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

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,860
SoCal
#41
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.
I don't think that Nicholas himself was a carrier of the hemophilia gene, though; indeed, can males even pass down the hemophilia gene?

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?
Good point.

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."
So, in other words, allow Alexandra to see however many mystics she wants but prevent both her and all of her mystics from having any say in how Russia is actually run?

Also, though, while the butterfly effect can change things, what exactly should I do if I will still marry Alexandra and still have only one son--a hemophiliac? Should I pressure Alexandra to agree to have more children with me? Should I change the Russian succession laws to allow my eldest daughter to succeed me (while probably pissing off my Romanov relatives by doing this)? Or should I simply strip Alexei from the line of succession due to his hemophilia and instead have my brother Michael become my heir?

Any thoughts on this?

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...
To a large extent, you are certainly correct; however, AFAIK, Nicholas only consented to the creation of a largely figurehead Duma in 1905-1906 due to the very real fear that he would otherwise lose his throne.

A more decisive Nicholas who would separate his personal and political lives would not be so easily lead into trouble.
Nicholas had his negative aspects even without Alexandra and Rasputin, though. For instance, was it Alexandra and/or Rasputin who encouraged Nicholas to go to war against Japan in 1904-1905?

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

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.
To my knowledge, though, Russia didn't actually have any treaty obligations towards Serbia; plus, based on what I have read in Margaret MacMillan's book "The war that ended peace : the road to 1914", Russia actually encouraged Serbian separatist activities in the pre-World War I years. Thus, a more forceful position on Russia's part in regards to this in the pre-WWI years might make Serbia and Serbian separatists in general more restrained--something that could certainly delay the outbreak of WWI for at least a couple of years. :)

The Grand Duke may not have been the best, but many on the Central Powers side did have some respect for him
Having your enemies have respect for you doesn't mean much if you can't win many battles, though. :(

and he did have more direct military sense than Nicholas did.
That's probably true for almost anyone, though.

Brusilov would serve well as a local front commander and would give the Russian army effective front command.
Where exactly? In the same location(s) that he served in real life?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,860
SoCal
#42
Also, allowing the Russian Duma to run domestic affairs during WWI would also probably be a good move; that way, if they screw up, they can get voted out in the next Duma elections and they, rather than you, will be blamed for this screw-up. :)
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,860
SoCal
#43
I'm bumping this thread because I don't want to create a separate thread for this question:

If I, as Russian Tsar Nicholas II, will decide to open Russia's doors wide open to American Blacks who are fleeing discrimination and Jim Crow as a way of teaching America a lesson about human rights, how many American Blacks are actually going to take me up on this offer?

I know that it's an extremely random question, but I just wanted to throw it out there.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,860
SoCal
#44
Also, here's a new response on my own part to the original question in this thread:

As for me, I would:

-Not marry Alexandra. I don't want to marry someone who carries the gene for hemophilia (or who is at risk of carrying this gene, given 19th century medical knowledge).
-Immediately abolish the Pale of Settlement and various other forms of anti-Semitic discrimination. Also, encourage Jews to assimilate--for instance, by encouraging Jews to intermarry with Russians. Basically, I want to make Jews feel like they are a part of the larger Russian community--except with a different religion.
-Listen to smart people such as Sergei Witte in regards to economic policy. Also, continue to industrialize the country (Russia) as quickly as possible.
-Militarily intervene in Ottoman Armenia in the mid-1890s to stop the Hamidian massacres while publicly declaring that Russia is only interested in Ottoman Armenia and Trebizond and has no desire to capture the Straits in this war. Also, hope that this is enough to deter any of the other Great Powers from militarily intervening in this conflict against Russia.
-Look for easy opportunities for territorial expansion by making deals with various other powers. For instance, let Japan acquire some or all of Korea in exchange for a Russian free hand in Manchuria, Mongolia, and Xinjiang. I would especially like to annex Mongolia (including Inner Mongolia) and Xinjiang (Manchuria probably already has too many Chinese people for me to annex it). Also, offer to partition Afghanistan and Persia with Britain and publicly declare that Russia has no interest in British India since Russia only wants sparsely populated living space and not territories with an extremely massive population.
-Seek an agreement with Austria-Hungary over the Balkans. The Balkans are not worth a world war. Also, as much as I want to dismantle Austria-Hungary, I don't want to risk getting overthrown for this--and that is what might happen if I fight A-H and Germany militarily intervenes.
-Keep the alliance with France for security reasons and also to increase the odds of getting a lot of loans from France which could be used to help further develop and industrialize Russia.
-Focus a lot on railroad building and on things such as spreading electricity and modern technology throughout Russia. For instance, it would be extremely great if most rural peasants in Russia had electricity in their houses.
-Create a Duma (parliament) and work with it to improve the lives of the peasants (through things such as land reform) as well as the lives of the urban working class (for instance, by improving living conditions in the cities and by improving conditions in the factories). Also, nominally retain a lot of power for myself but let the Duma make a lot of the big decisions in regards to domestic policy. I would like a free hand in regards to foreign policy in order to try further expanding Russia, though.
-I was flirting with this but I'm not really sure about this--let any African-American who isn't a criminal and who wants to come to Russia do so. This would send a powerful symbolic message against the U.S.'s treatment of African-Americans and would bode well with my other humanitarian policies such as ending the Pale of Settlement and ending anti-Semitic discrimination.
-Implement universal suffrage in Russia in order to create a Duma which is actually representative of the wishes of the Russian people.
-Tell Serbia and Serbian government officials not to support or sponsor any terrorists. Also, tell Serbia that it is on its own if Austria-Hungary attacks it after a terrorist attack.
-Recruit skilled immigrants from all over the world to help Russia and the Russian economy develop.
-Aggressively encourage settlement and economic development in the eastern and southern parts of Russia in the hopes of making those regions much more prosperous, populous, and dynamic.

