Author Topic: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures  (Read 265003 times)

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Offline ilyala

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #105 on: February 10, 2007, 01:25:30 AM »
Challenge accepted. Polandry (the custom of a woman having more than one husband) was common in Tibet, Zanskar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Mongolia, China, subsahara Africa, Brazil, Hawaii, and in many indigenous Amerindian communities. While not as common as polygamy, it was accepted practice in many places. I believe there is a myth in the classical world about the Amazons.
Only the so-called revealed religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam--prohibit polandry. Islam prohibits it but allows polygamy. The other two insist on monogamy.
Women stayed home and cooked and cared for the children (and did even more) in all societies--Kinder, Kuche, Kirche. Polygamy had its advantages. For example: in the Dakota tribe of North America, also called the Sioux, men had two functions--to put food on the table and fight off enemies. All else was the province of the woman. And there was a lot of work to do in and outside the teepee. So, a smart Sioux wife would sugget to her husband he take a second wife and sometimes a third wife. Since she had to live and work with that wife, then usually she suggested he take a look at a sister or a cousin. The first wife was always the boss wife and had rights but this arrangement meant companionship, shared labor and child rearing. And it had advantages for the husband. A very civilized arrangement.
Alexander II and Marie A were practicing what is known as polyamory. This is the desire, practice, or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time, with the full knowledge and consent by everyone involved. This means the partners respect one partners wish to have a second, or further meaningful relationship and accomodate these wishes alongside their existing relationship. They were being very civilized with one another. Considering how else it might have turned out, I admire them. And, since it was none of my business, I don't think my opinion matters one way or the other. Making her empress is a political matter and thus people could express views and opinions. On the private matter it was none of their business either.

you might be surprised but i don't believe a woman should dominate her husband just as i don't believe a husband should dominate his wife. i believe in equal rights - equal partnerships. i believe in a relationship where they both agree that if one of them cheat they have just opened the door for the other one cheating. if the man is to have more wives, the woman should be entitled to more husbands. and the other way around too. that's the kind of society i would agree with.

congratulations on your extensive knowledge and i'm sorry if i came off too rough earlier.
'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
ilya


Offline James1941

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #106 on: February 10, 2007, 12:27:15 PM »
Whatever you or I or anyone thinks about a man and a woman livng together in marriage is totally irelevant to anything. It is just our opinion. Why is it so difficult for us to accept that Alexander no longer loved Marie A. He still repected her and had no desire to hurt her, but he wanted his life with Catherine. Today, the two (Alex and MA) would have simply agreed to a divorce and gone on with their seperate lives. Why the two did not do so in this case is debatable, but they chose not to. To condemn one or the other is futile. It was the life they chose. Pointing fingers is unfair, and unkind.
Catherine did not live in MA house. She had her own. The tsar visited her there often, and in the last year when he became a target for the terrorist this became too much of a securtiy risk. So Catherine and the children were brought into the vast Winter Palace. For safety reasons, not because Alexader wanted to hurt MA. They were NOT installed over the empresses rooms so she could hear them. That is a MYTH told by spiteful tongues.
I don't have any idea why MA didn't take lovers of her own. Maybe she didn't want any, maybe she couldn't find any that suited her. However, she was as free to do so as was Alexander, and had she done so no one could have stopped her.
And again, I will repeat, that if Alexander had really wanted to be hard, hurtful, and unkind to MA he could have annulled the marriage, sent her back to little, dull Hesse-Darmstadt, given her very little but a pittance to live on, and treated her in any number of cruel and spiteful ways. (In Germany, one Hannoverian locked his wife up in a castle for thirty some odd years). That he didn't do so speaks volumes for his character.
This was not a Barbara Cartland romance novel in which undying love wins out and they all live happily everafter with swelling violins in the background. It is real life and how two people in a very human position dealt with it.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #107 on: February 11, 2007, 02:04:05 AM »
Whatever you or I or anyone thinks about a man and a woman livng together in marriage is totally irelevant to anything. It is just our opinion. Why is it so difficult for us to accept that Alexander no longer loved Marie A. He still repected her and had no desire to hurt her, but he wanted his life with Catherine. Today, the two (Alex and MA) would have simply agreed to a divorce and gone on with their seperate lives. Why the two did not do so in this case is debatable, but they chose not to. To condemn one or the other is futile. It was the life they chose. Pointing fingers is unfair, and unkind.
Catherine did not live in MA house. She had her own. The tsar visited her there often, and in the last year when he became a target for the terrorist this became too much of a securtiy risk. So Catherine and the children were brought into the vast Winter Palace. For safety reasons, not because Alexader wanted to hurt MA. They were NOT installed over the empresses rooms so she could hear them. That is a MYTH told by spiteful tongues.
I don't have any idea why MA didn't take lovers of her own. Maybe she didn't want any, maybe she couldn't find any that suited her. However, she was as free to do so as was Alexander, and had she done so no one could have stopped her.
And again, I will repeat, that if Alexander had really wanted to be hard, hurtful, and unkind to MA he could have annulled the marriage, sent her back to little, dull Hesse-Darmstadt, given her very little but a pittance to live on, and treated her in any number of cruel and spiteful ways. (In Germany, one Hannoverian locked his wife up in a castle for thirty some odd years). That he didn't do so speaks volumes for his character.
This was not a Barbara Cartland romance novel in which undying love wins out and they all live happily everafter with swelling violins in the background. It is real life and how two people in a very human position dealt with it.

