Author Topic: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall  (Read 168706 times)

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Offline RichC

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #480 on: February 06, 2007, 02:32:26 PM »

You might be right that I'm being unduly harsh with Alexandra. Of course the ultimate responsibility for the murder of the imperial family lay with the Bolsheviks. But I'm sorry, the more I read about Nicholas and Alexandra the more exasperated I become with their consistent record of very bad decision-making.

Well, you will get no argument on that point from me.

It would be one thing if Nicholas and Alexandra, like Grand Duchess Elisabeth, had been all on their own, without children. Consciously or unconsciously they could have taken their path to martyrdom without any reproaches from the likes of myself. But the fact of the matter is that they did have children, and after the abdication, they should have moved heaven and earth to get them out of Russia. As one of their retainers said during the March Revolution, when Alexandra refused to get the children out of the country because they were ill with measles, the first people to be taken out of a burning house are the invalids... And later, in Tobolsk, Kobylinsky recalled that he never understood why the family hadn't taken the great opportunity afforded them during this period to escape - indeed, throughout the fall and well into the winter, before the Bolsheviks could send their own reinforcements, the soldiers guarding the Romanovs clearly sympathized with the entire family.

What strikes me about Nicholas and Alexandra, always, is their terrible passivity. Probably this had something to do with Nicholas's fatalism. But why did they always rely so much on other people to "save" them? Why not seize the initiative and try to escape on their own?

I guess it's illustrative as to how isolated these people really were from the world.  They do not seem to have had the ability to take the initiative on anything.  Flying the coop just wasn't an option for them because they didn't know where to begin.  I once knew a woman in New York who came from an immensely wealthy family -- her mother, who I met once, was a billionaire.  Anyway, this woman's mother had lived most of her life in Manhattan, and one day they were going somewhere and decided to take the New York subway.  The mother was probably in her late 50's or early 60's by then and it was her first subway ride EVER.  By the time the ordeal was over the poor woman was a complete wreck.

In order for any escape to have worked, I suppose the entire project, down to the smallest details would have to have been planned by a well-coordinated party of rescuers.

The only thing about Marie Antoinette is that she did get caught, after all.  Even after all the carefully laid plans, she still got caught.  Who knows, perhaps the IF thought about that story and decided to play it safe, but this is just speculation...


No, Soloviev was a real charlatan. He made off with, if not all the money raised to save the family, then most of it. This particular conspiracy seems to have existed mainly in Alexandra's head.

That's not what it says in FOTR.  FOTR says that Soloviev was taken in by someone named Markov (?) (I don't have the book in front of me right now, but took a look at it last night).  Are we better off letting this drop?



Offline Dulcinea

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #481 on: February 06, 2007, 02:37:21 PM »
I am sorry you do not agree with the comparison I was trying to make.  I did not say they were the same thing exactly.  I was simply comparing the political climates of both countries to put the supposed civility of the people in the early twentieth century into a modern context.  I do not need a lesson in politics or how an army is run.  I do not need to be reminded how much more dire the situation in Russia was.  It was simply a modern comparison meant to convey the shock that might be present should something like this happen today. You can look at it as an exercise in “putting yourself into the shoes of one who was there” sort of thing. I was using the most well known (and at the moment hotly contended) political figure that we identify with.  My statement was simply a way to put the shock of what happened to the IF into modern times. Just because I have many less message postings than you, does not mean that I am any less informed or entitled to my opinions.  I have been a member here for quite some time.  I don't post often because of these types of rigid, pompous, and condescending replies.  Debate is welcome, derision is not.

