Author Topic: The Tsar's Power  (Read 12822 times)

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Dominic_Albanese

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2006, 09:03:16 AM »
Speaking to Alex P's 3rd question and in conjunction with the above...

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"?

{I may be missing the question here, because I know that Alex P knows better than I that various Russian Tsars developed Code's of Law's.  The first being Tsar Alexi in 1649 “"Ulozhenie": Law Code of Tsar Alexis”.  The Code of Law's was again updated during the Reign of Alexander II (Fr 1863 to 1865 the “Law (courts) and education reform Zemstvo instituted”) and I think the first time the law's of Russia were codified was under Ivan IV – although it may have done in a previous reign – I can’t find my reference right now.  So there were laws that Russians had to live within - there were codified punishments for law breakers that were published and implemented widely.  So my sense is there was "Rule of Law" that governed the basic ways in which people lived - however, I may not be answering the question that Alex P meant here!}

dca

Dominic_Albanese

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2006, 09:24:28 AM »
Speaking to Alex P's 4th question and in conjunction with the above...

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.

{This is very interesting because it prompts the question (for me) How much power did Alix really have?.  First off, let's agree to the following power she did have:

->She had enormous influence over Nicholas II.  The few times he tried to think independently he was thoroughly scolded by Alix and with a personality that avoided conflict at almost all cost, she tended to 'get her way' more often than not.
->She was 'on site'.  Being @Tsarskoe Selo she was closer to happenings in St. Petersburg than Nicholas.  That meant that information could get to her quicker and thus she could respond to it faster.  I'm unclear if this particular 'power' was utilized by her in any meaningful way.
->She facilitated (for Rasputin and 'baby') a number of key ministerial appointments at the end of the government.  That probably developed a level of loyalty and reliance on her from those ministers she had helped to put into place.
->Finally, because she was 2nd only to the Tsar in the empire, those highly believing monarchist ministers would do as she said.  In addition, Nicholas had asked (albeit informally - there was no proclamation to this effect that I know of) for Alix to keep him informed of happenings in the Government.  Actually, I don't know if that is true - I know Alix offered to be his 'ears and eyes' and that she had asked him to 'rely on her' - but I don't know if he ever asked her to do it?

If we can agree on the above power she did have (is anything missing or over/understated?).  What other powers did she have?

->Because she facilitated the appointment of several ministers, was there time enough for those ministers to do anything that could have helped the situation in the Government?  Yes, the constant turn-over could hurt the already bad situation, but was there time for any of these ministers (if they had it in them) to do anything good?  I don't know? - Thoughts?

->How much of the end of the Government was a direct result of what Alix did in the last few months of the reign and how much was it a result of years of administrative chaos during a brutal war that Russia was unprepared for and unable to win?

There is no doubt in my mind that Alix was unstable, that Nicholas II was weak, but I've always seen the success of March revolution as the result of years of events, lack of reliable, good troops on site, and Nicholas's "giving up" and less because of a cold winter and lack of bread.  This hypothesis is further supported by the complete lack of uprising to support the Tsar in the country.  Frankly the Tsar and the people were worn out by the burden and pressure of an outdated form of government  coupled with a burdensome war and a series of unusual and highly unfortunate events.}

dca
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Dominic_Albanese »

Alixz

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2006, 11:21:08 AM »
I find the discussion of the difference between a dictator and an absolute monarch most interesting.  It had not occured to me that the annointing by God, was an assumed ritual belief most likely adopted by the first one to think of it as a tool to control the mystical and superstitious masses.

However in the case of the Romanovs, Michael Romanov was "elected" and did not win any battles to assume his throne.

His election came about because of his relationship to Anastasia Romanova, the first wife of Ivan IV.  Did he claim to have been annointed by God, or did his supporters announce that he was in order to make him more acceptable to the Boyars?  Or did this tradition begin with his reign at all?

And just for the fun of thinking about it, do dictators ( and I beleive they do) believe that they are also annointed by God?  Do they not believe in God given rights for themselves?  After all, how would they have gotten to where they are if not for "God's help and support"?

AlexP mentions Louis XIV saying, "the state is me" or in English, I am the state.  However, AlexP, I am not up on my Spanish, so would you translate your quote from Eva Peron?  (Now Evita is a subject all her own.  And since she only thought like Royalty is not a topic we can go into.)


AlexP@asia.com

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2006, 11:44:15 AM »
Dear AlixZ,

One of Se[ch328]ora de Perón favorite remarks was that a people gets the government that it deserves, a remark which I have quoted above and which appeared in her book La Razon de Mi Vida.

