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Thread: The Last Romanovs

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    The Last Romanovs

    A few of us were sharing thoughts in the "Hostage" thread and another topic popped up: Russia's last Imperial Family. I thought I would start a new thread seeing as how it didn't seem right to discuss other things when the hostage crisis in Russia is still going on.

    Yes I am LOL it IS great to see other people here who like them.

    I posted a message asking if anyone skated a program in tribute to the family, someone said they were tyrants, honestly, can you imagine MARIA a tyrant? LOLOLOLOLOL Miss "I want to marry a sailor and have 20 kids?"

    But I digress. Perhaps a new thread would be wise haha
    Ladskater mentiond a Cranston number that I have never seen. Bestemianova (sp?) & Bhukin also did a professional number where they portrayed Rasputin/Tsarina Alexandra. I didn't really like it, but then again I'm not a fan of Rasputin at all.

    LOL...and the tyrant thing I don't understand at all. I could understand severe criticism for Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra, but their children were innocent pawns that were murdered under the most brutal of circumstances. And, surprisingly, I've also had arguments with people that try to justify the murders of the four Grand Duchesses and the Heir. Many people believe that it was only payback for what the Romanovs had done in the past. Sorry, but the slaying of five innocents can never be justified or explained away. The Communist regime proved right off the bat they were no better (and perhaps worse) than anything that had come before them. Sure...murder kids and young women in one of the most brutal fashions imaginable...good start!



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    Last edited by BronzeisGolden; 09-03-2004 at 12:59 AM.

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    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Robert K. Massie. I discovered this book after reading "Journey" by Robert and his wife Suzanne while working on a pediatric case study of hemophylia. "Journey" is about their experiences getting treatment for their son who has hemophylia. Their research of the disease led them to the Romanovs.

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    Thanks, Bronzeisgolden, for starting this thread.

    Massie's book should be a must-read for anyone interested in the Romanov dynasty. I've been doing on-going research on what makes the Russians such enduring people, and I've found the situations concerning the life and murder of Tsar Nicholas ll and his family to be a fascinating topic. There are two other books which add insight into the tsar and his importance to the Russian revolution, "A People's Tragedy" by Orlando Figes and, to a lesser extent, "Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia" by Catherine Merridale. This latter book is should not be read by people who are squeamish, LOL. It is a very detailed account of death and mass murder on an unfathomable scale before and through The Great Patriotic War of 1941 to 1945.

    Massie's book creates a lot of sympathy for Nicholas ll which the other two books counter somewhat. All three books give the best perspective on what happened beginning with Nicholas' assumption of the throne through the bolshevic revolution and the time period ending in 1945. "The People's Tragedy" presents a good account of Rasputin's influence and meddling into both the Romanov family and the Nicholas' attempts to govern Russia.
    Last edited by Blue Bead; 09-03-2004 at 09:20 AM.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Interesting topic. My take: yes, those murders were unforgivable. BUT. I find it ironic that so much talk is about the murder of one family. Yes, it was horrible, but why are there more books (especially in the West) written about that one family then about the autrocities, say, of the Civil War (commited by both sides).

    As to the figure of Nicholas II -- I have very little sympathy for him, though nobody deserves the death he got. However, most of the literature that is sympathetic to him just talks about what a wonderful husband and father he was. Like that really matters for a national leader! It did not matter of Russia in 1904, any more than Bush's family matters to America in 2004 (IMHO). Nicholas was an ineffectual leader, who had no imagination to realize the extent of his country's problems, no wisdom to listen to people who could suggest solutions, and no courage to go outside the box. Just my 2 cents.

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    I did a term paper last year on "The Decline and Fall of the Romanov Dynasty", and in the process found two really informative books on the subject - The Flight of the Romanov's by John Curtis Perry and Constantine Pleshakov and The Last Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky. They both have two very detailed family trees linking all the Royal families together. Its a really intersting subject.
    Laura

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I have a big problem with Radzinsky. In book after book, he glosses over the terrible poverty of the Russian peasantry, awful conditions that the proletariat lived, not to mention little things like the Jewish pale in order to promote some kind of an idealized image. In one work in particular (I think it was a movie, but I am not sure) he quotes generously from Nekrasov. Indeed Nekrasov idealized the village country; however, Radzinsky conveniently ignores the heart ranching segments when the poet talks about the terrible hopeless flight of the Russian village woman. And, I personally consider attempts to justify the pale in 20th century rather antisemitic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Bead
    I've been doing on-going research on what makes the Russians such enduring people, and I've found the situations concerning the life and murder of Tsar Nicholas ll and his family to be a fascinating topic. .

    Last Romanovs were no more Russian than Luis XVII was English. Yes, they had Russian names and practiced Orthodox Christianity, but at ethnically they were mostly German, Austrian and Prussian, and did not really speak Russian to each other in private. Peter the Great was the last "true" Russian ruler (though I think there were 1 or 2 more after him, can't recall).

    I think that Romanovs met an unjust death and I feel bad for them but I don't understand why their fate gets romanticized so much (no pun intended). Revolution caused millions of deaths, but sheltered and pampered royalty gets all the attention.

