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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2006, 03:43:33 PM »
Actually this entire discussion reminded me of a passage from one of my Russian history college textbooks. I dug the book in question out from my bookshelves, and here is the paragraph that remained so fixed in my memory; here is where the author describes what made the Russian situation so unique:

“Inevitably, the alienated radicals saw the autocratic regime, which persecuted them mercilessly, as their main enemy. Their hatred of the regime was unrelenting, violent, and complete; nothing short of the autocracy’s total destruction, regardless of the cost to society, would have satisfied them. In this respect, not so much the action but the thinking of the radicals had a totalitarian cast avant la lettre. Outrageous intolerance and dogmatism were characteristic features of the radicals’ collective mentality, corresponding to the narrowness and brutality of the autocratic regime that they fought with admirable selflessness and dedication. Just as autocracy could not change owing to the political role it played in the system… so the radical intelligentsia too was condemned to remain forever the same (notwithstanding superficial changes of ideology and tactics): thus the autocratic tsar and the radical intelligentsia formed two opposite poles of Russian society, which we have been calling poles of continuity. Why? Because the factors that had been present when the intelligentsia first came into being in the 1850s and 1860s remained and, but for minor changes, continued to produce the same effects. In the absence of a strong and highly organized civil society, and without any form of autonomous political life (which permitted autocracy to endure), the alienated intelligentsia inevitably lived on, rising again and again from its ashes, replenishing its ranks from the universities, and training would-be professional revolutionaries, ‘Pugachevs with degrees,’ whose existence had been predicted by Joseph de Maistre.”

From Marc Raeff's Understanding Imperial Russia, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, pp. 206-207.

So the autocracy and the radical intelligentsia were locked in a symbiotic embrace that would nevertheless eventually prove to be lethal to one of them.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2006, 03:46:27 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2006, 08:52:24 PM »

Tsarfan, the situation in Russia was not the same as in Western Europe or the United States. As James pointed out, most assassination attempts on Western leaders and heads of state were perpetrated by lone individuals, many of whom were mentally ill. In Russia terrorism was a highly organized affair carried out by revolutionary groups like the People’s Will and later, under Alexander II’s grandson, Nicholas II, even by an actual political party, the Socialist Revolutionaries.


Elisabeth, I never asserted that the causes of 19th century assassination were the same across Europe and the U.S.

I was trying to make two points.  The first was that any western leader in the 19th century had good reason to fear for his or her safety, regardless of the cause.  For all the revolutionary attempts on the tsars, only one was actually assassinated by someone outside the royal family or high nobility.  More non-Russian monarchs were killed than Russian monarchs.

The second point was not that Russia had no serious revolutionary movement.  It most assuredly did.  The point was that other governments, which had their own reasons to worry about the rise of socialist thinking in the 19th century, adjusted their policies to make revolutionary movements less appealing . . . and they were largely successful.  Russia was unique not in having revolutionary sentiment within her borders, but in her rigid refusal (at least between Alexander II's death and 1905) to make any course adjustments whatsoever to meet those threats, other than increased repression.  In fact, I think your quote from Marc Raeff is a very astute observation on that very point.  Indeed, one rigid, unchanging force generated a counterforce of equally immutable resistance.  (By the way, I would argue that the contretemps really had its origins not in the 1850's, but back with the Decembrist revolt and Nicholas I's response in beginning to build the intelligence infrastructure of a police state.)

Now, all that being said, my posts really began as a riposte to the view that Nicholas and Alexandra were justified in isolating themselves in response to fears of assassination.  I cannot help but think of the situation in which Elizabeth I found herself.  If ever a monarch lived under constant threat of death, it was she.  Numerous plots, both against her person and her throne were unmaksed throughout her reign.  The Pope declared that anyone who murdered her would have the blessing of the Church.  Several assassin squads were financed from the continent.  An armada was launched against her rule, two of her senior nobles were executed for revolutionary plots, an assassin came within feet of her inside the circle of her court.

