Author Topic: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution  (Read 17112 times)

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tvanalstyne

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Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:45:30 PM »
Hello all. This is my first post so I'll try and be as articulate as possible.

I've read that when the tsar abdicated in 1917 Russians cheered. I'm assuming that this is in part because of: the massive loss of Russian lives in World War I up to that point, food shortages, abject poverty, and no measurable political changes to the autocracy. This all makes sense to me. However, what was the populaces reaction to the 1918 execution of the imperial family? Later into the 20th century the Church on the Blood was built on the former soil of the Ipatiev House and the executed Romanov's and their servants were canonized. I'm curious though about the public's reaction in the immediate aftermath of the event in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918. Any help/ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Offline Превед

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 02:58:15 PM »
Here is a thread that might answer some of your questions: Chronology of news of Romanov murders
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 03:00:02 PM by Превед »
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Offline Georgiy

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 04:51:26 PM »
I know that in House by the Dvina, the writer said people were shocked and weeping in Church when they heard the news,

Rodney_G.

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 06:14:51 PM »
Here is a thread that might answer some of your questions: Chronology of news of Romanov murders

Yes, this is the best place to start at least. A worthwhile and not simple question.

tvanalstyne

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 06:27:15 PM »
Thank you Превед for the link to the chronology of news of the Romanov murders. A post by Rodney_G was particularly helpful:

Yes, Soviet admissions followed later, much later, than public knowledge. But then, what is "public knowledge"? In Russia, in the absence of an official Soviet admission that they had murdered five women and a crippled boy( not to mention the four others), which of course would not be forthcoming, the reality on the ground must have been strange and awful. Newspapers wouldn't be saying anything definitive, though possibly passing along survival rumors (as happened in many Western papers) and yet , by rumor and word-of-mouth, it would seem most Russians would have believed the whole family was killed within a month, maybe two.

Also, thank you to Georgiy for the information you recalled from The House by the Dvina:

...people were shocked and weeping in Church when they heard the news.

Additionally, I couldn't agree more with this statement from Rodney_G statement:

A worthwhile and not simple question.

This has all been very helpful. I'll continue to research this, but in the meantime I would welcome any comments, suggestions, or thoughts. Has anyone else read anything additional about the immediate public feelings surround the death of the Tsar and his family?

Offline Andrei Beanov

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2014, 12:07:47 AM »
The local people in Ekaterinburg knew about it the next day ( due to loose lips and drunk participants ) . It would have been very difficult to keep it quiet due to human nature. The rumour would have spread across Russia pretty quick even if Moscow hadn't made an official announcement of the execution of "Nicholas the Bloody"....There were British spies and a British consul in the town who would have heard very quickly & relayed the info via diplomatic channels to George in London.
As to public opinion :- Those who had monarchist or orthodox 'leanings' would have been sadened at the news , whilst anyone with Bolshevik,Menchevik,Anachist,Socialist ,communist , non-religious "leanings" probably cheered.....

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2014, 04:40:53 AM »
The British Government and press knew about the massacre by the end of August (see Princess Marie Louise, though she doesn't, unfortunately, give a precise date).

Ann

Offline TimM

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 04:57:16 PM »
Of course, in the Soviet era, public opinion was pretty much what the government said it was.
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Offline Sanochka

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 02:06:06 PM »
With the executions being secretly carried out, as they were, under cover of darkness, and with no forewarning, I would imagine the initial public reaction to be one of widespread skepticism and outright disbelief - especially since there was no public display of any of the bodies.

Offline Lady Macduff

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2014, 08:51:02 PM »
Actually, (according to Helen Rappaport, at least) most of the world's press had been running erroneous stories reporting the murder of Nicholas and sometimes family members for most of the Ekaterinburg period. It stands to reason that at the time of the actual murder there were those, in Russia and abroad, that presumed they were already dead.
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Offline TimM

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 11:56:29 AM »
Of course, the Soviets covered it all up.  It was not like in Italy of 1945, or Romania of 1989, when the dead leader was put on display for all to see.
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Offline Georgiy

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 09:48:17 PM »
The fact that the bodies were never publicly displayed is a very interesting one - the other ones mentioned by TimM being on public display, and the public executions for example of Charles I or Louis XVI. Why the secrecy around this particular one, especially the execution of the Tsar? Thoughts?

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2014, 05:57:38 AM »
It is rather like the Princes in the Tower. For reasons I've already set out on the appropriate thread, I think Richard III probably had them killed, but it is odd, therefore, that the bodies were not publicly displayed (with claims that they died of natural causes).

I wonder whether Nicholas's body would have been displayed had he been killed alone, but then Mikhail's wasn't either.

However, it does seem to have been something of a Soviet habit to bump people off secretly, and leave the populace to wonder what had happened to them.

Ann

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2014, 05:26:15 PM »
The Soviet leaders had originally intended to have a show trial, and public execution, of Nicholas II, but that required a government which was firmly in control of the situation. Then circumstances intervened.  The White army was advancing and the whole Soviet position was looking more and more shaky. The chain of command was breaking down, the local Ekaterinburg soviet was not sure what Moscow wanted, and it was probably unwilling to do their bidding anyway. Ekaterinburg was due to be overrun by White forces within days and presumably the local leaders were more interested in hiding their crimes and saving their skins than indulging in show trials. I believe the murders were not well thought out, but the result of a combination of local circumstances. 

Offline TimM

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2014, 12:09:27 PM »
Quote
but then Mikhail's wasn't either

They've never found him, have they.
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