Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Nicholas II => Topic started by: investigator on January 28, 2004, 02:52:49 AM

Title: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: investigator on January 28, 2004, 02:52:49 AM
Why did Tsar Nicholas II bow down to the wishes of Empress Alexandra?  Why did he not get rid of Rasputin when he knew that he was a threat to the monarchy and his image?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Forum Admin on January 28, 2004, 10:07:24 AM
An interesting question, which has been discussed for years. After a lot of research into the subject, we have come to this conclusion:

Regardless of everything else, Rasputin had a healing effect on Alexei when the best doctors available had prepared the Family for his death, at Spala. The Court had gone so far as to prepare an Imperial Bulletin, not released, to this effect. Rasputin sent a telegram, and quite miraculously, Alexei recovered.  This healing effect was repeated several more times, so the Family believed it to be real and sent to them by God.

Nicholas and Alexandra had received three official reports about Rasputin, the last one from Stolypin himself.  Unfortunately,  they mostly contained more false information than true.  People in the Imperial administration were trying to make Rasputin look even worse than he was, or were repeating the worst of the rumors without confirmation of them, in order to enrage the Tsar, but the strategy backfired when it was confirmed to Nicholas that most of the stories were just made up.

Without going into too much detail, due to space limitations here, the end result was that after the Tsar had the charges against Rasputin investigated three times, and found them to be mostly made up, he ordered that he never again be presented with these "stories" because he had become convinced that people were just making them up out of jealousy for Rasputin's closeness to the Court.

The other part of the equation is simply this: Rasputin had less actual influence over the Tsar than is generally believed. He only appeared at Court seven times, and the longest audience was 20 minutes. While he had tea with them, he never even dined with the Family, and was never once alone with The Empress.  

To sum it up, Nicholas simply felt that while Rasputin had some definite character flaws, they weren't really worse than most of the men around him, who also drank and fooled around with women, Nicholas believed Rasputin was also a truly holy man of God, and that the rest of what he heard was just "sour grapes " from people jealous of his position, and Nicholas really did not feel that Rasputin had ANY impact on his decision making, so he ignored it all.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sushismom on January 28, 2004, 12:52:27 PM
From everything I've read about Nicholas II, he seems to have been a fairly mild-mannered man when it came to Alexandra and their family. She was a strong-willed, domineering woman and he simply found it easier to go along with her wants than to fight against her.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: investigator on January 28, 2004, 08:50:19 PM
There is no doubt that Nicholas II was not a man of strong will.  Alexandra on the other hand was a woman of strong ideals and she did boss him around.  But all this did backfire.  I think that Nicholas II was so much in love with her that he just did not stop her and she felt the same way only that she felt insecure.  She felt insecure because of Alexei and also she was an ambitious woman.  The general public was not aware of the sickness of Tsarvich Alexei, this was another point of tension for the empress.  She knew in her heart that her son will not become a Tsar.  People mostly misunderstood her.  She was a very vulnerable woman.  In my opinion she would have made a better monarch than Nicholas.  Everyone in government was aware of Alexandra's influence over the Tsar and this did not in any way favour Nicholas.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sushismom on February 02, 2004, 01:33:49 PM
Perhaps a more strong-willed monarch but certainly not better. We see the results of her attempts at power during the latter part of Nicholas's reign. The result of her attempts was the Russian Revolution.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sunny on February 02, 2004, 06:27:52 PM
Three of the most striking things about Nicholas (imo)
were the depth of kindness in his eyes, his practice of Russian Orthodoxy, and his complete love for his family
and country. Most of the material available is still tainted by decades of misinformation and bolshevik slant. Nicholas did not bow down to his wife. He shared a painful secret with her, the stress of which is unimaginable. Much of what has been written about Rasputin has been disproved. For whatever reason his presence soothed Alexei, and facilitated relief from pain.
There was so much treachery around this family. To lay the blame for the Russian Revolution on Alexandra ...  :'(
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: BobAtchison on February 02, 2004, 08:58:51 PM
Alexandra was completely uninvolved in politics until the last two years of the dynasty during the war.  If things had gone differently and these last two bad years had not occured posterity would thing differently of her.  One shouldn't forget that people at the time generally belived that she was a German spy and Rasputin's mistress.  Anything Alexander did was wrong in the eyes of the public, who were fed wild and ridiculous stories about her (and even her daughters).

Until 1915 Alexander had completely focused on her family and supporting Nicholas as a wife and the mother of their children.

Until the war and the German spy rumours started Alexandra was generally considered to be an ideal example of a good mother and royal wife.  This is especially true with the American and British press.

She had very little influence over her husband - unless her views and his were in harmony to begin with.  One should never forget that Nicholas was very bguarded in his own opinions on political affairs. he discussed them with few people.

If you read Nicholas and Alexandra's letters you will see that he seldom takes her advice or acknowledges it.  He might welsome her opinions - but in the end the decision was his.

There's my two cents for tonight.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: JamesHogland on February 03, 2004, 01:56:39 PM
Anna Anderson's claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia has been proved to be false by DNA testing, although some still question this testing. However, during her many years of being a "claimant" she gave information on the personal life of the Imperial family and the court that was uncannily accurate. One of her claims was that the Tsar, her father as she claimed, had tatooes on his arms. Some members of the court that survived and escaped the Revolution scoffed at this, while others supported her statements. In the few pictures from the family archives that show Nicholas II with sleeves rolled up and arms bare it appears that he did indeed have a tattoo or more on his right arm in particular, although it is hard to dertermine with the quality of the photos. Do any readers have any further information as to wheter Nicholas II did indeed have tattoos or not? We do know that his cousin George V and his uncle Frederick of Denmark had tattoos, both gotten when they served in their navies.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sushismom on February 04, 2004, 05:10:49 PM
I absolutely believe Alexandra was partially responsible. Entirely her fault? No. I also believe that she was politically minded for most of her marriage to Nicholas. As I mentioned elsewhere, Alexandra herself wrote to Nicholas stating that she "longs to stick her nose into everything."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Silja on February 05, 2004, 05:04:41 PM
I also agree that Alexandra had much less influence on Nicholas' political decisions than popularly imagined. See for instance Fuhrman's edition of the letters. However, Nicholas did occasionally bow down to her opinion when they didn't agree.

It's absurd to think Alexandra was responsible for the fall of the Russian monarchy. Many reasons played a part in this, but as Bob Atchison has pointed out, Nicholas generally relied on his own judgement. Besides, even with a "stronger" tsar the Russian Revolution might not have been avoided. See Lieven's excellent analysis of the political situation and tsarist system at the time. The "Western" analysis that all the trouble could have been avoided if only Nicholas had transformed the system into a constitutional monarchy is very simplistic.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: investigator on April 08, 2004, 06:45:19 AM
Did Nicky have a good relationship between his siblings?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 08, 2004, 11:34:48 AM
Just responding "off the top of my head"--without my library nearby to refer to--it appears that Nicholas being the congenial, equitable individual that he was, he had very good relationships with his siblings. From all that little sister Olga told Ian Vorres, she was very fond of her oldest brother, and he of her.  Nicholas and Michael also had a very good relationship, though certainly the former was often exasperated with the latter's romantic entanglements, which drove a wedge between them as the years went on.  Nicholas was very amused by his brother "Georgey," whose antics he whole-heartedly enjoyed.  And even before  Xenia married Grand Duke Alexander, and Nicky married Alix, the two couples seemed to get together frequently, and had all the more in common when Xenia and Alix each gave birth to daughters within a year or so of their respective marriages.  

Nicholas did have his priorities, though, and placed his wife first, before any of his siblings.  This is the accepted standard, both now and then, but in the case of Russia it may have added just one more nail to the coffin, since the tsar's sisters and surviving brother all seem to have had a somewhat better grasp on many of his problems (i.e., Alexandra's patronage of Rasputin) than did Nicholas.  

Of course, it is always easier to say "You're going about this all wrong" and "I told you so" when you're not the one having to balance situations and attempting to keep everyone happy!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: BobAtchison on April 08, 2004, 12:32:40 PM
Do we know if Ksenia was as right-wing as her husband?  Perhaps she was not political.  We know very few members of the family were 'liberal' - it's hard to know what Olga's politics were.  Michael seems to have changed over time.

I assume the family was always pushing Nicholas to go right rather then left.

Bob
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet_Ashton on April 08, 2004, 01:38:05 PM
Quote
Do we know if Ksenia was as right-wing as her husband?  Perhaps she was not political.  We know very few members of the family were 'liberal' - it's hard to know what Olga's politics were.  Michael seems to have changed over time.

I assume the family was always pushing Nicholas to go right rather then left.

Bob



Bob
   Xenia made a number of comments about the Duma being "stuffed full of Jews" and how unfortunate it was that some deputies couldn't be found who weren't Jewish. Both she and Sandro though seem to have been in favour of granting the Duma to begin with - I think I'd characterise this as self-preservation rather than liberal principle.

I don't see much evidence that any of the Vladimirovichi were liberally inclined in any way at all until that moment in March 1917 when Kiril apruptly discovered his hidden leanings to constitutional monarchy. Andrei may have taken a more pragmatic view of the need for reform before then, but I don't think the others did.

But I don't think many family members were actively trying to push Nicholas right-wards either...

Janet
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: ptitchka on May 17, 2004, 07:45:58 PM
Whatever his misfortunes and apparent failings as a head-of-state may have been, this Tsar-Martyr was a truly good man.  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Candice on May 18, 2004, 07:38:03 PM
The downfall of the monarchy in my opinion was because of the political situation in Russia at the time.
I believe that Nicholas was a good Tsar and if things had been different the country would have prospered from his rule.  I hope that the world has learned from the mistakes that Russia made.

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Joanna on May 18, 2004, 08:50:59 PM
A poignant moment tonight watching a documentary with the director Sergei of the archives of GARF turning the pages of one of over 200 photograph albums of Nicholas. And remembering Nicholas' comment that he was born on the day of Job. A life with burdens but a life with love.

A hand on my heart.

Joanna
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet_W. on May 21, 2004, 09:25:48 PM
As a footnote to our commemoration of the Tsar's birthday, today I happened to come across the fact that Peter Carol Faberge also was born on May 18; his birth year was 1846.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: AGRBear on July 12, 2004, 11:03:10 PM
Speaking of his birthday, it should be noted that  he was born on the day set aside for Job on the Russian calendar.  Some think this affected him spiritualy and mentaly and was therefore the seed planted in him by the priests which created within him his  fatalist view on life.  On p. 114 of Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra  there is mention of this and his secret conviction, : "...that I am destined for terrible trial, that I shall not receive my reward on this earth."  

AGRBear
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sarai on July 13, 2004, 07:24:08 AM
I have seen references to Nicholas's birthday being on both May 18th or May 19th. Which is correct? I have seen more references to it being on the 18th so I tend to think that is the correct date. Also, I thought that the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars was twelve days, so if Nicholas's birthday is May 6th in the "old style" then it would be May 18th in the "new style." But like I said, I have seen May 19th given as his birth date as well in several books. Just curious as to what is the general consensus on this, especially also because my own birthday is May 19th so I have a personal interest in this as well! :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Lanie on July 14, 2004, 03:54:16 AM
May 6/18 1868 is the correct date; when 1900 started I believe the span of days between the two calendars went up a day from 12 to 13.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: investigator on January 09, 2005, 08:51:20 AM
What sort of a father was he?  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: ferngully on January 09, 2005, 09:26:25 AM
he was a dedicated and loving father
selina              xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Lanie on January 09, 2005, 02:41:32 PM
Though he loved his children he obviously could not spend much time with them at all due to the work he had to do.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Dasha on January 09, 2005, 08:19:21 PM
I think Lanie pretty much summed it up.  Nikolai was a devoted and loving father, but very little time to spend with his children.  He admitted himself that he enjoyed playing with them and at times he acted like their older brother rather then a parent.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: pushkina on January 10, 2005, 05:03:57 AM
Quote
He admitted himself that he enjoyed playing with them and at times he acted like their older brother rather then a parent.


don't most fathers act that way?  i know my husband behaves not much older than our daughter sometimes!  and the way he tattles on her!  sounds like he's about 4 years old....

but that's a personal problem. ;D
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet_W. on January 10, 2005, 03:58:48 PM
One of the reasons I've admired Nicholas? His obvious love for his children. His letters and diaries reflect this, as do observations penned by other people.

Moreover, Nicholas had the ability to truly enjoy being with his children, rather than feeling self-conscious or behaving in dictatorial fashion, as was the case of so many fathers at that time.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: bluetoria on January 10, 2005, 05:21:41 PM
He must have been an excellent father by the standards of the time and his class. Surely not many fathers then played with their children and his absolute devotion to Alexei speaks for itself...his diaries bear witness to it. If you compare his treatment of Alexei to that of Alphonso XIII of Spain and his haemophiliac sons, Nicholas shines as an exemplar!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RichC on January 10, 2005, 05:33:04 PM
I always had the impression that Nicholas was a good, loving father and family man.  But I just finished reading The Fate of the Romanovs (got it for Christmas) and neither he nor Alexandra come off as very good parents in this book.  I didn't agree with some of the judgements the authors made about the Nicholas and Alexandra's parenting skills.  But I suppose that's fodder for another thread.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: bluetoria on January 10, 2005, 05:34:35 PM
In what way did they appear as not very good parents?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet_W. on January 10, 2005, 06:14:15 PM
Nicholas has been criticized for overplaying the family card--i.e., using his attractive children in numerous "photo ops"--for reasons of public relations. However, since he was honest in his love for his children, I can't "ding" him too extensively for this.

Royals almost always have realized that their job is, in large part, one of public relations. Nicholas was understandably proud of his family and his "family values," and to quote the lyrics of a classic song, "You've got to accentuate the positive . . . " (Or, an even older chestnut from my Sunday School days: "Hide it [one's light] under a bushel? No! I'm going to let it shine!") The public seemed to enjoy images of the Imperial Family, and I think it was a fairly harmless thing to do . . . tho' personally speaking, I would have been terribly bored by all those photo sessions!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RichC on January 11, 2005, 12:01:50 AM
Quote
In what way did they appear as not very good parents?


They say that the children, "endured sad, shadowy lives"; that Nicholas was absent most of the time because of the "demands of the throne" and Alexandra was a cold, distant and domineering mother.

The stated goal of the authors of this book is to expose the Romanov's as they really were and the picture they paint isn't very pretty.  But I think they overreached.   Also, I think they try to make Nicholas look kind of stupid; for example they say that he never read War and Peace until he was locked up in the Ipatiev House. That jumped out at me because Nicholas wrote a letter to his mother in November 1898, describing how he read War and Peace to Alix while she was pregnant with Tatiana.  A minor point, I suppose, but why is it in there?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: bluetoria on January 11, 2005, 11:51:52 AM
I'm sure even looking at the photographs of them that the children didn't lead 'dark shadowy lives.' Not many princesses breast fed their own children but Alix did & even Nicky wrote about it to QV...that must be taking an interest in them for a start. And the details about every aspect of their lives in Alix's letters to Nicky show them both (parents) to be anything but distant.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RichC on January 11, 2005, 06:15:07 PM
I was thinking more about the "sad, shadowy lives" comment and it occurs to me that it could more properly be applied to Rosemary Kennedy, who died recently at a rest home in Wisconsin.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Annie on January 12, 2005, 10:09:55 AM
Quote

I didn't agree with their judgements either. A lot of people didn't.



Add me to those who also don't agree and don't know why anyone would want to defame their parenting now. I've never seen that ever mentioned before in any book, and many have been written on them, many by people who knew them personally.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Annie on January 12, 2005, 12:28:32 PM
Another thing on the 'sad and shadowy lives', I've heard the testimony on that came from Bolsheviks who held them prisoner, so you can't judge by people who hated them and wouldn't be fair in their description. Also, aren't the lives of all in captivity 'sad and shadowy?' It isn't fair to ruin the good rep of two wonderful parents after the fact :(
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Angie_H on January 14, 2005, 10:38:13 AM
I've been reading a biography of Queen Mary & George V. Among royal families I would have to say N & A were unusual in the way that they had more contact and interaction with their children. From what I read Mary & George isolated their children too (not much contact with others) but it also seems like they totally ignored their children, George's only interaction with them is when he called them into his library to reprimand them. I am sure N & A's children had more happy memories of their parents then George & Mary's
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: strom on February 17, 2005, 05:51:26 PM
There is reason to believe that the Emperor was not crushed by the news of Father Gregori's "disappearance" and may have actually been pleased.  The Imperial family tried to get him to leave the capital, I think, more than once and to stay away.  However, when the facts were revealed and that individuals very close to Him personally and to the Empress were involved, there was never any question but that the crime was a very serious breach of Imperial protocol --of laissez majeste.  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on February 17, 2005, 06:03:51 PM
Quote
when 1900 started I believe the span of days between the two calendars went up a day from 12 to 13.

Would it not have been 1901 when the gap increased, since that was the start of the 20th Century? I guess it depends on whether 1900 was a leap year in either of the two calendars.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 17, 2005, 06:07:24 PM
Quote
I have seen references to Nicholas's birthday being on both May 18th or May 19th. Which is correct?


Sarai, when I was in St Petersburg last May, we stumbled upon a big gathering of people in front of the Cathedral on Spilt Blood who were carrying icons of the IF and singing, etc. When we asked what was going on, we were told that they are commemorating Nicholas II's birthday. It was May 18th, but they told us that his actual birthday is the next day. So maybe May 19th is the correct date? Or maybe they weren't sure themeselves  ;).

(http://img235.exs.cx/img235/5544/nickisbdaymass2nq.png)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on February 17, 2005, 06:12:27 PM
I guess it could be confusing. But since the Russian Church uses the old calendar, the should 'celebrate' his birthday on the ecclesiastical 6 May, which these days on the secular calendar is, of course, the 19th of May.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 17, 2005, 06:14:55 PM
Quote
I guess it could be confusing. But since the Russian Church uses the old calendar, the should 'celebrate' his birthday on the ecclesiastical 6 May, which these days on the secular calendar is, of course, the 19th of May.


Georgiy, when is Job's day according to the Russian orthodox calendar? Whenever that is, that's when Nicholas's birthday should be, since he always said he was born on that day.. Unless it is different every year, like Easter  ???...
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on February 17, 2005, 06:22:25 PM
May 6 on the ecclesiastical calendar. In the 1800s, this coincided with May 18 in the west, these days it is May 19, but on the Church calendar it is still the same old May 6.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on February 17, 2005, 06:23:27 PM
It's confusingly straight-forward. I'm used to having two dates in my head - both being the same day, but with a 13 day time difference!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: samcr on February 18, 2005, 06:49:17 AM
Hi

I think michael would of made a far better emperor of Russia , than his brother who was weak willed and listen far to much to his soppy wife, I cant believe the family  on a whole didnt get together sooner (more power in a group!) and some how sent the empress away!

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: PaulPaulovich on February 18, 2005, 10:00:44 AM
I dont think Michael woud has been a better Tsar. As a matter of fact he did no take it when Nicholas abdicated.The only problem with Nicholas was that he was a good man, good father and good husband not a power hungry ruler.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sarai on February 20, 2005, 03:20:09 PM
Thanks for trying to clear that up! I recall reading that the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars was 12 days in the 19th century (making his birthday May 18th in that century), but it is 13 days difference in the 20th century (making it May 19th). So it is as Georgiy says ("In the 1800s, this coincided with May 18 in the west, these days it is May 19").
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on February 20, 2005, 03:31:59 PM
I wonder how long it will stay being 13 days difference. It still is 13 days different, but sooner or later the difference will be 14 days. I think it happens when there is a leap year in one calendar but not in the other.
Written by Georgiy on 8/21 Feb. 2005
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: samcr on February 21, 2005, 08:49:19 AM
but alas nicky wasnt just any "old joe on the street"
he was the Tsar of Russia, the most important man in Russia at that time!
so it's all very well saying he was a good father etc,
That didnt help the people of russia did it,
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: ashanti01 on March 20, 2005, 09:05:01 AM
I don't think Michael would have made a better Tsar. Like Nicholas, Michael was very "dependant" on Natasha. From what I have read, it appears Natasha had the stronger will in the relationship, much as Alexandra had a stronger will than Nicholas.

Also, I don't think would have wanted Natasha as thier empress given her past.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alexios on November 30, 2005, 04:32:54 PM
Think of the wonderful terms of endearment Nicholas and Alexandra used fot Alexej...(such as "baby") :)for their other children too, I suppose.
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/letters/july16.html
I think these lines are very sweet... :-[

"The first was an excellent fellow - Baby loved him; he used to play all sorts of amusing tricks in the water, together with Nagorny, while bathing, and used to talk to Igor in Little Russian."

"God guard you, my precious, sweet Sunny!

I kiss you and the girls tenderly.

Eternally yours"

"God guard you and the girls! I kiss you passionately. Eternally yours, my love,"

"God guard you, my darling Wify!

I kiss you tenderly and passionately.

Eternally your old

NICKY. "

"I kiss you and the girls fondly, and am awaiting you eagerly.

Yours eternally, Sunny mine,"

"Hearty thanks for dear letters and cornflowers. It is very hot. Both are expecting your arrival with excitement. We kiss all fondly."

