Russian kings after Napoleon

Dec 2019
51
Adelaide
The Balkans ?
Isn't it strange how Russia's Imperial interests coincided so neatly with France and Britain, hence the Triple Entente? But if you had a cousin like Wilhelm II you would probably have gone to war against Germany too. Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria were hopeless Romantics, but Nicholas really did have a genuine concern and love for his people, hence his early tentative attempts at introducing a western-style constitutional monarchy, like his cousin in Britain. This probably failed due to the absence of any real urban middle-class in Russia, the emergence of a more radical revolutionary elite and the hostility of the majority of the nobles to any real constitutional reform. Unfortunately Nicholas hopeless romanticism saw him over-commit to Catherine II and Peter the Great's vision of an ever expanding empire spanning Europe and Asia, when common sense should have told him that he had neither the vision nor the resources to hold on to what he already controlled (or not). This commitment led him to fully identify with the Slavs in Serbia against the Austrian threat, and to see the Balkans themselves as some kind of stepping stone in a possible invasion of Turkey. Not the only European politician to have done so! He also saw the Prussians as a threat to Russian interests in Poland.
A thoroughly fascinating study of a man... Apparently, since Catherine II who saw the Orthodox faith as a pillar of public order, Russians have had an immense distrust of the Rosicrucians! This would also have brought him into religious and social conflict with the secret societies of Wilhelm II's Germany. Whatever his faults, the manner and brutality of the Royal princesses deaths (an interesting read for anyone who can stomach the entire account, which is said to have lasted at least half an hour and a dozen attempts) by a bunch of drunken Bolshevik thugs, leaves one in no doubts as to the competence or humanity of his successors.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,088
Republika Srpska
Not really strange. France and Russia were united because of Germany and her expansionist plans. And I wouldn't say Russia and Britain's interests coincided. The British supported the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire while Russia wanted to expand into Ottoman lands.
 
Dec 2017
410
Florida
Nicholas really did have a genuine concern and love for his people, hence his early tentative attempts at introducing a western-style constitutional monarchy, like his cousin in Britain.
Ah...what?

He did not want a constitutional monarchy, he hated the duma and liquidated it when he could. Nicholas was in a self-imposed echo chamber where he was under the delusion, yes delusion, that the Russian people continued to love him even while the country crumbled around him. He micro-managed state affairs while ironically refusing to fully read state reports and address actual state issues. He was easily duped by his surrounding sycophants who prayed on his indecisiveness and naivety. I mean the guy didn't even know how to handle his own personal finances, he didn't know the value of a ruble because he had no sense because he never paid for anything. Nicolas II was all about the preservation of the monarchy (an institution he drove into the ground) and the idea that he would cede any of that monarchial power to power-hungry/rent-seeking politicians would be the high of affrontery. Any reforms that came after the 1905 revolutions were forced onto the Romanovs.

The Russian Duma
 
Dec 2019
51
Adelaide
Not really strange. France and Russia were united because of Germany and her expansionist plans. And I wouldn't say Russia and Britain's interests coincided. The British supported the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire while Russia wanted to expand into Ottoman lands.
Yes. I did not express myself clearly. What I really meant to imply was how strange it was that the interests of the three members of the Entente Cordial, which in it's inception was conceived as a counter to Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, all suddenly align whether consciously or not. With Turkey's joining of the Central Powers the way opens for France and Great Britain to prise open the Ottoman Empire in the middle-east, whilst nobody objects to a Russian invasion from Armenia in the north. Churchill was behind the invasion of the Dardanelles, with Russia's war on Austria and envisaged path to the Balkans they would further divide the Central Powers and perhaps inspire a pincer movement into the soft underbelly with the help of the Italians. Russia's war in the east divides German forces and gives the allies crucial time to slow German advances in the west. Imperial Russia sees war in France as an opportunity to weaken German influence in the Baltic, Austrian influence in the Balkans and Turkish influence in the Caucasus.
From hostilities at the Crimean War in 1853-6 and in the Russia-Turkish war of 1877-8, active rivalry in Persia and Afghanistan, and barely concealed joy at the defeat of Tsushima in 1905; the relationship with France and Great Britain, two of the world's great industrial powers (and a source of arms), bitter rivals of Germany and Austria, has evolved to a one of deliberate acquiescence in each others ambitions and a coordination of effort against mutual enemies. And to top it all off, Nicholas is on excellent terms with his cousin George and his family and has an extended invitation to visit England anytime he so wishes. Nicholas must have thought all his Christmas had come at once ; especially when contrasted with the constant threats to his sovereignty and the bleakness on the domestic front; especially after the crushing of the revolution of 1905-7 and the reforms of the Third Duma of 1907 failed to garner widespread support; especially when he was greeted at home by criticism and scandal in the daily newspapers. Yes, the interests of the Entente Cordial did strangely coincide, but it was a coincidence that would end in tragedy.
 
