Author Topic: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF  (Read 94130 times)

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #60 on: June 10, 2005, 06:10:33 PM »
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It's been years since I read it but The Idiot is about a well-meaning kind hearted man (Prince Myshkin) who everyone thinks is slightly mentally deficient.  In truth, he's quite intelligent, but he possesses a child-like innocence which none of his contemporaries (I think the novel takes place in Tsarskoe Selo) can fathom.  Sound familiar?
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I never caught the lineage until your post . . . The Idiot is the progenitor of the movie Being There.  (Although I assume you are drawing the comparison to Nicholas.)

Offline RichC

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #61 on: June 10, 2005, 06:18:17 PM »
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It's been years since I read it but The Idiot is about a well-meaning kind hearted man (Prince Myshkin) who everyone thinks is slightly mentally deficient.  In truth, he's quite intelligent, but he possesses a child-like innocence which none of his contemporaries (I think the novel takes place in Tsarskoe Selo) can fathom.  Sound familiar?
quote]

I never caught the lineage until your post . . . The Idiot is the progenitor of the movie Being There.  (Although I assume you are drawing the comparison to Nicholas.)


Well, Myshkin is Christ-like but he isn't perfect.  He's conflicted and those conflicts lead to tragedy.  I don't think The Idiot is much like Being There (although it's been many years since I saw Being There).

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #62 on: June 10, 2005, 06:19:14 PM »
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I'm not arguing that this made their incarceration -- or certainly their deaths -- less cruel, but it did make it something other than pure vindictiveness.  Remember, their three prisons were a palace, followed by two of the largest, most luxurious houses in Tobolsk and Ipatiev, both towns of which had conventional prisons.  Remember that there were periodic demonstrations outside the Ipatiev house by factory workers complaining of the genteel treatment of the Romanovs and even demanding their public execution.  The Ural Soviet could have easily used this pressure as an excuse at least to make their imprisonment harsher.  And it was the Provisional Government, not the Bolsheviks, that first transferred them from their palace incarceration.

When you look at what political incarceration has looked like for legions of other political prisoners, including royal adults and children, this one stands out for all the additional gratuitous cruelty that could have been exacted, but wasn't.

For instance, wouldn't it have been an exquisite torture to have told Nicholas and Alexandra that they were going to be executed in front of their children, then to be followed by the children?  . . . and let them stew in that one for a while before marching them off to the basement.



   Well, they might have enjoyed the thrill of impending martyrdom - a lot of borderline zealots do, you know. I still don't see them as "martyrs" - although I have the vivid impression from Alix' diary that  they did!

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #63 on: June 10, 2005, 06:31:24 PM »
I have some candidates for passion-bearer status:

How about the untold thousands of Russian teenagers and young men (about the age of the elder tsarevnas) who were sent into battle without guns and who waited for their comrades to drop so they could use their guns to get off the few rounds of remaining bullets before they, too, fell?

That's passive submission to one's fate if ever I saw it.  And I have a funny feeling God might be better disposed toward them as intercessionaries on my behalf than the person who sent them into battle in such circumstances.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline RichC

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #64 on: June 10, 2005, 06:34:52 PM »
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I agree it's cruel.  Incarceration of people who are not personally culpable for anything, as the children most certainly were not, is inherently cruel.

However, these children were Romanovs and could possibly have become pawns in a power struggle that looked truly desperate for the Bolsheviks until well into 1919.

I'm not arguing that this made their incarceration -- or certainly their deaths -- less cruel, but it did make it something other than pure vindictiveness.  Remember, their three prisons were a palace, followed by two of the largest, most luxurious houses in Tobolsk and Ipatiev, both towns of which had conventional prisons.  Remember that there were periodic demonstrations outside the Ipatiev house by factory workers complaining of the genteel treatment of the Romanovs and even demanding their public execution.  The Ural Soviet could have easily used this pressure as an excuse at least to make their imprisonment harsher.  And it was the Provisional Government, not the Bolsheviks, that first transferred them from their palace incarceration.

