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July 17, 1918, 1: 30 a. m. You have just been awakened from a deep sleep after a normal day (or as normal as a day can be in your situation), and you wonder what all this could possibly be about. Unassuming, and hoping for the best you think, "This must be good news, after all, what can be worse than what they " ve done to us already?" They " ve taken your whole life away in a matter of months. Once a proud member of the imperial family, living a life sheltered from all the evils of the world, now you live in a small house in Ekaterinkburg, Siberia, with nothing more than the members of your family, a dog, a cook, a doctor, and a maid. And of course, a houseful of drunken Bolshevik soldiers, watching you every second, even when you need to use the lavatory.
Even worse, night after night, they put everyone in your family in one room, and rape you one at a time, and force everyone to watch (Lovell 351). So when you are pulled out of bed and given half an hour to dress and wash, you are strangely happy when you are given a reason for all this mayhem. "Unrest in the city required that they immediately dress and prepare to be moved to the safety of the sub-basement, " is what was told to your doctor, Dr. Botkin, by the soldier in charge, Yurovsky, and what Dr. Botkin relays to you (Lovell 53). When eventually the whole family is in the basement, and you think all is well, Yurovsky says to you, "In view of the fact that [your] relatives continued their offensive against Soviet Russia, the Executive Committee of the Urals Soviet [has] decided to shoot [you]" (Lovell 55) A Bolshevik firing squad enters the small room and reigns bullets on everyone.
Now put yourself in another situation. It is December 11, 1792. You have ruled a great nation for many years, and have gone through many changes. On this particular day it is made clear that you no longer rule your country, and that a great mass of people with different ideas and political philosophies have taken over. Not only have they taken over, they have the fate of your life resting in their hands. At your trial, although you have an excellent lawyer, you end up being found guilty as charged of "conspiring against the people of France and [are] sentenced to death by the guillotine. " On that ill-fated day, you are escorted to the guillotine, and arrive there at about 10: 00 a.
m. You try to defend yourself, and say "I die innocent. I pardon my enemies and I hope that my blood will be useful to the French, that it will appease God's anger. " (Louis XVI, as quoted in Connelly and Hebrew), and you are cut short as the drums roll and the shiny blade slices your neck. (web trial. htm) Were these two terrifying situations really necessary? Did the Romanov family have to be put through such torture during the Russian Revolution in 1917 - 1918? And what about King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution of 1789?
Though there were many reasons that both events occurred, was it absolutely necessary for the ruling monarchs to be executed? Was the abdication of Czar Nicholas II, and the trial of Louis XIV not enough, and they had to be murdered? No, these two terrible occurrences were not necessary. Not to say that the actual revolutions themselves were unnecessary, when in fact they were, but the deaths of the former autocrats were not. They were not performed because the majority of the people in the country felt it was the right thing to do. In Russia, the people had a long history of political assassinations, and they began to become more of a common place activity than a last resort like executions are normally thought of as being.
Although times were not peachy keen during the Russian Revolution, and there were many reasons for unhappiness, a portion of the "logic" behind the death's of the Romanov's was based on false accusations and unclear situations, such as Bloody Sunday, the personal lives of the members of the imperial family (mostly Czarina Alexandra), and the so-called "Mad Monk" Rasputin. This was also the case in the French Revolution, in which hatred of the monarch and his wife were not based solely (though largely) on domestic problems, but on the personality of Marie Antoinette. Also, a primary reason of the execution of Louis XIV was to instill fear disguised as nationalism, and was used as a contest between revolutionaries to see who would take over the country. Plus, afterwards, although there were many changes in both countries, neither one was happy (in fact, some felt worse off), and the executions which were supposed to solve everything, indeed solved nothing. Most people, or should I say, most Americans (because in some countries, such as Japan, suicide is often seen as an honorable and acceptable way to solve problems when you feel you are at the end of your rope), view people who commit suicides as cowards. Very rarely are they looked at as victims of a cruel world, because they are totally in control of themselves, and could have used a multitude of different ways to solve their problem.
