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Messages - slhouette

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Sounds awesome! Any update on publishing/release date?

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: March 22, 2021, 09:13:21 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, I'll definitely check those out, they sound awfully interesting! Ah, rather than singling out Nic and Alexandra I'm trying to research for a more general point about separation of royalty from society and its consequences on the royals larger thesis is about the propagandic image of royalty and its use in furthering imperial interests. (So basically that the royal image acts as propaganda for imperialism in x country.) And maintaining that image and prestige necessitates keeping royals isolated within a court environment. (In the case of the Romanovs, their expressions of luxury and power behind those palace walls deify...well, deified them to an extent, especially to the peasant class.) I hope this makes sense lol it's 1 am where I live and i should be sleeping.

I can't quite tell in the Russian court in particular whether aristocrat girls, or full on princesses/grand duchesses, had fulfilling social lives or not, like is OTMA an exception or on par for the trend... it was discussed so often by contemporaries how their situation of not going out into society was Not Normal so at the very least, as grand duchesses, they weren't fitting in. Tatiana according to Ania Vyrubova's later memoirs - I have the Swedish translation and had a friend help me out with the OTMA chapter - "often complained that she had no girlfriends." So at least there was a precedent, either in girls around her or in the media she was consuming (like books, film), that girls her age have close girl friends.

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: August 20, 2020, 03:36:48 PM »
Hmmm I just had a thought...of course we’ll never 100% know, but if we assume Krishoveina is being 100% truthful and stating her memories as she recalls them, then I have to wonder - Maybe the atmosphere of the Catherine palace warehouse started out as being more friendly and sociable; however, as the overall situation deteriorated/the rumors against Alexandra got more intense, maybe when Krishoveina joined the warehouse effort in 1916, the atmosphere had become much more tense/Alexandra told her girls not to talk to the others. Did Ofrosimova work in the warehouse until the very end of its existence, or did she leave at any point before 1916?

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: August 15, 2020, 12:06:51 AM »
Aha great point, I jumped the gun and didn't take into account that Krivosheina heard that story, the "mother won't allow us to talk to you" one, second-hand... I actually don't think she's assigning a fictitious name to the unknown woman, Maria Nikolaevna. The original russian behind where google translate got the phrase "let her name was that" from google translate, is "пусть ее так звали." If I'm correct, the literal translation - from particle form of пусть "let" + pronoun + adverb + verb - is "let her this way [be] called." The use of "called" (звали, conjugated form of the verb звать) makes me wonder if this is how she's choosing to refer to Maria Nikolaevna, rather than calling her something like Mrs lastname...I don't know though, my translation might not be right at all haha. Maybe Krivosheina didn't know her last name? Nevertheless, I can't so far find anything online about staff of the Catherine palace warehouse, so I can't find out if a Maria Nikolaevna was actually the replacement of Putyatina as manager. If I could find that detail I would be more convinced of the veracity of the second-hand story that Krivosheina is relating. :/ Maybe I can email someone at the Tsarskoe Selo museum complex?

It's interesting how Krivosheina's memories clash with Ofrosimova's in terms of how social the GDs were at the warehouse. It makes me wonder if someone is telling lies (Krivosheina more so than Ofrosimova)... when I first read the memoir I noticed that she makes a convincing case, in that she recalls details that refelct real life; for example, Sonia Orbeliani coming to pick up the GDs, Olga referencing Alexei's health, etc. But if she wrote her memoir in 1977, that's about a decade behind Massie's smash hit publication of Nicholas and Alexandra (and the movie too); we don't really have any way knowing if she's making stuff up off Massie's book...

I know Tatiana Botkina worked as a nurse at the Catherine palace infirmary; I have her French memoir Au Temps des tsars. I'll check and see if she mentionns anything about the GDs visiting the infirmary/the warehouse specifically.

I know of the Catherine Palace infirmary, patient of the smaller infirmary S. P. Pavlov recalled "Once the Grand Duchess Olga told me that tomorrow they would not be in our infirmary, because they would have to visit the infirmary of the Great Palace (Catherine Palace) and that they would be very bored there. With her soft and shy smile, the Grand Duchess explained the reasons for this boredom: 'Everything there is so strict and official, that we have to watch our every step as We are in the spotlight. We never liked it there, and the sisters there are so self-important. Only in Our infirmary, We feel good and cozy!'"

