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Messages - LauraO

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News Links / Re: Robert Massie has died
« on: February 20, 2020, 01:37:40 PM »
I only just saw this and the news must have totally skipped over me. I'm so sad to hear this, I must have first read Nicholas and Alexandra when I was 12 or 13 and it was always consistently important in my development on this subject.

It was such an important book for the way in changed both the popular and academic fields, bringing them together and sparking renewed interest in the subject of Russia's last imperial family and the world in which they lived. Writing subsequent works on Russian history, he continued to contribute to the field, even in the last ten years. I am particularly saddened that he died from complications with Alzheimers- I hope now he knows again what an important contribution he made.

ha, having seen what feels like all of the horrible histories skits had never seen this one! Thanks so much for sharing!

Don't worry, found it- New York in case anyone else needs to know!

Hey, I know this hasn't been posted in for a while but I wonder if someone could help me, for research purposes does anyone know where or by who Mouchanow's fake memoir was published? Many Thanks!

Ah, 'An Imperial Family', yes I had forgotten about that, an interesting adaptation. Again though, I wasn't particularly struck by the casting for N and A, although largely it was much better.
I do wonder why 'The Last Czar' seems to have had struggled with its casting choices?

I came on here to see what people were saying about this, and was amazed to find not many people were talking about it!
I wouldn't have watched it had it not been important for current PhD research, and can confirm that it is poor. One of the main things I can't get past is the casting, why draw on real historical people to only cast people who have little to know physical similarities? The whole thing seems rushed and poorly done.
Although undoubtedly with its own issues,  the 70s Nicholas and Alexandra still remains the strongest of film or TV adaptations for me.

I'm eager to hear what more people think about this!

The Imperial Family / The publication of diaries and letters
« on: August 02, 2018, 04:57:26 AM »
Hi all! I was wondering if any of you knew that dates that the diaries and letters of the last imperial family were published (both in the East, and more specifically, in the West). Those I'm particularly interested in are-

1. Nicholas' diaries
2. Tsar's letters to the Tsarina
3. Complete wartime correspondence
4. Alix's diary (although it may only be the 1918 diary which has been published in full)?
4. The children's diaries/ letters (although I'm aware that these are few and far between)

I was under the impression that the Tsar's letters to the Tsarina were published relatively early, in the 1920s or 1930s, although I may be wrong, and thought that the complete wartime correspondence wasn't published until after the fall of the USSR (although again, I ask for confirmation here because I'm not sure! haha)

Please if anyone can help please let me know when these texts were first published!

Many many thanks!

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: July 16, 2018, 04:38:04 PM »
It's strange almost that it's finally here, having passed 2am in Ekaterinburg, that the moment which, has indeed, been building up for so long has finally arrived. It's an emotional and reflective moment I'm sure for lots of us here, remembering the things that brought us here, and the ways we've changed since. I'll be attending a service of remembrance for the IF tomorrow at the Russian Orthodox church in London, which, like tonight, I approach with great emotion. Sending thoughts to all tonight, and great thanks to all of you and the forum for the part it has played in creating an enduring afterlife for the IF, even a century on.

PAGE, it is interesting to consider that perhaps Alix was more a point of attack because she was an easier target than the Tsar. I wonder to what extent this ease came from the fact she was A. a woman and B. a foreigner?


I'm afraid I have to disagree, and rather agree with Lisa's point. Female figures throughout history, as pointed out, have been far more commonly maligned simply because they were in positions of power, than their male counterparts. Both in a modern context (Clinton, or indeed Margaret Thatcher being good examples), or in ancient history, for example Cleopatra, women are often targeted in very specific ways. Cleopatra for example, or indeed, Catherine II, were not particularly more brutal or bloodthirsty than their male counterparts, and yet are depicted as being so. CII introduced remarkable reforms, and yet in popular history her fictitious sexual escapades are projected as more important, interesting, and central. The idea of this kind of negative imagery around sexuality being attached to a male Tsar in the same way (Alexander II for example, known for his string of mistresses) is difficult to imagine.
Even historians who take a far more right wing approach, would be hard pushed to suggest that men have had it more difficult than women historically.

