Author Topic: The Tsar's Power  (Read 12819 times)

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Alibubba

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The Tsar's Power
« on: April 27, 2006, 04:35:52 PM »
   I wonder why, since Nicholas II was an autocrat and all-powerful ruler, he didn't just change the laws of succession to include females.  Knowing of the anxiety and desperation to have an heir, and producing one daughter after another, I wonder why he didn't change it.  Does anyone know?

edwardcharles

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 06:05:13 AM »
Can someone tell me that if the Tsar was the most powerful man in russia whos power had no boundries and could even take away the fortune of the Yussopovs then how come he did'nt change the law saying women could rule russia and who would have contested it as he was the Tsar?

Thanks in advance?

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2006, 03:12:18 PM »
Well, he did have some boundries on his power after 1905. Nicholas certainly believed in the conceot of autocracy, but wasn't some despot thriving on his unlimited power. He was very conservative with Romanov family laws, and did not change them, feeling tradition was for the best. That's why he never changed the only males could rule law, and also some branches of the Romanov family might have been sure to challenge him if he did. He hoped always for his son and heir, and when he got one, he certainly never entertained the thought of changing the laws, but then I doubt even if he had no male heir, he ever would have.

JD

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2006, 04:29:40 PM »
IA is correct. the position of Tsar did have theoretically infinite power but Nicholas was easily influenced by those around him and tradition especially.

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 04:16:46 PM »
Yes, Nicholas kept very much to the traditions of the Romanov family. He wasn't a questioning person, more of a accepting one. Especially in regards to tradition, he was this way, even when perhaps he ought to have thought more originally.

dianoshka

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2006, 02:58:06 AM »
I've been wondering this for quite some time.

Alexandra may have probably been opposed to the idea, but would Nicholas have been able to have had the succession laws changed if he really wanted to?

I've read the famous Pauline Laws set forth by Paul I weren't able to be modified. Anyone know why?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by dianoshka »

Alixz

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2006, 09:07:09 AM »
Theoretically, before 1905, Nicholas as Tsar and Autocrat could have done anything he wanted to with the laws.

However, he was not a strong man and preferred to avoid confrontation.  If his father Alexander III had chosen to change the laws of succession, I don't imagine he would have had too much trouble although he would have had opposition, he was better at controlling it than Nicholas was. And why would he want to?  He had after all, three sons of his own.  If one didn't inherit, then presumably the next one would.

Remember the "mobilization of two or three Austrian Army Corps"?  and AIII's bending a silver fork into a knot and the saying that "this is what I will do to your two or three Army Corps."

But AIII was imposing not only in stature but in will.  Nicholas was neither.

Nicholas faced opposition from his uncles even on the date of his wedding and the choice of its location.  He bowed to them instead of the other way around.

Changing the laws of succession would have been a tougher confrontation with Valdimir and later Paul who had sons at the front of the line.

I used to think that Nicholas should have just done what he wanted and changed what he wanted and gotten married when and where he wanted, and even changed the Imperial tea, as Alix said that "other people have more intersting teas", but he just didn't have the intestinal fortitude.

As subjects of the Tsar, the other Grand Dukes should have bowed to the Tsar's will, but because Nicholas was so weak and indecisive, they took advantage and did pretty much what they wanted to do.

I hardly think that the people of Russia would have cared who inherited.  After all, to them the Tsar was next to God and could do a he liked.  It would have been his own family who would have given him the roughest time over it.

After 1905, NIcholas was no longer an autocrat, even though he didn't truly believe it, and as such could not have changed anything without the premission of the Duma.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Alixz »

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2006, 01:42:38 PM »
Yes, all that is true. Nicholas as a young man would never have dared risk the confrontation with his uncles that changing the succession laws would bring about. He was also someone who wanted things kept the way they were, and liked tradition. If it was easier to keep tradition, no doubt he favoured it even more than he would have otherwise. He was never a strong willed man, and most likely never thought he even had an option to change the succession laws, nor did he even try, or make tentative steps in that direction at all. He did always think of himself as an autocrat, but he never thought of changing the sucession laws. People beyond merely the Imperial Family and his uncles might have cared had he done so though, in my view.

Alixz

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2006, 09:32:41 AM »
Aside from that fact that the people of Russia did see the Tsar as omnipotent, a God on Earth, why would they care if he chose to change the laws of succession?  They might have wondered if he had abdicated in the 19th century, but to chose his own successor or change the laws to include his daughters would, in my opinion, be received as just one of the rights he was entitled to.

When Paul did it, he didn't have a public uprising or even, to my knowledge, a family uprising.

He was Tsar and he just did it.

By the way, why do we call him Paul I, when there was no other Paul after him?

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2006, 10:19:51 AM »
Well, the upperclass would have cared, although the general population and peasantry woudn't have. They would no doubt have seen it as something he was entitled to by virtue of his position, you are right. There might have been more said about it than would have been said in Paul's time, but no one can change the will of the tsar then, so it would most likely have gone through. The upper class would have discussed it, but they coudn't have changed it. His uncles would have been the people who would have opposed it the most, and most likely suceeded, given the weak will of Nicholas. Especially his uncle Grand Duke Vladimir, next in line of succession, would have opposed it. This would have been before 1905 of course.