Her response was to take stock of the reasons that her reign generated such sentiments, to moderate her religious policies, to acknolwedge the economic agenda of the emerging middle class, to create a sense that Englishmen could take a wide range of views and still be loyal Englishmen, and always to keep herself in front of her court and her people.  She died an old lady, having left a small island with a more tolerant and inclusive government, poised to begin its march toward worldwide empire.

Again, I think the Raeff quote speaks eloquently to the underlying distinction between western liberal thought and Russian autocratic principles in referring to the universities as the recurrent incubator of Russian revolutionaries.  To advance economically in a mercantile or industrial economy, any nation needs a highly educated population.  And in the process of getting educated, many people acquire the very troubling habit of thinking for themselves.  The Romanovs never came to a reckoning with this inevitability.

I never really thought of it in these terms before, but the latter stages of Romanov rule under Alexander III and Nicholas II was really government by hiding -- hiding inside rural palaces; hiding behind archaic political theories; hiding behind a state-controlled Church; hiding from change; hiding from the people; and ultimately even hiding from their own extended family, nobility, and ministers.  Finally, all the hiding worked . . . and Russia moved on without them.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2006, 01:54:26 PM »
Elisabeth, I never asserted that the causes of 19th century assassination were the same across Europe and the U.S.

I was trying to make two points.  The first was that any western leader in the 19th century had good reason to fear for his or her safety, regardless of the cause.  For all the revolutionary attempts on the tsars, only one was actually assassinated by someone outside the royal family or high nobility.  More non-Russian monarchs were killed than Russian monarchs.

Well, unless you count all the Romanovs and nobility murdered by the Bolsheviks, who were after all also revolutionaries. I guess the point I was trying to make was that the frequency of political assassinations was immeasurably higher in Russia than in the West (3,000 deaths in 1907 - there's no comparison to the England of Victoria, much less that of Elizabeth I, Tsarfan). Nicholas was dealing not with isolated incidents of terror, but with an entire, intensive campaign of terror stretching across several years and encompassing not only his individual self as ruler but also his entire government. We must also take into consideration the fact that as a child he had witnessed the last agonies of his grandfather, Alexander II, felled by an assassin's bomb, while as an adult he lived through the murders of two interior ministers and his own uncle, Sergei Alexandrovich, not to mention the assassinations of innumerable other governmental officials. As if all that weren't bad enough, his own teenaged daughters, Olga and Tatiana, witnessed the assassination of Prime Minister Stolypin at the theater in Kiev in 1911. I think the Romanovs had every reason to be afraid, or, if you want to call it such, "paranoid." And given that background of terror, how much courage did it require for Nicholas to take his entire family to Moscow for the tricentenary celebrations of the Romanov dynasty, and then on a tour of the Russian provinces? Don't underestimate the psychological impact of this campaign of terror on the last tsar's soul.

That said, I also don't think we should exaggerate Nicholas's so-called standoffishness. If you actually read his diary it seems to be an account of a nearly endless round of public appearances. They might have cancelled the Winter Palace balls for almost a decade but during that time Nicholas doesn't seem to have cancelled anything else on his busy schedule.

The second point was not that Russia had no serious revolutionary movement.  It most assuredly did.  The point was that other governments, which had their own reasons to worry about the rise of socialist thinking in the 19th century, adjusted their policies to make revolutionary movements less appealing . . . and they were largely successful.  Russia was unique not in having revolutionary sentiment within her borders, but in her rigid refusal (at least between Alexander II's death and 1905) to make any course adjustments whatsoever to meet those threats, other than increased repression.  In fact, I think your quote from Marc Raeff is a very astute observation on that very point.  Indeed, one rigid, unchanging force generated a counterforce of equally immutable resistance.  (By the way, I would argue that the contretemps really had its origins not in the 1850's, but back with the Decembrist revolt and Nicholas I's response in beginning to build the intelligence infrastructure of a police state.)

