- Dec 2017
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.
Ok, you are just writing to exhaust this discussion.
What reforms did Nicholas II pass that he was not forced to pass because he feared losing his throne?
Until you answer this question, this discussion cannot progress.