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James1941

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #482 on: February 06, 2007, 03:39:25 PM »
Okay, let us debate your comparison of Nicholas abdicating and Bush being impeached. I promise no derision.
Impeachment is a an action of civil law, not criminal. Its sole purpose is to remove a sitting president from office because he has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors." Impeachment is simply the process of trying the president before the Senate. If the Senate votes that he is guilty, then he is removed. Impeachment doesn't necessarily mean conviction (Johnson and Clinton). If after he is removed from office his crime(s) are considered to have been criminal offenses then he could be brought before a grand jury and indicted, then tried, and if found guilty, sentenced to prison. If his crime was murder, then he might well be executed for it.
Now, in Nicholas' case. He abdicated, of his own free will, although some have tried to suggest he was forced to do it, but that is debatable as we have been doing. In any case, he was removed from office.
Ordinarily that would have meant he was fee to go and do what he wanted. However, many in Russia considered Nicholas to have been a criminal. This was why the Soviet insisted he, and his family be held under house arrest. And, many called for his trial. In fact, I am convinced that is what Yakovlev was trying to do--bring Nicholas, and his family, back to Moscow, where he would be tried in a show trial. He might have been convicted and sentenced to prison, or execution. His family would probably been sent into exile. So far all has been civil. When however, the Ural Soviet found out this intent they intervened to hold the family because they didn't think Nicholas would be judged. They wanted vengence, or revenge. Still, they kept the family in fairly civil conditions. His trial was debated by the Ural Soviet, and discussion with the Moscow Central Committee. What happened was the outbreak of the civil war, and close to Ekaterinburg. That meant the family could be rescued and taken away. The Ural Soviets were not going to let that happen. When it became clear events were moving too fast, they decided to kill the family. They could well have simply taken the family out into the city, and let the crowd take their vengence. That would have been truly horrible (as the September massacres in the French Revolution). Horrible as their execution was, it was fairly quick, if not instantaneous, in private, with no public humiliation of the women and then defilement of their bodies. All this occurred due to a special set of circumstances. Only those Romanovs who had been sent to the area controlled by the Ural Soviet were killed. Most of the others got away. The exceeption to that were the four grand dukes in Petrograd who were executed in 1919. And that happened because the civil war had truly become un-civil and terroristic, on both sides.
Let us consider a what if. What if the Whites had won and taken Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Sverdlovsk, et all prisoners. What would their fate have been, and how civil would it have been?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 03:41:44 PM by James1941 »

lexi4

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #483 on: February 06, 2007, 03:47:41 PM »
I am sorry you do not agree with the comparison I was trying to make.  I did not say they were the same thing exactly.  I was simply comparing the political climates of both countries to put the supposed civility of the people in the early twentieth century into a modern context.  I do not need a lesson in politics or how an army is run.  I do not need to be reminded how much more dire the situation in Russia was.  It was simply a modern comparison meant to convey the shock that might be present should something like this happen today. You can look at it as an exercise in “putting yourself into the shoes of one who was there” sort of thing. I was using the most well known (and at the moment hotly contended) political figure that we identify with.  My statement was simply a way to put the shock of what happened to the IF into modern times. Just because I have many less message postings than you, does not mean that I am any less informed or entitled to my opinions.  I have been a member here for quite some time.  I don't post often because of these types of rigid, pompous, and condescending replies.  Debate is welcome, derision is not.

Dulcinea


And all I was doing was disagreeing with your comparison. That is all. I am sorry you took it personally.

Elisabeth

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #484 on: February 06, 2007, 05:34:28 PM »

The only thing about Marie Antoinette is that she did get caught, after all.  Even after all the carefully laid plans, she still got caught.  Who knows, perhaps the IF thought about that story and decided to play it safe, but this is just speculation...

The French royal family had to escape from the heart of the Revolution itself, Paris. The plan for the escape was very elaborate, as it had to be in order to elude immediate detection by the hostile forces surrounding the family on all sides. It is testimony to Marie Antoinette's cunning that the family actually got as far away from Paris as they did. Nevertheless the hue and cry was raised for their capture and return within a matter of hours. By contrast, the former tsar and his family would have been escaping from a remote Siberian town thousands of miles away from Petrograd, and news of their escape would have taken more than a few hours to travel back to the central government, perhaps even an entire day or longer, even with telegraph lines. And to repeat myself for the nth time, the guards under Kobylinsky during the fall and into the winter of 1917-1918 seem to have been largely sympathetic to the family. Rather a contrast to the soldiers guarding Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

I have speculated in the past that the failure of the flight to Varennes was one of the reasons Nicholas and Alexandra made no attempt to escape. However, this seems not to have been the case, since Alexandra was plotting with Vyrubova and Soloviev to do precisely that.


