one to listen to. I also believe she had begun her mental descent before the war, the hemophilia only added to this.  And in some small way she may have felt she could change things the way her mother Princess Alice had done for the better.  Only this was Russia, not a small German duchy.  In her defense, she never shied away from duty.  Perhaps she shied away from crowds at the ballet or the opera but when called upon, she was there and would nurse the sick and had great faith in God.  Unfortunately, IMO she was so overzealous that she could not see the larger picture and Russia's future.  And I still believe that her greatest triumph was motherhood and being a devoted wife just as NII was a devoted family man.  A man cannot serve two masters however so the Bible tells us and this cozy family life did not mesh with the climate of Russia. They were excellent parents but I think ill suited to rule.  Something Nicky himself seemed to want.  After the abdication, he was much more content being ordinary, outside - like a country squire living a private life.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: todoi on October 30, 2007, 06:23:49 PM
I think one of the greatest misfortunes to befall Imperial Russia was the Marriage of Nicholas and Alexandra. Its true that they loved each other to the very end but unfortuantley their respective personalities weren't able to cope or handle or even understand the events/circumstances and situations that they were thrown into.  As Monarchs I think they were terrible, Alexandras misguided and damm right foolish interferance with the appointment of government ministers and politics in general and her growing reliance on Rasputin.  And Nicholas's refusel to get a back bone and stand up to his wife these very actions were partly responsible for not only the destruction of Imperial Russia and Themselves but also their children.  In this respect they are equally to blame IMO. 

I used to blame Alexandra entirely for the Fall of the Romanovs and the revolution  but after reading and re reading "Nicholas & Alexandra- by Robert K Massie" and "The last Empress-the life & times of Alexandra Feodorovna - by greg king" I began to see the other side of her.  there is no doubt she was a bad Empress and I think that position brought out the worst in her character but as a mother, wife and friend I think she was a generally good person.

However history judges her she didn't deserve to die in the manner she did with her entire family.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lori_c on November 01, 2007, 12:07:14 PM
I agree.  I don't think she was a bad person.  Just not right for Empress. She has been judged harshly because she judged the court of St. Petersburg harshly and refused to conform. IMO, she wasn't two faced and got right to the point.  She either liked you or you were frozen out of her immediate circle. 

Then again, i do see the importance of somebody with more experience in "public relations" in her position.  St. Petersburg certainly resented any sort of change in their seemingly unchangeable and ancient courtly life.  Especially from an outsider.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on November 01, 2007, 06:02:55 PM
She was most definitely the wrong person to be Empress and was very much to blame for the revolution. Of course she was a loving wife and mother. She did however have a very weak husband. She didn't deserve to be murdered but her actions as Empress certainly didn't do anything to prevent the overthrow of the Romanovs and their consequent imprisonment. It was all a preventable tragedy. I always think the children paid a very high price for the incompetence of their parents. The rest of the Russian people did as well.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pandora on December 09, 2007, 09:30:10 AM
Alexandra wasn't empress-material and her extreme thoughts concerning Russia and ruling the Russian people undoubtly were wrong but I also do not hold her solely responsible for the Revolution. There were many outside forces - people and political beliefs - assisting with the political turmoil in that country as well as worldwide, really, at that particular time. What suprises me most is that she was the granddaughter Queen Victoria who ruled by a constitutional monarchy favoring its people. How Alexandra could have missed the point, per se, as to what makes a country successful and its people happy is beyond me - she only had to look to her grandmother for that inspiration. That's what doesn't make sense to me. Alexandra had a perfect example of an extremely successful monarch to look to. 
As far as a wife and mother, I certainly she loved and adored her family; worshiped her husband and was an excellent mother. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: anna11 on December 28, 2007, 04:43:54 PM
Of course you can't hold Alexandra solely responsible for the revolution. Apart from all the outside forces, and everything that was out of his hands, it was Nicholas's fault just as much as Alexandra's for letting it happen. After all, it was he, not Alix who made the actual appointments.

And I don't know where Alexandra got such a firm root in autocracy (spelling) seeing as she was raised around constitutional monarchies. England in particular.

But I can 'forgive' her. I can sympathize with her, and the hate some people here have for her does astound me. I 'like' her. Basically, I have the same views as griffh, but he can express them much better than I can. His threads pretty much say what I think.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on January 06, 2008, 04:50:38 PM
I don't believe in monarchies at all, but that doesn't mean I think the royal families should be killed or treated like dirt when overthrown. Which sadly happened to the IF.

N&A didn't really want to rule, they just wanted to be in love and raise their children. So many factors played in the revolution, I just have to think it was meant to happen. I hate that Alix is only known for her bad qualities. Nicholas too. They both really did care about Russia, they went went about taking care of it the wrong way.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: jenjen on January 07, 2008, 03:19:27 AM
This is how I see it: the revolution was going to happen eventually.  The start of a real source of conflict between the Russian people and the Imperial family can goes further back than Alexandra and Rasputin.  You could look at the assassination of Alexander II and Alexander III's decision to not give the russian people anymore freedoms.  That was the main source of conflict.  The people wanted more rights, and the Tsar's wouldn't give them any.  This caused a "powder keg" to form.  Little instances happened along the way that made it worse: the Russo-Japan war, the Duma (desolving the Duma, back and forth).  Then there was WWI.  The only thing Russia had in their favor for this war was a massive population of soldiers they could send to fight.  Technologically, they had no business in that war.  Many of these already disgruntled citizens were losing family and friends in the war constantly.  In the middle of all of this is the german-born empress making major decisions.  She was never popular or trusted anyway, so she had no credibility to fall back on.  She wasn't making good decisions and that set the "powder keg" off.  There was no turning back.  Most of the major heads of Europe fell during this time.  Those who relented some of their power (England) remained on the throne.  The world was moving away from this type of governing.

N&A were poor rulers, there is no doubt about that.  Had they been more competent, they would have been just puting off the inevitable.  A change was going to happen, the great tragedy and deaths may have been avoidable.  Aren't we lucky that we have the advantage of foresight.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: tsarsrule on January 17, 2008, 04:07:18 PM
It's fallacious to believe that Alix was directly responsible for the downfall of the Russian empire, a good historian knows that Russia's place as a great power and the asolute regime of the russian dynasty was being comprimised already within europe and within the borders of the country itself, and that is not least due to Nicholas' stubborn stance and uncooperation with the Dumas. Impressions of Alix seem to be clouded by her 'misjudgement' in Rasputin, yet we dont seem to consider that Rasputin convinced alot of people of his 'healing' powers and it did seem that whenever he was called that Alexei's illness waned, even from a maternal point of view you can see that Alix had reason to have such faith in Rasputin. Her son was severely ill and this was bad not only for her family (we seem to forget sometimes that she was a mother) but also for the Imperial Establishment.
It seems that what all the sensationalist 'historians' want to find a villain in Alix when really we should be looking closer to the whole establishment itself.

p.s You criticise Alix and Marie Antionette, women in history , who always seem to be the downfall of a great historical establishement, but I think we all know and it would even be highly stressed by men that history has and still continues to be about men! It is evidence of the paradoxical accusations of some historians who seem all too eager to find a villian.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 18, 2008, 06:53:09 AM
There can be no doubt that Alexandra Feodorovna was a very loving, if perhaps an overprotective, mother. She also tried to do the best for her genetically ill son. She also had a loving relationship with her husband. All of this is well documented.

Sadly as an Empress she left a great deal to be desired. This is extremely well documented. Her neglect of court and official duties is very evident. As Empress when basically appointed Regent during the Tsar's absence at the front during the first world war she was hardly competent at all. To ignore her role in the events that lead to the revolution of 1917 would not show a great awareness of Russian history. She was deeply unpopular and sadly out of touch with the reality of governmental. In the end this lack of ability in governance was her undoing and that of the entire dynasty. A reading of Nicholas and Alexandra by respected historian Robert Massie reveals a great deal as do many well respected biographies by countless authors.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 18, 2008, 08:09:12 AM
Dmitri, could you please support your claims with references to sources that prove that Alexandra was 'appointed regent' during Nicholas' absence at the front? And could you please give references to specific letters from their wartime correspondence that proove beyond doubt that Nicholas considered his wife, instead of himself, as the ruler, as the one who had power of decision in important governmental matters when he was away?

Alexandra's letters show that she considered her husband as the one who was in charge: "I'm only a woman fighting for her Master and Child", she wrote in November 1916. Nicholas had asked his wife to help him by being his eyes and ears in the Saint Petersburg area, but he never appointed her regent, as far as I know. Alexandra's wartime letters to her husband are full of opinions, advice and recommendations, but not full of political decisions. She once apologised for taking a minor decision in a matter of great urgency, but I don't think she ever wrote that she herself had decided to appoint a minister, sack a general or change policies. She may have discussed politics with her husband, have given her opinions on governmental matters freely, and have forwarded whatever information and papers had to be forwarded - and by doing all this influenced her husband - but Nicholas did not adopt her opinions and follow her recommendations indiscriminately. In the end it was the tsar himself who took the decisions and who was accountable; he was the one who ruled. Their wartime correspondence supports this view. You may feel Alexandra had too much influence on her husband, but to suggest that Alexandra was basically 'appointed regent' is a gross misrepresentation.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 19, 2008, 03:48:41 AM


  Rest assured that I have read Robert Massie's book. Yes, Massie wrote about Alexandra's influence, as did many other authors. If I remember correctly, however, Massie did not bring forward proof that Alexandra ever was 'appointed regent', nor that Nicholas - or Alexandra herself - considered her as regent. Regency implies power of decision in governmental issues. Alexandra carried much weight with her husband, and many people felt and feel she had too much influence, but 'having an influence' by endlessly expressing one's opinions, discussing issues with one's husband and making recommendations is nowhere near 'basically being appointed regent', as you suggested.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 19, 2008, 11:11:36 AM
It hardly needs explanation. I am sure you will find the sources if you read further. One wonders who you think governed Russia when Nicholas was nowhere near St.Petersburg. A quick look at a map shows how impossible it would be. Examine the primary source information from Maria Feodorovna and you will find some information. Other Romanovs also give plenty of reference material as well. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 19, 2008, 01:00:43 PM
And so does Nicholas' and Alexandra's wartime correspondence. Examine the primary source information and you will find some information. One wonders who you think governed Russia when Nicholas was at Stavka. One does not have to look hard to find letters written from Stavka in which Nicholas made remarks about ministers who had sent him "hills of papers" or that he was "busy, as ministers and other people wanted to see him". I think it is safe to assume that these "hills of papers" and meetings with ministers related to governmental issues. Communication would have been easier if he had been in St Petersburg, but all the same Nicholas was still very much actively involved in governing Russia .
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 19, 2008, 07:44:14 PM
I have read the documents you refer to many years ago and countless others. Nicholas was not in control domestically. I suggest you do further reading. Alexandra was not in control much either. It is not surprising the whole dynasty collapsed given the sheer incompetence of the last Tsar and Tsarina. The fact that so many had to suffer due to their misrule is nothing short of an extreme tragedy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 20, 2008, 03:24:11 AM


I agree that the Russian revolution was a tragedy. However, I think it is too simplistic to put all of the 'blame' for the revolution on Nicholas and Alexandra and 'their misrule'. The Romanov throne had already been considered as unstable under Alexander III. Russia's political and socio-economic situation in 1894 was such that a revolution of some sort was already inevitable. Given the fact that Nicholas had not been properly prepared for the immense job awaiting him, it is not surprising that, in the end, he could not prevent the inevitable.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 20, 2008, 07:10:40 AM
It is a rather unsupportable statement saying that in 1894 the revolution was inevitable. The only things inevitable in this world are death and taxes. One wonder where you obtained your ideas from? Your "let's not blame Nicholas and Alexandra" agenda is quite an unusual approach. Who do you blame then and don't come up with the business about Alexander III please! That is totally without foundation. Come up with hard evidence and names please. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 20, 2008, 08:02:28 AM
Taxes are not inevitable, but that's an entirely different discussion. I don't have a 'let's not blame Nicholas and Alexandra' agenda. If I have an agenda at all, it is a 'let's not lash out against Nicholas and Alexandra for the sake of lashing out and let's not put on them all of the "blame" for things they were only partly to "blame" for' agenda.

My remarks about the instability of the Russian throne and Nicholas being poorly prepared for his future role by Alexander III are not without foundation. Tsar Alexander II was killed, in case you had forgotten, and Massie - whose book you wanted me to read - mentioned at least one attempt to murder Alexander III. In October 1894 Queen Victoria said that her blood ran cold when she thought of Alix on that "very unsafe throne", "her husband's life constantly threatened". I wouldn't call that a stable situation.

As regards Nicholas being poorly prepared, one only has to read Nicholas' own words to his brother-in-law Sandro on the day his father died to know how serious the situation was: "I am not prepared to be a Tsar. ... I know nothing of ruling. I have no idea of even how to talk to the ministers." If Alexander III had prepared his son properly, Nicholas would have had an idea. Actually, the poor way Nicholas had been prepared for his role was the main reason why he himself decided to introduce his son to various aspects of his future role at an early age.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 20, 2008, 09:43:52 AM
Nothing at all new or startling revealed there at all. How about getting back into the topic of Alexandra. Even though she has been made a saint by the orthodox church she was far from being one. She was a highly incompetent consort and history records countless examples of this. Nicholas was also an inept ruler who managed through sheer stupidity alone to get Russia involved in two bloody wars. He was responsible for it. His reign is viewed in Russia and elsewhere as a diastrous page in Russian history. It was not a fairytale of two young ones in love. It was a national disaster on an enormous scale. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 20, 2008, 09:51:38 AM
Here's a little gem that Alexandra Feodorovna's Aunt, Kaiserin Friedrich wrote to her mother Queen Victoria about Alexandra,

"Alix is very imperious and will always insist on having her own way; she will never yield one iota of power she will imagine she wields ... "

Yes and this was before 1901. Both Kaiserin Victoria and Queen Victoria had grave misgivings about Alexandra. There's more if you both to do the research.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 20, 2008, 01:05:05 PM
Nothing at all new or startling revealed there at all.
Thank you, Dmitri. :) I'm glad to hear that you did know then that critical comments on the instability of the Russian throne before 1894 and the poor preparation that Nicholas got were not without foundation.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 20, 2008, 01:17:33 PM
Queen Victoria did indeed have great misgivings about Alix on the Russian throne. In December 1890 she wrote: "The state of Russia is so bad, so rotten that at any moment something dreadful might happen & tho' it may not signify to Ella, the wife of the Thronfolger is in a most difficult and precarious position."

Alix was of a rather serious nature, she could be stubborn at times, and she had views of her own. Women with views of their own were not to everybody's liking, they weren't then and they still aren't. Queen Victoria loved her dearly anyway: "Oh! How I wish it was not to be that I should lose my sweet Alicky."
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pandora on January 20, 2008, 03:39:07 PM
The Russian Revolution cannot be entirely laid on the backs of Nicholas & Alexandra. All of their personality traits aside, the Russian Revolution came from centuries of oppression of the lower classes by the Tsarist regime. Emancipation from serfdom didn't occur until 1861, the peasants resented paying redemption payments to the state & the land reforms of Sergei Witte's in the early 1900's were not successful. To compound the problem even more, cities were becoming industrialized at an alarming rate yet the conditions were deplorable. All of this fed into the discontent of the people. Unfortunately, Nicholas was a man who knew nothing but the autocratic style of governing. He only had the tools, so to speak, that his ancestors had given him to go on to run the country.
Much has been made about Alexandra's personality feeding into the downfall of Russia but given the political and social climate that Russia had been experiencing it was a matter of time.   
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: dmitri on January 20, 2008, 07:03:18 PM
Nicholas wasn't even a competent autocrat. His worst trait was his inability to listen and his extreme indecisiveness. Alexandra was no help as she was the only granddaughter of Queen Victoria who failed to understand the need for reform, a hallmark of her grandmother's long reign. The revolution was far from inevitable. It took around 22 years of incompetent rule to come about.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pandora on January 20, 2008, 08:59:33 PM
One cannot cure in 22 years what has been built in hundreds by previous rulers. Nicholas would have had to have had some very savvy political people surrounding him to pull it off and he didn't. Too many people around him were concerned with their own socio-economical standing to have allowed the total reforms needed to keep the revolution from spinning out of control. It was a steam engine roaring down the track without an engineer and it had been doing so for many years before him.
 
Isn't "competent autocrat" a bit a contradictory expression as an autocratic system of government is never a competent method of governing human beings?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: LeahMayhem on January 29, 2008, 10:32:53 PM
I've been studying the Romanovs basically my whole life. My father always kept books on them in the house so I've read about them since I was a little girl. I must say that Alexandra has always been my favorite, especially now that I'm older.

I can identify with her. I'm not at all shy, but in many other ways our personalities are alike. I can understand, to a certain degree, what she must have gone through with the Russian aristocracy, being so different from everyone else and having people assume the worst about her with no real basis to do so.

As an Empress she made many mistakes and managed to offend and alienate many people. As a wife, mother, and as a person; however, I have nothing but admiration for her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: pandora on February 01, 2008, 07:02:55 AM
RonnieLee - I agree with you. Unfortunately, Alexandra had character flaws but don't we all? And it's also unfortunate that she ended up in a country with a very precarious situation. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: LeahMayhem on February 14, 2008, 09:08:33 PM
RonnieLee - I agree with you. Unfortunately, Alexandra had character flaws but don't we all? And it's also unfortunate that she ended up in a country with a very precarious situation. 

Indeed. I can't even critcize her for her lack of knowledge of politics and misrule of Russia as Nicholas's regent while he was at Stavka. I also have no political savvy whatsoever. Put into Alexandra's situation, I too would be perfectly happy to let someone else basically run the country and would probably screw up just as badly as she did.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: tom_romanov on July 31, 2008, 02:47:07 PM
i have just been watching this video 'http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl7VnQeu8OQ' its about the IF execution with clips taken from several films. if you watch it you will notice that in each of the film Alexandra is portrayed as being 'snobbish' or 'insensitive'.
i know that she had her moments but i see her a caring, sensitive woman.

what do you think?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: sgc on July 31, 2008, 03:05:23 PM
i have just been watching this video 'http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl7VnQeu8OQ' its about the IF execution with clips taken from several films. if you watch it you will notice that in each of the film Alexandra is portrayed as being 'snobbish' or 'insensitive'.
i know that she had her moments but i see her a caring, sensitive woman.

what do you think?

After finishing The Court of the Last Tsar : Pomp, Power, and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II by Greg King last night, it's my opinion (and that's all it is: my opinion) that Alix could surely have used one of these modern day spin doctors or at least a decent press agent to sweeten up her image. The book was chock full of examples where she simply didn't cut it Empress-wise when it came to interacting with just about everyone outside of her own family. Sorry, but fair or not: that is definitely the way the lady comes across in this particular book.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: tom_romanov on July 31, 2008, 03:11:39 PM
yes i agree she probably wasn't what the Russian people expected as a tsarina especially after Marie fednorova.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on July 31, 2008, 05:46:00 PM
I really think that some stories are nothing than highly exagerated or simply nonsense. Through her many letters - some still remain unpublished - one gets wonderful impressons of her character and ways of thinking.

