You are Tsar Nicholas II just before power, what do you do?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#31
If I were Nicholas II?

1) Still marry Alexandra. She may have been unpopular, but the love between them was real. The only difference in the relations with Alexandra would be that I (Nicholas II) stands firm and makes his OWN decisions, not letting her have so much influence.
There's also the hemophilia gene to consider, though.

2) Send Rasputin to Siberia to be eaten by wolves or bears, whichever gets him first. There is no need for a drunken rapist pretending to be a monk and messing around with the Royal Family.
Please keep in mind that Alexandra can bring a different mystic into your household if you send Rasputin away, though.

3) Work more with men like Pyotr Stolypin, protecting him from assassination or continuing his policies even AFTER his assassination. Russia could go rapidly into a more democratic government (constitutional monarchy) as they had been under an autocracy for so long that going to democracy quickly would cause more chaos than good in the short term. Stolypin's reforms, however, were gradually taking Russia toward a constitutional monarchy, which historically Nicholas DID support.
Completely agreed; also, though, for the record, Nicholas only barely supported a constitutional monarchy.

4) No conflict with Japan. Offer them Port Arthur and a share of a sphere of influence in Manchuria in exchange for an alliance.
Completely agreed.

5) Engage in trying to turn Germany against Austria, but to also keep options open for friendly relations with France and Britain should Germany stick to Austria.
Completely agreed.

6) Emphasize not only industrial growth but also in infrastructure in terms of roads and rail networks. Much of what hurt Russia in WWI wasn't entirely the lack of industry, but that they didn't have the ability to get food to the cities and shells to the front at the same time. That's what fueled the initial stages of the revolution. Improved industry might give the army greater ability early on and greater road and rail links would allow the economy to avoid the tie ups that had their infrastructure divided in history.
Completely agreed; indeed, this is what Pyotr Durnovo warned Nicholas II about in early 1914 in real life!

7) Try to remain "neutral" in the start of WWI, but not to the point of abandoning Serbia or France. So... more Nicky-Willy letters.
Completely agreed; indeed, the best time for Russia to go to war would probably be in 1916-1917--specifically right before Russia's Great Military Program is completed.

8) If the war does come, don't take direct control of the army. Let Grand Duke Nicholas retain that post.
Actually, I would give that job to someone who has more talents than Grand Duke Nicholas; indeed, perhaps Alexei Brusilov would be interested in this job. :)
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#32
!.) Don't marry Alexandra. She responded coolly to his initial interest and had Nicholas had more self confidence he would have found a mentally stable bride. Also, had Nicholas not married Alexandra, chances are his children would not be at risk for haemophilia, as it was not previously in the Romanov line. No haemophilia, no Rasputin. Solve two problems simultaneously by not marrying Alexandra.
Completely agreed.

2.) Avoid war with Japan. Let Japan control Korea and be content with Port Arthur.
Completely agreed.

3.) Modernize Russia. Hire foreign experts to modernize its industry, military, and agricultural production. Peter the Great showed that turning to the West does not spell catastrophe for Russia.
Completely agreed.

4.) Allow a Duma to be formed. Give the people at least some semblance of a say in affairs. Nicholas could have turned to the example of Octavian from ancient Rome--keep supreme power for yourself but give the illusion that the people have some power.
Completely agreed; indeed, do this in 1894-1895 rather than in 1905-1906. :)

5.) Allow, heck even encourage, factory workers to collectively bargain. By listening to your subjects and making conditions safer and better for them, he takes away the communists main talking point--that the Tsar is woefully out of touch with the peasantry.
Completely agreed; plus, allow the voices of factory workers and peasants to be heard in the Russian Duma as to better understand their complaints. :)

6.) Let your generals run the war.
That might only work if promotions in the Russian Army are based on merit rather than on royal or noble status, though.

And whatever you do...under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever do you open fire on Russian women protesting for bread.
Completely agreed.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#33
Of the original post, I'd strongly advise against an *aggressive* war with the Ottoman Turks, at least beyond, say Armenia. A limited alliance with Persia, otoh, very much to be desired.
Would Persia actually agree to such an alliance, though?

TTL, the Nicky/Alix marriage seems to have been bad for both parties - certainly for Nicholas. If you can invoke enough self awareness and control, go for someone else.
Completely agreed.
 
Dec 2011
4,265
Iowa USA
#34
George would probably be an incapable Tsar due to his tuberculosis, though.
Didn't George pass before he was 35 years old?

Then if he didn't have a son (I haven't looked it up... but for some reason think he did not), viola (!) another crisis of succession.