Dec 2019
51
Adelaide
Ah...what?

He did not want a constitutional monarchy, he hated the duma and liquidated it when he could. Nicholas was in a self-imposed echo chamber where he was under the delusion, yes delusion, that the Russian people continued to love him even while the country crumbled around him. He micro-managed state affairs while ironically refusing to fully read state reports and address actual state issues. He was easily duped by his surrounding sycophants who prayed on his indecisiveness and naivety. I mean the guy didn't even know how to handle his own personal finances, he didn't know the value of a ruble because he had no sense because he never paid for anything. Nicolas II was all about the preservation of the monarchy (an institution he drove into the ground) and the idea that he would cede any of that monarchial power to power-hungry/rent-seeking politicians would be the high of affrontery. Any reforms that came after the 1905 revolutions were forced onto the Romanovs.

The Russian Duma
You don't think you may be a little bias. Okay I admit the guy was clueless and a hopeless romantic. But at least he did introduce some albeit inadequate attempts at reform into the Duma. The monarchies of Europe reeked so badly Czech rebels were fighting the Bolsheviks. Franz Joseph was detested and hated by minorities throughout the Austrian Empire. The Arabs hated the Turks, and the Turks in turn set about murdering a million Armenians. The French and British sent millions of young men to their deaths with aplomb, and Germany invented poison gas as the perfect weapon.
You have to view the unsatisfactory and hesitant reforms of Nicholas II in the context of a nation completely without a western tradition of democratic reform. Since Ivan III and their independence from Mongol rule Russia has been dominated by authoritarian rule, without the western tradition of sacred rights of the individual. It has been run more like an Asiatic suzerainty," collections of agrarian societies which, remaining independent of each other, are linked to another society, the aristocracy, through being exploited by it". The various cultural and ethnic groups remained separate and there were two classes - the peasants and the aristocracy. Anyone who even questioned the rule of the Emperor or Czar was put to death as a traitor. Whole cities were treated in this fashion. As the Russian Empire grew whole ethnic populations were absorbed and only united by the absolute rule of the czar and a common Russian identity and Orthodox faith (largely in the minds of the aristocracy).
The abolition of serfdom by Alexander II in 1861 exacerbated many existing problems of poverty amongst the landless peasants. Reforms aimed at introducing limited franchise via local representation participating in the legislative work of the State Council, were signed on the very morning of his assassination in 1881. In the aftermath autocracy again won and all reform designed to reinforce Russia's civic institutions was abandoned for a quarter of a century. Against this backdrop millions of newly emancipated serfs and their families continued to poor into cities without developed infrastructure and a primitive industrial base never designed for so many unemployed labourers. The lack of large towns and cities, over-taxation and the under-investment of an agrarian based society increased hardship, and the resulting lack of social change created a violent and festering underclass of intellectuals. The failure of emancipation and earlier reforms led to a kind of schizophrenia in the ruling aristocracy and further delays in much needed reforms.
This was the background in which Nicholas inherited the throne. Nicholas was not an echo chamber. He consulted with Petr Stolypin and established the Duma. Many of Prime Minister Stolypin's reforms were opposed and sabotaged by the Duma representatives themselves due to the incompatibility of their ideas and objectives. Nicholas did eventually become disillusioned with the Duma because he saw it as further distancing himself from the people. By tradition, the Czar was their highest representative and the army and orthodox religion their law. OK, Nicholas was no saint and no Julius Caesar either. But look at his successors. Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky and even Trotsky had whole town populations massacred for rebellion. They, along with Stalin had no qualms about starving millions of peasants to death in order to force their assimilation into collective farms. The Bolshevik attitude to ethnic minorities was even more brutal than the Czars. And if it is competency you're on about, nobody was more incompetent than Kerensky and the Mensheviks. Nicholas II may have exiled Trotsky to Siberia for sedition, but he didn't order his head to be bashed in with an ice-pick! Comparing Nicholas II with Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Trotsky and Stalin is like comparing Daffy Duck with the Charles Manson gang. Hot Dog!
 
