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Old November 7th, 2017, 06:22 AM   #11

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That's true enough, but the Russian system of rule was in bad need of reform, and Nicholas II, with his peculiar mixture of weakness and stubbornness, was not the man to achieve it. he cannot be absolved of a large portion of blame for the situation that led to the revolution; it is a necessary consequence of absolute rule that the absolute ruler must bear the greatest responsibility for whatever happens under his rule. He was not a bad man in himself, but he was undoubtedly a bad ruler.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 06:26 AM   #12

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Originally Posted by DIVUS IVLIVS View Post
This anniversary helped to prompt my latest reading choice. I've spent this month steadily devouring the first two volumes of Stephen Kotkin's magisterial biography of Joseph Stalin: Paradoxes of Power (1878-1928) and Waiting for Hitler (1929-1941).

I cannot recommend them highly enough for anyone interested in this area of modern history. It's undoubtedly one of the best multi-volume biographies I've ever read - although "biography" as a descriptor doesn't really do justice to the scale of the geopolitical, social, and ideological perspective that Kotkin weaves into his account of Stalin's life.

The sections in the first volume dealing with the Russian Revolution are worth the price of admission alone. It was a genuine revelation to me that the course of events was so heavily dependent on the personalities of Lenin and Trotsky. It may have been more or less unavoidable that a leftist regime was going to supplant the Provisional Government, but the fact that it was the Bolsheviks who gained control of Russia was pretty much the opposite of inevitable. As Kotkin writes, the history of the 20th Century could have been altered out of all recognition with just two bullets.

Reading that history, I was also struck by certain aspects of continuity between the travails of the early Soviet Union and the old Tsarist regime. The Russian Revolution basically grew out of Imperial Russia's desperate need to modernize - economically, militarily, politically - in order to keep up with their European rivals, only to find that "modernization" badly undermined the historic power structure of the country. Tsar Nicholas II was an absolute fool, but many of the statesmen who served him were truly brilliant. But even the best of them couldn't devise a modernizing formula that didn't inflame the appetite of the masses for social changes that couldn't be satisfied without totally changing the character of the government. The best solution the Tsarist regime could come up with was mass political repression and trying to slow the pace of reform - but that just exacerbated the original problem of making Russia vulnerable to its geopolitical rivals, and brought the whole thing crashing down.

In the end, after the Bolsheviks had consolidated their rule, the dilemma was even more acute: it was imperative for them to modernize a peasant country, that was encircled by hostile capitalist powers. Enter Stalin, whose "solution" was to utilize the powers of totalitarian dictatorship to enforce the transition to fully collectivized industrial economy in the space of a decade, no matter how many lives were lost in the process. There was absolutely no reason except for sheer ideological madness that collectivization and industrialization had to be achieved simultaneously, and Stalin's fanatical refusal to deviate from his chosen course of action almost destroyed his government, and Russia. He was saved by the onset of the Great Depression, which made the Western powers so desperate for lucrative new partners for trade and investment that they were willing to bury the hatchet with one of the most evil regimes in the world.

The consequent "success" of Stalin's economic policies exerted a tragic influence over history, as subsequent Communist dictators - most notably including Mao - sought to emulate his example in the belief that the millions upon millions of deaths he had caused were a necessary, in fact desirable, part of becoming a (Marxist) great economic power.

It's strange to consider that if someone other than the Bolsheviks had wound up in control of Russia after WWI, Karl Marx might have become an obscure and relatively unimportant figure in the history of ideas. Instead, the chain of events and personalities that caused a party of fanatical ideological devotees to his creed to gain control of one of the great imperial powers of modern history, created a butcher's bill that defies calculation.
Thanks. Agree with you. I will read the two bios. Saw a review of the second recently somewhere.

Re the Romanovs: yes Nicholas was a fool, but no one deserves to be summarily shot along with his family. The actions of the Bolshevik government in this disgraceful episode speak eloquently re what Lenin and company were about.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 06:50 AM   #13

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The fact that the Great Depression essentially saved Stalin and his regime from self-destruction is (now that I think about it) a bitterly ironic twist of history. It's generally believed that the roots of the Depression came from the economic damage caused by the First World War - the same conflict that was directly responsible for the downfall of Tsarist Russia, and the rise to power of the Bolsheviks. Not to mention the rise to power of Nazi Germany, which did so much to influence the history of Stalinist Russia.

