Author Topic: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?  (Read 48233 times)

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to hi
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2005, 09:58:04 AM »
Maybe we don't know as much as we think we do! Have a look at this, from Charlotte Zeepvat's Romanov Autumn (the underlining is mine):

One of the most enigmatic figures, and the most intimately involved with Alexei, was the sailor Derevenko. Anna Virubova claimed to have seen Derevenko bullying Alexei, shouting orders at a boy too bemused to fight back. If this is true it would have been a shattering experience, but its truth is not so clear cut as it may seem. According to Anna, it happened on 20 March, two days before her own arrest. After a display like that the sailor would surely have left or been made to go, but he was still at the palace months later. Shortly before the move to Tobolsk in August he submitted an invoice for new clothes and shoes for Alexei to Colonel Kobilinski, the commandant of the palace garrison. He was asking a huge amount, so payment was withheld: when the sailor complained to the Tsaritsa and she intervened on his behalf, Kobilinski showed her the invoice. She took the Colonel's part. Derevenko was refused permission to accompany the family to Tobolsk, but months after their departure, he was still pleading to be allowed to join them. Failing that, he asked for the return of a trunk, which he said had gone to Tobolsk in error. It was found and opend, and inside were the new clothes and shoes, and an icon given to Alexei by his great-uncle, Grand Prince Sergei Alexandrovich. Was Derevenko stealing? Looking after the boy's interests in his own peculiar way? No one will ever know.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

leushino

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to hi
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2005, 11:03:51 AM »
I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Derevenko (and personally find much of what Vyrubova has to say as suspect). This man who was so intimately connected to Alexie for so many years and to whom the IF was unflinchingly trusting, would surely have not behaved in such a dastardly manner. It just doesn't compute.

mr_harrison75

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2007, 08:55:42 PM »
Bump!

If someone wished to discuss this topic any further!

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2007, 09:06:25 PM »
Thanks for the bump. I'm reposting the excerpt I typed up from Romanov Autumn as evidence that Derevenko may NOT have betrayed Aleksei at all:

According to Charlotte Zeepvat in Romanov Autumn, Vyrubova is the only source for the story of Derevenko's betrayal. Here's an excerpt from pages 239-40:

"Anna Virubova claimed to have seen Derevenko bullying Alexei, shouting orders at a boy too bemused to fight back. If this was true it would have been a shattering experience, but its truth is not so clear cut as it may seem. According to Anna, it happened on 20 March, two days before her own arrest. After a display like this the sailor would surely have left or been made to go, but he was still at the palace months later. Shortly before the move to Tobolsk in August he submitted an invoice for new clothes and shoes for Alexei to Colonel Kobilinsky, the commandant of the palace garrison. He was asking a huge amount so payment was withheld: when the sailer complained to the Tsaritsa and she intervened on his behalf, Kobilinsky showed her the invoice. She took the colonel's part. Derevenko was refused permission to accompany the family to Tobolsk, but months after their departure he was still pleading to be allowed to join them. "
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

mr_harrison75

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2007, 09:10:57 PM »
Very interesting!

Well, what do you think, Sarushka?

Did he betray Aleksei?

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2007, 09:50:38 PM »
I think that after years of faithful service, and without another source to back up Vyrubova's story, Derevenko more than deserves the benefit of the doubt. It's VERY hard for me to believe he would have been allowed to remain at the palace for over four months after allegedly insulting Aleksei.

Which of course begs the question: Why would Vyrubova make up such a cruel story about Derevenko?
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Janet_W.

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2007, 10:42:08 PM »
I have the feeling that Anna and Derevenko had crossed swords at some point. (We know that Anna was very vulnerable to slights, real or perceived, right?) And possibly she saw Derevenko making Alexei responsible for cleaning up his play area. Maybe it wasn't even at the time she described . . . perhaps it had happened earlier. Whatever the case, I think it's possible that she used Derevenko's real or perceived demands of Alexei as an example of how their situation was changing, and perhaps justified that passage as a way of getting even with Derevenko. This is all supposition, of course, but human behavior being what it is . . .  ::)

Janet_W.

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2007, 12:27:33 PM »
I've just reviewed what I posted yesterday, and I don't think I was entirely clear. What I meant to say was that Anna was a person of easy emotional wounds, that she was not above passive-agressive retaliation, and that her hurt feelings are in polite but obvious evidence in much of her book. That being said, I think it entirely possible that she and Derevenko did not get along and that at some point she had noticed him making Alexei responsible for picking up his toys--perhaps during their days of imprisonment, perhaps not--and she filed that memory away and later used the episode (accurately or not) as an example of how siuations were in flux after the Tsar abdicated. Using that episode would have been justified, in Anna's way of thinking, because she didn't like Derevenko and because it provided a compelling illustration for her readers of how attitudes toward the Romanovs from supposedly loyal palace staff members began to change after the abdication.

