Author Topic: OTMAA's Education  (Read 15932 times)

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OTMAA's Education
« on: July 07, 2004, 01:39:31 PM »
We have some information about the education of Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia and Alexei, especially with regards to what Gilliard and Gibbes have told us, as well as a few details mentioned by Alexandra in her correspondence, i.e., the necessity for them to learn a number of languages. But how much did the children know about other cultures, specifically contemporary life in other nations? What sort of background would they have had for interacting with foreign dignataries and heads of state, once they had all attained adulthood, had the abdication not occurred? And how would they have compared with their contemporaries--say, their British cousins, or the children of Theodore Roosevelt?


  • Guest
Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2004, 02:04:30 PM »
Please keep in mind that this is purely my opinion, and not based in fact, but I believe they knew about other cultures in their sphere of realm.  They traveled to Germany and England to see family, Poland for hunting (and I think France, but can't really remember).  In those circumstances they would have been exposed to other cultures, but I think only to the extent that they were to Russian culture (i.e. chances are they weren't told about what the life of the everyday peasant was like).  I'm sure they asked questions about what they saw and were given some sort of anwer, but all in all, were very sheltered.

I also persume that they learned something of cultures during geography class (I know I did).  But to what extent, I'm not sure.



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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2004, 02:07:12 PM »
I know that, at least when they were small, the children had very limited knowledge of Asian cultures and were actually quite prejudiced against them. I wrote the following in an old post but will re-post it here as it is relevant to the topic:

"I have read accounts that in their early childhoods they were prejudiced towards Asians, referring to them as "monkeys," but this seems to have been a product of their resentment towards them during the Russo-Japanese War, as well as them being a product of their times, when people were very racist towards Asians, Jews, and anyone else who was different in race or religion.  

In her book, "Six Years at the Russian Court," Miss Eagar recounts a few different times when the little Grand Duchesses displayed prejudiced streaks:

1) Tatiana: This was regarding a visit from the young Prince of Siam to the court: "The Empress came to the Grand Duchess Tatiana, 'Come, shake hands with this gentleman, Tatiana.' She laughed, and said, 'That is not a gentleman, mama; that's only a monkey.' The Empress, covered with confusion, said, 'You are a monkey yourself, Tatiana,' but the prince laughed heartily."  

2) Olga: During the Russo-Japanese War: "Olga was working very diligently one day and said to me, 'I hope the Russian soldiers will kill all the Japanese; not leave even one alive.'" After an explanation from her nurse that there were many innocent little children and women in Japan who did not deserve to be killed, that they also had an Emperor, and various other sympathetic points, little Olga said, "I did not know that the Japs were people like ourselves. I thought that they were only like monkeys." Fortunately, Miss Eager tells us that "She never said again anything about being pleased to hear of the deaths of the Japanese."

3) Maria: This occured when the little girl saw a picture of the baby children of the Crown Prince of Japan: "...and with a look of hatred coming into her sweet little face Marie slapped the picture with her open hand. 'Horrid little people,' said she; 'they came and destroyed our poor ships and drowned our sailors.' I explained to her that it was not these little children, who were only babies younger than Anastasie. So she said, 'Yes; those little babies did it. Mama told me the Japs were all only little people.'"  

So at least as very little children they could be considered prejudiced, but it seems that it was mostly due to the result of the war they experienced so early on. These kinds of comments were of course also repeated about the Japanese during WWII. And it was also a product of hearing what their parents and other people said, as since everyone knows children absorb everything. They were a product of their times. But I would like to think that they grew out of that as, like Olga, they all eventually realized that we were all just human beings."


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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2005, 10:44:45 AM »
were they brought up to be that, or were they making their own opinions on other people? you can teach a child rascim if you indoctrine them through their childhood, i know a person a bit like that
selina                xxxxxxxxxx


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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2005, 01:54:52 PM »
As for the attitude of Russian to Japanese, it was not so simple.
During the war they call them as monkeys but all of almost all of GD went ot Japan and spent there a lot of time (up to 2 years) , and not only GD -but a lot of the
navy people lived in Japan till the war because the Nagasaki was Russian Port - i.e. that our fleet had russian docks their and they are reparing the ships.
All of russian officers had japanese wives by contract.
So GD braght with them a lot of things etc.
And do not forget that on the beginning of the century Oriental things was very and very popular.
Everybody had kimono etc.
Thinking of the fact that the Family of the Last Tsary
used the same things as the middle class family , girls
read the magazines and knew about fashion : For example about [MITSUKO] perfumes etc.
(I think that MITSUKO perfume was made before 1914, if no, sorry)


  • Guest
Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2005, 02:11:31 PM »
there's a pic of marie wearing a kimono, now that you mention it
selina    xxxxxxxxxxx


  • Guest
Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2005, 02:13:32 PM »
It never saw it.
Pls advise where can I see it?