@ Inok Nikolai specifically, If it's convenient for you, could you post the text from Ofrosimova where she feels that the GDs lead lonely/sheltered lives? I've been meaning to read August sisters of Mercy, but the university library near me that holds it is closed to the public due to coronavirus...

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 31, 2020, 01:27:30 PM »
It is interesting to note that the rumor mill against Alexandra did reach her children. From Spiridovich's “The Great War and February Revolution 1914-1917:”

"The rumor of imprisonment [Sending Alexandra in a monastery] became known to the entire retinue. The servants also knew about it. It reached Their Majesties. The children knew. Life surgeon Fedorov personally told me (and others) that when he once came to the palace to the sick heir, he saw Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna crying. When asked what happened, the Grand Duchess said, "that Uncle Nicholas wants to lock 'Mama' in a monastery." Sergei Petrovich had to console the girl that all this, of course, was not true." ("Слух об заточении сделался достоянием всей свиты. Знала о нем и прислуга. Дошло и до Их Величеств. Знали дети. Лейб-хирург Федоров лично рассказывал мне (и другим) что придя однажды во дворец к больному наследнику он увидел плачущую Вел. Кн. Марию Николаевну. На его вопрос что случилось, Великая Княжна сказала, «что дядя Николаша хочет запереть «мама» в монастырь». Сергею Петровичу пришлось утешать девочку, что все это, конечно, неправда.")

From the same source: "Alarming rumors penetrated into the Tsarskoye Selo palace. There the atmosphere was heavy. “Like a dead man in a house,” said one man who often went there. The queen lay almost all the time. E. V. seemed exhausted both physically and morally. The children, hearing a lot of secrets from others, anxiously looked at their parents. An alarm reigned among the closest courtiers, reaching some ladies with a foreboding of disaster." ("Тревожные слухи проникали и в Царскосельский дворец. Там атмосфера была тяжелая. «Точно покойник в доме» — выразился один, часто бывавший там, человек. Царица почти все время лежала. Е. В. казалась измученной и физически, и нравственно. Дети, слыша многое по секрету от окружающих, тревожно посматривали на родителей. Среди ближайших придворных царила тревога, доходившая у некоторых дам до предчувствия катастрофы.")

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 31, 2020, 01:20:02 PM »
Here's the bolded part in original Russian. Google translate has come a long way in accuracy, but it's still not perfect (and I've only just started learning Russian, so I wouldn't trust my own translations), so I'm wondering if I'm understanding right: Olga seems to be saying that Alexandra is making an excuse for her and her sisters to not interact with the public? As in, is she saying that it's "not true" that rumors and gossip will affect Alexei's health? Or that it's not true that there are rumors/gossip swirling around?

"Но вот однажды, внезапно для самой себя, Мария Николаевна сама заговорила с Великой Княжной Ольгой - она задала ей тот вопрос, который был у всех на уме: "Ваше Высочество, верно, я не смею, да и не полагается мне, но ради Бога, ответьте мне, почему ни Вы, ни Ваши сестры никогда не заговорите с нами ?! Ведь мы все вас так любим, так были бы счастливы... Да Вы сами это знаете и чувствуете - почему же?!" - И не выдержав, разрыдалась. Великая Княжна ответила тоже с большим волнением, что и она сама, и сестры очень, очень хотели бы поговорить со всеми, познакомиться хоть немного, но... нельзя, им не позволяют. И добавила: "Это мама нам запретила... Она так боится, что кто-нибудь что-то скажет нам. Ведь говорят, ходят такие ужасные сплетни, слухи... Все это может коснуться Алексея... А ведь его здоровье... Ведь это же все неправда, неправда!"

In the end, the thing I found most interesting was that Alexandra apparently explicitly forbade them from talking to, at least, the Catherine Palace warehouse workers, even though the girls wanted to speak with them. I wonder if there's any other social spheres where they were told not to talk with others, like at balls, receptions, ?

