Author Topic: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated  (Read 303098 times)

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Offline RichC

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #465 on: September 21, 2005, 08:20:34 AM »
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Tsarfan - you have not LOST the argument.   We have all GAINED.   I speak for myself, but I do think the debate has been illuminating for all of us.   Not least for you and me.    



I thought Tsarfan was talking about Alexander and Marie throwing in the towel.

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Perhaps there is something in my suspicion that Alexandra was aware that she was more a liability than an asset.   Perhaps Alexandra really was much more realistic regarding haemophilia and its ramifications than I, for one, ever imagined.   This, for me, now becomes the only viable reason to her objections to marrying Nicholas.   All the indicators point to this.   She refused to marry elsewhere.   She longed for her own family.   She was alone with Ernie, playing First Lady, until she was supplanted by Ducky.   What did the future hold for her?   With the exception of the occasional rather mild, for her, interjection from Queen Victoria, her entire family was in favour of the marriage.   Nicholas was in love with her.   She was in love with Nicholas.   Giving up religion?   It wasn't as though she was being required to turn her back on Christianity.


I have often wondered that Alexandra was afraid to marry Nicholas because (1) she did not feel particularly welcome in Russia on her previous visits -- and perhaps she was aware his parents had previously been against the match (2) the idea of becoming the Empress of Russia (with all its attendant responsibilities) must have been a pretty daunting proposition for someone who was too shy even to play the piano for a few of her grandmother's friends after dinner -- maybe she was afraid she wasn't up to the job?  (3) her health; I've seen posts on here which indicate the female hemophiliac carriers can experience their own set of symptoms -- different and far less dire than what males experience, but symptoms nevertheless (4) Romanov family history -- Alexander II had been assassinated just 13 years earlier  (that would certainly give me pause)


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Kerensky wrote - 'If there had been no Rasputin, there would have been no Lenin.'


This is the Massie's entire premise.  If there had been no hemophilia, there would have been no Rasputin and thus no Lenin.  So, it isn't so far out  -- I certainly agree it's a valid position.  But Kerensky's quote has always bothered me.  I always thought he said this to get himself off the hook for his own foolish mistakes -- and he's blaming *Alexandra* by implication (he doesn't mention hemophilia) for everything.  






Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #466 on: September 21, 2005, 09:48:51 AM »
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There isn't a problem, Ella.

tsaria


I didn't think there was a problem. If you look at my quote box, I was making a joke about tsarfan's confusion over birthorder and how it's understandable given the repetition of the names Alexander & Nicholas. I wasn't referencing the article at all.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #467 on: September 21, 2005, 12:43:25 PM »
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This is the Massie's entire premise.  If there had been no hemophilia, there would have been no Rasputin and thus no Lenin.  So, it isn't so far out  -- I certainly agree it's a valid position.  But Kerensky's quote has always bothered me.  I always thought he said this to get himself off the hook for his own foolish mistakes -- and he's blaming *Alexandra* by implication (he doesn't mention hemophilia) for everything.


I think it's impossible to ascribe the revolution to any one cause and even difficult to assign order of impact among the many causes.

I think that by the start of 1917, the Romanov monarchy was hanging by a single strand of a once-strong rope.  That rope lost a strand or two when, after a whiff of hope for liberalization under Alexander II, the monarchy reverted to a more reactionary stance under Alexander III.  But I think the unravelling began in earnest when Nicholas ascended the throne ill-prepared by both temperament and training for what lay ahead.

Several strands let go with his "senseless dreams" speech upon his accession and its reinforcement a decade later in his speech opening the Duma.  Further strands broke as he began to isolate himself from the senior nobility.  That seemingly minor loss of fiber had a disproportionate impact when the frustrated senior nobility (as well as the extended Romanov clan) became amplifiers for reports and rumors into the larger body politic about Alexandra's problematic traits.

Critical strands broke when Nicholas proved incapable of finding and hanging onto strong ministers and resisting the importunities of his wife and others to appoint toadies.

And Alexandra, whether or not haunted by the specter of hemophilia (which I think does offer previously underestimated clues to her psyche), contributed to many of the problems that plagued her.  While Alexei's hemophilia occasioned the role Rasputin was to play, I don't think that means Alexandra might have otherwise avoided having her crediblity compromised.  Remember that the Mssr. Phillipe mess was spawned by her resorting to a psychic for help in having a son, not for help in dealing with hemophilia.  She had a propensity for mysticism and a lack of judgment in whom she trusted that would have shown up under any circumstances in which her conduct was put on display.

World War I put huge additional strains on the monarchy, but I am not among those that think a strong rope could not have held Russia together as a monarchy under those trying circumstances -- if for no other reason than a strong monarch would have had competent ministers who might have avoided Russia's involvement in the first place or managed her affairs better once she was in the war.