Truly, WWI was the great Pandora's Box of modern history. So few of the major political events of the 20th Century can't be traced back to it in some way...
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Old November 7th, 2017, 06:54 AM   #14
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The Civil War was in no way great. It was not a revolution. It was evil versus good and this time evil won.
Good vs Evil huh? It's the same as to claim that Union of ACW fought the evil demons of confederacy and the Good prevailed? Do you know how many pogroms did Denikin's army during his march north towards Moscow and the its retreat south later? How many jewish residents were attacked, robbed and killed? The man himself was responsible for coining the infamous term 'jewish bolshevism'... and you claim that white guards were 'Good'??

Make no mistake all our bulgarian russophiles fought in Denikin's army and almost all of them were KIA, so i do not sympathize with either side particularly. The point is there is no good or evil in a civil war. Btw your army fought for the losing side in your intervention in russian civil war.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 06:59 AM   #15

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That's true enough, but the Russian system of rule was in bad need of reform, and Nicholas II, with his peculiar mixture of weakness and stubbornness, was not the man to achieve it. he cannot be absolved of a large portion of blame for the situation that led to the revolution; it is a necessary consequence of absolute rule that the absolute ruler must bear the greatest responsibility for whatever happens under his rule. He was not a bad man in himself, but he was undoubtedly a bad ruler.
Somebody once suggested that Nicholas II would have been admirably well-suited for the role of a constitutional monarch. The great (largely self-imposed) tragedy of his life and reign is that he spent most of his adult life bitterly resisting all attempts to move Russia in a more liberal, constitutional direction. He saw it as his divine mission to preserve Russia as an untrammeled autocracy, and thereby inadvertently paved the way for a form of despotism more horrendous than he could ever have imagined.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 07:19 AM   #16
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Nicholas II was an inept and infantile monarch with 1/36 russian blood in his veins. He was a german just like his dominant wife. Pity for the children indeed, though i understand the necessity to kill them all. Svredlov who ordered it and Yurovsky who actually did the job knew that wiping them all is a must.

EDIT:Nicholas's first cousin George V did nothing to save russian royal family btw.

Last edited by At Each Kilometer; November 7th, 2017 at 07:23 AM.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 08:06 AM   #17

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.
The fate of the imperial family has become a political hot potatoes as a front debate with the revolution issue in the background
a movie called Mathilda came out in Russia , telling of a pre marital love affair between the young Czar and a ballerina .
so far so good

out of the blue a group of Orthodox protested that the movie was a smear on Nicolas , having been canonized by the church ,the movie has naked sex scene , as he has the status of saint and any attack on his morality is an attack on the church itself .
The Church is taken as a symbol of old Russian values those days , much courted by the power than be
Then thing got bigger , a member of parliament Natalia Poklonskaya,took the lead in castigating the film makers as Godless "Westerners"

She became the public procurer of the Crimean republic during the secession , took a ferocious Pro Russian stance , had attempted assassinations against her , brought the Crimean Tatars to heel by suspending then banning their assembly and got promoted , eventually becoming a parliamentarian for Crimea .both her grand fathers died during WW2
She is under ban from the US and the European union and is seen as something of a Russian Joan of Arc

there are wild rumors than she would be an eventual post Putin presidential candidate ,
which raise the possibility of having a Xenia Sobchack and Natalia run off in "the battle of the Babes"

https://cdn1.img.sputniknews.com/ima...1039516682.jpg

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by sparky; November 7th, 2017 at 08:11 AM.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 08:25 AM   #18
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Sparky, there is an old and apparently better than Matilda thingy movie 'The Assassin of the Tsar', russian film with Malcolm McDowell. Wonderful movie about the last days of Romanov (Nicholas II grandpa Alexander II incl.) McDowell is Yurovsky here.

Tsareubiytsa (1991) - IMDb

The execution of the royal family

Regarding Poklonskaya i admit i have a slight obsession with this modern incarnation of the Goddess Aphrodite. I wish she is my President

Natalia Poklonskaya

Last edited by At Each Kilometer; November 7th, 2017 at 08:36 AM.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 08:49 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by At Each Kilometer View Post
Nicholas II was an inept and infantile monarch with 1/36 russian blood in his veins. He was a german just like his dominant wife. Pity for the children indeed, though i understand the necessity to kill them all. Svredlov who ordered it and Yurovsky who actually did the job knew that wiping them all is a must.

EDIT:Nicholas's first cousin George V did nothing to save russian royal family btw.
If you think wiping out an entire royal family is a necessity, you should be thrown into an asylum.

This is the most sickening, disgusting, and disrespectful comment in this thread.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 08:57 AM   #20
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Then you have a cold heart. The slaughter of the crown was repulsive and reprehensible. They are true martyrs and sit on God's Divine Council as we speak, friend.
.
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