Dec 2017
410
Florida
You don't think you may be a little bias. Okay I admit the guy was clueless and a hopeless romantic. But at least he did introduce some albeit inadequate attempts at reform into the Duma. The monarchies of Europe reeked so badly Czech rebels were fighting the Bolsheviks. Franz Joseph was detested and hated by minorities throughout the Austrian Empire. The Arabs hated the Turks, and the Turks in turn set about murdering a million Armenians. The French and British sent millions of young men to their deaths with aplomb, and Germany invented poison gas as the perfect weapon.
You have to view the unsatisfactory and hesitant reforms of Nicholas II in the context of a nation completely without a western tradition of democratic reform. Since Ivan III and their independence from Mongol rule Russia has been dominated by authoritarian rule, without the western tradition of sacred rights of the individual. It has been run more like an Asiatic suzerainty," collections of agrarian societies which, remaining independent of each other, are linked to another society, the aristocracy, through being exploited by it". The various cultural and ethnic groups remained separate and there were two classes - the peasants and the aristocracy. Anyone who even questioned the rule of the Emperor or Czar was put to death as a traitor. Whole cities were treated in this fashion. As the Russian Empire grew whole ethnic populations were absorbed and only united by the absolute rule of the czar and a common Russian identity and Orthodox faith (largely in the minds of the aristocracy).
The abolition of serfdom by Alexander II in 1861 exacerbated many existing problems of poverty amongst the landless peasants. Reforms aimed at introducing limited franchise via local representation participating in the legislative work of the State Council, were signed on the very morning of his assassination in 1881. In the aftermath autocracy again won and all reform designed to reinforce Russia's civic institutions was abandoned for a quarter of a century. Against this backdrop millions of newly emancipated serfs and their families continued to poor into cities without developed infrastructure and a primitive industrial base never designed for so many unemployed labourers. The lack of large towns and cities, over-taxation and the under-investment of an agrarian based society increased hardship, and the resulting lack of social change created a violent and festering underclass of intellectuals. The failure of emancipation and earlier reforms led to a kind of schizophrenia in the ruling aristocracy and further delays in much needed reforms.
This was the background in which Nicholas inherited the throne. Nicholas was not an echo chamber. He consulted with Petr Stolypin and established the Duma. Many of Prime Minister Stolypin's reforms were opposed and sabotaged by the Duma representatives themselves due to the incompatibility of their ideas and objectives. Nicholas did eventually become disillusioned with the Duma because he saw it as further distancing himself from the people. By tradition, the Czar was their highest representative and the army and orthodox religion their law. OK, Nicholas was no saint and no Julius Caesar either. But look at his successors. Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky and even Trotsky had whole town populations massacred for rebellion. They, along with Stalin had no qualms about starving millions of peasants to death in order to force their assimilation into collective farms. The Bolshevik attitude to ethnic minorities was even more brutal than the Czars. And if it is competency you're on about, nobody was more incompetent than Kerensky and the Mensheviks. Nicholas II may have exiled Trotsky to Siberia for sedition, but he didn't order his head to be bashed in with an ice-pick! Comparing Nicholas II with Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Trotsky and Stalin is like comparing Daffy Duck with the Charles Manson gang. Hot Dog!

Do I have a bias view? Yes. They are like elbows and you know whats, everyone has them.
Was anything I said incorrect? No.

You state that Nicholas was trying to reform, which reforms did he create? What reforms did he want to be passed? You show your knowledge of the lead-up to Nicholas but suddenly become vague on this point.