In my view, Raspution only had the power to cut that final strand that held the monarchy above the abyss.  The problem was that that's all that remained to be cut by the time the scissors were put into his hands.  The entire depressing circus of the final months -- in which increasingly laughable ministers came and went, in which Nicholas went into hiding at Stavka to avoid the intractable problems in his capital and home, in which a Romanov and a Yussopov resorted to murder and were publicly hailed for it, in which everyone just gave up and waited for the end -- was the culmination of the progressive breakdown of a rope plagued by a core weakness in the fiber:  Nicholas himself.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

bluetoria

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #468 on: September 22, 2005, 11:30:35 AM »
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World War I put huge additional strains on the monarchy, but I am not among those that think a strong rope could not have held Russia together as a monarchy under those trying circumstances -- if for no other reason than a strong monarch would have had competent ministers who might have avoided Russia's involvement in the first place or managed her affairs better once she was in the war.



I am not at all sure about this, really...Until WWI I would have considered Prussia/Germany a strong monarchy. The Kaiser may have been accused of many things, but never weakness, and yet the Hohenzollerns were also swept away in the rising tide of republicanism...

Can the 2 countries be compared? I am not sure but perhaps they can....  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bluetoria »

Offline mitia

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #469 on: September 22, 2005, 12:20:36 PM »
I am not at all sure either....Though it is true that Russia had become " an autocracy without an autocrat " in the space of about 20 years and that, nevertheless, the huge majority of russian moujiks still had great respect for their Holy Tsar, socialism was rising up all over Europe within the minorities of educated people. As we all know, minorities ( not majorities ) change the world for the best or for the worst. The " right of the princes " was coming to an end in favour of what was thought as the " right of the people "....

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #470 on: September 22, 2005, 02:11:52 PM »
Actually, I'm not sure either.  To my mind it's a close call whether a strong monarchy could have survived World War I in Russia.  I wouldn't put any real money on it either way, though.

I think the situation in Germany was somewhat different.  First, Germany had actually lost the war by the time the Kaiser abdicated.  Second, the Kaiser was shown the door, in part, because he was viewed as a buffoon by the military which, unlike Russia, was still intact.  Given a choice between standing by a Kaiser who had lost public support and preserving a military that was still cohesive, the General Staff opted for the latter.

As the Weimar Republic was to show, it was a paper revolution.  Monarchists remained deeply entrenched in the judiciary, and little changed in the fact that the General Staff ran the military with the head of civilian government -- be it a Kaiser or a President -- only a titular head.  

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #471 on: September 22, 2005, 04:15:33 PM »
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I am not at all sure about this, really...Until WWI I would have considered Prussia/Germany a strong monarchy. The Kaiser may have been accused of many things, but never weakness, and yet the Hohenzollerns were also swept away in the rising tide of republicanism...

Can the 2 countries be compared? I am not sure but perhaps they can....  


I think something can be found in that the monarchies that didn't survive this period were the most autocratic--Russia, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Germany. Russia had been roiling for a long time whereas A-H was cracking under the pressure of it's various ethnic groups. Germany was mostly undone by the fact that it was the loser of a war many felt it was responsible for.

Those countries more responsible to their publics--Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Romania--were intact or even stronger.
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Offline RichC

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #472 on: September 23, 2005, 08:09:31 AM »
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I think something can be found in that the monarchies that didn't survive this period were the most autocratic--Russia, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Germany. Russia had been roiling for a long time whereas A-H was cracking under the pressure of it's various ethnic groups. Germany was mostly undone by the fact that it was the loser of a war many felt it was responsible for.

Those countries more responsible to their publics--Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Romania--were intact or even stronger.


I agree what you are saying is factually correct.  The winners were mostly countries with democratic governments.  But this does not mean that countries with autocratic or authortarian governments cannot be extremely powerful militarily or economically -- even today.  Look at Nazi Germany (which followed the ill-fated, democratically elected, Weimar republic).  Or communist Russia (the Soviet Union) which emerged from WWII as one of the world's two superpowers.  Or China (hardly a government responsible to the public!) today, a country which is a superpower comparable to the United States.

Sorry to stray so far off topic!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by RichC »

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #473 on: September 23, 2005, 10:45:28 AM »
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Germany was mostly undone by the fact that it was the loser of a war many felt it was responsible for.


The Russian monarchy was also undone by WWI. It could not survive long enough for the Allies to win that war. Remember, Russia was already losing the war to Germany when Nicholas II was forced to abdicate by his own generals. But the provisional government that replaced him was no more effective. And arguably, no Russian government would have been effective because in 1917 Russia simply lacked the infrastructure and resources to prosecute a modern, technologically advanced world war, a fact which Lenin was only too well aware of.