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 24, 2020, 11:13:14 AM »
Now she too had to spend two hours or an hour every day in that huge room where the bandages were rolled, and the same painful silence hung over everyone who sat with the Grand Duchesses. But then one day, all of a sudden to herself, Maria Nikolaevna herself spoke to Grand Duchess Olga - she asked her the question that was on everyone's mind: "Your Highness, it’s true, I don’t dare, and I’m not supposed to, but for God's sake , tell me why neither you nor your sisters will ever speak to us ?! After all, we all love you so much, we would be so happy ... Yes, you yourself know and feel - why ?! " - And could not stand it, burst into tears. The Grand Duchess also replied with great excitement that both she and the sisters would very, very much like to talk with everyone, to get to know at least a little, but ... it is impossible, they are not allowed. And she added: "Mom forbade us this ... She is so afraid that someone will tell us something. After all, they say, such terrible gossip and rumors are circulating ... All this can affect Alexei ... But his health ... After all, this is all not true, not true! "

What was further said here? I write only what I firmly remember, and these words are exactly what I remember. Our poor relative was in despair - she, with all her heart devoted to the royal family, literally idolizing the Grand Duchesses! .. My mother consoled and reassured her as best she could, but she herself was shocked by this story and repeated several times: “What a horror! "

As far as I know, the next day the Grand Duchesses did not come to work at the warehouse, and ten days later the warehouse was completely closed and ceased to exist.

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 24, 2020, 11:11:40 AM »

I visited the Warehouse regularly, gradually got used to it, rolled bandages no worse than other girls, met someone there and chatted pleasantly, but more and more in Russian - it seemed to me that during such a difficult war it was more decent ... Tea ceremony I really liked it: after all, we could not have been treated to this tea - they say, come home and have a drink! It was both tasty and, at the same time, exotic - drinking tea in the Catherine Palace! Like everyone else, at exactly five o'clock I fell silent, got up, did the already familiar "curtsey" and sat down comfortably so that I would hardly move for an hour. It was difficult for me to examine my neighbors, the Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia, due to the most primitive politeness - I could not turn my head and look at them ... But as soon as I raised my eyes, my gaze immediately met the Grand Duchess Tatiana, and it was difficult to break away from her, she was so attractive and pretty! A strict principle, instilled in us from childhood by the English miss: "Child, don't stare!" (do not look at anyone at close range!) I used it badly, although, of course, I did not "stare at close range", but dodged, looked as if I was looking for a bandage or scissors. I will not describe her, and any portrait is usually unsatisfactory - after all, there are many photographs of this particular period ... Best of all, I saw her hands on the table, and these hands were beautiful: on her right hand there was a heavy gold bracelet with a large Ural sapphire in the middle and the same ring - in winter I just gave the same bracelet and ring to my sister, she loved them very much and wore them all the time. Such golden things then became very fashionable and were quite decorative; the young lady was not supposed to wear real diamonds, but semi-precious stones were quite possible. In short, if much remained incomprehensible, then this bracelet and ring were familiar and understandable, and I really wanted to tell the Grand Duchess that my sister also had such a bracelet and ring ...

In two months, the silent ritual of rolling the bandages was broken only once: on that day a door suddenly opened in the opposite corner, behind another table, at the head of which was Grand Duchess Olga, and Alik Putyatin wheeled in a large wheelchair - the maid of honor Orbeliani was sitting in it. All four Grand Duchesses jumped from their chairs; we, of course, also got up, and the princesses approached the maid of honor Orbeliani, one after another made her a deep courtesy curtsy and kissed her hand; Olga and Tatiana said a few words in response to some questions asked by the maid of honor; they spoke French and, although it was at a certain distance from me, for the first time I heard their voices. The conversation was very quiet. Two or three minutes, and Alik, having rolled up a wheelchair, took the maid of honor Orbeliani inside the Catherine Palace; there were no living quarters, which means [??? not sure why this cuts off? ]

Well, and there was one more time: Grand Duchess Anastasia (and she looked then still quite a girl: her hair was loose on her back, bangs on her forehead) accidentally touched me with her foot under the table, all flushed from such awkwardness and very sweetly, turning to me, said -French: "Oh! je vous en prie, excusez-moi" - to which I mechanically replied, without adding "Your Highness": "Oh! mais ce n'est vraiment rien".