The Russian imperial government was so addled with corruption, incompetence, and intrigue that when Raymond Poincare went to Tsarskoye Selo in July 1914, they didn't even know who was actually in charge of the government, who they should basically "butter up" in order to convince Russia to stick to their earlier alliance. Nicholas II was not someone who wanted the throne or was actually apt to run in. He was not groomed by his father and was seen by other monarchs as soft and unforceful. However, like most European monarchs he was oblivious to the actual world around him. This is especially true in Russia where the opulence of the court was to an extreme. That brings me back to my earlier comment that he had no concept of what the ruble was actually worth. The man bankrupted an entire country with his delusions of being a Christian defender against the "yellow menace," the Russian court's delusions with Russian expansion into China and the Balkans, and this isn't even going into his brutal repression of the 1905 revolution. One of the biggest proponents of reform, Sergei Witte, fell out of favor with him and Witte was actually trying to put Russia on track toward being a strong, industrializing nation.

He engaged in domestic terrorism, secret surveillance on his own people, his anti-Semitic pogroms, and continued, as I said before, to labor under the delusion that he was loved by the Russian people, that they were living well. While he had these fantasies, he continued to move further and further into a self-imposed exile so he was removing any evidence toward his contrarian view. When the war started, he was in Selo, metaphorically alone and yet surrounded by vampires who told him what he wanted to hear. His destruction and the destruction of the Russian Empire were self-imposed due to his lack of allowing reform and his brutal conservative mentality. He crafted the chains link by link that would drag him down and that's what makes him and his family such a tragic story.
 
Dec 2019
51
Adelaide
Alright, I admit the guy was incompetent and that his State Council were a bunch of vampires. But your still judging him by western standards of justice and freedom. Can you tell me when such standards ever applied to Imperial Russia or the Soviet Union. Alright, Nicholas stands condemned by history itself, for the aftermath of his reign and the nature of his fall. But consider this: if Kerensky had withdrawn from the war and instead tackled the soviets forming with deserters and Bolsheviks in Petrograd and Moscow, Nicholas and his family would have been retired to somewhere on the Baltic or Crimea, an anonymous benefactor of abdication, and you would not be foaming at the mouth about how it was he and not Rasputin who was the devil incarnate. By lumping all the blame on Nicholas you are simply demonising a man who is the product of 500 years of inbreeding and ruthless autocracy. I'm a Bonapartist myself!
All failed revolutions are brutally supressed. If Kerensky had brutally suppressed the October revolution of 1917 Russia may have been spared fifty years of terror and brutality under the Soviets. Nicholas is no more a demon than the oppressors who went before him, or came after him. However I am liking the idea of crucifying him anyway as incompetent! But I hate the way you skirt over the barbarity of his predecessors and successors as though it were of no consequence and has no bearing on his actions or legacy. The personal tragedy of his son and heir must have affected his views on human suffering and immured him somewhat to the suffering of others.
In the early years of his reign (1894-1917) he worked with Vyshnegradskii and Witte to expand the railways and increase industrial output, protecting new Russian industries with tariffs, stabilizing the rouble and putting Russia on the gold standard (so he must have had some idea of the value of the rouble)! These reforms were largely opposed by landowners and intellectuals as artificial and un-Russian. They pointed out that tariffs obstructed the importing of much needed machinery and damaged her export trade via retaliatory tariffs. Witte was described as a puppet of international conspirators and Jewish capitalists. As is always the case, the effects of this industrial revolution were not uniform or entirely beneficial. There were pockets of famine and unemployment. Witte as Finance Minister promoted commercial and technical colleges. He could not have done this without the Czar's support.
Ironically the greatest reaction came after Nicholas II's Manifesto of 17 October 1905, when he guaranteed civil rights and announced the establishment of a legislative assembly electing peasants, workers and non-Russian nationalities, to the State Duma. It sparked widespread pogroms against Jews which killed thousands and accused Witte of Jewish conspiracy. These anti-Semitic pogroms were in no way initiated by the Czar and he wrote as much to his mother. However he could see how the work of terrorists, saboteurs and the more violent of the revolutionaries was resented by the ordinary peasants, artisans, shopkeepers, soldiers, civil servants and others, and he had clear evidence that some were indeed Jews (like Trotsky). Now clearly in a western civilised society like that of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, such simplistic and racist views would never have gained traction. Under these circumstances Nicholas was largely forced into a Russification program or face immediate upheaval in the civil service, police and army, and probably overthrow.
I admit that Nicholas does seem to have had a confused view of the democratic nature of the Duma and continued to insist on his autocracy, whilst supporting democratic reform for peasants. By guaranteeing the inviolable nature of private property the Czar did not see himself as dragging Russia down so much as guaranteeing what he must have perceived as the basis of the peoples welfare and social development. Perhaps mistaken, but he only had previous examples of Russian absolutism and the alternative European governments enshrining these rights. The Left then opposed any land reforms not based on compulsory expropriation proposed by Stolypin.
Indeed the sort of ill will and obstruction that plagued Nicholas II reign seems to have completely disappeared under the Soviets, as did the pogroms, the famines, the autocratic rule, the brutal conservative mentality, the secret surveillance, the domestic terrorism, the Gulags, and the delusion that the ruthless oppressors of the masses were somehow loved by the people.
Still, it's a pity what happened to his beautiful daughters, especially as they fell in love with their first guards and were planning to elope. Those guards were arrested and their replacements were diehard Bolsheviks and the very dregs of criminal society. They had no problem stripping the soft, white naked bodies of the young girls of their diamond bodices, and then as they groaned and came to life once more, having to shoot, stab and bludgeon the girls in their final terrified moments on the bloody snow.
Still, it's all elbow room mate! Just blame the Czar.
 