Anyway, what exactly am I missing here? Also, how exactly does all of this sound?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,351
Sydney
#45
Get efficient ministers and generals
push for a massive industrialization
cuddle up to the bourgeoisy
set up the Douma without being forced into it and let them take the blame for any unpleasantness
talk reforms big but proceed with some care

collaborate with Japan on a sensible sharing of territorial influence in the Far East

war with the Prussian empire is probably unavoidable
keep the Franco-Russian alliance
act in a friendly manner with your English relatives

Rasputin didn't exist politically , leave him there
 
Sep 2012
3,748
Bulgaria
#46
Females are extremely unlikely to get hemophilia, they are carriers, carry and pass the gene that causes the disease, but are not affected by it. On the other hand males are affected by the this blood disorder. Alexei got his hemophilia from his mother Alexandra, she was carrier of this royal disease, his brother and his uncle suffered from it. By removing this royal from the picture we automatically remove also Rasputin problem and get simultaneously healthy male heir to the crown.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2017
2,806
Connecticut
#47
Honestly these POV threads are a good idea lot of room for creativity because it just requires us inherently flawed posters to say what they'd do and then we can all scrutinize each other.

I'm not Nicholas don't have his personal motivations to marry Alexandra, can't really speak to how strong a factor that would be so I'll ignore that issue because it's not that important since I do not consider his sons health issues/Rasputin etc and all that stemmed from this to have been a mortal wound to his reign.

I would not go to war with Japan. I would concede whatever they wanted rather than suffer the military, PR and political embarrassment. The result would be I wouldn't need to form the Duma but I'd do it anyway as an appeasement measure and focus more on structuring it favorably to royal power and interests rather than retaining the authority to dissolve it. I'd follow the German model of giving the Duma real but limited powers that would leave the monarch with the near absolute power to do the things that don't concern day to day people like foreign policy etc and a Duma structured so using those powers in a way to oppose the Tsar's interests would be difficult. For example in Germany making it difficult for disruption parties to achieve a majority and allowing for disproportionate representation of Allies. The US system where the monarch could veto legislation that would require 2/3's of the vote override would be an incredibly favor the Tsar especially if the Duma's authority was limited to authorizing spending measures. Yet this would still give the people perception somewhat real somewhat imagined that they had a say.

