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Messages - Ortino

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Anastasia Nicholaievna / Re: Anastasia Pictures V
« on: January 01, 2019, 07:55:47 PM »
Ally Kumari, I believe you are right! Where did you find it?

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: The "suitability" of royal wives
« on: February 20, 2018, 07:59:11 PM »
I'm not aware of any evidence which suggests that Alexandra had any more sheltered upbringing than her contemporaries among royal spouses such as Marie of Edinburgh, Mary of Teck, Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg, or Margaret of Connaught, or Margaret of Prussia.

And all of the women you've listed were part of the British and German courts, either by birth or marriage. As I said, what was appropriate at one, was not necessarily appropriate at all.

Indeed, she had a lot of exposure to the highly sophisticated British court and the Russian Imperial court, at the level any unmarried princess in that environment would have had, and more than many (the former Princess Dagmar of Denmark included).

Bertie and Alexandra's court might be termed "sophisticated," but the Queen's court was insular, if not downright dreary. I'm not aware of Alix spending much time with her aunt and uncle's set, and I can't imagine what advantages she would really have acquired amidst the freezing halls of Balmoral.

I also don't put much stock into her two (I'm only aware of two) visits to Russia. It's true that that was more than other prospective Russian brides had managed. Yet as a 12 year old, in 1884, Alix wouldn't have seen or done much of anything. In 1889, she would have been all of 17--hardly capable of assessing what life was really like in Russia and fully comprehending what was expected of the Emperor's consort.

Any social awkwardness was completely of the kind expected of a sheltered young woman and was not the subject of any remark prior to her marriage that I have discovered, and indeed not really called into question for some time after her marriage, when her pregnancies made it quite appropriate for her not to interact more in society.

If that's the case, why was Ella described as charming and amiable by comparison? Were they not raised in the same environment? Again, this is where personality factors in. Regarding pregnancy, Alix would have only been expected to sequester herself during the last few months of her pregnancy and for a time after giving birth.

But I don't see how either Maria Feodorovna or Alexander III would have been able to predict that from Alexandra's behaviour before her marriage or find it in other princesses many of who would hmave appeared just as shy and demure.

You've never formed an opinion of someone after knowing them only a short while?

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: The "suitability" of royal wives
« on: February 18, 2018, 01:17:21 PM »
Wasn't their main objection to Alexandra based on what they saw of her during her previous visits to Russia? Maybe it was people, and historians, writing in hindsight, after all the disasters, but it seems according to them she made a poor impression on the aristocracy and the Tsar and Tsarina during the 1889(?) visit. They found her pretty but cold, a disappointment compared to the lovely Ella who won everybody over the moment she arrived.

Many books and documentaries say during the visit she appeared very shy and quiet with those outside the family circle (sound familiar?), and kept everybody at arms length even when sharing the same room, and Maria Feodorovna, being the social butterfly she was, believed Alexandra's character was the antithesis of what a Russian Empress should be. The 1889 visit was basically a prologue, a preview of things to come and that the Tsar and Tsarina saw it or at least that's what they all claim.

That combined with the Tsar and Tsarina aiming far higher. They wanted more prestige (Margaret of Prussia) or potential political benefits (Helene of Orleans). A princess from a mere German Dutchy wasn't good enough for the heir to the Russian throne (never mind the fact that Alexander's own mother came from that Dutchy, although his anti-German feeling was coloring his thoughts by that time). They had bigger things in mind and Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt wasn't considered to fit the criteria even if her grandmother was Queen Victoria.

If the 1889 visit did play a huge part in their objections to Alexandra then I'm willing to believe that if Alexandra had Ella's personality there would have been no strong objections by Alexander and Maria. The only thing prolonging it would have been the question of religion.

I agree with this. While of royal blood, Alix came from a small duchy and lived a rather sheltered, bourgeois existence prior to her marriage. This upbringing, while perhaps suitable for the British or German courts, would have left her overwhelmed and unprepared for the lavishness, grandeur, and exuberance of the Russian court. I wonder if Maria's own modest upbringing also led her to desire someone of higher 'status' for her son.