"I must finish. God guard you, my angel! I kiss you and the girls tenderly."

" I love you so deeply! May God keep you, my dear Sunny, and the girls! I kiss you tenderly,"

"Now, my angel, I must finish God protect you and the girls! I kiss you tenderly and passionately

Your old hubby"


Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Romanov_Fan19 on November 30, 2005, 10:06:31 PM
Nicholas  was  a  wonderful  father   he loved his Children  until the day he died (and beyond) :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on December 01, 2005, 10:53:15 AM
Nicholas was a good father; and indeed most royal parents were much more distant than Nicholas and Alexandra. They loved their children, and were unusually close to them. I think Fate of the Romanovs makes them seem rather negative; granted, they had faults, but those faults were not as parents. We all have faults if you look close enough, and that is what those authors did: they looked close. I have nothing against the book though.Apart from some negativety, it is good, and a gold mine of information which  is what every Romanov fan must want.

Nicholas was busy, but the main thing in life for him after his marriage to Alexandra was family life, this was important to him. He did use his children for public relations or whatever, but there was no lie in these public relations, because everyone who saw these images were seeing reality. There is nothing wrong with advertising; it is only false advertising that is wrong. And it wasn't false. But, in some ways, the Romanovs advertise themselves.
I suppose Nicholas and Alexandra might have had minor faults as as parents; but as royal parents in their day and age, they were good parents. That is the bottom line: that Nicholas was a caring father.  ;)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Laura_ on December 01, 2005, 02:57:12 PM
i think almost everyone here would like a father like Nicholas :D :D
Laura
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on December 01, 2005, 07:01:52 PM
Quote
i think almost everyone here would like a father like Nicholas :D :D
Laura


So beautifully stated Laurra, one can not add any more.  :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on December 02, 2005, 10:50:33 AM
Yeah, I would have wanted a father like Nicholas. :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Caleb on December 02, 2005, 03:28:26 PM
I think both Nicholas & Alexandra were very good parents, particularly considering their status as czar & czarina, especially with Nicholas being an autocrat & having to rule Russia full time. Many autocrats I think were too busy for their children. A diary entry of Emperor Kangxi stated "The father I had almost never seen was 23 when he died & I was 8 when..  dressed in full white mourning."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on December 02, 2005, 07:36:26 PM
The fact that Nikolai had a deep affection for his wife and their children, that precious bond between them, made the transition following his abdication much easier to bear.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: SuSu on December 05, 2005, 10:51:47 AM
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Yes there are the posed photos but there are so many other wonderful ones as well.

Especially of the IF together enjoying themselves. Masses of wonderful photos. Happy photos.

Nicholas is in so many with his childern. I think he was the centre of his family. Their joy and happiness in the photos came from him.

Perhaps I am being silly but I can not believe he was anything but the doting father.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on December 05, 2005, 10:54:39 AM
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The fact that Nikolai had a deep affection for his wife and their children, that precious bond between them, made the transition following his abdication much easier to bear.


That is very true, that when everything else fell apart he had his family whom he was close to. And that is often what we turn to when the world falls about: our family. Nicholas II and his family were close during this periodthan they had ever been before, I think, and then they died forever united in heaven. It was their sense of closeness and loyalty to each other that is one reason why we like them as much as we do. They were not the same, but they were united.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Elisabeth on December 05, 2005, 01:58:42 PM
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Nicholas has been criticized for overplaying the family card--i.e., using his attractive children in numerous "photo ops"--for reasons of public relations. However, since he was honest in his love for his children, I can't "ding" him too extensively for this.

Royals almost always have realized that their job is, in large part, one of public relations. Nicholas was understandably proud of his family and his "family values," and to quote the lyrics of a classic song, "You've got to accentuate the positive . . . " (Or, an even older chestnut from my Sunday School days: "Hide it [one's light] under a bushel? No! I'm going to let it shine!") The public seemed to enjoy images of the Imperial Family, and I think it was a fairly harmless thing to do . . . tho' personally speaking, I would have been terribly bored by all those photo sessions!


Wasn’t it actually common practice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for photographs of European royalty to be sold as postcards and other publicity ("propaganda") items? How could Nicholas II alone amongst his peers be expected to depart from this tradition? Even before the invention of photography, portraits of members of the royal family adorned countless country homes, at least in England. (If the Tudors had possessed the art of photography, can you imagine to what spectacular effect they would have used it?) The accusation also neglects the fact that royal families by definition are a symbol of the larger family of the nation, and as such, at least on a symbolic level, belong to the nation. You would naturally expect their images to adorn not only public spaces but even a large number of private homes.        

So I don't think Nicholas' desire to see his children immortalized in photography in any way diminished his love and care for them. If anything I think he was a very indulgent father who had trouble disciplining the children (thus Alexei seems to have run wild for rather longer in his young life than one might expect, until chronic illness made him more mature) and probably left that difficult role to Alexandra, ill equipped as she was to deal with it. Perhaps it is a tribute to the pervasive love in the imperial family that the children, lacking in any real discipline (Madame Naryshkina said they were raised as "savages"), nevertheless became kind, considerate and compassionate young adults. These qualities shine through most especially at the end of their lives, in the memoirs of many of their captors, who described them as the model of a close and loving family, and who felt deeply sorry for them.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tania+ on December 07, 2005, 03:44:03 PM
His IHNII was the quintessential 'father' defined in one's everyday encyclopedia and dictionary. But for the children he was more than words can every describe. He was a 'real' father. Full of truths, patience, honesty, and endless care. I don't think he had a favorite of his children. I believe all his children were loved equally. He was a very proud father, and they were very proud children. The more I see their family pictures, and read of them, and or their letters, etc., I see so very much of their parent's in them, and the endless avenues their parent's went to make sure their children knew they were loved !

Tatiana
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on December 08, 2005, 11:13:16 AM
The last post was the perfect definition of Nicholas as a father, excellant, and very historical and truthful. Great post!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on December 11, 2005, 12:56:39 AM
How old do you think OTMA would have to be before Nikolai allowed them to be married? Olga was the only grand duchess with a coming out party, but what exactly is a coming out party for? Would he have allowed her to be married at 16? I'm thinking maybe he changed his mind, because Tatiana didn't have a coming out party, and when Prince Carol asked about Maria at age 16, Nikolai said she was too young.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on December 11, 2005, 02:22:20 PM
I think for most people such things as debutante balls have gone the way of the dinosaur. However, in the early 20th century they were an important part of a young lady's life as it meant she had come of age, and was able to be on the social scene, go to dances etc etc.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on December 13, 2005, 09:43:05 AM
He would most likely have allowed them to be married at 18, or so, that was when he began to consider Carol as a suitor for Olga. But whatever age was right for the individual grand duchesses would have been acceptable, I am sure he would not have rushed any of his daughters into marriage as it was not important for the succession.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Ortino on December 15, 2005, 09:22:45 PM
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He would most likely have allowed them to be married at 18, or so, that was when he began to consider Carol as a suitor for Olga. But whatever age was right for the individual grand duchesses would have been acceptable, I am sure he would not have rushed any of his daughters into marriage as it was not important for the succession.


Not necessarily. Age was important in the early 20th century and Nicholas would have probably married them all off between 18-20 years old. While he cared about his daughters' happiness, views on marriage were still quite different then, particularly it seems for royals, and the age of "spinster" arrived rather early. Nicholas and Alix were lucky in that their relationship was based on love; many others were not so fortunate. Diplomacy still remained a prominent factor in marriages between families and countries. I suspect that he either would have tried to marry them to other reigning or would be monarchs' children (as with Romania and England) or had them marry Russian princes.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on December 16, 2005, 10:11:40 AM
Well, I didn't mean he would have married them off before 18. I am sure you are right. I think they would have liked their daughters to marry for love, but there would have been other factors, too, involved, and it was different after World War I. I think anytime before 22 or so would have been fine. I think some of the girls would indeed have married relatives within the Russian Imperial Family, particularly Grand Duchess Olga, as she didn't want to leave Russia. Tatiana would have been the most willing yo marry who her parents wished, because she was practical and dutiful. As for Marie, she was eager for marriage and children, and was a ravishing beauty, so I am sure she would have found a good match. About Anastasia? well, I think she with her special personality would have made a great impact on anyone she married anywhere. Alexei's marriage would have been the most important of those of the children.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Joy0318 on December 20, 2005, 05:50:40 PM
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The last post was the perfect definition of Nicholas as a father, excellant, and very historical and truthful. Great post!

Ditto! Tania's post describes perfectly Nicky as a father.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grace on January 04, 2006, 06:15:27 PM
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Not necessarily. Age was important in the early 20th century and Nicholas would have probably married them all off between 18-20 years old. While he cared about his daughters' happiness, views on marriage were still quite different then, particularly it seems for royals, and the age of "spinster" arrived rather early. Nicholas and Alix were lucky in that their relationship was based on love; many others were not so fortunate. Diplomacy still remained a prominent factor in marriages between families and countries. I suspect that he either would have tried to marry them to other reigning or would be monarchs' children (as with Romania and England) or had them marry Russian princes.


Well, I don't really know about 18-20.  That is fairly young, even for the times and their positions.  I remember that Nicholas laughed off the possibility of a marriage at 16 for Marie, describing her as "a schoolgirl".

I think that, if not for the calamity of WWI, the girls probably would have married between the ages of 20-25.  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sarushka on January 04, 2006, 07:54:40 PM
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Well, I don't really know about 18-20.  That is fairly young, even for the times and their positions.


Remember, though, that Irina Alexandrovna was married and had a toddler by the time of Rasputin's murder in 1916, and she was only months older than Olga Nikolaevna!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grace on January 04, 2006, 08:02:41 PM
Yes, there are exceptions, I admit, like Irina, Marie of Roumania etc. who did marry and become mothers at early ages.

Before the outbreak of WWI, Olga Nicholaevna was aged 19.  There was no serious interest on her part for marriage at this time.  Nor did there seem to be any serious thought then from her parents.  

Given the attitudes of the Grand Duchesses and their parents, I would not have foreseen particularly early marriages for any of them, even without WWI.  

The only one who may have married early, if she'd found the right husband, was Maria.  

Just my opinion though.  :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet_W. on January 05, 2006, 02:15:03 PM
Princess Alix had been considered something of a near-spinster when she at last became betrothed to the Tsarevich Nicholas. But attitudes towards early marriage were changing--slowly, it is to be admitted, but they were changing. The advent of a world war also had an impact.

However, in my opinion the most important factor in this equation were the parents themselves. Nicholas and Alexandra were very focused on their family unit and in fact NAOTMAA were known to refer to themselves as "We Seven." Alexandra grudgingly admitted that her daughters would, at one point marry; Nicholas was so delighted with the company of his daughters that on at least one occasion he admitted he considered them more like sisters.  Controlling parents--mothers, particularly--existed on both sides of the family, and N & A were too wise and happy with each other to want to enact that kind of selfishness on their own daughters. But since they kept them somewhat sequestered, OTMA did grow up to be even more naive than most of their British, Danish and German cousins. So, from what I've read--incidental comments, etc.--it's not difficult to draw the conclusion that Nicholas and Alexandra were of the opinion that their daughters, while delightful, would not be emotionally ready for marriage until "later." The advent of war, of course, made "later" a bit easier to indefinitely defer.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on January 08, 2006, 05:06:42 PM
Nicholas and Alexandra were very attached to their daughters, and this would have made it hard to part with them, this is a good point, needless to say. I think they might not have married until later because of this. Marie might indeed have married whenever, that is true, given the way she was. I think marriage would have depended on the parents and individual factors. Irina was married and all that, and she wasn't that much older than Olga, and it was tried to marry Olga off in 1914, and if it wasn't for World War I, then she would most likely have been married sooner. She was the oldest daughter, but one of the younger ones might have married first, depending on things.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: dianoshka on May 22, 2006, 10:35:17 PM
Why is it that four of the five children were closer to Nicholas than to Alexandra?

I would imagine that since they spent more time with Alexandra they would have been closer to her. Nonetheless, all of the children except Tatiana preferred their father's company over their mother's.

Anyone know more?



Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on May 24, 2006, 12:14:03 PM
Perhaps Nicholas was just less complicated. He was not around as much either, so perhaps they put more value on him because he wasn't around as much. Alexandra's health was always bad, and she was preoccupied by Alexei, so maybe it was easier to have a relationship with Nicholas. He was somewhat more able to be related to as well. It is a very good question, and I am glad you asked it.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 24, 2006, 11:01:59 PM
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Why is it that four of the five children were closer to Nicholas than to Alexandra?

I would imagine that since they spent more time with Alexandra they would have been closer to her. Nonetheless, all of the children except Tatiana preferred their father's company over their mother's.

Anyone know more?




I don't necessarily think this is a negative reflection on Alexandra. Rather, I think it's a positive about Nicholas. Like his father, he adored his children and they him. His utter devotion to his family is one thing that no one can find fault with him about.

In contrast, I sense that Alexandra was much more the taskmaster and the disciplinarian of the children. I think she saw this, in addition to being Nicky's wife, as her career, her job. I'm sure she approached this with great seriousness.

This pattern of family life was by no means unique to this family. There are probably millions of others for whom dad is a source of fun and joy and mom is "the boss lady".
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: standart149 on May 25, 2006, 05:39:31 PM
Does anyone know the exact location of the "Bay of Standart"? For you who do not understand the question....the children, because they returned every year for many years, usually in June, to the same bay in the Finish firords refered to the location as "The Bay of Standart". Longitude and latitude would be helpful but I would expect a nonspecific answer, but try!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Margarita Markovna on May 25, 2006, 08:58:29 PM
It's been mentioned that he wasn't around as much as a reason, and I think that's true. For a few years when I was a little kid, my dad went on a lot of business trips to places like Japan and when he came back, Mom was history for a few weeks! Now I'm closer to Mom, but Dad doesn't travel as much. Maybe because Nicholas was away more regularly?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on May 26, 2006, 12:10:23 AM
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It's been mentioned that he wasn't around as much as a reason, and I think that's true. For a few years when I was a little kid, my dad went on a lot of business trips to places like Japan and when he came back, Mom was history for a few weeks! Now I'm closer to Mom, but Dad doesn't travel as much. Maybe because Nicholas was away more regularly?

That's certainly part of it.  The girls were particularly fond of their yearly outings on the Standart because it was the only real time they could spend with their father as truly dad.  They also spent a lot of time with him when he took breaks from work to walk around the parks at home.  Alexandra was a constant presence in their lives, and as pointed out, the taskmaster.  Not to mention a very physically and psychologically demanding individual.  With Nicholas, nothing was expected and fun was generally the rule.  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on May 26, 2006, 10:11:33 AM
It is indeed not really a negative reflection on Alexandra that they prefered Nicholas as a parent. He wasn't around as much, and this made time spent with him more special, less constrainted, and more fun. Alexandra had the role of taking care of the family, providing discipline, and usually the children are less close to this parent be it mother or father. Nicholas certainly cared about family, as did Alexandra, but perhaps they expressed that in different ways.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on May 26, 2006, 11:14:29 AM
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It is indeed not really a negative reflection on Alexandra that they prefered Nicholas as a parent. He wasn't around as much, and this made time spent with him more special, less constrainted, and more fun. Alexandra had the role of taking care of the family, providing discipline, and usually the children are less close to this parent be it mother or father. Nicholas certainly cared about family, as did Alexandra, but perhaps they expressed that in different ways.

I think some of it must be a negative reflection on Alexandra given her personality and the evidence that even her children from time to time found life with her depressing or strained.  She was a loving mother, yes, but in many ways her emotional state could be childishly selfish and cold.  But, you're right, she had the unfortunate luck to be the taskmaster of the family.  She could, however, have tried to be more loving and genial about her duties and the running of the house.  Nicholas seemed to derive a lot of his authority simply from his august position as Tsar, a status that was inseperable even from his identity as father.  What's wierd for me, though, is the children don't seem to have feared him the way a lot of monarch's children fear their ruling parents (as Nicholas did Alexander III).  Somehow he avoided that with his family, something I much admire in him.    
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on May 26, 2006, 11:51:13 AM
Yes, I admire that as well, actually. His children not only didn't fear him, they respected and loved him. They enjoyed a good relationship with their father. Alexandra was sometimes emotionally hard to get along with perhaps-certainly this could be one reason why the children felt closer to their father. But I find this reason overly simplistic myself. Alexandra was more complicated than Nicholas in general, even as a parent.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grace on May 27, 2006, 03:31:38 AM
From a child's perspective, Nicholas was obviously more fun to be around.  He was a very physically active, outdoor kind of person and kids are always attracted to that.  Alexandra mournfully languishing in her mauve boudoir day after day wouldn't have been as enjoyable for them but I'm sure she did things with them too that were special to them that Nicholas didn't or couldn't.  That's the good thing about having two parents - the contrasts between them give a great balance to family life.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on May 27, 2006, 04:20:49 PM
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From a child's perspective, Nicholas was obviously more fun to be around.  He was a very physically active, outdoor kind of person and kids are always attracted to that.  Alexandra mournfully languishing in her mauve boudoir day after day wouldn't have been as enjoyable for them but I'm sure she did things with them too that were special to them that Nicholas didn't or couldn't.  That's the good thing about having two parents - the contrasts between them give a great balance to family life.


"Mournfully languishing" seems to hit the nail on the head when it comes to Alexandra.  But I would add brooding, too  She was a very "woe is me" character :(  It's no wonder Nicholas spent so much time out of the house with his children tagging along.

Nicholas interacted with his children much differently than other men in his position.  He was still a little distant, but overall he enjoyed spending time with them and didn't seem to mind them tagging along.  This was probably a reaction to his own upbringing combined with the isolation his wife demanded for the family.  Alexander III was not one to let his son tag along to important Cabinet meetings and such, is there any record of Nicholas breaking this cycle and exposing his children to the political realities of ruling Russia even if it was something as small as letting the girls play in his office while talking to ministers?  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on May 28, 2006, 01:30:53 AM
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no response....I am not surprised.....much adolescent reponses are noted here...is there no one of sufficient intellect  that can respond??

Amusing. *raises eyebrow* Adodelscent responses? I hope you don't have a problem with teenagers. I know many teenagers who are smarter than some adults I've met.

Anyway, I've heard most girls seem to be closer to their fathers. It's true for my sister and I. OTMAA loved both their parents very much, but as others have said, Nikolai wasn't around as much and Alix's health wasn't great.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on May 31, 2006, 12:11:14 PM
Nicholas bring an outdoors person surely did appeal to his children more than Alexandra staying inside, and being sick. Of course, her health was bad, she was stressed, and it is not her fault that she was this way. Both parents tried hard hard to do their best, even if Nicholas's style of parenting was more appealing to his kids. He was a great father, easy to relate to and get along with. Alexandra may have seemed a more serious figure to her children, in my view. Perhaps this helped them think of Nicholas as more fun.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Clemence on October 18, 2006, 05:57:33 PM
I never heard of Alexander III and Nicholas II not getting along well, but I just read something different in a local forum and wanted your opinions on this ...
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 18, 2006, 08:56:47 PM
I thought they got along fairly well, although of course they disagreed from time to time on things. I think there are quotes from Alexander III saying that his son wasn't ready to get involved in politics, and wasn't mature enough, being still a child in thought. I think those are well known, but they don't represent any personal feelings against Nicholas on the part of his father. He was merely expressing his opinion on his son's capabilities as heir, or the lack thereof. Alexander III never bothered to train Nicholas in what would be his future role. Perhaps Alexander III thought he had longer than he had...
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Ena on October 19, 2006, 10:04:58 AM
I wonder why Alexander III never gave his son enough training.  I know that he didn't like state matters intruding on his family life, but Nicholas was his heir.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't AII make sure that all of his sons had some sort of gov't/military training? 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 19, 2006, 10:25:50 AM
Nicholas was trained in the military. But he was never given goverment training. Pretty much all Romanov Grand Dukes did have training in the military or navy. I don't think Nicholas ever got goverment training for the reasons I mentioned. Alexander III was fairly young, he must have assumed that he had longer, so that when Nicholas was older, he would give him the goverment training he needed.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on October 19, 2006, 11:20:29 AM
Nicholas was trained in the military. But he was never given goverment training. Pretty much all Romanov Grand Dukes did have training in the military or navy. I don't think Nicholas ever got goverment training for the reasons I mentioned. Alexander III was fairly young, he must have assumed that he had longer, so that when Nicholas was older, he would give him the goverment training he needed.

I agree.  Throughout most of his diaries during his young adulthood before his engagement, Nicholas lived the life typical to anybody born into wealth and privilege; without any real direction, just sort of having fun and enjoying life and leisure.  He certainly never held any ambition to be Tsar as he was quoted as saying to Sandro moments after his father's death.

Perhaps if he had really shown initiative Alexander III would have taken him seriously.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 19, 2006, 11:36:50 AM
I agree that, had he shown more initiative that things might have been different. Alexander III obviously felt he had time, Nicholas may have thought so as well. They both turned out wrong, but even with any lack of shown initiave, Alexander III ought to have realized that time, whether slow or fast, would bring Nicholas to the throne, and that he had to know his duties.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on October 19, 2006, 12:48:43 PM
Most definitely.  But I suppose that goes back to the whole over-protective mother overbearing father bit and keep their children "artificially young" as with the Grand Duchesses.