All the best,


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

Alixz

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2006, 07:30:57 PM »
AlexP,

Thank you.  Somehow that quote does suit her.  I am not sure that it would apply to Russia and the Tsar's power.

I think it does apply to the Soviet Union and Stalin.  The people who thought they would be better off without a Tsar found out soon enough that all of their efforts gave them a government more torturous and even less interested in their welfare.

"Violence begets violence." I don't remember who said that, but the violence of the birth of the Soviet Union and the total disregard for the lives of those the Bolsheviks murdered to gain power were if not in equal measure surely close enough in comparison for what we Americans call "government work".

I know the subject here is not Evita, but her quote certainly applies to the US in the 21st century.  At least in my humble opinion.  Please everyone, don't jump on me.

As to point #4.  The mismanagement of Alix and her very short regeme,  I too believe that what she did had very little effect on the final outcome and the March Revolution.  Her machinations which would have proved disasterous in the long run, simply didn't have the force they could have had because she had so little time as "Regent" for the Tsar.

A revolution is not born over night.  The Russian Revolution was born many years before maybe and unfortunately the strongest resistance was nurtured during the reign of AII.  He who was "The Tsar Liberator" actually gave his opponents much more latitude with which to work and grow stronger.

Alix's private control over Nicholas II was more damaging (in my opinion) than the ministerial changes that she and Rasputin concocted in the last few months.  It also had much more time to grow and become a cancer in his life.  How does one weigh the two problems faced by Nicholas?  He loved his wife who could be a harridan (but she had good cause) and he loved his country which was beginning to fall apart under his feet (also with good cause).  What a conundrum for even the wisest ruler.  And since he hated controversy and tried to avoid it at all costs, who would he weild his infinate power on?  The wife or the country?

The lady or the lion?

In another thread, I wrote that while historians have seen Nicholas II as weak, he was quite stubborn and very stong in defending what he believed in.  That included the autocracy, his marriage, his family life and his faith.

I believe that he thought he was exercising his "power" in his defence of Alix and her fanatical search for her son's "savior".

Too bad he didn't use that strength in his belief in the Autocracy to do some good and, even though times had changed and he was no longer the absolute ruler he had once thought he was, he could have made a difference.  But was 1905 already too late?  Probably.  I think he would have had to begin on the day of his father's death and certainly by the time of the "senseless dreams" speech.

Even with absolute power, Nicholas had to contend with a large extended family which was very interested in protecting their own power and influence.  They were not particularly helpful to him because they were more concerned about themselves and protecting their own self interests.

It is interesting that the quote "Power corrupts and absloute power corrupts absolutely" never truly could be used in reference to Nicholas II.  Whatever he was, I don't believe he was corrupt.  Just not strong enough for the role he was ordained to play.












Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2006, 10:55:51 AM »
This is quite interesting, and I think many of the points being made are valid. Nicholas indeed had a choice, that was not an easy one, between his wife and his country at times. He wasn't corrupt, but perhaps so commited to the very things that caused trouble that he didn't realize that it is best not to be stubborn. Certainly, he has been called weak, which I think might mean to some people that he was weak for being stubborn. Or it might mean that they merely think of him as weak. He had to deal with years of things that built up revolution,  not just the things that occured in his own reign. That is often overlooked, that it wasn't just things that happened in his regime that caused revolution, but years of things stretching long into the reigns of those before him.

Constantinople

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2010, 06:43:38 AM »
There were in fact 4 imperial rulers of Russia, Catherine 1, Anna, Elizabeth and Catherine ll so female heads of state were not an obstacle and Nicholas had the power to change the constitution if he had wanted to.  My feeling is that he never considered it.  He had been a guest of Queen Victoria and was a relative, so the model was firmly in his mind.  I also think that Nicholas was so overwhelmed by the demands of the postion that he did not have the energy, vision or voliition to change the constitution to include the succession of females.

Offline Michael HR

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2010, 07:13:13 AM »
I have really enjoyed reading this thread and again has opened my mind to other ideas and views on Nicholas II. Somewhere else on the AP forum I read that NII did look into female succession either it was when he had four daughters and the Empress was pregnant with Alexis and at that point did not now if a boy or a girl was to follow or perhaps if Alexis died; I cannot remember which now. But nothing was done. He could have changed the Pauline laws had he so wished but the others members of the dynasty, his nearest cousin springs to mind would not have been happy.

I do believe that NII was not corrupt but that nearly everything else around him was. He did not really stand a chance.
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Constantinople

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Re: The Tsar's Power
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2010, 02:31:05 PM »
that should have been 4 female rulers