Moreover, Alix was not just demure; she was socially awkward and serious. These characteristics would have collectively made her appear standoffish, if not downright haughty. A Russian empress needed to be able to employ charm and wit and recognize--if not embrace--the vivacity of the court. I think Maria knew that Alix could not deliver in these areas and therefore discouraged the match. 

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Upcoming Books 2018
« on: January 21, 2018, 04:02:23 PM »
Ally, I get the sense the Coryne's book will focus on plots connected with the Romanovs' extended family and interpreting their emotional responses, or lack there of. Helen's book seems to be somewhat broader in scope and more "straightforward"--in other words, outlining the various plots, who was involved, and the results.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Upcoming Books 2018
« on: January 20, 2018, 10:43:52 PM »
Helen Rappaport's new book on the Romanovs, scheduled to be released in late June 2018, is now available for preorder through

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna / Possessions of Elizabeth Fedorovna
« on: January 19, 2018, 10:06:52 PM »
Hi everyone,

I couldn't find a thread relating to this topic and would appreciate any insight/thoughts. Does anyone know what happened to Ella and Sergei's possessions (paintings, furniture, objet d'art, etc.) after Ella became a nun? I recall reading that she sold them to fund her new convent, but if this is true, does anyone know where or when these sales took place? Do sales catalogues or related materials exist? Also, did anything go to Maria Pavlovna and Dmitri Pavlovich or other members of the family?

The Alexander Palace / Re: Pictures of the Interiors as they were
« on: November 21, 2017, 09:19:16 PM »
Is the third photo in the following link the Grand Duchess' Bathroom No. 9? Note the transom and small corridor.


I'm pretty sure that this isn't the girls' bathroom--their bathroom had blue walls, a seascape mural painted along the ceiling, and a different layout. I think it could actually be Shura's bedroom--it is described as follows:

"Tegleva's room had walls covered by light yellow cotton cretonne and their was a frieze under the covered ceiling. The furniture of this room was of birch and mahogany. Above Tegleva's bronzed-iron bed were hung ikons. Other paintings on the walls were watercolors by Russian artists, Volkov, Derevenko and others. She also had a hung on the walls photographs of the Imperial family and their yacht "Standart". Her wardrobe in the vestibule of her suite was full of fine clothes left behind when Tegleva left the palace during the summer of 1917. Most servants removed their personal belongings after the Romanov's were exiled to Tobolsk. It doesn't appear that Tegleva did so; her tables were covered with personal effects such as photographs of her fellow employees and the Imperial family that she left behind. Of note was a signed photograph of Grand Duchess Olga and photos of Aleksey and Maria as children. Above the table was a maple cabinet full of small shoes and socks given her as momentos by the children. On Tegleva's writing desk were found photos of Alexandra, Anastasia and other snapshots of the family."(

I would also say that Ortino disclosing his Judaism at the very beginning of his first post, less we discern any sort bias on his behalf, was impressive as well. Not that taking a strong position on antisemitism requires such a disclosure or requires one to be Jewish in the first's just nice to hear the honesty up front.

I'm actually a woman, but you're welcome I suppose.

I was about to begin a new topic on what I'm about to say, but thought that it could well fit in here.

Mind you, this is a very sensitive issue since I have known many survivors of the Holocaust. I therefore find it difficult to contend with the knowledge that Jewish people participated in so many acts of brutality.

The Bolshevik Revolution occurred a number of years before the Holocaust, so why should that not square with what happened in the 1930s-1940s? Also, talk about a moral double standard--just because Jews have a history of persecution doesn't mean that isn't possible for them to commit crimes. Is there a particular reason you hold them to a higher moral standard than the rest of the world's population?

Anastasia Nicholaievna / Re: Anastasia Pictures V
« on: October 02, 2017, 10:17:14 AM »
A glimpse of Anastasia´s 1906 portraits

And of all the children

Curious on why Anastasia's and the group's didn't have crosses over theirs but instead in the corner although taken by the same photographer.