To re-state my train of thought from months ago: I think this thread does boil down to a bit psychological reconstruction. The one "fact" that is generally accepted is that Nicholas' marriage to Alix provided him with personal happiness. As the marriage was an arranged match for the Tsar, not necessarily (and perhaps emphatically not) for Nicholas as a non-sovereign, wouldn't he have been "sort of overtaken" with the anticipation of beginning life with Alix in this phase of life?

So I'll punt with this, I would have enjoyed the wonderful springtime years of marriage with Alix and muddle as best I could with "the career".
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#35
Didn't George pass before he was 35 years old?
Yes--in fact, before he was even 30 years old!

Then if he didn't have a son (I haven't looked it up... but for some reason think he did not), viola (!) another crisis of succession.
Michael gets the Russian throne after George's death (or abdication) in such a scenario.

To re-state my train of thought from months ago: I think this thread does boil down to a bit psychological reconstruction. The one "fact" that is generally accepted is that Nicholas' marriage to Alix provided him with personal happiness. As the marriage was an arranged match for the Tsar, not necessarily (and perhaps emphatically not) for Nicholas as a non-sovereign, wouldn't he have been "sort of overtaken" with the anticipation of beginning life with Alix in this phase of life?

So I'll punt with this, I would have enjoyed the wonderful springtime years of marriage with Alix and muddle as best I could with "the career".
What about the hemophilia gene and Alix's propensity to bring in mystics into your household, though?
 
Dec 2011
4,265
Iowa USA
#38
What if I'm not into adventures, though?
My point was to "walk away" from the destiny to be Tsar was also to walk away from the woman that made him happy.

I didn't want to get into armchair psychology of Nicholas, and am more reticent to get into armchair psychology about the people posting here. :)
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,735
At present SD, USA
#39
There's also the hemophilia gene to consider, though.
That's going to be a risk regardless. I think Nicholas was related to Victoria as well, which would mean that that gene was going to have the potential to be there anyway.

Please keep in mind that Alexandra can bring a different mystic into your household if you send Rasputin away, though.
She might... but then, how many Russian mystics that doubled as drunks and womanizers with a habit to interfere on political matters that proved to be counter-productive?

Her turning to mystics wasn't necessarily the problem, as just about every leader has some story of turning to mystics for some reason or another. The problem was that Rasputin's reputation was well known outside the palace as being something closer to a drunken lout than the holy man persona that Alexandra saw. Her inability to see the problems that Rasputin presented... and the ultimate fact that Nicholas was so permissive of his wife in history that ultimately, SHE was the one wearing the pants in the relationship, which let Rasputin gain much unneeded influence.

I'm fine with Nicholas loving Alexandra. What goes on between two people in their personal lives is THEIR business. But Nicholas let his love blind him to both reason and many of the policies he supported to some extent. It's why, that if I were in Nicholas's position... it would come to a, "I love you Alex, but I am the Tsar, not you. And Russia will function/reform on how I see it. Not yours."

Completely agreed; also, though, for the record, Nicholas only barely supported a constitutional monarchy.
Barely is better than nothing... and historically, many of Nicholas's actions at first were leading Russia toward a Constitutional Monarchy. It was his inability to separate his personal relationship with Alexandra from his political relationship with his ministers, and thus giving Alexandra far more influence at court that proved troublesome and ultimately stopped all the initial reforms cold...

A more decisive Nicholas who would separate his personal and political lives would not be so easily lead into trouble.

Completely agreed; indeed, this is what Pyotr Durnovo warned Nicholas II about in early 1914 in real life!

It's the thing that would make sense, particularly if a major European war comes...

Completely agreed; indeed, the best time for Russia to go to war would probably be in 1916-1917--specifically right before Russia's Great Military Program is completed.
The best time and time it arrives will always have the potential to cause trouble as they won't always be at the same time. Trying to negotiate with Austria through Germany might serve to buy time... but at the same time, Russia couldn't get away from its treaty obligations.

Actually, I would give that job to someone who has more talents than Grand Duke Nicholas; indeed, perhaps Alexei Brusilov would be interested in this job. :)
The Grand Duke may not have been the best, but many on the Central Powers side did have some respect for him and he did have more direct military sense than Nicholas did. Brusilov would serve well as a local front commander and would give the Russian army effective front command.
 
Dec 2011
4,265
Iowa USA
#40
I'm fine with Nicholas loving Alexandra. What goes on between two people in their personal lives is THEIR business. But Nicholas let his love blind him to both reason and many of the policies he supported to some extent. It's why, that if I were in Nicholas's position... it would come to a, "I love you Alex, but I am the Tsar, not you. And Russia will function/reform on how I see it. Not yours."

The thread is bound to end up in psychology, and ... for some reason both you and I have done more revealing of ourselves with the bit I quoted here and my previous post than actual speculative history!

You didn't have Nicholas' childhood (neither did I!) so that's where I think the thread should be allowed to "dry up". My opinion of course.
 

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