I'll never ever believe the particular story of the Empress sending her maid to a lady whose dress was too "sexy" for Alexandra's taste. "We don't wear our dresses like that in Hesse-Darmstadt" - and the lady is meant to have replied: but in Russia we do! pulling down her decolleté even more

Sorry.... to much to my taste - knowing the Empress's views and character. Like that are many stories. One should not believe everything written in books or shown in films or documentaries - even if they're done by so called "experts". I just LOVE that story from Greg King's "Alexandra" where she is supposed to have attended the marriage of George the V. in 1893 - with descriptions of her dresses and outings and even an order given to her! Princess Alix remained in Germany so as not to see the Tsarevitch - she stayed with her cousin Marie Erbach in Schönberg (as one sees in the lguestbook of the latter).

Any questions?! :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: sgc on July 31, 2008, 06:06:08 PM
I really think that some stories are nothing than highly exagerated or simply nonsense. Through her many letters - some still remain unpublished - one gets wonderful impressons of her character and ways of thinking.

Any questions?! :)

In the case of Alix, the problem is not whether those anecdotes are apocryphal or not. It has been 90 years since her death and no witnesses remain alive to either verify or debunk the many things written about the lady since the IF's tragic demise. However, the way the Empress is perceived by the many readers of these various books is really the problem. To put it in a more colloquial way: the old gal simply can't win for losing.

Even her most ardent supporters must at least admit that at the very least, she had in her lifetime (and still has posthumously) a genuine PR problem.



Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on July 31, 2008, 06:34:41 PM
IMO, Empress was very sensitive, but showed 'her face' as snobbish. And often people though she was snob. But I disagree.

Remember her pains and worrying for son, who could die in every moment, or for husband who could by killed by one anti-monarch, for example.

Then, all that stories about Rasputin, for example, then - Germany was enemy in WW1(For Russia), and they knew Tsarina was born in Germany......

And I have to add, she was very physical strong woman, if she could saw and heard many things about herself...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Lalee on August 01, 2008, 05:08:41 AM
i have just been watching this video 'http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl7VnQeu8OQ' its about the IF execution with clips taken from several films. if you watch it you will notice that in each of the film Alexandra is portrayed as being 'snobbish' or 'insensitive'.
i know that she had her moments but i see her a caring, sensitive woman.

what do you think?

I don't think she was insensitive at all. I think she was lovely in many, many ways. People of the court regarded her as haughty, cold, stiff and snobbish, her face being completely red and her lips tightened in a hard, thin line, that it never appeared that she wanted to be seen, tried to avoid people and that all she ever did was constantly holding her hand up in the air waiting to be kissed. But anyone who really got to know her realised that this was all because she was incredibly shy, and therefore making public appearances was painful for her, and they also saw that she was very sensitive, kind, charming and caring, that the impression she gave to the public really wasn't her true self. Even besides her shyness, Alix decided she didn't want to really become acquainted with people of the court, because she knew that all they were interested in were rumours and gossip (this is also why she didn't want her daughters to socialize with them and become badly influenced), and being the empress of Russia, it wouldn't be surprising if she was often the subject of their topics.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Michael HR on August 01, 2008, 06:49:08 AM
The Empress was very shy and hated public events and many people who are shy come across as haughty, reserved, distant etc and I think that this lies as the heart of the problem with the Empress. In public she appeared cold and uncaring but it was her shyness that gave this impression. In private she was a loving and caring woman and to say that she had a PR problem is an understatement.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Romanov_Fan19 on August 03, 2008, 11:11:32 PM
She was im sure a wonder wife and mother she in may have been both but I See her overall as caring.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Decadence on November 11, 2008, 04:08:37 PM
I do not think Alexandra was snobbish; I believe that with the knowledge that not many people liked her she put a wall up, a wall with a gate that only her family and close friends had a key to. I believe it was for her own security.
I think I can relate to her very well.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on November 11, 2008, 08:14:39 PM
I honestly believe it's a matter of perception.  It all has to do with what the audience (be it viewer, reader, or listener) values in a person.  Myself, I really value her sense of loyalty and family, and her work ethic.  I find it truly unfortunate that those she was surrounded by, didn't value those things, and would instead have preferred her to be a lovely figurehead and nothing more.  She lived in the wrong place in the wrong time.  She and Nicky would have been very happy, and well-liked, elsewhere.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on November 12, 2008, 12:33:30 PM
I think it's very difficult to define someone of that period as snobbish in the modern sense of the word.  We tend to think of it as an undue value for money or position or rank.  But value for rank and position is the basis underlying a monarchy, and it would be strange if Alexandra didn't value such things.  She venerated her husband's rank as the top of the aristocracy, and as a consecrated emperor, and she considered it vital that her family and that of her husband married appropriately to suitable people of rank.  But that was no different for anyone of her age or class; she had no especial value for money or position for herself - if those were her major objectives, she would have married Nicholas straight off, or the Duke of Clarence if being Queen of England appealed to her more.  She was an awful Empress in the sense of doing her duty and being a public support to her husband and the monarchy, but her reasons for seclusion had much more to do with personal discomfort in social situations and what I would call [intellectual /i]snobbery - feeling society was frivolous and not worth her time - than valuing herself too highly to mix with others.  Close personal friends included a peasant and a minor member of the aristocracy - by no means the companions of a true snob.  She was undoubtedly sensitive - I would say that in her position, this was actually not really a good thing, since a thicker skin might have helped overcome her shyness and enabled her to relate far more to people outside her inner circle.  So I think she was both a snob and sensitive - but the snobbishness was not particularly outstanding or deep for a person of her background, while her sensitivity was actually a serious handicap, though it is also an attractive trait.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Tdora1 on November 24, 2008, 04:32:00 PM
Hysterical, narrow-minded, insensitive, superstitious, gullible, interfering,  ignorant, haughty, lazy and self-indulgent, autocratic and sickeningly and grotesquely anti-semitic. And probably IMHO suffering from the mental and emotional effects of the porphyria inherited via her great-great-grandfather George III, which would (charitably) go a long way to explain her appallingly destructive effect.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RealAnastasia on November 24, 2008, 09:20:37 PM
I like her a lot. She is a little like me. A religious woman for whom her family, her country , her God and her duty was before any selfish pleasure. She loved charity rather than parties and if Russia should have knewn her how she really was, she must have loved her Tsaritsa. Unfortunately, they believed these stupid version of her being hysterical, narrow minded, and lover of Rasputin. Alexandra Feodorovna loved Russia deeply, and rather choose to perish that to be rescued by German governement, who was fighiting Russia back then. She deserves the name of Saint and maryr, much more than Marie-Antoinette , who was caught in deep conspirations with foreign coalition just to have her power back.

The Tsaritsa did a lot of mistakes (for sure) , but I admire her, for she was sincere.

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on November 25, 2008, 02:58:34 AM
When one sees Alix in pictures, she looks distant and sad.

In her time, people did not smile in pictures as we do today and so to judge her by her expression would be wrong.

However, my husband and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary and when I compare my own photo from our wedding day to our tenth anniversary to our twenty fifth, I see a great change in my facial expression.

Where twenty five years ago, I looked excited and hopeful, by year ten, I had given birth to our only son who is Autistic.  I looked distant and much sadder than I had ten years prior.  Now at twenty five years (Alix and Nicky had only 24 years allotted to them) I can see even more distance and sadness in my smile.  I don't do this on purpose, in fact, I don't even know I have done it until I see the pictures.

My life, with the exception of my son's ill health, is nothing like that of Alix's, but everyday disappointments and years of yearning and working for a "cure" for my son have left me looking much like Alix looks in her pictures.  I, too, have days when I would rather be anywhere else than a party or in public.  When my son was young, I refused to leave him, as the experts say one should do, to get some down time for myself.  I was on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week.

As the years have passed, I have become a sort of "wraith" in the lives of my old friends.  They became so used to me refusing their invitations that they ceased to invite me.  I was always tired and not very much fun any way.

When I first began to read Russian history, I disliked Alix so completely that I couldn't understand why Nicky married her or stayed with her.  Granted, she had not the training to be an empress (thankfully since I don't have that either, I am so glad that I would never have to try to be one) and she brought ideas into the Russian Court that were laughed at and derided by the family.

She was shy (but to me, that was no excuse as she knew the job requirements and should have worked more on learning them) but her constant pregnancies along with sciatica and the disappointment of not having a son and heir only served to increase her separation from the court.

Then to have that longed for son be a victim of medical fate and inherit hemophilia must have been unbearable.  Some women would have just broken completely at this point.  But luckily, Alix had Nicky and his support and love and the spine of a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

She dealt with her tragedies badly, but she dealt with them.  That, I think, is at the center of all the controversy about Alix.

Would history have been kinder to her if she had just had a complete breakdown and retired from life?  Or is it better that she stayed (with all of her "medical" problems) in the fray and fought the good fight even if she fought it badly? (And believe me fighting the "good fight" can wear anyone down and then cause that person to make hasty or bad decisions.)

So I see her not as "snobbish or sensitive".  I see her as a woman, who like Jackie Kennedy Onassis, had to just keep on going, no matter how many horrible things were tossed her way.

Since I am not a public figure, I have a lot more latitude, but both of these women did what they could in relation to their times and their heartbreaks.   When Jackie withdrew from life to give her children a "normal" childhood, she was judged as well.

So not "snobbish".  Perhaps too "sensitive"  Perhaps just women dealing and making the best of the lousy hand each got.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on November 27, 2008, 06:09:21 PM
Its always hard to be objective - on a lot of reflection and wanting to be charitable - i think she would have probably been an admirable consort and wife to a constitutional monarch she was a disasterous consort to an autocrat though. When i first became interested in the Romanovs and Russian history I felt remarkably sorry for her however the more i've read the less I feel sorry for her and the more I believe that she and Nicholas made some appalling judgements that ultimately led to their appalling deaths. A lot is made of the wonderful family life she creatd for her children - but to be honest she isolated them all at the Alexander Palace, i would be interested in a psychological evaluation of how her own health and Alexei's health related to each other, however that isolation would have had a profound effect on all the children and was hardly preparing her daughters for their futures. Much is made of how she was treated by Nicholas' family but there was considerable fault on both sides and unlike many other foreign brides she didn't do much to endear herself to her new family (her relationship with the Empress Marie was in trouble in a matter of months and whilst the dowager was in large part to blame she was in deep mourning a fact which escapes some people when discussing it), her relationship with her sisters in law seems to have been good though the relationship with Xenia appears to have become increasingly tetchy,  and she was clearly a driving force behind Nicholas' treatment of Michael following his marriage to Natalia Wulfert. She brought out the best in Nicholas as a husband and father and the worst as a ruler which is probably the real tragedy of it all. To blame her solely for all the ills of Russia in 1917 as some have done is unfair but she certainly didn't help and her political interference during the final few years of the reign helped prevent any attempt to hault Russia's journey to revolution.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on December 01, 2008, 06:28:11 PM
I think to sum it up very simply, Alexandra seemed snobbish, but was really sensitive. Alexandra came across in public as snobbish, but in private she was really sensitive. She of course believed in the class system of the day, and believed in autocracy and an outdated system in Russia- to some today that would make her a snob. But in the context of the time, she wasn't.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Lalee on December 01, 2008, 11:00:55 PM
Really what made her seem snobbish was her shyness. Pierre Gilliard said that anyone with an unbiased eye could be able to see how sensitive she was and longing for affection. Her closest friends, like Lili Dehn, felt that she was the opposite of being a snob.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on December 02, 2008, 10:57:01 AM
True is, when Alexandra went to ceremonies, she was shy, and people considered her manners as for one snobbish person. But indeed, she wasn't. She just didn't want to show her feelings and emotions in group, expext to her closest family - Nicky and children. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David Pritchard on December 03, 2008, 10:14:58 PM
Snobbish or sensitive ? Is this really the question that we should be asking?  Appropriate choice or inappropriate choice as a future Russian Empress is the question that I am inclined to ask.

Unfortunately Alexandra never made the transition from her early life in a minor and impoverished royal family with strong bourgeois tendencies to the role of spouse of an Autocrat of a world super power with an opulent Court. If we were to look at earlier Empresses, we would see that more prominent countries, Denmark and Prussia for example, had provided more prepared and worldly spouses for earlier 19th century Russian Emperors. After the obligation of providing a healthy male heir, the Empress' active and successful participation at Court and Russian society was her most important obligation. In both these roles, Alexandra of Hess failed. I do not fault her here but rather Nikolas II in not making an appropriate marriage based on the needs of the Empire rather than personal love.


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on December 04, 2008, 12:16:32 PM
Snobbish or sensitive ? Is this really the question that we should be asking?  Appropriate choice or inappropriate choice as a future Russian Empress is the question that I am inclined to ask.

Unfortunately Alexandra never made the transition from her early life in a minor and impoverished royal family with strong bourgeois tendencies to the role of spouse of an Autocrat of a world super power with an opulent Court. If we were to look at earlier Empresses, we would see that more prominent countries, Denmark and Prussia for example, had provided more prepared and worldly spouses for earlier 19th century Russian Emperors. After the obligation of providing a healthy male heir, the Empress' active and successful participation at Court and Russian society was her most important obligation. In both these roles, Alexandra of Hess failed. I do not fault her here but rather Nikolas II in not making an appropriate marriage based on the needs of the Empire rather than personal love.

It seems to me that some of the posters and their accusations are much more "minor" as well as (mentally) "impoverished" than Alexandra Feodorovna's descent and horizon.
You are very poorly informed writing about the House of Hesse in such a manner. Actually it is one of the eldest traceable Protestant ruling Houses in the world, descending directly from Emperor Charles the Great as well as from St Elisabeth of Thuringia - related to Emperors and Kings of all Europe. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain ordained that all her descendants are to be named "Mountbatten-Windsor" - a branch of the Darmstadt line of the House.
What you are calling "bourgeoise" is actually a strong trace of modern liberalism which additionally distinguised that family in a particular way.
Alexandra Feodorovna did certainly not approve superficial aspects of courtlife - she prefered achievements on the charity section for the poor and wounded. Many modern terms of medicine were adopted in Russia exclusively due to her work (esp. during the War).
Superb - judged by an modern eye...
In my opinion Prussia and Denmark provided nothing more than fashinable "dancing Queens" - in the real sense of the word. If this is what you prefer to see in the role of an Empress: than you might be right...
As regards the "healthy male heir": this was certainly not Alexandra's fault or shall I send you a book on Mendel, Mr Pritchard?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David Pritchard on December 04, 2008, 12:54:17 PM
Actually it is one of the eldest traceable Protestant ruling Houses in the world, descending directly from Emperor Charles the Great as well as from St Elisabeth of Thuringia - related to Emperors and Kings of all Europe.

I am quite aware of the splendid genealogy of the House of Hesse but that does not address the real life importance of the dynasty in the second half of the 19th century when the Grand Duchy found itself under the thumb of the Kingdom of Prussia and later under the suzereignty of the German Emperor.

What you are calling "bourgeoise" is actually a strong trace of modern liberalism which additionally distinguised that family in a particular way. Alexandra Feodorovna did certainly not approve superficial aspects of courtlife - she prefered achievements on the charity section for the poor and wounded. Many modern terms of medicine were adopted in Russia exclusively due to her work (esp. during the War).

But this trait and the corresponding Biedermeier culture was not what was expected of the Russian Empress. It was foreign and incompatable to the members of the Imperial House.

In my opinion Prussia and Denmark provided nothing more than fashinable "dancing Queens" - in the real sense of the word. If this is what you prefer to see in the role of an Empress: than you might be right...

In the eyes of contemporary Russians, they were successful Empresses.

As regards the "healthy male heir": this was certainly not Alexandra's fault or shall I send you a book on Mendel, Mr Pritchard?

I never said that it was her fault but nothing was done by Nikolas II to correct this problem. He could have married a more appropriate woman without this genetic trait, divorced Alexandra for another royal lady or retained Alexandra, maintained the Grand Duke Michael as the primary heir; publicly disclosed the health problems of his son. The facade of Aleksei's health was destabilising. My views about Alexandra have very little to do with her as a person but rather the impact of her on a large empire and the millions of people who were reliant upon the Emperor to make well thought out decisions regarding their future.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on December 05, 2008, 10:26:13 AM

The "Biedermeier" area had long gone when the future Empress was born. Nonetheless it would be very interesting to read your own definition of that period and how you relate it to Alexandra Feodorovna.

Is it always correct to behave like people want you to behave? Did people expect Marie Curie to study, to get a Nobel Price, even to read? Did they expect George Sand to write, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun to paint? Outstanding things are rising through kind of outbreak.
The last Empress did not fit into the conversions of her times. Did Catherine?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David Pritchard on December 05, 2008, 02:15:17 PM
My reference to the Biedermeier era was regarding the middle class family values that it spawned in 19th century Germany. While these values were fine for persons of that social station, that were not positive when held by a Russian Empress.

What seems to be missing from the discussion is the understanding that Nikolas II was just barely able to function in the role of Sovereign Autocrat and that a wife who could fill in some of his short comings would have been much preferable to a wife that magnified or complicated his weaknesses.

Alexandra of Hesse would have made a perfect wife for a British or Dutch prince but not for the Russian Emperor.

Your references to accomplished women (who did not hold sway over millions of lives) are hardly relevant here. Alexandra was not important in her own right but rather because of whom she married and the position that she held because of that marriage.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Felicia on December 16, 2008, 12:00:41 PM
In my opinion, Alix was sensitive - and the Russian court, the atmosphere were strange for her - so she hid from others and left with family
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: tom_romanov on December 17, 2008, 02:38:05 PM
I agree with you Felicia :)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 17, 2008, 08:37:31 PM
The more I read, the more I am convinced - it wasn't Alexandra who was snobbish.  It was the Russian aristocracy!  Perhaps I am putting my 20th-century-middle-class upbringing too close to this flame here, but those people make me angry, the way they turned their noses up at her "ways".
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David Pritchard on December 19, 2008, 09:05:20 PM
The more I read, the more I am convinced - it wasn't Alexandra who was snobbish.  It was the Russian aristocracy!  Perhaps I am putting my 20th-century-middle-class upbringing too close to this flame here, but those people make me angry, the way they turned their noses up at her "ways".

But Alexandra was in Russia, so it was their ways that were the standard not hers. When I first lived in Russia, the Russians reminding me often that Russia operated differently than America and that I would have to adjust.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.

St. Ambrose, 387 AD
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 19, 2008, 09:10:14 PM

But Alexandra was in Russia, so it was their ways that were the standard not hers. When I first lived in Russia, the Russians reminding me often that Russia operated differently than America and that I would have to adjust.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.

St. Ambrose, 387 AD
[/quote]

I understand what you are saying, but this applies even if you are the consort of the ruler of the "Romans"?  :)  I suppose I still believe (in my 20th-century-middle-class-North-American mindset, lol) that they didn't have to do as she did, or like it, but did they have to punish her for it? 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David Pritchard on December 19, 2008, 10:10:40 PM
I understand what you are saying, but this applies even if you are the consort of the ruler of the "Romans"?  :)  I suppose I still believe (in my 20th-century-middle-class-North-American mindset, lol) that they didn't have to do as she did, or like it, but did they have to punish her for it? 