I knew that the Empress sometimes visited the Warehouse in the Catherine Palace, but two months have already passed since I went there daily. From the fact that I seemed to be used to everything there, the unnatural silence did not seem more understandable, on the contrary, the questions became more and more intrusive: why can't you talk to us? Well, at least about the most ordinary things ... I sometimes wanted to talk about this with one of the young ladies around me - and what do they think, is this normal? But I never dared to do it, and I still regret it. Sometimes it seemed to me that they understood something here, but I didn't ... In a word, some kind of resentment was accumulating, and, as I learned much later, not with me alone.

On that day, which became the last day of my presence in the Warehouse of the Catherine Palace, a friend of my girl Katya (forgot her last name) informed me that tomorrow the Empress would visit the Warehouse, who hadn’t been for a long time ... "Well, how can you do a deep curtsy and kissing the hand near the chair? It's not very clever. " - "No, said Katya, you just need to move a little away from the chair, and great."

I returned home, and on the way my decision was firmly made. In the evening, as soon as my mother returned from her infirmary, I went to her room and said that I would not go to the Warehouse tomorrow, since the Empress would be there, and I would have to kiss her hand, but I’m not going to do that, I just won’t. And after that it will be awkward for me to return to the Warehouse ... Well, that's why I won't go there again. It was so unexpected that my mother was dumbfounded; she tried to persuade me, and, most importantly, she kept asking one question: why? why? I was silent, looked sullenly and finally exclaimed: "She is German! I do not want and will not kiss her hand!"


During this troubled time, perhaps at the end of October, not long before the murder of Rasputin, a lady came to visit my mother; she rarely visited us, although she was with us, if not in kinship, then in property. She was from my mother's Yekaterinoslav family of Malam, also from the impoverished, not from the rich, and she was married to some high-ranking, besides a court husband, and they lived very modestly; their mother said about them: "Very decent people and, moreover, decent people." However, according to the court report, the husband of this relative was ahead of many others who were considered more important than him, and she always visited the Court.

During the war, my mother did not have "foster days", as before the second and fourth Wednesday of the month; it means that the lady called on the phone and agreed: they did not come to St. Petersburg, there was Europe!

And I remember her very well, I saw her with us when I was still a girl; she changed little - one of those women who are without age; she usually wore tailleur suits of strict color, in winter with a black muff in her hands and, though modest, was very graceful. She came, and the young maid Marfusha, who in those years opened the doors to visitors, took her directly to her mother in a small living room, served tea there, and the visit lasted a long time. Where have I been? Probably downstairs, in my room - but I saw this lady come, and even greeted her.

When the lady left, my mother went to her room and, calling me, immediately said: "Just think what I have just found out, but this, of course, is a secret, and Maria Nikolaevna (let her name was that) is horrified and upset." But it turned out this: at the end of September 1916, Princess Putyatina ceased to be the head of the warehouse in the Catherine Palace - why? I think, and even almost sure, that her husband was no longer the palace commandant, and they moved from Tsarskoye to Petersburg. It was then that the post of head of the warehouse was offered to Maria Nikolaevna - she immediately agreed and accepted this job with zeal and great joy.

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 24, 2020, 11:06:10 AM »
Yooooo I found a really interesting excerpt from a rare memoir. Nina Alekseevna Krivosheina was a worker at the Catherine Palace "warehouse" in 1916, where the GDs would sometimes go to roll bandages and make other materials. She writes the following text in her memoir "Four Thirds of our Life"/"Четыре трети нашей жизни." (The link is here, text from chapter "ДВОРЦЫ - ЕКАТЕРИНСКИЙ И МРАМОРНЫЙ":

[I must say that this is translated through google translate, but it gives you the general meaning...:]

I had to work in "SKLADA" - that was the name of the premises where they voluntarily made bags with bandages or gifts for the army. Such warehouses were usually headed by some higher Organization or Lady, and mainly girls from the high society worked there or were somehow connected by families with these organizers. And, although my parents (and our entire family) were very far from the Court and did not at all strive to communicate with the court world, nevertheless, there were some connections with this world; in general, the gap between the so-called bourgeois circle and the courtier almost did not exist. So the future king of Yugoslavia, Alexander Karageorgievich, when he studied before the war in the Alexander Corps in St. Petersburg, spent Sunday leave in the family of my second cousins, the children of Vissarion Komarov (Komarov,
All this was normal in everyday life, but being at the Court was another matter. Nobody invited us there!