I don't disagree that the autocracy might have dealt with the radical intelligentsia in, shall we say, a more intelligent way. On the other hand, the Russian radicals were already intransigent in their revolutionary views by the 1860s (it's true there's a hint of this proto-totalitarian attitude even amongst one of the Decembrists, but the birth of the radical intelligentsia is traditionally dated to the 1850s and 60s, with the appearance of the "raznochintsy," or those intellectuals who were not of noble birth). As Raeff makes clear, these people weren't interested in moderate, incremental reform of the existing system but only in the total destruction of that system. Thus there wasn't much room left for compromise as far as the tsar's government was concerned. I also think it's something of a mistake to underestimate the force of radical ideas amongst the Russian intelligentsia throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. The Russians, even by their own admission, tend to go to extremes, especially in espousing foreign ideas. One century it's communism, the next century it's capitalism, but whatever it is, it's a total way of life, with no holds barred, no sense of moderation. I realize this sounds like a national stereotype of the worst kind but in my experience it's all too uncomfortably true.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 02:20:59 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2006, 06:56:15 AM »
You are, of course, right in your observations that the Russian government was under prolonged siege by revolutionaries.

But, from a personal perspective, consider Teddy Roosevelt.  When he became president upon McKinley's assassination and surveyed the landscape, he would have noted that 3 of his 10 predecessors -- 30% -- had been murdered while in the job he had just assumed.

I think my trouble in looking at the situation in Russia as you quite correctly do is that I wonder how much of this really bore down on Nicholas and Alexandra -- how much of it they personalized.  There is an anecdote I read years ago.  Nicholas hosted a small dinner gathering on the day that Grand Duke Serge had been assassinated in Moscow.  He was observed after dinner playing a game of "push me off the sofa" with some of the guests.  (I cannot remember the source, but I recollect that it came from a memoire.)

I don't know whether that anecdote was apocryphal or literal, but it seems to me to capture the essence of Nicholas' reign.  Things that touched him and his immediate family personally were real.  Things that did not remained in the realm of the abstract.

It absolutely amazes me that a government that lost 3,000 officials to assassination in one year alone would have remained so remarkably unresponsive in adjusting its course to address the underlying causes.  And I note this figure comes from 1907, over a year after Nicholas had granted a limited constitution . . . and a year in which he was already trying to turn the clock back by limiting the reach of that constitution through various strategems.

To Nicholas, it was about bequething to his son -- his terminally ill son -- an undiluted autocracy.  It was not about giving Russia a stable, viable government that could function without recourse to the tactics of a police state.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2006, 11:43:56 AM »
I think my trouble in looking at the situation in Russia as you quite correctly do is that I wonder how much of this really bore down on Nicholas and Alexandra -- how much of it they personalized.  There is an anecdote I read years ago.  Nicholas hosted a small dinner gathering on the day that Grand Duke Serge had been assassinated in Moscow.  He was observed after dinner playing a game of "push me off the sofa" with some of the guests.  (I cannot remember the source, but I recollect that it came from a memoire.)

I don't know whether that anecdote was apocryphal or literal, but it seems to me to capture the essence of Nicholas' reign.  Things that touched him and his immediate family personally were real.  Things that did not remained in the realm of the abstract.

I disagree. I think Alexander II's assassination had a profound, traumatic effect on the twelve-year-old Nicholas Alexandrovich. I admit that I am basing this conclusion as much on intuition as on common sense. Because it seems to me that any twelve-year-old, witnessing his beloved grandfather bleeding to death, hideously wounded by terrorists (one of Alexander's legs was actually severed by the bomb), would carry the psychological burden of that event for the rest of his life. I think we can see how Nicholas coped with his grandfather's murder in many ways: denial of emotional pain, as in the case of the assassination of his uncle Sergei Alexandrovich that you cite, as well as the harsh vindictiveness with which Nicholas responded to terrorist actions during his own reign.

But did Nicholas, as a result of all these terrorist actions, fear for the safety of his own wife and children? I think there's no doubt that any human being in similar circumstances, except for the most insensitive brute, would have had such a fear. There is an account of Nicholas standing vigil in the hospital over the dying Stolypin (felled by an assassin's bullets). According to this source, Nicholas whispered over and over again, "Forgive me, forgive me." I don't think those were the words of an insensitive brute. 