Maria Feodorovna and her sister both exhibited this with their children.  And I believe that Edvard Razdzinsky says in his book The Last Tsar that BOTH Nicky AND Michael responded the same as most sons of dominating fathers do.  They simply went along with everything they were told and were sort of "held back" by their strong willed parent and never really allowed to think for themselves. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 19, 2006, 01:14:24 PM
I think that is true. Both Alexandra and her sister Dowager Empress Marie F. were overbearing mothers, in various ways, and over protective of their children. Both them loved their children, but may not have realized sometimes you have let your children have some freedom, especially when they are royalty, and they have important roles to play. I am not sure that Alexander III was an overprotective father though.. and as for the Grand Duchesses, with their parents Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra it was a whole new set of dynamics, that may not take into account what is discussed here.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on October 19, 2006, 01:30:24 PM
True enough.  In saying Alexander III as overbearing, I suppose I should have said domineering. As you pointed out, not out of overprotection but more in line with enforcing his will withing the family and upon young Nicky -  as he did in the running the country.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 19, 2006, 04:12:36 PM
Well, he was Tsar, so I am sure he was used to enforcing his will. That isn't surprising at all. I think he could seem very domineering; he looked domineering. In private, he was sometimes so; he was also quite down to earth and liked to indulge in silly practical jokes at times. It seems his character was mixed.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Pippilin on October 19, 2006, 05:03:17 PM
I have read-- though in only one source-- that Alexander III suffered from the "secret" family disease, alcoholism.  If true, this could explain his relatively early death and may have meant that he was not able to offer much emotional support to his family. Nicky may never have received much of an education in being a ruler if Alexander III were an absentee father.  If he were an absentee husband as well, Marie Fedorovna may have found her relationships with her children to be the only reliable
ones she had.  Hence her difficulty in "turning" Nicholas over to Alix after their marriage. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Ortino on October 20, 2006, 04:26:18 PM
I have read-- though in only one source-- that Alexander III suffered from the "secret" family disease, alcoholism.  If true, this could explain his relatively early death and may have meant that he was not able to offer much emotional support to his family. Nicky may never have received much of an education in being a ruler if Alexander III were an absentee father.  If he were an absentee husband as well, Marie Fedorovna may have found her relationships with her children to be the only reliable
ones she had.  Hence her difficulty in "turning" Nicholas over to Alix after their marriage. 

Alexander III died of nephritis, or inflammation of the kidney. The two most common causes are infection or auto-immune process. Where exactly did you read about alcoholism? 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on October 21, 2006, 12:41:33 AM
I have read-- though in only one source-- that Alexander III suffered from the "secret" family disease, alcoholism.  If true, this could explain his relatively early death and may have meant that he was not able to offer much emotional support to his family.

Alexander III died of nephritis, or inflammation of the kidney. The two most common causes are infection or auto-immune process. Where exactly did you read about alcoholism?

Hello Pippilin,

I would like to assure you that Alexander III was NOT an alcoholic. This unfortunate myth was initiated in the West and continues to be perpetuated by some Western historians who regretably failed to search in the Russian archives to locate Alexander III's Autopsy Report.

For a better understanding as to what Alexander III suffered from and the cause of his death please read the following recently published article in "European Royal History J. (April, 2006), which is also made available for your convenience here:

http://www.geocities.com/mushkah//AlexanderIIIDeath.html

Alexander III was not an "absentee father" as you claim. He was a devoted family man. Perhaps you should consult Vorres book on Grand Duchess Olga, who stated that her father was everything to her. That devotion to family translated to Nikolai II as well. When Alexander III died, Nikolai was an adult. 


Regards,

Margraita
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Svetabel on October 21, 2006, 01:37:02 PM
I have read-- though in only one source-- that Alexander III suffered from the "secret" family disease, alcoholism.  If true, this could explain his relatively early death and may have meant that he was not able to offer much emotional support to his family.

Alexander III died of nephritis, or inflammation of the kidney. The two most common causes are infection or auto-immune process. Where exactly did you read about alcoholism?

Hello Pippilin,

I would like to assure you that Alexander III was NOT an alcoholic. This unfortunate myth was initiated in the West and continues to be perpetuated by some Western historians who regretably failed to search in the Russian archives to locate Alexander III's Autopsy Report.


This myth was one of the favourites tales of the Soviet historians and some Soviet writers. It was very convienient to treat all the Tzars like alhoholics,tyrants and maniacs who never done anything good only grinded the poor. >:(
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on October 21, 2006, 01:51:24 PM
I think this is yet another reason why a good biography on Alexander III is needed.   Margraita's excellent article on the death of Alexander III has started to push back on the long held rumor that Alexander was a raging drunk - and I can't help but wonder what other well known “facts” about Alexander III are equally incorrect.

Speaking specifically to this thread - I think that it is fair to say that Nicholas and Alexander had a highly complex relationship.  Alexander was vocal about the fact that his son was a disappointment to him - in his childish outlook on life, his lack of experience with women, his ultimate choice of a bride, his lack of interest in governmental matters, his inability to deal effectively with ministers and his peers in the family, etc.  Alexander was a hard man.  He needed to be.  He came to the throne after watching his father bleed to death from a terrorist bomb.  Remember he (Alexander III) was not thought that highly of by his own parents who preferred his older brother Nicholas and he was pressured throughout his life by his younger brother Vladimir who cursed the accident of birth that kept him from the throne.

Alexander did make time for his kids.  He was often referred to as a kid himself – the family holidays in Denmark are loaded with stories of him (Alexander) playing tricks on the children of the extended family as well as them playing tricks on him.

Having said that, I believe Nicholas worshipped his father - especially those characteristics that made him a strong and powerful ruler.  Remember also that Nicholas had a very immature outlook on life.  Nicholas didn’t really grow up until his father died and than he had to grow up so quickly that it was too late for him to develop his personality into a strong, yet forward looking ruler.

I believe that Alexander was better connected to his children that Empress Marie - Marie, ever the society darling, left the details of raising her children to others - don't read this as a criticism - that was what was generally (but not always) done at that time.  On a family level, I believe that while he was a better parent that Marie, the times, the pressures of the throne, and Alexander’s own upbringing made him a hard and difficult parent.

In summary, the million dollar question will always be, had Alexander III not gotten sick and died so quickly would he, over time, have better prepared Nicholas for the throne – something that required more experience in government affairs and more support to help him (Nicholas II) grow up into a confident, thoughtful and secure man?  All attributes necessary to run a country as large and complex as Russia.

dca
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mazukov on October 21, 2006, 09:00:01 PM
I would like to add a footnote to this, and It’s just a thought. For us who have children, we will at times judge out children differently. We can also be vocal about there faults, as was Alexander in his vocal displeasure of Nicholas as a man, and his ability to deal with Government or current advents (much like his comment have you ever tried to have a conversation with him)
With that said. It no way means that they didn’t get along or that Alexander was a bad parent. he was in fact speaking the truth, about the faults and weaknesses of his son.

Looking back on history it would not have mattered who was sitting on the throne during the first world war. Imperial Russia was going change. Perhaps it may have survived in some form. But the changes that did take place were going to happen no matter who was tsar
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on October 21, 2006, 09:06:21 PM
I have read-- though in only one source-- that Alexander III suffered from the "secret" family disease, alcoholism.  If true, this could explain his relatively early death and may have meant that he was not able to offer much emotional support to his family.

Alexander III died of nephritis, or inflammation of the kidney. The two most common causes are infection or auto-immune process. Where exactly did you read about alcoholism?

Hello Pippilin,

I would like to assure you that Alexander III was NOT an alcoholic. This unfortunate myth was initiated in the West and continues to be perpetuated by some Western historians who regretably failed to search in the Russian archives to locate Alexander III's Autopsy Report.


This myth was one of the favourites tales of the Soviet historians and some Soviet writers. It was very convienient to treat all the Tzars like alhoholics,tyrants and maniacs who never done anything good only grinded the poor. >:(

My parents were taught the same by their soviet pedagogues in their schools. Imperial history was washed over while intense study was frowned upon. Such a platform permitted the soviet masters not to negate the myths. 

But then what could the soviet schools offer except to extol the virtues of their anointed comrade leaders who actually were paranoid tyrants and dictatorial.

Margarita
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on October 21, 2006, 09:15:48 PM
Looking back on history it would not have mattered who was sitting on the throne during the first world war. Imperial Russia was going change. Perhaps it may have survived in some form. But the changes that did take place were going to happen no matter who was tsar


Respectfully I would tender that it DID matter that Nikolai II was the sovereign at that time. Imperial Russian could have converted into a consitutional monarchy, but there were too many enemies surrounding Nikolai who ensured that the monarchy was no longer tenable.

Margarita  
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: carl fraley on October 21, 2006, 09:57:10 PM
Ok this is just my belief and I totally agree that the Alcoholic lies are just that!!  Everyone knows that Nicholas was not prepared to be Tsar, even HIH GD OLga said this.  A III has been described by his nieces and nephews and olga and misha as being attentive and loving and very playful with the children. 

I theory is that Alexander simply wanted to provide his children with a carefree as possible life until he had no other choice.  When his illness engulfed him and think it was too too late to change the past.  I think Sasha was simply a very caring father who didn't want to burden his children with something he thought he could prolong.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on October 22, 2006, 12:58:19 AM
Ok this is just my belief and I totally agree that the Alcoholic lies are just that!!  Everyone knows that Nicholas was not prepared to be Tsar, even HIH GD OLga said this.  A III has been described by his nieces and nephews and olga and misha as being attentive and loving and very playful with the children. 

I theory is that Alexander simply wanted to provide his children with a carefree as possible life until he had no other choice.  When his illness engulfed him and think it was too too late to change the past.  I think Sasha was simply a very caring father who didn't want to burden his children with something he thought he could prolong.

Alexander III kept matters of State and family separate. There are wonderful images portrayed in recent Russian publications how AIII enjoyed wandering through the forest in Gatchina with his children, or partaking in boat rides on the lake or fishing. When he could, Alexander III spent quality time with his children. It was one of few diversions where he found peace and joy.

Not one single Russian memoir of that period have ever placed Alexander in negative terms when it came to his devotion for his family as a father. He was tough but he was considerate.

Margarita
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on October 22, 2006, 07:00:58 AM
I absolutely agree that it made a big difference who was on the Russian throne in 1914.  I don't know that I am qualified to give an accurate look at what Russia would have been like in 1914 if Alexander III was still on the throne.  At approximately 69 years old he would have been on the throne for approximately 30 years.  I'm heading off topic here - and maybe this would be a good topic for another thread - but I suspect that Russia would have continued to be fairly stable under A III (not because he was transforming the monarchy into something more modern, but because he would have been surrounded by stronger advisors and he would have probably maintained that "iron grip" he had on the monarchy before he got ill).  The economic prosperity that started to show itself in the early 1900's would have started earlier and maybe, just maybe, life in the cities would have been better.  One thing I am pretty sure of is that had A III been alive and if Edward still sat on the English throne in 1914 the Kaiser wouldn't have dared to start WW I.

Margarita - your study of the death of A III was great.  I've used it in a project I've been working on for years - a study on the final years of his life.  Have you thought about writing further about A III?  Let me encourage you to if you’re considering it!

best,
dca
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: James1941 on October 22, 2006, 04:52:38 PM
Yes, but....! The Kaiser did not start World War I. Austria did. Alexander III might not have been able to prevent it. The only difference would have been that he could have stood up to those who were clamoring for war and might have negoiated. Edward VII would have had no choice but declare war if his government decided on it.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 22, 2006, 07:03:47 PM
Had Alexander III lived, I think he might have prepared Nicholas for the throne better. He thought Nicholas was inexperienced, and too much thinking of fairly frivolous things to begin to instruct him in goverment. Nicholas was indeed in his twenties, but Alexander's judgement about what his son's abilities and maturity level were, was largely factual. Alexander assumed he would train his son in goverment when he had more maturity and interest, but that time never came. Alexander died before that time came. But he didn't know that, so without hindsight, perhaps Alexander III's instincts were right. It did leave Nicholas more unprepared when he came to the throne though. As for the more personal aspects of Alexander III as a father, I think he was largely a good father. There are things you can debate there, but to me he was mostly a good parent.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on October 22, 2006, 09:18:21 PM
Margarita - your study of the death of A III was great.  I've used it in a project I've been working on for years - a study on the final years of his life.  Have you thought about writing further about A III?  Let me encourage you to if you’re considering it!

best,
dca


Thank you Dominic for your generous words.

One remarkable quality about Alexander III was that he abhored war and understood the meaning of preserving life, having personally observed the destruction caused by the Russo-Turkish war and the old battlefields in the Crimea. Those images consolidated his resolve that not a single drop of Russian blood would be shed on Russian soil. He succeeded in that ideal.  In this matter Alexander III demonstrated an iron will.

Unquestionably Alexander III's pacificity would have translated to Nikolai.

Thanks for your encouragement!  :) We shall see what shall transpire ....

Best regards,

Margarita
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 24, 2006, 10:22:05 AM
On another note, about this thread: I think that it is hard to say if things would have been different depending on who was on the Russian throne, about the Revolution happening or not. I don't think that it might have made as much difference as you might think, about whether it was Nicholas II or anybody else. I think it might have mattered if Nicholas had more training in goverment, and he was on the throne then, but it's hard to say. I think sometimes things happen irrespective of the people involved, having more to do with circumstances.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on October 24, 2006, 06:34:26 PM
Yes, but....! The Kaiser did not start World War I. Austria did. Alexander III might not have been able to prevent it. The only difference would have been that he could have stood up to those who were clamoring for war and might have negoiated. Edward VII would have had no choice but declare war if his government decided on it.

I'm not sure that you understand the family dynamics involved here.  With Alexander III still on the throne the Kaiser never would have dared to mobilize.  He was equally scared of Edward.  When their generation passed he assumed he was the leader of the new generation of european royalty - he regularly tried to bully his cousins, he was dismissive of both Nicholas and King George and without the Kaiser, Austria could have done nothing.  Now I do admit that this is speculation - pure and simple, but at heart of it the Kaiser was a bully - the only way to manage a bully is by being a bully back at him /her- something Alexander and Edward could and did do.  King George and Emperor Nicholas couldn't do it, the Kaiser knew they were weak, and so he felt empowered to unleash his war machine on Europe...

dca
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on October 24, 2006, 06:41:19 PM
On another note, about this thread: I think that it is hard to say if things would have been different depending on who was on the Russian throne, about the Revolution happening or not. I don't think that it might have made as much difference as you might think, about whether it was Nicholas II or anybody else. I think it might have mattered if Nicholas had more training in goverment, and he was on the throne then, but it's hard to say. I think sometimes things happen irrespective of the people involved, having more to do with circumstances.

Surely you are not saying that the 1905 revolution, WW I, and the Russian Revolution would have happened regardless of the fact if a healthy Alexander III or weak and insecure Nicholas II sat on the Russian throne?  Granted, it is difficult to say with certainty, but surely Alexander's ruling style and ability to surround himself with wise, thoughtful advisors would have resulted in a very different outcome than what happened with Nicholas on the throne.

dca
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 25, 2006, 08:21:16 AM
I think you would need a separate thread to discuss these pros and cons. I think the matter is complicated; certainly there were specific circumstances surrounding Nicholas and Alexandra that led to the outcome of events as they happened. But there were things happening in Russia anyway, that had been happening for generations that might have come to fruit regardless of who was Tsar. Alexander II was a good Tsar and made some reforms yet he was brutally killed. So no matter how good Nicholas had been as a ruler, one wonders of there still would not have been things like what happened to Alexander II. But, if World War I had not bgeen entered into by Russia, I think the revolution might not have happened. If Russia had a different ruler, perhaps World War I would not have been fought by Russia. Nicholas and Alexandra made some mistakes, Rasputin among them, and were those sufficient to lead to revolution? I can't answer that question, but you have to consider the background.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on October 25, 2006, 11:33:09 AM
I think you would need a separate thread to discuss these pros and cons. I think the matter is complicated; certainly there were specific circumstances surrounding Nicholas and Alexandra that led to the outcome of events as they happened. But there were things happening in Russia anyway, that had been happening for generations that might have come to fruit regardless of who was Tsar. Alexander II was a good Tsar and made some reforms yet he was brutally killed. So no matter how good Nicholas had been as a ruler, one wonders of there still would not have been things like what happened to Alexander II. But, if World War I had not bgeen entered into by Russia, I think the revolution might not have happened. If Russia had a different ruler, perhaps World War I would not have been fought by Russia. Nicholas and Alexandra made some mistakes, Rasputin among them, and were those sufficient to lead to revolution? I can't answer that question, but you have to consider the background.

I also think that the factors that surrounded the reign of Nicholas II in his personal life more than likely just sped up the process.  The background against which he reigned had been playing itself out since before Alexander II's time.  It was simmering then. 

I read a book about Catherine the Great  and I'm not quoting word for word but generally she was quoted as criticizing The Bourbons and the Revolution in France because the "handgrenade was thrown under their own sofa" and and then they had the nerve to act surprised when it when off - and the book remarked how Catherine the Great could not have know she was predicting her own family's ruin with this statement.  The stage had been set long before Nicholas came to the thrown.  So even a strong ruler may not have been able to stem the tide that had been raging for years before.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on October 25, 2006, 11:46:46 AM
I know. I think it was defintely circumstances more than anything else. A certain number of factors came together, and the Russian Revolution was produced. I think throwing the blame on Nicholas and Alexandra completely isn't realistic. Yes, some of the things surrounding them were not helpful, but it wasn't the one and only cause. Had there been different rulers, different things might have happened. It seems that always could be the case. But, the background and context of circumstances most likely had more of an effect than anything else.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Elisabeth on October 31, 2006, 01:00:23 PM
I don't think World War I could have been prevented. The great powers were spoiling for it. They were all armed to the teeth and they all believed that this conflict would be like most armed conflicts in the late nineteenth century, easily decided after a couple days of battle. No one was prepared for the war of attrition and mass killing that set in.

If Alexander III had been on the Russian throne, IMHO, there would still have been a WWI. Russia had to decide whether it was going to become an economic and perhaps even a political satellite of Germany, or whether it could stand on its own two feet and be an international power. I don't think even Alexander III could have resisted the challenge, and remember, he himself had already tied Russia's fortunes to France. Whither thou goest, I will go...
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RichC on October 31, 2006, 08:22:23 PM
I don't think World War I could have been prevented. The great powers were spoiling for it. They were all armed to the teeth and they all believed that this conflict would be like most armed conflicts in the late nineteenth century, easily decided after a couple days of battle. No one was prepared for the war of attrition and mass killing that set in.

If Alexander III had been on the Russian throne, IMHO, there would still have been a WWI. Russia had to decide whether it was going to become an economic and perhaps even a political satellite of Germany, or whether it could stand on its own two feet and be an international power. I don't think even Alexander III could have resisted the challenge, and remember, he himself had already tied Russia's fortunes to France. Whither thou goest, I will go...

I agree.  There were much stronger forces at work in regard to the coming catastrophe than inter-dynasty dynamics.  In particular, war between Britain/France and Germany was inevitable.  The war with Japan, however, is another matter.  I don't believe Alexander III would ever have been so foolish to listen to von Pleve and start a war with Japan. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tania+ on October 31, 2006, 09:12:38 PM
LoriC, it is wonderful to see a poster who has read considerably, and can place history as it should be. Bravisimo!
I can also see you read well, and really follow up in getting to the source, as well as bottom line answers. Well done.

Tatiana+
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on October 31, 2006, 11:30:45 PM
I don't think World War I could have been prevented. The great powers were spoiling for it. They were all armed to the teeth and they all believed that this conflict would be like most armed conflicts in the late nineteenth century, easily decided after a couple days of battle. No one was prepared for the war of attrition and mass killing that set in.

If Alexander III had been on the Russian throne, IMHO, there would still have been a WWI. Russia had to decide whether it was going to become an economic and perhaps even a political satellite of Germany, or whether it could stand on its own two feet and be an international power. I don't think even Alexander III could have resisted the challenge, and remember, he himself had already tied Russia's fortunes to France. Whither thou goest, I will go...

Thank you for your thoughtful response.  Of course this is all conjecture - who knows what might have happened had Alexander III lived longer and actually trained Nicholas to become a better leader.  And in theory, perhaps Nicholas avoided some crisis or another that Alexander might have fallen in to – although I can’t think of an example of this right now.

What I am not entirely clear about is how the Kaiser might have been different if Edward and Alexander had been still alive in 1914.  I've read little on the Kaiser and virtually nothing on the governmental workings of Imperial Germany - What I do know is that the Kaiser was terribly intimidated by his Grandmother, Edward and Alexander (amongst others) and that in some ways, I've always viewed his hot pursuit of WWI as being in response to how he had scene himself bullied by his relatives over the years.  His over powering desire to prove himself as the dominant European monarch must have been seated in his treatment by his relatives earlier in life.  This does suppose that he single-handedly had the power to put Germany on a war footing - which he didn’t - and that other German forces within the government weren't also looking for a fight for geo-political and economic reasons - which they were.

