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Messages - Tsarina_Liz

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Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Was Maria sad?
« on: January 24, 2007, 04:58:00 PM »
Yes, when they were still in power the IF travelled and went to parties and ballets, etc.  But that does not mean the girls were free.  They were never left alone, and were considerably stifled to the extent they were socially stunted (there are descriptions of them as teens acting like little children, etc.)  Life in Tobolsk, in close quarters with parents and heavily reliant on a schedule would not have been so different. 

This topic has been discussed at length elsewhere on the forum.  Look especially close at the Olga thread.  Also, King and Wilson give an accurate assessment of the cloistered life of OTMAA in "Fate of the Romanovs" in their initial chapters.   

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Was Maria sad?
« on: January 23, 2007, 07:56:18 PM »
Undoubtedly, there was boredom indeed. I think they had previously lived a sheltered rather quiet existence, so it was not as much of an adjustment as it might have been for some royal children.

Good point.  Golden cage, iron cage.  Didn't matter because they never were "free."  Boredom had to happen, but it certainly also happened when they were still the IF.   

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 23, 2007, 07:53:31 PM »
Catherine (possibly) could not order the murder of Peter.  Suppose Paul had decided, later in her reign when her popularity was waning, to stage his own coup.  Do you think she would have had the ability to treat her son like she (purportedly) treated Peter in order to both preserve her throne and keep the dangerous idiot from power?  I know the idea's out there, but I can't quite come up with an answer on my own.  I think she would have done anything to remove Paul and his threat, but at the same time I cannot see her destroying her own blood (given how important legacy and not DNA was to Catherine and, initially Elizabeth).

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 23, 2007, 06:37:57 AM »
No Peter, no Catherine.  But then again I think any woman short of a simpleton could have taken the throne from Peter and been a successful regent...

As Imperial Angel pointed out, there were malcontents in Russia at the time who lived for making trouble for the government and ultimately for the Tsar(ina).  But I cannot see them being successul in raising a coup for Peter, much less a successful coup.  I look at the rise of the fake Peter later in Catherine's reign and how she managed to quash that uprising.  At the time of the fake Peter, she was, yes, an established monarch but she was also increasingly unpopular and grumbled against.  At the beginning of her reign, she was riding high on a wave of popularity, approval and military support as well as having the national hatred of Peter in her corner.  I cannot see her failing to quash any trouble from Peter or the malcontents at the early point in her reign. 

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 21, 2007, 08:09:59 PM »
Agreed.  But could Peter have found the support he needed inside of Russia?  Or would he have turned to Prussia to legitimize his claim?  I doubt any Prussian ruler, or any European ruler for that matter, would take the time to put Peter on the throne especially considering the reputation was quickly cultivating.  Perhaps Catherine was banking on this, and realized that even if Peter did run away and attempt to return with a foreign (Prussian) army, all of Russia would be hers simply out of hatred for foreigners.  That said, Catherine considered his lack of influence in Russia and the idiocy of help coming from outside of Russia, and decided Peter was not a sufficient enough threat to warrant murder but was a pain enough to deserve imprisonment.

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Was Maria sad?
« on: January 21, 2007, 08:06:13 PM »
Given the closeness of the girls, I find it hard the others would not have known of Maria's sentiments about Tobolsk.  They may have even echoed it.  When in their early exile, the family was finally left in peace and allowed to be the simple and unassuming family they were never able to become as the IF.  I believe Alix and Nicholas even looked foward to a possible life in the English countryside, living normally and simply.  Though there is a twinge of sadness in her sentiment (when she uttered the words, life had become increasingly hard and hopeless), it seems like the mother and home maker in Maria was coming out.   

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Was Maria sad?
« on: January 17, 2007, 02:58:32 PM »
Marie was surrounded on either side by very energetic and personable sisters and a brother who was not only sickly but also the heir.  Unfortunately for Marie, her personality was more conventional, calm and even than her siblings' and less likely to stand out.  She was a happy, healthy girl who gave no reason for her parents to turn an extra amount of attention to her.  Olga was moody and sometimes needed extra patience, Tatiana was driven and attracted the popular attention of the public, and Anastasia was rambunctions and needed to be curbed.  Maria was there, happy and sweet, giving her parents little trouble.  Like all children, she must have at times wished she stood out more but sadness or moodiness was not part of personality and she seemed to willingly accept her place in the family.  She probably liked being known as the "angel."         