It absolutely amazes me that a government that lost 3,000 officials to assassination in one year alone would have remained so remarkably unresponsive in adjusting its course to address the underlying causes.  And I note this figure comes from 1907, over a year after Nicholas had granted a limited constitution . . . and a year in which he was already trying to turn the clock back by limiting the reach of that constitution through various strategems.

Yes, but that just proves my point, Tsarfan. Even after the October Manifesto the radical intelligentsia remained unappeased. Indeed, if anything, the autocracy's attempt to reform itself was met with derision and dismay by the radical Left. These revolutionaries, amongst whom we must include the terrorists, did not want the system to reform itself. They wanted to destroy the system, at any cost to themselves and to society at large.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2006, 11:48:46 AM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2006, 01:24:48 PM »

I think Alexander II's assassination had a profound, traumatic effect on the twelve-year-old Nicholas Alexandrovich.
 

I agree.  But then, I would place Alexander II as among those people Nicholas would view as immediate family, whose fates he took most to heart.



But did Nicholas, as a result of all these terrorist actions, fear for the safety of his own wife and children? I think there's no doubt that any human being in similar circumstances, except for the most insensitive brute, would have had such a fear. There is an account of Nicholas standing vigil in the hospital over the dying Stolypin (felled by an assassin's bullets). According to this source, Nicholas whispered over and over again, "Forgive me, forgive me." I don't think those were the words of an insensitive brute. 


I read that these were words Nicholas uttered in shock in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and before Stolypin was removed from the theater.  It has been reported that neither Nicholas nor Alexandra visited Stolypin in hospital in the ensuing days.  Their callousness so offended Stolypin's widow that she refused to receive them when they made a later condolence call.

Alexandra shortly thereafter horrified Stolypin's successor by revealing that she felt God had cleared the way with Stolypin's assassination for a better man to replace him.  Apparently, Alexandra saw the hand of God in these assassinations, at least as much as the hands of terrorists.

In fact, Maurice Paleologue noted in his memoires that Alexander II's assassination and many of the other terrorist acts had been welcomed by reactionary government circles as a justification for turning Russia away from the errors of Alexander II's liberal leanings and bringing Russia back onto the path of autocratic righteousness.



Yes, but that just proves my point, Tsarfan. Even after the October Manifesto the radical intelligentsia remained unappeased. Indeed, if anything, the autocracy's attempt to reform itself was met with derision and dismay by the radical Left. These revolutionaries, amongst whom we must include the terrorists, did not want the system to reform itself. They wanted to destroy the system, at any cost to themselves and to society at large.


I agree.  In fact, I have always bought the view that the terrorists were particularly dogged in their pursuit of Alexander II for the very reason that they feared his moderate policies would give the monarchy a renewed lease on life.  As your earlier quote from Raeff suggested, the autocracy and the revolutionaries seem to have embraced in a death hug that lasted so long that both lost their ability to stand without the other.

Don't you find it rather odd that there are no known plots to kill either Alexander III or Nicholas II that got beyond the planning stage?  (The train derailment at Borki during Alexander III's reign is now known to have been due to poor track maintenance.)  Even the turmoil of 1905 never took direct aim at Nicholas' person.  For 36 years, no one actually levelled a gun or threw a bomb at those two reactionary tsars.  Nicholas was sitting in the front row of a low box when Stolypin was killed.  How hard would it have been for a determined gunman or a bomb thrower to kill him . . . instead of a Prime Minister whom Nicholas thought to be too liberal?

Given the fact that 18 monarchs or heads of state were attacked or killed outside of Russia in those same 36 years, I would argue that Nicholas -- certainly unbeknownst to him -- was, in fact, one of the safest men in Europe.

The question is . . . why?

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2006, 02:12:25 PM »
I read that these were words Nicholas uttered in shock in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and before Stolypin was removed from the theater.  It has been reported that neither Nicholas nor Alexandra visited Stolypin in hospital in the ensuing days.  Their callousness so offended Stolypin's widow that she refused to receive them when they made a later condolence call.