What can never be known with certainty is how much of Nicholas's indecisiveness, stubbornness about handing off the throne to "baby" unchanged, and his complete rejection of modernizing the institution of the throne was driven by his relationship with his father, his lack of training by his father, and the 19th century outlook on the world that he could never abandon.  All of which could have been different had Alexander lived longer and not thought of him as a political dunderhead (my word).  Then of course, you also have to consider how Marie treated him after Alexander's death - and how Nicholas allowed himself to be treated by her.  I’ve increasingly read that her meddling in Government affairs and her inability to let her son grow up also contributed to all the problems we now know Nicholas had – poor fella.  Well, actually, poor Russia and Europe and millions upon millions of ordinary people who perished in the Russo-Japanese War, WW I and the Russian Revolution…

This could become a great what-if story I guess...

best,
dca
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on November 01, 2006, 08:31:12 AM
I tend to agree with the post of Elisabeth. World War I could not have been prevented. There was just too much going on at the time, and it was bound to happen. Certainly, it was a event in Russian history, but it was one more so an event in world history. Countries can perhaps events from happening in their own country, but they cannot prevent events from happening on the international stage. Nor can they prevent the impact of other countries events on them if they choose to get involved with those countries.

It is far too simplistic to blame Nicholas II personally for these things. Certainly, the ruler has some responsibility, but events can always get beyond them too. And unless one is a dictator, there are events that do get beyond rulers. Circumstances played their part, as much as who was on the throne. Nicholas could have been a better leader, but that doesn't make him to blame for everything.In the shaping of the leader he became, or not, his father had some responsibility, and I am sure his mother might have had some too. As for wanting to preserve the throne for his son, I always thought that it was Alexandra who was most vehement on that, not that Nicholas didn't consider that important.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Elisabeth on November 01, 2006, 10:36:25 AM
Thank you for your thoughtful response.  Of course this is all conjecture - who knows what might have happened had Alexander III lived longer and actually trained Nicholas to become a better leader.  And in theory, perhaps Nicholas avoided some crisis or another that Alexander might have fallen in to – although I can’t think of an example of this right now.

You bring up some interesting scenarios. But don't you think RichC is right and that Alexander III would no doubt have avoided the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05? I think this is a good example of how Nicholas's inexperience led him into a crisis of unbelievable proportions. His country erupted into revolution as a result of his poor decision-making, and Nicholas was forced to issue the October Manifesto, granting all Russians civil rights as well as a representative assembly, the Duma (much against his own inclinations, and I'm quite sure he knew that his father was rolling over in his grave at the prospect).

What I am not entirely clear about is how the Kaiser might have been different if Edward and Alexander had been still alive in 1914.  I've read little on the Kaiser and virtually nothing on the governmental workings of Imperial Germany - What I do know is that the Kaiser was terribly intimidated by his Grandmother, Edward and Alexander (amongst others) and that in some ways, I've always viewed his hot pursuit of WWI as being in response to how he had scene himself bullied by his relatives over the years.  His over powering desire to prove himself as the dominant European monarch must have been seated in his treatment by his relatives earlier in life.  This does suppose that he single-handedly had the power to put Germany on a war footing - which he didn’t - and that other German forces within the government weren't also looking for a fight for geo-political and economic reasons - which they were.

Unfortunately I am also very ignorant about internal German politics in this period. My impression is, however, that the generals usually had the upper hand over Wilhelm II - at any rate, they definitely had it by 1917. But I think that even back in 1914 they wanted war as much or more than the Kaiser did. Germany was bent on establishing itself as the preeminent European power. What's so ironic is that despite defeats in two world wars, by the time of the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s Germany had established itself as the dominant economic power in Europe. So one might well ask, what, in the end, was all the killing for?

What can never be known with certainty is how much of Nicholas's indecisiveness, stubbornness about handing off the throne to "baby" unchanged, and his complete rejection of modernizing the institution of the throne was driven by his relationship with his father, his lack of training by his father, and the 19th century outlook on the world that he could never abandon.  All of which could have been different had Alexander lived longer and not thought of him as a political dunderhead (my word).  Then of course, you also have to consider how Marie treated him after Alexander's death - and how Nicholas allowed himself to be treated by her.  I’ve increasingly read that her meddling in Government affairs and her inability to let her son grow up also contributed to all the problems we now know Nicholas had – poor fella.  Well, actually, poor Russia and Europe and millions upon millions of ordinary people who perished in the Russo-Japanese War, WW I and the Russian Revolution…

IMHO if Alexander III had lived longer the situation in Russia would not have been so very different. There may not have been a disastrous war with Japan, but the demands of a growing Russian civil society for representation in the imperial government would have continued to resonate louder and more vociferously with every passing year. Remember that even during the reign of Alexander III the radical intelligentsia was already locked in a fatal embrace with the autocracy. The more oppressive and repressive the autocracy grew, the more implacable and violent the revolutionaries became. One or the other side was condemned to bite the dust... I'm sure there would have been a revolution, although perhaps not until 1917, instead of as early as 1905-06.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tsarfan on November 01, 2006, 09:44:04 PM
There was more than one bad father-son relationship in the recipe that brewed up World War I.

Wilhelm II had a very bad relationship with his father, Friedrich III.  Had Friedrich not died of throat cancer shortly after ascending the German throne, many of Wilhelm's chronic diplomatic gaffes that inexorably drained the balance, the sense of predictability, and the sense of restraint from international politics between 1888 and 1914 might well have been avoided.  Also, Friedrich's somewhat British sense of a liberal political order might have put the diplomatic maneuvers of the civilian government less at the disposal of the Prussian military's tactical policy.

Dying even more prematurely than Alexander III, Friedrich III unleashed a cartoonish poppinjay onto the stage of European history who was destined to turn high farce into enduring tragedy.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on November 09, 2006, 12:08:53 PM
Well, if the last person meant to say that Nicholas and Alexander III's was a bad relationship, I don't think that it was. I think there were difficult issues there at times, and he could have trained Nicholas to be a more prepared ruler, because he had little enough of that when he came to the throne. As for the Kaiser and his father, the Kaiser was always hot headed, and was especially so when he was young, if the relationship with his father was bad ( it was difficult), then it was defintely the Kaiser's fault, in more ways than one. His father did the best he could, and Alexander III thought he did, and perhaps did.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on November 09, 2006, 12:27:34 PM
I think Alexander III (and MF) tried to sheild all of their children and in doing so, Nicholas II was not only kept from affairs of state, but also from really having an opinion of any kind, something he displayed throughout his life. He vascillated between two courses of action, never really being firm except on maybe a couple of occasions.  In my opinion, this doesn't mean to say that father and son didn't get along.  In fact, Nicholas II loved his father very much and accepted his father's opinion of him as fact.  He never rebelled except against marrying anybody but Alix.  He very much agreed with his father that he was "an absolute child" when it came to anything important.  But I don't think it affected their relationship.  AIII was respected and feared but was also very loving and kind.  Nicholas was absolutely crushed when is father died.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on November 09, 2006, 12:54:14 PM
Yes, he was very sheltered, indeed. I think that it was perhaps more his native personality not have a opinion of any kind than not. I think he was just the type who was not political, but who was more than required to be involved in politics because of who he was. It was sometimes said that he offered as his final choice the opinion of the last person he talked to, but that is to oversimplify, etc. I think he think this was not because he was easily influenced, but more because he may have found it easier to take someone else's view, if it was the last one he heard. But, such things were more in his personality than the upbringing that Alexander III gave him.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on November 09, 2006, 01:35:07 PM
I think it could be a mixture.  For someone with a personality prone to be indecisive and was never raised to be so it could be.  AIII certainly never asked for Nicky's opinion in running the country or on any topic of any real consequence and Nicky certainly never offered.  I don't think it was that he was easily influenced either.  I think he just was indecisive about certain things.  There is evidence that he dug in heels when he thought he was right, as for example marrying Alix.  But he did find in other matters, i think, easier to agree with somebody else's view.  I also feel though that AIII could have corrected the situation by allowing Nicky a greater participation not just in public matters but in family matters as well. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on November 09, 2006, 03:20:19 PM
Yes, I agree he was not easily influenced, there is much evidence that he could very much stick to his opinions and judgements sometimes. I think he did find it easier to agree with someone else's view, indeed. But, that was only when he did not know what to do, which at times was the case. He seemed to know when he really wanted to do something, etc. Yes, Alexander III might have been wiser to have allowed him more say, I feel that was most damaging in the fact that he did not have experience with goverment when he took the throne. But, I think it was just circumstances that made this happen.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on November 10, 2006, 08:53:50 AM
Yes.   I think AIII felt he had a lot more time than he really got.  He probably felt that at 26, Nicky still wasn't mature enough to even begin thinking about buckling down and preparing himself to reign over 1/6 of the globe.  Nicky sure felt that he wasn't prepared.  In my opinion, both men really didn't get long enough in their relationship w/each other and both were short changed by circumstance.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on November 10, 2006, 09:46:01 AM
Yes, they both came to the throne when they were not prepared, and may not have been thinking of it. Nicholas II came to throne rather young, and unprepared, and this was due to his lack of training, and, as well the sudden circumstances of his father's death.Alexander III was older, but he came to the throne in the wake of his father's brutal assasination, and he could not have expected that. Both did their best, but there was that background, although Alexander III was more prepared.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lori_c on November 10, 2006, 09:57:27 AM
It is interesting to note that AIII stayed in the shadows as Tsareavitch but was consistent in his opposition of his father's reforms and embarrassed by his father's handling of family matters.  He had made a firm decision early on how he felt.  The assisination only cemented his resolve to crush all opposition and to begin fixing the dynasty from inside the family outward. 

Nicholas had nothing in his life to make him strong in resolve about anything except his feelings for Alix.  Also,  MF was quite different from AIII mother Empress Marie.  MF kept her children quite close and was the buffer between her children and their father, a position she relished.  Her children, especially her sons, went to her for most things.  Poor Empress Marie A. was quite ill and AII having his second family living w/them made her withdraw from her children's day to day lives.  Thereby making AIII much more independent than Nicky. 

I think that in their relationship w/each other, AIII could not understand Nicky but there was surely a strong familial bond.  After all, AIII loved his family above all things.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on November 10, 2006, 10:26:06 AM
Yes, you are right, they could not understand each other, yet they defintely were close, they had a bond. Alexander III was a fairly good father by the standards of the day, and he defintely loved his children, and tried to do the best by them. He certainly didn't train Nicholas as much as he needed, but he didn't think that it was a neccesity at that time, and time crept up on him too fast. Alexander III was more knowing what he should do, and had a path, yes. Nicholas did stick to things, but he sometimes didn't really know what to do, and that doesn't mean he listened too much to other people, just that he was not that decisive.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Elizaveta on December 03, 2006, 12:24:58 PM
Who was the favorite daughter of Tsar Nicholas II? From some books I've read, Olga was said to be his favorite daughter, but there were also other books that claimed Maria was Nicholas's most beloved daughter. Some historians implied that either Tatiana (definitely Alexandra's favorite girl, but some books referred her as her parents' favorite daughter) or Anastasia (Nicholas enjoyed her mischevious company) was the favorite daughter of Nicholas II. To the experts of the Romanov family's intimate life, what is your thought on that?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: tatianolishka_ on December 03, 2006, 12:35:53 PM
Well, I'm no expert, but I know that normally parents don't have a favourite child. There are children who are most like their parents (I'm 98% my dad) and relate to them better, but it doesn't make them a favourite. Nicholas could relate to Olga best because she was very much like him: a little shy, loved reading, etc. and Alix could relate to Tatiana because she was most like her Mama.

So I don't think he really had a favourite. He loved all his daughters equally and never favored one over the others.  :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Katherine The O.K. on December 03, 2006, 12:58:38 PM
Like Tatianolinshka said, I think Nicholas related to Olga best, because she was old enough that he could, in some ways I believe, relate to her on an adult level. She knew the most about her family's situation when compared to her sibilings, and I imagine they must have discussed stuff relating to that all the time.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: otma_gal3 on December 03, 2006, 10:19:53 PM
Since on every seperate forum there is an anecdote page...I was just wondering if there are any for Nicholas?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Katherine The O.K. on December 05, 2006, 08:35:03 PM
Well, there is the story about the cross (my favorite)

Nicholas and his siblings were given hollow crosses containing beeswax with a piece of the one true cross somewhere inside it. However, they were given these presents during lent, and during one apparently difficult day of fasting, Nicholas opened his cross and ate the beeswax, holy relic and all. When asked, he confided that it had tasted 'immorally good'.

Nicholas was also very fond of his brother George, and he loved the jokes George would think up during lessons. So much, in fact, that he would copy them down and file them away in a little box. After George died and Nicholas became Tsar, he could be heard laughing as he read the jokes over again in his study.  :'( Very sad, IMO.

While not an anecdote, on one of the rare pictures threads in Having Fun, there is a picture of Nicholas riding piggy back on one of his cousins while sticking his arms out, shutting his eyes, and sticking out his tongue. There's also one of him and the same cousin (can't remember who it was) acting like monkeys. It's really, really funny, and quite touching.

*Some of the specifics of these stories may be wrong, so forgive me now!
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Caleb on December 18, 2006, 02:51:26 PM
If I remember right, Nicholas II once refferred to Queen Victoria as "a round ball on shaky legs"
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Jarian on February 04, 2007, 05:57:47 PM
That funny how he ate the beeswax  ;D
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: rosieposie on February 20, 2007, 07:37:23 PM
Hmm I cant really think of any.  But the Queen Victoria one is funny. Hee Hee.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Forum Admin on February 20, 2007, 08:04:28 PM
I like this one, courtesy of Spiridovitch:

One day in the Crimea, Nicholas was taking one of his usual long walks in the countryside, alone, followed only by a secret police agent.  He came across a small farmhouse, owned by a Jew, who advertised turpentine for sale. He saw the farmer, and asked if he could buy some turpentine... The Jewish farmer said "Go away. We don't sell retail. Wholesale only." Nicholas smiled and went on his way.  The police agent came immediately up to the Jewish farmer, asking "What did the Tsar ask you? What did His Majesty want with  you?"  The Jewish farmer said "tsar? What Tsar??" then went pale. He fell to his knees and begged the policeman to intercede on his behalf, swearing he didn't recognise the Emperor.

The policeman told Nicholas this story. Nicholas laughed and smiled. He then wrote out a request for a gallon of turpentine and sent it along with 20 gold rubles to the farmer to pay for it.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: grandduchessella on February 20, 2007, 08:44:38 PM
I always enjoyed the one relating how he and George V--meeting in 1913 for Kaiser Wilhelm's daughter Victoria Louise's wedding--complained to each other about how they couldn't get time to chat privately because everywhere they went, Wilhelm popped up trying to get in on their conversations. It just struck me funny. Grown men, rulers of nations, yet they have the same problems with troublesome relatives at large family gatherings as we all do.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: azrael7171918 on April 22, 2007, 10:49:44 AM
I always enjoyed the one relating how he and George V--meeting in 1913 for Kaiser Wilhelm's daughter Victoria Louise's wedding--complained to each other about how they couldn't get time to chat privately because everywhere they went, Wilhelm popped up trying to get in on their conversations. It just struck me funny. Grown men, rulers of nations, yet they have the same problems with troublesome relatives at large family gatherings as we all do.

Funny or maybe it's not. I always considered World War I a family squable that got out of hand. Also I have a co-worker who does the same thing drives everybody nuts.

azrael
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Ocean268 on May 13, 2007, 10:55:37 AM
Surely Nicholas must have heard the rumors or the fact that their lives were in danger.  Why didn't he pack up the family and leave the country?   He had the forethought to move some of his money to the US and parts of Europe.  He could as least send his son and daughters to relatives outside Russia.

He had Royal family and relatives around the world, why didn't they come to his aid?  They could have set up a rescue mission to save them.  What happen to his trusted army?  Not all are turncoats.

When the world heard that the family was arrest, again where was the relatives?  England, France, Denmark and Germany had the Romanovs clan.  What did they do?  Sit back and wait?  For some unknown reason, until today not one of the Royals are talking about this.  Didn't Russia have any allies?

They weren't killed until months later.  Again a rescue mission could have saved them.

The Romanovs grandmother, aunts left. 

Is this because, as the orientials put it, "to save face" that's why they stayed?

Nicholas and Family, had a net worth at that time of 40 Billion american dollars.  Why didn't he feed his people?

Did Nicholas had a clue why his people were so upset? 

This whole tragedy is another retelling of the Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Justine on May 13, 2007, 03:06:40 PM

Nicholas and Family, had a net worth at that time of 40 Billion american dollars.  Why didn't he feed his people?


You might not know that Nicholas had pay for a war from his own moneys.


Did Nicholas had a clue why his people were so upset? 


I think Nicholas didn't even know how strong his people were upset. He was just reciveing messages from his wife, so he didn't knew everything. And for heaven sake, even if he'd knew about it, what it'd change?
He knew that the country needs reprganizations, but he wish to did it after war.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Rosemary* on May 13, 2007, 04:44:00 PM
I do not think that Czar Nicholas had the least idea of the grave danger that he and his family were in, even up to the last minute of their tragic lives.  Otherwise, he would not have handed himself and his family over, bit by little bit, into the hands of his enemy, the people.  When he first abdicated, the "enemy" was of a different nature than in the tragic end.   I believe that his greatest flaw was an inability to discriminate between good and evil.

Rosemary 

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: TheAce1918 on May 13, 2007, 05:35:59 PM
I do not think that Czar Nicholas had the least idea of the grave danger that he and his family were in, even up to the last minute of their tragic lives.  Otherwise, he would not have handed himself and his family over, bit by little bit, into the hands of his enemy, the people.  When he first abdicated, the "enemy" was of a different nature than in the tragic end.   I believe that his greatest flaw was an inability to discriminate between good and evil.

Agreed 100%.  The only other revolution with repercussions this size was the French Revolution about a hundred years earlier.  Nicholas had such a pride and trust with the Russian people, and his everlasting faith would never allow him to think negatively of his situations.  You cannot help but admire such faith and hope of peace.   :'(
 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: mr_harrison75 on May 13, 2007, 08:29:51 PM
Quote
Surely Nicholas must have heard the rumors or the fact that their lives were in danger.  Why didn't he pack up the family and leave the country?   He had the forethought to move some of his money to the US and parts of Europe.  He could as least send his son and daughters to relatives outside Russia.

He had Royal family and relatives around the world, why didn't they come to his aid?  They could have set up a rescue mission to save them.  What happen to his trusted army?  Not all are turncoats.

When the world heard that the family was arrest, again where was the relatives?  England, France, Denmark and Germany had the Romanovs clan.  What did they do?  Sit back and wait?  For some unknown reason, until today not one of the Royals are talking about this.  Didn't Russia have any allies?

They weren't killed until months later.  Again a rescue mission could have saved them.

The Romanovs grandmother, aunts left. 

Is this because, as the orientials put it, "to save face" that's why they stayed?

Nicholas and Family, had a net worth at that time of 40 Billion american dollars.  Why didn't he feed his people?

Did Nicholas had a clue why his people were so upset? 

1- He thought that only the people of Petersburg was rebellious; that the "real" people of Russia was on his side.

2- He brought back all his money when the war began in 1914. He didn't think himself in danger; why should he sent his children away?

3- The Romanovs relatives and allies didn't want to get stuck with an unpopular chief of state. For example, England. George V first invited the Romanovs in England in 1917, but the Prime Minister, Lloyd George didn't want him in England (on the reason that the Empress was a German). As for the army, a majority of troops at the front mutinied, the garrison of Petersburg and even the Imperial Guard went on Kerensky's side. Only a handful of Cossacks remain faithful. As for escaping by themselves, even their yacht, Standart, was unavailable because the crew declared themselves for the Provisional government.

4- Apparently, a rescue attempt was in planning in 1918, but they couldn't do a thing because the Romanovs were too well guarded in Ekaterinburg. Though they were under observation practically till the end.

5- There was food, but it never came in time to Saint-Petersburg, so it was famine; and that was Nikolaï II's main mistake, he should never have gone to the armies. He should've stayed in Petersburg, and take care of the food supplies, and let grand-duke Nikolaï with the armies. So the Tsar could've reacted quickly and who knows even stay in power.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Rosemary* on May 14, 2007, 01:30:30 AM
Quote
There was food, but it never came in time to Saint-Petersburg, so it was famine; and that was Nikolaï II's main mistake, he should never have gone to the armies. He should've stayed in Petersburg, and take care of the food supplies, and let grand-duke Nikolaï with the armies. So the Tsar could've reacted quickly and who knows even stay in power.


It is my understanding that Nicholas' advisors begged him not to go to the front.  It was their reasoning that if theTsar was present at the front with the armies, then he would have to take personal responsibility for all that went wrong there.  Not only did he not listen to this good advice,  but he made the fatal mistake of leaving Alexandra "in charge" as head of state during his absence.

He seemed to be so out of touch with the reality of his people, his only reality being his wife who was egging him on....

Nicholas mother tried to warn him through his mistakes, but Nicholas wouldn't seem to listen to anyone but his wife, not even to his mother who was frightened for him...
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: TheAce1918 on May 15, 2007, 08:30:46 AM
I don't want to defend such bad decisions, however I can understand that Nicholas would want his armies to see that he wouldn't hide in his palaces while they were being slaughtered on the front.  In some ways, it is a respectable notion, though a costly one at that.