This is similar to someone killing an important person in their country because they dont want to try other ways of resolving disputes, or they feel the problem is just to great, and the only way to fix it is to start from scratch (the Nihilist view), and not because they absolutely have to. Over the course of Russian history, one begins to see the execution of political figures happening more and more frequently (and unsuccessful assassination attempts even more often), and can only logically conclude that they were done less and less out of necessity and more and more because they seemed like the easy way out. The trend of political assassination in Russia began in 1878, when a revolutionary was jailed and "flogged", and a Nihilist girl was offended and "decided to avenge this insult and ambushed the general in his anteroom. When he appeared, she took a revolver out of her muff and fired but only wounded him. " (Hingley 31). This incident sparked a new theory of "if you kill enough people, the whole system will go under. " The People's Will emerged from this theory, and it dedicated itself to executing the czar. Their leader, A.
I. Zhelyabov, speaking on the goal of the radical group, was quoted as saying, "It is our task to free the nation from the yoke of the existing government, to carry out political revolution, and to hand over supreme power to the people. " (De Wilde 1). This statement sounds like logical thinking when one is feeling oppressed, however the only way they reached for their goal was to assassinate the czar, Alexander II. In 1879, they planted explosives along the track on which his train was supposed to be traveling, and none of the bombs fulfilled their purpose (Hingley 31).
They tried again, a year later, this time placing the bomb in the Czar's palace, and their attempt, once again, failed (Hingley 31). On March, 1, 1881, they finally 'succeeded', and Czar Alexander II was no more, although success was only bittersweet because his son, Alexander III only ended up abolishing all his father's reforms, and "quickly stamped out any revolutionary groups, including the People's Will. " (De Wilde 2) Twenty years later, in 1901, the Minister of Education was shot and killed, and only three years later, two Ministers of the Interior were also assassinated. After the revolution of 1905, the trend of assassination grew stronger. In 1906 - 1907 alone, over 4, 000 people of all ranks of government were murdered by terrorists (Hingley 55). This way of ridding the country of people who stood in someone's way was not limited to revolutionaries, illustrated by Prince Felix Yusupov and others in their attempt, and eventual success of murdering the not-so-willing-to-die Rasputin. Unclear situations and events, the personal lives of the Romanov's, and the controversial role of Gregory Rasputin, all led to the death of the imperial family.
Although each of these things when taken at a glance seem to give good reason for the distrust and hatred of the Romanov's, but when examined more closely, it is evident that most of the "reasons" were rumors and lies, or simply misunderstood, and are absolutely no reason for disliking someone, and definitely no reason for murdering them. One situation that led to many revolts, and intense dislike for the Czar was one in which he had little to no control over. In 1904, the Russian police had given Father Gregory Gapon money and permission to begin an organization called the "Assembly of Russian Factory Workers. " When members of the Assembly were fired from the Putilov factory in December, 1904 without explanation, the result was a "city-wide general strike in January 1905 ", and the decision for the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers to "organize a mass march on the Winter Palace with a petition for Czar Nicholas. " (Zelnik 214) This "petition included a demand for a constitution, but its style was humble, and the general mood of the march[when it occurred on January 9, 1905 ] was more suitable for a picnic than for a revolution. They had their wives and children with them, and carried portraits of the Tsar and icons as a sign that they were still loyal to Nicholas and to the Church. " (Hingley 49) The peaceful procession ended up failing because protesters did not stay behind police barriers when ordered to do so, and the troops in the area open fired on the crowd, killing over 100 people. It was the responsibility of the Minister of the Interior and the police to control the masses of people, and they had failed to do so. The Czar had no involvement in the events of that day, which came to be called Bloody Sunday, seeing as that he was not at the palace at the time and had no way of communicating with those in charge.
Nevertheless, "it was the mild and well-meaning Nicholas himself who received most of the blame and even the nickname Nicholas the Bloody. " (Hingley 51). The people's feelings towards Czarina Alexandra were those of unfamiliarity, scorn, and dislike because of her personal life, which very few people knew about. The Czarina had been a German princess, which already started her off on the wrong foot with the Russian civilians. Her pronounced interest in mystics and the like were looked at as tying her even more closely to her German heritage. Her mother-in-law, Dowager Empress Marie, hated her, and...
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