Alexandra shortly thereafter horrified Stolypin's successor by revealing that she felt God had cleared the way with Stolypin's assassination for a better man to replace him.  Apparently, Alexandra saw the hand of God in these assassinations, at least as much as the hands of terrorists.

My source for the anecdote about Nicholas begging Stolypin's forgiveness is from Figes, A People's Tragedy. Since Figes is vehemently anti-Nicholas, at least as far as I can make out, I see no reason to doubt his account of Stolypin's death. As we all know, Nicholas and Alexandra didn't always agree on matters of policy or even on private, family disputes; in such cases, Nicholas tended to go his own way, with or without Alexandra's knowledge or approval.

In fact, Maurice Paleologue noted in his memoires that Alexander II's assassination and many of the other terrorist acts had been welcomed by reactionary government circles as a justification for turning Russia away from the errors of Alexander II's liberal leanings and bringing Russia back onto the path of autocratic righteousness.

I don't think Paléologue is the most reliable source. I thought he was the same person who claimed that tsardom was brought down because of Rasputin? And while I don't doubt that there were some old duffers left in the imperial government who thought that Alexander II had forged the wrong path in his quest for a more liberal government, I can't imagine that most intelligent people in Nicholas' government were insensitive to the threat of revolutionary terrorism, or for that matter totally averse to trying to curb it by any means necessary. 

In fact, I have always bought the view that the terrorists were particularly dogged in their pursuit of Alexander II for the very reason that they feared his moderate policies would give the monarchy a renewed lease on life.  As your earlier quote from Raeff suggested, the autocracy and the revolutionaries seem to have embraced in a death hug that lasted so long that both lost their ability to stand without the other.

Don't you find it rather odd that there are no known plots to kill either Alexander III or Nicholas II that got beyond the planning stage?  (The train derailment at Borki during Alexander III's reign is now known to have been due to poor track maintenance.)  Even the turmoil of 1905 never took direct aim at Nicholas' person.  For 36 years, no one actually levelled a gun or threw a bomb at those two reactionary tsars.  Nicholas was sitting in the front row of a low box when Stolypin was killed.  How hard would it have been for a determined gunman or a bomb thrower to kill him . . . instead of a Prime Minister whom Nicholas thought to be too liberal?

Given the fact that 18 monarchs or heads of state were attacked or killed outside of Russia in those same 36 years, I would argue that Nicholas -- certainly unbeknownst to him -- was, in fact, one of the safest men in Europe.

The question is . . . why?

A truly excellent question, and one which I hadn't considered before. I think you're right, the revolutionaries spared the life of Nicholas II  because having him as tsar was incomparably better, from a revolutionary standpoint, than having a new, liberal, reformist ruler at the head of the Russian government. Nicholas had, after all, forfeited the loyalty of his people on that day of national infamy, Bloody Sunday. Indeed, the radical intelligentsia couldn't have asked for a more appropriate poster-boy for tsarist repression than "Nicholas the Bloody."

On the other hand, Nicholas himself couldn't have known all this. (We can only speak of it ourselves with the benefit of hindsight.) For him, the revolutionaries were determined to destroy everyone and everything that he held dear. It was a fight to the death. Literally, as it turned out.
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Offline James1941

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2006, 02:20:58 PM »
With all respect Tsarfan, I believe you are beating a horse that has already died. Nicholas II was not safe at all. If he was, why did he need two identical imperial trains to fool possible attacks. Why, when his uncle and aunt, the king and queen of Great Britain, visited him and his family at Riga, did they need to hold their visits on the yachts rather than in the town. Why did Nicholas need a whole Escort Convoy to travel with him where ever he went while King Edward VII could visit country houses for parties without seeing a single soldier around. And why did Alexander III say that he liked visiting his wife's family in Denmark because he could breath free there and feel safe. Why was he able to buy and live in a villa there, outside the walls of the royal palace and have only a few detectives as protection. Why was his nephew the Danish king able to ride his horse through the steets of Copenhagen without a single escort except for an aide. Nicholas II would never have been allowed to do that in Saint Petersburg. And why, when the revolution in Russia came did the people turn on Nicholas and his entire extended family with a savagery unsurpassed since the French Revolution and butcher as many as they could.  Whereas, in Germany, when the revolution came the German Empress was able to leave the Neues Palais in Postsdam and travel to Holland to join her husband in exile in the comfort of the imperial train, met on each station platform by officials and bands, and why were the German royals allowed to live in Germany, some times in their former palaces without being molested. And, the reason no plot against Alexander III or Nicholas ever got close was because a whole army of secret police worked day and night to frustrate such plots. Name one other European country that had such an army of secret policemen dedicated solely to the protection of its royal family.