Dec 2017
410
Florida
Alright, I admit the guy was incompetent and that his State Council were a bunch of vampires. But your still judging him by western standards of justice and freedom. Can you tell me when such standards ever applied to Imperial Russia or the Soviet Union. Alright, Nicholas stands condemned by history itself, for the aftermath of his reign and the nature of his fall. But consider this: if Kerensky had withdrawn from the war and instead tackled the soviets forming with deserters and Bolsheviks in Petrograd and Moscow, Nicholas and his family would have been retired to somewhere on the Baltic or Crimea, an anonymous benefactor of abdication, and you would not be foaming at the mouth about how it was he and not Rasputin who was the devil incarnate. By lumping all the blame on Nicholas you are simply demonising a man who is the product of 500 years of inbreeding and ruthless autocracy. I'm a Bonapartist myself!
Well, this whole diversion started because you commented that Nicholas II was bringing Western-style constitutional monarchy. Now you are upset that I am judging him by western standards of justice and freedom. We have to solve this dilemma.


All failed revolutions are brutally supressed. If Kerensky had brutally suppressed the October revolution of 1917 Russia may have been spared fifty years of terror and brutality under the Soviets. Nicholas is no more a demon than the oppressors who went before him, or came after him. However I am liking the idea of crucifying him anyway as incompetent! But I hate the way you skirt over the barbarity of his predecessors and successors as though it were of no consequence and has no bearing on his actions or legacy. The personal tragedy of his son and heir must have affected his views on human suffering and immured him somewhat to the suffering of others.
Still makes him a demon. Our discussion has been about Nicholas II and his supposed affinity toward Western constitutional monarchy, so unless it is prevalent to that discussion then I see no reason to bring up former rulers...unless you want to try and use them as a justification for why Nicholas II did what he did.



In the early years of his reign (1894-1917) he worked with Vyshnegradskii and Witte to expand the railways and increase industrial output, protecting new Russian industries with tariffs, stabilizing the rouble and putting Russia on the gold standard (so he must have had some idea of the value of the rouble)! These reforms were largely opposed by landowners and intellectuals as artificial and un-Russian. They pointed out that tariffs obstructed the importing of much needed machinery and damaged her export trade via retaliatory tariffs. Witte was described as a puppet of international conspirators and Jewish capitalists. As is always the case, the effects of this industrial revolution were not uniform or entirely beneficial. There were pockets of famine and unemployment. Witte as Finance Minister promoted commercial and technical colleges. He could not have done this without the Czar's support.
You are conflating industrialization with political reform. Industrializing Russia does not mean that they are moving toward a western-style constitutional monarchy. None of the reforms you listed are a threat to the monarchial power of Nicholas II

