You are (then-future) Russian Tsar Nicholas II in 1893; what exactly do you do?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
It's been several years since I last made a thread such as this one and we have acquired some new members since then, so I figured that it's time to make another thread about this topic. Anyway, what would you have done if you were (then-future) Russian Tsar Nicholas II in 1893 and were able to see how real life turned out but not how reality would have unfolded had you made different choices? (I really hope that this topic isn't too close to ASBs for this thread to be locked. My previous thread about this topic several years ago was fine with the moderators here.)

Anyway, here is what I would have done:

1. Not marry Alexandra (Alix of Hesse). I don't need the hemophilia gene to spread to my descendants. Find some other princess to marry instead just as long as she is willing to convert to Russian Orthodoxy and avoid intervening in affairs of state. Maybe marrying some Orleanist princess if she was willing to convert to Orthodoxy?
2. Abolish the anti-Semitic Pale of Settlement. Jews shouldn't be restricted to living in only one part of Russia. The Pale ruins Russia's international reputation and alienates its Jewish population, so I would get rid of it. I would also aggressively crack down on the anti-Jewish pogroms but keep the Jewish quotas due to them being a form of affirmative action in favor of non-Jewish Russians. In the long(er)-run, I would also hope to encourage mass intermarriage between Jews and Russians, but I fear that being open about this desire of mine early in my reign could result in massive anger against me.
3. Immediately give the Ottoman Empire an ultimatum to stop the Hamidian massacres of its Armenian population with the threat of a Russian military intervention against the Ottoman Empire if the Ottoman Empire fails to comply. If war with the Ottomans will break out over this, so be it--just as long as the other Great Powers won't militarily intervene--which they shouldn't if I will make it clear that my territorial ambitions in this war are limited to Ottoman Armenia and Pontus north of it. So, no thrust towards Constantinople--which I don't really want anyway.
4. Avoid war with Japan at all costs. Don't mess with the samurai! Make whatever compromises are necessary to avoid war with Japan.
5. Abandon the rhetoric of Pan-Slavism. I certainly don't want Russia fighting any Balkan wars with little benefit for Russia on behalf of Pan-Slavism. I would be willing to support Balkan expansion against the Ottoman Empire but I would not be willing to fight Germany (Deutschland Uber Alles!) over the fate of the Balkan countries.
6. Keep the Russian alliance with France since I need an ally as well as France loans. However, make it crystal-clear to Germany that Russia has no desire in helping France wage any revanchist wars against it.
7. End the Great Game with Britain. It's simply not worth it.
8. Move the Russian capital south to Rostov-on-Don so that Russia would have a huge city on the Black Sea comparable in population (in the long(er)-run) to Moscow and St. Pete's.
9. Encourage European/white, East Asian, and Hindu immigration to Russia just as long as the newcomers are actually willing to assimilate.
10. Aggressively listen to people such as Sergei Witte who advocated having a large focus on peace and economic development.
11. Later on in my reign (if there's no revolution and execution, I should expect to live to around 1950 or so), focus on promoting suburban development.
12. Create a Duma with universal suffrage (maybe only men initially, and later expanded to women as well) and actually give it a lot of power in regards to domestic policy. Foreign policy, of course, would remain my prerogative until shortly before my death, when I will give the Duma power in regards to this as well. Also, create a literacy test requirement for voting in Duma elections so that illiterate peasants won't be able to vote after being easily swayed by demagogues.
13. Pursue land reform in a competent manner and also promote things such as mass schooling, mass literacy, and large-scale industrialization and economic development throughout all of Russia.
14. Allow freedom of speech and freedom of expression in Russia with the exception of radical subversive ideologies such as Bolshevism. Also, abandon forced Russification programs (such as banning/restricting the Ukrainian language) and instead promote Russification in as many non-Russian parts of Russia as possible through mass Russian settlement into these parts.
15. Pursue good relations with the US, a country that I strongly want to emulate other than for its attitude in regards to race relations.
16. Give Poland and Finland their independence under their own Romanov Tsars in exchange for them agreeing to a permanent military alliance with Russia and France and in exchange for having these Romanovs permanently renounce their own and their descendants' rights of succession to the Russian throne.

Anyway, how does all of this sound?
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,364
Kansas
10. Aggressively listen to people such as Sergei Witte who advocated having a large focus on peace and economic development.
This alone is going to have a major effect on the rest of your list.

A strong industrializing Russia, takes concerns with Germany and peace, as well as the Japanese straight off the table.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
This alone is going to have a major effect on the rest of your list.

A strong industrializing Russia, takes concerns with Germany and peace, as well as the Japanese straight off the table.
Or Germany might be even more inclined to try sparking a war with Russia before it's too late in this scenario. That said, though, my goal is not to fall for Germany's bait.

What do you think about the rest of the items on my list here?
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,364
Kansas
Or Germany might be even more inclined to try sparking a war with Russia before it's too late in this scenario. That said, though, my goal is not to fall for Germany's bait.

What do you think about the rest of the items on my list here?
Definitely would not move the capital .

With the rest of the list. The question is can you sell the ideas to the aristocracy and the people. I fear some of those ideas would still see you over thrown. Perhaps not a communist government but think you stand a fair chance of being run out of town lol
 
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Zip

Jan 2018
762
San Antonio
I'd find a Delaware speaking woman who'd say "You are the one!" and bear me many children.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
I'd find a Delaware speaking woman who'd say "You are the one!" and bear me many children.
Why such a woman specifically?

Definitely would not move the capital .
Why not?

With the rest of the list. The question is can you sell the ideas to the aristocracy and the people. I fear some of those ideas would still see you over thrown. Perhaps not a communist government but think you stand a fair chance of being run out of town lol
Are you sure about that? Indeed, which specific ideas are you thinking of here?
 

Zip

Jan 2018
762
San Antonio
Why such a woman specifically?
Oh, it's just a line from the movie "Last of the Mohicans" that sprang to mind when I thought that if I were to be Nicholas I sure as Hell wouldn't marry a crazy German woman.
 
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Zip

Jan 2018
762
San Antonio
As for the OP; most of the acts listed make sense to me. The problem is would they have made sense to the Russian elites and the simmering ignorant masses?
 
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Apr 2017
1,737
U.S.A.
I'm not an expert on Tsar Nicholas II, so aside from not getting involved in ww1 I'm uncertain what I would change.

As for your actions, a few thoughts:

2. Did the pale make Russia look bad internationally?
4. Avoiding war with japan at all costs would mean abandoning Russian influence in Manchuria, something they spent a lot of time and money working towards.
8. Moving the capital south may be seen by some as abandoning westernization.
9. Hindu immigration would be difficult from a geographic standpoint.
12. A literacy test for voting may lead to rural peoples feeling excluded. Best not to ignore peasant rebellions.
15. Good relations with America would be largely pointless.
16. What if these Romanovs are overthrown?
Additionally all these actions could be seen as signs of weakness by foreign and internal powers/groups. Possibly leading to revolts and invasions.
 
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