I see now that you are not too familiar with the Russians. They can be brutal to those who do not conform. One could easily imagine that the saying "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down" was invented by Russians.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 20, 2008, 09:15:10 PM
I see now that you are not too familiar with the Russians. They can be brutal to those who do not conform. One could easily imagine that the saying "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down" was invented by Russians.

No, I'm not.  Does it show?  lol!  Well, I only recently began learning about them.  I see that they can be brutal!  It's too bad for poor Alexandra that she had to learn that the (very) hard way.  They certainly hammered her down...with a sledgehammer!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on December 22, 2008, 10:26:09 AM

A few points:

Firstly the Queen of GB has indicated that only those descendants of hers requiring a surname should use Mountbatten-Windsor. Mountbatten is the badly anglicized version of Battenburg (a morganatic offshoot of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt and Philip was technically a member of the House of Oldenburg not the House of Battenberg/Mountbatten) - the Royal House remains Windsor. As of now technically none of the Queen's male-line descendants need a surname as they are all legally HRH Prince or Princess of Great Britain (though The Earl of Wessex's children at his insistance and to the disappointment of his parents bear the rank of the children of an Earl and use Mountbatten-Windsor although legally they are HRH Princess Louise of Wessex and HRH, Prince James of Wessex Viscount Severn)

That the Hessian House was not insignificant is a perfectly valid point though  - it had already provided two imperial consorts - Wilhelmine Louise (Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeievna) first wife of Paul I and sister of Louis I of Hesse, who died in child birth. Marie daughter of Louis II (though probably fathered by her mother's lover) who became the Empress Marie Alexandrovna wife of Alexander II.

In fact the choice of bride's for Romanov Grand Dukes in the 19th Century was in part designed to avoid marriages that would be regarded as highly political or would upset the European balance. None of the Empress Consorts of Russia have come from high ranking Royal backgrounds (Peter III was married to a well connected by impoverished Princess of Anhalt Zerbst the future Catherine II, Paul married firstly to a Princess of Hesse and secondly an impoverished Princess of Wurttemburg, Alexander I married a Princess of Baden, Nicholas I married Charlotte of Prussia, Alexander II married Marie of Hesse, Alexander III to Marie of Denmark and Nicholas II to Alexandra of Hesse)

Alexander II's choice of Marie of Denmark for his eldest son (and then for the second son after the Cesarevitch's death) was in part because of the fact that Denmark had been so soundly beaten by Prussia - it wouldn't be considered a political match. Ironically her fierce anti-prussian views shared with her sister Alexandra would have a significant influence on Russian policy and a growing distrust of Prussia/Germany throughout Alexander III's reign.

It is myth that all previous Empresses had adapted with ease and become instantly popular perhaps the only two who really made the role their own (largely due to being widowed young) were the two Maria Feodorovna's (wives to Paul I and Alexander III) both were Cesarevna's for a long period of time and adapted well to their new home and religion, both were well loved by their husbands and were popular and charitable whilst living in considerable style.

Turning to Alix, I don't think any of us can doubt that she was a devoted wife and mother, but she was in many ways the worst possible wife for Nicholas II. Had she been married to a stronger, less insecure man like his father or grandfather then she might have made a perfectly acceptable consort.

With Nicholas though her retreat into an isolated, family life, her imperiousness (which her own family commented on), her reluctance to take part in public ceremonies, her rigid morality and her increasing religious fanaticism became a huge liability. Much of this is exused by her apologists on the grounds of her health and the tragedy of Alexei's haemophilia but these traits were noted in the first few years of their marriage.

Ironically in many ways her quiet family life might have been what Russia and the monarchy needed in the early 1900's had Russia been a constitutional monarchy - in just the same way that the quiet domesiticty of Victoria and Albert tied them with the burgeoning British middle class and provided a more 'moral' contrast to the outrageous extravagance and loose morals of Victoria's uncles and high society in general. Or it would have been had Nicholas and Alexandra been willing to recognise that to survive they needed to abandon Nicholas' determination to rule as his father had done especially as he was quite incapable of ruling like that, instead her retreat into the daily life and isolation of the Alexander Palace implied a haughtiness and a distaste for not only the Russian Court, the rest of the Dynasty and society but a distaste for the entire nation.

I think sometimes people tend to excuse her behaviour on the grounds that the family took an instant dislike prompted by the Dowager's attitude - but that tends to overlook the fact that Marie Feodorovna was initially quite welcoming and seems to have initially put aside the fact that she hadn't been keen on the marriage. We also tend to overlook the fact that Marie was in deep mourning for her husband whose death had shattered her. By the time that Marie was recovered and rediscovering her zest for life the rift was established - there were faults on both sides but Alix didn't help herself much and subsequent behaviour pushed more of the family away from them. Nicholas' attitudes to the rest of the family were blamed on Alix rather than the Emperor however unfairly and as Nicholas felt more and more isolated naturally he relied on her and her advice more and more which in turn alienated the family even more. Tragic really.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: David Pritchard on December 23, 2008, 11:51:09 AM
You are correct in identifying Nikolas II as the root of all of the family's problems. Alexandra's involvement in wider political and familial matters simply highlighted his short comings. A psychiatrist might see their relationship as an unhealthy co-dependency.

While the 18th century successions to the Imperial Throne were messy affairs, they did eliminate the less capable heirs. Even Aleksandr I came to the Throne in the traditional manner despite the Pauline Laws already being in place. Of the four 19th century emperors that succeeded to the Imperial Throne without having to dispose of any family members, only Aleksandr II stands out as a leader. This fact illustrates the short comings of codified male primogenitor rather than succession through survival of the fittest.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on December 27, 2008, 07:34:46 AM
I think most people would agree that Alexandra would have found it just as difficult to cope had she been the wife of a provincial goverment official. She was not cut out to be Empress of Russia. She was not a "People Person", shy, withdrawn, self opinionated,socially inept and totally out of touch with what was going on around her.  Having a husband with a weak character did not help either. Perhaps if she had a strong husband, things would have been different.   
Rightfully her sons problems, and the resultant guilt she felt, must also have had a tremendous influence on her, and perhaps she sufferred from post traumatic stress disorder, and chronic depression. She was a good mother in many respects, but I think it was was wrong to alienate her children from the outside world. They had hardly any interaction with the real world, and led a cloistered existence created for them by their mother.
Queen Mary blamed her entirely for the Russian revolution, and said so quite openly.  Of course there were other political factors and the War ,but had the Imperial Family not distanced themselves wilingly from the Russian people, they would perhaps have survived. 
It was not her fault, but she just had the wrong personality and qualifications for the job, and was loathe to listen to good advice, when given by those who could see disaster coming. I have great sympathy for the rest of the family, but feel that she was largely responsible for the way things turned out.

Pity Grand Duchess Vladimir was'nt Empress. She was cut out for it.   
   
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on December 29, 2008, 07:28:47 AM
I think there is some validity in your points about the Russian Succession in the 18th Century and the removal of undesirable heirs...However it did also cause great insecurity it also in many cases undermined the power of the Emperor/Empress - the only two who could arguably be said to have strengthened Russia and Imperial power were Elizabeth I and Catherine II.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 29, 2008, 09:38:46 PM
I think there is some validity in your points about the Russian Succession in the 18th Century and the removal of undesirable heirs...However it did also cause great insecurity it also in many cases undermined the power of the Emperor/Empress - the only two who could arguably be said to have strengthened Russia and Imperial power were Elizabeth I and Catherine II.

How unfortunate, then, that that law existed which prohibited females from ruling the country.  It was the son of Catherine II who instituted this law, am I right?

Just out of curiosity - what would the succession have been between the time of Catherine II and 1917, if that law had not been in existence, assuming any firstborn surviving child would have ascended the throne?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on December 30, 2008, 12:21:53 PM
I think there is some validity in your points about the Russian Succession in the 18th Century and the removal of undesirable heirs...However it did also cause great insecurity it also in many cases undermined the power of the Emperor/Empress - the only two who could arguably be said to have strengthened Russia and Imperial power were Elizabeth I and Catherine II.
Just out of curiosity - what would the succession have been between the time of Catherine II and 1917, if that law had not been in existence, assuming any firstborn surviving child would have ascended the throne?

I assume you exclude illegitimate ones?  :)
With male primogeniture, the line would have passed - as indeed it did in reality under the semi-Salic sucession law - from Catherine to Paul to his first born son Alexander and then to the second son Konstantin, who renounced his rights, excluding the illegitimate children of both brothers. Alexander and Konstantin also happened to be the first and second children of Tsar Paul, as well as first and second sons. The throne went next to Nicholas the third son (and ninth child) of Paul, after which the semi-Salic succession was actually functionally irrelevant anyway to who suceeded, since each Tsar from at that point until 1917 left an eldest son as eldest child. (I mean that this would have worked out exactly the same with a succession that followed male primogeniture, as in Britain for example, and even with one that allowed women to take their place according to birth order.)

If you mean (as I think you do) to include FEMALE children in the succession strictly in birth order (as per the current sucession in Sweden for instance), the change would have occurred at the point Konstantin Pavlovich renounced the throne. Instead of passing to Nicholas I, it would have gone to the descendants of his sister - Tsar Paul's second daughter (the first having died in childbirth). This was Elena Pavlovna, whose son Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin would thereby have become Tsar Paul II......
(BTW, a lot of Paul Friedrich's descendants inter-married with the Romanovs anyway; one of his grand daughters was the infamous Miechen; and another grandson married the equally infamous - in her own day - Anastasia Mikhailovna).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 30, 2008, 08:34:15 PM

If you mean (as I think you do) to include FEMALE children in the succession strictly in birth order (as per the current sucession in Sweden for instance), the change would have occurred at the point Konstantin Pavlovich renounced the throne. Instead of passing to Nicholas I, it would have gone to the descendants of his sister - Tsar Paul's second daughter (the first having died in childbirth). This was Elena Pavlovna, whose son Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin would thereby have become Tsar Paul II......
(BTW, a lot of Paul Friedrich's descendants inter-married with the Romanovs anyway; one of his grand daughters was the infamous Miechen; and another grandson married the equally infamous - in her own day - Anastasia Mikhailovna).

Thanks!  Yes, this is what I meant, and I did mean to exclude illegitimate children.

Anastasia Mikhailovna...was this "Stana", of the "Black Family" duo?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on December 31, 2008, 08:28:19 AM
I think Stana/Anastsaia was name of Montenegrin Princess Anasatsia Nicholaievna (daughter of King Nikola). She was good friend of Empress during early 20th century, and fourth Empress' daughter was named Anastasia too. I think Stana was her god-mother, but I am not sure.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on December 31, 2008, 09:04:45 AM

If you mean (as I think you do) to include FEMALE children in the succession strictly in birth order (as per the current sucession in Sweden for instance), the change would have occurred at the point Konstantin Pavlovich renounced the throne. Instead of passing to Nicholas I, it would have gone to the descendants of his sister - Tsar Paul's second daughter (the first having died in childbirth). This was Elena Pavlovna, whose son Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin would thereby have become Tsar Paul II......
(BTW, a lot of Paul Friedrich's descendants inter-married with the Romanovs anyway; one of his grand daughters was the infamous Miechen; and another grandson married the equally infamous - in her own day - Anastasia Mikhailovna).

Thanks!  Yes, this is what I meant, and I did mean to exclude illegitimate children.

Anastasia Mikhailovna...was this "Stana", of the "Black Family" duo?

No - Anastasia Mikhailovna (1860-1922) was the second child and only daughter of Mikhail Nikolevich, youngest son of Nicholas I. Her multiple brothers included the acid-tongued historian Nikolai Mikhailovich and Alexander, the eminence grise (one of them!) of Nicholas II's early reign, who married N's sister Xenia. Anastasia (variously called Nastya and Stassy by her family) married into the Mecklenburg Schwerin line and became mother of the future Queen of Denmark (Alexandrine) and Crown Princess of Germany (Cecile) as well as a son. She subsequently bore an illegitimate son too, and was also known in her day for her heavy gambling and drug habits.....
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 31, 2008, 11:41:13 AM
Sigh...I have such a hard time keeping everyone straight!  I need a chart or a diagram taped to the wall.  lol
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Selencia on January 29, 2009, 02:13:40 PM
I'm reading up on her and her family and although this is nothing against her I do think she was quite the snob. Yes she was shy and sensitive but people who are shy can come off multiple ways: the bashful dwarf way and the Mr. Darcy way, Alexandra was definitely the last one. She seemed to be a very open and loving person within her family but not outside of that circle.
I definitely agree that she desperately needed a PR team, she seems to have been a great wife for Nicholas but her temperment made her a bad empress, by that I mean being shy and oversensitive and having to live a public life do not mix.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Selencia on February 02, 2009, 06:47:25 PM
The more I read about Alexandra the more I dislike her.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GoldenPen on February 02, 2009, 08:03:27 PM
Well, I have 2 view on her... Political speaking I don't believe she took the right path. But beside that I believe she was a good mother, friend, wife and generally speaking a good soul.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Selencia on February 03, 2009, 03:39:39 PM
I'm reading Nicholas and Alexandra and she just comes across as being the root of a lot of problems. She doesn't listen to anybody when it comes to the good of the country or government. Everything is about her, how she feels, how she wants things, and who cares about anybody else. Yes she was a good mother and a good wife, but she was a bad empress. She wants people to run the government be people she likes and who like her and Rasputin, like who the heck cares if they can actually do the freakin job! I can't help but wonder if she wasn't the Empress if the whole revolution could have been avoided. I can honestly understand at the end of the March revolution why so many people hated her. This is back in March 1917, this has nothing to do with July 1918.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: koloagirl on February 03, 2009, 07:27:57 PM

Aloha all!

The more I read and learn about Alexandra, the more I feel for her.   In my opinion she was a truly good person at heart, loved her family and adopted country as well as adopted religion.  She had such good intentions that
seldom came to the forefront - her nursing during the war was one of her best moments as Tsarina and which was not really appreciated at the time I think.

So many tragic circumstances came into play in her life - including her own illnesses but most of all the illness of her son - that while she was certainly not a "perfect ruler" or "perfect person" - she was a good woman with a generous, true heart.

You have only to look at her face in the photo of her in her wheelchair during captivity in comparison to the fresh-faced beauty of 1896 to read what stress and illness can do to someone over the years.  Very hard to believe that she was only 46 at her death.

I don't believe the stereotype so often presented of her - it has been perpetuated since the Revolution.

Malama Pono,
Janet R.



Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on February 04, 2009, 11:44:04 AM
The problem is that Alix didn't really "love" the real "Russia" rather like her husband she was in "love" with a mythical medieval muscovy. There are also surviving letters and opinions from her own family (not just the Romanov family) who are pretty explicit in their view of Alix and her part in things as has already been mentioned.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GoldenPen on February 04, 2009, 12:09:57 PM
In responce to Selencia, I too have read "Nicholas and Alexandra" many times over the years and I have to disagree. It wasn't all about her as the portrait you describe. In fact I believe it was quite the opposite, she scarfice many, many times for her son and for the people of Russia. She even had a miscarriage because she was grieving for the death of her people. Also Alexander did not have that kind of power to pick officials to run the government. Also the revolution would still have taken it's course with or without Alexandra as Empress, they were many, many other factors as well.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 05, 2009, 03:43:05 AM
I read Alexandra say so many times about "God will save my dear Russia". It's so obvious she loves Russia so much.
She loved Germany but I think she felt so bad about her motherland's war on where she lives. If also she didn't love Russia, why did she help treating wounded Russian soldiers in WWI?

I don't take her behaviour as "snobbish" and "tsaritsa-like". I would love to tell she's a dear mother. She's so religious and Jesus brought her to Heaven because of her "unknown" good deeds. Those who were not close to the family would say she's so bad. When we're going to ask them why, they could not give rational answers.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GoldenPen on February 05, 2009, 07:33:41 AM
I agree! She consider herself "Little Mother Russia" of her people... I think her feelings on Germany lay-ed on her Cousin "Willy" and his actions more then anything else. Again this my opinion.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Selencia on February 05, 2009, 07:36:04 PM
In responce to Selencia, I too have read "Nicholas and Alexander" many times over the years and I have to disagree. It wasn't all about her as the portrait you describe. In fact I believe it was quite the opposite, she scarfice many, many times for her son and for the people of Russia. She even had a miscarriage because she was grieving for the death of her people. Also Alexander did not have that kind of power to pick officials to run the government. Also the revolution would still have taken it's course with or without Alexander as Empress, they were many, many other factors as well.

Well I completely disagree, having a miscarriage is horrible but that still doesn't change that I feel the hatred the Russians had for her was somewhat justified. The soldier who talked with her on the blanket got to see the real Alexandra but he was one of the few. If Alexandra had allowed others despite the select few in her little circle know the real her she wouldn't have been so hated. She as well as Nicholas refused to listen to the will of the people especially when it came to Rasputin. She allowed Rasputin to manipulate her into bringing down the careers of good men who did their jobs well and she put in people who liked Rasputin and that was there only qualification. Yes I undrerstand she was in desperate need of him for Alexei but I completely see those outside her circle's view that she and Rasputin were bringing Russia down.
If I didn't make it clear, Im really not sure if I did or didn't, I think if things had been done different or if there were different people in charge the revolution could have been prevented. Both Nicholas and Alexandra believed in the autocracy at all costs and because they were so seperated from the masses they held onto a dying idea. I'm not blaming the revolution on Alexandra, I am just wondering if someone who had more of an open mind could have allowed the changes that needed to happen to actually happen.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 07, 2009, 03:19:28 AM
Mr. Darcy way
Is this character from the "Pride and Prejudice" ? I've just watched that movie last Wednesday and it's so boring...(sorry, off-topic)
For me, she's not a snob. I agree with Selencia on shyness.
On my opinion, she doesn't want to say anything that could be bad for the Empire. She thinks it's better for her to shut up so to avoid any mistake. And the mistake now is that her behaviour is now translated as snobbish. It could have been better for her to sometimes interfere opportunely in stately affairs so that she would not earn such hatred from Russians then.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grand Duchess Jennifer on February 08, 2009, 01:47:19 PM
I would not call her a snob. In this memory, does she sound like a snob to you?

I know that the Tsarina spent many thousands of her personal sums on the poor but she always tried to keep it secret. In the Crimea the Empress often donated money for the treatment of patients of the Crimean sanatoria and she asked me to help her in doing that.

The Empress was sincerely sorry for those who were sick and even cried when she thought of them. Many people whose health was restored thanks to her help blessed her name.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 09, 2009, 03:07:44 AM
She's really a so good person...
Jesus favors ones who don't let others know their good deeds. No wonder she's now in Heaven.
God bless us.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: lokimercury on February 20, 2009, 01:55:52 AM
Hello,

I'm currently doing a college project on Alexandra, and I was hoping you could clarify a few issues for me.