i'm afraid this answer is not as good as the ones you have given before.

1. to get this over with: "(In Germany, one Hannoverian locked his wife up in a castle for thirty some odd years)." - that was george of hannover, best known to the world as king george 1st of england. he neglected his wife in such a manner that she took a lover. when he caught her he imprisoned her and divorced her and then went on to his mistresses. to me that is just another proof of how double standards worked in those days for both women and for men.

2. "It was the life they chose." No
maria alexandrovna was recommended by her doctors to stop having children. because of her frail health and her numerous births, the doctors pretty much told her that another pregnancy was a death sentence. in those days that meant that maria alexandrovna had to stop having sex altogether in order to avoid a pregnancy. she did not choose that, although i'm sure a part of her felt relieved not about the lack of sex but about no more pregnancies. she could not have taken a lover because that from her point of view was the same thing as sleeping with her husband -> risk of pregnancy -> death.

i don't think they stopped loving each other, i think they stopped being in love with each other, which is a different matter. but what i was talking about was not the hurt of the woman that sees the man she loves cheating on her. i am talking about the humiliation of having everyone know that your husband is doing someone else. and he's doing it in the same house you live in. i didn't mention the rumour about ekaterina living in the rooms above maria's cause i don't know whether that's true or not and i tend to think it's not. but she was in the same house. and no matter how tolerant maria alexandrovna was about her husband's extra-marital affairs, i'm sure she hated it when:
           - her children, angry about the situation, i'm sure mentioned something to her: 'the bastard, i can't believe he's doing this to you'
           - some friend came and said with a compassionate voice: 'oh poor you, i can't believe this is happening'
          - she heard whispered rumours about ekaterina and her children
          - that embarrassing situation when you walk into a room and everyone suddenly stops talking
etc

that is humiliation and no-one, i'm sure, would like that. that is what i'm talking about. not the fact that she couldn't have sex anymore so her husband went on to have sex with another woman. but just so you know, i repeat: she was not free to take a lover. i am quite sure she was not willing to take a lover (especially in light of her tainted past - her mother's infidelities - i'm sure like many other children of philanderers, she had developed into a very moral person). this was not an open relationship. this was she being ill and he sleeping around and not even discreet enough to do it behind her back.

'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
ilya


Offline James1941

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #108 on: February 11, 2007, 01:31:53 PM »
This is all mere speculation on your part. If you can quote specific evidence from her letters, diaries, second person quotes, etc. that Marie A was humiliated or hurt, then I can accept this reasoning. Until then this seems just to be your estimation of how she MUST have felt.
That her sons felt their father had betrayed their mother is a laugh, coming from some of the most promiscuous men to ever inhabit a royal family---the kettle calling the pot black is rich. Marie Feodorvona disliked the situtatuon because she feared Catherine would supplant her (Alexander II threatened to disinherit Alexander III if he and Marie continued with their outspoken criticism) not for any moral reasons. A woman who could marry her youngest daughter off to a well-known homosexual has no business judging anyone.
As for MA taking a lover herself, there are plenty of ways to have sex without risk of pregnancy. Besides, my point was not about sex, but about emotional support. She could have taken a "lover" who would have given her the same emotional support that Alexander was getting from Catherine. Plenty of women in those days did just that. She need not have "suffered" alone and in silence. I have no idea why she didn't nor will I speculate absent any proof. All I know is she and Alexander came to an arrangement and they both lived with it.
As I take it in your opinion both partners should have been unhappy and miserable in their marriage, for twenty or thirty years or more, just in the name of some notion like "fidelity."
And your main complaint seems to be that Alexander got away with the double standard. There has always been a double standard in the world. Alexander is not a fault for that. Anymore than he is at fault because the women he loved and married against opposition fell ill with a degenerative disease. It was the way it was and they both coped with it.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #109 on: February 11, 2007, 02:26:22 PM »
Here's some showing some outside viewpoints---though QV was mother-in-law to Alexander & Marie's daughter Marie and thus Marie (Jr) was sister-in-law to the Crown Princess (Vicky):

