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Sunday 30 August 2009

Russia, Land of the Tsars

Over the past couple of days I watched this programme again and began being enthralled by the amount of information in it, primarily because I know little about the Tsars prior to Alexander II, and am fascinated by Catherine the Great. However, tonight I watched the episodes from Alexander II onwards and was utterly appalled.

The arrogance of professors, filled with book learning and no understanding whatsoever of humanity or psychology, making such pronouncements as, "Nicholas didn't care about his people. He liked to spend his time boating and playing with his family" (accompanied by the beautiful footage of Nicky's daughters dancing on The Standardt.). He didn't care about his people??? The Tsar who, following the Khodinka tragedy paid for the burial of the victims out of his own money....the Tsar who worked tirelessly every day, meeting delegations, meeting ministers, trying to the the best for his people....the Tsar who would not turn his troops on his own people and abdicated to avoid civil war?? How I despise the way that a few letters after one's name or a position in a university or few published books allows someone to suddenly become an authority on the life of someone with whom they clearly have no empathy or understanding whatsoever. In describing Alexander III's reactionism and oppressive measures, there was a complete failure to grasp his experience of his father's views of a constitutional monarchy and his assassination. Would any of those professors who choose to label him simply as a tyrant have behaved any differently had they lived through several assassination attempts, seen their father try to bridge that gap between the distant Tsar and the people, only to be murdered by people who did not want any kind of conversation, but only to be in that position of power themselves?

It is interesting that the revolutionaries were not the poor, the 'oppressed', the people really struggling to survive. Those people actually loved the Tsar. The leaders of the revolution were intellectuals and people who had an education and who had a relatively privileged background. They didn't give a damn about 'the poor' any more than socialists today give a damn about the poor. They cared only for achieving their own position of power and manipulated the masses to appear as saviours...only to enslave them to something worse. Plus ca change.....

It was a time when the world was changing dramatically and it was very difficult for kings and tsars to adjust. Alexander II was a brilliantly wise man, in my opinion, and they blew him to bits because they knew that his reforms would help people. That wasn't what the revolutionary intellectuals wanted. They wanted people to believe they were oppressed so that they (the intellectual/envious ones) could rule instead. Jealousy and greed - nothing more. How dare someone sit in a lovely college room and say - while understanding nothing! - Nicholas didn't care about his people!!!

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