Author Topic: When Revolution started?  (Read 33259 times)

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Offline rusmila

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When Revolution started?
« on: March 16, 2011, 10:07:29 AM »
In which month Bolsheviks started to killing aristocracy?

Alixz

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 03:02:05 PM »
We might say that Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich was the first of the Imperial Family killed in June of 1918.

Right now I can't think of any who were deliberately killed before him.  Many lost their liberty to travel and or leave the country, but quite a few were allowed to gather in the Crimea after the abdication in March of 1917 and before Michael was killed in June of 1918.

It has been said that killing Michael was a test of how the people of Russia would react to the deliberate execution of a member of the Imperial Family.  There was no upheaval over it and so the execution of Nicholas and his family and Grand Duchess Ella and her group was carried out in July.

Grand Duke Paul and his group were killed in 1919 at the Fortress of Sts Peter and Paul.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 04:29:50 PM »
It's important to realize that throughout the summer of 1918 the Bolsheviks were very preoccupied with ridding themselves of their political opponents, that is, first banning them from politics and then outright arresting them. According to Solzhenitsyn, the arrests of Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries began immediately after June 14, 1918, after these parties had been officially "excluded from all the soviets [self-governing bodies]." The first arrests of the far-leftist Socialist Revolutionaries began from July 6. The point is, even before the murder of NAOTMAA, the Bolsheviks were eliminating the political opposition, and they obviously started with those who were most vulnerable. The terror itself began soon after, but I don't know when precisely people began massacring the "aristocracy." Actually I tend to think these were local actions, for the most part, and not directed from above. The Bolsheviks had much bigger fish to fry, perhaps starting with the IF.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 04:32:57 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 05:42:15 PM »
It's important to realize that throughout the summer of 1918 the Bolsheviks were very preoccupied with ridding themselves of their political opponents, that is, first banning them from politics and then outright arresting them. According to Solzhenitsyn, the arrests of Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries began immediately after June 14, 1918, after these parties had been officially "excluded from all the soviets [self-governing bodies]." The first arrests of the far-leftist Socialist Revolutionaries began from July 6. The point is, even before the murder of NAOTMAA, the Bolsheviks were eliminating the political opposition, and they obviously started with those who were most vulnerable. The terror itself began soon after, but I don't know when precisely people began massacring the "aristocracy." Actually I tend to think these were local actions, for the most part, and not directed from above. The Bolsheviks had much bigger fish to fry, perhaps starting with the IF.

Elisabeth, well stated. It's important to  realise the"aristocracy" included hundreds or more in Russia at that time, not just the higher Romanovs and IF. Understood that way , and with Bolsheviks understood to mean more than just the most powerful figures in the Party, then the killing of the aristocracy happened relatively soon after the Bolshevik seizure of power. This was not in any organised way, because Bolshevik control wasn't completely secure, but random killings of vulnerable or "available" or particularly disliked aristocrats did start occurring as early as 1918. And the aristocracy was indeed vulnerable even immediately after the February revolution, though not solely to the Bolsheviks of course.
Rodney G.

Alixz

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 10:40:07 PM »
I thought, too, of the use of the word aristocracy - not Imperial Family.  When I answered I expressly mention the most notable of the Imperial Family as they are most often mentioned in history books.

I actually don't know too much about the "aristocracy" and who would be in it and who was killed by whom and where.

Was there wholesale killing of the aristocracy as there was in France during their Revolution?  If there was, who would have been killed and where?

From reading The Russian Court at Sea by Welch, it would seem that a good many of the lesser aristocracy were saved and transported from the Crimea with the Empress on Marlborough.

For example the Youssapovs both the senior and junior branch were on board.  The only Imperial member of that clan would be Irina, Grand Duchess Xenia's daughter.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 02:20:26 PM »
It's important to realize that throughout the summer of 1918 the Bolsheviks were very preoccupied with ridding themselves of their political opponents, that is, first banning them from politics and then outright arresting them. According to Solzhenitsyn, the arrests of Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries began immediately after June 14, 1918, after these parties had been officially "excluded from all the soviets [self-governing bodies]." The first arrests of the far-leftist Socialist Revolutionaries began from July 6. The point is, even before the murder of NAOTMAA, the Bolsheviks were eliminating the political opposition, and they obviously started with those who were most vulnerable. The terror itself began soon after, but I don't know when precisely people began massacring the "aristocracy." Actually I tend to think these were local actions, for the most part, and not directed from above. The Bolsheviks had much bigger fish to fry, perhaps starting with the IF.