CPss to QV 21 June 1880: 'You know how difficult it is to know the truth in family matters--and how many stories and lies are afloat always. The impression in St Ptersburg--and of most Russians abroad also diplomatists and foreigners who have visited the Court, is that the Empress suffered cruelly from her husband's infidelity and that she never uttered a murmur, complaint or reproach--nor ever mentioned the subject to a living soul, but died of a broken heart.  Affie and Marie are convinced that she never knew the existence of this lady or of the children but that the Emperor was most tender and kind to her to the last. Russians have told me...that the children live at the Winter Palace etc. But one hears such very contradictory accounts that they leave one the option of believing the best and mildest versions which one had so much rather believe out of affection for the Emperor, who is so kind and amiable a man, and for the dignity and peace of the family.'

QV to CP 3 July 1880: 'With regard to what you say about the Emperor of Russia (which letter I have burned) [this would seem another letter during the almost 2 wk gap]. I have told you already what I know but since then I have heard more from a perfectly reliable source for it comes from Darmstadt (which please don't mention). It is that (which you also told me) the immorality in the highest circles is 'unfathomable' that the feeling towards the Emperor is disloyal and that his conduct leads to this. That it is so open and that that woman and her children lived in the Winter Palace and in the Palace at Zarsko! That the Emperor took every spare moment to go to her--even during the funeral ceremonies. Is it not too horrible? How can his children endure this? ....You say the youngest child was born at Livadia--that was last winter. But one was born there before! And one the very night the poor Grand Duchess Marie died. Is it not too disgusting? If I had been the Empress I would have refused to comply with such a request which is an insult--and would have left Russia. If such terrible things have to be done they ought to be hidden away out of sight--and the object be a person who could not pretend to appear. I own cela me revolte and I think no wife should submit to such an insult.'

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #110 on: February 11, 2007, 02:55:16 PM »
From The Romanovs by John van der Kiste:

"Never popular in Russia, she [MA] became less so over the years. Her failing health, her inability to bear the rigours of a northern winter and subsequent visits to...Darmstadt, a rather schoolmistress-like insistence that the obstacles which her husband met in his moods of black depression were there to be overcome, and above all a vaguely perceptible air of martyrdom, drove a wedge between them. Despite her Protestant birth she had become more ardently Orthodox, ready to fall under the influence of her father-confessor, Bashanov, bearing her humiliation with fortitude, finding compensation in her devotion to the Russian Church. She still worshipped her hsuband, but without understanding him. The once attractive, lively princess had become a sickly, pious, sentimental, querulous woman, often confined to her apartments for weeks. While there was no question of a public split, it left the Tsar open to temptation from a mistress, especially one intelligent and sympathetic enough to be something of a soulmate as well as one who could satisfy the desires of the flesh....Some saw a connection between the death of the son on whom the Tsar had pinned his hopes and the beginning of his extra-marital relations....'