    Yana

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    Interesting topic. My take: yes, those murders were unforgivable. BUT. I find it ironic that so much talk is about the murder of one family. Yes, it was horrible, but why are there more books (especially in the West) written about that one family then about the autrocities, say, of the Civil War (commited by both sides).
    I was hoping you would respond, Ptichka. I am very interested in hearing your opinions and I think you have (since most of us are originally from the West) an interesting prespective on the subject. Your argument is another that I've often heard and happen to agree with. The horrors of the Civil War and Stalin's reign of terror have not been as widely documented and they deserve to be. Millions suffered and died and yet there is relatively very little to read on either subject (although I would say that there have been a number of good books on Stalin coming out over the past couple of years). I'd be very interested to read a good, balanced book focused on the White campaigns of the Civil War.

    However, I do feel that the murder of the Romanov children in particular stands for more than just the end of a dynasty. They were famous, so naturally their violent deaths received more press and attention than the deaths of millions upon millions of nameless individuals. Is it fair? Absolutely not. But, is it realisticly possible to tell every story? I would say no. We will never know all of the tragic stories from the Holocaust, the French Revolution, the American Civil War....it simply is not possible. Their senseless deaths can and do stand as examples of the desparation and horror of this period. And, by saying this, it doesn't mean that their deaths were the only ones that mattered. They were marquee names in a tragic tale that featured millions of other innocent victims.

    I have a big problem with Radzinsky
    I do as well. He is a capable writer and did a fantastic job of covering every angle of the Romanov's execution (about the last half of the book). But, I did not feel that the rest of "The Last Tsar" was as fairly balanced. Another one of my big arguments has always been that Nicholas II (and Tsarina Alexandra in particular) have always either been construed as blameless saints or demonic villains...I've rarely read a good, balanced description. They were far from perfect and made tons of mistakes, but they weren't evil. Do I respect them? Yes, for the way they carried themselves in the last days of their lives and for the earnest love they had for each other and their children. BUT, they did have opportunity upon opportunity to help improve the lives of Russian peasants and to steer the country in a progressive direction....and they completely failed. I guess that is what intrigues me about Nicholas II and Alexandra. They were good, faithful people that made such hideous mistakes.

    Last Romanovs were no more Russian than Luis XVII was English. Yes, they had Russian names and practiced Orthodox Christianity, but at ethnically they were mostly German, Austrian and Prussian, and did not really speak Russian to each other in private.
    LOL...great point. The blood line was greatly diluted by the time Nicholas II was born in 1868. And...it is possible that after Catherine II, none of the Romanovs were actually Romanovs at all! There are many that believe her son Tsar Paul I was not fathered by Tsar Peter III, but instead by one of Catherine's many Russian lovers (Count Orlov I think). As for the languages, I do know that French was extremely fashionable in Nicholas II's court. But, his children spoke in Russian to him and used English to speak to their mother. Nicholas himself preferred Russian.

    BTW, "Nicholas and Alexandra" has always been one of my favorite books. It too suffers a bit from an unbalanced point of view, but it is an invaluable source for those wanting to know about Nicholas and Alexandra's personal lives. Have any of you ever read Massie's "Peter the Great"? Excellent read! It remains one of my favorite books of all time.
    Last edited by BronzeisGolden; 09-03-2004 at 05:32 PM.

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    Having just finished "Night of Stone," I can guarantee that it, in no way, romanticizes the Romanov's or the killing of millions of Russian citizens. It is a brutal book to read as it presents what happened in gruesome detail from slightly before the beginning of the 1900's through 1945 and ending with the fall of Communism.

    It 's quite true that Nicholas ll was not even close to being purely Russian by birth. As for Alexandra, her father was the Grand Duke of Hessen and she was directly related to Queen Victoria. All of the aristocratic families in various European countries and England of that time period were inter-related.

    As tsars go, Nicholas ll was a spineless wimp given to relying on his aides and advisors as to what action he should take in various situations. However, I don't mean to say that all of his failings as a ruler can be blamed on other people. He still was the person who wielded the authority, and rightly is responsible for slaughtering Russian citizens.

    What I liked about "Night of Stone" is the extensive documentation detailed at the back of the book; one doesn't often find 31 pages of sources plus 11 pages of bibliography in a paperback book.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    And...it is possible that after Catherine II, none of the Romanovs were actually Romanovs at all!
    Well, since the last name is traditionally passed through the father, even Peter III would not be a Russian, since he was a Romanov only on his mother Anna's side); he only became a Romanov upon assuming the Russian throne. Actually, going even one step back, both Elizabeth and Anna were Peter the Great's daughters by Catherine I, a Lithuanian prostitute.

    As to the succession after Peter the Great, it was complicated. The throne first went to his widow Catherine I. Then, it passed on to Peter II, Peter's grandson through one of his children from the first marriage. Upon his death, the throne went to Anna Ioanovna, Peter the Great's nice. Anna named as her successor her niece's son, Ivan VI (who was 1 at the time). However, a coup was organized that put onto the throne Peter the Great's youngest daughter Elizabeth. She was the one who named as her successor her nephew Peter III

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    I thought that Peter the Great had only one son (Alexey) from his first marriage (to Evdokia who he sent to the monastery). didn't alexey end up locked up himself too (prison?)?