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2006, 04:15:22 PM »

Name one other European country that had such an army of secret policemen dedicated solely to the protection of its royal family.


You just gave an excellent description of the level of protection that surrounds a U.S. President.  I was working for a company that made the engines for the two Air Force Ones that were built during the presidency of Bush, Sr.  I won't go into detail, but the level of security that surrounded that project was astounding.  When the planes were inaugurated into service, Bush made a very brief visit to our plant.  All people who were not specifically cleared for the event were told to stay home that day.  Our offices were swept electronically the day before, and members of the Secret Service occupied them the entire night before Bush's arrival.  Commercial flights were suspended in Cincinnati while Bush's helicopter was in the air between Dayton and our plant.  I cannot imagine what security would be like for a major appearance.

Certainly Nicholas did not feel safe, nor would I have in his situation.  However, I think the objective facts as we can now see them with hindsight indicate that Nicholas was not personally a focus for assassination.  As Elisabeth stated earlier, despite all the precautions, there were still opportunities for determined terrorists in the numerous public appearances that a tsar could not avoid.  Despite the heavy security precautions at the Kiev theater in 1911 (which have been described in at least one set of memoires), a gunman got within range of Nicholas . . . just as gunmen did decades later with John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford, despite all their security.

As for the differing fates of the Romanovs and the Hohenzollerns . . . the German royal family had ruled over a nation with a strong middle class, with an increasingly-even distribution of wealth, with advanced social legislation aimed at reducing the hardships of rapid industrialization, with a relatively free higher education system, with a heritage of strong ministerial government and an incorrupt civil service, and without a large dispossessed agrarian class still mired in the economics if not the legal status of serfdom.  To Germans, Wilhelm II was the pompous oaf who bungled diplomacy and lost the war, not the man who represented all that was wrong with their national life.  Even today, more Germans know who Bismarck was than can name the kings and kaisers he served.  And Germans credit Bismarck as the founder of their nation, not Wilhelm IV of Prussia.  In Russia, the Romanovs were the totality of their government in the minds of the people.  No prime minister, no general would long be tolerated whose presence outshone that of the tsar.  And that visibility carried a price when things went wrong.

Ultimately, the Romanovs died because of the way the dynasty governed Russia, not because the nihilists and their ideological cousins scored more hits at the Romanov Shooting Gallery.

(While you and I might disagree, James, on what the objective risks were to Nicholas and his family, you are absolutely correct in asserting that Nicholas had every reason to feel threatened.  I just wish he had relied less on secret police and living behind barricades and more on taking bold steps to break the deadly standoff that had evolved between the dynasty and the radical intelligentsia.  Every modern western government has its extreme fringes.  But stable national life is an exercise of centrism.  Someone had to start moving in that direction, and it was the dynasts' responsibility to give Russia that stable national life.  Call it the rent they owed the people for all those palaces, jewels, trains, and yachts.)

Offline Caleb

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2006, 08:10:02 PM »
Apparently in Chicago, in 1893, not long after the Columbian Exposition, the popular mayor of the day, Carter Harrison, was assasinated in his own entryway. Supposedly a man came to the door, the mayor was called down & he was shot by the person. A bit of irony on the assasination of President Lincoln. He supposedly was carrying Confederate money with him when he was assasinated & he died in a bed where John Wilkes Booth had slept in.

