The Romanov Dynasty lasted just over 300 years which by many standards was the longest reign by a single family in eastern Europe. Their kingdom expanded over the entire duration of their reign with the hereditary Czars acquiring areas much of what is known today as Ukraine, Crimea, The Baltic States: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, most of Poland, Belarus, Central Asia, Maritime Territory in the Pacific, and Russian America. This was an empire clearly built entirely on exploration and acquisition of what expanded and increased the Tsar’s power at that time. This was also the case for it’s economic resources and for it’s numerous peoples varying in looks, linguistical dialects, religious beliefs, and cultural traditions.
For the Romanovs this meant promoting awareness of the early periods of Christianity when it was introduced in the tenth century, and the Russian frontier town known today as the City of Moscow grew into a large sixteenth century kingdom that became the “Vserossiiskaia” or “All Russian Empire”. During the reign of Czar Nicholas the II the Romanov Family lived in two lavish palaces one of which was the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoeselo and Livadia Palace in Crimea near Yalta. Both places served as favorite country retreats to Czars Alexander II, Alexander III ,and Nicholas II and their families from 1860- 1917.The Romanov Dynasty to re-establish its legitimacy in it’s rich diversified culture building a sense of stability, prosperity, and a sense of pride.
During that time the display of great wealth surrounded the Romanov Family by how they lived in great opulence. What made them last as long as they did was how they incorporated themselves into bringing much of Russia into the age when technology improved itself such as the introduction of the Railroad System which also bore as a silent witness in Russian history when Czar Nicholas II signed the Instrument of Abdication when he abdicated the throne on March 2nd, 1917 to a country that was still trying to catch up with the rest of the world still relied primarily on horse and carriages and wagons to get one end of the country to the other.
With the railroad in place to open up isolated villages and towns outside of the perimeters of where the Royal Family had gone thus allowing trade and travel accessibility to develop in Russia. Tsar Alexander III ordered two additional trains to be constructed one for in country travel and one for travel outside of Russia. Much of the success that kept the Romanov Family in power for so long was how much economic power they gained through accquisition of land and their marriages to other wealthy nobles or royals in turn acumulating wealth in the form of land or other forms of inherited property. The land that was declared Royal property provided acres and acres of useable farm land that made much of the old days of Russia seem like it came and went very quietly. The strengths was making the entire country more functional where education was a top priority because it was becoming a valuable asset.
Catherine the Great utilized her education which helped her when she was crowned Czarina. It helped her to be a smart Queen who was well ahead of her time since most royals were educated just enough so they were privy to the life at court in preparation or “grooming” for life as a sovereign. Other things included was introducing automobiles in Russia when the mode of transportation for the past centuries was horse and buggy or horseback. The Czar and various members of the upper class were the ones to own automobiles since European aristocrats were acquiring a car called a Delauney-Belleville which was one of the first foreign made cars overseas before Ford became the primary auto maker and General Motors as the primary auto parts maker in the United States.
The Delauney-Belleville was a favorite with Czar Nicholas II since he owned several of these cars which look like the early form of the Ford Model T which back then was like a Bentley since the Ford Model T’s were cheaper than this car. This was the earliest form of luxury car that was slowly taking the privileged ahead leaving the poor and middle class commoners still riding around in carriages and horseback. Only nobility and royalty would be driving cars because these cars at the time weren’t cheap since they were made years before the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz in Europe. Because of the fact that Czar lived a privileged life he was able to privately own the first motorized vehicle in the history of the country and to bring the concept of driving to Russia.
This came at a time where cultural standards was still in the 19th century even though the time frame was the early 20th Century. The Czar and his family lead lives many Russians didn’t even know existed being able to see the world outside of Russia, connecting with other parts of the world. Many Russians were living from hand to mouth while the Romanov Family didn’t have a need or want for anything during their entire 300 year reign in Russia. The Czar was born in the Russian village of Tsarskoeselo came from humble beginnings and had lived a simple existence of sleeping on military cots and surviving on cold baths. Alexander the III was seeing this as a way to “toughen” up Nicholas having been born the oldest of 6 children to a Danish princess and a current reigning Czar. During Nicholas’ childhood his father felt in some sense that Nicholas was “too soft” and that was because he had a soft and loving personality that clearly defined his demeanor and character as a person.