It sounds wrong to say it, but Nicholas II did seem a bit out of reality in terms of the condition and attitude of his nation and its welfare.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on May 26, 2007, 09:07:26 AM
Nicholas' uncles were said to have tried to exert a lot of influence on Nicholas to determine the course of his reign in the years immediately following his accession to the throne. The sources that I have read do not provide much details about their influence. I thought it might be interesting to see what sources of information there are on the exact nature of their influence in order to find answers to some of the following questions: Were they unanimous in their advice to Nicholas? Which uncle steered him towards what decisions when they did have different opinions? And is it known which uncle had the most liberal ideas? I also wonder whether there is any evidence showing how 'natural' loyalties within the Romanov family influenced and helped to shape Nicholas' and/or Alix's views in the long run.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on May 26, 2007, 09:44:27 AM
Back to the venerable old Massie

Nicholas & Alexandra page 44 "Nicholas's uncles, the four brothers of the dead Tsar, were independent, strong-minded men who carried great weight in the family.  Their view, that the wedding of their young nephew was too important a national event to be performed privately at Livadia, prevailed."

Page 59 (Khodinka)  "The Tsar's first frantic impulse was to go immediately into a prayerful retreat.  He declared that he could not possibly go to the ball being given that night by the French Ambassador, the Marquis de Montebello.  Once again the uncles, rallying around their brother Grand Duke Serge, intervened.  ...  The uncles urged that Nicholas not magnify the disaster by failing to appear and thus giving offence Russia's only European ally."

"Alexander Izvolsky, later Russian Foreign Minister, declared that "far from being insensible, they [the Imperial couple] were deeply moved.  The Emperor's first impulse was to order a suspension of the festivities and to retire to one of the monasteries.  The Tsar's uncles urged him not to cancel anything to avoid a greater scandal."

Page 63  "Far more difficult for Nicholas were the uncles, the four surviving brothers of Alexander III.  Vladimir, the oldest, a hunter, gourmet and patron of the arts, was Commander of the Imperial Guard and President of the Academy of Fine Arts.  Alexis, a man of infinite charm and enormous girth, was simultaneously Grand Admiral of the Russian Navy and an international bon vivant --- 'his was a case of fast women and slow ships."  Serge, the husband of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, was the violently reactionary Governor General of Moscow, a man so narrow and despotic that he forbade his wife to read Anna Karenina for fear of arousing 'unhealthy curiosity and violent emotions."  Only Paul, a mere eight years older than his nephew, made no trouble for Nicholas."

Page 64 "Nicholas II spent the first ten years of his reign sitting behind a massive desk in the palace and listening with near-awe to the well rehearsed bellowing of his towering uncles," wrote Grand Duke Alexander, the Tsar's cousin.  "He dreaded to be left alone with them."

"It is not surprising that the uncles had a powerful influence; all were vigorous, relatively young men when their inexperienced twenty-six year old nephew suddenly became Tsar."

"The uncles' influence continued over the first decade of the reign."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on May 26, 2007, 09:50:37 AM
Nicholas & Alexandra]  page 93

Russo Japanese war - "From St Petersburg, Nicholas watched with dismay.  His first instinct had been to go to the front and place himself at the head of his beleaguered troops.  Once again, his uncles overruled his inclination.  To his mother the Tsar wrote:  "My conscience is often very troubled by my staying here instead of the sharing the dangers and privations of the army.  I asked uncle Alexis yesterday what he thought about it: he thinks my presence with the army in this war is not necessary -- still, to stay behind in times like these is very upsetting to me."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on May 26, 2007, 09:55:35 AM
Nicholas & Alexandra  page 218

Stolypin's land reform bill.  "Nicholas strongly approved Stolypin's program and, in order to make more land available, proposed that four million acres of the crown lands be sold to the government, which in turn would sell them on easy terms to the peasants.  Although the Tsar needed the consent of the Imperial family to take this step, and both Grand Duke Vladimir and the Dowager Empress opposed him, eventually he (Nicholas) had his way."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on May 26, 2007, 10:03:13 AM
Nicholas & Alexandra  page 368

Granting of a constitution in 1916 --- " At a meeting of all the members in and near Petrograd, Grand Duke Paul, the Tsar's only surviving uncle, was chosen to go to the Tsar and ask that he grant a constitution.  On December 16, Paul had tea with Nicholas and Alexandra and made his request.  Nicholas refused, saying that he had sworn at his coronation to deliver his autocratic power intact to his son.  While he was speaking, the Empress looked at Paul and silently shook her head.  Then the Grand Duke talked openly of the damaging influence of Rasputin.  This time, Nicholas remained silent, calmly smoking his cigarette, while the Empress earnestly defended Rasputin, declaring that in his own time every prophet was damned."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on May 26, 2007, 10:15:26 AM
I find it interesting that while W Bruce Lincoln The Romanovs mentions almost the same incidents in the same way as Massie,  he doesn't mention Grand Duke Vladimir at all.  At least not enough to get Vladimir a mention in the index.

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on May 27, 2007, 04:34:26 AM
Thank you, Alixz, for your comprehensive quotes from Massie's work!  :)

As regards the Khodynka disaster:

In her biography of Alexandra, pp.156-157, Elisabeth Heresch too wrote that it were Nicholas' uncles who convinced Nicholas and Alexandra to attend the French ball on the day of the Khodynka disaster. However, she added that the argument that a similar incident had also happened in England once and no one had paid much attention to it probably came from Nicholas' uncle Vladimir.

Heresch mentioned two different courses of events with regard to the position of Serge after the Khodynka disaster. According to one version, Serge had offered to resign, but Nicholas refused to accept his resignation. According to the other version, Nicholas had decided to remove Serge from office, but some other Romanovs holding functions joined forces and threatened to resign if Serge were dismissed.

Hugo Mager in his biography of Ella, p. 175: "… Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and his three brothers, long united in their hatred for their cousin, accused him of negligence. Serge offered the new emperor his resignation, which was refused. An enquiry was set up, and Serge's brothers, Vladimir and Paul, declared that they would leave the court if Serge suffered in any way. Instead, Serge was exonerated, …"

Christopher Warwick in his biography of Ella, pp. 189-190: "Grand Duchess Olga claimed that Serge, in what she called 'such despair', had offered to resign at once, but it now appears that Serge's offer of resignation was neither immediate nor spontaneous, but made later on in response to the Tsar's intention of convening a formal commission to look into the causes of the disaster. … Serge himself had the unwavering support of his brothers the Grand Dukes Vladimir, Alexei and Paul, … "
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Bsquared on May 27, 2007, 05:11:18 AM
Very useful posts, Helen and Alixz.

It appears that Vladimir and Miechen were the worst of the lot.  Nicky took his first stand against Vladimir regarding them bringing their friends into the Imperial Box of the Marinsky Theater, a blatant violation of protocol.  He wrote a well written letter of reprimand as Head of the Family and not as his nephew (1896-7). Either Empress would have encouraged Nicky to take this particular stand. Nicky evidently received a curt reply, which horrified the Dowager Empress and Grand Duke Constantine. From there, relations with the Vladimir family went from muted antagonism to much worse, and they took a key role in bringing down Nicky and Alix.

Serge being in Moscow made him less of an immediate threat, but his policies and arrogance did nothing but harm imperial prestige.  Ella would have been a help, not a hindrance to the imperial couple, but she was far away.

Alexei was very well liked by Nicky "my favorite uncle" he commented when Alexei died.  Sandro seemed to have a particular hatred for him.  His administration caused trouble in the Navy, and eventually resigned and lived the life of a bon vivant in Paris. 

Pavel was no problem early on, but his marriage to Olga (later Princess Paley) caused a great deal of damage to Romanov credibility.  Once he went down the path of defying the emporer regarding marriage, many others followed suit: Kyrill and Misha being the most notable.

The Imperial Family were all making demands of Nicky as emporer to grant favors of one sort or another. I would exempt Constantine from this, he seemed to leave them in peace, and was well liked by Nicky, Alix, and the Dowager Empress. 

Grand Duchess Olga A. wrote that in the family only the Dowager Empress and Ella had Nicky's best interest at heart, but they did not always see the big picture of the problems he faced. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on May 27, 2007, 05:45:23 AM
Grand Duchess Olga A. wrote that in the family only the Dowager Empress and Ella had Nicky's best interest at heart, but they did not always see the big picture of the problems he faced. 
I agree. Take for instance Serge's position after the Khodynka disaster. While the Dowager Empress and several other family members, quite understandably and with good reasons, asked for Serge's dismissal after the Khodynka disaster, it was easy for them to do so, as  they wouldn't have to solve the problem that Serge's dismissal would leave not one but three or four leading positions vacant, due to the threat expressed by Serge's brothers.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on May 27, 2007, 06:07:31 AM
Massie's words about Serge - "violently reactionary", "narrow and despotic" - seem slightly at odds with the Serge his brother-in-law got to know, and whom Alix probably got to know too. Ernst Ludwig wrote that Serge was someone with a wide outlook. He said that Serge wanted improvements, but considered many liberal ideas unfeasible or thought the time not yet ripe to try them out. Ernst Ludwig, who himself was distrusted as a political liberal by Kaiser Wilhelm II [R. MacLean], wrote that Serge recommended many interesting books to him and gave him many modern ideas, often saying that they were good ideas for Hesse, but unfortunately not yet for turbulent Russia.

This would be in line with an account of a heated discussion between Alix and Serge and/or Ella about the pros and cons of autocracy and democracy, which supposedly took place at Illinskoe in 1890. (I cannot remember the source.) Alix was said to have argued that a democratic, constitutional monarchy like the British monarchy was the system to be preferred, whereas Serge and/or Ella pointed out that the Russian people were not yet ready for democracy. Although I have no proof to support this, Serge's and/or Ella's arguments may have stuck to Alix after all.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: azrael7171918 on May 27, 2007, 12:06:04 PM
quote author=Bsquared link=topic=9534.msg261292#msg261292 date=1180260678]
Very useful posts, Helen and Alixz.

It appears that Vladimir and Miechen were the worst of the lot.  Nicky took his first stand against Vladimir regarding them bringing their friends into the Imperial Box of the Marinsky Theater, a blatant violation of protocol.  He wrote a well written letter of reprimand as Head of the Family and not as his nephew (1896-7). Either Empress would have encouraged Nicky to take this particular stand. Nicky evidently received a curt reply, which horrified the Dowager Empress and Grand Duke Constantine. From there, relations with the Vladimir family went from muted antagonism to much worse, and they took a key role in bringing down Nicky and Alix.

How interesting the part of the family that actually worked towards the fall and the ones who have laid claim to the throne.  I guess if I had been a member of the family I would have called it TREASON. I had no idea it went back to Kryil's father.

Azrael
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Amanda_Misha on June 02, 2007, 09:33:07 PM
I find this in the Biography of Nicholas II in Wikipedia in Spanish:
"The influence of his her  paternal uncles, especially Sergei Aleksándrovich Romanov, Great Admiral of the Navy, would have in it a handle, and the court intrigues would weigh greatly in the action of the new czar, since of fact it he  had to support initially manipulations of his her own uncles"
This one is the link http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicol%C3%A1s_II_de_Rusia.
And http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicol%C3%A1s_II_de_Rusia#Ascenso_al_trono
 :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 03, 2007, 01:29:18 PM
I don't recall ever reading that Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich was the "Great Admiral" of the Navy.

That was Alexei Alexandrovich, his brother.

Serge Alexandrovich - "In 1891, Emperor Alexander III appointed his brother governor-general of Moscow"  The Court of the Last Tsar by Greg King page 78

Alexi Alexandrovich - "Born in 1850, he had served in the Russo-Turkish was as head of the Naval Command on the Danube.  Alexander III appointed his brother grand admiral of the Russian Fleet, a post he held until the devastating loss of the empire's forces at Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905."  ibid  page 77
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 03, 2007, 01:37:43 PM
Also in The Court of the Last Tsar by Greg King - we get the same source for about the only things said directly about the four uncles and that was Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (Sandro) Xenia's husband and Nicholas's brother in law.

"Nicholas II spent the first ten years of his reign sitting behind a massive desk in the Palace and listening with near-awe to the well rehearsed bellowing of his towering uncles.  He dreaded to be left alone with them....They always wanted something....They all had their favorite generals and admirals who were supposed to be promoted ahead of a long waiting list; their ballerinas desirous of organizing a Russian season in Paris; their wonderful preachers anxious to redeem the Emperor's soul; their miraculous physicians soliciting a Court appointment; their clairvoyant peasants with a divine message."

This is the same source that Massie uses and it is from Once a Grand Duke by  Alexander Mikhailovich who was actually Alexander III's cousin.



Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 04, 2007, 01:37:19 PM
Robert Massie's book unfortunately does not provide much details about the influence of Nicholas' uncles. However, The Crisis of Russian Autocracy by Andrew M. Verner, focusing on the 1905 revolution, provides more details, at least with regard to this period in Russian history. For instance, about Prince Pyotr Svyatotopolk-Mirskii, Minister of the Interior from July 1904 till February 1905, and his program for reforms in December 1904:

'The draft ukase outlined two different means of consulting the local population about new legislation before its introduction into the State Council: Witte's and [State Council Member] Sol'skii's. Whereas Witte foresaw a preliminary consultative role for the presumably appointed representatives of local institutions, such as zemstvos, town dumas, and perhaps even noble assemblies and commercial groups, Sol'skii , less ambiguously, had in mind an assembly of popularly elected representatives. When Witte informed the tsar on December 6 of the conferees' disagreement, Nicholas reportedly favored dropping the whole idea of the ukase. Witte protested and the final session was fixed for two days later.

… Mirskii argued that under the current circumstances "involving society in legislation" was the only way to save Russia. The Grand Duke Sergei and Justice Minister Murav'ev reportedly opposed the project altogether. "I very much dislike a certain project about elections," Sergei wrote in his diary that day. According to Murav'ev, the Fundamental Laws did not permit the tsar to alter the state order. In the end , the Grand Duke Vladimir threw his support behind Sol'skii's proposal, and Nicholas, unmoved by the various objections, approved it.'

But the matter wasn't settled yet:
'According to Sergei, Nicholas did discuss the ukase with him and Maria Feodorovna, and Sergei was encouraged. … During their afternoon walk the following day, December 10, Sergei "worked on him concerning the 3rd point of the ukase". If the Grand Duke could not derail the entire project, he at least hoped to side-track its most objectionable concession, which offered popularly elected representatives a voice in legislative affairs. …'  :-\
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 04, 2007, 01:46:17 PM
In the end , the Grand Duke Vladimir threw his support behind Sol'skii's proposal, and Nicholas, unmoved by the various objections, approved it.
Ten years earlier, however, Grand Duke Vladimir had been far less inclined to agree to any plans for reforms. Shortly after Nicholas' accession to the throne, Grand Duke Vladimir was one of the people who helped set the tone for Nicholas' reign by encouraging the inexperienced Nicholas to take a conservative line. In Nicholas II - Emperor of All the Russias, Dominic Lieven quoted A.A. Polovtsov, who reported that Grand Duke Vladimir had said to Nicholas that:
'he [Vladimir] remembered the accession to the throne of both his father and his brother. On both of these occasions Russia was in a very difficult position  and troubled situation, quite different to now when, on the contrary, she had enjoyed a thirteen-year peace. Undoubtedly the life of the state and the people required some changes but there was no need to hurry with the latter. One should not give anyone grounds to think that the son condemns the order created by his father or the choice of people whom the latter had summoned to work with him. Initially one should suspend changes and should follow the main line of his dead father's policy.'

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 05, 2007, 01:44:39 PM
From The Court of the Last Tsar by Greg King

"Khodynka Field lay to the northeast of the city center and had been used for Alexander III's open-air celebrations.  Normally, it was a military training ground and, in consequence, was scored with a number of pits, trenches, and wells.  The obstacles had caused some deaths at Nicholas's father's festivities, but no one, including Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, who had been placed in charge of security arrangements, changed the venue."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 05, 2007, 01:53:46 PM
page 357 The Court of the Last Tsar  by Greg King

"Preparations for Nicholas II's coronation began as soon as his father's funeral was over.  Initially, Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, the emperor's uncle who held the post of governor-general of Moscow, had insisted that he alone should be responsible for all of the arrangements.  According to Princess Elizabeth Naryshkin-Kuryakin, he was "keenly disappointed in this ambition when he discovered that the Court Ministry had reserved the chief functions for its own.
Deeply hurt, he declared that in that case he would leave all responsibility on the shoulders of the Ministry".  He threatened in protest, to leave Moscow for the length of the ceremonies.  Nicholas II, the princess recalled, "was greatly embarrassed by this conflict and tried to mediate between the two contestants."

Perhaps this is why Serge was so unconcerned about the Khodynka Field disaster.  Perhaps he was still angry over the compromise that Nicholas brokered to divide the responsibilities of planning the whole event between the Grand Duke and the Court Ministry.

Alexander III would probably have told Serge to "get a life", but Nicholas couldn't bring himself (at that time) to stand up against his Uncle.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 05, 2007, 02:02:56 PM
page 387 The Court of the Last Tsar by Greg King

The French Ball -

"According to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, "Nicky and Alix wanted to leave after half an hour."  But Grand Dukes Vladimir and Serge Alexandrovich pulled them aside, protesting that such thoughts were "useless sentimentality."  Seeing what was taking place, Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich interrupted the conclave saying, "You cannot revive the dead, but you must show your sympathy with their families.  Do not let the enemies of the regime say that the young Emperor danced while his murdered subjects were taken to the Potter's Field."  When, after further discussions, the imperial couple again took to the dance floor and remained for over three hours, Grand Dukes Nicholas, George, Alexander and Serge Mikhailovich left the ball, creating a scandal and a burst of whispers across the room.  Turing to his brother Serge Alexandrovich, Grand Duke Alexei [Alexandrovich] exclaimed in disgust, "There go the four Imperial followers of Robespierre."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 05, 2007, 02:08:29 PM
page 387 The Court of the Last Tsar  by Greg King

"The insult was made worse by the knowledge that two previously scheduled events in the coronation program, a military review on Khodynka Field - to have taken place on May 7 -- and a ball at the Austrian Embassy, on May 21, were canceled, on the emperor's orders, in deference to the death of Archduke Karl of Austria. 

"To be able to make head or tail of the Coronation proceedings," wrote Aylmer Maude in disgust, "one has to grasp the idea that human beings are not brothers, sons of one Father as Jesus taught, but that they are made of various qualities of earth, and therefore an Austrian Grand Duke [sic] may well in the sympathies of the Court of Russia, outweigh thousands of peasants."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 05, 2007, 04:26:01 PM
... Deeply hurt, he declared that in that case he would leave all responsibility on the shoulders of the Ministry.  ...
:-\ Then who was ultimately responsible for the organisation of the festivities at Khodynka Meadow: Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich or Count Vorontsov-Dashkov of the Ministery of the Imperial Court?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 05, 2007, 06:54:13 PM
Greg King is not specific.

Page 358: The Court of the Last Tsar --" Eventually, a special Coronation Commission was formed to oversee the plans, headed by the grand duke and assisted by the minister of the imperial court Count Hilarion Vrontzov-Dashkov; his deputy, Count Vladimir de Freedericksz; and the grand master of imperial ceremonies, Count Konstantin von der Pahlen.

Nothing concerning the coronation was left to chance.  Scale models were built of Moscow, detailing the processional routes, along with models of the Kremlin and the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the actual ceremony would take place, to allow the committee to study in detail the necessary requirements."

  :-\  I guess they forgot to study Khodinka  :-\
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 06, 2007, 01:44:29 AM
Thank you, Alixz. So Sergei declared that he would leave all responsibility on the shoulders of the Ministry, but in the end, he did not, and it was still Sergei, as head of the commission, and not Count Vorontsov-Dashkov who was ultimately responsible.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 06, 2007, 08:19:41 AM
Yes, I think that is the way I interpret it as well.

Greg uses Princess Elizabeth Naryshkin-Kurayakin who was Mistress of the Robes and Chief Lady in Waiting to Alexandra as his source for this.

He uses her a lot through out the book and I suppose she would have had access to much of what occurred, but I would have liked to have known that Serge or Vladimir had recorded it as well.

He does use Grand Duchess Xenia's Diary as quoted in Maylunas and Mironenko they complied A Lifelong Passion.page 146

He also quotes Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich from One a Grand Duke page 172

There is interesting information in the "Notes to Pages" section for Chapter 22 The Coronation:  "In a public letter, Nicholas pledged that the families of each victim would receive a thousand rubles [$10,000 in 2005]; this money came not from the emperor's own funds, but from the State Budget.  The official account of the inquiry, Otchet osoboi Kommissii, Obrazovannoi dlia vyiasneniia lichnosti pogibshikh na Khodynskom Pole 18-go Maia 1896 goda , listed 1,386 victims, but only
374, 580 rubles [$3,745,800 in 2005] were granted for payments, which would if divided equally have meant about 270 [$2,700 in 2005] per victim.  The commission allocated grants based on the economic positions of the dead.  Only 277 families received a thousand rubles, 125 received five hundred rubles, smaller amounts were given to some 500 families, while nearly 400 -- mainly those who had lost children or older members -- were denied any grants.  Many in the latter group petitioned the emperor for relief, but Nicholas refused to honor his public promise.  For more information see Baker, 106-144."