'Soon after his return to Russia [from Paris, 1867] the Tsar established her in her own residence in St Petersburg, where neither his family nor the public could ignore the liaison any longer. The Tsarina knew that she no longer had his undivided attention, but she attached no importance to what she thought (or hoped) was mere infatuation. '

'The family was fiercely divided. His brothers...would not permit the least criticism of their sovereign, even in the msot intimate family circle, but their wives considered themselves unbound by any such restraint. AS for his sons, they were devoted to their mother and deeply resented the wound that the affair caused her. Apart from Alexis, who...evidently shared the same relaxed moral code [as his uncle Constantine whom he was extremely close to] saying he did not see why a mistress should create a gulf between father and son, and Paul, too young to understand but young enough to be shielded by the others from the unhappy state of their parents' marriage, they did not accept the situation. If the Tsarina had to recognize that this was no ordinary liaison, her sons were furious with this callous violation of their father's marriage vows, and the intense misery he was causing her. They refused to conceal their disapproval, and became increasingly aloof to him. Only their sister, Marie, who had always been especially close to her father, avoided taking sides...she could not find it in her heart to blame him for anything, believing that as their father and Sovereign he should be beyond criticism. '

Upon visiting Russia, Marie 'was aghast at finding Catherne...and her children installed in apartments directly above her mother, and the discovery precipitated a violent row with her father. Shaken by the loss of his last ally in the family, he hurriedly lleft for Gatchina...His daughter had evidently jolted his conscience, for he returned to St Petersburg every morning to enquire after his wife's health. '

After his remarriage there 'was nothing the Grand Dukes could do about the Tsar's order that they and their wives should dine with himself and the Princess...but the Grand Duchesses maintained their glacial reserve towards the woman whom they dubbed 'that scheming adventuress'. As the last Tsarina's eldest surviving child, and the one who had felt msot bitterly towards their father, the Tsarevich was particulary incensed. For the sake of good manners, like his brothers he was prepared to be civil if not courteous to her in person, but when she was not around he did not hesitate to denounce 'the outsider', whom he found both 'designing and immature'...He even talked of moving with his wife and children to her home country of Denmark though...it must have been no more than an idle threat.'

Grand Duchess Michael angrily told her husband "that she would 'never recognize that scheming adventuress' who had broken up the family and 'was plotting to ruin the empire'. "

At a magnificent State ball in early 1881, Madame de Rynkiewicz, wife of the Govenor of Warsaw found 'that she looked as though, apart from the Emperor, she found herself in an enemy camp. '
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Offline James1941

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #111 on: February 11, 2007, 06:08:44 PM »
Alexander II was the best tsar Russia had between Catherine II and the Revolution. If you all want to denigrate him just because he fell in love with another woman, fine, have at it. What a difference it might have made if he had lived out his Biblical span of life.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #112 on: February 12, 2007, 02:18:17 AM »
Alexander II was the best tsar Russia had between Catherine II and the Revolution. If you all want to denigrate him just because he fell in love with another woman, fine, have at it. What a difference it might have made if he had lived out his Biblical span of life.

no-one denigrates alexander 2nd. we're just saying it as it is.

you think he had the right to be happy at whatever cost. i think he could have been happy in a more discreet manner without hurting his wife and alienating his hole family. let's just agree to disagree on this subject.
'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
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Offline imperial angel

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #113 on: February 12, 2007, 10:28:05 AM »
Well, from those quotes, they seem to say that the family thought his behavior somewhat disgraceful at the least. If he had just had a mistress, that would most likely have not even been commented on, although his wife's illness might have made it stand out more. But, it would not have occasioned the kind of stuff that his affair with Katia did, all the divisiveness and scandal in the family. That's what I meant when I said the affair was not popular, and that it was not just any affair. Of course, those quotes also show that he was a man that was hard to criticize perhaps, and that people attempted to understand everything.

For MA, there was little to do but put up with it. She certainly didn't want a divorce, and I am sure never considered it. She didn't want a lover, and she was too worn anyway for that in terms of health, and I doubt she ever considered that. She certainly understood the rules of royal marriage, and perhaps with the way she was, would have understood her husband's need for something she could no longer give him, not so much physically, but even companionship, because she was quite ill and past her prime. Still, no matter what you say, she was at an unequal advantage in this situiation. She didn't have the choice or advantages her husband had. Given that there was no great estrangement between MA and Alexander, I can believe some of his original feeling was there, because I think the end of their love match in terms of feeling was growing apart because of MA no longer being what she once was, and then he fell so hard for Katia. Still, Alexander II was in way too deep, and no amount if examples from whatever culture can really excuse his choices.