Offline James1941

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2006, 08:52:47 PM »
President Lincoln had a Confederate States five dollar bill  (I think it was a 5) in his wallet, which he was carrying the night he was assassinated. No other money. This wallet, its contents, his eyeglasses, and other items found in his pockets are now in the Library of Congress. Much specutlation has been expended on why Lincoln was carrying the Confederate bill. I have a theory. Just a week or so before he and his youngest son Tad, accompanied by a small escort of marines, had paid a quick visit to the newly captured city of Richmond, Virginia. It had served as the Confederae seat of government. While in the city he toured the house where the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, and his family had lived. Lincoln sat in Davis' chain in his office. He also paid a visit to the Virginia state capitol, which had served as the Confederate congress seat. Stored in the capitol were numerous bales of Confederate paper bills that had been printed up but not yet distributed. Many of the bales had been broken open and the paper money lay scattered all about the floor of the capitol building. It is my theory that Lincoln simply picked one of these scattered bills up from the floor and decided to keep it as a souvenier. I have no proof of this, just an educated guess.

Offline rgt9w

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2006, 06:34:25 AM »
Does anyone have any additional information or sources regarding the assassination plot mentioned in Carolly Erickson's "Alexandra: the Last Tsarina"? On page 160, she relates an assassination plot against the Imperial Family where terrosists were plotting to disguise themselves as members of the court choir and throw bombs during the Easter Eve mass.

I have never read or heard about this plot before and it is not source is not referenced in the book. It seems like the plot may have been similar to the penetrating of the Winter Palace to kill Alexander II. Any additional information would be appreciated.

Offline Silja

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2006, 03:51:26 PM »


Her response was to take stock of the reasons that her reign generated such sentiments, to moderate her religious policies,


In fact religious laws were not moderated but actually tightened in the course of her (Elizabeth I's) reign. Or have I misunderstood your argumentation here?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2006, 04:07:39 PM by Silja »

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2006, 05:47:57 PM »
The forms of worship in the Church of England were more tightly codified, and with Elizabeth's personal involvement.  And Elizabeth reconstituted her Council to remove the Catholic influence that prevailed there in her sister's reign.  However, her "policies", as reflected in the 1559 religious settlement signified Elizabeth's desire to find an accommodation with the Catholic sentiment in her realm, and she issued further codiciles re-adopting such things as communion wafers and vestments in order to make Protestantism an easier choice for the conservative countryside.  Morever, unlike her sister Mary, she did not view the "wrong" choice of religion as a matter of heresy or criminal resistance to her authority.

So, while she was a Protestant herself and meant to reign as the head of a Protestant Church of England (although, being a woman, she was saddled with the title of "Governor"), she took a significantly more moderate approach to imposing her choice of religion on her subjects than had either the Catholic Mary or the Protestant Edward VI. 

Offline Silja

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Re: attacks attempts assassinations
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2006, 11:20:57 AM »
The forms of worship in the Church of England were more tightly codified, and with Elizabeth's personal involvement.  And Elizabeth reconstituted her Council to remove the Catholic influence that prevailed there in her sister's reign.  However, her "policies", as reflected in the 1559 religious settlement signified Elizabeth's desire to find an accommodation with the Catholic sentiment in her realm, and she issued further codiciles re-adopting such things as communion wafers and vestments in order to make Protestantism an easier choice for the conservative countryside.  Morever, unlike her sister Mary, she did not view the "wrong" choice of religion as a matter of heresy or criminal resistance to her authority.

So, while she was a Protestant herself and meant to reign as the head of a Protestant Church of England (although, being a woman, she was saddled with the title of "Governor"), she took a significantly more moderate approach to imposing her choice of religion on her subjects than had either the Catholic Mary or the Protestant Edward VI. 

Yes, this is all very true, but from around 1572, after Elizabeth felt threatened by the consequences of the pope's bull of excommunication, the growing conflict with Spain and the presence of Mary Queen of Scots in England, she too, resorted to the most severe religious laws and religious persecution (dressed up as political) - in this case against Catholics. Just like any monarch back then and later and even like governments today, she didn't respond  with moderation but repression once she felt her position or that of her country was in danger. In a similar way Catherine II, who had formerly been a champion of enlightened ideas (if mainly in theory), had all the literature of the enlightenment suppressed once the French Revolution had broken out.