Perhaps proof that they had been reviewed? I would imagine that the photos were examined and reviewed by more than one person prior to distribution. It's a good question though. I noticed that the two images of all the children on the left have an "x" on the bottom left and the two images on the right have an "x" at the bottom right. The ones of Anastasia are marked in the bottom left corner. I wonder if there's any significance there....

Ally Kumari, would you mind revealing where these proofs came from?

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Maria photos III
« on: October 02, 2017, 10:08:16 AM »

Hi Ally Kumari, would you mind sharing where these came from? GARF, perhaps?

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Maria photos III
« on: August 02, 2017, 01:17:05 PM »
And little Masha herself

Oh my this is rare. Now I am wondering if both photos were taken in Alexandra's dressing room in the Alexander Palace and that is the door to her bath.


In another thread, similar questions were raised about this photo:

They appear to have been taken in the same room. I believe that there was some discussion as to whether it was taken at Peterhof (the Lower Dacha I assume if that's true).

I don't think it's Alix's dressing room at the AP--the layout and decor are different. Also, I know that the imperial family were rather lax with Rasputin, but I can't imagine him being allowed in the Empress's dressing room. It just seems so inappropriate!

Anastasia Nicholaievna / Re: Anastasia Pictures V
« on: July 31, 2017, 01:06:34 PM »

Do you know the room and palace this photo was taken in?


I think it is Marie and Anastasia's bedroom at the Alexander Palace--if so, a rare view indeed! The decor looks right, and Anastasia *appears* to be sitting at the desk. I can't access the photos Bryndis posted of Olga and Tatiana's bedroom at the moment, but I believe theirs has similar/identical wallpaper/tiles along one wall.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Empress Alexandra - paintings and portraits
« on: March 04, 2017, 07:29:48 PM »
I couldn't decide where to put this, since it is both a painting and photo question, but here it goes:

Can anyone identify the photograph this miniature of Alexandra from the Fifteenth Anniversary Egg is based on?

Usually you can identify the series, if not the exact photo, that the miniaturist used. I'm having trouble with this one though--it looks to me like it is based on the 1898 photos taken by Karl Hahn, such as this one:

But in the photos where she appears alone, she is shown wearing a diadem and her earrings have changed. I also haven't been able to find one where she appears in profile. Has anyone seen a image from this series where she is shown like this? Or does anyone else know what other photo/s it might be based on? Thanks in advance!

5 posts, eh? Tsk tsk.

Well, you have posted a link to an article written by Mr. Krajewski, I suppose you have found it using Google, because he isn't much known as an scholar in the field of Russian history.

Actually, all I said was that I agreed with his point on the significance--or lack thereof--of over representation. Boy, you must enjoy misinterpreting everything that I say. I wasn't aware that one had to be well-known to have an opinion--but even so, he's a Polish-Jewish professor at the University of Warsaw, so he seems legitimate enough to me.

1. One of the books I quoted from was first published in 2006: The War of the World, by Niall Ferguson.
"Altogether 3,675 persons were arrested for participation in pogroms in 1881, of whom 2,359 were tried, giving the lie to the notion that the pogroms were officially instigated."
"[Pogroms of 1904-05] The evidence of orchestation by the Minister for the Interior himself has been exposed as bogus. Indeed, Pleve seems to have taken steps to mitigate the situation of the Jews in the Pale in the wake of the Kishinev pogrom...."

Pogroms in 1881 don't relate to what we're discussing. Different tsar, different reign. And from little of this book that I could preview on Google Books, I can see that your quote about the early-20th century pogroms actually begins with "on the other hand." Care to share the sentences before that?

"I do not care to pass my suppositions for facts",

The fact that he says this means that you shouldn't view his suppositions as facts. Thank you for proving my point.

Here too I find it interesting what you deliberately left out in order to enhance your position:

"Thus in my opinion the central government cannot shake off its moral responsibility for the slaughter and plunder that went on in Kishinev. I consider our government guilty of encouraging the narrow, nationalistic tendencies. It inaugurated a short-sighted policy, coarse in its methods, with regard to the frontier country and the non-Slavic populations - a policy fostering distrust and hatred. Finally, the authorities connived at the militant jingoism. Thus are indirectly encouraged those barbarous instincts that vanish the moment the government openly announces that a pogrom founded on race hatred is a crime--a crime for which an administration that condones it in any way must be held responsible. Thus I regard the charge of connivance lodged against the government."