I would not align with the French as this in OTL forced the Germans into viewing the actions of Russia as actions of France. This combined with trying to wedge a gap diplomatically between the Kaiser and Hapsburgs could hopefully prevent Wilhelm's "blank check". The Three Emperors League would be dead at this point but with Russia's manpower alliances honestly hurt her more than help her because Russia's main enemy the Austrians are militarily inferior individually and drawing other parties into Russia's conflicts except for the Ottomans is inherently against Russian interests. So my main focus would be preventing the Wilhelm from getting involved in Russian affairs and to do this I would have a two tier strategy where we would in turn have to not get involved with German ones while at the same time building deterrence. To this end I would copy Kaiser Wilhelm's naval program to the best of my ability and look to improve relations with the neutral UK rather than the inherently anti German French. The increase in naval spending combined with half my fleet not being on the bottom of the Pacific would be a deterrent to the Germans from involving Russia in conflict as the prospect of fighting two major navies at once would be seen as not worth the difficulty. This works hand in hand with the build up as the build up would force Germany to violate the two power standard and Germany would get all the blame for this as the German fleet would be perceived as being built to counter the UK while the Russian fleet would be perceived as being built to counter Germany allowing Russia to build up naval strength, while pushing the diplomatic consequences for that buildup onto the Germans . This strategy would put Russia at a huge advantage in the naval arms race. As a land power Germany would not view this buildup as a fundamental threat either allowing me to play the two against each other while appeasing both.

Since we've established I will not be making an alliance with France since France is the only power with a vested interest in war rather than peace. I will be trying to appease everyone else except Austria and the Ottoman Empire the two main targets of future Russia military goals. So I will be de escalating conflicts with the UK and Japan in order to focus my attention on the weaker links. In terms of Japan this will consist of appeasement of everything the Japanese could want. I would move my entire navy to the black sea and to the Baltic in line with my new priorities as the Russo-Japanese war in our timeline demonstrated what a disaster splitting the Russian fleet could be. I will allow the Russian army, Russia's harsh terrain and Russia's superior numerical strength to serve as a deterrent rather than a navy that can't hope to stand against Japan's consolidated force. I will also promote a strong economic relationship with the Japanese trading natural resources for assistance with industrialization. I would end up siding with the Japanese, German and UK spheres of influence in China at the expense of the US and French spheres since the US at this point is not militarily active and the Japanese, UK and Germany are the ones in the area. I will withdraw from China if necessary. This goes doubly for the conflict in India where I will concede the Great Game in it's entirety to the UK and try to negotiate their tolerance of the seizure of Constantinople.

Instead of aligning with the French I will work to destroy the Triple Alliance by aligning with the Italians whose main enemies are the Austrians making the Alliance not make sense. With Bismarck gone I can pull the Italians away from the Alliance. This can also help draw a wedge between the Germans and Austrians who instead of picking between Austria and Russia will be picking between Austria versus Italy and Russia which given Italy's proximity to France and Germany's superiority to Austria is a position to strength. I think this would be the easiest part since this might be the clearest example of "enemies of my enemy is my friend" in all of Europe". Italy's navy could also be a huge help in subduing the Ottomans and discouraging any other international intervention in the veign of Crimea.

In terms of the Ottomans and Austrians I will take the opposite approach. In our timeline, part of what led to the war was the belief Russia would back down due to them doing this in the past when Austria annexed Bosnia and the Tsar being far more steadfast in 1914 than in 1908. I would not make this fatal mistake and would commit everything in the 1908 crisis which combined with me being allies with France and my appeasement of the others powers I hope will lead to a localized conflict with the Austrians. I will use the Balkan wars as cover to seize Constantinople. I will be gambling France with her demographic issues and the UK paranoid over German naval buildup. Also if Austria is prevented from seizing Bosnia the whole Franz Ferdinand scenario from 1914 is avoided and so is WWI given that France remains isolated. Given Franz Ferdinand's idea's of a triple monarchy I will buy time until Franz Josef is dead before making allowing the puppets in the region to make further news. further


In terms of domestic policy, the Tsar's regime fell because of the war. My main priority would be stopping the war and as Europe moved to more and more constitutional monarchy moving with them but intentionally at the slowest pace as to not cede more power than necessary. I would hope the seizure of Constantinople and the existence of fruitful economic relationships will allow Russia to industrialize. Without the demographic issues caused by WWII Russia also would have a massive population and I don't think much else would be necessary. I believe all the appeasement above would be very worth it for Russia in the long term as opposed to the decades of instability conflict and death that led to it's current fate as the ghost of the great powers as a product of taking provocative stances and enabling France to destabilize the region to maintain her power. Ironically in our timeline the result of Russia enabling France's destructive demographic paranoia is Russia being in the same situation while France enjoys among the healthiest demographic growth in Europe.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,770
At present SD, USA
#48
I don't think that Nicholas himself was a carrier of the hemophilia gene, though; indeed, can males even pass down the hemophilia gene?
That I'm not sure on... but both he and Alexandra were related to Victoria by blood, and as such that threat would be there regardless.