  • Guest
Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2005, 10:23:43 AM »
its on under mashka's bit
selina           xxxxxxxxxxxxx


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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2005, 12:48:02 PM »
Thank you very much


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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2005, 10:46:33 AM »
Children very often immitate the prejudices of their parents.  Think of your own children and how they might make a shocking remark with such conviction and vehemence, only to smile to yourself, totally understanding where it came from.  

Of course, they are young, and don't totally understand where the opinions come from, nor all the ramifications thereof.  It is black and white to them - Momma or Papa feel this way, and so it must be so.

I've often chuckled to listen to my son say things with such conviction which merely mimic what I have told him.  Given the common view the children feel that their parents "don't know anything", I am amazed at how often they take what we as "pure truth". (knowing this, I do try to be very careful with what I say!)

It is well-known that Nicholas did not find the Japanese people to his liking, and I am certain that the war with Japan elicited a number of comments from their mother, as discussed above.  Hence, the children repeated things which sounded prejudicial.  However, until one is exposed to enough to make one's own opinion, it is unfair to view such remarks as prejudiced.  

Sincere regards,


  • Guest
Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2005, 01:16:30 PM »
I may be totally wrong, but I do believe that "high society" in different countries is still HIGH SOCIETY.... especially in that era.

What I mean by this is that most people in court, or attending  balls and important dinners spoke in French, it didnt matter where they came from, and they probably talked about the same things whether in France, England on Russia... so learning about other countries culture was not vital, unless you married into it (as happened to Aleksandra) in which case a tutor would be appointed.

I guess they were more preoccupied with court manners, as these did vary from one place to another, but not with cultures.

Of course, I might well be totally off


  • Guest
Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2005, 05:52:05 AM »
In 1904 year the Japan was an "enemy",
so girls did not like it. It is naturally.
In 1910th years Japan became an "good friend"
Russia have bought the gun from Japan during WWI.
So girls participated in the parties with Japanese guests, smiled to them and as others girls at the beginning of the century liked Kimono, netske, ukiyo-e and Guerlain's "Mitsuko" perfumes.
Now is soushi - boom, but those time was  kimono-netske boom.
I think that it is not the question of the prejustice.

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2006, 12:48:32 PM »
This is a very interesting thread. I think they knew quite a bit, as royalty in those days was very international. That is, they might all be from different countries technically, but they were quite related. Many of them had mostly German blood, whatever their country. But they brought all the cultures of the countries they were in to their intereactions with each other. Certainly, court culture was the same everywhere, and it provided continuity between countries. That's a great observation. It was the same in spite of the fact many countries individual cultures were different. All children of royalty, including otamaa were raised in this international awareness. As for prejudice, that is everywhere. The stories of the young otma about that are interesting, and thanks for posting them. I have always thought Japanese culture is interesting, but then it is understandable why the young grand duchesses said things like that.

Offline Taren

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2006, 08:35:58 PM »
Is it known if OTMAA ever expressed any of the anti-semitism of their father or other Romanovs? I think that during war there is a lot of "accepted prejudice". Had Russia not gone to war with Japan I doubt that there would have been many anti-Japanese remarks for the girls to have picked up on. I know I had never heard so many anti Middle Eastern remarks or anti Islam statements until post 9/11 and the resulting war in Iraq. Maybe those people making the statements had always felt that way -and maybe those that the grand duchesses heard making anti-Japanese statements had always felt that way as well- but they had all kept their feelings inside during times of peace. For some reason it's accepted to make racist or prejudiced remarks toward those that you're in conflict with -no matter how hateful it seems. As far as I know, today the United States and Germany are civil towards each other and have a decent relationship. They don't like our president, but neither do most of us, so it works. However, I cannot fathom the mainstream media suddenly putting out anti-German propaganda overnight. But they did that with both world wars -things like "The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin". Who's to say that after the war when Russia and Japan were all buddy buddy that the Tsar and others still didn't harbor prejudices against the Japanese people? Though perhaps they thought it, they couldn't express it, because they were supposed to be on good terms.


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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2006, 10:04:45 PM »
I never read anything that indicates that the sisters had a very expansive knowledge of other cultures- they were very sheltered, and any history they were taught was most likely in keeping with the monarchy's traditional line of thought, and anything 'objectionable' was probably filtered out. I don't think this had a truly negative impact on their characters- they simply didn't know about them. I've always gotten the impression that the royal families around that time adopted a 'white man's burden' attitude about other cultures and races, thinking them inferior and in need of the supervision and help of the 'civilized' world.
    I know that a number of palace workers (Jim Hercules, for example) came from other countries (and largely for the reason of their race, as the door men had themes and so on), so maybe OTMA had some knowledge of other cultures. But I think they were far too young to be really interested in it, and I think that had they lived in the right conditions, and long enough, mostly Olga and Anastasia would be interested in other cultures and travel, versus the more home-centered Tatiana and Marie.
   But that's a lot of speculation there, so you should just read in on it.