When you look at what political incarceration has looked like for legions of other political prisoners, including royal adults and children, this one stands out for all the additional gratuitous cruelty that could have been exacted, but wasn't.

For instance, wouldn't it have been an exquisite torture to have told Nicholas and Alexandra that they were going to be executed in front of their children, then to be followed by the children?  . . . and let them stew in that one for a while before marching them off to the basement.

Let me be clear . . . the Ural Soviet had a very distorted and sick sense of political necessity, and its was a harbinger of a century that took political necessity to progressively more horrific extremes.

But it was not gratuitous sadism . . . yet.


No.  I think they shot them because they hated them.  They shot Nicholas out of political necessity, but not the rest.  I just don't agree it was politically necessary to kill them all.  Also, I believe Elisabeth has brought up, previously, the fact that the servants were shot too.  They even killed some of the pets.  

I also have a problem reconciling the well-behaved, mild-mannered guards, as depicted in FOTR with the blood-thirsty killers both in the basement and at the mine-shaft.  I realize that some of the guards were upset, but somehow there were enough around to carry out the deed.

While it could have been worse, what happened was bad enough.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by RichC »

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #65 on: June 10, 2005, 06:50:23 PM »
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No.  I think they shot them because they hated them.  They shot Nicholas out of political necessity, but not the rest.  I just don't agree it was politically necessary to kill them all.  Also, I believe Elisabeth has brought up, previously, the fact that the servants were shot too.  They even killed some of the pets.  

I also have a problem reconciling the well-behaved, mild-mannered guards, as depicted in FOTR with the blood-thirsty killers both in the basement and at the mine-shaft.  I realize that some of the guards were upset, but somehow there were enough around to carry out the deed.

While it could have been worse, what happened was bad enough.  


There were guards and then there were guards.  FOTR discussed how the longer one cadre of guards after another was exposed to the Romanovs, the more they softened in their views toward them.

In fact, one of Yurovsky's problems was in finding guards on whom he could rely to carry out the deed.  He finally settled on a large Lett contingent who didn't have enough time or common language to form an affinity to fill out the ranks of the executioners.  So the execution squad was largely composed of people who had not been among the long-term guards.

I agree with you that there was an element of hatred in the killing of the family.  But I think that hatred played out more in the murders of the other Romanovs who were kept in harsher conditions and killed without even the most perverted kind of logic to justify their deaths -- Ella, for instance.

I think the killing of the servants was more about removing witnesses than outright hatred.  And the dogs were killed sporadically.  One was killed on an outside staircase only when he started incessant barking.

And, yes . . . it was bad.  It was horrible.  I perhaps believe more than you do that good and evil are at least partly relative concepts, not absolutes, and that they each have to be judged in the context of the circumstances.  But I don't know that I'm right on that, and I don't know that I should make it my mission to try to convince others.

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #66 on: June 10, 2005, 07:45:58 PM »
Not wishing to offend anyone, but I don't think non-Orthodox people are in any position to say who is or who isn't a Saint in the Orthodox Church. Along with the Romanovs, millions were slaughtered in Russia, many for refusing to give up their religion. More people were slaughtered for Orthodoxy during the Communist era, than under the persecutions of the early Christian era, and they are all considered as Saints and Martyrs by the Church. Do not forget, that they would not have been considered for Sainthood unless there was already popular veneration - and there had been, and very widespread even through Eastern Europe decades before they were glorified.

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #67 on: June 10, 2005, 08:58:01 PM »
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I have some candidates for passion-bearer status:

How about the untold thousands of Russian teenagers and young men (about the age of the elder tsarevnas) who were sent into battle without guns and who waited for their comrades to drop so they could use their guns to get off the few rounds of remaining bullets before they, too, fell?

That's passive submission to one's fate if ever I saw it.  And I have a funny feeling God might be better disposed toward them as intercessionaries on my behalf than the person who sent them into battle in such circumstances.