Nicholas’s father wanted him to be tough for his future role as Czar which came within a few months when his father died in 1894 leaving Nicholas ill prepared and equipped to handle his new role and life of being the Czar of Russia and leaving no room for him to readjust his life and soon- to-be new husband since he was engaged at the same time to Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt who he married in the fall of 1894, she’s the granddaughter of Queen Victoria later producing 5 children(4 girls all holding the titles Grand Duchess and one son given the title of Tsarevich or basically “Crown Prince” and heir to the throne).
Nicholas relied heavily on advice to his functions as Czar from his wife who embraced the traditions of Russia’s autocratic rule and religious mysticism. Being Czar was the was the last thing Nicholas was worried about it was that he and his family was keeping a secret. The secret that Nicholas and everyone in the Romanov family and royal household was keeping was the heir of the throne of Russia was a hemophiliac, and that they didn’t want the people to know because they felt as if it would cause the public to lose faith in the Imperial regime. This was why Nicholas and Alexandra decided not to divulge anything about his illness to anyone outside the royal household. The health of the male heirs was incredibly important in order to keep the lineage of the royal family going for generations to come.
The Czar took to accepting the fact that Alexei would never recover from hemophilia since Queen Victoria’s other grandchildren had also inherited the disease from their parents so it was natural to why he and the Czarina were devastated that Alexei would be considered unfit to succeed his father as the next Czar by royal protocol when it came to line of succession being the only male heir of the current Czar and being in compliance with the decree under protocol making males the sole heir of the crown. The front the Czar and his family was putting up to protect Alexei was not going to last forever before eventually things spiraled out of control with the help of a so called “Holy Man”.
Introducing Grigory Rasputin to court was the biggest mistake ever made because it only fueled the dislike Russians had for Nicholas and his family. Rasputin came from the Tyumen district near Siberia far away from the glittering palaces in the Imperial Capital of St. Petersburg entered the monastery at 18. He was a radical in his own right because of his notorious reputation for poor hygiene since he barely, if any took a bath, drinking heavily and attending church and sexual orgies with equal devotion. He was originally summoned to court at the order of the Czarina to heal her son of his chronic bouts of bleeding. As time went on the Czarina began to rely heavily on Rasputin to be the person who alleviates her son’s suffering. Rasputin had made numerous attempts to ingratiate himself into the folds of the Royal Family. Rasputin’s incessant meddling came when members of the Romanov family had long disliked him interfering in their private lives and declined offers of spiritual help for their personal and marital issues.
Basically much of the Royal family wanted nothing to do with him for the fact that he was just plain annoying. The Czarina fervently defended the accusations people had made towards Rasputin because she believed in him so much and what he did to heal Alexei’s bleeding episodes, but yet she was naïve to a certain degree. She was going by her instinct when there was long talk of him that reached the folds of higher society. The isolated nature and remoteness of the Imperial Family drew a lot of assumptions and generalizations that strange things were occurring behind the gilded gates of the royal residences.
Alexandrina’s enemies gained pleasure out of seeing her name dragged through the mud over this while Rasputin made matters worse by flashing the expensive gifts ,personal messages, and bragging about the phone and personal calls he got from the Imperial Family. The Czarina asking for prayer many believed that he had some kind of control over the Czar and Czarina. Rasputin was kicking back enjoying the temporary self-seeking celebrity status at the expense of the Czar and Czarina and the rest of the Romanov royal family. Rasputin was pretty much a problem that couldn’t be gotten rid of since his influence almost backfired causing distress and conflict for other people. His unwelcome and unwanted advice eventually played a huge part in bringing down the Imperial Government. He was long rumored by higher society to be the secret lover of the Czarina which was never true just rumors being spread in conversations among other nobles and aristocrats.
Rasputin’s conniving nature cost many people their livelihoods, reputations, and self respect. Rumors also surfaced again later implicating Rasputin he had been also routinely seducing the Czarina, her 4 daughters, and a close friend of hers named Anne. Rasputin’s exact true purpose for his involvement with the royal family outside of him being brought to help heal Alexei is still being disputed by historians to this day. Historians feel that Rasputin was one of the key players in the collapse of the monarchy. If anything had Rasputin been dismissed a long time ago after all the things that had occurred the Royal family may have lived.
