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Topics - Naslednik

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Nicholas II / Chemical Weapons, The Hague and Nicholas II
« on: September 14, 2013, 08:30:54 AM »
The current problem with chemical weapons in Syria has me thinking about early legislation against the use of these gases.  Nicholas II called on European leaders to convene and discuss military issues, with an emphasis on the huge resources spent on the military that can impoverish a nation.  They convened for the 1st time in 1899 in The Hague.  At this first convention the nations agreed on a number of restrictions in war, banning the use of exploding bullets and yes, chemical weapons.  More specifically, they banned the use of "asphyxiating gases' delivered in projectiles.  I think that it is important for the modern world to understand that leaders have been trying to forbid the use of these gases; if we consider the long timeline, we have a responsibility to continue the work of the past, using diplomacy as was done at the Hague. I also think that we need to give credit to Nicholas II for initiating these conventions, which took some courage; he risked the disdain of other royals, but created a lasting legacy that led to the League of Nations and later, the United Nations.

I have often wondered if there is any record of Alexandra expressing regret over changing her faith.  Of course, she loved her husband and children, but with Alexander III's early demise, her own troubles conceiving a son, and Alexei's suffering, I wonder if she felt that God was punishing her for her switch of faith.  Her letters to Nicholas in October 1893 so clearly lay out her perceived path of suffering if she did renounce Lutheranism.  She even told him it would be difficult for them to be happy together if God didn't bless their (Orthodox) marriage. 

Forum Announcements / Siege/Blockade of Leningrad 70 years ago
« on: September 22, 2011, 05:45:59 PM »
Hi, I'm not sure where to post this subject-wise.  But has anyone been thinking about or reading about the Siege of Leningrad, that began 70 years ago this month?  We hear so little about it from the media, I think.  I believe that this was Hitler's revenge for WW1, directed specifically at St. Petersburg as the seat of Imperial Russia.  I'm reading "Pavlosk" (Suzanne Massie) and the intent to destroy the palaces is, well, shocking. 

I have a 2 friends who survived the Blokade.  One friend's grandfather performed the premiere of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony during the siege. People died during rehearsals owing to the effort of playing!  I have got to get him to tell me the whole story of getting this piece performed -- it was a defiant gesture on the part of the Leningraders.

Anybody else thinking about this?

Hello AP Forum Folk,

Here is a link showing the New York State Bar Association's address to Nicholas thanking him for initiating the opening of the Hague.  I just recently read another book calling Nicholas' July 1914 plea to use The Hague for negotiations "weak."  So it is interesting that this prestigious US group of lawyers approved of the negotiation model to avoid armed conflict, at least in 1899.

The title is:
Address of congratulation and commendation of the New York State Bar Association to His Imperial Majesty, Nicholas II, Emperor of all the Russias, on the occasion of the Peace Congress at the Hague and recommending the creation of an international court

Nicholas II / Avenue Nicholas II, Paris
« on: May 04, 2010, 02:49:16 PM »
I just found a photograph from the 1900 Paris Exposition, currently housed at the Brooklyn Museum, that calls a street in Paris the "Avenue Nicholas II."  This is the avenue between the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais, that connects the Champs Elysees with the Pont d'Alexandre III.  But currently the name of that road is the Avenue Winston Churchill.  I am assuming that it had been named in honor of Nicholas II at the time that the bridge for his father was opened.  But how interesting, and sad, if the name has been changed, however great a leader Churchill was.  Does anyone know why/when/if this important thoroughfare was re-named?  If it is true, I wonder if events of WWII have overshadowed the undeniable heroism of the Russian Army in saving Paris early on in WWI.

Nicholas II / Nicholas the Physiognomist
« on: October 14, 2009, 08:29:05 AM »
Have you ever noticed any author comment on Kschessinska's comment that Nicholas was "an excellent physiognomist."? I think it is curious that I've never seen that comment dissected.  A physiognomist is someone who assesses the personal traits and character by studying the person's body, and especially the face.  I find her comment interesting for several reasons: it stamps the time period with that Victorian Science flavor, it gives a sense of the types of things they discussed (she was a dancer after all whose body was her art), it suggests his tendency toward what we would call mysticism but what they would have considered science.  I think it also speaks volumes about how a shy but personable man would cope with figuring out who was flattering him, who was seeking personal gain, and who was genuinely interested in helping him as Tsar to improve Russia.  Basically, Nicholas probably relied a great deal on what we call intuition.

Their World and Culture / Sainthood, Politics and ROCOR
« on: June 02, 2009, 04:10:47 PM »
Sorry to post on an old subject, but I couldn't find any answers on old threads.

A Russian friend told me that one of the requirements for assimilation placed upon the Russian Orthodox Church by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was the canonization of the IF.  In other words, the ROC had to canonize the IF in order to assimilate ROCOR into its fold.  This has ended up being a double disaster, as ROCOR has lost autonomy over its holdings, and the motivation within the ROC to canonize the IF was primarily one of power -- for Moscow to gain control over land/churches/money outside Russia.  I felt quite sad hearing this.  I acknowledge the controversy of canonization, but using the former imperial family yet again as a power grab is really distasteful.  Hopefully, some Russians glean some sincerity in the sainthood.  Has anyone else heard this explanation of the assimilation of the 2 churches?

Many of you know Churchill's famous paragraphs about Nicholas.  I think they are among the most succinct and powerful English words in defense of Nicholas' character -- in part because Churchill does not depend upon the "well he was a good husband and father" strategy.  He also addresses some of the questions that still exist in Russia today (democratise or hold firm).  I noticed many voices here critical of N's refusal to democratise (although he did create Duma, and think how long ago Magna Carta was written), so I wonder what you think of Winston Churchill's verdict:

'It is the shallow fashion of these times to dismiss the Tsarist regime as a purblind, corrupt, incompetent tyranny. But a survey of its thirty months' war with Germany and Austria should correct these loose impressions and expose the dominant facts. We may measure the strength of the Russian Empire by the battering it had endured, by the disasters it had survived, by the inexhaustible forces it had developed, and by the recovery it had made. In the governments of states, when great events are afoot, the leader of the nation, whoever he be, is held accountable for failure and vindicated by success. No matter who wrought the toil, who planned the struggle, to the supreme responsible authority belongs the blame or credit.

Why should this stern test be denied to Nicholas II? He had made many mistakes, what ruler has not? He was neither a great captain nor a great prince. He was only a true, simple man of average ability, of merciful disposition, upheld in all his daily life by his faith in God. But the brunt of supreme decisions centred upon him. At the summit where all problems are reduced to Yea or Nay, where events transcend the faculties of man and where all is inscrutable, he had to give the answers. His was the function of the compass needle. War or no war? Advance or retreat? Right or left? Democratise or hold firm? Quit or persevere? These were the battlefields of Nicholas II. Why should he reap no honour from them? The devoted onset of the Russian armies which saved Paris in 1914; the mastered agony of the munitionless retreat; the slowly regathered forces; the victories of Brusilov; the Russian entry upon the campaign of 1917, unconquered, stronger than ever; has he no share in these? In spite of errors vast and terrible, the regime he personified, over which he presided, to which his personal character gave the vital spark, had at this moment won the war for Russia.

He is about to be struck down. A dark hand, gloved at first in folly, now intervenes. Exit Tsar. Deliver him and all he loved to wounds and death. Belittle his efforts, asperse his conduct, insult his memory; but pause then to tell us who else was found capable. Who or what could guide the Russian State? Men gifted and daring; men ambitious and fierce, spirits audacious and commanding - of these there were no lack. But none could answer the few plain questions on which the life and fame of Russia turned'.

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