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 17, 2007, 02:48:58 PM »
Even at the beginning of her relationship, Catherine outclassed Peter intellectually simply because she was a smart woman.  Peter never had a chance to establish the upper hand with her, which he might have done with a simpler woman.  The poor man was driven to misogyny, I do not think he was wired that way, which may help explain his attachment to Frederick the Great - Frederick was the strong, male role model he needed and desperately wanted to be.  His world was controlled by strong females, but in his fantasy life he was a great Emperor and sexual steed.  I also think Peter took advantage of the death of Elizabeth and assumed he was safe simply because he was on the throne.  That, of course, was a delusion.  As was his idea of throwing Catherine into a convent.  Her supporters would never have let that happen, and if Peter had tried the coup (for Catherine) probably would have taken place much sooner than it did.  Catherine had to realize how simple Peter was and how little power he actually had, how little he appealed to the Russian people.  I can't believe, when she took the throne, she perceived Peter as a real threat.  In my opinion, she probably thought imprisonment effective and humane.  For a ruler so focused on Enlightenment and reforming Russia, the last thing Catherine would have wanted was starting out her rule with blood on her hands.  She did not want to be like her predecessors.     

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 11, 2007, 07:29:08 PM »
I think it was approval, because how else was she to get rid of Peter effectively without it being obvious? She did approve, even if she might not have wanted that known. But, everyone knew anyway, if they had any experience in Russian court politics. Why would she have found the assasination abhorrent? I would be curious why you think that- it intrigues me. I can't think of any reasons myself, but I like to see alternative points of view. I think she personally could have cared less, and politically very much desired it. But of course, it would have been stupid to have ordered it formally, because that could have come back to haunt her. She knew not to gamble like that, she was always very astute.

I am of the opinion that Catherine was still too naive to have ordered the death of Peter.  Also, at the time she was still very idealistic (or, as she would put it, "Enlightened") and I cannot see ordering or approving of a murder as being in harmony with her ideals.  I additionally think, and this is a shaky idea I realize, she was still some what under the sway of Elizabeth.  She saw how Elizabeth managed to hold onto the throne while keeping her rival alive and I do think Catherine may have seen this as her only option.  Catherine also was well versed in history and would have known how bloody but also extremely unstable the Russian throne was prior to her advancement.  While she always believed the Russians needed a firm hand, she was determined to be more docile and fair than her predecessors.  As I have said, the deliberate murder of Peter and subsequent shows of approval are definitely some thing I would expect from the later Catherine but not from young Catherine. 

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Empress Catherine II
« on: January 10, 2007, 12:13:11 PM »
That's a good point, I agree exactly. Catherine I think in her memoirs does seem to say she loved her son when he was taken away from her at birth, and that the only reason that she did not have more contact with him when he was young was because of Elizabeth, who treated him as the child she never had (as far as we know). She must not have remembered that when she took away Paul's older sons and raised them like her own children. Of course, in her case she had had children, but one son she never had any contact with due to circumstances, and the other was Paul, with whom her relationship was complicated. She might have been trying to make up for what happened to her, but that kind of shows how she could be. She would say she would make reforms, but then she would forget her youthful idealism, and bend to circumstances. Taking away her two oldest grandsons seems like that again. Of course, M. F., Paul's wife had other children later, so it never effected her as much as it perhaps did Catherine.

Well put.  This makes me wonder, also, if both Catherine and Elizabeth were acting in their grandchildren's best interest by removing the children from their parents at birth.  Neither Peter III and Paul would have been ideal role models, and the younger the children the more impressionable they were.  It may seem cruel, whisking away the children from their loving mothers, but it may have prevented a considerable amount of damage.  Imagine how much worse Paul would have been if he had been raised within the constant presence of his Peter.  Elizabeth was probaby terrified the child's first words would be praise for Prussia!  Catherine probably felt the same way, and chose to ignore any negative memories she personally had of her own seperation.  Both Elizabeth and Catherine wanted the children raised in their image, and unfortunately both of them failed miserably. 

"She would say she would make reforms, but then she would forget her youthful idealism, and bend to circumstances."  You nailed her personality! 

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 10, 2007, 12:05:27 PM »
One thing that particularly interests me regarding this point is the part the Imperial Guards played in many coups regarding the throne.  Bothe Elizabeth AND Catherine came to the throne this way.  Though Catherine indeed harbored the ambition she certainly required the support and loyalty of the guards to get her on the throne.  Whether or not she gave the outright order probably when her stability as Empress was at it's shakiest would have mattered very much in garnering her loyalty from the ordinary Russian people. 

Peter III was very unpopular anyway.  IMO, the Guards untertook this step of assassination to secure Catherine's position and she simply looked the other way.  Notably nobody was punished and many were very well rewarded afterward. 