Offline James1941

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #114 on: February 16, 2007, 02:09:00 PM »
Alexander II was a giant among the pygamies of the last Romanovs. He was worth ten of any of his worthless sons and grandsons--the bigoted, neanderthal Alexander III with his bigoted, obtuse son, the immoral Vladimir and his womanizing sons, the corrupt Alexis with his fast women and slow ships, Sergei the closet homosexual and anti-semite, and Pavel who was a general who couldn't lead his men out of a wet paper bag, and there was Marie, herself married to an alcoholic womanizer, who let her own son be abused and then die a lonely death, and her daughters were no paragons of virture either. That they could have the unmitigated gall to point the finger at their father is laughable if not obscene. These corrupt, degenerate sons were nothing but millstones around the neck of the dynasty.
It is too bad that Alexander II didn't disinherit them all and send them packing, to spend their useless lives gambling and carrousing in Monte Carlo. Russia would have been far better off to see the backs of their heads.

Offline Svetabel

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #115 on: February 17, 2007, 02:04:50 AM »
Alexander II was a giant among the pygamies of the last Romanovs. He was worth ten of any of his worthless sons and grandsons--the bigoted, neanderthal Alexander III with his bigoted, obtuse son, the immoral Vladimir and his womanizing sons, the corrupt Alexis with his fast women and slow ships, Sergei the closet homosexual and anti-semite, and Pavel who was a general who couldn't lead his men out of a wet paper bag, and there was Marie, herself married to an alcoholic womanizer, who let her own son be abused and then die a lonely death, and her daughters were no paragons of virture either. That they could have the unmitigated gall to point the finger at their father is laughable if not obscene. These corrupt, degenerate sons were nothing but millstones around the neck of the dynasty.
It is too bad that Alexander II didn't disinherit them all and send them packing, to spend their useless lives gambling and carrousing in Monte Carlo. Russia would have been far better off to see the backs of their heads.

This sounds as if you accept only black and white tones and don't accept semi-tones.
And how can you know for sure that "Russia would have been far better off to see the backs of their heads"?Did you live then and there? Did you know all those people privately? Were they your close friends?
Of course if we judge all of them as POLITICIANS then they had some great faults but before labelling them "closet homosexual" and "neanderthal" we should think twice as we NEVER KNEW him as they were actually.

Offline James1941

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #116 on: February 17, 2007, 11:02:54 AM »
No, I didn't know them personally, but then also, I have never been to Mars either but I think I can discuss its environment intelligently. The GD Olga Alexandrovna knew them and in her recollections to her biographer she had some unkind words about the last Romanovs. She charged them with self serving their own wants and needs and forgetting about serving Russia.
Alexis was appointed Grand Admiral of the Russian Navy and put in charge of its fleets. The result was a navy of mis-matched ships that were slow and obsolete even before their time. He also presided over a corrupt system that allowed officers to buy spoiled food for their men and pocket the difference and a navy that was untrained and low in morale. The result was the annihilation of Russia as a naval power in the Russo-Japanese War. All the time he was presiding over this he was spending on his women, his gambling and his 'artistic' pursuits. In any other country he would never have been allowed to reach that level of irresponsibility.
Paul was made commander of the elite Guards Regiments Corps in World War I, one of the best units in the Russian army, although he had not commanded anything for decades, while he was off in Paris with his second wife and second family. Yet, he was expected to lead this important unit against one of the most professional armies in the world. The result was the decimation of the Guards Corps in a battle in which they were ordered to charge German machine guns and artillery across a swamp. After the debacle Paul decided to relinquish his command because of his "illness."
Sergei's homosexuality is pretty much a given today. Whether he was active or passive, it is not really questioned. What kind of marriage he had is debatable. His term as Governor-General of Moscow made him many enemies and got him blown to pieces. He drove out all the Jewish subjects, something even Ella questioned. He was responsible for the disasters at Khodynka Field, and even his brother Alexander thought he got just a little above himself. His reactionary ideas were excessive even for a time of reactionary politics.
Marie married Alfred because she wasn't getting many offers from other royals and was getting involved with men at court. He married her for her money. He became an alcoholic and a womanizer while she turned her head and looked away. Her son died unhappy and lonely because his father and mother had turned him over to an abusive tutor and then to the Prussian military system. Her daughter Ducky married a man she didn't love, divorced him in scandal, called him a pervert, abandoned their child, and then caused all kinds of trouble with her involvement with Kiril. Marie married a man she didn't love, had a succession of lovers, her oldest son was probably sexually abused by his tutor, and he turned out to be a cad and womanizer, and so on and so on.
Vladimir married an woman who turned out to be the best of the Romanov wives. But he had affairs, had three sons who didn't adorn much of anything, one who betrayed his emperor and went over to the revolution, and later became a fascist, was himself a reactionary who had a bad influence over his nephew in the next reign, and much more.
Yes, Russia would have been better off without the whole lot of them. And these worthless sons condemned their father for his love affair. What hypocrisy. These sons of Alexander III were a rum lot.