No, Soloviev was a real charlatan. He made off with, if not all the money raised to save the family, then most of it. This particular conspiracy seems to have existed mainly in Alexandra's head.

That's not what it says in FOTR.  FOTR says that Soloviev was taken in by someone named Markov (?) (I don't have the book in front of me right now, but took a look at it last night).

According to Steinberg and Khrustalev, whom I take as a reliable source, "many émigrés - including the chief White army investigator of the execution of the tsar and his family - were later convinced that Solovyov was a provocateur, acting on behalf of the Bolsheviks in order to expose and sabotage efforts to free the family. Their suspicions are not entirely implausible - Bolshevik intelligence did succeed in arresting many conspirators (including Solovyov in late March), and much evidence suggests that Solovyov was using his marriage to Rasputin's daughter to advance his credibility. [However] The accusations against Solovyov more likely reflected the need to find a scapegoat, someone to blame for the monarchists' failure to save the tsar. Whatever the truth about Solovyov's intentions, Nicholas and Alexandra apparently believed his claims (in messages smuggled to them) that he had assembled a force of three hundred loyal officers... who were on their way from Tiumen to free the family" (Steinberg, Fall of the Romanovs, 182). The "three hundred officers" seem to have been nothing more than a pipe dream, of course. And perhaps I was mistaken in claiming that Solovyov pocketed most of the funds he raised on the family's behalf - I'm sure I read this somewhere, but perhaps it's just another monarchist rumor.

From Steinberg's book, it would seem that the Markov plot was entirely separate from the Solovyov one, although possibly there were two Markov plots? (Markov is a common Russian name, and this particular Markov was known as Markov II.) On the other hand... I'm sorry, but I can't take every recent publication seriously as a reliable source of information about last days of the imperial family. I'll stick to Steinberg and Khrustalev, even if they're a little outdated at this point.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 05:39:47 PM by Elisabeth »

Offline RichC

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #485 on: February 07, 2007, 01:45:22 PM »

The only thing about Marie Antoinette is that she did get caught, after all.  Even after all the carefully laid plans, she still got caught.  Who knows, perhaps the IF thought about that story and decided to play it safe, but this is just speculation...

The French royal family had to escape from the heart of the Revolution itself, Paris. The plan for the escape was very elaborate, as it had to be in order to elude immediate detection by the hostile forces surrounding the family on all sides. It is testimony to Marie Antoinette's cunning that the family actually got as far away from Paris as they did. Nevertheless the hue and cry was raised for their capture and return within a matter of hours. By contrast, the former tsar and his family would have been escaping from a remote Siberian town thousands of miles away from Petrograd, and news of their escape would have taken more than a few hours to travel back to the central government, perhaps even an entire day or longer, even with telegraph lines. And to repeat myself for the nth time, the guards under Kobylinsky during the fall and into the winter of 1917-1918 seem to have been largely sympathetic to the family. Rather a contrast to the soldiers guarding Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

I have speculated in the past that the failure of the flight to Varennes was one of the reasons Nicholas and Alexandra made no attempt to escape. However, this seems not to have been the case, since Alexandra was plotting with Vyrubova and Soloviev to do precisely that.