When it comes to dethroning monarchs, the Guards Regiments are simply tools.  The brains are men like Gregory Orlov and his brothers, who formulate the plan and then wind up the toy soldiers.  It's dangerous, in my opinion, to give them too much credit because it undermines the power of the planners of the revolutions and coups.  But, yes, the Guard Regiments, are important in imperial history for their brute force and impressive effect on the population.  Catherine understood this, which is probably why she did not punish the men.  I personally believe she found the assassination abhorrent but realized that 1) it was necessary, 2) if she looked weak she would be treated as weak which meant her throne would be in danger, and 3) the Guard Regiments would lessen, although not remove, their support putting her in physical danger.  Catherine was playing the game when she rewarded the prison guards, but I caution against seeing it as an act of approval (IMO). 

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Empress Catherine II
« on: January 06, 2007, 08:21:17 PM »
I have always felt that Catherine sort of used Paul as heir to get the throne. He was really the heir, because he officially at least, had Romanov blood, and was the recognized legitimate son of Peter III. So, when Peter was dead he was the next heir. Of course, during his minority someone had to rule. When Catherine took the throne, she may have made it look like she was only ruling for his minority, and I am sure many people thought that. But, she ruled long past that, and he never got his fair chance at the age he should have. She never recognized him as ruler, true, during the years of his minority which was usually done even when the person was not actually ruling, due to their age. This might have been the first tip off. But, of course, by the time he was of age, she was there to stay. He may have resented that, as he got older, and perhaps his links to his father were important to him in part because it reinforced his claim to the throne, although he would have never dared voice that in her lifetime.

Interesting perspective.  Catherine did indeed, upon a closer look, use Paul.  He was a tool, a stepping stone to the throne.  That, then, makes me wonder if Catherine did indeed love her son but distanced herself emotionally because she knew she would have to use him (rather mercilessly) to secure the throne.  And that, when she did obtain the throne, she would constantly have to rebuff his hereditary rights and influence in order to keep the throne.  A lack of emotional attachment would have made it easier to push him into the background, to undermine his popularity and power. 

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 06, 2007, 08:16:25 PM »
I guess it is true that she did not so much order it as approve it. But in Russia, political murders of rulers that were no longer in power really didn't need approval, or an order. They usually happened anyway, like they were a natural concept, which they may have been for that society. Long term imprisonment usually ended in murder or untimely death anyway. But, even knowing that Catherine would approve was like there was an order.

Survival of the fittest, really; killing off your rival makes perfect sense.  Europeans (France, UK, etc.) did it sneakily or through abstract political processes.  The Russians just didn't bother to hide it.  And, honestly, while it made the throne unstable it certainly added to the initial prestige of the victorious party something that would have been beneficial in such a cut throat court.   

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« on: January 04, 2007, 06:26:20 PM »
Personally, I doubt she ever said the order outright much less wrote it down - even in correspondance.  But the implications were there and surely she would have welcomed it.  I also think was Orlov and other supporters who realized how necessary a quick assassination was and pushed its importance onto her.  And she was all too willing to go along.  Assassination, at that point in her reign and despite her previous experience in Russia, seems too out of character.  Catherine desperately wanted the Russian throne, but she also wanted to bring Enlightenment to the people.  At the time of her ascension she was still too naive and forward-looking to conceive of something so brutal.  The assassination seems like something only the later, hardened Catherine was capable of.  But, again, that is not saying she was opposed to the idea when it was proposed.  She only lacked the necessary exposure and cultivated bile of her ancestors needed to formulate such a plan.   

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Empress Catherine II
« on: January 04, 2007, 06:14:50 PM »
Well, Paul hated his mother for a variety of reasons, but although he was her heir, he was never much of a favorite of her. Elizabeth, empress at the time of Paul's birth took him away right after his birth, and tried to raise him. As well, he was born in turbulent circumstances, although he was certainly welcomed, as an heir was much needed.

Good point.  Catherine's children were never really hers, they were the emotional and dynastic property of Elizabeth.  Catherine was just the brood mare.  Just as Catherine owned and adored her grandchildren.  Remember, too, that at the time Catherine bore Paul she was in an increasingly tense and dangerous situation and really had to spend all of her time simply surviving the Russian Court.  Even had she wanted to lavish attention on him, her energies were needed elsewhere.  And not, in the long run, for her own survival but also her children's. Catherine may have been distant and emotionally icy, but she had her reasons.  On the flip side, perhaps one of the reasons she adored her grandchildren so much is that she could.  By the time they were born she was relatively stable and the country runningly more or less smoothly and she had the option of romping about.  Pity her poor daughers in law, however, for they became the brood mares... 

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