The project is a memoir, and I was hoping to mainly focus on her gradual separation from the people, but her constant love and adoration for her family.
I would really appreciate if people could answer these questions:

- What were the main reasons for her 'downfall', so far I have established: reserved/cold attitude in public, her dedication to her son, Rasputin, when she was given regency during WWI and did a poor job.

- Did she always hold the attitude that the Tsar/Tsarina were above the people and enthroned by God? Or did this attitude prevail as she gradually got into the role of Empress.

- Would you say she had a dislike for the debutantes and aristocrats of court?

Thanks, and if you can think of any further information that would be great!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on February 20, 2009, 04:42:22 AM
As for the last point: I don't think that she dislked the persons but she had a certain dislike of the superficialities of Russian courtlife and aristocrats which was extremely different from the european way in which she had been brought up.
Representation did not mean jewels fine gowns or luxurious receptions for her - she had no love for that - but getting in touch with people and what REALLY moved them. Of course this attitute was quite contrary with that of her mother in law and most of the other female family members. No surprise that there were certain differences between them
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on February 20, 2009, 07:43:23 AM
I'm agree with Thomas Hesse.
I think that the motivations of her "downfall" was mostly her reserved attitude in public and Rasputin (Rasputin was also partly the cause of her errors during WWI).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on February 20, 2009, 07:52:49 AM
I must also add that I think that Alexandra was also very misunderstood, many negative things that were said about her were not true, but just rumors.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on February 20, 2009, 06:20:27 PM
I think that the issue of relationship between Alexandra and the court is really complex. it should be looked at from different angles. and both parties are to blame for the situation. we should remember that she was brought up in a small German court in Darmstadt where the grand ducal family led a simple life. There were cases when they could not afford a trip to some ceremonies to their foreign relatives and had to stay at home. There were other differences between the marvelous Russian Court and that in Darmstadt. So when Alix arrived to Russia ( as a betrothed of Niki) she was already a fully formed person (22 years old) that in turn meant that changing her views and attitudes towards basic things was virtually impossible. One had to be really flexible ( her mother-in-law Mariya Feodorovna easily adjusted herself to new conditions just because she was not so stubborn) to adjust herself to new conditions. We should remember that Alix was reluctant to change her views on any topic. Mosolov, one of the major members of court, wrote in his memories that till the end of her days Alix remained a German princess from the small German court. Robert K. Massie gave an example of Alix`s behavior at one of the balls. She disliked the fact that ladies wore dresses that disclosed their shoulders and breast and remarked that "we don`t wear such dresses in Darmstadt". she was trying to impose her own rules in the court that obviously did not win her any support from court members. Also, she seemed not to have understood that she was not a private person hence her likes and dislikes  shouldn't have governed her behavior. But court members, at least some of them, weren`t nice to her, either. It was because they knew about Mariya Feodorovna`s negative attitude towards her daughter-in-law.  Relationships between A and court were tolerable before the birth of the hemophiliac son but after the birth of Alexei the IF isolated itself from the other Romanovs and the court. AF was afraid that no one, who had not been in a similar situation, would have been able to feel for her. But more importantly, Alexei`s disease was a state secret. revealing this secret would mean endangering the dynasty. it meant that the throne would pass to the Vladimirovichi line because Misha, Niki`s brother was not married and had no children and, what is more, had no intention of marrying  a suitable European aristocrat. AF and her family started to lead a secluded life in Alexandrovski palace in Tsarskoe Selo. she was never fond of balls and other grand events but after 1904 she led a totally secluded life e.g. there took place fancy parties at the Zimniy palace in St.Petersburg but the last ball took place in 1903, a year before the birth of Alexei. No ball took place later.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on February 21, 2009, 03:36:05 AM
As rightly said by historyfan, Alexandra was German by birth, imagine the suspicion against her that has been created with the outbreak of World War I against the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on February 21, 2009, 01:15:23 PM

Maria Feodorovna had more than a decade to adjust herself in Russia and to learn the language. Alexandra had - as the German says - the jump into the cold water - she became Empress immediately aged 22 and I am sorry to say that I don't agree with your view that a person is "complete" at 22. That would be rather sad in my opinion... The circumstances she had to face were anything but easy and in no means to compare with those of the former Tsarinas.
To say that she never changed her point of view is also not quite correct: keep in mind that she finally agreed to change her Lutheran belief in order to marry the Tsar - it was one of the greatest trials of her life. She became very much Russian and loved that country from the very bottom of her heart.
The ball-story is nonsense I believe. Such words are totally untypically for Alexandra
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on February 21, 2009, 01:44:59 PM

I do agree that Alix loved her new country wholeheartedly, she was ready to sacrifice her love for the welfare of Russia. When in exile, she wrote to AVyrubova:"I`ve become grey and old, but I love this country just like the Mother does. I suffer for her" (I quote from my memory as I`m on train). When the Bolsheviks decided to transfer Nikolay II to Ekaterinburg she decided to go with him ( she was afraid that Bolsheviks would make her husband sign the shameful Brest-Litovsk treaty so she decided to accompany her husband) although Alexey had acute hemophilia attack. At this point she was more of the Empress than the Mother. She took Mariya with them (I Hope i`m not mistaken that it was Mariya) and asked Olga and Tatyana to take care of younger kids. I believe it was Tatyana who was in charge of the household. She loved Alexey more than life but she left him because Bolsheviks might have forced her husband to do some thing indecent.
But I still believe that our major traits of character do not change. at 22 we are more or less formed. I was a day-dreamer and a romantic at 22, i`m almost 34, and I`m the same although I look at many things more soberly, but only a bit...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: marktico on February 25, 2009, 12:50:08 PM
are there any photographs of alexandra eating ice cream?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on February 25, 2009, 02:46:31 PM
although I did criticise AF for her obstinacy and inability to adjust to new circumstances (plus her weird dependence on Rasputin though we know the nature of her relationships with starets) I think that the emperor`s abdication  was not her fault.yes,she was unpopular, but her husband was still popular.her behavior simply facilitated the events.we know that abdication was a result of a coup d`etat organized by the Duma members and the highest military officials. they started plotting against the tsar in autumn 1916. it is clearly stated in Alexander Blok`s diary POSLEDNIE DNI TSARSKOJ vlasti ( THE LAST DAYS OF THE IMPERIAL POWER, I guess). he says that duma members discussed which ministries they would be responsible for. in autumn  1916 the top three planned to stop the tsar`s train on its way to Tsarskoe Selo from Stavka (or vice verse) and force NII to abdicate.  She was to blame for quite a lot e.g. undermining the imperial couple`s authority.  Her behavior gave rise to rumours but it was the plot that is to blame for the abdication
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 25, 2009, 10:41:10 PM
are there any photographs of alexandra eating ice cream?

Ahaha..I even never saw a photo of the IF eating ice cream! Interesting topic. (",)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on February 26, 2009, 07:35:55 AM
They certainly did eat ice cream (according to Maria Rasputin) but I've never seen a photo of them actually doing so.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GoldenPen on February 26, 2009, 08:15:12 AM
Hmm, I highly doubt Alix had eaten any ice cream. Her diet usually consider a vegetarian meal and a German cuisine meal plan from the royal chef.

Truly, GoldenPen
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on February 26, 2009, 09:34:41 AM
Maria Rasputin's memoirs specifically mention eating ice cream with the imperial family. If I recall correctly, Alexandra was present.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 26, 2009, 09:44:16 AM
Does Alexandra always prefer foods they already had in their menu?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: GoldenPen on February 26, 2009, 10:02:11 AM
Well, she sort of arranged the meals on the menu. Also in responce to Sarushka I'm not surprise by that, the children did drink a coke.

Truly, GoldenPen
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 26, 2009, 10:03:45 AM
She's health-conscious that's why she wants to see what their foods will be in a certain day (my opinion).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 26, 2009, 09:16:12 PM
Oh yes you're correct.
I wonder where they put their ice cream. I'm in the options of cup,demitasse cup or cone.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on February 26, 2009, 10:14:07 PM
In a dish with strawberries, if I remember right.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 27, 2009, 12:04:59 AM
Wow, thank you, Sarah. Then the flavor must not be chocolate at all since it's served with strawberries (it's awful to combine chocolate and strawberry flavors ; )
It may fall onto vanilla, or any other fruit flavor.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on February 27, 2009, 04:17:01 AM
I love ice cream. If Maria/Matyorna Georgievna Rasputin wrote it, I think it must be early 1910s.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on February 27, 2009, 08:26:32 AM
It was vanilla. I think the book even gave the recipe. I could re-order it from the library if you want the recipe for Ice Cream Romanov. ;-)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on February 27, 2009, 11:06:16 PM
I feel awfully good reading this one:
(an excerpt from The Life and Tragedy of Alexandra Feodorovna by Sophie Buxhoeveden)
Once when the Empress was sitting on a rug under a tree, I got up from my seat beside her to pickup something she had dropped. A soldier immediately took my place remarking in reply to my protests that “now it was turn about”. The Empress edged a little bit away, making a sign to me to be silent, for she was afraid that the whole family be taken home, and the children robbed of an hour’s fresh air. The man seemed to her not to have a bad face, and soon she was engaged in a conversation with him.At first,he cross-questioned her, accusing her of “despising” the people, of showing by not traveling about that she did not want to now Russia. AF quietly explained to him that, as in her young days she had had 5 children and nursed them all herself, she had not time too go about the country and that, afterwards, her health prevented her. He seemed to be struck by this reasoning and,little by little,he grew more friendly. He asked the Empress about her life, about her children,her attitude towards Germany,etc. She answered in simple words that she had been a German in her youth,but that was long past. Her husband and children were Russians, and she was a Russian too,now, with all her heart. When I came back with the officer, who seemed a decent man, and to whom I had risked appealing, fearing that the soldier might annoy the Empress. I found them peacefully discussing questions of religion. The soldier got up on our approach, and took the Empress’ hand saying, “Do you know, Alexandra Feodorovna,I had quite a different idea of you? I was mistaken about you. “ It was more striking because this man was the deputy of the Soviet . When he came on guard the next time, he was quite polite.


It’s so sweet,right? I wonder who that guard is. Sophie failed to mention his name yet it seems like they’ve gotten close to each other. Confidential matter, I think. 



Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on February 28, 2009, 08:31:14 AM
Here (http://www.alexanderpalace.org/alexandra/) you can read it online.  ;)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 01, 2009, 07:24:43 AM
Yes, Imperial Grounds.... It's so good to read that.
Just click that link nena gave and read more. You'll know how sad their life was in Tsarskoe selo.

I also wonder why Alix Viktoria Helena Luise was not called Viktoria, Helena or Luise. she's always famously known as Alix. Why? Her name is so pretty,right ?
(just like her face)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 01, 2009, 09:01:42 AM
Yes, Imperial Grounds.... It's so good to read that.
Just click that link nena gave and read more. You'll know how sad their life was in Tsarskoe selo.

I also wonder why Alix Viktoria Helena Luise was not called Viktoria, Helena or Luise. she's always famously known as Alix. Why? Her name is so pretty,right ?
(just like her face)

Back to this question, did someone call her in any of her given names aside from Alix?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on March 01, 2009, 09:05:15 AM
You mean micknames or her other names --- Helena, Beatrice....?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 01, 2009, 09:11:56 AM
Yes.I missed Beatrice ..(sigh)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 04, 2009, 10:29:10 AM
Does she know how to speak a straight Russian?
I know she could speak it but O don't know how well she really does.
Did she always converse with her children in English?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Russka Princess on March 04, 2009, 10:39:13 AM
her Russian was not very good, and her french too.

She spoke with her children and Nicky  English.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 04, 2009, 10:44:30 AM
I also read on one of her letters to Anna V. that "it feels unusual  to write in English".
Thank you for quickest reply, Naty!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Russka Princess on March 04, 2009, 10:50:36 AM
 hehe thanks,

i belive that ella was better to speak russian than Alix.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 04, 2009, 10:59:23 AM
Possible factors why Ella is more fluent than Alix are :  she married before Alix did, was the first to stay in Russia and lead a much more public life in Russia, exposing her to more people to speak to in Russian language.  (Am I right?)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Russka Princess on March 04, 2009, 11:05:36 AM
i think so, Ella study in russian langues too
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on March 04, 2009, 12:17:31 PM
Does she know how to speak a straight Russian?
I know she could speak it but O don't know how well she really does.
Did she always converse with her children in English?

Accounts of Alexandra's Russian skills vary widely. Soviet sources tend to criticize her for her accent and lack of fluency, while her friends claim she spoke Russian quite well. Consequently, I've never been able to form a clear opinion of how well Alexandra spoke Russian.

What I do know about the family's linguistic habits:
Alexandra thought and wrote in English.
Nicholas was completely fluent in English.
N&A spoke and wrote English to each other.
OTMAA spoke Russian amongst themselves.
OTMAA spoke Russian with Nicholas.
OTMA spoke English with Alexandra.
Aleksei preferred Russian over all other languages.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on March 04, 2009, 01:53:09 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, I have read that the Grand Duchesses knew French too, not perfectly but well enough.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on March 04, 2009, 02:40:56 PM
Of course..What about Pierre Gilliard then?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on March 04, 2009, 02:53:21 PM
Yes, of course was Pierre Gilliard to teach French to the Grand Duchesses...I was forgetting that the girls had him as a teacher.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ally Kumari on March 04, 2009, 02:54:26 PM
Gilliard wrote that although the girls liked French and often used it among themselves theynever learned to speak it fluently and without mistakes.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on March 04, 2009, 03:01:10 PM
So I was right to say that the girls speak French, but I was wrong to say that they speak it quite well.
Thank you for the information!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on March 04, 2009, 03:02:27 PM
It was vanilla. I think the book even gave the recipe. I could re-order it from the library if you want the recipe for Ice Cream Romanov. ;-)

ICE CREAM ROMANOV

2.5 pounds sugar
10 egg yolks
1 quart light cream
1 large vanilla bean
1/2 pint whipping cream

Beat sugar and egg yolks in a saucepan until the mixture is ribbonlike in consistency when swirled from a spoon. In another pan, combine the light cream and vanilla bean and bring to a low boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add a little of the cream and egg mixture, stir, and continue to add a little at a time, until all of it has been stirred in. Continue to stir over a moderate flame until the mixture coats the spoon, but do not allow to boil. Strain the mixture into a large bowl and stir occasionally until it has congealed. Whip the whipping cream lightly and fold into the mixture. Place in the freezer until ready to serve. NOTE: for a smoother texture, after the ice cream has been frozen, remove it from the freezer, spoon it into a bowl, beat it thoroughly, and return it to the freezer. The more times this is done, the smoother the ice cream will be.

Other flavors
Any flavor of ice cream can be made by substituting chocolate or any fruit for the vanilla bean. However, in making chocolate ice cream, it is desirable to use about half of the vanilla bean in addition to the chocolate. In making any of the fruit flavors, substitute 1/2 pint of the fruit juice for an equal amount of the cream.


~quoted from Rasputin: The Man Behind the Myth, by Maria Rasputin and Patte Barham
page 157
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on March 20, 2009, 03:44:07 PM
Absolutely yes, we all know that she had her faults, but nobody is perfect, I'm sure that she was a good woman...so, my answer is yes.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 21, 2009, 12:18:55 AM
Did she want her children to eat moderately? I think she did because she sounds disappointed whenever she sees Maria and Nastasia growing fat.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 21, 2009, 12:20:17 AM
Of course I would (if she'd accept me so).I would like to know how my soulmates think.
She's also a very interesting person to talk to.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grand Duchess Jennifer on March 21, 2009, 12:22:46 AM
I think so. Why would she want her children to stuff themselves? I don't think any mother likes that.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on March 21, 2009, 02:17:12 PM
Alix was a little bit chubby when she was a child but I guess it was just puppy fat that one could easily get rid of as one grows. I think Alix is guite roun-faced and not as slim as she usually was at one of the pictures after the birth of alexei. I definitely saw it here. A famoues picture with NII, AF , 4 girls and little alexei. After the birth of Olga she became a little bit more rounded (natural reaction towards pregnancy) but I `ve always wondered how it was possible that she remained slim after she had given birth to Olga who was a big baby and weighted quite a lot!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 21, 2009, 11:01:16 PM
You're right about those, violetta!
I also wonder why she Olga's is so heavy as that when she was born.
Any more pics of the pregnant Alix? Please post those in her pictures thread. thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: amartin71718 on March 21, 2009, 11:31:22 PM
For those, you'll want to look here.
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=2152.0
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Sarushka on March 22, 2009, 07:54:18 AM
I `ve always wondered how it was possible that she remained slim after she had given birth to Olga who was a big baby and weighted quite a lot!

All the imperial children were 9-10lbs each at birth, which was very heavy at that time. It's my understanding that female carriers of hemophilia often have babies with high birthweight.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: nena on March 22, 2009, 10:57:05 AM
Yes, it is true, about female hemophilia carries.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ally Kumari on March 22, 2009, 11:23:52 AM
However Nicolas (very curiously) never noted down Maria´s birth weight, although he did so with all his other babies. I always wondered why?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Grand Duchess Jennifer on March 22, 2009, 11:31:57 AM
That is strange. But I remember reading somewhere that she was around 9 or 10 pounds.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ally Kumari on March 22, 2009, 11:44:08 AM
Could you post the source? I´ve never read anything like that. Perhaps another family member noted that down?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 23, 2009, 11:17:19 PM
Did she let her daughters know abut her full name in Lutheran?
I'm referring to her names Viktoria Alix Helena Luise Beatrice.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Ally Kumari on March 24, 2009, 02:29:38 AM
Did she ever talked tothem about her being Lutheran? If she did, it is possible she told them about her name. Of maybe her daughters could have asked why little cousin Ella has so many names.... or whatever..
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on March 24, 2009, 02:55:07 AM
I hope someone else knows...
Maybe  Thomas Hesse.
perhaps OT haven't realized their cousin Ella has so many names, too. (I don't know)
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on March 24, 2009, 12:49:33 PM
I`d like to refer to Alexandra`s Russian. She was , in fact, quite fluent in Russian. her Russian was better than Maria Feodorovna`s but due to her excessive shyness she was not often able to speak Russian in public. I guess she had to speak during some public events. During WWI , however, her Russian became more fluent. I read her correspondence (I mean the Imperial Couple`s letters), and in one of them she proudly told her husband that she was not afraid of speaking Russian during meetings with some officials and that she did not stammer or pause. she also compared the  speed of her speech with that of the rifle or gun (I`m not sure what it was). I don`t have this book with me, I should go to the library to provide some quotations (unless someone does this earlier ;) )
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on March 24, 2009, 01:03:37 PM
I have read the same thing in the book of Henri Troyat (My source of informations  ;)).
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olishka Romanova on April 09, 2009, 09:49:24 PM
As for Alix always thinking that the tsar and tsarina were above the people, It is my understanding that this was not always the case.  Growing up I think she was exposed to a very different view in England and Hesse.  England was rather liberal in its views of monarchy, I believe.  When Alix converted to Orthodoxy and grew into her adopted country, I think she began to see the monarchy as more of the way God wanted Russia to be ruled.  Alix was deeply religious, of course, and I think her understanding of the monarchy sort of came from her religious perspective, like, God gave the Tsar the right to rule over the peasants who are the soul of Russia, and the peasants (with the exception of the revolutionaries, of course) all loved the "little father" because he was meant by God to rule.