Ironically the greatest reaction came after Nicholas II's Manifesto of 17 October 1905, when he guaranteed civil rights and announced the establishment of a legislative assembly electing peasants, workers and non-Russian nationalities, to the State Duma. It sparked widespread pogroms against Jews which killed thousands and accused Witte of Jewish conspiracy. These anti-Semitic pogroms were in no way initiated by the Czar and he wrote as much to his mother. However he could see how the work of terrorists, saboteurs and the more violent of the revolutionaries was resented by the ordinary peasants, artisans, shopkeepers, soldiers, civil servants and others, and he had clear evidence that some were indeed Jews (like Trotsky). Now clearly in a western civilised society like that of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, such simplistic and racist views would never have gained traction. Under these circumstances Nicholas was largely forced into a Russification program or face immediate upheaval in the civil service, police and army, and probably overthrow.
The guy believed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and would read it to his family. He also wrote to his mother calling Jews "Yids" and saying they are making things worse in Russia and the pogroms still went into effect under his reign. Concerning the October Manifesto, it was only done because it was forced onto Nicholas (as I stated in my previous statement, all the reforms were forced onto Nicholas II)

The October Manifesto

The Manifesto was as innocuous as possible to the monarchy. It was only meant to appease the masses so they didn't overthrow the monarchy, something Nicholas obviously wanted to avoid.

I admit that Nicholas does seem to have had a confused view of the democratic nature of the Duma and continued to insist on his autocracy, whilst supporting democratic reform for peasants. By guaranteeing the inviolable nature of private property the Czar did not see himself as dragging Russia down so much as guaranteeing what he must have perceived as the basis of the peoples welfare and social development. Perhaps mistaken, but he only had previous examples of Russian absolutism and the alternative European governments enshrining these rights. The Left then opposed any land reforms not based on compulsory expropriation proposed by Stolypin.
Indeed the sort of ill will and obstruction that plagued Nicholas II reign seems to have completely disappeared under the Soviets, as did the pogroms, the famines, the autocratic rule, the brutal conservative mentality, the secret surveillance, the domestic terrorism, the Gulags, and the delusion that the ruthless oppressors of the masses were somehow loved by the people.
Still, it's a pity what happened to his beautiful daughters, especially as they fell in love with their first guards and were planning to elope. Those guards were arrested and their replacements were diehard Bolsheviks and the very dregs of criminal society. They had no problem stripping the soft, white naked bodies of the young girls of their diamond bodices, and then as they groaned and came to life once more, having to shoot, stab and bludgeon the girls in their final terrified moments on the bloody snow.
Still, it's all elbow room mate! Just blame the Czar.
Nicholas wasn't confused by democratic/republican principles. He was actually quite bright. He didn't want to abdicate any power to the Duma. All the power they did get was ripped from Nicholas or allowed because it was a Duma that was favorable to the Tsar's wishes.
 
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Dec 2019
51
Adelaide
Nicholas II was frustrated because he wanted to introduce Western style reforms to an antiquated country with no democratic traditions whatsoever. He was frustrated because every time he tried to introduce reforms he and his ministers were blocked by radical minorities in the Duma. This whole argument started because you refuse to admit that Nicholas II introduced or even attempted to introduce through his ministers, any reforms whatsoever, and because you refuse to admit that nihilists, assassins, terrorists and Bolsheviks were any part of the problem. I admitted that Nicholas II was in two minds as to how far to take the Duma, but he did have democratic aspirations, otherwise he would not have created the Duma in the first place and he would certainly not introduced universal suffrage. His attempts at real land reform and the introduction of a gold standard and currency reserves you would just call a conspiracy of Western Capitalism just as Stalin would.

You just skate over inconvenient facts like the refusal of the popularly elected Duma to pass real reforms and pin it all on the demon Nicholas II. He goes from being "easily duped by his surrounding sycophants who prayed on his indecisiveness and naivety", and "a guy who couldn't handle his personal finances and didn't even know the value of the rouble" to " He was actually quite bright" and "he only wanted to appease the masses." You change your tune just like the Stalinists change their propaganda. He was presiding over a chaotic mess and rampant social disorder which had built up since the emancipations of 1861. His grandfather had been assassinated, his Interior Minister Pleve in 1904, he suffered a disastrous defeat to Japan in 1905, due to widespread corruption in business and a totally incompetent military. Every measure he did introduce for reform was greeted by violent reaction by a landed nobility grounded in Napoleonic times and a populace living in the 17th century. On top of all this he had nihilists and revolutionaries plotting his death and that of his family, and western industrialists who had to somehow be enticed to invest in this mess. He did not introduce industrial reforms, or thousands of miles of railway because he wanted to tighten his grip on the autocracy. If he was as bright as you now claim he was he would have known straight away that these would only loosen his grip on power, by supplementing his earlier reforms designed to introduce western ideas and contact, to unite the vast array of his peoples - he was seeking to unite his people as was his creation of the Duma.