But when I go to the bibliography, I don't find "Baker" so I don't know what the reference it to.

All through out the book, Greg gives the 2005 equivalent for the old Russian ruble.  The [] in this section are mine.

So we know that the amount of money promised was huge in old rubles especially for families who would not earn that much money in a lifetime, but to renege on the promise was not wise.  I wonder who "advised" him on that move??
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 06, 2007, 11:27:37 AM
But when I go to the bibliography, I don't find "Baker" so I don't know what the reference it to.
:) Baker is mentioned under "Other Media", p. 538: Samantha Baker, Nicholas II and the Khodynka Catastrophe, May 1896: A Study of Contemporary Responses . It's an unpublished PhD thesis from 2002. According to the Leeds University Library database, the author's name would be Helen Samantha Baker and the title Nicholas II and the Khodynka Coronation Catastrophe, May 1896 etc.

Helen Baker also appears to have written Monarchy Discredited? Reactions to the Khodynka Coronation Catastrophe, 1896, an article in Revolutionary Russia, 2003, Volume 16, part 1, pp. 1-46.  A copy can be purchased on line at http://direct.bl.uk/bld/PlaceOrder.do?UIN=138581183&ETOC=RN&from=searchengine (http://direct.bl.uk/bld/PlaceOrder.do?UIN=138581183&ETOC=RN&from=searchengine).
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grand_Duchess_Olga on June 06, 2007, 12:55:19 PM
Hey People. 

        As it is most likely well known that Nicolas was more of a family man, and would never be the first choice of anyone to set in charge of government.   Don't get me wrong I love the Romanov's it is one of my favourite topics in History :D I am a History Major so I like to look at things one sided.  The Tsar was a nice man, but being nice doesn't make a good ruler.  He was also very weak, and ill prepared for the position, not mention unwilling.    It is better to be feared then loved, if you are feared then people are less likely to disappoint you and not want to disappoint you.  If you are too nice or bias or shrug everything off people will take advantage of this nature and it will go well for the leader.   

         I was looking through my many books of the Roamnov's and the essays that I have written on the topic and have decided to post something on Nicolas. 

          " If truth be told...Nicolas had no political strengths....He was not trained in politics; he did not like it and did not understand it....Nicolas himself was in no hurry to enter the world of edicts, manifestos, ministers and wars...At the age of fourteen, Nicholas began to keep a diary, which he maintained faithfully on a daily basis until just before his death.  It is a record of almost nothing but hunts walks, shoots, the weather, birthdays, parades, and the occasional calamitous event in his empire, invariably described as "horrible" or "dreadful" and puit down to the will of God...His was a mind untroubled by deep though or difficult questions."  33-34 The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra: Tsar , Peter Kurth. 

             I would like to say that his unwillingness to rule, his lack of interest and shrugging  off calamities and posting them up to the will of God, is definately, a sign of his lack of interest in his country and people.  He was more concerned with his family life and his own life.  I know people are going to say that he is religious but chalking up everything that goes wrong up to the will of God when in fact he is control of a lot of things that happened is just naive and again a reflection of his unwillingness to rule. 

              I am just wondering if anyone else feels the same.  I think he was generally a good man but he was no ruler.  I am not one of those people that just gush about people that are famous and think their shit doesn't stink, everyone famous or not is human and has their flaws.  So I hope this opens up a good discussion :D

Lil_Maria_Romanov
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 06, 2007, 01:02:14 PM
Helen,

Thank you for the link.

I would love to read the whole thing, but the price is almost $32 USD plus  $14 for shipping and handling.  I wonder if Ms. Baker will be publishing her PhD thesis although it is now 5 years old.

I would like to read that as well.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 06, 2007, 02:27:10 PM
$46 is a lot of money for a 46-pages article. :-\

I have been checking some of my books for other sources confirming that Nicholas failed to keep his promise. In the process, I've come across a paragraph about the effects that the quarrel among Romanov family members about the question of guilt had on Nicholas. Robert D. Warth wrote in Nicholas II - The Life and Reign of Russia's Last Monarch: 'The repercussions of the affair are difficult to assess. ... weakness and poor judgement should not have been taken for lack of compassion. Nor was Nicholas unmarked by the experience. His attitude of resigned fatalism, already pronounced, was accentuated. So too was a streak of stubbornness, heretofore concealed by timidity, uncertainty, and an amiability that sought to placate his mother, his uncles, and the court entourage. A new-found sense of authority appears to date from the Khodynka episode. Before the year was out he confronted one of his officious uncles, the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, who had disregarded instructions on military appointments. "The whole fault," he wrote, "lies in my stupid kindness. With the sole wish to avoid quarrels that spoil family relations, I give in again and again, until I am finally made the fool, without will power and without character. Now I do not simply ask, I command you to carry out my previously expressed will." '
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lexi4 on June 06, 2007, 07:57:51 PM
May I join this discussion?

According to Massie in Nicholas and Alexandra, Nicholas did pay for the burials of the dead.
pp. 59 "Expressing their grief, Nicholas and Alexandra spent a day going from one hospital to another. Nicholas ordered that the dead be buried in spearate coffins at his own expense rather than dumped into the common grave customary for mass diasters. From the Tsar's private pruse, the family of every victim received a thousand roubles."
Massie doesn't give a source for that information.
Lexi
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 07, 2007, 02:02:01 AM
Welcome to this discussion, lexi4! :)

Greg King's words based on Helen Baker's thesis are at odds with Massie's, and it makes me wonder how Helen Baker herself put things into words and what sources she used. :-\

I think one of Massie's sources may have been Olga Alexandrovna. According to Olga, in Ian Vorres' book: 'The younger Grand Dukes, particularly Sandro, Xenia's husband, laid the tragedy at the door of Uncle Serge, ... I felt that my cousins were unjust to him. What's more, Uncle Serge himself was in such despair and offered to resign at once. But Nicky did not accept it.  … How many people know or care today that Nicky spent thousands and thousands of rubles to provide pensions for those disabled at Khodynka and for the widows and orphans?  Later I learned from him that it was not very easy to do so at the time - he did not want to embarrass the Treasury, and all the coronation expenses were paid out of the Privy Purse. He had it done so unobtrusively that none of us knew of it at the time - except for Alicky, of course.' 

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lexi4 on June 07, 2007, 08:46:34 AM
Thank you Helen.
It is frustrating when authors do not list their sources. Massie isn't very good at that. I have not read Baker. And from what I gather, I won't be as her thesis is quite expensive.  :'(


Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 08:55:37 AM
I, too, wonder what sources that Ms. Baker used.  Is there a way to access her unpublished thesis?

Massie wrote his book about 30 years before Ms Baker did her research and a lot more has been released during that time. (Which is why, even though Massie was one of the first and, in his time, the best, I like to find other sources for my research.  His book does have faults and as the years go on, others have found out more about certain incidents)

Despair is subjective and after reading about Serge's threat to remove himself from Moscow (like a two your old throwing a tantrum) I wonder just how much "despair" he could have had.  Both he and Vladimir (according to Princess Naryshkin-Kuryakin) pushed Nicholas and Alix to attend the ball and not to leave early.

Sounds to me like he was still "getting his own way" without paying to much attention to the horrible accident.

I have never read that he or Grand Duchess Elizabeth visited the hospitals or donated any compensation to the people.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 09:11:17 AM
Here is another interpretation of the events -  The Last Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky page 54 a quote from Nicholas's diary

"18 May 1896. Until now all has gone smoothly, but today a great sin occurred:  the crowd that spent the night on Khodynka Meadow waiting for the food and mugs began to press on the structures and there was a terrible crush, and I must add terribly that about 1.300 people were trampled.  Learned of this at 10:30 . . . .  The news left a repellent impression.  At 12.30 we had lunch, then left for Khodynka, to attend this 'sad national holiday.'

"From the pavilion we watched the crowd surrounding the stage, where they kept playing a hymn and 'Be praised.'

"We moved on to the Petrovsky [Palace], where we received several deputations at the gates . . . . I had to give a speech . . .
Dined with Mama,  Went to to ball at Montebello's"
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 09:19:45 AM
Continued;  page 54-55

"Meanwhile, the empress-mother had a very clear understanding of what caused the Khodynka catastrophe.  She had mastered her husband's principles of rule.  A command system (autocracy) functions only when the pyramid is crowned by Fear.  With the death of the strong emperor, Fear had begun to wane.  And just as an organism declares its illness with a high temperature, so with this terrible catastrophe the system had declared what was for her the most ruinous: Fear had waned.  Nicholas was a weak tsar.

His mother decided that Fear must return.  The punishment must be harsh.  Was Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, her husband's own brother, guilty?  All the better.  It was he who must be punished as an example.  Then Fear would return.

She demanded the immediate creation of a commission of inquiry and punishment for the guilty parties.  Nicholas agreed.  One other thing she demanded:  the cancellation of all entertainments including the evening ball being given by the French Ambassador Montebello.

This is the conversation concealed in his [Nicholas's diary] note.  "Dined with Mama."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 09:26:28 AM
continued:  page 54-55

"We left Mama's"

   For the first time, Alix took a stand against his mother.  She would not allow the husband of her beloved sister to be fed to the wolves.  She would not allow the entertainments canceled.  Sergei Alexandrovich was right: everything should go on as if nothing had happened.  A coronation occurs once in a lifetime, the ball must take place. (In the depths of her soul she tried to drive out this new, bloody presentiment: first a wedding in the wake of a funeral, now these corpses on Khodynka Meadow.  She hoped that the ball and the music and these triumphs would wipe them from her memory.)

"Went to the ball at Montebello's"

   Yes, to the horror of the new emperor's friends, Nicholas and Alix danced at this ball.

   As before, constantly at Nicholas's side was Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.  Moscow had already dubbed him the Duke of Khodynka."

I would like to know where Radzinsky gets his information about Alix in this matter.  There are no source notes.  That is so frustrating and so Radzinksy.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 09:30:00 AM
continued - page 55

Then on the following days:

"19 May.  At 2 went with Alix to Old St. Catherine's Hospital and toured all the barracks and wards where the unlucky victims from yesterday lay....

20 May.... At 3 went with Alix to St Mary's Hospital, where we saw the second largest group of injured."


   He contributed generously for the victims.  But the country noticed only one thing.  "Went to the ball at Montebello's."  His mother had been right."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 09:36:19 AM
continued page 56:

"He appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by Count Pahlen, the dowager empress's protege.  At this point, however, a counter blow followed.  Vladimir and Paul, the tsar's uncles, announced that they would quit the court immediately if Sergei Alexandrovich suffered as a result of the investigation.

It was a risk-free ultimatum.  The knew they would not have to back down.  Alix stood behind them.   (???)

Delicate Nicky was nodding tirelessly in opposite directions, trying to reconcile everyone.  Pahlen's report disappeared in to the bowels of the archives.  But the Moscow police chief, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich's man, was dismissed.  And to his mother's [Dagmar] horror, Nicholas set off for the estate of the "Duke of Khodynka -- Illinskoe."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 10:00:48 AM
Here is something from Mother Dear - The Empress Marie of Russia and her Times by V Poliakoff published in 1926.  page 256-257

...  On the other hand, when the Grand Duke Serge, the Governor-General of Moscow, and the husband of the sister of the young Empress, tried to procure the removal of Count Vorontzoff-Dashkoff, the Minister of the Court, it was Marie Feodorovna who defended the Court against this intrigue.  This incident is connected with the terrible disaster which happened on the field of the Khodinka during the Coronation of Nicholas II"

"A special commission of inquiry fixed the blame for the disaster on the police.  This meant that the Governor-General of Moscow was directly responsible.  But as this was the Grand Duke Serge, and attempt was made to shift the responsibility on to the Minister of the Court whose department was in charge of the catering and entertainments.  But the Count was an old favorite of Alexander III, and the Countess was one of the few close personal friends of Marie Feodorovna.  .....

So the Count was spared and one of the Grand Duke's police officers was dismissed:  A sentence worthy of Solomon himself.  The senator, who had presided over the inquiry into the catastrophe and had fixed the guilt on the Moscow authorities, was in disgrace all his life afterwards."

Poliakoff like Radzinsky does not source his information.  He claims that members of his family and later on in The Tragic Bride
 he says that he himself witnessed some of what happened and that he was in the crowd in 1914 at the Winter Palace when Nicholas declared war on Germany.

So now we see that Vorontsov-Dashkov was responsible for the catering and entertainments and that Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich as Governor-General was responsible for crowd control and security
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 07, 2007, 11:22:45 AM
I, too, wonder what sources that Ms. Baker used.  Is there a way to access her unpublished thesis? ...

Despair is subjective ...

I have never read that he or Grand Duchess Elizabeth visited the hospitals or donated any compensation to the people.
Alixz: If you really want to read Helen Baker's thesis, you could try and borrow a copy from Leeds University Library through your local library. She may have had access to sources not yet available to Massie when he wrote his book, but it's of course also possible that she overlooked or disregarded Olga Alexandrovna as a source. :-/

'Despair' was the word used by Olga in Ian Vorres' book The Last Grand Duchess. Yes, despair is subjective. Christopher Warwick noted this too and commented: 'By his actions, Serge made it absolutely clear that he had no intention of allowing anything to upset his arrangements. Indeed, that very morning, fully aware of what had happened only hours earlier, he insisted on keeping an appointment at the Governor-general's mansion to have a group photograph taken with the officers of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, who had been staying at the house. In the circumstances, the officers themselves thought it was no time for such a thing and had started to disperse, only to have Serge recall them.'

I don't know whether Serge visited any hospitals, but Ella did:
Olga A. in Ian Vorres' book: 'I know that both Nicky and Alix spent the whole of that day visiting one hospital after another. So did my mother, Aunt Ella, Uncle Serge's wife, and several others.' And Hugo Mager in Elizabeth, Grand Duchess of Russia : 'Elizabeth made every effort to help. She steeled herself to tour the hospitals and try to console the injured victims. She and Serge visited the wounded every day. They gave generous provisions for the families of the dead.' Hugo Mager, too, gives Olga A.'s memoirs as his source.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 07, 2007, 12:00:39 PM
I would like to know where Radzinsky gets his information about Alix in this matter.  There are no source notes.  That is so frustrating and so Radzinksy.
I doubt if he got this information from any other source than his own unbridled imagination, for the sake of theatrical effect. :-\
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 07, 2007, 12:18:15 PM
So now we see that Vorontsov-Dashkov was responsible for the catering and entertainments and that Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich as Governor-General was responsible for crowd control and security
Eventually, a special Coronation Commission was formed to oversee the plans, headed by the grand duke and assisted by the minister of the imperial court Count Hilarion Vrontzov-Dashkov; ...

If Vorontsov-Dashkov was only Serge's 'assistant'  in the Coronation Commission, I think Serge still was ultimately responsible for the overall organisation.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lexi4 on June 07, 2007, 12:44:11 PM

   As before, constantly at Nicholas's side was Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.  Moscow had already dubbed him the Duke of Khodynka."

I would like to know where Radzinsky gets his information about Alix in this matter.  There are no source notes.  That is so frustrating and so Radzinksy.


Quite true and yes, it is frustrating. It is often hard to know what is history and what is drama with him.
Lexi
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 02:00:13 PM
Helen:

I remember that about Serge and the photograph from Warwick. 

I don't live in the UK.  Do inter-library requests cross the pond?

And as much as I like Vorres's book about Olga Alexandrovna, and as much as I am sure that she remembered a great deal, while the book has a lot of footnotes, it, like Radzinsky, has no source notes.

You know what I was thinking about though, in 1926 when Poliakov wrote his two books and even in 1964 when Vorres published his work on Olga, a lot of what we know today was not yet released.

Especially with Poliakov who was writing from Paris not even ten years after the Bolshevik take over.  Actually I think he mentions that he feels that someday more information will be released. 

And I was incorrect, Poliakov does have source notes, but they are in his footnotes.  Ex:  "The letters have been published by the Central Archive in Moscow:  Perepiska Nikolay i Alexandry Romanovihk. 

Poliakov is speaking of Alexandra "The story of the Empress Alexandra---the Tragic Bride---is the story of her love and a love story above all.  It is recorded in her letters and in those of her husband, in their diaries and in the evidence of the intimates of their family circle."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 02:14:16 PM
Here is more about Khodinka from The Tragic Bride by V Poliakov  pages 109-110  published 1926

"On previous occasions the "Czar's Gift" had been distributed to the people at various points of the large plain and congestion at the entrances was thus avoided.  On the present occasion the officials decided to improve upon this plan.  Solid barricades were established at the entrances, which led through narrowing passages to turnstiles, where the populace would receive the gifts across special counters.  The scheme looked well on paper, but the authorities had not foreseen the unprecedented invasion by the immense multitude."

Earlier in the book he says that only 200,000 citizens were expected, because that was the number which had been catered for in 1883 at the coronation of Alexander III.  But in 1896 there were about half a million people converging on to the plain.

"The few police and troops present at that early hour were impotent to arrest and to break up the movement of the human mass towards the entrances.  Confusion started in the moment the people began to be admitted; the men behind the counters increased it by taking fright and beginning to throw the parcels into the crowd, so as to get rid of them."

"In their criminal negligence the organizers had omitted to fill in a sandpit, which in the form of a trench about fifteen feet deep and twice as broad lay at the back of the entrances and across the way on to the plain itself.  The had thrown a few light wooden bridges over it.  The mass of humanity, bursting through the entrances, was carried by pressure behind straight towards the trench, the bridges over which broke down in a moment."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 07, 2007, 02:32:48 PM
I don't live in the UK.  Do inter-library requests cross the pond?
I think they do, that is, at a charge and from one university library to an other. I'm not sure whether they will comply with requests from ordinary libraries in small towns or villages.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 07, 2007, 02:38:06 PM
All that van der Kiste and Hall have to say about Khodynka in Once a Grand Duchess  page 46:

"At the festivities an incident occurred which began to drive Xenia and Olga apart, and certainly created divisions in the rest of the imperial family.

Sandro and his brothers, referred to as the 'Mikhailovichi', told the Tsar that it would be politic to cancel the Coronation [sic] ball as a mark of respect, but he was dissuaded from doing so by his uncles, particularly Sergei, governor-general of Moscow.  

Xenia thought Sergei's behavior was 'beneath contempt' in her view, he had washed his hands of all responsibility, declared it was nothing to do with him, said Count Vorontzov was responsible for everything, and could not even take the trouble to visit the scene of the disaster." This is taken from M&M, 147 GD Xenia's diary, 19/5/1896

Olga thought her cousins and, no doubt by implication, her elder sister, were being unjust to Sergei, and readily acknowledged his despair and his offer to resign the governor-generalship of Moscow, which the Tsar would not accept."

We also must remember that Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrova was only 12 at the time.  I wonder how much she actually remembered and how much was her opinion colored as she grew up.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 07, 2007, 04:10:29 PM
We also must remember that Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrova was only 12 at the time.  I wonder how much she actually remembered and how much was her opinion colored as she grew up.

I agree. She was probably too young to be informed of all details or to be included in any discussions about formal investigations and resignations. However, her statement that Ella visited hospitals sounds credible. It would be in line with what we know of Ella. I also think that her age at the time does not make her statement about the payments Nicholas made unobtrusively from the Privy Purse, without the rest of the family even knowing about it, any less credible. She learned about this only later and directly from Nicholas, not from hearsay.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: lexi4 on June 08, 2007, 05:41:51 AM
Orlando Figes: A People's Tragedy: "The reign of the last Tsar began disatrously. A few days after the coronation, in May 1896, a celebratory fair was organized on the Khodynka Field, a military training ground just outside Moscow. By the early morning some half a millions people had already assembled, expecting to receive from their new Tsar gifts of souvenir tankards and biscuits embossed with the date and the occasion. Vast quantities of free beer and sausage were to be distributed. As more people arrived, a rumour went round that there would not be enough gifts for everyeone. The crowd surged forward. People tripped and stumbled into the military ditches, where they were suffocated and crushed to death. Within minutes, 1,400 people had been killed and 600 wounded. Yet the Tsar was persuaded to continue with the celebrations. In the evening, while the corpses were carted away, he even attended a ball given by the French Ambassador, the Marquis de Montebello. During the next few days the rest of the scheduled festivities -- banquets, balls and concerts -- went ahead as if nothing had happened. Public opinion was outraged. Nicholas tried to atone by appointing a former Minister of Justice to look into the causes of the catastrophe. But when the Minister found that the Grand Duke Sergius, Genearl Governor of Moscow and the husband of the Empress's sister, was to blame, the other Grand Dukes protested furiously. They said it would undermine the principles of autocracy to admit in public the fault of a member of the imperial family. The affair was closed."
His souce: Salisbury, Black Night 50-8; Iswolsky, Memoirs, 259-60.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 08, 2007, 07:30:56 AM
Again from Ella, Princess, Saint & Martyr by Christopher Warwick   page 191

"The day after the disaster, the Tsar's elder sister Xenia wrote that as she sat talking with her [Ella], she "kept trying to tell Ella my opinions about everything that had happened!  Her reply was: 'Dieu merci Sergei n'a tierna faire dans tout cela' [Thank God Sergei had nothing to do with all this]."