Alix definitely disliked the Russian aristocrats. She perceived them to be immoral and corrupt (and from what I have read about them, I would tend to agree with her) and she would not allow her children to be around them or their children. 

Good luck with your project!   
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 10, 2009, 06:49:32 AM

Alix definitely disliked the Russian aristocrats. She perceived them to be immoral and corrupt (and from what I have read about them, I would tend to agree with her) and she would not allow her children to be around them or their children. 

 

Indeed true...and I have to agree that from what I have read about some aristocrats I can say that I'm agree with Alexandra.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on April 22, 2009, 09:22:34 PM
Or, Why Being a Woman Is Harder, and Always Has Been Harder, than Being A Man.

Unless that's too controversial.  lol

While reading Vorres' The Last Grand Duchess (for the third time), a paradox occurred to me I found very interesting.

Empress Alexandra has been criticised (at the very least, if not outright vilified) for her wish to remain private and spend as much time with her family, and her family alone, as possible.  Much of the criticism has to do with "not doing her job" as Empress - hating the social scene, not wanting to appear in public, and all that.  To say nothing of the fact that she couldn't tolerate what she saw as Russian society's overindulgence and emptyheadedness.

In contrast, Empress Marie was touted for her finesse in this arena.  She was a brilliant entertainer, social butterfly, the It Girl, if you will.  She spent time with her children as well, but that was worked into her social schedule.

AF's children adored her, that fact is undisputed.  MF's children loved her, as well, but there was a rift between herself and her daughter Olga, a feeling that her approval was necessary even into adulthood, and a general lack of comfort with being their "true" selves around her.

So, basically, what stands today, is what stood for that time, in this family.  Working mothers are inferior parents, while dedicated mothers can't do a decent job outside the home.

This debate will never, ever be resolved, and I don't intend to turn this thread into a debate for which is better.  I suppose it's just yet another example of what women continue to face.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Euan on April 29, 2009, 04:51:40 PM
I read Alexandra was shy and happy one time when she discovered others were shy so I guess it was confidence. Can anyone say why she was so determined that the state duma should be scrapped and return to Autocratic rule. I also guess she let Rasputin walk all over her and could probably not stand up to him
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: imperial angel on April 29, 2009, 07:05:16 PM
She didn't know what Rasputin was really like and refused to believe the bad things that were said of him because she had a great dependence on him when it came to healing Alexei. So it wasn't an issue of not standing up to Rasputin, but instead of her being so dependent on him as regards Alexei she was blind to the truth, she couldn't see it. As for why she wanted autocratic rule, she felt that Nicholas should pass down all the autocratic powers he recieved at his coronation to their son, intact. Also she believed the Russians needed strong goverment and she believed the peasants really loved her and Nicholas and it was only the middle and upper classes that had issues with autocratic goverment. She was wrong, but she believed that.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on April 30, 2009, 10:34:14 PM
Alexander would never have lived to see Alexandra become Empress.  It would be important for him to die before Nicholas could take over the throne.  The only thing he might have been able to judge was her competence as the wife of the Tsarevich.

He might have agreed with her privately about family life, but he knew his place and always did his duty.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on May 02, 2009, 06:29:11 PM

I agree with you, HistoryFan.  It must be hard to find a balance between work and children.

The Empress Marie was a much better Empress, I think, but she did force poor Olga to go to many balls and outings - this probably was not necessary.
She also approved of Olga marrying a gay man.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on May 03, 2009, 11:30:17 AM
I dedicate these to Alexandra:

Proverbs 31: 10-31
Read if you want to know...

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on May 07, 2009, 07:18:09 PM
She was very shy, but the people thought that she was despot, for that reason Russian
people hated her, and also because she was German
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on May 13, 2009, 07:52:34 PM

I don't think that she was really a good choice of marriage partner for the future Tsar.  Alexandra's brother died of the blood disease that Alexai got and
Alex's personality was not suitable for an Empress.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on May 18, 2009, 06:44:39 PM
Well, but he loved Alexandra very much, in fact, Nicholas wasn't
a good Tsar too.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on May 19, 2009, 02:04:29 AM
He must have loved her more than a lot to overlook the fact that she could be carrying hemophilia.

All families at that time expected to have many children and Nicholas and Alexandra did have 5.  Perhaps even Alexander and Marie thought they would be lucky and the gene wouldn't be in Alix.

However everyone speaks of her as "shy" which is a personality trait.  None of her sisters were "shy". 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on May 19, 2009, 10:17:55 PM
This is a very nice one:
The Tsar's family was not supposed to go shopping either in St.Petersburg or in Tsarskoe Selo. But in the Crimea, especially on rainy days, when the streets were almost empty, the Tsarina and the children went to Yalta (4 or 5 miles from the palace). They left their carriage in one of the side streets and went to the embankment where there were a lot of stores. Once in the shop which belonged to Sembinsky who sold old pictures, frames, etc. the Tsarina put her wet umbrella in the corner where some rubbish was placed and started looking at the things displayed there. Suddenly Sembinsky cried out - "Madam, how could you dare to put your wet umbrella on my goods!" At that moment he turned his head to the window and saw a big crowd of people gathered at the shop - they tried to look inside and to follow each movement of the Tsarina and her children. They watched them with great interest. Poor Sembinsky understood who his customer was and got pale. The Tsarina laughed. We could hardly make our way through the crowd of people who stayed there in spite of the rain hoping to see the Tsarina and her children. On their way to the carriage the Empress and the children shook many hands. Many wanted to have souvenirs - buttons of the Empress's coat and pieces of her handkerchief.
~ Anna Vyrubova’s rare memoirs

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on May 30, 2009, 06:55:54 PM
Alexandra seems rather sweet in this anecdote.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Olga Maria on July 15, 2009, 01:22:39 AM
I want to hear and read more things like this but unfortunately, I found a negative one.

 Can someone give me the full letter where this came from (if there is)? I find it too unrealistic that Alix said this. I found this at Encarta. 


“Be the Emperor, be Peter the Great, John the Terrible, the Emperor Paul—crush them all under you—Now don't you laugh, naughty one—but I long to see you so with those men who try to govern you.”

Empress Alexandra (1872 - 1918)
Letter to her husband, Tsar Nicholas II

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on July 15, 2009, 07:18:30 AM
Yes well, this was her problem was it not ? This letter pretty well sums up her attitude, her lack of knowledge about her position,her adopted country, responsibilities, and her plain blatant ignorance. As someone said previously, she was a very bad choice for Nicholas, irrespective of how much he loved her. He, always, I think had good intentions, but she was just plain incompetent from day 1.
I think both of them were largely to blame for the way things turned out. They should have turned Russia into a constituional monarchy in 1905, and they may have survived. However the more gets to know them, I doubt if they would even have made it as constitutional monarchs either. Especially Alexandra.

   
 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on July 15, 2009, 07:21:46 AM
Now I have to agree with you PAVLOV.

“Be the Emperor, be Peter the Great, John the Terrible, the Emperor Paul—crush them all under you—Now don't you laugh, naughty one—but I long to see you so with those men who try to govern you.”

Unfortunately I think that it's very possible that the Empress said this, is very well know that she was a very "possessive" wife, and sadly, she was the cause of many mistakes that Nicholas committed during his life.
I think that in that letter, Alexandra was trying to suggest to Nicholas to be more strong and determined, and I agree...but I wonder why she said "Be Peter the Great, Emperor Paul and so on...", I'm not agree with this at all!, what she wanted?, that her husband condemned to death all without compassion?...bad suggestion.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alixz on July 15, 2009, 08:31:28 AM
The anecdote about shopping in the Crimea is from Anna Vyrubova's book.

The excerpt is from a letter that Alexandra wrote to Nicholas during his stay at Stavka.

Both stories are true.

Alexandra's letters are proof positive that she did not understand the Russian people and further more that she did understand that her husband was weak.  However what she didn't understand about Nicholas at this point is that he had pretty much given over to the will of God and he was suffering from indecision and the beginning of ill health and the effects of taking drugs (which were very legal at the time).

The anecdote from Vyrubova's book is subject to how much faith one has in Vyrubova to tell the truth and to not gloss over things because of her love and hero worship of Alexandra.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on July 15, 2009, 09:53:01 AM
The anecdote about shopping in the Crimea is from Anna Vyrubova's book.
...
The anecdote from Vyrubova's book is subject to how much faith one has in Vyrubova to tell the truth and to not gloss over things because of her love and hero worship of Alexandra.
Anna Vyrubova's book actually isn't the only source. A Berlin newspaper published an account similar to this story in November 1911.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on November 28, 2009, 11:37:39 PM
Most people have two sides to them.  I wonder if Alexandra was a Gemini? I can't remember.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on November 29, 2009, 03:28:32 AM
If I remember correctly, she was born in June 6, so yes, she was Gemini.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Alex Milleros on November 29, 2009, 07:12:34 PM
Unfortunately I think that it's very possible that the Empress said this, is very well know that she was a very "possessive" wife, and sadly, she was the cause of many mistakes that Nicholas committed during his life.
I think that in that letter, Alexandra was trying to suggest to Nicholas to be more strong and determined, and I agree...but I wonder why she said "Be Peter the Great, Emperor Paul and so on...", I'm not agree with this at all!, what she wanted?, that her husband condemned to death all without compassion?...bad suggestion.

[/quote]

She indeed wrote that letter to his husband on December 14th 1916. In the same letter she says "Remember even M. Philippe said one dare not give constituion, as it would be Russia's ruin and all true Russians say the same... but my duty as wife and mother and Russia's mother obliges me to say all to you... blessed by our Friend...Be the Master, and all will bow down to you.. We have been placed by God on a throne and we must keep it firm and give it over to our son untouched..."

I doubt she literally meant to put to death to anybody "withouth compassion" but urged the Emperor to be firm. We couldn't call Alexandra a champion of  politics, but it would be unfair to blame her for anything that happened to the Monarchy. Yes, she helped make the dynasty quite unpopular and her autocratic manners and Divine Rights nonense were completely out of place in a country that demanded civil rights more than ever, but she was only the Consort.  If any responsability should be placed over one of them, it should be Nicholas. And being a firm Monarch wouldn't have been a bad idea after all.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on December 04, 2009, 05:25:33 AM
Well the contents of this letter serves as proof of her irresponsibility, ignorance of her position, lack of sensibility, and the times she was living in. .
 
The poor woman was clueless, irrespective of what some people think of her.

She should have married some insignificant german prince, retired to a little castle somewhere, to spend her days knitting and playing the piano. Not Empress of Russia.   
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on December 12, 2009, 01:14:53 AM
If I remember correctly, she was born in June 6, so yes, she was Gemini.

Thank you for looking that up, RomanovsFan.  It seems that there is something in the stars after all!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on December 16, 2009, 08:13:10 AM
one of the main flaws of af`s character that influenced her position as the empress was her inability to get on with pople, her inabilty to realize that she was not only a wif and a mother  but THE EMPRESS who had certain roles to fulfil. unlike her mother -in-law whose motto was SMILE! SMILE! af was not able to establish good rapport with people. also, she wanted to live a quit family life at times forgtting or ignoring her role as the emprss.

this is what Marie of romania said (marie and hr son`s carol`s visit to russia when carol`s and olga`s marriag was planned)

alix "managed to put an insuperable distance betwn her world and yours....She made you , in fact, feel an intruding outsider,which is of all sensations the most chilling and uncomfortable...Altough there is little diffrenc in age between us, she had a way of making me feel as though I were not even grown up!"


when the time came to leave tsarskoe selo, marie said

"To part from ai was not difficult,she mad lav-taking quite easy. Her lif was lik a closd chamber, peopled with strange imaginations and still stranger individuals, into which no outsider had
entry...No, it was no grief to leave Alix".
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historylover on December 19, 2009, 02:04:25 AM
We have to remember that Alix was in a desperate situation, very religious, and impressed with Rasputin because he had
miraculous powers over Alexai.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on December 19, 2009, 06:01:13 AM
We have to remember that Alix was in a desperate situation, very religious, and impressed with Rasputin because he had
miraculous powers over Alexai.

yes, we rememeber that. but she started to isolate herself and her family almost from the vry beginning of her marriage. she never managed to know how to get on with people.she never learnt how to be the tsarina and the public persona.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Silja on December 19, 2009, 01:18:36 PM
one of the main flaws of af`s character that influenced her position as the empress was her inability to get on with pople, her inabilty to realize that she was not only a wif and a mother  but THE EMPRESS who had certain roles to fulfil. unlike her mother -in-law whose motto was SMILE! SMILE! af was not able to establish good rapport with people. also, she wanted to live a quit family life at times forgtting or ignoring her role as the emprss.

this is what Marie of romania said (marie and hr son`s carol`s visit to russia when carol`s and olga`s marriag was planned)

alix "managed to put an insuperable distance betwn her world and yours....She made you , in fact, feel an intruding outsider,which is of all sensations the most chilling and uncomfortable...Altough there is little diffrenc in age between us, she had a way of making me feel as though I were not even grown up!"


when the time came to leave tsarskoe selo, marie said

"To part from ai was not difficult,she mad lav-taking quite easy. Her lif was lik a closd chamber, peopled with strange imaginations and still stranger individuals, into which no outsider had
entry...No, it was no grief to leave Alix".

This comment of Marie's also struck me. I think it very well sums up what made ALexandra a complete failure as empress of Russia.

And not to smile in public when you are the empress is absolutely inexcusable.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Silja on December 19, 2009, 01:37:45 PM
We have to remember that Alix was in a desperate situation, very religious, and impressed with Rasputin because he had
miraculous powers over Alexai.

Certainly. But as a public person you have to accept the fact that you have to act as such - IF you mean to KEEP your position in the long run. There is no other way. It was Alexandra's tragedy that she was unable to realise and grasp how her behaviour helped to lead to precisely the opposite of what she  wanted to achieve. Instead of sustaining the regime she helped undermine the public image of the monarchy.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on December 21, 2009, 10:10:27 AM
'We have to remember that Alix was in a desperate situation, very religious, and impressed with Rasputin because he had
miraculous powers over Alexai.'

Alexandra THOUGHT Rasputin had miraculous powers over Alexei.

Alexandra appeared in public reluctantly, usually looking miserable, and expected the Russian people to love her without doing anything in return. Granted she took up nursing when the war began, but for 20 years before that she had avoided her royal duties.

Just contrast Alexandra with our present Queen, who appreciates that a visit from her and being spoken to by her is going to be a high spot in many people's lives, and makes an effort to be interested in whatever it is she's visiting, no matter that it's one more in a long long succession of hospitals, art galleries etc, and she'd really much rather be at home with the TV.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on December 21, 2009, 07:51:42 PM
...Alexandra appeared in public reluctantly, usually looking miserable, and expected the Russian people to love her without doing anything in return. Granted she took up nursing when the war began, but for 20 years before that she had avoided her royal duties.

Just contrast Alexandra with our present Queen, who appreciates that a visit from her and being spoken to by her is going to be a high spot in many people's lives, and makes an effort to be interested in whatever it is she's visiting, no matter that it's one more in a long long succession of hospitals, art galleries etc, and she'd really much rather be at home with the TV.

It is wrong to suggest that Alexandra Fyodorovna "avoided" her duties. Many photographs and diaries confirm that she did what was expected of her when her health allowed.

Likewise IMHO it is unfair to compare her circumstances with those of Queen Elizabeth II.

Margarita
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on December 22, 2009, 03:29:48 AM
'It is wrong to suggest that Alexandra Fyodorovna "avoided" her duties. Many photographs and diaries confirm that she did what was expected of her when her health allowed.

Likewise IMHO it is unfair to compare her circumstances with those of Queen Elizabeth II.'

OK, I'm being a bit provocative. Alexandra strikes me as someone who took refuge in ill-health, but, whatever the state of her health, she still appeared in public reluctantly. If you are unhappy with a comparison with Elizabeth II, we could still compare her with Queen Mary, for example.

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on December 22, 2009, 11:31:33 AM
I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding with the public role of a sovereign and his/her family. Public duties that we think of now are the majority of almost every Royal's life. They are far more numerous and visible than fifty or sixty years ago.
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries the public role of a royal person was far smaller (apart from the sovereign themselves) - in fact you would be hard put to find much difference between the public activities of royals and the upper echelons of society. the bulk of their lives followed the same pattern of their aristocracy, interspersed with public appearances at certain national events, and public appearances at some of the charity events arranged under their patronage.
A reading of the public engagements of Queen Mary in the pre war years would make pretty dull reading - the odd state visit, a variety of charity bazaars and fetes, and the major events surrounding the coronation and the Durbhar. The rest of the time her life followed the usual pattern of followinig her husband from London to Balmoral to Windsor to Sandringham with the odd private visit to the homes of their intimates - they rarely attended great balls or major social/society occassions as George V wasn't fond of them. During the war her public duties increased as she visited more and more hospitals and nursing posts etc and fund raising events etc. There were changes after the war but their duties didn't really explode until the 50's and 60's.
Alix's dislike for major social occassions and her personal feelings that she was disliked by Petersburg society - naturally reduced her visibility at key social events and damaged her reputation (either fairly or unfairly), her other public duties were limited as much of the charity work of the Empress Consort (the Department of the Empress Marie - founded by Paul I's wife) was still firmly in the hands of the Dowager Empress again limiting what Alix could do. Had she enjoyed society and thrown herself into society she might have not gained the reputation she did but it seems she just couldn't bring herself to do it or thought it necessary.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: violetta on December 22, 2009, 01:38:19 PM
I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding with the public role of a sovereign and his/her family. Public duties that we think of now are the majority of almost every Royal's life. They are far more numerous and visible than fifty or sixty years ago.
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries the public role of a royal person was far smaller (apart from the sovereign themselves) - in fact you would be hard put to find much difference between the public activities of royals and the upper echelons of society. the bulk of their lives followed the same pattern of their aristocracy, interspersed with public appearances at certain national events, and public appearances at some of the charity events arranged under their patronage.
A reading of the public engagements of Queen Mary in the pre war years would make pretty dull reading - the odd state visit, a variety of charity bazaars and fetes, and the major events surrounding the coronation and the Durbhar. The rest of the time her life followed the usual pattern of followinig her husband from London to Balmoral to Windsor to Sandringham with the odd private visit to the homes of their intimates - they rarely attended great balls or major social/society occassions as George V wasn't fond of them. During the war her public duties increased as she visited more and more hospitals and nursing posts etc and fund raising events etc. There were changes after the war but their duties didn't really explode until the 50's and 60's.
Alix's dislike for major social occassions and her personal feelings that she was disliked by Petersburg society - naturally reduced her visibility at key social events and damaged her reputation (either fairly or unfairly), her other public duties were limited as much of the charity work of the Empress Consort (the Department of the Empress Marie - founded by Paul I's wife) was still firmly in the hands of the Dowager Empress again limiting what Alix could do. Had she enjoyed society and thrown herself into society she might have not gained the reputation she did but it seems she just couldn't bring herself to do it or thought it necessary.