Nicholas’ only true desire was seeking the love of his people, and had he been left to his own devices he might as well have accepted the status as a monarch with the duties as a ceremonial figurehead and duties defined as constitutional and become a reformed Czar. This would have further redefined the Royal Family’s place to bring the rest of the country up with the rest of modern society and Europe. It wasn’t until the late part of 1917 when things started getting riled up from the Bolsheviks or “one of the majority” which was lead by Vladimir Lenin during the civil war of 1918-1920 secretly established in the village(now city) of Minsk in what is now the capital city of present day Belarus.
This was formed under the doctrines of the Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx. In logic Rasputin was just an accelerant to the collapse of the Russian Monarchy. The Mensheviks were dismayed at Russia’s involvement with the World War I, but few supported Nicholas II’s leadership in the government. In the end it was clear that the monarchy would never last past the early part of the 20th Century because the Czar wasn’t qualified enough to handle all the radical changes that Russia was going through along with corruption infiltrating the folds of aristocratic and royal society due in part of an ignorant, filthy uneducated monk who was purely driven by ego and by his own selfish needs since some thought he was a legitimate faith healer or just being a good actor. He was later killed at Yusepov Palace on December 30th, 1916 by Grand Duke Dimitry Palovich, a cousin of Czar Nicholas.
The question would be had a different Czar ruled Russia would the Romanov Family be able to survive all the changes the country went through from World War II to the Cold War lasting 30 years? In time when historians can figure out the answer to that question maybe people will have a better understanding of where the Romanov Family went wrong in their years as the longest single reigning family in Europe. Had Nicholas II been the effective ruler that he was meant to be the royal family would have lasted well into the new millennium with a newer more modern monarchy. Things would have been more established had the Czar been for the welfare of his people instead of being holed up in lavish palaces where they were barely seen and only spotted when waving from the balconies
The Czar would have been more attentive to the needs of the people and their concerns instead of keeping them at a distance like Nicholas did. He wanted the love of his people, but he wasn’t exactly reaching out to them either because he had everything he could ever want while his people barely had food to eat and decent clothing. The confliction of his father trying to toughen up his image as his successor was overridden with the fact that he was a caring person. If he stepped outside of his role as ruler of Russia those around him meaning other nobles and aristocrats would have critical of his conduct dealing with those who are not of the same rank especially the poor.
It was this that spawned other Royal Families in Europe to consider the needs of their people because if they didn’t they too would have faced similar uprisings the way the Romanov family faced with radicals establishing regimes to depose of the King or Queen. This is why today the current European monarchies are now under constitutional status. Instead of being holed up in the palace at all times waving to the people from balconies and outside of Royal business that takes the Czar and Czarina and or the entire family on the road. They could have been more attentive to the needs of the people instead of living a lifestyle of posh opulence and putting it on display. Today most royal figures have more hands on with the people of their country and are more involved in the concerns and needs of the people.
Had the Romanov Family kept the needs of their people and certain aspects of politics in prospective they would have still held the title of the single longest reigning family in nearly 400 years .In the early 1991 some amateur historians had discovered the shallow grave marked with a orthodox cross made from tree branches in a forest just outside the city of Ekanterinburg 850 miles from Moscow. The Romanovs were taken by the Bolsheviks and executed in the basement of the Ipatiev house which was later demolished. After the official exhumation of the bones and extensive testing since the bodies were beaten beyond recognition and washed in a solution of sulfuric acid to prevent any further attempts to recognize them.
The remains were later identified as the Romanov Family of Czar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandrina, their daughters Olga, Maria, Tatiana and several servants one which was their doctor since the remains of Anastasia and Alexei was never found. They got a sample of blood from HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh to extract DNA because his grandmother Victoria was the sister of the Czarina Alexandra, making him the great grandson of Queen Victoria and relation The question of Anastasia’s true identity and remaining alive after her family was brutally executed remained with a woman who claimed she was the long lost Grand Duchess until DNA tests revealed that she wasn’t related to the Romanov family. There was an article that appeared in the January 1993 issue of Vanity Fair written by Peter Kurth.
In the end the Romanov Family were way ahead of their time with the wealth, but way behind when it came to the needs of the people to whom they served and ruled over. Had the people been kept in consideration the family would have never had conspiracies made against them by nutty outsiders like Rasputin and people like Vladimir Lenin. It was a lack of judgement on the Czar and his family’s part because when they relied on outside help it only created problems. Had matters been kept within court maybe history could have been written differently, but who knows it could take another generation for that answer to come to light to close the book on this mystery of the Imperial Family of Russia.