David_Pritchard

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2006, 02:56:17 PM »
Quote
By the way, why do we call him Paul I, when there was no other Paul after him?

Because he called himself Paul the First. I believe that this was done so that he could use the same monograms made famous by Peter the Great but differentiate them with the numeral one.

[size=18][ch1055] I[/size]

Alixz

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2006, 06:27:41 AM »
David,

Thank you so much.  As usual,  you come to the rescue of the blank minded.

I always wondered about that and now I know.

As always,

Alixz

AlexP@asia.com

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2006, 05:47:18 AM »
Dear Alixz, Imperial Angel, David and all,

This indeed has been a very intellectually enlightening thread.  Frankly, it deserved a lot more attention on this Board than it seems to have received.  Belochka, if you wander through this post, what is your opinion?

1.  What indeed were the limits of Imperial Power?  Were there any true limits of Imperial Power?

2.   Or was the was the Empire just a dictatorship in the guise of a monarchy?

3.   Was there truly anything ressembling the rule of law in Imperial Russia or was the rule of law based upon the autocratic statement by Louis XIV - "L'etat, c'est moi"?

4.   One notes that various ministers of conscience and clergy tried, albeit unsuccessfully to reign in the Ministerium of Alexandra when she was virtually ruling the country without success.  In my opinion, all of this lends credence to the opinion that Russia was essentially the vast plantation of one man -- the Tsar.

I say all of this to provoke more thoughts and reflections here in this very good thread.  If indeed the Monarchy had evolved into a more constitutional monarchy along Danish or British lines, perhaps events might have been different.  But Stolypin was murdered, von Witte was ousted and the Rasputins and Podenestovs in one shade or another ran reactionary amock over the country in the fading days of the Ancien Regime.

Eva Peron of Argentina once said "al pueblo el gobierno que le conviene"....

All the best,


Alex P.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AlexP@asia.com »

Dominic_Albanese

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2006, 08:39:00 AM »
I'd like to take a shot at answering Alex's questions - please know that I am most definitely an amateur, and that most of what I'm about to say is based on opinions I have developed over years of reading as opposed to being able to point to a specific law that supports my position.

Alex - it occurs to me these four questions would be the basis of a marvelous academic study for a college class of Ph.D. dissertation!

My responses are in {}'s - I *hate* all caps!

1.  What indeed were the limits of Imperial Power?  Were there any true limits of Imperial Power?

{Obliviously this has two (maybe 3) parts - 1905 and after, Catherine I to 1905, and Prior to Catherine I - going back to medieval Russia.  I'll focus on Catherine I to 1905:  While there were few written limits on imperial power, there were effective limits on imperial power simply by the nature of the government.  Ministers, administrators and secretaries could effectively limit the Tsar's power by the manner and timing of the way they implemented imperial decrees.  As the complexity of government activities grew the Tsar had less and less day to day control of the Government.  Nicholas I - known as a micro manager, but at the end of the day, didn't he rely on a multitude of officials to carry out his plans?  Some were responsive and successful than others.  Same with Alexander III.  Now having said that, one must also realize that at the highest level of policy making the only limit on them was the limits they placed on themselves.  For example, some Tsars relied more on family councils to discuss important empire related issues than others.  Than of course you have Nicholas II, who because he couldn't tell two ministers to do the same thing, he simply created chaos.}.  I would further argue that from Ivan IV through Peter the Great the Tsar's had much more power - both at the policy level and at the day to day level.  While it is true that even Ivan IV had to rely on others to carry out his orders, the latitude he had in punishing those who did not fulfill his orders meant that generally his will was done (after all, impaling doesn't sound very pleasant!).  Also, the Tsar was much more involved in the doings of military affairs through Peter the Great.  Yes, Emperor Alexander II was in the Crimea - but I have never read that he directed the war the way that Peter the Great directed his wars against Sweden.

So - in summary - I would say there were virtually no limits up-to Peter the Great - both at the policy level and the day to day implementation of imperial will.  From Catherine I to 1905 I think that limits effectively evolved as the complexity of the science of governing evolved - but at the highest policy level the only limit was the limit placed on the Tsar by himself - principally through involving other Romanovs and high government officials.  Finally - 1905 and forward.  It was a tug-of-war.  Nicholas "tried" to continue to act as he did prior to 1905 but he was further slowed down by the October Manifesto.  It was that tug-of-war that would ultimately play an important part in bringing him down in 1917.}
 
dca
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Dominic_Albanese »

Dominic_Albanese

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2006, 08:47:00 AM »
Speaking to Alex P's question #2, and in continuation of the above:
 
2.   Or was the was the Empire just a dictatorship in the guise of a monarchy?  
 
{Much like I started to outline above - I think that the answer is different depending on the years.  One might ask - what is the practical difference between a true absolute monarch and a dictator?  We know one difference is that in theory one was anointed by god - but even in that case, the one who was anointed was the one who (or whose family before him/her) beat his enemies in battle.  But, as time moved forward and tradition and ceremony built on one another there was a difference.  Often with the dictator trying to develop ceremony to make his/her 'reign' appear more like a legitimately anointed leader (i.e. a monarch)  
 
dca
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Dominic_Albanese »