I do agree that nowadays the role of monarchy is different. it`s also true that nowadays royals are more exposed to public scrutiny due to mass media and globalization. alexandra feodorovna participated in public events or state visits wen duty called her - it`s true.but her duty was also particiption in the life of the court and good rapport with the highest circles of society because aristocracy was the base of the imperial throne, aristocracy had been the most loyal subject of His Imperial Majesty. Being a Sovereign is more than simply "performing your duties", it`s not an office job that you can leave at the end of your office hours,it`s huge responsibility for the monarchy and the country. those women who did not understand this shouldn`t have married the future russian tzar...
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on December 23, 2009, 05:20:27 AM
It is true that the public role of monarchy was smaller in the 1900s than today, but it was developing. In Britain royal persons were certainly involved with 'worthy causes' of various kinds, particularly hospitals.

Somebody will no doubt correct me if I'm mistaken, but I think that any role of the monarch as holder of balls and major society functions had become very limited as a result of Queen Victoria's long period of seclusion. Edward VII's reign was fairly brief - only nine years - so George V and Mary not being leaders of society wasn't a problem. They had also had a fairly long period of public service before George V succeeded, whereas Alexandra was Empress without any previous track record in Russia. Obviously that made things more difficult for her than some others - Marie Feodorovna, for example, who had 15-16 years as the wife of the heir apparent to build her position.

Alexandra needed to work to establish herself. Yes, she had five children in the first ten years of her marriage and was intermittantly ill, but she wasn't always ill and she wasn't always pregnant.

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on December 30, 2009, 09:09:35 AM
Queen Mary was well known for carrying out her Royal duties, no matter what. One of the Royal children once complained about having to perform a public duty, and her response was :

" We are the Bitish royal family, we love visiting hospitals, and we never get tired. "

Pity Alexandra did not follow her example.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on December 30, 2009, 09:17:20 PM
Queen Mary was well known for carrying out her Royal duties, no matter what. One of the Royal children once complained about having to perform a public duty, and her response was :

" We are the Bitish royal family, we love visiting hospitals, and we never get tired. "

Pity Alexandra did not follow her example.

That wouldn't have been an issue, had the public not already decided they hated her.  Well, wait, let me rephrase - it would have been an issue, but not an incapacitating one.  After all, Queen Victoria virtually went into hiding for years after the death of Prince Albert, and people grumbled, but they got over it (if her Jubilee turnout was any indication!) 

Everyone, Empress, Queen, or regular person, has his or her own threshold of just how much they can take.  Some people truly "never get tired".  Some get tired to the point of breakdown.  Just how good is a person experiencing breakdown, to anyone?  I can say from experience, not much.  It would've been folly for her to do *everything* people accused her of not doing, then collapsing from nervous exhaustion, or going insane, or having a heart attack.  Knowing what we know these days about the effect of overwork on health, I sympathize.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on December 31, 2009, 03:24:48 AM
'That wouldn't have been an issue, had the public not already decided they hated her.  Well, wait, let me rephrase - it would have been an issue, but not an incapacitating one.  After all, Queen Victoria virtually went into hiding for years after the death of Prince Albert, and people grumbled, but they got over it (if her Jubilee turnout was any indication!)'

There was more than grumbling. According to Christopher Hibbert (Queen Victoria, a Personal History), there was serious alarm at the growth of republicanism up to 1871, when, fortuitously, the Prince of Wales got typhoid. By that time too, most of Victoria's children were adult and those who lived in Britain were doing their bit. And we should not forget that up to Albert's death Victoria had been very popular.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on December 31, 2009, 06:33:05 AM
Yes, of course. The difference between Queen Victoria and Alexandra, however, is that Victoria listened. She got out there and did her job, and as a result became hugely popular and loved by her subjects. If you read her letters and diaries, it becomes obvious that she did not always enjoy what she had to do. Her responsibilities were enormous. She had to do it without the support of a husband as well. Alexandra had a husband, who was the Emperor. ( Well sort of, I suppose ) She ended up achieving nothing, and was hated by everyone. Why ? Was this the fault of the people, or her own ? Usually in life one gets out what you put in.

To Queen Victoria duty came 1st, above everything else, death, sickness and many other personal issues. She also had a haemophiliac son. All responsible Royals are overworked and have nervous breakdowns probably. Its part of the job. But you get on with it.

Perhaps many people dont think its fair to compare Queen Victoria to Empress Alexandra.  Why not ? She was her Granmother. Perhaps she should have followed her example. She was a huge influence on Alexandra's life. But this example probably also had no effect on Alexandra, like everything else.

Alexandra lay on her sofa, and was a failure from day one, until the very last minute in the Ipatiev house.




 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on December 31, 2009, 10:38:33 AM
I think Alexandra managed to follow the worst aspects of Victoria's example, not the best! Reading Hibbert's book, it becomes clear that Victoria did have a reclusive side and also a very autocratic side. However, she was prepared to act on advice, at least at times, unlike Alexandra. Also, she did not take her family into seclusion with her, partly because her eldest children were adult or approaching adulthood at the time Albert died, and starting to make their own way in the world (Victoria married, the Prince of Wales at university, Alfred in the Navy, Alice betrothed).

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: wildone on December 31, 2009, 04:48:21 PM
Yes, of course. The difference between Queen Victoria and Alexandra, however, is that Victoria listened. <snip>

To Queen Victoria duty came 1st, above everything else, death, sickness and many other personal issues. She also had a haemophiliac son. All responsible Royals are overworked and have nervous breakdowns probably. Its part of the job. But you get on with it.

I think the real difference was that Queen Victoria had several adult children who could shoulder her responsibilities.  As far as I know, she never traveled farther than Germany in her lifetime -- certainly not to the farthest reaches of her empire.  However, her children and grandchildren did -- several times.  They also performed countless good acts in Britain itself.  When public opinion turned in Victoria's favor again, after a decade of her seclusion and her subjects' growing unrest, it was due to sympathy towards the Prince of Wales during his near-fatal illness. 

Alexandra's daughters were starting to take on responsibility during the war, but never had the chance to rise into the spotlight and taken their mother's place.



 

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on January 01, 2010, 10:48:03 AM
Quote
Yes, of course. The difference between Queen Victoria and Alexandra, however, is that Victoria listened. She got out there and did her job, and as a result became hugely popular and loved by her subjects. If you read her letters and diaries, it becomes obvious that she did not always enjoy what she had to do. Her responsibilities were enormous. She had to do it without the support of a husband as well.

In fact, Queen Victoria went through several periods of unpopularity, largely because she did not listen.  The first such period was shortly after she came to the throne, when she encouraged salacious gossip about her mother's lady-in-waiting Lady Flora Hastings, who was rumoured to be pregnant by Sir John Conroy.  However, Lady Flora was dying of a disease which distended her abdomen.  Queen Victoria played a very unpleasant part in not quashing the rumours and allowing it to be seen that she believed them and Lady Flora's family were furious at her treatment and were able to whip up public indignation at the Queen.  The second period of unpopularity came with her seclusion following the death of Prince Albert, when she went into seclusion for about 10 years, when the public basically felt she was not doing her job but costing them a lot of money at the same time, especially as she had to continually request funds from Parliament for her growing children as they married and needed establishments.  She never for a second admitted any of her critics were right at either of these times, although from her correspondence and journal it is clear she did not play an admirable part in the Lady Flora Hastings affair, and her seclusion was entirely her own doing.  She gradually  came more into public life, particularly through the encouragement (even, seductiveness!) of Disraeli, and her golden jubilee was key in establishing her as the beloved figure of legend - but like all legends, there was a lot of fiction there as well as fact.  The great problem was that with the death of Albert, there was no one to tell her that she had to do her duty and this is the great problem with all royal figures - there are too few people who are prepared to tell them what they don't want to hear.   Additionally Queen Victoria had a breakdown at the time of her mother's death in March 1861.  At that time Albert was alive and was able to help her through it.  This first trauma probably fuelled her greater breakdown when Albert died about 9 months later.   So the view of Queen Victoria's exemplary behaviour and stoical devotion to duty despite all vissicitudes is not in fact accurate.  If Queen Victoria had died before 1875, her reign and personal popularity would have been considered much less successful.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on January 01, 2010, 08:53:37 PM
Quote
Yes, of course. The difference between Queen Victoria and Alexandra, however, is that Victoria listened. She got out there and did her job, and as a result became hugely popular and loved by her subjects. If you read her letters and diaries, it becomes obvious that she did not always enjoy what she had to do. Her responsibilities were enormous. She had to do it without the support of a husband as well.

In fact, Queen Victoria went through several periods of unpopularity, largely because she did not listen.  The first such period was shortly after she came to the throne, when she encouraged salacious gossip about her mother's lady-in-waiting Lady Flora Hastings, who was rumoured to be pregnant by Sir John Conroy.  However, Lady Flora was dying of a disease which distended her abdomen.  Queen Victoria played a very unpleasant part in not quashing the rumours and allowing it to be seen that she believed them and Lady Flora's family were furious at her treatment and were able to whip up public indignation at the Queen.  The second period of unpopularity came with her seclusion following the death of Prince Albert, when she went into seclusion for about 10 years, when the public basically felt she was not doing her job but costing them a lot of money at the same time, especially as she had to continually request funds from Parliament for her growing children as they married and needed establishments.  She never for a second admitted any of her critics were right at either of these times, although from her correspondence and journal it is clear she did not play an admirable part in the Lady Flora Hastings affair, and her seclusion was entirely her own doing.  She gradually  came more into public life, particularly through the encouragement (even, seductiveness!) of Disraeli, and her golden jubilee was key in establishing her as the beloved figure of legend - but like all legends, there was a lot of fiction there as well as fact.  The great problem was that with the death of Albert, there was no one to tell her that she had to do her duty and this is the great problem with all royal figures - there are too few people who are prepared to tell them what they don't want to hear.   Additionally Queen Victoria had a breakdown at the time of her mother's death in March 1861.  At that time Albert was alive and was able to help her through it.  This first trauma probably fuelled her greater breakdown when Albert died about 9 months later.   So the view of Queen Victoria's exemplary behaviour and stoical devotion to duty despite all vissicitudes is not in fact accurate.  If Queen Victoria had died before 1875, her reign and personal popularity would have been considered much less successful.

You make very good points about Queen Victoria.  She wasn't really sound, emotionally - I don't mean that she was unfit as a monarch, far from it - but she was very passionate, and could be stubborn, willful, obstinate.  She was a hothead.  Prince Albert was the front line when she decided to do battle.

Yes, she (and Albert) took their share of lumps from politicians, the press, the public, and Punch magazine...but they were always redeemed.  Alexandra never was.  Nothing she did was right.  When she went out, she was criticized for her "cold, unsmiling countenance" and blotchy complexion, and extreme shyness.  When she didn't go out, she was criticized for that.  When she helped, tried to form knitting circles, circulated the wartime hospitals as a nursing sister, ran the bazaars, none of that was good enough either.  Knitting circles weren't "befitting" an empress, some soldiers were embarrassed at being treated by their Tsaritsa. 

I'm using a lot of absolute "always" and "never" statements, I realize, but I honestly cannot recall, in my reading about N&A or about Queen Victoria, an instance where Alexandra was vindicated for something, or where the British people held something against Victoria for her entire life.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on January 03, 2010, 06:34:41 AM
Quote
I honestly cannot recall, in my reading about N&A or about Queen Victoria, an instance where Alexandra was vindicated for something, or where the British people held something against Victoria for her entire life.

Well, Victoria had about 30 years in which to gradually come out of retirement, and was never faced with the severe polarisation of public opinion in the face of the national trauma of a global war.  Under such circumstances, there is a huge amount of demonisation - the British did it with the Germans, and loyal British subjects like Prince Louis of Battenberg paid the price of public paranoia about The Enemy.  He was fortunate that the British were not under such pressure that they needed a greater safety valve, in that he was merely forced to retire, rather than imprisoned or shot, but Alexandra was too good a target to miss and all the mass of inefficiency and corruption which was the Russian imperial government and it's inability to successfully carry out a war could be blamed on the enemy agent who was sitting up there with the Tsar, especially when he made the stupendous mistake of exposing her to full public scrutiny by going to the front.  She was hopeless at ruling, but frankly it wasn't possible to rescue the regime and of course she got all the blame for everything which went wrong.  Her previous seclusion meant that few people knew what she was like, her association with Rasputin was highly suspect and mysterious, and her German origin only added to public suspicion and hostility.  Queen Victoria's reputation had time to recover from her errors such as her seclusion, and her dependence on John Brown, and she was unquestionably British born and bred.  But she had the time and she didn't have the war.  Alexandra didn't have the time and she did have the war.  Both women made grave errors, but Queen Victoria was able to come out triumphant.  Alexandra wasn't.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on January 03, 2010, 07:05:02 AM
'Queen Victoria's reputation had time to recover from her errors such as her seclusion, and her dependence on John Brown, and she was unquestionably British born and bred.  But she had the time and she didn't have the war.  Alexandra didn't have the time and she did have the war.  Both women made grave errors, but Queen Victoria was able to come out triumphant.  Alexandra wasn't.'

I agree. Victoria had been popular before Albert's death (though I don't think Albert ever inspired much affection), and her reputation had time to recover after the nadir of the 1860s. Alexandra did not have those advantages.  However, Victoria did learn to some extent from her mistakes and came to recognise that she needed to fulfil the public role of a monarch at least some of the time. Alexandra seems to have got more fixed in her views as time went on, not less. Victoria did also  have the advantage of having adult children, and later grandchildren, who could take on a public role. Obviously, Alexandra's daughters were too young for that, except Olga and Tatiana during the war, but even had they been older I'm not sure that Alexandra would have allowed them to move away from her and take on a public role in their own right. Just as a comparison, Arthur of Connaught travelled to Japan to present the Garter to the Emperor in 1902 when he was nineteen, and had already seen active service in the South African War (and the future Edward VII was eighteen when he visited America in 1860).

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on January 04, 2010, 04:12:55 AM
I agree that Victoria's family did indeed help with the public image that needed to be maintained.  Victoria constantly carped about 'society' and the evils of the Prince and Princess of Wales fashionable life, but at least they were there, highly visible, doing the royal thing, and so were the more respectable siblings, and later on the younger generation were brought on board.  It's hard to know if Alexandra would have allowed her daughters much of a high-profile role - while their role as nurses during the war was highly noble, it suggests her political priorities were sadly lacking since the imperial family desperately needed to show themselves to be publicly supporting the war effort by inspecting such institutions as hospitals, not working in them.  She may well have continued the overprotection of her daughters later on.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on January 04, 2010, 06:37:20 AM
Just like any public figure today, its about marketing yourself correctly, in order to create the right public image. Judgement, listening to the right advisors and sensiblity. Doing damage control quickly, and at the right time, when things go wrong.
Alexandra's image was wrong, wrong, wrong.

She had 21 years, and all the advice anyone could have, to make something of herself. She had more than enough time.
She also had a very large family in Russia, her sister, and all the other Grand Ducal families. Why did they not carry out public duties in the same way as the British Royal family does today, and did in Queen Victoria's day ?
I know Grand Duchess Vladimir did, and so did Marie Feodorovna. But one does not know how much they did inside Russia, and how visible they made themselves to the cross section of Russian people.
 
Had they all participated as a Family unit in these Royal responsibilites, perhaps the peoples attitude would have been different. Nicholas should perhaps have listened to his uncles more, and had the ability either to apply their advice judiciously, or dispense with what he thought was self serving and wrong for Russia.. They must surely have been more knowledgible, and must have had SOMETHING positive to contibute to the family ?

Yet most of what they did was percieved in a negative light.
Perhaps if Alexandra had not been so arrogant and prejudiced towards most of the Russian Family, and also negatively influencing her husbands attitude towards them, a better image of the Russian Royal Family could have been created.  Like you say CountessKate,the girls were certainly old enough, and capable, to go out and open the odd hospital, Im sure. Yet the mother virtually locked them up like nuns.

Yes Queen Victoria had a large family who in many cases shouldered her burden. Once again, so did Alexandra, but she was too arrogant, haughty and autocratic. Instead she went out of her way to alienate her Russian family.

Singularly, Marie Feodorovna was probably the most dutiful person in the family, I think. Even dancing at a ball and having a good time, and being seen by a thousand people in the Winter Palace, is better than lying on your sofa at home.

Alexandra was too frightened to move out of her comfort zone.Too frightened to do her duties. Using any excuse, illnesses, her perception of an "evil" St Petersburg Society,  her badly behaving Russian Family, her sons illness, her nerves, the revolutionaries, anything not to have to perform as an Empress of Russia.

Queen Victoria did have a few problems with the British people from time to time, but seen as a whole, she remains the most popular and beloved monarch in the history of Britain. I think Elizabeth II, will be accorded the same status by history.

     
 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on January 04, 2010, 08:33:24 AM
Pavlov

I think, and I'm happy to be corrected if I'm mistaken, that the idea of a public service role for royalty was less developed in Russia than in Britain and elsewhere in Europe at this time. The Grand Dukes were expected to serve in the army or navy, but there wasn't a lot else.

However, given that Alexandra believed that the British example was best, she could have done a lot more to develop a public service role for herself and her elder daughters than she actually did, especially after the war began. Though working in a hospital was entirely worthy, I suspect it only gained limited public attention, especially as the hospital was on the imperial estate at Tsarskoye-Selo, and anyway this good example was soon entirely submerged in the furore over Rasputin's influence. I wonder what, if any, difference it would have made if Olga and Tatiana, instead of working in the hospital under their mother's eye had gone out regularly, separately or together, to visit hospitals, convalescent establishments etc, and such visits had been widely reported.

More generally as regards the Imperial Family, there was fairly limited commitment to the war effort from the male members. Apart from Oleg Konstantinovich, who was killed early on, all the younger members gravitated to the Stavka within a short time, if they didn't simply stay in Petrograd (apart from Mikhail Alexandrovich, who commanded a division). Tatiana Konstantinovna's husband, Konstantin Bagration-Mukhransky, was also killed, but I don't suppose he was well known to the public. Given that Russia lost 2 million men killed during the war, and even larger numbers wounded. there was a definite moral need for the Romanovs to be sharing the hardships of their subjects, or at least appear to be. Instead, the Grand Dukes kept away from the front, or kept their sons from the front (and Paul Alexandrovich not only had both his sons serving as ADCs, but his stepson Alexander von Pistolkors found himself a 'cushy number' in the Imperial Chancery!) The cynic in me can't help wondering how much the Imperial Family's stock would have been improved if Dimitri Pavlovich, dashing young Horse Guards officer, had been killed or badly wounded instead of spending his time in some vague ADC role or partying back home. To be fair to Dimitri, he did see action with his regiment early on, but before long his father had him moved to the Stavka. By contrast, though the Prince of Wales was kept out of the front line (much to his disgust), he did serve in a forward headquarters, and his brother the future George VI served as an ordinary midshipman and then sub-lieutenant for all long as his digestion allowed, all of which was faithfully reported in the press (George VI got up from a sick bed to take part in the Battle of Jutland). More recently, a good deal was made in the British newspapers of the fact that the son of a Lieutenant-General lost both legs in Afghanistan a few months ago.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on January 04, 2010, 03:47:26 PM
This is a significant and interesting issue:

To address a few points:

Queen Victoria's retreat into widowhood in the 1860's was a national disaster. Her apparent neglect of her constitutional role was what really attracted the criticism not her failure to potter around looking at hospitals. The late 1860's early 1870's most historians reckon is when Britain's tiny republican movement really gained prominance.
Victoria's whole family recognised the problems and eventually succeeded in getting through to her. First and foremost she was a Queen and very much liked being one from all accounts <g>.
Her longevity, the growth of Britain's prestige, and the size of her family all helped her recover her popularity with the public despite the fact that she reigned as much of her family had done before her...very much out of the public glare. She attended the great public events, but frequently abandoned court life to her children and her foreign travel to Germany and France was largely for pleasure. The vast majority of her subjects never saw her, but she remained a presence in national life and a focal point.

