Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty > Nicholas II

Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #1

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I would like to start a thread, written from the spiritual standpoint of "old" pre-revolutionary Russia- not necessarily a place to debate the "pros and cons" of Nicholas' life, but a place for those who have loved him and been inspired by him to share their own feelings and reflections.
     Nicholas II is probably one of my greatest heroes, if not the greatest. When I was nine years old I got a hold of a copy of Nicholas and Alexandra- read it all through over Christmas break from school. Ever since that time, although I have now read many other books about imperial Russia, that volume has become a sort of Bible to me- read over and over again, and deeply loved. That book began a lifetime of interest in the old Russia.

     Nicholas II is amazing to me, because, of all the rulers that ever lived, he comes in his character, the closest to the ideal of a "great king." He was not only a ruler, but he lived out the soul of Holy Russia in his personal life.
     He was Christian, he was moral, he was consistent, and he was gentle. In an age when kings were becoming remote from their people, mere figureheads, somewhere safe in a palace, Nicholas wanted to personally lead his troops.
     The old ideal of a king, from long ago, was not of a wealthy aristocrat, but of a leader of men, who identified himself with those who looked up to him. Nicholas was wealthy, but unique amongst sovereigns, he was an ordinary man.
     That is part of what makes Nicholas and Alexandra [and their children] unique- They were ordinary people- down to earth people who, in their personal lives, upheld the best ideals of what monarchy is supposed to stand for.
     The tragedy of Nicholas is this. He was a great prince, but he was a poor administrator. Isn't it interesting, though, that, with the passage of time the memory of his high ideals, his passionate love for Christ and for his country, he has ended up being not the most maligned Tsar in history, but perhaps the most beloved.
     Historians write of Peter the Great, but does anyone love him? People admire the accomplishments of Catherine, and of Alexander II, but do they love them? The answer would have to be, "NO."
     Nicholas stands apart, because his legacy as a tsar is closely tied up with the legacy of who he was as a man.

Do check out the materials here on site. There there are also many fine books under the Topic Books about the Romanovs -- thread name "recommended books."


What were the negative attributes of Nicholas II as Tsar?


Nicholas was the type of person who wanted to avoid confrontations at any cost. Because of that, he would appear to agree with officials, etc, while they were meeting face to face, but then he would send them a letter as to what he really thought. This meant that he never really said what he meant nor meant what he said. This made him appear deceptive and indecisive, terrible traits in a ruler, and it drove many people mad (justifiably so)!

Robert Massie writes that Nicholas can't be completely blamed for this because there were so many departments that he had to deal with them separately. The army, for example, could suggest a very good idea to him & he would accept it but his next meeting might be with the Finance Dept. who would say money which he wanted to give to the army was needed elsewhere so he would have to write to the military dept to say he had changed his mind....I think Mr. Massie's explanation went something like that anyway...
Even so I sometimes get the impression of the Tsar being very placid then suddenly taking a stand about something rather insignificant to try to show that he WAS Tsar (perhaps through Alix's pushing) & so he seems almost like a little boy stamping his feet...as with the case of Miechen using the Royal Box at the the theatre without his permission.


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