Warwick's source is M&M A Lifelong Passion p147

Ella must have "blind in love" not to see that Sergei had everything to do with Khodynka.

I have wondered since getting into all of the things that Sergei did or did not do and Ella's uncompromising faith in him that perhaps that is what brought her to her convent in the end.  To atone for all of things that she had seen and done nothing about during her marriage??

Sergei was appointed Governor-General of Moscow in 1891 and so had been "in charge" of the city for five years before the coronation.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 08, 2007, 08:31:54 AM
Well, Serge was the one who was Governor-General and had responsibilities as such. While I agree that Ella must have been blind :( to think Serge had nothing to do with the Khodynka disaster, it's only true to a certain extent that she did not do anything about the things she saw. Olga A. said that Ella did visit several hospitals at the time of the disaster.

But perhaps more importantly, Ella's brother Ernst Ludwig wrote about his sister that she and Serge often had many guests at Ilinskoe, but that Ella, inspired by her religiosity, still used to go out to the neighbouring villages to see how she could help people, and that she was always actively supported by Serge, with whom she discussed everything [immer taetig von Serge unterstuetzt, mit dem sie alles besprach]. She did so when they still lived at St Petersburg and they only spent the summers at Ilinskoe, but she got even more wrapped up in social issues after Serge had been appointed Governor of Moscow. Her convent rather seems to have been a natural next step in a process of personal growth than an attempt to atone for anything her husband had done.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Alixz on June 08, 2007, 08:40:49 AM
You are most likely right.  No one truly knows what was in Ella's mind either before or after Sergei's death.

I was reading (again in Warwick) that Alexander III appointed Sergei to the post in Moscow because he wanted a "like minded" person in charge of the old capital.

The first thing that Sergei did was to expel the Jewish community and he did it three steps the last of which was quite horrible with young girls who stayed becoming prostitutes.

Sergei appears to have been a man with many facets (and who isn't) but his facets were in turn sharp and hurtful as well as loving and comforting.  Not just to others, but to Ella herself.

Now, I hope to find some more information on Vladimir Alexandrovich and Alexis Alexandrovich.  They were not as volatile a subject and because neither were married to a relative of Alix's not so much has been said about them in the popular press.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 08, 2007, 09:18:14 AM
Now, I hope to find some more information on Vladimir Alexandrovich and Alexis Alexandrovich.  They were not as volatile a subject and because neither were married to a relative of Alix's not so much has been said about them in the popular press.
Yes, isn't it amazing that some authors find it more important to underline that Serge was married to Alix's sister than to note that he was Nicholas' uncle and as such was much closer to Nicholas than to Alix? Orlando Figes seems to be one of them. His words 'But when the Minister found that the Grand Duke Sergius, General Governor of Moscow and the husband of the Empress's sister, was to blame, ...'  seem to insinuate a causal connection, but leave the reader wondering whether it is just the author lashing out or whether his sources, Salisbury and Iswolsky, do provide solid proof of such a causal connection.  ??? As Hélène Carrère d'Encausse wrote:  'Because Nicholas II was popular at this early point in his reign - the czar was popular by definition - it was the empress who bore the full weight of disfavor. It was then that the nickname "German" began to be attached to her, ... . ' Her words may have an element of truth in them. :-\
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on June 08, 2007, 11:31:47 PM
I disagree about his saying it is God's will is naive. The Tsar displayed a thoroughly Orthodox attitude regarding this, which is from a mindset and culture in many ways different from Western Christianity and perhaps hard for people in the West who are not Orthodox to recognise.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: charley on June 09, 2007, 12:09:55 AM
The Tsar was most likely told by the mystics of his time, that Russia was doomed. If he believed these men or women, and he knew that he could do nothing about it, then he would appear to be a weak and unconcerned ruler. But, what if these mystics told him he could do something of a spiritual nature for Russia, such as offer himself as a sacrifice for his country. That would explain why a man who dearly loved his family, just sat and waited, many miles away from his family, waiting to be taken captive and killed. He had ample opportunity, wealth, and resources to do something other than what history says he did.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Obezyanka on June 09, 2007, 07:01:02 PM
This is interesting.  You have to remember that the Russian Orthodox (sorry for spelling) always placed the Tsar up top.  The Tsar was seen as being sent from God.   I also read somewhere that they (Russian Orthodox) wouldnt bury the remains until it was certain that the remains were of Nicholas and his family.
The family were deeply religious.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Cody on June 18, 2007, 02:22:04 AM
"The will of God" was a common way people then--and now--answer problems.  It's not naive.  It's how most people think.  To be honest, if you think too hard about a bad event that happened to you, your brain might explode.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RealAnastasia on June 19, 2007, 07:35:06 PM
I disagree about his saying it is God's will is naive. The Tsar displayed a thoroughly Orthodox attitude regarding this, which is from a mindset and culture in many ways different from Western Christianity and perhaps hard for people in the West who are not Orthodox to recognise.

Well, I'm a Western and my way of taking faith is very similar to Nicholas one. I think that all depends on HOW do you take religion. For me, religion is the ruler of my life, not a secondary issue at all. If you takes religion this way, maybe you'll feel more close to Nicholas II, even if you are not an Orthodox. This attitude was the one who made Alix be ready to be an excellent Orthodox, even if she was a Lutheran by birth, and educated under "Western" views. However, I must accept that after French Revolution (or maybe from the 1500's) the West became more and more secularized, so, it's hard for some people here, to pick religion as a serious thing in their lives...But that's all.

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: dmitri on June 19, 2007, 08:09:39 PM
That Nicholas II was a kind and loving man. Sadly he did not love his family enough to listen to ample good advice that would have stopped the revolution and the subsequent massacre of his family. He was naive and extremely foolish. As Tsar he owed it to his people to avoid calamity. Instead he chose to run away from reality when the going got tough. It is his children I feel so sad for as they were victims of their father's inept behaviour as were millions of Russians who died because of an unnecessary revolution brought about by a very weak man. It is a shame the family did not stage a coup to get rid of him. That was previous Romanov policy to save the dynasty.   
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 24, 2007, 08:30:30 AM
Well, that's putting it rather simply, I think. A revolution was already inevitable when Nicholas II came to the throne. One only has to think of the uprisings and revolts under earlier tsars and of the uprisings in other European countries in the 19th century.

Nicholas' reign did not avert that revolution. However, in the end, each person is responsible for his own actions. This also applies to all these individual Russians who - for whatever reason - thought it necessary to kill an other person or who used unnecessary violence during these days of revolution. The blame for the victims of the revolution should be put where it belongs: on the people who actually killed these victims.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: dmitri on June 24, 2007, 09:57:40 AM
Alexander III was a different man from his weak son Nicholas II. He maintained peace. Nicholas II through involvement in disastrous wars seriously weakened the power base of the dynasty. World War One killed off in its early stages many of the officer corps who shored up the dynasty. It was all avoidable and I do not believe the revolution was inevitable. Nicholas II by his chronic mismagement of the empire made it so. Alexander III would have done anything to preserve the dynasty and if that needed to be increasingly violent it would seem that would have occurred. Maintaining power is everything. Remember no Russian Tsar was as brutal as Stalin and he stayed in power. Travel to Russia today as I have and you will soon work out  that there is no democracy there. Power is tightly controlled. Putin knows how to control, Nicholas II was clueless. There is the difference.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: dmitri on June 24, 2007, 10:57:56 AM
It was a loving relationship. Alexander III though was a giant of a man whereas his son was quite short. Alexander III also knew how to govern Russia and sadly knew his son was not really up to the job. He did not hand him great responsibility as he knew he was not terribly capable. He didn't want Nicholas II to marry Alexandra. He and Maria Feodorovna only agreed to it when he became ill. They both wanted Helene of France. Nobody expected Alexander III to die so young at the age of 49.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Helen on June 24, 2007, 02:44:27 PM
Yes, Alexander III maintained peace. He did not start a Russo-Japanese War, which is to his credit,  but it's a mere coincidence that he did not rule any more when World War I broke out. We can only guess whether Russia would have stayed neutral if Alexander III had still ruled in 1914.  Under Nicholas II it did not, but this does not mean that Nicholas or Alexandra wanted war with Germany. They felt that Kaiser Wilhelm had betrayed Russia by declaring war on Russia, instead of replying to Nicholas' last attempt to avoid war.

While Alexander III did maintain peace, he did not have the foresight or the flexibility to grant his people democratic rights, at a time when such rights were or had already been granted or demanded in other European countries. In this respect, Nicholas was his father's son, as the reforms he was willing to grant were too little too late. Also, Alexander III did not have the foresight to realise that the dynasty was best served by instilling in his son a more liberal attitude. IMO, Alexander III actually  increased the inevitability of a revolution.  

Alexander III would perhaps have tried to preserve the dynasty at any cost, and perhaps he would have used more and more violence to achieve this aim - we'll never know. The system was living on borrowed time, though; more state controle or more oppression would not have been able to preserve the dynasty in the end.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RealAnastasia on June 24, 2007, 11:33:11 PM
I think we were discussing the FAMILY man, the private Nicholas Alexandrovich and not the Tsar, the public character he was.

We all knows that he wouldn't understand the times where he was living in and that he was a weak ruler. That yes. But we were speaking of another completely different matter.

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: dmitri on June 25, 2007, 12:33:46 AM
In the end whether he was a nice and loving man or not he was extremely foolish to place his family in a position where they would be destroyed. That is not the sign of a man who loves his family.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: dmitri on June 25, 2007, 01:06:11 AM
The Uncles and Maria Feodorovna basically governed the country until 1905 when Nicholas fell under the influence of Alexandra. From that time it all went downhill. You will find information in Coryne Hall's book on it all.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: mr_harrison75 on June 27, 2007, 12:45:45 PM
I think we can trace Nikolaï's problems back to the way his parents treated him. His father bullied him, and his mother was possessive. His father thought him a wuss, and bullied him in hope of strengthening him, but the contrary happened; Nikolaï retreated more into himself, put as much space as possible between his father and himself (although he still loved him), and simply wasn't interested in what his father was doing, to his loss. All came from this.

Alexander III should've acknowledged the fact that his son was more of a gentle sort, and slowly,but surely teach him how to be a Tsar.

He would've been a better Tsar perhaps, and still had been a good father for his daughters and son.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Andrew Garton on June 27, 2007, 04:30:41 PM
Correct me if Im wrong, but wasn't it the Japanesse who started the war? Did they not attack Port Arthur first? So if Im recalling my facts correctly Nicholas isn't the aggresser.He is only responding to being attacked.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Lolita on August 01, 2007, 04:16:19 PM
We all know that Alix's favorite was Tanya,but who was Nicky's?
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: nena on August 01, 2007, 06:12:23 PM
Good question, I_LOVE_OTMA!
I really don't know. Maybe his son, or Anastasia? Or Olga?  ;)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sarushka on August 01, 2007, 06:53:54 PM
I would wager a guess for Aleksei. The tsesarevich seemd to be everyone's favorite. (Although Tatiana was Alix's favorite *daughter,* I think one could argue that Aleksei was the empress's favorite child.) I don't know if the tsar favored any one of his daughters over the others, though.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RealAnastasia on August 06, 2007, 05:51:32 PM
He liked to walk along with Olga, and discuss things with her, but who can say he loved her more than the others? I don't think Nicholas and Alexandra have a "fav" among the children. Good parents haven't. The fact they have more things in common with one of them or with another, doesn't make them to love this one more than hs/her siblings.

As for the Tsarevich thing...They were pleased to have a Heir,and cared about him an awful lot for his illness, but they loved their five children in the same way.

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: mr_harrison75 on August 06, 2007, 06:33:37 PM
I agree. We could probably say that the Tsar had more affinities with Olga, but loved her more than the others? I don't think so!

Just read what he wrote about Mashka, or Aleksei, for example...
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: JBenjamin82 on August 06, 2007, 10:39:20 PM
Apparently, Isa Buxhoeveden wrote that Tatiana was the "definite favorite of both her parents."  Whether that's true or not, I don't know.  I'd probably say that Tatiana or Alexei was his favorite child.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: ImperialHighness on August 07, 2007, 01:20:24 AM
First of all, I do not think that parents have a favourite child in that way, for normally they do love all their children. My mother-in-law has six children and every child has a good/bad aspects in character, but she told me she loves them all the same.
I have heard that Olga was Nickys favourite, cause she liked to make walks in nature, like him, she was interested in Politics and other subjects he liked to talk about (theater,art...)- she was something like an intimate friend to him. But I have read that Olga could be unpolite sometimes to others and too proud. But in one book they said Nicky could share much time with Olga and Tatiana and liked to spent time with both of them, cause they were the eldest of the girls and understood what was going on (WW I etc.). He often went out with them. Although Olga could be as hysterical like her mother in the way of getting heart problems and such things, if  a situation was too much for her.
Alix favourite was maybe Alexei as I have read. She had waited to give birth to a son for such a long time, years, then he needed her whole attention and care in fact of suffering from hemophilia and while she concentrated so much on his recovery and health for he was the only heir to the throne, she got sicker and sicker, physically and mentally. But she loved her little boy so much.
Maybe Anastasia was a favourite of her for she cheered her up with her jokes from time to time.
And Marie is not mentioned in any of these ways. I often wondered why she was always the outsider. But I think people have tried to find out about that here very often in other threads.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Vyacheslav N on August 07, 2007, 10:42:55 AM
i agree ImperialHighness... about the same degree of love that most parents hold for ALL their children. yet to add a new twist to this interesting post :), i remember reading that Nicky was very found of Mashka due to her ''big saucer eyes'' which reminded him of his mothers. However, i still hold..IMHO, that he may not have had a favourite but liked different things of all of them.  :). Alexei (for amongst other reasons obviously) but he was his only son, Nastya for her fun 'impish' side, Tatiana for her thoughfulness and also he liked Olga for she was like him in ways, and like Alix in others.  all in their own unique way and mannerisms :D. what does everyone else think?


slava
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Damie on August 07, 2007, 11:57:20 PM
I would wager a guess for Aleksei. The tsesarevich seemd to be everyone's favorite. (Although Tatiana was Alix's favorite *daughter,* I think one could argue that Aleksei was the empress's favorite child.) I don't know if the tsar favored any one of his daughters over the others, though.

I think you're right and have made a safe wager. There's  no doubt in my mind it was Alexei. He was the pride and joy of both his parents. In fact, Mr. Gilliard observed in one of his diary entries how the Tsarevich was "the center of the affections and hopes of his family." He was everyone's favorite, as you say. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Binky on August 10, 2007, 04:42:49 PM
the Tsarevich was "the center of the affections and hopes of his family."

Yeh.  They hoped he'd live.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mary R. on August 10, 2007, 08:57:18 PM
In terms of the child most similar to him, I would say Olga. I always thought their character and nature were quite similar. I agree with Vyacheslav N that he loved each of his children equally, enjoying different aspects of their character.  :)

Mary R.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Gabriella on August 11, 2007, 11:31:01 AM
From what I learnt Olga has been his favourite among his daughters.

That doen not mean that he loved her more than his others daughters but spent more time with her for they share some interests.


Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Gabriella on August 11, 2007, 11:44:17 AM
I know that Ernie was very fond of Nicholas II, but had this been vice-verse?

What about his relationship with his other brothers-in-law? I found that he was not very fond of Henry of Prussia but nowhere I can find an information about his relationship with Louis of Battenberg.

I also do not found any information about his relationship with Olga Alexandrovna first husband Peter of Oldenburg.

Also about his relationship with Xenia's husband I only found information from Sandro.

So I would like to know what he thought about his brothers-in-law, and what about their relationships
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: isabel on August 11, 2007, 03:41:48 PM
The four daughters were quite differents, and i am sure that Nicky loved all the four as well with their qualitys and defaults.

Some writers said that Tatiana was the favorite daughter of both parents, others that Olga was the favorite of Nicky, in the memorys of the girl´s nanny, she said that Maria was the favorite of the emperor.

Their caractheres were very differents, but as father and as mother Nicky and Alix loved their five children equally.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sarushka on August 11, 2007, 03:52:50 PM
The courtiers all seem to have different opinions based on their own observations, so who knows. I doubt anyone ever said to him, "Hey Nick, who's your favorite kid?"

Because of all the conflicting information, I think it's impossible to know:
a) if he had a favorite
b) who it was (if he even had one)

BTW, I also don't think it's so outlandish to imagine he might have favored one of the girls. Some parents do in fact have favorites. If Nicholas II did, he appears to have beensmart enough not to let his feelings of partiality show.


Like Tatianolinshka said, I think Nicholas related to Olga best, because she was old enough that he could, in some ways I believe, relate to her on an adult level. She knew the most about her family's situation when compared to her sibilings, and I imagine they must have discussed stuff relating to that all the time.


Olga may have known more about her family's situation than TMAA, but that doesn't necessarily mean she knew a LOT about it. ;) As sheltered as the children were, it doesn't seem likely to me that Nicholas would have discussed politics with his daughters, even after his abdication.

Actually, I recall reading that Tatiana was in fact the daughter that Nicholas talked with most during the time under house arrest in the AP that he and Alexandra were forbidden by the Provisional Government to speak. However, I don't believe any of the topics they discussed were ever mentioned specifically.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Holly on August 11, 2007, 06:37:21 PM
I agree completely with Sarushka on this one.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on August 18, 2007, 09:30:09 PM
Quote
Actually, I recall reading that Tatiana was in fact the daughter that Nicholas talked with most during the time under house arrest in the AP that he and Alexandra were forbidden by the Provisional Government to speak.

I'm not reading too clearly today, do you mean Nicholas and Alexandra weren't allowed to speak to each other?  ???
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Sarushka on August 18, 2007, 11:20:44 PM
Quote
Actually, I recall reading that Tatiana was in fact the daughter that Nicholas talked with most during the time under house arrest in the AP that he and Alexandra were forbidden by the Provisional Government to speak.

I'm not reading too clearly today, do you mean Nicholas and Alexandra weren't allowed to speak to each other?  ???

Exactly. For a week or two at the beginning of their arrest they were kept separate except for meals, and even then they were only allowed to speak Russian.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RealAnastasia on August 18, 2007, 11:59:04 PM
Yes. This also happened to Louis XVI when he was in his trial. He could not have the slighest connection with his family if a representant of gouvernement was not present to hear him speak. Normal think in Revolutions, mes amis... ::)

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Belochka on August 19, 2007, 06:57:30 AM
Who was the favorite daughter of Tsar Nicholas II? From some books I've read, Olga was said to be his favorite daughter, but there were also other books that claimed Maria was Nicholas's most beloved daughter. Some historians implied that either Tatiana (definitely Alexandra's favorite girl, but some books referred her as her parents' favorite daughter) or Anastasia (Nicholas enjoyed her mischevious company) was the favorite daughter of Nicholas II.

Now I am intrigued, which particular books might these be Elizaveta?

Thanks in advance for your reply,

Margarita
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on August 30, 2007, 05:39:36 PM
The four daughters were quite differents, and i am sure that Nicky loved all the four as well with their qualitys and defaults.

I'm thinking he loved whichever one he was with.  As the introduction to Ray Bradbury's The Machineries of Joy says, "This book, dear daughters, with four different kinds of love, for you."
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: rosieposie on August 31, 2007, 08:06:53 AM
I agree he loved each of them.  I am sure he enjoyed Olga's serious converstations, Tatiana's grace,  Maria's gossip and Anastasia's mischief.  I am sure he scolded Anastasia when she did her pranks  I am sure he would of been chuckling once her back was turned.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: anna11 on September 25, 2007, 08:27:31 AM
Quote
First of all, I do not think that parents have a favourite child in that way, for normally they do love all their children.

That's a rather naive thing to say...i'm really sorry I don't mean that at all in a rude way. I've just thought about things like this a lot since my english teacher told me last year that I was too sentimental and couldn't accept that some parents do not love their children. (Discussing Heathcliffe and his son in Wuthering Hights )

I think that Alexei was both Nicholas and Alix's favorite child, that they loved the most not only because he was a boy but because they were both constantly made aware of how precious he was. That's not at all to say that he didn't love OTMA, of course he did, he would have loved them very, very much as much as any father loves his daughters. But Alexei has constantly been said to be his parents 'pride and joy'
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Georgiy on September 27, 2007, 06:40:12 PM
In his dary, he often mentions going for walks or breaking up ice with Maria, and seems to have spent a lot of time with her - though I agree, a parent doesn't really have a 'favourite' child - they are a; loved for their own special ways.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: FairyCutie86 on October 12, 2007, 05:01:16 PM
This is an interesting topic.  I always thought Nicholas' favorite was Anastasia.  Yes, of course he loved all of his children, definatley not arguing that---- but I thought he favored Anastasia the most because of the way she was.  She was fun and outgoing compared to her older sisters.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Michael HR on June 06, 2008, 12:37:02 AM
Hello,

In 1917 does any know if Nicholas II was in the line of succession to the English throne and if so where he was? As he was so closely related to the English Royal Family I assume he was, and Alexis for that matter, but have no idea where in line he would have been.