The public service role of Royalty was in the 19th century a new thing - those Royals not in  the direct line of succession were pretty much left to their own devices - with in some cases disastrous pr results (George III's sons for example). It was part of a movement that saw Royals look for a new role as their traditional one of government declined (even within the surviving absolute monarchies).

In Britain in the 19th century there was an explosion of charity - tied in with the growing urban poor, the growing industrial rich and the failure of centuries old poor laws designed for an essentially agrarian economy. The non aristocratic rich began either for social advancement or for genuine religious concern (many of the new rich came from non-conformist or jewish backgrounds) to ape the charitable efforts of the great landowning aristocrats. There was an explosion of charity hospitals etc. In keeping with the general move it became common for people to ask royal personages to take honorary positions on their pet charities. It was a fundamental change particularly for Royal women but their prime role remained social and maternal. For Royal men the traditional route for a prince was the army, the navy and possibly a governor generalship at some point along with the odd pet charity. The idea of being idle wasn't something to be encouraged or considered!

The nearest Russian counterpart to what was happening in 19th Century Britain - is the growth of the Department of the Empress Marie - which was under the control of the Empress Consort (or dowager). It was responsible for schools, hospitals etc and by the end of the century was almost the same size as a government department. Just as in Western Europe charity particular when it was a route to Imperial favour and attention was growing in popularity.

The problem Alex faced was that so much of the traditional charitable work of an Empress Consort was under the control of a mother in law she was out of sympathy with (and both women were to blame here). Other Romanov Grand Duchesses took up their own particular brand of charity as did many aristocratic women and as in Western Europe - cushy staff jobs in the army or navy were the traditional route and education of a Grand Duke. I don't believe the idea of a public service charitable royal role was well established anywhere in this period but its growth across Europe was remarkable and fairly consistant. Most of them had little else to do to be quite brutal about.

As late as the 1920's there was a concern that the small public role the British Royal Family undertook was too concerned with traditional charitable areas and had left them ill informed and unconnected with many of their subjects working in the major (and then suffering) industries (hence the role carved out by the Duke of York in the twenties).

The British Royal roles we see today and those of their reigning compatriots across Northern Europe are the result of having to come to terms with the growth of socialism with its post war emphasis on state charity - National Health Services etc....which could have reduced their value - they simply replaced them with other charity work and moved away from any areas where they might come into an open clash with their governments.

On the social side. This remained and to a certain extent still does - Royalty was expected to lead society by which I mean the upper wealthy and aristocratic echelons - in an age before mass celebrity - rich toffs and royals filled the society columns. In Britain Victoria withdrew but her son (with no responsibilities) enjoyed it and what's more was far more willing to cross barriers that had previously existed - Prince Bertie was as happy enough to be entertained by rich industrialists as by Duke's. A fact that rather shocked many of his continental cousins! His son, George V preferred the life of a country gentleman and like his grandmother soon became the model of a rather middle class type of King (a bit of a myth really but the impression of a quiet family man did him no harm in the changing world of the twenties and thirties)
 
Alix didn't particularly enjoy society, had come from a relatively small and comparatively provincial court. She had little time to adapt and chose not to - the season ran for a very short period of time and certainly when she wasn't pregnant she should and could have made more of an effort. Had Russia had a different system of Government it might not have caused her problems but unfortunately she alienated the people who were traditionally the Crown's most loyal supporters and a general air of dislike is soon diseminated to a wider audience. A rather foolish woman who would have ably coped with being consort to an unimportnat German princeling but quite unsuited to Russia at this period!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on January 05, 2010, 04:23:21 AM
Mcdnab

This, is, I think, a very fair summary. I wonder whether part of the problem for the Romanovs in general during the war was that few had much of a 'public service profile' before 1914. In Britain the royal family, though nothing like as publicised as today, were 'known' to the public generally, and their public role translated quite easily into a 'war role'. So, for instance, in August 1914 there were plenty of pictures in the newspapers of the Prince of Wales on route marches with the Grenadier Guards and Prince Albert on board ship. No doubt lesser known figures such as Arthur of Connaught and Alexander of Teck were photographed in khaki setting off for France and people knew who they were. Ditto ladies like Princess Marie Louise with her hospital. Prince Mary's Christmas boxes for the troops in France in 1914 was very well known. The literacy of the population in general and the development of cheap newspapers can also only have helped the British royal family.

More recently, Prince Harry's public image has improved noticeably since he went to Afghanistan.

Contrast Russia, where the Imperial Family were distant and barely known. The younger Grand Dukes, if they made an impression on the public at all, were known as a bunch of wastrels. Then, as I said yesterday, they did not appear to have much involvement in the war effort, and here appearances were important. There's a nice picture on another thread of three of the Konstantinovichi boys together in East Prussia (must have been shortly before Oleg was killed). If that had appeared in the newspapers, it would only have helped the image - if, of course, the populace had heard of them previously. Of course, the Empress, the two elder girls, Olga Alexandrovna and Marie Pavlovna (younger) all nursed, but to what extent was this publicised? 

If I had been handling imperial PR in 1914, I'd have had Olga and Tatiana visiting hospitals with just a lady-in-waiting, Marie and Anastasia being photographed knitting sweaters. Obviously, there was the problem in Russia that you didn't have in Britain, of a vast illiterate or barely literate population - had a popular press got going at that time?

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: CountessKate on January 05, 2010, 06:54:32 AM
Quote
The literacy of the population in general and the development of cheap newspapers can also only have helped the British royal family.

Indeed, the development of the popular media was of the greatest importance to the British royal family in transforming their role from political heads of state to their modern public figurehead role, and it began well before WWI.  If you read womens' magazines such as The Ladies Realm, from the 1890s onwards when photograpic illustrations became much cheaper to reproduce, there are many, many photos and articles about royalty, British and foreign, so there was a clearly huge public interest.  With regard to the Russians, one must remember that the leaders of the revolution were from the literate classes, and were as likely to be influenced by good PR as the middle classes of Britain who could see in the inexpensive papers every day, what their royals were (at least publically) up to.  Similarly the German Empress was constantly photographed smiling graciously from carriages, receiving flowers from children, at charity events, etc. etc. and was imensely popular as the personification of German motherhood, regardless of her private unpleasantness to her mother-in-law which of course was invisible to the majority of her subjects.  I won't say, that if Alix had been constantly in front of the public in the same benevolent way, that the russian revolution wouldn't have happened, but it might not have had such catastrophic effects on the imperial family. 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on January 05, 2010, 08:27:38 AM
I think it would have been easier for Alexandra to win over the lower classes of Russia, by doing very simple things. She should have started at the bottom. They had a reverance and religious sense of wonder and respect for their Tsar right up to the end, and she could easily have done so much.
St Petersburg society and the Aristocracy saw right through her within weeks.

The more one delves into the situation, the more you realise the enormous role her inadequacy played in the scheme of things. She almost invited disaster, and in the end suceeded in giving the people who destroyed Russia many of the tools they needed to do so. Nicholas came as very close second.

She had the knack of making strangers immediately.

I dont actually think one should compare her to anyone else actually, because nobody else failed so spectacularly at what they did as she.

       
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 05, 2010, 11:45:33 AM
Mcdnab

This, is, I think, a very fair summary. I wonder whether part of the problem for the Romanovs in general during the war was that few had much of a 'public service profile' before 1914.
Contrast Russia, where the Imperial Family were distant and barely known. The younger Grand Dukes, if they made an impression on the public at all, were known as a bunch of wastrels. Then, as I said yesterday, they did not appear to have much involvement in the war effort, and here appearances were important. There's a nice picture on another thread of three of the Konstantinovichi boys together in East Prussia (must have been shortly before Oleg was killed). If that had appeared in the newspapers, it would only have helped the image - if, of course, the populace had heard of them previously. Of course, the Empress, the two elder girls, Olga Alexandrovna and Marie Pavlovna (younger) all nursed, but to what extent was this publicised?  

If I had been handling imperial PR in 1914, I'd have had Olga and Tatiana visiting hospitals with just a lady-in-waiting, Marie and Anastasia being photographed knitting sweaters. Obviously, there was the problem in Russia that you didn't have in Britain, of a vast illiterate or barely literate population - had a popular press got going at that time?

Ann

While I agree with what both and you and Mcdnab say in your insightful posts, I want to point out that the Romanov grand Dukes had very much a "public service role" before 1900 - with the obvious proviso that Russia was not a constitutional monarchy. The role they were raised to fulfill was one of absolute loyalty and political service to the Tsar. Many of them held very senior positions in Army, Navy and government - regardless of ability in some instances - and they were certainly seen insofar as anyone was seen. In Nicholas's reign, his uncles Serge and Alexei (and to an extent, Vladimir) played this role; along with their cousins Konstantin Konstantinovich and Alexander Mihkailovich, who was also the Tsar's brother-in-law. Even as late as the war, Alexander and his brother Serge - as well as Nikolai Nikolaevich - were in senior roles in army and navy still.  By this stage none of these roles reflected much credit on the Romanovs or the autocracy, since - almost regardless of ability - the Grand Dukes were attacked in the expanding press by their personal enemies (witness Alexander's claim that Witte used underhand means to get at him when he was Minister of the Marine, and Alexnader's subsequent passionate interest in libel laws to shackle the press!).

From Kiril downwards - and Paul as well, though he was a few years older - the Grand Dukes failed to take on such a role, often because they were more interested in indulging their whims and this often resulted in exile or disgrace. This was an almost inevitable consequence of the expansion of the imperial family - the further from the centre they were, the less close the service ties that bound them. The very able Konstantin Nikolaivich was absolutley loyal to his wekaer elder brother Alexander II and helped him in every way he could; but the likes of Kirill Vladimirovich did not feel that they owed such loyalty to a cousin they thought rather stupid, and whose mother their mother was feuding with from the start.

Nicholas and Alexandra were both conscious of the role of the press - she perhaps because of her upbringing in Britain and Germany; he because of his training by Pobedonotsev and Alexander III (the first Emperor ever to give an interview) and she at least shows a keen interest in which family films might be shown to the public; how "bad" it looks to have the Grand Dukes "hanging around" Headquarters instead of doing anything constructive (she, I think, would have been happy to see them resume their old-fashioned role as senior servants of the state; several times she urges Nicholas to think how he might make use of Paul). The newsreel of charity bazaars in the Crimea is another example of the way they were using the press to develop exactly the sort of image which western Empresses made for themselves - and, incidentally, the sort of work she was allegedly criticized for in "society". And, has been noted a great deal in recent studies, Nicholas was not slow to use the image of his children to promote his regime, in exactky the way Prince Albert did in Britain two generaions before (or Nicholas I in Russia three generations before, come to that - or his mother-in-law Luise did in Prussia, for that matter)
But Nicholas and Alexandra were also preoccupied by what they saw as a specifically Russia phenomenon - that is to say, of associating themselves with displays of popular religion, and this you see in events like the canonization of Serafim of Sarov, and Alexandra's visit  to the holy woman Maria Mikhailovna during the war, both of which events A was anxious to see publicized. And there have been whole essays on he way Nicholas's own image was used as religious object by the far right (encouraged by Nicholas and Alexandra, as it happens).

But, for all this, I should note that George V still feared revolution in 1917 and afterwards - however popular he may have thought his family to be. And Nicholas's family were not saved by their own self-publicity either - because, by then, no-one believed it.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on January 08, 2010, 02:18:43 PM
The British Royal family has managed over the years despite everything, to become a British institution.  They identified themselves with the man in the street, and earned the respect of their subjects. This has been very hard work, but the recipe works, obviously the ingredients have to change to suit the times. A prime example was the change of name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. ( And Battenburg to Mountbatten )

The Russian Imperial family never embraced change of any kind. They hardly ever spoke their own language. Alexandra spoke English to her husband and children, and German to most of the servants.
Although Queen Victoria was actually German, and married a German, she managed to represent and embody everything that was British.

Alexandra did not embody anything that was Russian. If she tried, her efforts bore no fruit, poor woman.   

The British Royal family realised after WWI, maybe before, that their position was not God given, but that it was a position that must be earned, and the only way to remain, was to work very hard, like everyone else. They still do.
Service and loyalty. Not divine right.

I think that the Imperial Family of Russia, and their almost slavish attitude toward Religion, constant visits to monastries, observance of hundreds of religious holidays, icons and chapels everywhere, fasting etc etc, was a bit unbalanced, and may have led to the belief that God put them where they were, and that he would never desert them. ( Read Alexandra's letters ) I think she became confused, and perhaps believed that the Autocracy and her position was an extension of the Russian Orthodox religion.  She could therefore do no wrong, and nobody had the right to question or criticise her. She became a living martyr during her life time.

Maybe a bit of hospital and orphanage visiting, trips to country villages to smell the manure, and talk to the ordinary people etc, would have been a healthy alternative and balance to all that praying and fasting.

The opinions expressed in the other posts are all very valid, taking all the factors into consideration, also given the times they lived in, and the different attitudes which existed. However I do think Empress Alexandra should have given more, and expected less.

Religion in moderation is a good thing, like everything else, but not to the level to which Alexandra carried it. Her letters from the Ipatiev house to Ana Vyrobova and others were virtual mini sermons, and quite fanatical in a way.

One cannot compare her with Ella, who was more sensible and intelligent in many ways, however, I think they shared the same inborn preoccupation with religion, and their own interpretation of it.

My apologies if this offends anyone, but Ella also carried on a bit too fanatically after Serge's death, running around in those robes, giving everything away, and becoming a nun. All a bit weird I think.   
From what I have read, she cared more for clothes and jewellery. Perhaps she lost it a bit after his death. Not a very nice man by all accounts.   
   
Princess Andrew of Greece ( Phillips mother ) did the same, following Ella's example. But it didnt work out too well for her. 

I am not being irreligious, judgemental, or disrespectful, just wondering what it was with the nun thing ?
I think, given half a chance Alexandra would have done exactly the same.

I think Alexandra's attitude towards religion and the Russian Orthodox religion was excessive, and may have given her comfort during trying times, but in the end had a negative effect as a whole.
 
   
 
     


Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Teddy on January 09, 2010, 04:46:13 AM
Maybe, The Empress Alexandra was not perfect, but I can't get enough of her. I simply love her!!! :)
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Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on January 10, 2010, 07:07:19 AM
Janet and Pavlov

What you both say is very interesting and full of insights.

By 1914 I think Alexandra was damned in the eyes of the Russian aristocracy and intelligentsia whatever she did or didn't do. Some of her problems and poor public image were caused by circumstances outside her control (such as coming to Russia effectively as Empress from the beginning as almost an unknown and without any 'apprenticeship' as the wife of the heir such as contemporary consorts had). However, she neither took on the traditional public role of a Eussian Empress nor developed any new one. This was partly the result of circumstances but to a considerable extent the result of Alexandra's own personality - in particular her sense that she was always right, she knew what the Russians wanted, and her refusal to take advice.

As to the peasantry, Alexandra seems to have had a very idealised view of them and their 'devotion' to the Imperial Family. As a consequence of this, she seems to have assumed that she had no need to make any effort in relation to them. She also thought that the peasantry embodied the 'real' Russian spirit, and so saw no need to make any effort in relation to other groups either, most obviously the industrial workers. Iwonder what would have happened if Alexandra, at an early stage in Nicholas's reign, had financed a chain of medical clinics in the industrial areas of St Petersburg, paid regular visits to them, and so on.

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on January 10, 2010, 08:02:18 PM
Ann, I honestly don't think anything she had or hadn't done, would have saved Alexandra once WWI broke out.  She was a German by birth.  End of story.  Spy-mania would've kicked in, and she would have had to have been THE most popular thing going in order to deflect it.  Not escape - there will always have been rumours.

As popular as Maria Feodorovna was, she, too, would've been subject to rumour, innuendo, and intense scrutiny, had she been born in Germany instead of Denmark.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Helen on January 11, 2010, 12:14:07 AM
As to the peasantry, Alexandra seems to have had a very idealised view of them and their 'devotion' to the Imperial Family. As a consequence of this, she seems to have assumed that she had no need to make any effort in relation to them. She also thought that the peasantry embodied the 'real' Russian spirit, and so saw no need to make any effort in relation to other groups either, most obviously the industrial workers. Iwonder what would have happened if Alexandra, at an early stage in Nicholas's reign, had financed a chain of medical clinics in the industrial areas of St Petersburg, paid regular visits to them, and so on.
Most charitable organisations were, and remained, under the patronage of the Dowager Empress when Alexandra came to Russia. If Alexandra had tried to finance a chain of medical clinics, she could very well have come into collision with the Dowager Empress, like the tension with regard to Alexandra's hospital trains.

Sophie Buxhoeveden wrote that Alexandra was adviced to start a brand-new foundation, and that's what she did: she financed and was actively involved in 'Help by Work', an organisation that established so-called workhouses for the poor all over Russia, as well as creches to make it easier for women to combine family and work life. She also initiated, among other things, an orthopaedic institute for children and established a school/training centre for nurses modelled after a similar school under the patronage of Princess Helena in London. She won't have visited all workhouses, but she certainly popped in regularly at this school.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on January 12, 2010, 11:33:46 AM
I suppose most of you have read the Helen Rappaport book by now.

It was interesting to read that Dr Botkin regularly prescribed Morphine and Cocaine for Alexandra, mainly for menstrual pain. He also prescribed Veronal, which I was surprised existed at that time. Alexandra is described as being "soaked" with Veronal. Both the Tsar and Alexandra also made use of hashish.

Interesting. I wonder to what extent all these medications affected their lives and judgement ?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on January 12, 2010, 01:05:53 PM
For those of you who are not familiar with Veronal. It was the first commercially marketed barbiturate / hypnotic and appeared on the market in 1903 and was prescribed mainly for insomnia.  It was taken off the market in the 1950's.
Perhaps Alexandra was hooked on her sleeping medication. Veronal together with cocaine, morphine and hash must have made quite a cocktail.