AT LAST!
THIS makes some sense!

heretic
rs

rskkiya

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2005, 09:05:38 PM »
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Not wishing to offend anyone, but I don't think non-Orthodox people are in any position to say who is or who isn't a Saint in the Orthodox Church. Along with the Romanovs, millions were slaughtered in Russia, many for refusing to give up their religion. More people were slaughtered for Orthodoxy during the Communist era, than under the persecutions of the early Christian era, and they are all considered as Saints and Martyrs by the Church. Do not forget, that they would not have been considered for Sainthood unless there was already popular veneration - and there had been, and very widespread even through Eastern Europe decades before they were glorified.



   I agree, and as I have said I am not Orthodox. Nevertheless, we, as people interested in Russian history, have the right to at least ask about the reasons and the politics behind all this "devotion." Because I do not doubt that there are many worthy Orthodox martyrs and saints, I must wonder (as a heretic) what NAOTMAA did that was so special.

 {I suppose that I find it odd that some strangely non Orthodox people here just looovvve that title of "Holy Royal Martyr" here... its so dreeeaaammmy...}

rs
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #69 on: June 11, 2005, 12:35:51 PM »
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Well they did spend an entire night waiting for a "rescue" that was made up by the Bolsheviks.  It seems that they must have believed "An Officer" at some point.  But I agree that the letter was very carefully written so they could cover all their bases, as it were (...)

I happen to view promises of imminent freedom in the middle of the night when no such thing was going to happen as a form of torture.  Nicholas said in his diary the staying up all night fully dressed, waiting for a rescue that never came was "torture".  It's psychological torture.


I agree with you, RichC, and in fact the minute I logged out yesterday after saying how the Bolsheviks were not "deliberately cruel" to the family during their captivity, I had second thoughts - but couldn't get back to the forum until now.

We must also remember that the entire "Russian Officer" operation was staged by the Cheka in order to justify executing the imperial family. And even before this, in the tense June days immediately following Michael's murder in Perm, the IF was kept up all night awaiting an imminent "transfer" to some unspecified location that could very well have been a death trap. (For despite the arguments King and Wilson make in FOTR, I remain convinced that the Ural Bolsheviks originally planned to kill the IF around the same time as Michael.) So there were in fact several occasions during which the IF was subjected to needless psychological torture.  
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #70 on: June 11, 2005, 12:50:08 PM »
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There's a really good book out there that might help those us unfamiliar with Russia's history and culture better understand the whole question of the IF's sainthood.  It's called The Idiot by Dostoyevsky.  

It's been years since I read it but The Idiot is about a well-meaning kind hearted man (Prince Myshkin) who everyone thinks is slightly mentally deficient.  In truth, he's quite intelligent, but he possesses a child-like innocence which none of his contemporaries (I think the novel takes place in Tsarskoe Selo) can fathom.  Sound familiar?

Anyway, I highly recommend it.


RichC, you are so right to bring up this novel in the context of the imperial family's sainthood. (It also happens to be my very favorite Russian novel of all!) Prince Myshkin is a hero who is utterly incomprehensible as a hero if we view him through the glass of worldly concerns or standards of success. He is Christlike in the truly Russian sense, that is, a kind of holy fool, or "yurodivyi:" he sees the good in people no matter how much evil they do or are capable of. In the end his childlike simplicity and innocence prove incompatible with this world.

Have you seen the Russian TV series  The Idiot on DVD? It is absolutely superb. I can honestly say that it is far, far superior to every BBC television series I have ever seen, and that is the very highest praise I can offer. This film is so outstanding it won the Solzhenitsyn Prize. If people here don't have time to read The Idiot - spare 9 hours for the series, you will not be disappointed! And you will have an invaluable introduction to Russian Orthodox culture.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline RichC

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #71 on: June 11, 2005, 02:49:44 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation, Elisabeth.  It looks like they have it on Amazon, so I might check it out, if I can afford the $50 cost.  I'll check to see if it's available for rent anywhere.  I've also heard that the Kurosawa verison is also quite good.  Dostoyevsky was his favorite writer!

