Author Topic: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall  (Read 161883 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« on: November 10, 2004, 04:52:30 PM »
Elsewhere in this forum, Bob Atchison has written that Alexandra only became active in Russian politics during the last two years of her husband's reign. I tend to agree with this statement. I remember reading in some collection of letters by a Victorian court lady that Alexandra, as a young tsarina, was thought by her contemporaries to be completely uninterested in politics, to the extent that she's actually referred to as a "cow" in these letters - good only for breeding, and therefore unworthy to be the wife of a Russian tsar.  (This woman thought that another grand-daughter of Queen Victoria would have made a more suitable bride, but I'm sorry, I forget who - I believe it was another German princess, not a Hessian.)

Why do you think Alexandra suddenly became interested in politics during World War I? Was it solely because Nicholas chose to take direct command of the Russian army and left for Stavka? Was it Rasputin's influence? Or do you think that, as Alexei grew older, Alexandra became increasingly preoccupied with guarding his inheritance? How do you interpret Alexandra's emergence as a political player, and why do you think she came to hold such reactionary views - given that she was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the daughter of Princess Alice?
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Offline Georgiy

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2004, 05:00:12 PM »
I think it was because while he was at the Front, the Tsar asked her to be his eyes and ears. I think she sincerely believed that autocracy was the only system possible for Russia, and while it may seem reactionary, maybe it wasn't - after the soviet regime was also what you might call autocratic, albeit without an annointed Tsar...

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2004, 05:09:00 PM »
What interests me is this apparent contradiction in Alexandra, between being extremely strong-willed and obstinate, and yet at the same time, at least in her overall political outlook, all but completely subservient to her husband. In some ways, it's rather reminiscent of Queen Victoria and her relationship with Prince Albert, although as far as I know Victoria never tried to dictate political policy to HER husband... or did she?
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Offline Sarai

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2004, 07:37:25 PM »
These are interesting questions. One thing that comes to mind is Alexandra's changing perception of her husband. At the start of their marriage, she was in awe of him. I remember reading that he used to have a special way of whistling for her, almost like a bird call, and whenever she would hear it, she would blush and go running to him. He was the master of his land and of his home. She was also generally naive about politics. He used to work all day in his study on state matters and they saw each other only a few times a day. But she realized this was his job and left all the politics to him. Her main concern in the early years was to produce an heir.

Through the years, however, she realized that unfortunately her husband had a weak character and probably perceived that hers was stronger. She was raised with a strong and powerful woman - her grandmother - as a role model and probably didn't see anything wrong with voicing her opinion on political matters. In their wartime correspondence, she constantly urges him to be stronger, firmer, to stand up to people more and to remind them just who he is. I think that ultimately she was tired of seeing people taking advantage of him and thought she should advise him on certain matters. She saw this as helping, not meddling. She still respected him and his position, but she wanted to pass on a strong empire to their son, and I assume this was a powerful driving motive for her to get involved more in politics.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Offline Karentje

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2004, 09:00:44 AM »
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Why would QV try to dictate political policy to HER husband? She was the one in power.


It's true that QV was the one in power, at least theoretically, but in reality it was Prince Albert who called the shots. By the end of 1845, when Albert and Victoria were married for about five years, it had become clear to those in high places that Albert was now king in all but name. Charles Greville observed that
as he likes and she dislikes business, it is obvious that while she has the title, he is really discharging the functions of the Sovereign. He is King to all intents and  purposes’.16 (Weintraub, 1997: 78, 104)
Victoria wouldn't have dreamed of dictating to Albert on political matters. She had absolute faith in his judgment and also believed his intelligence and understanding to be superior to hers.



Offline RichC

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2004, 01:36:55 PM »
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Victoria wouldn't have dreamed of dictating to Albert on political matters. She had absolute faith in his judgment and also believed his intelligence and understanding to be superior to hers.