Elisabeth, well stated. It's important to  realise the"aristocracy" included hundreds or more in Russia at that time, not just the higher Romanovs and IF. Understood that way , and with Bolsheviks understood to mean more than just the most powerful figures in the Party, then the killing of the aristocracy happened relatively soon after the Bolshevik seizure of power. This was not in any organised way, because Bolshevik control wasn't completely secure, but random killings of vulnerable or "available" or particularly disliked aristocrats did start occurring as early as 1918. And the aristocracy was indeed vulnerable even immediately after the February revolution, though not solely to the Bolsheviks of course.

Thanks, Rodney! I do think it's a difficult question, for all kinds of reasons -- for one thing, what do we mean by the term "aristocracy"? As you say, the actual aristocracy in imperial Russia, as in Great Britain at this time, was extremely limited in number, probably only in the hundreds but definitely not in the thousands. The gentry, on the other hand, was a relatively much larger (and much poorer) group and I think suffered all the depredations of the revolution(s) of 1917, perhaps considerably more so than the actual aristocracy did -- if for no other reason than I think that members of the Russian gentry could not always afford a ticket out of the country, including all the bribes necessary to secure a safe passage.

Among the aristocracy I would certainly count such families as the Yusupovs, the Sheremetevs, the Bariatinskys, and the Golitsyns. Among the gentry -- landowning or not, because many of them had lost too much after the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 to really hold on to much if any land (a roughly similar situation to that of numerous members of the French nobility on the eve of the French Revolution) -- I would count the Nabokovs, who were only minor landowners in 1917. For all that, the father of the great novelist Vladimir Nabokov of Lolita fame was a major political figure in the liberal movement in Russia before the revolution and was actually assassinated abroad, in emigration, after it, apparently by Russian monarchists. I suppose this fact alone (aside from his tremendous intellect) would account for Vladimir Nabokov's famous disdain, if not outright contempt for, both Russian communists and royalists.

But getting back to the point, I don't know enough about the aristocracy/gentry during the Civil War period to state with any certainty that the Bolsheviks began carrying out such and such murderous actions against the upper classes in such and such years. As far as my (limited) knowledge goes, most gentry and the few remaining actual aristocrats (members of the imperial family don't count, they were imperial, technically far, far above the aristocrats because they had "blue, blue blood") were arrested in successive waves by Lenin's regime beginning in the very early 1920s, and sent to concentration camps in Siberia and elsewhere. It's certainly true, however, that many people, not only of the upper classes, met violent deaths in these camps long before Stalin.

It's also true that there were many, according to the anecdotal evidence probably dozens, if not hundreds, of murders of nobles that took place during the great overall conflagration of the revolutionary year of 1917. But as I said before, I think these were mainly local, random actions, carried out by disgruntled peasants who were hungry for land and/or giving the hated landlords their ultimate payback.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 02:24:54 PM by Elisabeth »
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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 02:35:51 PM »
While hardly an aristocrat, the leader of the Revolution was himself of course a nobleman since age 12. Not that it mattered much per se by that time, when nobility no longer meant exclusive privilege to control the agricultural means of production (land and serfs).

Elisabeth, by "gentry" do you mean only the landed gentry à la the Ranevskys in The Cherry Orchard or do you also include the more bourgeois element (even though to some extent technically noble) of the upper ranks of the chinovniks à la the Ulyanovs?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 02:59:16 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2011, 03:10:21 PM »
While hardly an aristocrat, the leader of the Revolution was himself of course a nobleman since age 12. Not that it mattered much per se by that time, when nobility no longer meant exclusive privilege to control the agricultural means of production (land and serfs).

Elisabeth, by "gentry" do you mean only the landed gentry à la the Ranevskys in The Cherry Orchard or do you also include the more bourgeois element (even though to some extent technically noble) of the upper ranks of the chinovniks à la the Ulyanovs?

You know, F.P., your post got me to thinking. Obviously in the case of Russia, because of Peter the Great's Table of Ranks, which conferred nobility on governmental officials who attained a certain rank, sometimes even hereditary nobility, as in the case of Lenin's father -- well, it means that the whole category of "gentry" (like that of the Russian "aristocracy") is very problematic. But I suspect that Lenin was one of those not uncommon revolutionaries who are born into the upper classes and who regard those classes as utterly deserving of destruction. Excepting themselves, of course, and certain specialists needed to bring the revolution into the modern age (e.g., engineers, other specialists in science and technology, although it would be interesting to see how many ordinary bureaucrats/honorary gentry were kept on by the Soviet regime because they performed valuable services in banks, for example, when Lenin was busy nationalizing the banks).