This could be the reason why Empress Alexandra could not perform her duties. She was too high to get off her sofa !         
 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 19, 2010, 03:24:33 PM

I think that the Imperial Family of Russia, and their almost slavish attitude toward Religion, constant visits to monastries, observance of hundreds of religious holidays, icons and chapels everywhere, fasting etc etc, was a bit unbalanced, and may have led to the belief that God put them where they were, and that he would never desert them. ( Read Alexandra's letters ) I think she became confused, and perhaps believed that the Autocracy and her position was an extension of the Russian Orthodox religion.  She could therefore do no wrong, and nobody had the right to question or criticise her. She became a living martyr during her life time.

The opinions expressed in the other posts are all very valid, taking all the factors into consideration, also given the times they lived in, and the different attitudes which existed.

Religion in moderation is a good thing, like everything else, but not to the level to which Alexandra carried it. Her letters from the Ipatiev house to Ana Vyrobova and others were virtual mini sermons, and quite fanatical in a way.

One cannot compare her with Ella, who was more sensible and intelligent in many ways, however, I think they shared the same inborn preoccupation with religion, and their own interpretation of it.

My apologies if this offends anyone, but Ella also carried on a bit too fanatically after Serge's death, running around in those robes, giving everything away, and becoming a nun. All a bit weird I think.   




I don't particularly see Ella as "more sensible and intelligent" - I don't know how you judge these things - but I completely agree with the rest of what you say. There was NO difference between Ella and Alexandra in this - if anything, Ella was the far more extreme in her devotion to the Church; Alexandra always searching and tinged by doubts.

But there was no "confusion" on their part in the issue of the monarchy and the Orthodox Church - Alexandra, Nicholas, Ella, Serge - ALL these people believed - or trained themselves to believe - that their position was  an intrinsic part of the their religion; and the Church encouraged them to. Any "Tsar martyr" website you come across these days says the the same thing still. Nicholas inherits sainthood by virtue more or less of who he was. It has been very interesting to study this idea.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 19, 2010, 03:41:44 PM
Had Russia had a different system of Government it might not have caused her problems but unfortunately she alienated the people who were traditionally the Crown's most loyal supporters and a general air of dislike is soon diseminated to a wider audience.

I am not sure I agree with this bit. Maria Feodorovna may have been popular amongst this class of people, but it did not stop her being hated in the country at large - and that's no exaggeration; she required particular protection from assassination attempts because for the first ten years at least she was perceived as behind most of Nicholas's policies. The days when the aristocracy were "opinion leaders" were past. Nicholas and Alexandra's error was not in alienating some of these people but in failing to make strong bonds with anyone else, despite their efforts with the press and the church. The aristocracy did not lead the revolution, nor could they prevent it, and their support for the crown was greatly compromised firstly by the Great Reforms and then by the agricultural/industrial policies which Alexander III initiated and pursued in the eras of Vyshnegradsky and Witte. Stolypin's land reforms compromised things further, and it takes too narrow a view of things, in my opinion, to lay this at Alexandra's door for her failure to hold parties...some years!
IMHO, Alexandra's unpopularity with these people was a result of the monarchy's decline in support among the aristocracy, not the reason for it.
Note that the Dowager Empress opposed the land reforms, of course - and so many on this forum find her admirable!!!!!!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on January 21, 2010, 09:33:07 AM
Although Nicholas and Alexandra's was a love match, his parents and many others ( Including Queen Victoria ) were not keen on the match. Queen Victoria hated everything Russian.
In the end they  gave in to their sons constant "whining' about her, and allowed the marriage. 
In hindsight ( which is a wonderful thing  ) they should have influenced the situation more practically. In those days marriages were largely arranged among the Royal Families of Europe. If they fell in love somewhere along the way it was a bonus.
I think Nicholas's parents were very much to blame for the disasters that followed their sons marriage.
Although for N and A it was a good marriage, she was also marrying Russia. They should have realised which was more important. Their sons happiness by marriage a shy blushing arrogant young girl from a minor German family, or her suitability as a future Empress of Russia.
After all, they had years to " check ' her out properly.
Marie Feodorovna realised very early on that Alexandra was unsuitable. This fact is documented extensively.
Her character and personality was totally unsuited, from every aspect, and they knew it.
Also they must have known that she came from a branch of the British Royal family who carried the haemophilia gene.

They should not have approved the marriage. They had the power and influence to do so. Yet they allowed it.
 
I wonder if MF ever regretted this as she watched the disaster unfolding around her ? I think her letters, and those of other Romanov relatives  attest to the fact that she did. Very much.

I think MF was largely a very sensible person, and one wonders what her regrets were in the last years of her life ?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Kalafrana on January 21, 2010, 10:12:55 AM
Pavlov

I agree with much of what you say, but i think Nicholas's parents' decision to approve the marriage had a lot to do with his father's serious illness and approaching death. It would have been only human nature for Alexander not to want to go to his grave in anything less than harmony with his heir, especially as he seems to have been a very family-orientated and kind-hearted man.

Of course, Alexander and Marie Feodorovna had had the expereince of an arranged marriage (with Alexander as second choice and substitute at that) which turned out extremely happily.

Ann
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: mcdnab on January 21, 2010, 03:52:05 PM
Janet I was perhaps being too oversimplistic for space (I'd already waffled on quite a bit). I certainly wasn't intending to imply that MF was everyone's darling at all.

I think though it is important to appreciate a few facts:
The power and prestige of the Russian Aristocracy (particularly the minor country nobility) had been severely damaged by two things - growing industrialisation and the reforms of the 19th Century. They on the whole and unlike many of their western contemporaries had failed to adapt to changing circumstances. However to say they no longer led society is not strictly true in terms of culture, fashion and art they certainly did still lead and politically they still made up the vast majority of the Empire's administrators and after 1905 they still wielded considerable influence (whatever side they came down on) within the new Duma. Alienating many of them was certainly not an ideal way to proceed HOWEVER there was certainly a considerable section of the higher aristocracy who beleived the game was up and were looking after number one. It's arguable whether a different Consort would have made any difference.

I tend to prescribe to the view that the damage was done before Nicholas succeeded - although a different man with a different wife might have been able to salvage something. Depending on which historian is flavour of the month a general view of RUssia prior to First World War and after the failed revolution of 1905 was a state improving certainly in terms of industrial production and in terms of gaining some kind of political stability - many exiled leftists for example bemoaning the situation believing falsely that the time had come and gone.
Of course that's a false picture because the left within Russia hadn't given up at all and were still subject to the rigours and restrictions of life in what was still essentially an autocratic state.
But Russia wasn't like other countries she had a limited but growing intelligentsia and small middle class and a vast peasant class that really didn't care a great deal about anything beyomd the immediate need to survive (and for most of them life changed very little between Nicholas, Lvov, Kerensky and Lenin). The vast majority of the revolutionary movement was based within Russia's growing industrial sector and was lead by people many of whom would due to their professions have held minor noble status. The Russian Revolution was no peasant uprising.

Your correct Alex alienated the aristocracy and did little to attract the affection and loyalty of the great mass of the Russian population - she believed (as did Nicholas) in the great Russian myth of the distant Tsar as a benevolent god like landowner who cared but was so remote as to be useless that might still have held some worth amongst some sections of the population but had no meaning to those peasants forced from the land to work in the new factories in Moscow, Petrograd or Kiev where conditions were truly appalling even by the standards of the time.

The reason the Russian Monarchy collapsed in on itself was that no-one including many of the Romanovs cared that much for it anymore.

As to Marie Feodorovna - certainly she was subject to the same threats as many fo the family from revolutionaries again she is difficult to read because she wasn't a very clever woman although not as stupid as her sister (and i don't mean that unkindly) - she tended to be more pro reform when in the company of her relations and when in Denmark and far less pragmatic when back in Russia. Nicholas certainly did listen to her - but on the whole her support of certain ministers in the first few years was fairly sound (men such as Witte for example) and your right even the British left wing described her as the "evil genius" of Nicholas II's reign when she arrived in Britain in exile after the revolution. However her influence in the later years had faded considerably to the point where some in the family believed any intervention she made would end badly. She was on the whole reasonable (described as eminently sensible by one recent historian) tended to listen to both sides even when she personally vehemently disagreed, more importantly she had a far more practical and pragmatic approach, she had no obscure mystical view of religion but within her own family was a stickler for the correct form and behaviour. Her biggest failing - the appalling education she and her husband gave all their children which probably permanently destroyed any independent thought or consideration of veering from tradition.

Had Russia had a different system of Government it might not have caused her problems but unfortunately she alienated the people who were traditionally the Crown's most loyal supporters and a general air of dislike is soon diseminated to a wider audience.

I am not sure I agree with this bit. Maria Feodorovna may have been popular amongst this class of people, but it did not stop her being hated in the country at large - and that's no exaggeration; she required particular protection from assassination attempts because for the first ten years at least she was perceived as behind most of Nicholas's policies. The days when the aristocracy were "opinion leaders" were past. Nicholas and Alexandra's error was not in alienating some of these people but in failing to make strong bonds with anyone else, despite their efforts with the press and the church. The aristocracy did not lead the revolution, nor could they prevent it, and their support for the crown was greatly compromised firstly by the Great Reforms and then by the agricultural/industrial policies which Alexander III initiated and pursued in the eras of Vyshnegradsky and Witte. Stolypin's land reforms compromised things further, and it takes too narrow a view of things, in my opinion, to lay this at Alexandra's door for her failure to hold parties...some years!
IMHO, Alexandra's unpopularity with these people was a result of the monarchy's decline in support among the aristocracy, not the reason for it.
Note that the Dowager Empress opposed the land reforms, of course - and so many on this forum find her admirable!!!!!!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 24, 2010, 10:07:40 AM

As to Marie Feodorovna - certainly she was subject to the same threats as many fo the family from revolutionaries again she is difficult to read because she wasn't a very clever woman although not as stupid as her sister (and i don't mean that unkindly) - she tended to be more pro reform when in the company of her relations and when in Denmark and far less pragmatic when back in Russia. Nicholas certainly did listen to her - but on the whole her support of certain ministers in the first few years was fairly sound (men such as Witte for example) and your right even the British left wing described her as the "evil genius" of Nicholas II's reign when she arrived in Britain in exile after the revolution. However her influence in the later years had faded considerably to the point where some in the family believed any intervention she made would end badly. She was on the whole reasonable (described as eminently sensible by one recent historian) tended to listen to both sides even when she personally vehemently disagreed, more importantly she had a far more practical and pragmatic approach, she had no obscure mystical view of religion but within her own family was a stickler for the correct form and behaviour. Her biggest failing - the appalling education she and her husband gave all their children which probably permanently destroyed any independent thought or consideration of veering from tradition.



I agree with you - she is very hard to read, not least because she tends to be remembered by the "high points" of her career, which took place at historically significant moments, such as her urging Nicholas to give in to demands for reform in 1905. But only a year earlier she - along with Serge Alexandrovich and Witte - actively opposed any such thing and ensured the defeat of proposals tabled by Mirskii (another minister who was a friend and associate of hers) at a time when the government had the initiative. Later, the reforms were effectively forced from them by defeat and the 1905 revolution, and although she was by then desperate for Nicholas to make them, by 1906 she was back on the sidelines once more urging Nicholas to hold fast to his title of autocrat in his restatement of the Fundamental Laws. Thus he created the confusion that pertained thereafter as to the exact status of the Duma.

In the end, Nicholas always did as he felt his conscience dictated, regardless of the views of Mama, Wify or anyone else, but the Dowager Empress was never slow with her views, and many of her suggestions (ranging from using state funds to bale out her friends to giving Russia's military support to any relative who found themselves in bother on the international stage - viz. George of Greece in Crete) were far from sensible. By and large it seems to me that her decisions and views were always propelled by emotion. At times, this means she can be seen as pragmatic under duress where Nicholas was stubborn, but there are plenty of other instances where her actions seem unwise at best.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Belochka on January 25, 2010, 04:44:01 AM
... In the end, Nicholas always did as he felt his conscience dictated, regardless of the views of Mama, Wify or anyone else, but the Dowager Empress was never slow with her views, and many of her suggestions (ranging from using state funds to bale out her friends to giving Russia's military support to any relative who found themselves in bother on the international stage - viz. George of Greece in Crete) were far from sensible. By and large it seems to me that her decisions and views were always propelled by emotion. At times, this means she can be seen as pragmatic under duress where Nicholas was stubborn, but there are plenty of other instances where her actions seem unwise at best.

Janet I agree with your assessment regarding M. F.

Had her son, Nikolai II maintained the same ruling as had AIII -  that she should keep herself to other matters and not become embroiled in political intrigue, many of the difficulties we are discussing here, would not have come to pass. IMO she skillfully polarized society and most of her family to Alexandra Fyodorovna's detriment.

Margarita  
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on February 04, 2010, 06:38:19 AM
Yes, but if you know your son is a weakling and unsuited for the job, then I think it is only natural to try and influence things. Firstly to save the country, and secondly to stop him making a fool of himself, and embarrassing the family. More so, when you know his wife is also incompetent and unsuited to her position.

I think any mother would have done the same. If I was in the same position as her, I would would have interfered hugely, rather than sit around doing nothing.  At least Alexander lll was a strong Emperor and did not need any advice from his wife. So I dont think one can compare the two. Its a pity he did not absorb the advice he was given by his mother and uncles, and applied the best of it. Perhaps it would have been helpful in the end.

As for using state money to bail out her friends. Lucky friends. Most members of the Russian Royal family abused the system anyway. The Emperor had carte blanche, and would hardly refuse his mother anything. I am sure this went on all the time.
After all, everything belonged to them.
Read Catherine the Greats Biographies, if you want to see abuse of state monies !!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Janet Ashton on February 04, 2010, 03:44:40 PM
Yes, but if you know your son is a weakling and unsuited for the job, then I think it is only natural to try and influence things. Firstly to save the country, and secondly to stop him making a fool of himself, and embarrassing the family. More so, when you know his wife is also incompetent and unsuited to her position.

I think any mother would have done the same. If I was in the same position as her, I would would have interfered hugely, rather than sit around doing nothing.  At least Alexander lll was a strong Emperor and did not need any advice from his wife. So I dont think one can compare the two. Its a pity he did not absorb the advice he was given by his mother and uncles, and applied the best of it. Perhaps it would have been helpful in the end.

As for using state money to bail out her friends. Lucky friends. Most members of the Russian Royal family abused the system anyway. The Emperor had carte blanche, and would hardly refuse his mother anything. I am sure this went on all the time.
After all, everything belonged to them.
Read Catherine the Greats Biographies, if you want to see abuse of state monies !!


We are not talking about the era of Catherine the Great, we are talking about Russia post-Speranski, post-rationalization, post-bureaucratization; the Russia of an active press which noticed imperial extravagance and certainly commented on Maria's. No wonder she opposed the freedom of it! Even Alexander III did not treat state funds as identical to personal ones: this was exactly the point that even Nicholas made in turning his mother's requests down.

But, since Nicholas learned exactly the sort of pre-Enlightenment "l'etat c'est moi" philosophy that Catherine's predecessors went for at his mother's knee, because he must never be examined, never be challenged, never subject to the same testing social and intellectual process as other kids, he grew up completely unable to distinguish between good advice and bad advice when his mother and others offered it.

Russian history isn't a beauty contest between Nicholas and Alexandra on the one hand and Alexander III and Maria on the other; the word "Russification" should really tell you all you need to know about what sort of a Tsar Alexander was - but of you want to think might is right, that's up to you. It leaves me wondering, though, exactly what your beef with Alexandra is if you find it OK for Maria to be irrational, erratic and stick her nose into every corner - isn't that exactly what you charge Alexandra with?
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: amartin71718 on February 04, 2010, 04:22:51 PM
Its a pity he did not absorb the advice he was given by his mother and uncles, and applied the best of it. Perhaps it would have been helpful in the end.
The advice of his uncles? THEY were the ones that demanded that Nicholas and Alexandra go the French ball rather than go to the hospitals after Khodynka. THEY were more afraid of offending the French (when they probably would have understood the circumstances) then their own people!
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on February 05, 2010, 06:45:52 AM
Yes, and his mother suggested that they should not go.  But he listened to bad advice, Grand Duke Vladimirs in particular.Because he was the eldest uncle Nicholas was in awe of him. Vladimirs bad judgement also contributed to the disaster of 1905. Not all his uncles gave bad advice. Had he listened to some of them, Russia would not have entered into the Japanese War. Had he listened to Grand Duke Sandro at the beginning of WW1 perhaps things would be different.
 All Heads of State have advisers, the difference is that some of them knew how to disseminate good advice from bad. Nicholas should have listened to his mother and declined the French invitation. Any sensible person would have done the same I think. He should also have listened to her when she told him to get rid of Rasputin.

So she was a bit too extravagant, so what ?
Apparently so was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and everyone loved her.
Alexander lll and Maria Feodorovna were far better at what they did than their succesors. Russians from all walks of life loved Maria Feodorovna.
She was a hard act to follow. Poor Alexandra.   
 
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: heavensent on February 05, 2010, 07:08:34 PM
Maybe she just did nt have the personality to take on the daunting role
of Tsarina.
  The Tsar seems to have been relaxed and very amiable.... a family man...
 while the  Tsarina seems anxious and ill at ease.
 Interestingly... in  one of these photos she looks remarkably like Lady Di !
go here
http://celebheaven.freepowerboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=90
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: PAVLOV on February 10, 2010, 10:07:26 AM
Yes, perhaps a flattering picture. The eyes maybe.
Princess Di smiled though. Alexandra, hardly ever.

Perhaps her teeth were not all that good. We never see her teeth, in any of the thousands of photographs taken of her.
Her diaries mention visits to the dentist quite often, so one never knows. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the non-smiling Alix.

The other reasons have been discussed ad nauseam.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: Teddy on February 10, 2010, 12:28:44 PM
Pavlov, people in those days hardly ever smiled in pictures.

Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: amartin71718 on February 10, 2010, 04:03:07 PM
Actually, her skull testifies that she took excellent care of her teeth. And Teddy is right, people back then were taught to look somber or pensieve in photos.
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: heavensent on February 10, 2010, 04:10:15 PM
and  yet, if you read my original post................

.......... " In Moscow I was shocked to find that the Empress's unpopularity amounted to hatred ... even as early as 1910 .
Because of Alexandra's English descent I felt a natural sympathy for her.... but gradually I came round to the general view of her as the evil genius of the country.

poor  Alexandra ... by  1910 ...  had become the  bete noir  of  the  Russian ... or  Muscovite  people...
what had the poor woman  done to  earn such disdain ?

It all becomes to look like a rerun of  Paris and  Marie Antoinette... she became a hated,  lampooned figure
and the fact that she was  Austrian  added fuel to the revolutionary  fire..........
Title: Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
Post by: historyfan on February 10, 2010, 08:25:04 PM
Yes, perhaps a flattering picture. The eyes maybe.
Princess Di smiled though. Alexandra, hardly ever.

Perhaps her teeth were not all that good. We never see her teeth, in any of the thousands of photographs taken of her.
Her diaries mention visits to the dentist quite often, so one never knows. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the non-smiling Alix.

The other reasons have been discussed ad nauseam.

You can't keep comparing figures from a century ago to figures from our time.  It's night and day.  Just their values alone, in terms of what is acceptable and what is not.