Author Topic: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution  (Read 15830 times)

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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2014, 03:23:46 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?

Is this a trick question? Assuming we're talking about the entire Imperial Family (see tvanalystyne's opening post) and not just the ex-tsar Nicholas, is it any wonder even the Bolsheviks, desperate for approval in the eyes of the world for their shaky hold on power, might refrain from displaying  publicly the bloody, absolutely butchered bodies (naked or clothed), bullet holes in their heads, smashed faces and bayonet wounds  and all, of four innocent young females, a crippled thirteen year old boy , and their mother and father for.. what? moral or legal proof or justification?

Hiding not only the bodies, but the very  fact of the murders in the midle of the night in a remote wood, bespeaks , if not shame, at least an awareness of how  their  (the Bolsheviks')  own barbarity, cruelty, and desperation would rightly be seen in the larger world, the world beyond the Cheka and Ural Soviets' little room in the Hotel Amerika.

Or, again back to the topic title here, such a gruesome display would not exactly  influence public opinion in the Bolsheviks' favor.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 03:28:31 PM by Rodney_G. »
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Offline Превед

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2014, 03:29:20 PM »
After the slaughter orgy of WWI I doubt anyone other than Russian intellectuals in search for a moral compass for "the new order" really cared.

The liberations of Poland, Finland and the Baltic states after centuries of foreign yoke must totally have overshadowed it in the West.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 03:36:49 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2014, 03:39:49 PM »
I would think most of the non-Bolshevik leaning  Russian people would have cared  very much if they had known. It's true they were pre occupied by the (Bolshevik-instigated) Civil War  and its attendant nightmares of hunger and fear, but few would not be troubled by the cold-blooded murder of innocents.
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Offline Превед

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2014, 03:43:38 PM »
Knowing how hated the Imperial Family was, it was probably only the Bolsheviks' fear that the superstitious peasants would interpret it as a bad omen that held them back.

Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline TimM

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2014, 04:32:37 PM »
Quote
the superstitious peasants would interpret it as a bad omen

Considering the horrors to come over the next seven decades, I'd say "a bad omen" is spot on.
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Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2014, 09:15:13 PM »
The mentality of murderous revolutionaries, like gang thugs in major U.S. cities, is one of great self esteem, self righteousness, and power. I doubt very much the Bolsheviks cared one iota about public opinion at the time. The surrender and loss of the war to Germany was considered an easy way out of the disaster of WWI, and hunkering down to internal issues was all they cared about. International opinion was meaningless for all intents and purposes; while they may have had some desire to have a "good face" internally and to the rest of the world, those were down the list of priorities. Remember also, the war was still going on for other nations and 'what happened in Russia, stayed in Russia'. Even the borderline supporters of "the Czar" had suffered so greatly pre and during the war and previously by the czarist structure, it was of little consequence that he and his family were executed. When people are suffering and dying, it's the potential hope they put their bets on, not the disasters of the past.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2014, 01:56:49 PM »
Yes and no.

Considered as an abstraction, public opinion can be ignored by ruthless men in power, it's true. See the US today.



But insofar as public opinion influences parliaments, kings, prime ministers, presidents, those determining national policy, public opinion may be everything.  For example we know that public opinion  averse to the Romanovs, at least among Britain's laboring classses, led to the  decision on the part of George V and Parliament to deny  the Romanovs asylum in Great Britain.

In the case of public opinion in other countries during the Russian Civil War, it helped , at least for a while, to lead to the decision on the part of the US, Great Britain, France, and Japan, to intervene against the Bolsheviks in Northern Russia and in the Vladivostok area and eastern Siberia. This  was obviously a serious political and military problem for the Bolsheviks and one they would not have wanted to make worse by arousing  hostile public  opinion in those countries.