Well, here's another possibility, which I confess I had not really thought of until now.  I think it's on topic.  But in reading about Soloviev's plan (or the plan he was involved in) which included "300 loyal officiers from Tyumen" I'm wondering if Nicholas and Alexandra conceived of it as a "liberation" rather than an escape.  In other words, a first step to a restoration of power.  This could explain why they did not flee.  Alexandra apparently christened the effort as the "Brotherhood of St. John of Tobolsk".  St. John, a 17th and early 18th century priest, was noted for his work on theodicy, a branch of theology which attempts to reconcile the existence of evil in the presence of a benevolent God.

lexi4

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #486 on: February 07, 2007, 02:24:09 PM »
Interesting thought Rich. I would bet that they did view the rescue as a liberation and restoration to power. Perhaps they lived under the delusion that they would be restored to power. If so, escape would not be an option not if they truly believed they were going to be restored to power. Interesting.

dmitri

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #487 on: July 04, 2007, 12:28:19 PM »
I think Alexandra would not have wanted to have been separated from her husband. She dominated him completely when they were together. I also think she thought he might have done something stupid without her. Certainly it was probably for the best that she died with him but the poor children. They never deserved the stupidity of their parents. Of course all of them would have been rallying points so that was why they all died.

dmitri

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #488 on: July 04, 2007, 12:52:43 PM »
I'm not sure she realised that her last days were her last days. I think she just went on and on. Certainly her religious faith was as strong as ever. That can be seen in her last diary entries. She put enormous thought and time into her religious faith.   

dmitri

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #489 on: July 04, 2007, 01:40:32 PM »
I guess there are a number of things to answer here :

A. She never really made any effort to understand the Russian people beyond I'm Empress and of course you will love me as such. She always thought that the people loved the Tsar. How wrong she was.

B. She was German. She was loathed for this during World War II

C. She neglected the duties expected of an Empress at court. She hid away at Tsarskoe Selo instead of leading the court as Empress. She really did a great deal to alienate the people from her.

Mary R.

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #490 on: July 04, 2007, 06:37:28 PM »
Her entire life in Russia was one of unfortunate consequences; this combined with certain personality traits (shyness) did not predict a happy outlook. For Alexandra, her ascent to the position of empress was less than perfect. Nicky ascended to the throne unexpectedly with little preparation for his illustrious position. In turn, Alexandra was little prepared for her role as an empress. Unlike her mother-in-law, she had not time to practice being "the second lady in the land" and getting accustomed to the Russian ways of life. Queen Victoria herself said she had 'wished dear Alix might have had more settling time.'

Empress Marie had been a social butterfly who immersed herself in Russian society, enabling her to be seen by both the aristocracy and the people; something her Alexandra was unable to do. I have to agree with previous postings, the main reason she was not 'liked' by the Russian people was that they didn't know her; too many things were left unknown about what they thought was a public role.

Mary R.

dmitri

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #491 on: July 12, 2007, 07:15:56 AM »
Alexandra Feodorovna could have had a different outcome if she had attempted to learn from Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. Maria Feodorovna wanted to help her. Instead she came across a young woman who was unwilling to learn from a very experienced and respected Tsarina. Things could have been so different. Even Queen Victoria before her death wrote to Alexandra Feodorovna warning her that she must make some attempt to understand and be loved by the Russian people. Sadly Alexandra Feodorovna was dismissive and arrogant to her grandmother as well. 

Offline clockworkgirl21

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #492 on: November 24, 2007, 02:56:19 AM »
I read somewhere (I'm thinking Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, but I can't be sure) that Alix had a little seat where she would sit and listen to what Nicholas said to people in his study without being seen. He knew about it, apparently. There were also rumors that Alix was spying for the Germans during this time, but we know this isn't true.

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #493 on: November 24, 2007, 09:26:30 AM »
OK, this was just anti-Alexandra propaganda.  There was no such "seat" and the arrangement of Nicholas' office made it impossible.  The corridor led to the reception room, which then led to Nicholas' office. There was no where Alexandra could have sat without being seen.  Nicholas also would never have permitted Alexandra to have done this.

It all was blown out of proportion from an anecdote of a one time only occurence where Anna Vyroubova and Alexandra were in the upstairs part of the New Study and Nicholas was downstairs receiving someone.

anna11

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #494 on: November 24, 2007, 03:27:14 PM »
In Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, it says that Alexandra had a staircase built onto a balcony covered by curtains overlooking Nicholas's office. (Or something like that) That's just a myth?