So, in other words, allow Alexandra to see however many mystics she wants but prevent both her and all of her mystics from having any say in how Russia is actually run?
Yes. For while Rasputin may have been problematic by his own actions, it should be noted that the bulk of the problems that he presented was really that he got POLITICAL power/influence as a result of his connections to Alexandra, and it is THAT that drove issues that would lead to Rasputin's eventual murder. Had he not gotten that power/influence over the affairs of state, all he would have been was a oddity that could be overlooked.

Also, though, while the butterfly effect can change things, what exactly should I do if I will still marry Alexandra and still have only one son--a hemophiliac? Should I pressure Alexandra to agree to have more children with me? Should I change the Russian succession laws to allow my eldest daughter to succeed me (while probably pissing off my Romanov relatives by doing this)? Or should I simply strip Alexei from the line of succession due to his hemophilia and instead have my brother Michael become my heir?
Love is an emotion, and I really can't blame Nicholas for who he fell in love with. Alexandra may have personally leaned more towards autocracy than Nicholas did personally, but that doesn't change the fact that their relationship was a loving one. Changing the succession laws to allow the oldest child, even it happened to be a female might be practical, but given that I'd personally favor a political shift that would favor an honest constitutional monarchy being formed in Russia, allowing Olga to become the heir would probably be too much for the Russian people at the time. In this, I'd probably favor turning the role of heir over to Michael on the basis that Alexei's condition would render him vulnerable and unlikely to reach adulthood anyway. So... BABY steps.

To a large extent, you are certainly correct; however, AFAIK, Nicholas only consented to the creation of a largely figurehead Duma in 1905-1906 due to the very real fear that he would otherwise lose his throne.
And in turn kept mutual distrust between Nicholas and the Duma. I'd favor a more honest acceptance of the Duma from an earlier stand point, even if the reforms meant a loss of autocratic power. It would stabilize confidence in the Tsar in a way that autocracy couldn't. For under an autocratic system, the instant Nicholas lost the ability to instill either fear or at least the ability to present himself as a strong figure... he lost, because the people didn't trust him and in the end assured the loss of his throne.

Nicholas had his negative aspects even without Alexandra and Rasputin, though. For instance, was it Alexandra and/or Rasputin who encouraged Nicholas to go to war against Japan in 1904-1905?
I'd agree that Nicholas wasn't without his own personal faults and that he made plenty of mistakes on his own, but the political influences that Alexandra and Rasputin had compounded the mistakes that Nicholas made on his own, which wouldn't make things better. That's where, I'd think that had Nicholas chose to move in the direction that he seemed to be more willing to accept at the start with a more constitutional system for the Russian monarchy, Nicholas's mistakes wouldn't have been as critical... or at least fewer in number, and the political influence that Alexandra and Rasputin would have gained would have been less.

To my knowledge, though, Russia didn't actually have any treaty obligations towards Serbia; plus, based on what I have read in Margaret MacMillan's book "The war that ended peace : the road to 1914", Russia actually encouraged Serbian separatist activities in the pre-World War I years. Thus, a more forceful position on Russia's part in regards to this in the pre-WWI years might make Serbia and Serbian separatists in general more restrained--something that could certainly delay the outbreak of WWI for at least a couple of years. :)
I haven't gotten to reading that book, yet... :(

But still... by that point, I'd think that things on the international stage were reaching a point where things were Russia really didn't have to many options where Russia could have fully avoided issues with Germany or Austria. Conflict was coming one way or another.

Having your enemies have respect for you doesn't mean much if you can't win many battles, though. :(
Perhaps, but then respect goes a long way. If you respect an opponent, you may focus on him more than is needed, which in the bigger picture could produce changes in other places. The Grand Duke may not have produced a great many major victories, if the Germans spend all their time worrying about him, the French and British might just capitalize on it in the west, or the Italians in the Alps, or the French and Serbs in Salonika.

Where exactly? In the same location(s) that he served in real life?
Brusilov served in the Galicia region that would lead to the advance into Austria in 1914 and lead to the capture of Przemysl in 1915 and the Russian advance in Galicia in 1916.... And by 1916, the advance might have had more success with the Grand Duke looking over the offensive rather than Nicholas II.
 

Similar History Discussions