More specifically in reference to Nicholas and Alexandra, the question is, was his behaviour not 'ripe for criticism'? Alexandra was certainly a difficult figure, but she was, after all, not the ruler, and yet history commonly depicts Nicholas as bumbling and incapable with good intentions, whilst Alexandra as shrewd and villainous. It seems to be, as Lisa pointed out, unfortunately part of the dialogues around women, even today.
Moreover, as Douglas Smith makes point of in his work on Rasputin, it is all too easy to overestimate the amount of Rasputin, and indeed Alexandra's, involvement in politics. Both Vyr. and Bux. state on more than one occasion that Rasputin was by no means as often in the presence of the imperial couple as has been suggested, particularly during the crucial war years. Indeed, even when looking at the Tsar's diaries, his references to seeing Rasputin or hearing from him in no way support the imagined significance of his power. Can some of this lore not be attributed to the same depiction of the Empress built upon outdated gossip and outdated misogyny?

Moreover, the historical record is surely always skewed, always grounded in some historical source, context, and ideology, and we must surely be careful to take these sources as the undiluted truth.

It is an interesting idea that women might be the source of more suspicion or judgement because they are seen as having to twist and manipulate their ways to the top. I wonder to what extent one might see this as the case with the Empress.

Hi there,

Both during her own lifetime, and certainly in the years since 1918, Alexandra has endured a strange afterlife, one which is often distorted, exaggerating the popular rumour of her own time and creating the image of a hysterical and unbalanced woman which in popular imagination at least, much more closely resembles caricature than reality.

I was wondering your thoughts on the reasons for Alexandra having taken on these images in historical memory.

To what extent has she been reshaped by the propaganda and popular rumour of the revolutionary and soviet period?
How deeply help are these ideas about her?
Why has she come under what appears to be a much much scathing judgement than Nicholas?

Moreover, can any of you think of ruling women who have undergone a similar process.
For example, Marie Antoinette has come to represent the lavish ignorance of the French Court far more regularly than her husband, and who continues to exist in the popular imagination through these images of lavishness and ignorance.

Why has Alexandra been remembered in these ways, which often in comparison to her male counterparts seem excessively scathing?
And which other ruling/ royal woman have been remembered similarly?


Hi there!

I was wondering whether anyone could suggest books on the Romanovs, or general Imperial Russian history that are in Russian. I'm not really looking for work that has been published in both English and Russian, but rather work that has been published by Russian historians in the Russian language and has not been published in translation, as I know that there is a good amount of recent publication on the subject in Russian, but am not sure where to start or what people would recommend!

Similarly, any work that has been published in French on the subject would be equally helpful if anyone has any suggestions, or knows where I could find some!


It seems just so sad that after all of the time that has passed, such a memorial has not been put in place. You're quite right.

Nicholas II / The Last of the Tsars by Robert Service- thoughts.
« on: February 25, 2017, 06:21:57 AM »
This is something I've been hearing a lot about recently, especially with the rush of books that seem to have been released to mark 100 years from the 1917 Revolution, and I was wondering your thoughts on the work. I haven't got round to it myself yet, as I'm currently under a pile of other Romanov related reading, and couldn't find a mention elsewhere on here of the book. Critics seem to have received it well, particularly for its extensive research. Thoughts from any of those who had read/ are reading it, or have it on their list?

One would think not. All have been accounted for, and we can rest assured that they are all together. Unfortunately that will never be enough for some people. It seems that the desire for mystery and conspiracy will persist despite fact.

As you say, whichever sister it is, all have been finally found, and will hopefully rest soon. I do just hope so very much that they will have reached this point by the summer of next year. Has there been any statement or suggestion as to this?

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