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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2

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Tsarfan:

--- Quote ---Well, maybe in an ideal corporate world this is all true. But if it were true all the time, just to give one example, you wouldn't have executive officers from Enron standing trial for major fiscal malfeasance - i.e., robbing a company blind, while the CEO looked on - or perhaps away - cluelessly.

--- End quote ---

I have spent 25 years in varied business environments and, while I grant that few companies operate in an ideal state, most companies are reasonably well run.  And the process of getting all relevant information in front of the decision-maker is overwhelmingly the rule rather than the exception.  It's just kinda Business School 101 stuff.

I don't feel the Enron analogy holds up.  First, the indictments state the opposite of your proposition.  Lay is accused of knowing exactly what was going on.  Second, I know nothing about the Enron situation that would indicate they made decisions without all the relevant facts laid out up front.  The problem there was that the facts did not produce the financial results they wanted, so they rigged shell transactions to sever the trackability of expenses back to revenue.

Even if you're right about Enron, using it to excuse Nicholas' lack of management skill actually makes my point.  Incompetence at that colossal a scale destroys the whole enterprise.  Lay destroyed his company.  Nicholas destroyed his.

bluetoria:
How can you compare the ruling of so vast & varied an empire as Russia to the running of a business?
Not only does it dehumanise the population but it fails to take into account the fact that in a business, for the most part, the aims of the employeees etc. are more or less the same.
In a vast empire like Russia there were cdemands from aristocrats, royalties, peasants, town dwellers, entrepreneurs, the Church.
People were pulling in so many directions. The best analogy I can see would be that Nicholas was at the reins of a wide & unruly group of horses which he was incapable of pulling together. I doubt that at that time anyone could.

Tsarfan:
Yes, there were lots of forces pulling in many directions.  But the Lieven quote describes something quite simple -- commiting to a government program without checking with the finance minister about funding.  The forces of global order are not at play in such a straightforward scenario.  If the Russian administrative system could not handle something so elemental, no wonder it collapsed.

The push and pull of forces on the U.S. government are vastly more complex than those on Nicholas.  Would we tolerate a system that commits to huge programs without first assuring the means to pay?

Oops . . . there went my argument.

Tsarfan:
Aha!   I thought of a comeback to myself.

In the U.S., we go ahead with the program even without the means to pay.  No indecision here, thank you.

RichC:

--- Quote ---Witte's memoirs are not the sole source of information about Nicholas and it must be remembered that Witte & the Tsar had often not seen eye-to-eye so there is every chance of a certain bias there.
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Yes, but in regards to the particular points on which I have used him as a reference, what primary sources are you referring to that dispute or challenge his recollections?



--- Quote ---The ultimate decision to abdicate on behalf of Alexei was perhaps a major mistake - but it was also the first time that Nicholas had broken his 'faith' in what he saw as his & his son's role. This mistake was the result of a father's concern for his son. It WAS a mistake but an understandable one.

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I'm afraid I see it in exactly opposite terms.  The mistake wasn't abdicating on behalf of Alexei, it was carrying on all those years as if Alexei would be able to one day become Tsar.  All that covering up and pretending that everything was fine -- it did enormous damage -- this is the very thesis of Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra.  He says so in the forward.  

Abdicating for Alexei made sense because (1) he was only 12 years old (2) he had hemophilia and couldn't carry out the duties of a Tsar.  

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