In 1916, all summer until September, we lived in Tsarskoe Selo, in a very large dacha on the road leading to Pavlovsk. The infirmary, which my mother was in charge of, was transported for the summer somewhere not far from Tsarskoye Selo, and my mother had an affair with Velichkovsky about this, as well as with Prince. Putyatin, who was, it seems to me, the palace commandant, and with his wife - we generally knew them, albeit not close: or rather, my sister and I met Putyatin's sons everywhere - Gulya and Alik.

As it turned out, Princess Putyatina was at the head of the "Warehouse" in the Catherine Palace, where they prepared packages and gifts for our "gray heroes". She suggested to my mother that I start working at the Warehouse every day, from 4 to 6 pm. I didn't really smile, but hanging around the garden all day alone was the worst of all - and ... they quickly sewed a white robe out of thin cambric, which I really liked, and on June 15, I went to work at the Warehouse ...

It was necessary to enter from the huge square in front of the Palace; I came right on time and book. Putyatina, who was waiting in the lobby, led me into a spacious room - the door was right from this hallway. There were two long tables, quite far from each other, on the tables were laid out gauze in large cardboard boxes, scissors, threads ... Soon the young ladies who worked here were already all there - there were fifty of us in total. Book. Putyatina pointed to a chair for me and went off to another table; At exactly 4 o'clock we all started work: we cut from gauze and rolled the bandages by hand; This business seemed to me at once completely wild - shouldn't I pinch the lint, as my grandmother did in the Turkish war? After all, even then there were excellent manual machines for cutting bandages, they had to start two or three, no more,
The girls were talking loudly, laughing, they were all in pretty white robes; in general, it was not boring, but I was unpleasantly struck that Russian was almost not heard - they spoke French, English and, which seemed quite surprising ... German! Next to me, to the left and to the right, the chairs remained free, in front of me there was also an empty seat. .. Well, that's right, someone didn't come or got sick.

 rang five strikes, and at that very minute the door from the lobby opened abruptly and one of the liveried giants proclaimed in an impressive and special voice: "The princesses are coming!" Absolute silence reigned, and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia entered the door from the hallway in single file, one after another. Everyone, of course, got up, and the Grand Duchesses began to walk around the tables, shaking each other by the hand - they made a very small curtsy ... Then Olga went deeper into the room and sat at the head of the second table,

The Grand Duchesses began diligently to work with gauze and bandages, all fifty young ladies fell silent and also devoted themselves to work - silence and complete, unbroken silence reigned; it was, of course, impossible to speak in the presence of the Grand Duchesses; to address them themselves was forbidden by old court etiquette. So they were silent at both tables, everyone was silent, including Princess Putyatina and her son Alik - and in this painful silence a whole hour passed. The clock rang again: six o'clock. The first to get up was Grand Duchess Olga, bowed to those sitting at her table with a nod of her head - everyone got up and made a slight curtsy; Olga came to our table, at the same moment her sisters rose too - everyone sitting at our table simultaneously stood up, made a curtsy, Grand Duchesses Tatyana, Maria and Anastasia bowed slightly to us. The door to the lobby opened as if by itself, and they followed the older sister, slowly, but somehow unnoticed, disappeared through the open door. A minute passed, less, and the Warehouse burst out with talk and laughter: they began to move the chairs, close the cardboard boxes on the table, remove the scissors - in five minutes the Warehouse was empty, the work was over.

For two whole months I went every day after lunch to work in the Warehouse, life did not offer me anything else at that time. In the morning, my sister left for the city to work in the surgical department of the hospital for the seriously wounded under the supervision of the Holy Synod and returned to Tsarskoe Selo at about seven in the evening. After dinner, my mother immediately left by car to her infirmary, somewhere close to Tsarskoe - I was left alone at the dacha; At that time our English governess was living with us, seemingly retired and, of course, a servant.

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 24, 2020, 10:54:09 AM »
Haha it's hard to remember everyone's names, especially if there's a billion of the same name like all the Maries, Louises, etc etc

Yes, Nicholas refused to grant a divorce to her before the War on religious and dynastic grounds; he believed marriage was for life and that royalty should marry within royalty. However he changed his mind after visiting Olga in Kiev - both annulling the marriage and granting her permission. In a letter (I think to Alexandra, who did not think too kindly about all this) he also had no qualms against it and wished his sister a lifetime of happiness. Before the War, sure, he wouldn't have allowed Olga let alone any high ranking Romanov a divorce or marriage a commoner like Kulikovsky but during? After, if the family had lived? We will never know, but I will not say it is out of the realm of possibility.