Again, this is conjecture. I have considered the personalities involved, first person accounts, plus information at this website in forming these suppositions.

helenazar

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2007, 01:13:22 PM »
And I'm reposting what I posted on the other thread too since it's more appropriate here...

Thanks for the bump. I'm reposting the excerpt I typed up from Romanov Autumn as evidence that Derevenko may NOT have betrayed Aleksei at all:

According to Charlotte Zeepvat in Romanov Autumn, Vyrubova is the only source for the story of Derevenko's betrayal. Here's an excerpt from pages 239-40:

"Anna Virubova claimed to have seen Derevenko bullying Alexei, shouting orders at a boy too bemused to fight back. If this was true it would have been a shattering experience, but its truth is not so clear cut as it may seem. According to Anna, it happened on 20 March, two days before her own arrest. After a display like this the sailor would surely have left or been made to go, but he was still at the palace months later. Shortly before the move to Tobolsk in August he submitted an invoice for new clothes and shoes for Alexei to Colonel Kobilinsky, the commandant of the palace garrison. He was asking a huge amount so payment was withheld: when the sailer complained to the Tsaritsa and she intervened on his behalf, Kobilinsky showed her the invoice. She took the colonel's part. Derevenko was refused permission to accompany the family to Tobolsk, but months after their departure he was still pleading to be allowed to join them. "

Thanks, Sarushka. Well, that answers our question. I guess neither Alexandra nor Nicholas, nor anyone else wrote or mentioned this incident, so basically it's just AV's word that was repeated later by others. There doesn't seem to be any obvious motive for her to make this up, but it doesn't mean that she wouldn't. AV doesn't really strike me as the sharpest knife in the drawer, so she may have been confused, if not deliberately making it up... I would take this incident with a grain of salt... It's not as serious of an accusation as the Bux one, but still a pretty nasty one if it's not true. In light of the fact that Derevenko was pleading to accompany the family to Siberia later, it would seem kind of strange if he did indeed behave that way shortly prior to that... 

Alexander_IV

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2007, 01:21:03 PM »
I posted some questions a while ago on a similar topic in the Servants & retainers section on which I've never got an answer.
I hope someone who could answer some of them reads this :)
The other Derevenko topic is: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php/topic,139.0.html

Quote from: Alexander_IV
If sometimes find it hard to believe Derevenko would have had a grudge against the IF or Alexei.
I know it was his job to obbey orders and do as the IF asked him to do but you wouldn't expect someone who lived so close to the family for so long to not have some affection for the family.

Does anyone know just how or why he was chosen for this job?
And when he was asked, would he have been able to refuse?
Was he already close to the family before, did he have a high rank in the navy, did he apply for the job?
I can imagine being picked out of the navy to become nanny might not have been his favorite career choice - especially seeing the pay wasn't all that great as well - but I find it hard to believe he'd have been picked without checking if he'd be interested in the job.


To be honest, I don't believe much of the alledged dreadfull behaviour of the sailor/nanny.
Anna might have seen/heard something she misinterpreted and/or exaggerated (if she didn't completely made it up)

Robert_Hall

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2007, 02:00:59 PM »
He came from the Standardt crew, did he not? And was asked personally as he knew the family and apparently got along well with Alexei. and the others. I would have to go through a tonne of books to support this, but I think it was in Massie.
 I agree. I do not think he was so much a "traitor" as Anna made out. A lot of what she "wrote" was not really her writing. As mentioned, Anna was not all together on her rocker when that "memoir" was written.  Making a boy pick up after himself is in itself, not so harsh is it?
 As for his pay- good question, but he recieved  much more in benefits from being a member of the Imperial Household.  Better housing, food, clothing and probably travel concessions. Plus the promise of a pension that never materialised.

Alexander_IV

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2007, 04:08:33 PM »
Thanks for answers :)
They make me even less inclined to believe Anna's words.

And indeed, the entire story might originate from a simple question to tidy up his room or clean up behind him or something.
The fact that he was still employed months after this incident and if it's true that he even applied to join the IF to Tobolsk and got refused, Anna's story doesn't really make any sense at all.

Offline RealAnastasia

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2007, 07:02:43 PM »
Yes. The incident was reported by Massie in "Nicholas and Alexandra", but quoting Vyrubova..So, what if we gives Mr. Derevenko the benefits of doubt?  ;) I don't think he was a "turncoat" for all the good reasons people wrote above.

RealAnastasia.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2007, 10:09:56 PM »
Yes. The incident was reported by Massie in "Nicholas and Alexandra", but quoting Vyrubova...

I noticed that today as well. Vyrubova also states that Derevenko was immediately removed from the palace, but that seems to be false according to Charlotte Zeepvat's research -- yet another reason to doubt Vyrubova.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

helenazar

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Re: Derevenko the turncoat-whatever happened to him?
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2007, 12:34:35 PM »
Just goes to show you once again how unreliable the so-called eyewitness accounts are... They always need to be verified with some secondary source, or taken with a grain of salt.