    I was under impression that Peter the Great younger brother had a go as well at ruling Russia? Gosh, my Russian history is rusty, to say the least!.

    Thanks for teh refreshment, Ptichka!

    Yana

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    Another good book about Nicholas and Alexandra is:"The Last Empress" by Greg King.
    And I have resently discover one book about Nicholas younger sister Olga, it covers all her life, how she was born rich and royal and died poor and nearly forgoten in Canada. I found it to be really interesting and informative, She had a truly interesting life. The book is titled "Olga Romanov. Russia's Last Grand Duchess" by Patricia Phenix

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    This is quite an interesting topic indeed. Not being a historian, my contribution will probably pale here. However, one must look at the significance of the events that led up to the tragic end of the Romanovs and what took place after (particularly when Russia declared war on Germany and Austria in 1914 ). The Romanovs were a Royal Family - just like the Royal Family of Britian. They stood for power and leadership - only Nicholas was not a born leader and soon the Russian people lost confidence in him. I found some interesting facts about each family member at the following site:

    http://www.angelfire.com/biz5/romanovs/

    Certainly worth checking out.

    Also, we always think of the Nicholas and Alexandria story immediately when we hear the name Romanov, but there is more to the story. Their lineage is impressive and certainly their history is worth reading. Peter the Great and Catherine the Great both were Romanovs. Both were powerful and had a hand in the shaping of Russia.
    Here is more info:

    http://www.geographia.com/russia/rushis04.htm

    Even the Story of Dr. Zhivago touches on the tragedy of the Romanovs and details the Russian Revolution very well. Also War and Peace by Tolstoy (though I have not read it; my mother has!) would give one some insight into this tragic tale and it's significance.

    Someone mentioned there are more books written about the tsar and his family than about the atrocities of the Cival War. I don't know if that is true, but people are always fascinated with the Royals. Look at how many books are still being written about Princess Diana.

    I also believe, that because there is some "mystery" around the death of the family - Anastasia - for example - has always been rumored to have survived and so it keeps the interest in their story alive.

    No matter, there will always be people who are fascinated with the tale of Nicholas and Alexandria - no matter how romanticized it becomes just as people are fascinated with the story of the Titanic. There are other tragedies at sea as well - the Lusitania for example, but one hears more about the Titanic. Go figure.



    "The people have a right supreme
    To make their kings, for Kings are made for them.
    All Empire is no more than Pow'r in Trust,
    Which when resum'd, can be no longer just.
    Successionm for the general good design'd,
    In its own wrong a Nation cannot bind."

    -John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladskater
    .

    Also, we always think of the Nicholas and Alexandria story immediately when we hear the name Romanov, but there is more to the story. Their lineage is impressive and certainly their history is worth reading. Peter the Great and Catherine the Great both were Romanovs. Both were powerful and had a hand in the shaping of Russia. l
    Peter I and Catherine II were (and still are) called the Great for a reason. To say that that "had a hand in shaping Russia" is a MERE UNDERSTATEMENT. One can argue that they shaped, built, and defined Russian Empire, while everybody else destroyed it.

    When I think of Romanovs, I think of the Peter the Great, one of the greatest Russians and the person my birth city is named after, St. Petersburg. Romanovs ruled Russia for around 300 years, Nikolai and Aexandra just happened to be the last ones.

    Yana

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    Well, since the last name is traditionally passed through the father, even Peter III would not be a Russian, since he was a Romanov only on his mother Anna's side); he only became a Romanov upon assuming the Russian throne. Actually, going even one step back, both Elizabeth and Anna were Peter the Great's daughters by Catherine I, a Lithuanian prostitute.
    Wow, I wish I knew all of this time there were so many people interested in Russian history. I memorized all of the Tsars and know most of the Royal family trees of Europe (but I kept these things secret, I thought I was nerdy, lol)! It is great to see people loving history...especially Russian!

    When I think of Romanovs, I think of the Peter the Great, one of the greatest Russians and the person my birth city is named after, St. Petersburg. Romanovs ruled Russia for around 300 years, Nikolai and Aexandra just happened to be the last ones.
    Absolutely! Peter the Great was aptly named. I encourage anyone to read Massie's "Peter the Great". You will be awe-struck at all that man was able to accomplish in one life. He had a tremendous drive. And....St. Petersburg. That is my dream to visit that city one day.

    I thought that Peter the Great had only one son (Alexey) from his first marriage (to Evdokia who he sent to the monastery). didn't alexey end up locked up himself too (prison?)?
    Alexei was killed. I believe Peter actually did it in a fit of rage. Am I remembering that correctly? And, there was a long, drawn-out power struggle after Peter's father Alexei died. Peter had a horrid half sister (I think) named Sophia that ruled as Regent and hated him with an intense passion. For some reason I seem to remember his brother being a feeble man named Feodor or Ivan perhaps...and Sophia ruling for him as Regent. Correct me if I'm wrong, Ptichka.

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