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Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:15 AM

Looking at History: Trump and Tsar Nicholas II

"[The Russian Empire] was ruled from the top by a sovereign who had but one idea of government—to preserve intact the absolute monarchy bequeathed to him by his father—and who, lacking the intellect, energy or training for his job, fell back on personal favorites, whim, simple mulishness, and other devices of the empty-headed autocrat . . . the impression of imperturbability he conveyed was in reality apathy—the indifference of a mind so shallow as to be all surface. When a telegram was brought to him announcing the annihilation of the Russian fleet at Tsushima, he read it, stuffed it in his pocket, and went on playing tennis."

- Historian Barbara Tuchman on Nichloas II, last Tsar of Russia

Remind you of anyone?"

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Looking at History: Trump and Tsar Nicholas II (Original post)
ChicagoRonin Sep 4 OP
virgogal Sep 4 #1
empedocles Sep 4 #2
Kingofalldems Sep 4 #9
Phoenix61 Sep 4 #3
ChicagoRonin Sep 4 #4
LeftInTX Sep 4 #5
Xolodno Sep 4 #6
Retrograde Sep 4 #11
Xolodno Sep 4 #14
smirkymonkey Sep 4 #7
Tommy_Carcetti Sep 4 #8
WhiskeyGrinder Sep 4 #10
BlueMississippi Sep 4 #12
JI7 Sep 4 #13

Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:21 AM

1. Yeah,Kim Jong un.

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Response to virgogal (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:26 AM

2. Nice one.

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Response to virgogal (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 12:54 PM

9. And Donald Trump

Fixed it for you.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:26 AM

3. He was nothing like Twitler.

His father died young so he did not have the opportunity to teach his young son the duties of his position. Add to that the world was changing as the desire for democracy spread.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:33 AM

4. I dunno

He was shallow, privileged, spoiled, sheltered and thoroughly unsuited for leadership. That seems to make for a number of common points.

On the other hand, based on what I've read, he genuinely seemed to love his family and was loved back in return. And I think he truly loved his country, despite not really understanding what it needed.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:33 AM

5. I believe Nicholas served with the military

This actually worked against him because he was not running the country. (Damned if you do, damned if you don't)

I recently watched a documentary about the Romanovs. They were pretty much doomed after the French Revolution. Russia was backwards and the French Revolution left the Tsars shell shocked. With limited infrastructure and a peasant economy, the Tsars didn't know how to deal with the public. They spent 100 years trying to prevent a revolution.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 11:59 AM

6. I don't think you can make the same comparison.

Alexander I was instituting reforms and had he not been assassinated, probably would have prevented the Russian Revolution. Ironically, he was assassinated by people who didn't think he was instituting the reforms fast enough. (One could argue the Secret Police were either woefully inept or knew about the plot and allowed it to happen, but that's another debate).

The result was Alexander II (and his son Nicholas II) turning away from and reversing the reforms. And then, cracking down on all reformers.

Where you could make a comparison, is the level of corruption. One of the reasons the Russian Army was woefully ill prepared for WWI was due to a Russian Noble who was in charge of managing it. When the Tsar inquired about upgrading and modernizing the army, he stated the army did not need to be. But just so happens, he had a major financial interest in keeping the army at the status quo, modernizing meant he would lose a significant revenue stream.

Another example, the St. Petersburg bread riots. The lack of bread brought on the revolution....the irony, there was plenty of bread. It wasn't making it to the markets in time because of corrupt Nobles arguing over their share of the profits.

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Response to Xolodno (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 03:37 PM

11. Alexander II was assassinated

Alexander II was heading in the right direction - abolishing serfdom,for example - but didn't live to see most of his reforms put in place. His death was pretty gruesome, and he died in front of his son Alexander III and grandson Nicholas, which may have influenced their policies a tad. Alexander III was a reactionary and believer in the absolute power of the tsar; Nicholas II was more wishy-washy: he wanted to make Russia a modern power, but also wanted to be the ultimate decision maker.

Nicholas was 26 when he became tsar, young but not unheard of. He wasn't highly prepared for the job, but he did have access to his father's advisers, and Alexander III's death was not as sudden as AII's.

From what I've read of Russian history at this time, Nicholas may have been a decent person but he was way out of his league when it came to the Russian empire. And his wife didn't help any: she was sickly and ultra-religious, which made her seem isolated and aloof. Neither of them seemed capable of learning anything from the Revolution of 1905. Historian Helen Rappaport has written a number of books on Nicholas II and his family which are worth reading.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 04:00 PM

14. Correct.

I got the numbers wrong.

But there isn't any one reason that brought down the Tsar, it was a combination of massive corruption in the Nobility and Church and a Tsar who was inept and unwilling to see just how bad things got.

But that's how empires usually fall. The inability to stop (or at least manage) corruption.

Reminds me of most of the GOP in Congress. Doing everything they can to enrich themselves while thinking the populace will just go along with it.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 12:24 PM

7. Nicholas II was apathetic, clueless and incompetent, but he wasn't evil or sociopathic.

In fact, he has been described as a kind man in person and devoted to his family. He was never mean or petty like Trump. Personality-wise, they are nothing alike.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 12:49 PM

8. While sometimes cruel and autocratic, at least there was a romanticism about the Romanovs.

Couldn't say the same about the Trumps.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 12:58 PM

10. Meh, there are better comparisons.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 03:41 PM

12. There have been many megalomaniac rulers,

many stupid leaders and many sociopathic leaders

But Trump is the only one throughout all history to be all three. No one comes even close.

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Response to ChicagoRonin (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 03:43 PM

13. bad comparison

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