Remember, a million soldiers deserted their army units between March and October 1917. They left because they were fed up with fighting a war they did not believe in and because they wanted to seize the land. As General Brusilov wrote:

The soldiers wanted only one thing - peace, so that they could go home, rob the landowners, and live freely without paying taxes or recognizing any authority. The soldiers veered towards Bolshevism because they believed that this was its programme. They did not have the slightest understanding of what either Communism, or the International, or the division of workers and peasants, actually meant, but they imagined themselves at home living without laws or landowners. This anarchistic freedom is what they called "Bolshevism."

IMO, Alexei's hemophilia and Rasputin were not major causes of the March Revolution of 1917. Without Rasputin there would still have been a Lenin, because arguably that's exactly what the Russian people thought they wanted.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »

bluetoria

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #474 on: September 24, 2005, 10:04:26 AM »
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Without Rasputin there would still have been a Lenin, because arguably that's exactly what the Russian people thought they wanted.
 


So in fact, one might say that this was the 'senseless dream' of which Nicholas spoke. The dream that Lenin might suddenly make their lives so much easier...

And perhaps it could also be said, then, that Alexandra's main 'enemies' were War and the misfortune of having been born 'royal' in an 'enemy' country.

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #475 on: September 25, 2005, 10:59:44 AM »
And perhaps that as being born royal and marrying imperial, her most important job as Empress of Russia was to produce healthy male children (heirs and sufficient spares) to continue the male line was Alix's greatest enemy.


If her child-bearing situation had been that of Xenia, she would of had a huge amount of pressure off her at the very start of her marriage. If the baby she miscarried just after the Coronation had been instead a healthy boy, just that could have changed so much of what transpired on so many levels. There would have been no mad mystical scramble to produce a son and later to keep him alive, there would have been no family tension regarding her ability to produce a son, there would have been no reason to isolate her family to the extent she did, her close relationship with Xenia most likely would not have cooled, her relationship with Ella most likely would not have cooled---the list goes on and on. And of course, no need for any Holy Men/Healers.

With healthy baby boys produced early on in her marriage, Alix would have been a very different person emotionally and mentally even with all of her personality and character as they were. She would still had a tremendous pressure on her, as did her mother-in-law, regarding her family's personal safety. She still would of had the challenge of fulfilling her social obligations when her character was shy and publicly charmless. But the crushing pressure of trying to produce a son and then keep him alive was what really dismantled her emotionally and mentally.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #476 on: September 25, 2005, 04:14:35 PM »
I wonder if this played a role in her deteriorating relationship with Xenia? There was never any overt hostility (unlike with Miechen) just a gradual estrangement. It must've been really hard to see this parallel couple--very close, married in the same year--produce healthy son after healthy son when nothing was really dependent on it. (Xenia's sons were in the succession via Sandro but so far down it was basically inconsequential) It must've been hard to see and thus easier to remove yourself.
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NAAOTMA

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #477 on: September 25, 2005, 06:20:42 PM »
I can imagine that as Xenia produced her bumper crop of robust baby boys, Alix must have dreaded family gatherings despite her warm relationship with Xenia in the early days of their marriages. It must have been hell for Alix and added hugely to the other strains she felt. Xenia's many sons must have been a huge and painful reminder of her own failure to produce a healthy baby boy. The fact that the Dowager Empress doted on Xenia's children would have been another stab in Alix's heart.


matushka

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #478 on: October 14, 2005, 04:46:09 PM »
Alexander Alexandrovich,
May I correct you about church's questions?
Mitropolit Pitirim, the "protege" of Raspoutine came in Petersbourg's, at the place of Metropolit Vladimir, who was sent to Kiev. It was an evident disgrace. Mitropolit Pitirim stay in Petersbourg until the Revolution, then echap to the South of the country. I can not remember where. In that aera where a lot of other Church' rulers. There was also prince Jevakhov. He stay with Pitirim until the "natural" death of the metropolit (typhus, or something like that) and wrote about him very hagiographic things in his Memories... About death of Pitirim, you can read, for example, in Mitropolit Evlogy' Memories, or Chavelsky's memories.
A bishop was indeed in Siberia and was killed by the Bolsheviks. It is Germogen (Hermogene).
Mitropolit Vladimir stayed in Kiev, he was killed at the beginning of 1918 (I think), becomming one of the first neo-martyr.

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #479 on: October 24, 2005, 07:41:37 AM »
Since you state with a certainty that Nicholas knew of the letters "written" to Alix to fool her into thinking that she was in touch with the Russian people, for the first time, I feel genuinely sorry for her.

I can not imagine being duped like that and by her own husband!

I have always thought that Nicholas should have put a muzzle on her, but he should have done it with dignaty
and with complete openess.

He was such a weak man.  With his ministers and with his wife.  

Alix did contribute to all the problems.  She was part and parcel of all sorts of things that combined at the time to bring down the dynasty.

But to be betrayed by her own husband.  Even if she didn't know it, how awful!