You're right, I almost forgot about Olga Alexandrovna's case. Though I must say that the situation had to reach a crisis point before he granted her the marriage to Kulikovsky: If I remember correctly, from the N&A correspondence, Olga A. became pretty depressed during her career as a nurse. Am I right??? I don't have the N&A correspondence on hand so I can't go back and check, but I'm 99.9999% sure I remember Alexandra mentioning it. I'll also have to go back and check both of Olga's memoirs to see what she said about the marriage in 1916...I don't think we have much information on the reasoning on waiting all the way til 1916 for her to marry Kulikovsky. You put it best, we will never know. But I'm really thinking that Nicholas finally had enough pity for his little sister to grant her wish - 15 years after her marriage to Peter of Oldenburg. :/

The Alexander Palace / Re: Exhibition Catalogue
« on: July 24, 2020, 12:15:49 AM »
Here's that picture, I can't remember where I downloaded it from, I think I got it off the lastromanovs vk.

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 20, 2020, 03:34:39 PM »
I understand the argument you are making, and I agree that the soft focus can be really irritating, but it seems to me that just because an image of a "perfectly united, loving" family is projected by some, does not mean that N&A should be especially attacked for "manipulating their children and confining them to highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda" when frankly, all the royal and imperial families of the period were doing the same.

Oh, I'm not meaning to specially attack them (especially attack, though I must admit I do get fired up about this topic haha). I'd make the same argument for all royals of the time period: that's why it's a systematic issue, not just personal to one family. I can't expect N&A to have acted outside the conventions of their time period/rank - but I don't think that lets them go of any responsibility. If someone does something wrong unintentionally, they still are responsible. I think it's a really bad idea to excuse the actions of historical figures because they were acting within the norm - there are lots of societal normals (in all cultures) that are accepted behavior while also being wrong. An easier example would be, say, cultures where child marriages are traditional (think Marie Antoinette being married off without her consent + expected to become pregnant at 14, aaah!!).

(I also hope I'm not coming off as argumentative, this is an interesting discussion.)

To be honest it seemed Nicholas wasn't as strict with family who married non-royals or even royals 'lesser then them' if they asked for permission. Tatiana Konstantinova and Irina Alexandrovna are examples; yes they had to give up their place in line but that was it. They were still invited to official proceedings, they weren't shunned by their family; they actually had it much easier then family members who didn't ask, and so weren't exiled or had their titles stripped from them. A friend over on PanHistoria once said that maybe this was Nicholas 'testing the waters' for what would be acceptable marriages for his daughters at the time.

This is interesting! Though I wonder if Nicholas was so agreeable to permitting these marriages because they were lower-ranking Romanovs - princesses instead of Grand Duchesses - and not as dynastically important. I doubt Nicholas would have let his Uncle Paul marry morganatically if he'd asked beforehand, lesser so with his brother Michael because he was heir (after Alexei). There's not much "data" to look at, with only a handful of marriages happening in the family during his reign.

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 17, 2020, 03:27:49 PM »
Er, I hope I understand what you're trying to say...I should have specified more, instead of just referring to marriage into one's class across all classes. All classes follow this unspoken rule - I can't think of any exceptions off the top of my head - but to me, royal marriages are distinguished from other class marriages, as there's enormous political consequence - the image and, thus, legitimacy of a dynasty is at stake. Hardly a good environment to develop healthy, intimate relationships.

I'd guess that all royals had an unconscious understanding of this; at the very least, Alexandra understood that royal marriages were distinguished from others. In Sergei Sazonov's memoir "Fateful Years," he recalls a conversation with Alexandra after proposing an alliance through marriage with Romania (the Olga-Karol match): "I recollect a conversation I once had on this subject with the Empress, on the terrace of the Palace of Livadia. ‘I think with terror,’ said the Empress, ‘that the time draws near when I shall have to part with my daughters. I could desire nothing better than that they should remain in Russia after their marriage. But I have four daughters, and it is, of course, impossible. You know how difficult marriages are in reigning families. I know it by experience, although I was never in the position my daughters occupy, being the daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse, and running little risk of being obliged to make a political match..."