Michael HR
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Forum Admin on June 06, 2008, 08:53:19 AM
Nicholas II was not in the line of succession to the English Throne. His relation to the English monarchy was maternal on both sides ie: his mother's sister married the future King.  Given there was no male lineage with any close generations there was no "real" place in the line of succession, speaking pratically.  That said, I rather suspect someone far more into the Royal geneaelolgies than I will probably show that Nicholas might have been like 575th in line to the throne or something like that!!

I personally rather suspect that "if" Nicholas had actually  had some place closer to succession to the English throne that he and his family would have been more readily granted asylum in England after the Revolution...

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: LisaDavidson on June 09, 2008, 06:24:22 PM
Nicholas II was not in the line of succession to the English Throne. His relation to the English monarchy was maternal on both sides ie: his mother's sister married the future King.  Given there was no male lineage with any close generations there was no "real" place in the line of succession, speaking pratically.  That said, I rather suspect someone far more into the Royal geneaelolgies than I will probably show that Nicholas might have been like 575th in line to the throne or something like that!!

I personally rather suspect that "if" Nicholas had actually  had some place closer to succession to the English throne that he and his family would have been more readily granted asylum in England after the Revolution...



I am not an expert on the English (or rather, at the time it would have been Great Britain's and now the UK's) succession, but here is a quick rundown:

1. The Act of Settlement limited succession to descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover. So, any earlier relations to the British throne that Nicholas may have had would have been invalidated.
2. It was common practice with dynastic marriages that women marrying into the direct line of a ruling house would renounce their succession rights from the ruling house of their birth. Thus, it is likely that Princess Alice would have renounced her rights to her mother's throne for herself and her descendants, thus making it unlikely that either Alexandra or Alexei would have had any succession rights to that throne.
3. I don't see that any of Nicholas' surviving nieces or nephews (and their descendants) are listed in among of the 1500 some individuals currently listed (and the hundreds of excluded potential heirs due to Roman Catholic marriage) in the Succession.

It is my belief that had "Uncle Bertie" been alive, the question of asylum would never have come up - it would have been granted, period.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Michael HR on June 10, 2008, 12:57:31 AM
Hello Lisa,

I was reading the order of succession the other day, as you do, and saw that Grand Duke George is presently something like 110/111th in line to the English throne but that may be through his Father's line (Prussia) rather than his Mother's, Maria. I believe he is also a Prince of Prussia and that might explain his link into the British Royal family. Of course I cold be wrong at it is the Romanov line that links him in somewhere.

Of course I don't think any other Romanov's alive today are in line to the throne at this time and did not see their names in the list but it did run to over 3000 so one rather lost interest after a very short while. 
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: LisaDavidson on June 10, 2008, 01:19:33 AM
Hello Lisa,

I was reading the order of succession the other day, as you do, and saw that Grand Duke George is presently something like 110/111th in line to the English throne but that may be through his Father's line (Prussia) rather than his Mother's, Maria. I believe he is also a Prince of Prussia and that might explain his link into the British Royal family. Of course I cold be wrong at it is the Romanov line that links him in somewhere.

Of course I don't think any other Romanov's alive today are in line to the throne at this time and did not see their names in the list but it did run to over 3000 so one rather lost interest after a very short while. 

George Mikhailovich actually has succession rights from both sides. On his mother's side. Maria Vladimirovna is descended from Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria. (Victoria - Alfred - Victoria Melita - Vladimir Kirilovich - Maria Vladimirovna - George Mikhailovich). His father, a Prussian Prince, is descended from the eldest daughter of QV, Victoria, the Empress Frederick (Victoria R - "Vickie" Empress Frederick - Kaiser Wilhelm II - Prince Joachim - Prince Franz Wilhelm (restyled HIH The Grand Duke Michael) - Grand Duke George Mikhailovich.

I believe there was a marriage contract that excludes George M from the Prussian succession. Nicholas II of course descends from the Danish royal family after King Christian IX and the Romanov main line.

There are still Russian nobles who are part of the British succession, just not the family of HIM the Emperor Alexander III.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Michael HR on June 10, 2008, 02:02:51 AM
Dear Lisa,

Many thanks for that info.

Michael HR
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: jehan on June 11, 2008, 10:54:33 PM

I personally rather suspect that "if" Nicholas had actually  had some place closer to succession to the English throne that he and his family would have been more readily granted asylum in England after the Revolution...



I am not an expert on the English (or rather, at the time it would have been Great Britain's and now the UK's) succession, but here is a quick rundown:

1. The Act of Settlement limited succession to descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover. So, any earlier relations to the British throne that Nicholas may have had would have been invalidated.
2. It was common practice with dynastic marriages that women marrying into the direct line of a ruling house would renounce their succession rights from the ruling house of their birth. Thus, it is likely that Princess Alice would have renounced her rights to her mother's throne for herself and her descendants, thus making it unlikely that either Alexandra or Alexei would have had any succession rights to that throne.
3. I don't see that any of Nicholas' surviving nieces or nephews (and their descendants) are listed in among of the 1500 some individuals currently listed (and the hundreds of excluded potential heirs due to Roman Catholic marriage) in the Succession.

It is my belief that had "Uncle Bertie" been alive, the question of asylum would never have come up - it would have been granted, period.

As far as I know, Nicholas was not a descendant of Sophia, so he was not in the line of succession.  I could be wrong there- if so it's an obscure line (Hesse perhaps?)

 I don't think that British Princesses did renounce their rights upon marrying foreigners, unless they married Roman Catholics (As Ena had to).  Certainly nobody questions Vicky's descendants being in the current line of succession, and the Norwegian House is listed as well.  (King Harald is around 62nd in line right now)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Michael HR on June 12, 2008, 04:12:29 AM
No you do not give up your rights of succession by marriage unless you marry a Catholic, which under the law of succession you may not do and remain in line. You also require the Monach's permission as I recall
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: LisaDavidson on June 12, 2008, 12:33:35 PM
No you do not give up your rights of succession by marriage unless you marry a Catholic, which under the law of succession you may not do and remain in line. You also require the Monach's permission as I recall

Yes, all of the Electress' descendants are required to have the approval of the sovereign to marry. I recall Ernst of Hanover needed to ask HM for approval to marry Caroline of Monaco.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: royalboy202 on June 12, 2008, 07:12:28 PM
Nicholas II great great great grandmother was Princess Mary daughter of King George II.  So yes he was in line to the succession.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: LisaDavidson on June 12, 2008, 08:35:32 PM
Nicholas II great great great grandmother was Princess Mary daughter of King George II.  So yes he was in line to the succession.

Yes, but did someone in her line marry a Roman Catholic? If so, her entire line would be excluded, and he would not be in the succession.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: royalboy202 on June 13, 2008, 01:42:55 AM
None of Nicholas II ancestors from his descet from George II were Catholic.  So he was in line to the succession.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Michael HR on June 13, 2008, 04:28:09 AM
Only the person that married a non catholic and their off spring would be excluded from the throne not the entire line backwards and sideways, if you see what I mean.

Michael HR

BTW, The British Government want to scrap the law of succession and make catholics as able to ascend as anyone. Part of the Human Right Act in force in Europe and would not affect present close to the throne claimants. Prince Michael may be unhappy though
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Russka Princess on July 22, 2008, 10:36:12 AM
hey Gabirella,

where you has found about the Relationship between Nicholas II and Louis of Battenberg ?

well i think  Henry, Louis,and  Ernie was very lovly and nice to Nicholas II.

i thought they was so nice to each other, becuase their wifes was sisters.^^
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 25, 2009, 04:09:31 PM
Greg King's words based on Helen Baker's thesis are at odds with Massie's, and it makes me wonder how Helen Baker herself put things into words and what sources she used. :-\



I realise that this topic is very old, but since I found it when looking for old posts about Philippe Vachot (don't ask me how it led me here!) and I can clarify this, I may as well add something to it: -

Helen Baker's information on the payments after Khodynka come from the official report of the investigatory commission: Otchet osoboi kommissii, obrazovannoi dlia vyiasneniia lichnosti pogibshikh na Khodynsom Pole 18-go maia 1896 goda [Moscow, 1896]. It reported that the Treasury immediately released 300,000 roubles to pay the "1000 to each of the bereaved" that N had promised in his official letter to the press. If there were 1386 deaths (I think that's the offical number), this would have meant only 216 for each if divided equally - but there were more like 4000, and this led to the awkward distribution by economic status.

By the way, the Commission itself was under the control of the Governor general's office, and Baker also conludes that despite his abdicating responsibility for the coronation arrangements to the Minister of the Court Serge was ultimately entirely to blame for Khodynka.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: GoldenPen on March 06, 2009, 08:05:20 AM
A side note on Georgey, in responce to Janet post, Nicholas use to write down Georgey jokes in which later on in his life would read in his study silently laughing to himself.

Truly, GoldenPen
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grand Duchess Valeria on April 16, 2009, 03:12:36 PM
Hi, do you know, why Nicky was not able to change the law of only a boy become heir? I wonder, why Czar Paul could easily create this law and nobody after him - especially Nicky - did withdraw it. It would be much more easier for him, Alix and especially Alexei if the pressure didn't lay on the only and weak son.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Forum Admin on April 16, 2009, 03:16:22 PM
This has been discussed a long time ago. The short answer is that when Nicholas became Emperor, he swore (as had all Emperors prior to him) to uphold the Pauline laws of succession.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grand Duchess Valeria on April 16, 2009, 03:21:14 PM
One of many facts of how this vow destroys him and his familiy  :( Thanks for answer
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mariia on April 16, 2009, 03:42:10 PM
That is not what "destroyed" Him and His family.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grand Duchess Valeria on April 16, 2009, 03:53:12 PM
not alone, you are right. But I think it would have been more easier if the daughters could became empress of russia too. there would be not so much pressure on nicky and alix. of course, its not easy to have an ill son after all.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mariia on April 16, 2009, 05:03:40 PM
I think you're missing the point. It wasn't about them and what was convenient and less stressful, it was about what had to be done. I doubt that Nicholas would change fundamental laws to make life easier for himself.

:)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mexjames on April 16, 2009, 05:07:49 PM
not alone, you are right. But I think it would have been more easier if the daughters could became empress of russia too. there would be not so much pressure on nicky and alix. of course, its not easy to have an ill son after all.
The social damage that Russia suffered was too bad already when Nicholas II was crowned.  The assassination of his grandfather Alexander II (after several attempts), far from making the Romanovs think, made them revengeful.  And even before Alexander II's first assassination attempt failed in 1866, there were already signs of unrest in the country, to which the only answer was with more repression.

So naming as Heiress any of the Grand Duchesses wouldn't have made a difference in my opinion, unless of course, the House or Romanov would have agree to forfeit autocracy for say, a constitutional monarchy, but Nicholas II wouldn't even hear of it.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mariia on April 16, 2009, 05:36:43 PM
not alone, you are right. But I think it would have been more easier if the daughters could became empress of russia too. there would be not so much pressure on nicky and alix. of course, its not easy to have an ill son after all.
The social damage that Russia suffered was too bad already when Nicholas II was crowned.  The assassination of his grandfather Alexander II (after several attempts), far from making the Romanovs think, made them revengeful.  And even before Alexander II's first assassination attempt failed in 1866, there were already signs of unrest in the country, to which the only answer was with more repression.

So naming as Heiress any of the Grand Duchesses wouldn't have made a difference in my opinion, unless of course, the House or Romanov would have agree to forfeit autocracy for say, a constitutional monarchy, but Nicholas II wouldn't even hear of it.

OT: Constitutional monarchy, at least the British kind, is not *actually* monarchy though, is it? It's a wedding cake with two little dolls on top. So, basically it's a republic. Which is even worse, because with the Soviet Union you know who and where the enemy is. With republic you don't really know who rules you. That's why Nicholas, who was obviously very religious and was familiar with the idea of Third Rome, would not "switch" to constitutional monarchy. Even if he did abdicate, which is not entirely clear, he thought Michael would rule or else "pass it on". That's just my opinion.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on April 16, 2009, 05:52:00 PM
Nicholas believed in autocracy to the end, simply because it was tradition, no other reason. Nicholas felt that it was his sacred duty to pass the autocracy with all the power of the tsar to Alexei, and that if he did not he failed his coroation vows. I don't think he ever had any other motivation for not changing the laws. He stuck with tradition blindly.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mariia on April 17, 2009, 01:38:48 AM
Nicholas believed in autocracy to the end, simply because it was tradition, no other reason. Nicholas felt that it was his sacred duty to pass the autocracy with all the power of the tsar to Alexei, and that if he did not he failed his coroation vows. I don't think he ever had any other motivation for not changing the laws. He stuck with tradition blindly.

So, basically, you're saying Nicholas was stupid.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 17, 2009, 05:08:10 AM
Nicholas believed in autocracy to the end, simply because it was tradition, no other reason. Nicholas felt that it was his sacred duty to pass the autocracy with all the power of the tsar to Alexei, and that if he did not he failed his coroation vows. I don't think he ever had any other motivation for not changing the laws. He stuck with tradition blindly.

So, basically, you're saying Nicholas was stupid.

If so, I'm sorry but I'm not agree with you Imperial Angel...Nicholas II was very attached to tradition, perhaps too much, but this doesn't mean that he was not intelligent.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: imperial angel on April 17, 2009, 07:10:06 AM
I wasn't saying he was stupid just that following tradition was a mistake with continuing the autocracy, and not going towards constitutional monarchy. As for the sucession laws, I don't think he was wrong for maintening tradition there, because although it would saved some trouble had Alexei not been the heir, which led indirectly to Rasputin having political influence that was detrimental to the dynasty, there were far larger issues with regards to the goverment, even had Olga been the heir, such as whether to go towards constitutional monarchy or not.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 17, 2009, 07:17:55 AM
Now I understand clearly what you mean, sorry, and now I have to agree with you.  :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Forum Admin on April 17, 2009, 09:02:02 AM
Nicholas believed in autocracy to the end, simply because it was tradition, no other reason. Nicholas felt that it was his sacred duty to pass the autocracy with all the power of the tsar to Alexei, and that if he did not he failed his coroation vows. I don't think he ever had any other motivation for not changing the laws. He stuck with tradition blindly.

He did not stick with tradition "blindly".  Remember the changes made to his autocracy in 1905 after Bloody Sunday?? Also, if you guys had used search on this topic, you will see that there "is" some historical evidence from two first hand sources, that after the Spala incident in 1913, Nicholas posed the legal question to Tcheglovotov (minister of Justice and foremost expert on Russian Imperial Law) about changing succession in favor of Olga should Alexei be unable to succeed, and the answer was "yes he could" and a secret ukaze was drawn up by Tcheglovotov changing Nicholas' heir to Olga Nicholaievna should Alexei not be able to take the throne.  Many historians doubt this occurred, however, Mossolov and Spiridovitch both say it did, and both were very close to Nicholas.  As a question, it will only be answered for certain if the secret Ukaze ever turns up in GARF somewhere.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Grand Duchess Valeria on April 17, 2009, 10:02:30 AM
Interesting, I did not hear anything about this Ukaz. So when this one really exist and - just for imagine - Alexei died before 1917, than Olga N. would be declared to be heir to the throne, not Nickys brother Michail? Practically, there could be an empress Olga of Russia? Wow... :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mexjames on April 17, 2009, 12:37:04 PM
Nicholas believed in autocracy to the end, simply because it was tradition, no other reason. Nicholas felt that it was his sacred duty to pass the autocracy with all the power of the tsar to Alexei, and that if he did not he failed his coroation vows. I don't think he ever had any other motivation for not changing the laws. He stuck with tradition blindly.

He did not stick with tradition "blindly".  Remember the changes made to his autocracy in 1905 after Bloody Sunday?? Also, if you guys had used search on this topic, you will see that there "is" some historical evidence from two first hand sources, that after the Spala incident in 1913, Nicholas posed the legal question to Tcheglovotov (minister of Justice and foremost expert on Russian Imperial Law) about changing succession in favor of Olga should Alexei be unable to succeed, and the answer was "yes he could" and a secret ukaze was drawn up by Tcheglovotov changing Nicholas' heir to Olga Nicholaievna should Alexei not be able to take the throne.  Many historians doubt this occurred, however, Mossolov and Spiridovitch both say it did, and both were very close to Nicholas.  As a question, it will only be answered for certain if the secret Ukaze ever turns up in GARF somewhere.

Ain't I dumb! As a matter of fact I wrote what you say in my draft, then I realized my answer was getting too long and I deleted it.

My logic tells me that the Emperor, being an intelligent man and as concerned for Russia as his vision of the world would allow him to be, would have realize that the Heir might never make it to the Crown, and I have a gut feeling that the ukaze you mention exists or existed, in the very least form, as a draft ready to make the necessary amendments.  The male succession issue was all too important in Russia to leave it just hanging in there.

But I still insist that the revolution would have happened anyway.

Mariia, a constitutional monarchy is still a monarchy because the sovereign isn't an elected government official.  In the case of Great Britain, citizens get to choose who will be the head of the government, that is, the Prime Minister, but the Head of State is the queen, whether they like it or not.

In a republic you know who rules. 

When Nicholas II abdicated in is and his son's behalf in favor of Michael, he "passed it on" to the Provisional Government.  Which opens a can of worms that has been discussed elsewhere.  Michael didn't abdicate and didn't refuse the crown, he wanted people to decide if the empire should continue or not.  It was a conditional abdication, the conditions of which were not met and consequently, a theoretical can of worms can be opened because I'm sure that a detailed legal analysis of the situation would prove that the communist (without a capital "C" on purpose) was a rogue regime... and this would also put the current regime in dire straights... as well as the pretenders of the throne.

Well, I don't intend to hijack the thread so I'll just leave for now.


I stand for what I said before: changing the law wouldn't have prevented the revolution from happening. 

Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mariia on April 18, 2009, 02:19:32 AM
Mariia, a constitutional monarchy is still a monarchy because the sovereign isn't an elected government official.  In the case of Great Britain, citizens get to choose who will be the head of the government, that is, the Prime Minister, but the Head of State is the queen, whether they like it or not.

Yes, except the Queen doesn't actually do anything, does she?

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In a republic you know who rules.

Isn't that a bit naive?  :)

Quote
When Nicholas II abdicated in is and his son's behalf in favor of Michael, he "passed it on" to the Provisional Government.

Where does it say so?

Quote
Michael didn't abdicate and didn't refuse the crown, he wanted people to decide if the empire should continue or not.

Nicholas didn't know Michael would do that.

Quote
I stand for what I said before: changing the law wouldn't have prevented the revolution from happening.

That I agree with completely.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 18, 2009, 07:14:22 AM
Mariia, a constitutional monarchy is still a monarchy because the sovereign isn't an elected government official.  In the case of Great Britain, citizens get to choose who will be the head of the government, that is, the Prime Minister, but the Head of State is the queen, whether they like it or not.

Yes, except the Queen doesn't actually do anything, does she?

Maybe this is off topic, but if I'm not wrong, the Queen of the United Kingdom is also head of the Anglican church, commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the commonwealth, and this is a great responsibility.
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Tina Laroche on April 18, 2009, 08:07:53 AM
Mariia, a constitutional monarchy is still a monarchy because the sovereign isn't an elected government official.  In the case of Great Britain, citizens get to choose who will be the head of the government, that is, the Prime Minister, but the Head of State is the queen, whether they like it or not.

Yes, except the Queen doesn't actually do anything, does she?

Maybe this is off topic, but if I'm not wrong, the Queen of the United Kingdom is also head of the Anglican church, commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the commonwealth, and this is a great responsibility.


Yes, the Queen certainly does something. : )
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: Mariia on April 18, 2009, 08:54:01 AM
Mariia, a constitutional monarchy is still a monarchy because the sovereign isn't an elected government official.  In the case of Great Britain, citizens get to choose who will be the head of the government, that is, the Prime Minister, but the Head of State is the queen, whether they like it or not.

Yes, except the Queen doesn't actually do anything, does she?

Maybe this is off topic, but if I'm not wrong, the Queen of the United Kingdom is also head of the Anglican church, commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the commonwealth, and this is a great responsibility.


But of course she is. I'm sure she's also an honorary member of the Corgi Lovers Society, the Annual Christmas Message Readers Union and the Landowners United Against Terrorism and Moth.

Just kidding,  :D
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 18, 2009, 01:44:04 PM
Oh, I have understand now.  :)
Title: Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
Post by: PAVLOV on May 19, 2009, 08:18:27 AM
Yes Nicholas was a wonderful family man, but because he did not have a strong character, I think he was always appeasing various members of this family, including his wife, just to keep the peace. Perhaps that was one of the reasons for ignoring the Rasputin issue.He did not want to upset his wife, so he just lived with the situation.  I think many issues relating to the unacceptable marriages and the resultant banishment of various family members, were largely influenced by Alexandra. Her correspondence, not only in the last 2 years, was sometimes very scathing about family members and of society, and she bore grudges. i dont think anyone got a second chance with her. Once you were on the wrong side of her, you stayed there for ever. 
I sometimes wonder if Nicholas had any real friends, even within his own family circle. I cannot remember reading anywhere that the Emperor had any real friends, other than perhaps old Frederichs, who was more of a "father" figure.
Does anyone know if Nicholas had any friends ?