And how convenient that you left out the next 2 paragraphs:

"But can one fully exonerate the government of the suspicion that—at least through its secret agents—it did take a direct part in the massacres? And can it be maintained that the immediate cause of the massacres was of a natural, an accidental character, and not the execution of "an order"? During my service at Kishinev, and long after, I did not admit the idea that the pogrom policy had its active adherents and secret inspirers in government circles. The events of 1905-1906; the investigation made by Savich at Homel and by Senator Turau at Kiev; the activity of the " League of True Russians " and the exalted protection given that organization; the response of the Minister of the Interior to the interpellation of the Duma as to the secret printing-office; Makarov's report on the pogrom—activity of Komissarov and Budagovski, officers of the gendarmerie, etc. all these helped to change my original views. Those features of the Kishinev pogrom which, thus far incomprehensible and concealed, had puzzled me, I began to refer to wires pulled by those higher up. It is possible that Lewendal, the head of the Kishinev secret police, to whom rumor attributed the immediate engineering of the April pogrom, played a double part; that, having prepared the pogrom with one hand, with the other he wrote to the Department of State Police the report, which I saw when I looked up the case- at the department, giving warning of possible disorders.

This supposition is all the more admissible because of the fact that Lewendal, as an officer of the gendarmerie on the one hand, was under the orders of the Department of State Police, while on the other he had to report to the commander of the local gendarmerie. This post was then occupied by the well-known General Wahl, formerly Prefect of Police of St. Petersburg. He enjoyed an unenviable reputation, was capable of anything to advance himself in the service, and hated the Jews, who had made him suffer at Wilna when he was governor there."

The view that the tsarist regime instigated the pogroms is debunked. No current historian with a minimum of credibility will push it. It is rubbish. It has been thrown to the "dumping site for theories proven wrong" together with the geocentrism, the world Jewish conspiracy and phrenology.
That's the translation of "challenged" in a professional journal for historians. They have to use mild language, in order not to hurt the feelings of those who supported the outdated view.

Again, you are relying on the interpretations of one group of scholars and calling them irrefutable facts. Not to mention that the sources you are citing either predate or are just after the fall of the Soviet Union. Foreign scholars would have had limited or no access to Russian archives then. As I said, provide something more recent and I'll consider it.

1. Jews were overrepresented among the Bolsheviks.

2. No completely satisfactory explanation has been proposed to explain this fact.

3. One of the reasons of 1) that was mentioned is that the economic, social and legal discrimination pushed the Jews to rebellion against the Russian autocratic regime. This view may be countered by the fact that Jews were also vastly overrepresented among the members of the Communist Party of the United States of America, one of whose aims was the violent overthrow of the American democratic regime, which does not discrimate against the Jews.

As Stanislaw Krajewski notes, overrepresentation of a group in a political movement does not mean that they dominate that movement or that it primarily serves the interests of that group.

There were of plenty of non-Jews who subscribed to communist ideals and still do--e.g. the populations of North Korea, China, and Cuba.

I also never said that discrimination was the impetus for Jewish "rebellion" as you call it--I said that their economic, social, and political circumstances would have allowed them to form an affinity with similarly oppressed groups, such as the Russian peasantry.

4. Nicholas and Alexandra were not rabid antisemites.

Again, this is not a fact, but your opinion. The use of the word "rabid" here only makes that more evident.

They may have shared some of the prejudices common in their age, reinforced by the fact that Jews were overrepresented among revolutionaries. But they would take time in the middle of a terrible war to help one Jewish man and Alexandra wished legal equality for the Jews.

Ugh, please. You're just presenting the same type of irrational argument people use today: I may use slurs and make derogatory comments freely, but I couldn't possibly be racist/anti-Semitic because I have one black/Asian/Latino/Jewish friend.

Nicholas and Alexandra don't get free passes for sharing prejudices "common to the age." Or should we not identify slave-owners, for example, as racist since they were simply products of their time?

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