Has anyone ever bought anything from russiandvd.com?  It's on there for $44.99.

Rich

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #72 on: June 11, 2005, 04:05:10 PM »
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I agree with you, RichC, and in fact the minute I logged out yesterday after saying how the Bolsheviks were not "deliberately cruel" to the family during their captivity, I had second thoughts - but couldn't get back to the forum until now.


I'd like to leave aside the question of why the family and its retainers were murdered for the moment and look at the captivity itself.  (I think the murders pose a very different set of questions than the manner of their captivity.)

When it comes to the captivity itself, if the Bolsheviks had handled all their political prisoners as well as the imperial family, they would have gone down in history as the most humane government ever in that regard.  Even in the Ipatiev house, they had a maid, a cook, and a doctor with them.  The tsar still had access to some private funds.  Cleaning crews were brought in each week to scrub floors and change linens.  Laundry was sent out and returned cleaned and pressed.  The family was allowed religious services up until near the end.  They wore jewelry.  They were able to read, play cards, write in their diaries.  Their exercise was limited, but they were allowed some.  (Remember that taking them out of the house posed certain risks.)

Compare this to the U.S.' handling of political prisoners at Abu Ghraib a century later  -- where prisoners were paraded around naked in front of the opposite sex, where they were subjected to other sexual humiliations and photographed in the process, where prisoners were forced to wear collars and chains, where several prisoners died inexplicably.  (Don't get me wrong here.  I actually support the imprisonment without trial of suspected terrorists in certain cases . . . but I think necessity does not justify gratuitous cruelty.)  Or compare it to GITMO, where U.S. guards "accidentally" urinate through grates onto prisoners.

Given the choice, I might have preferred to be held by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev house in 1917 instead of by the U.S. in 2005.

Apparently, the FOTR does not persuade everyone, but I do think it's the best current analysis of both old and newly-available evidence.  And, if King and Wilson are to be believed, the "cruelty" of waiting in the basement before being executed had less to do with an intent to torture than with complete ineptness in arranging the logistics of removing the bodies.

I know this is very contentious ground, and it's hard for me to make these points without seeming not to care that the family was murdered.  That, however, is absolutely not the case.  I think Nicholas was so discredited at the time, even among monarchists, that he and his family could have been sent into exile with very little real risk to the Bolshevik government.

But I think it's worth the contention to stand by the proposition that events occur both in the context of their times and in the context of other similar events at other times and places.  And, in the long, sorry legacy of political imprisonment, the events in the Ipatiev house prior to the murder don't even get near the head of the line to take top honors for hideous, gratuitous abuse.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

rskkiya

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #73 on: June 11, 2005, 08:26:09 PM »
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Given the choice, I might have preferred to be held by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev house in 1917 than by the U.S. in 2005.

Apparently, the FOTR does not persuade everyone, but I do think it's the best current analysis of both old and newly-available evidence.  And, if King and Wilson are to be believed, the "cruelty" of waiting in the basement before being executed had less to do with an intent to torture than with complete ineptness in arranging the logistics of removing the bodies.

I know this is very contentious ground, and it's hard for me to make these points without seeming not to care that the family was murdered.  That, however, is absolutely not the case.  I think Nicholas was so discredited at the time, even among monarchists, that he and his family could have been sent into exile with very little real risk to the Bolshevik government.

But I think it's worth the contention to stand by the proposition that events occur both in the context of their times and in the context of other similar events at other times and places.  And, in the long, sorry legacy of political imprisonment, the events in the Ipatiev house prior to the murder don't even get near the head of the line to take top honors for hideous, gratuitous abuse.