QV continued to reign for 40 years after Albert was gone.  She came to trust her own instincts and grew quite confident in her own abilities as the years passed.  Remember what Bismarck said about her.  All of these things took place while Alix was growing up.  Alix wasn't around in the early years while Albert was running the show.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2004, 04:33:32 PM »
The relationship between Alexandra and her grandmother Victoria is so interesting. They had some important traits in common, such as their longing for solitude, even isolation - we all know how Alexandra preferred quiet domesticity to the social whirl, but Victoria was very similar in her tastes. (In the years after Albert's death, she became so reluctant to appear in public that her prime minister finally had to intervene.) Then there was their utter devotion to their respective husbands, which at times almost assumed the proportions of hero worship. Both women also became very emotionally attached to and dependent on men who were not their spouses - Victoria with Tom Brown and the Munshee, Alexandra with Rasputin - albeit in a completely platonic way.

During the March Revolution, Alexandra reportedly burned all of Queen Victoria's letters to her. What a loss to history! I have to wonder if Victoria gave Alix a lot of political advice - it would seem so, since in 1917 Alix decided the letters had to be destroyed.

But this is what strikes me as so mysterious with Alix! To my mind, no one has ever adequately explained how she could have grown up under the tutelage of a constitutional monarch yet after her marriage - or perhaps much later? - so completely adopted the reactionary political views of her husband - and not just adopted them for public show, but really believed in them, with all of her heart and soul. The only area in which she seems to have cut a more independent path was that having to do with the Romanovs' anti-Semitism (cf. the letter she wrote to N in wartime expressing great sympathy for the wounded Jewish soldier she was treating in the hospital).

What happened to Alexandra? Do you think she only became this way after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901? When, for example, do we first see her adopting Nicholas' naive views on the Russian peasantry? With the rise of Rasputin or even earlier?
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Offline investigator

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2004, 11:27:18 PM »
How were Alexandra's last days?
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
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Offline lilavanderhorn

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2004, 11:21:58 AM »
Filled with stress, anxiety, hopelessness, irritation,  frustration, however else someone would feel in the position she was in.  A sick son, an unsure future, not knowing if her husband would be taken away and executed, or if she would be put on trial also.  I don't think she thought her children would be killed, at least not the way they were.  I am sure she must have been somewhat  thankful that they were all together.

Offline investigator

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2005, 11:49:19 PM »
Why did the Russian people dislike Alexandra?
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr.

bluetoria

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2005, 05:56:27 AM »
I don't think that they did dislike her at first...not the ordinary Russians. The people at court disliked her because she was not sociable and appeared something of a prude, but the ordinary people seem to have liked her until the war when her German origins made her an obvious scapegoat for all their sufferings. It is said that during the celebrations for the tercentenary she didn't smile as much as she might have done...and nowadays it is exactly the same; if the present Queen doesn't smile all the time the newspapers complain that she is unenthusiastic.
 

Maria_Romanov_fan

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2005, 05:32:15 PM »
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but the ordinary people seem to have liked her until the war when her German origins made her an obvious scapegoat for all their sufferings
  


I think so too. I read that some people thought she was a traitor to Russia.

bluetoria

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2005, 08:54:04 AM »
I didn't mean I thought she should have smiled more...I only meant that people misunderstood her because she didn't. She was really a victim of propaganda too and people are always looking for scapegoats...Also, aren't the people like the 'mob in Rome' - one minute cheering the next baying for blood. When Princess Diana died the outpouring of grief was enormous and she was virtually canonized...exactly one year later I listened to a phone-in & people were saying all kinds of things like 'she never did anything worthwhile...and brought the Royal Family into disrepute."  At the time of Diana's death, the Queen was terribly unpopular and yet by the time of her Golden Jubilee she was very popular again. It makes me think of Albert of the Belgians on his way to his coronation. He wasn't smiling & someone said, "Aren't you impressed that all these people have turned out cheer for you?" To which he replied, "They would cheer just as loudly if I were on my way to my execution."
Poor Alix...like all Queens & Kings...couldn't win.

ferngully

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2005, 09:07:01 AM »
they thought she was having a relationship with rasputin who was unpopular anyways
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Maria_Romanov_fan

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Re: Alexandra - the Abdication and the Family's Downfall
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2005, 11:27:47 AM »
I think they thought it was strange that a man of no royal standards (Rasputin) had connections to the Imperial Family.