Even hatred has its limits, I guess, when it comes to the actual practice and preservation of power.
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Offline TimM

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2011, 04:45:43 PM »
Quote
It's also true that there were many, according to the anecdotal evidence probably dozens, if not hundreds, of murders of nobles that took place during the great overall conflagration of the revolutionary year of 1917. But as I said before, I think these were mainly local, random actions, carried out by disgruntled peasants who were hungry for land and/or giving the hated landlords their ultimate payback.

1917 should be considered the Year Of Darkness in Russian history, considering what it ushered in.  The peasents wanted the land, and ended up losing it to Lenin and his band of murderers. 

Where have you been, Elisabeth.  These discussions have been dead without you.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 05:49:33 PM »
Quote
It's also true that there were many, according to the anecdotal evidence probably dozens, if not hundreds, of murders of nobles that took place during the great overall conflagration of the revolutionary year of 1917. But as I said before, I think these were mainly local, random actions, carried out by disgruntled peasants who were hungry for land and/or giving the hated landlords their ultimate payback.

1917 should be considered the Year Of Darkness in Russian history, considering what it ushered in.  The peasents wanted the land, and ended up losing it to Lenin and his band of murderers. 

Where have you been, Elisabeth.  These discussions have been dead without you.

Thank you, Tim. I know we have often been at odds in these discussions, for that very reason I appreciate so much your kind words.

It's true that 1917 despite its auspicious beginnings became a dark year for Russia and its former empire, but as we know, many and very much darker years were yet to come.
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Offline TimM

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2011, 07:10:40 PM »
Quote
Thank you, Tim. I know we have often been at odds in these discussions, for that very reason I appreciate so much your kind words.

You're welcome.
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Alixz

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 08:36:00 AM »
Elizabeth, it is indeed good to see you back.

Your answer about the:    Yusupovs, the Sheremetevs, the Bariatinskys, and the Golitsyns.  is indeed what I was looking for.   I knew that the actual Imperial Family was quite small, but, aside from Yusupovs (both senior and junior branch) who left on Marlborough, I couldn't think of other names.

Were these "noble" or "aristocratic" families targeted for murder as were the Romanovs the way that the French aristocracy was target during the French Revolution?

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2011, 08:47:22 AM »
Were these "noble" or "aristocratic" families targeted for murder as were the Romanovs the way that the French aristocracy was target during the French Revolution?

Actually, I think it was the other way 'round: The French Revolution was principally a political revolution, against "tyranny" and "taxation without representation"*, much like the American Revolution. (Minus the nationalism, at least until the new-founded republic started to fight its neighbouring tyrants.) The Russian Revolution turned into a Marxist one, in which the annihilation of the whole "class of exploiters" was the goal. In principle the revolutionary French republic never executed nobles per se, just "traitors to the republic".

* It just dawned on me how the 19th century indeed lived by this principle: Those who didn't pay taxes were indeed disenfranchized. (E.g. the Prussian three-class franchise and the similar system which Christian IX used to govern Denmark against the majority in the lower chamber of parliament.)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 09:02:55 AM by Фёдор Петрович »

Alixz

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2011, 09:00:03 AM »
The Committee of Public Safety and the Revolutionary Tribunal were instituted immediately after the execution of the King. The Reign of Terror, during which the ruling faction ruthlessly exterminated all potential enemies, of whatever sex, age, or condition, began in September of 1793 and lasted until the fall of Robespierre on July 27, 1794: during the last six weeks of the Terror alone (the period known as the "Red Terror") nearly fourteen hundred people were guillotined in Paris alone. The Convention was replaced in October of 1795 with the Directory, which was replaced in turn, in 1799, by the Consulate. Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor in May of 1804.

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/hist7.html

Many people went to the guillotine.  And being considered even slightly "noble" would bring one to death.

I don't ever recall reading that anything close to this kind of terror happened in Russia during 1917 through 1918.


By late July, the spirit of popular sovereignty had spread throughout France. In rural areas, many commoners began to form militias and arm themselves against a foreign invasion: some attacked the châteaux of the nobility as part of a general agrarian insurrection known as "la Grande Peur" ("the Great Fear"). In addition, wild rumours and paranoia caused widespread unrest and civil disturbances that contributed to the collapse of law and order.

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2011, 09:30:00 AM »
Many people went to the guillotine.  And being considered even slightly "noble" would bring one to death.
Estimates place the number of French nobles in 1789 at somewhere between 140.000 and 300.000. Of the ca. 40.000 who lost their lives during the Great Terror under 10 % were nobles. Most of the victims were average folks charged with hoarding, evading the draft etc. Was the low numbers of noble victims due to the massive emigration of nobles (tens of thousands) or nobles not being targeted per se?

Source of numbers: Wikipedia and other online sources. Would love to see numbers from more reliable sources.

I don't ever recall reading that anything close to this kind of terror happened in Russia during 1917 through 1918.
Good point.