But more importantly, public opinion, considered more generally as popular support or popular opposition, mattered tremendously  to the Bolsheviks in the spring and summer of 1918, as it did to the Whites. If you're recruiting  fighting men among the local populace and also needing to be fed by them, as were the Bolsheviks, well,it  doesn't pay to offend them or unnecessarily piss them off , or ignore their opinions, so to speak. Exactly how the murder of the IF would play to these people certainly varied, but it's hard to see how it would have benefited them. Opposition to Nicholas' reign most certainly doesn't equate to approval of the murder of his family.

Obviously public opinion is not monolithic or static, and varies from place to place. And in the RUssian instance we're talking about , it certainly wasn't widely pro-Romanov inthe Urals. But neither was it  (or wouldn't have been) approving of the slaughter of the entire IF, females and children included, especially among the western democracies , nor even within Russia generally, and again, even less so among  Orthodox Russians, including the peasantry, whose opinion, favorable or otherwise,  it would not be wise to ignore.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 02:04:54 PM by Rodney_G. »
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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2014, 05:53:13 PM »
This is from the book "The Russian Revolution" R Pipes:
"The  "cities showed no emotion"
services were held in some Moscow churches in memory of the deceased
"indifference"
Ex President of the Council of Ministers Kokovstov "No where did I observe the slightest ray of pity or commiseration" while riding on a Petrograd tram.

Offline edubs31

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2014, 10:22:58 PM »
This is from the book "The Russian Revolution" R Pipes:
"The  "cities showed no emotion"
services were held in some Moscow churches in memory of the deceased
"indifference"
Ex President of the Council of Ministers Kokovstov "No where did I observe the slightest ray of pity or commiseration" while riding on a Petrograd tram.

Sad commentary. But one has to keep in mind all the things weighing on the average Russia. There were obviously large numbers of Russians who wished to see the ex-Tsar and Empress punished. That the Soviet chose to kill the Romanov children and retainers too was likely viewed as excessive but probably necessary.

Then you have to consider the number of ordinary Russians who were closely connected to someone who had died in the war. Many of these people might ordinarily have been sympathetic towards the plight of the imperial family but, frankly, how much remorse could really be expected given the circumstances? When one has shed all their tears over a dead husband, father, son, brother, friend or boyfriend there isn't much saddness left to feel.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2014, 01:59:25 PM »
I have some more in the book "Memoirs of a Survivor" Sergei Golitsyn mentions his ex-princely family their friends and some peasants were upset. The Tolstoy family was also upset. The Russian Revolution ,Pipes says no one bothered to ask the peasants how they felt but some who had profited by the tsarist land reforms must have been saddened. Note: by this time July 1918 the IF was Old news so to speak and many people were just trying to survive as the former Empire slid into civil war.

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Public Opinion Immediately After Execution
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2014, 02:34:37 PM »
I have some more in the book "Memoirs of a Survivor" Sergei Golitsyn mentions his ex-princely family their friends and some peasants were upset. The Tolstoy family was also upset. The Russian Revolution ,Pipes says no one bothered to ask the peasants how they felt but some who had profited by the tsarist land reforms must have been saddened. Note: by this time July 1918 the IF was Old news so to speak and many people were just trying to survive as the former Empire slid into civil war.

Well, the latter may be true , as well as earlier recognition here that the Russian populace had experienced , and still were, great hardship, even suffering during the war and then in the early Civil War. But what we are considering here is its reaction, not actions, to the news of the IF's  execution. In other words their feelings and thoughts. Hearing the news about the killings is literally a matter of seconds,however long it takes to hear "They've shot Nicholas!", or "they've killed  the whole Imperial Family!"

The least we can say is that opinion, feelings, varied, depending on politics, personal experience of the Russian, loyalty to the Tsar or lack thereof. All the varied and likely responses.  But I don't know that even strong  personal preoccupations in the struggle for survival on a daily basis in Russia of that time would preclude a reaction of sadness, sympathy, shock, or outrage,  as the case may be, if those emotions were otherwise still possible in the auditors of the news.
Rodney G.