Offline Svetabel

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #117 on: February 17, 2007, 01:21:18 PM »
No, I didn't know them personally, but then also, I have never been to Mars either but I think I can discuss its environment intelligentl
Yes, Russia would have been better off without the whole lot of them. And these worthless sons condemned their father for his love affair. What hypocrisy. These sons of Alexander III were a rum lot.


Well, you can discuss of course but discussing and labelling are different things. Seems the main subject of your tirade is that worthless sons dared to condemn their father who was so great the Emperor. Don't you think that their worthlessness was partially a result of their education and upbringing? Of their relations with their parents? Great Emperor Alexander II was not so great a parent and model father. Probably if Alexander III made his sons weak becouse of his own strength then Alexander II made his sons worthless becouse of his democrative ways.

One more time about  "Russia would have been better off without the whole lot of them"...I can't agree here as we never knew the situation in Russia those times, we never knew those people, we never live with TSAR on the throne...
And probably you can find my last remark funny but I should say that Russia is such a strange country that you never can learn what is better for her people. As I am Russian and live in Russia I insist on this.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #118 on: February 17, 2007, 02:09:16 PM »
Alexander II was the best tsar Russia had between Catherine II and the Revolution. If you all want to denigrate him just because he fell in love with another woman, fine, have at it. What a difference it might have made if he had lived out his Biblical span of life.

Amen. If only Alexander II hadn't been chased down by a bunch of murderous fanatics, Russian history might have been very different.

And I agree with you that the sons of Alexander II were a "rum lot." But it's not the first time and it won't be the last that great fathers have had mediocre sons. Leo Tolstoy's many sons all turned out to be very ordinary men of modest intelligence, not one of whom ever made a name for himself in any field of endeavor. All of them died in relative obscurity. It's no wonder that in his old age Tolstoy developed such an affection for Anton Chekhov, who was obviously the son he had always wanted but never had.

Of course, Svetabel, the sons of Alexander II were affected by their upbringing and education as Romanov grand dukes. And no doubt it's a very difficult thing to grow up under the shadow of a larger-than-life father who is not only tsar but a great and important tsar at that. I don't think anyone's questioning those points. But none of Alexander's sons turned out to be men worthy of such a father, at least none of them were able to rise above the circumstances of their birth and upbringing to achieve anything good or worthwhile for their country. On the contrary, they were either oppressive, irresponsible and/or incompetent in the positions of high authority in which they were placed - places, remember, they had not earned by merit but which had essentially been handed to them on a silver platter, solely because of their station in life.
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Offline James1941

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Re: Empress Maria Alexandrovna,wife of Alexander II - discussion and pictures
« Reply #119 on: February 17, 2007, 06:56:00 PM »
Thank you, Elizabeth, your support is appreciated.
And for Svetabel, my tirade was against the hypocrisy of his sons and daughter condemning their father's life with Catherine Dolgoruky. Some posters attacked Alexander II by saying that his family disapproved of their father's actions and thus Alexander II should have been more "discreet." I just wanted to even the score some.
The tragedy of Russia in the late 19th century was that the good men died before their time. Alexander II was trying to give his people some progress into the modern world (whereas his son and grandson tried to force it back into the past), and his eldest son, Nicholas, was well educated, liberal, and charismatic, and might have been the dynasty's hope. He died at a young age of an accident and bad doctors, leaving behind his brother Sasha who had neither the intelligence or acuity his brother had, and who he adored, by the way.
A bomb and an abcess, what a pity.
If they hadn't been Romanovs none of his chidlren who survived would have ever achieved the heights or position they acquired on their own merits. And Alexander III's children, pleasant as they may have been, would never gotten to such august positions on their achievements or abilities alone.
The monarchy in Russia was not bad per se, just the way the last two tsars held it in the rigor mortis of a mythic idea of a past that never existed. And I ask you, Svetabel, would you want to live in a nation in which your fate and that of all your countrymen depended on the word of just one man? I thought communism had cured Russians of that idea.