Well spoken! {or "written"}
    After all - the "Ipatiev House" and their other "prison houses" were a d&mn sight better than the conditions at the Peter and Paul or any other actual jail would have been. I am rather surprised that people so quickly forget the fact that families were not generally allowed to stay together when so incarcerated. This is significant and to the benefit of the revolutionary guards - as it would have caused the family far more 'torture' if they had been kept apart - but they were not!
     Thanks tsarfan for also remarking on the current political situation in the "Iraqi War"  - it's a valid comparision.

rskkiya

Offline RichC

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Re: Martyrdom, Sainthood. Reburial and Commemoration of IF
« Reply #74 on: June 12, 2005, 02:59:55 AM »
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I'd like to leave aside the question of why the family and its retainers were murdered for the moment and look at the captivity itself.  (I think the murders pose a very different set of questions than the manner of their captivity.)


No Tsarfan. You can leave aside the question of why, but you can't put aside the fact that.  You cannot separate their captivity from their murder.  Andrea Yates and Susan Smith were good mothers until they MURDERED THEIR CHILDREN.

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When it comes to the captivity itself, if the Bolsheviks had handled all their political prisoners as well as the imperial family, they would have gone down in history as the most humane government ever in that regard.
 

If the Bolsheviks had handled all their political prisoners as well as the imperial family, they would have murdered every single political prisoner they ever got their hands on.

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Even in the Ipatiev house, they had a maid, a cook, and a doctor with them.  The tsar still had access to some private funds.  Cleaning crews were brought in each week to scrub floors and change linens.  Laundry was sent out and returned cleaned and pressed.  The family was allowed religious services up until near the end.  They wore jewelry.  They were able to read, play cards, write in their diaries.  Their exercise was limited, but they were allowed some.  (Remember that taking them out of the house posed certain risks.)


Sounds like a regular five-star hotel.  Just like the Hotel California.  You can check out but you can never leave.  

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Compare this to the U.S.' handling of political prisoners at Abu Ghraib a century later  -- where prisoners were paraded around naked in front of the opposite sex, where they were subjected to other sexual humiliations and photographed in the process, where prisoners were forced to wear collars and chains, where several prisoners died inexplicably.
   

Yes, but Tsarfan, events occur both in the context of their times and in the context of other similar events at other times and places.  

Also, I've heard there's a new book coming out shortly by a couple of independent researchers that will show the vast majority of prisoners at Abu Ghraib were actually well-treated by their jailers.  The book is purported to be the best current analysis of both old and newly-available evidence.

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(Don't get me wrong here.  I actually support the imprisonment without trial of suspected terrorists in certain cases . . . but I think necessity does not justify gratuitous cruelty.)
 

Yes, I say it's time we locked up Bea Arthur.  You never know...


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Given the choice, I might have preferred to be held by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev house in 1917 instead of by the U.S. in 2005.
 

Me too!  I wish I had been around then and had the chance to live in the Ipatiev house.  Never mind the fact that I would have wound up getting shot to death with my whole family, and my body chopped up and burned up out in the woods.  That's a separate issue!

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And, if King and Wilson are to be believed, the "cruelty" of waiting in the basement before being executed had less to do with an intent to torture than with complete ineptness in arranging the logistics of removing the bodies.
 

And the false promises of freedom from the phony rescue gang?  Is that also an example of their ineptness?


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I think Nicholas was so discredited at the time, even among monarchists, that he and his family could have been sent into exile with very little real risk to the Bolshevik government.


Since when?  You have argued in post after post that they were killed out of necessity!  Now you are saying their killing wasn't necessary?  


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But I think it's worth the contention to stand by the proposition that events occur both in the context of their times and in the context of other similar events at other times and places.  And, in the long, sorry legacy of political imprisonment, the events in the Ipatiev house prior to the murder don't even get near the head of the line to take top honors for hideous, gratuitous abuse.


I am amazed at your ability to judge killers on the treatment of their victims before they killed them, as if the killing part is somehow less important... 
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by RichC »