For me, which I don't know if anyone will agree with me lol, I perfectly understand the reasoning behind N&A to limit their childrens' + the rest of the Imperial Family's marriages. I know they weren't being intentionally mean, manipulative, etc. But, it's not an excuse, because they were in the wrong. Their family members were pawns used to prop up the image of the Romanov dynasty, and thus, advance Russian imperialism. And I do feel that they are excused today. A major view of them in both the West (example: historians like Robert Massie) and the East (Russian orthodoxy, especially those in the extremely far political right) is the perfectly united, loving patriarchal family, which is 100% excusing that N&A were manipulating their children and confining them to highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda.......the sanitized image of the Romanovs really kills me. :-(

Recently I was listening to an episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved (a mystery podcast haha) about Edgar Allen Poe, and they mentioned that he married his 13 year old cousin. One of the speakers was like "Welllll it's was a standard of the times" but the other said, funnily, "It's very easy to condemn from our point in history… so we do condemn! Wholeheartedly!" That made me laugh, but I also think it's a good mindset. Here's the clip just for fun:

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 15, 2020, 01:30:03 PM »
Some more pieces of text from Anna Vyrubova's later memoir:

"Since the Grand Duchesses had relatively few female friends, they lived among adults and appropriated their mindset."

"The Empress was constantly worried about her daughters' future. She cried bitterly when she thought that they would never be able to get married for love as they belonged to the royal family and their choice of the future husband would always have to be motivated by political or other considerations of the kind."

"The imperial children had all received a religious upbringing and, just like the parents, felt a certain attraction to the mystique. A very special feature that characterized them was the burning love of the motherland. The motherland was so dear to them that, with fear, they thought of the possibility of being forced by marriage to abandon it or abandon their religion."

Again, my opinion: this is more of a systematic issue of royalty - which I find inherently immoral - butvboth OTMA and Alix worried about them marrying for political considerations; however, Alix (and Nicholas) were the ones with the power to change this. The modern view of N&A is the beautiful loving middle-class inclined family persecuted by the evil aristocracy - but are they not playing directly into the oppressions of the aristocratic class by carrying on the tradition of marrying only in one's class, even though it constrained their daughters.....I really wonder if anyone else feels like I do about this?

The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: July 15, 2020, 01:17:34 PM »
Ugh whatever, back on topic:

From "Anna Virubova : kejsarinnans hovdam:"

"Tatiana loved company to a much greater extent than the other Grand Duchesses. She often complained that she had no girlfriends. However, it was easier said than done to get girlfriends, because the empress made sure her child did not choose unwanted companionship. Later, however, the Grand Duchesses were allowed to form friendships with Countess Kleinmichel and Miss Khitrovo. Admittedly, the Empress was worried that her daughters would spend time with the daughters of the Russian aristocracy, who had grown accustomed to an empty and often frivolous life from childhood. Nor did the Grand Duchesses spend time with their cousins to the extent that they wished, since the empress also found them too ruined to be suitable as companions for her children."

Vyrubova's statement that she "often complained she had no girlfriends" goes along with the text in her other memoir that "[Tatiana] liked society and she longed pathetically for friends. But friends for these high born but unfortunate girls were very difficult to find."

I should also note that OTMA were only really interacting with Olga Kleinmichel (Voronova) starting in 1911/1912 (I think - the dates aren't super clear in Voronova's Upheaval), and Margarita Khitrovo in 1914. So Olga and Tatiana were already arounnd 16/15 before they were allowed these friendships - even though, I think I can say with confidence, close friendships are already important considerations when children are much younger, not even in their teens. I really don't know why Alix isn't condemned for this more, she's so icky to me. From statements in OTMA's letters, I know they needed to ask her permission to go out in the park and such. Due to the nature of royals not being able to freely participate in public life like us - such as attending school, clubs, going to public spaces, etc - she had all the power over where her children could go, who they could interact with. I don't know why she didn't make the effort to actively find close friendships for her girls. I know she knew how bad it felt to not have any friends - she really suffered before meeting and befriending Anna Vyrubova.

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