Bright autocrats who prey on the blood of the masses don't seek to unite their people, the seek to divide them like the Stalinists did.In fact your language in describing Czar Nicholas II is very reminiscent of that used by Stalin and his allies against Trotsky and Zinoviev in the Central Committee: "surrounded by vampires who told him what he wanted to hear".
Stalin at the 1927 plenum of the Central Committee: "This pamphlet (Our Political Tasks) is interesting, by the way, because Trotsky dedicated it to the Menshevik P. Axelrod. It says there: "to my dear teacher, Pavel Borisovich Axelrod". Well good riddance to this dear teacher Pavel Borisovich Axelrod! Good riddance! But you'd better get a move on, esteemed Trotsky, becasuse the decrepit "Pavel Borisovich" may suddenly die and you might be too late to see your teacher".

You see it's always black and white with you lot. Nicholas II is either very bright or totally clueless and knows nothing; he either consults Witte or he is surrounded by vampires; he either wanted to avoid overthrow (and all the anarchy and bloodshed it would create) or he crafted the chains that would bring him down link by link etc. etc. You change you tone based on which type of propaganda you want to peddle, but always it is in the same black and white. Then you say all Nicholas II reforms were forced on him. Well Hello! When were any political reforms not forced on someone as though reacting to circumstances a crime. Reacting to terrorist assassinations is a crime; reacting to violence and upheaval is a crime; reacting to aspirations of modernisation is a crime; Industrialisation is a crime; attempting to create private property and a middle-class is a crime; attempts to introduce education reforms is a crime. So you want examples of what Nicholas ever did to introduce reform and when you have them they are just further crimes against the people and part of Nicholas II grand conspiracy of the order of dumb/bright autocrats. To you he is not a stressed out leader making mistakes, unable to deal with the enormous problems of time and distance in the largest and most backward nation on earth, the product of centuries of misdirection and internal contradiction.

And yet again you skate over the brutality of those who replaced him, probably because THEY are your heroes. Come on, I won't mind, just fess up... you might be just a tiny wee bit of a Communist. Perhaps you just like Stalin a bit. No big deal, just own up. Twenty million dead peasants and millions of incarcerated kulaks and Jews is no big deal either. Oh, but there I go. I'm in danger of demonising the Bolshevik minority autocrats and their friends the Trotskyists (who surrounded themselves with vampire friends and sycophants, Mensheviks like Pavel Borisovich Axelrod!).

And just in case you think introducing reforms in 20th Russia was easy: In 1918 Maxim Gorky met the Commissar for Public Enlightenment (education),and asked for permission to set up unions and societies to run them without political interference. His request was refused point blank. " The Party is against a Constituent Assembly and are no less against a Constituent Assembly in the sphere of culture." You see, they were not only less democratic in their views than NIcholas II and less responsive to calls for reform, they were not even confused in their responses to them. You see I don't judge people by assertions of motive when nobody really can know for certain that motive. They may or not be a monster - it's baseless assertion, but anyway it serves no real purpose unless you are writing propaganda. But if you introduce universal suffrage and create a Constituent Assembly you are not trying to crush democracy and tighten your grip on absolute power. If you want to do that you set up a Central Committee. You don't consult with Prime Ministers and allow non-violent political parties in the western constitutional tradition, you set up a Party Congress and set about demonising your opponents. Then you expel all those of any other party or even leanings from the Party and exile, imprison and execute them. Seems that introducing a Constitutional Monarchy to 20th century Russia is not so easy after all. And that is probably what Nicholas II decided after the nihilsts and anarchists started assassinating his ministers and public servants. Now I'm going to look at photos of the beautiful Royal princesses, and forget about the monsters and your vampires.