The Second Patriotic War - An Alternate Russia TL

Is the TL good so far?

  • Nope, Bad Timeline

    Votes: 1 3.2%
  • Alright Timeline

    Votes: 6 19.4%
  • Its a Good Timeline

    Votes: 24 77.4%

  • Total voters
    31
Well, I'm glad there's some good and lively discussion, though do keep it civil. Anyways, I won't divulge what I plan to do. but what I will do is pretend that I have things planned to do.
 
If Russia stays neutral, then Germany is going to crush France effortlessly. If that were to happen, Russia is going to be the next target. Congratulations, you are basically in 1941.

I'm not preaching getting into conflict with Japan, but saving face and avoiding war in the Far East by partitioning Manchuria with Tokyo, snatching the northern parts while letting Japan feast with Korea and southern Manchuria. SUCH a move MAY alienate Britain, regardless of their empire's size (have you ever heard of the word "hypocrisy"?), but Britain could be appeased with concessions in other theaters, like a bigger area of influence in Persia, for example.

And why would Russia concede to Britain? To make London think that Germany is still the main threat.

The Polish are not going to stay nice with being pressed by the Czar for too long. Yeah, I believe re-inventing the wheel with the sole purpose of undermining Germany and A-H to be Moscow's top priority. It is going to provide Russia with a reliable allied-buffer state against any type of German invasion. If outright independence with an allied-status, like Canada and Britain today, is needed, then it is a good bargain.

You are greatly underestimating the danger posed by a competent Germany against any type of Russian state during the 20th century. The Russians are still felling the demographic aftermath due to the bloodbath even today. Any type of strategy that lets Russia isolated against Germany is a bad strategy.

Russia should pursue a very close alliance with Britain and France, but refrain from incentivizing Pan-Slavisms tendencies in the Balkans, a thing which would help to delay the war at least a couple years.
Your premise is anachronistic and has two major faults: (a) in the late XIX nobody knew about 1941 and (b) Imperial Germany was not an equivalent of the 3rd Reich in its policies and ideology. Which means that the people of that period did not and could no see situation that way. Neither are wwii and its demographic results relevant within the framework of this discussion.

An idea that Germany would inevitably attack France is also not something inevitable. The whole OTL Schliffen Plan was triggered by the Russian-French anti-German coalition. France on its own did not represent a clear danger to Germany and was more than once successfully intimidated without any fighting. Actually, there was already a suitable example: when in the mid-1870s Bismarck was considered a second war with France AII asked him and Wilhelm I not do do that and was quite successful because friendly relations with Russia were considered a top priority (anyway, it was quite obvious that at thus time Russia simply would not be able to go to war with Germany even if there was such an intention).

The whole Manchuria thingy does not make too much sense. Russia got all territory it actually needed (the last piece was Ussury area) and trade and railroad concessions in the Northern China had much more economic sense than annexation: Russia was getting income from East China Railroad with the minimal expenses needed for its exploitation and security. If and when needed the Russian troops always could be moved in to deal with a specific problem but an annexation would require much greater expenses and cause much greater problems.

An idea that Russia must make some concessions to Britain (which ones? There were no territorial disputes after border with Afghanistan was settled) to demonstrate that Germany is a greater danger to the British interests is a good example of absolutely unclear logic. Spheres of influence in Persia were defined in OTL (early XX) and hardly were “concession”. What Britain would consider a danger in each specific moment was defined by two main factors: (a) traditional paranoia (like fear of the non-existing Black Sea Fleet in the Med in 1878 or Russian invasion of India) and (b) objective factors (economic competition, naval buildup, etc.). Most of the British fears related to Russia belonged to group (a) and related to Germany to group (b). Why Russia should keep accommodating the British paranoia is really unclear because positive result was pretty much impossible. Firm and reasonable position proved to be more productive (as in the case of Afghanistan border).


As for the Poles, it is again, the case of unclear logic: to re-create autonomous Poland with all known problems with a sole purpose to create problems for Germany and AH. Sorry but it does not make sense: in the past Russia had a war with Kingdom of Poland and then a bloody uprising in autonomous Poland. AFAIK, neither Germany nor AH had anything on that level so your idea is not based on any historic experience.

Repeating time and again that Russia must join Britain and France against Germany does not add validity to the argument especially taking into an account that the British participation in such a war was anything but clear: the trigger was German attack on Belgium. With the Russian motivations for getting into such an alliance being dictated predominantly by the financial considerations and to a lesser degree by the Balkans-related idiocy, it was quite obvious that in the case of war Russia would be defending predominantly French and British interests suffering huge losses for nothing.

OTOH, close Russian-German relations would most probably make wwi impossible. An argument that Germany was afraid to become the Russian puppet does not stand to any criticism. It was well-known that Germany has the strongest army in Europe and its economy was bypassing British. Russian industrialization was developing in a high rate but Russian domestic needs had been huge and it could not become the German competitor on international market in any predictable future. OTOH, their structure of imports and exports would complement each other quite well. BTW, it was Witte’s expressed opinion that AIII with his firm policy of a strong pacifism kept Europe out of war.
 
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Your premise is anachronistic and has two major faults: (a) in the late XIX nobody knew about 1941 and (b) Imperial Germany was not an equivalent of the 3rd Reich in its policies and ideology. Which means that the people of that period did not and could no see situation that way. Neither are wwii and its demographic results relevant within the framework of this discussion.

An idea that Germany would inevitably attack France is also not something inevitable. The whole OTL Schliffen Plan was triggered by the Russian-French anti-German coalition. France on its own did not represent a clear danger to Germany and was more than once successfully intimidated without any fighting. Actually, there was already a suitable example: when in the mid-1870s Bismarck was considered a second war with France AII asked him and Wilhelm I not do do that and was quite successful because friendly relations with Russia were considered a top priority (anyway, it was quite obvious that at thus time Russia simply would not be able to go to war with Germany even if there was such an intention).

The whole Manchuria thingy does not make too much sense. Russia got all territory it actually needed (the last piece was Ussury area) and trade and railroad concessions in the Northern China had much more economic sense than annexation: Russia was getting income from East China Railroad with the minimal expenses needed for its exploitation and security. If and when needed the Russian troops always could be moved in to deal with a specific problem but an annexation would require much greater expenses and cause much greater problems.

An idea that Russia must make some concessions to Britain (which ones? There were no territorial disputes after border with Afghanistan was settled) to demonstrate that Germany is a greater danger to the British interests is a good example of absolutely unclear logic. Spheres of influence in Persia were defined in OTL (early XX) and hardly were “concession”. What Britain would consider a danger in each specific moment was defined by two main factors: (a) traditional paranoia (like fear of the non-existing Black Sea Fleet in the Med in 1878 or Russian invasion of India) and (b) objective factors (economic competition, naval buildup, etc.). Most of the British fears related to Russia belonged to group (a) and related to Germany to group (b). Why Russia should keep accommodating the British paranoia is really unclear because positive result was pretty much impossible. Firm and reasonable position proved to be more productive (as in the case of Afghanistan border).


As for the Poles, it is again, the case of unclear logic: to re-create autonomous Poland with all known problems with a sole purpose to create problems for Germany and AH. Sorry but it does not make sense: in the past Russia had a war with Kingdom of Poland and then a bloody uprising in autonomous Poland. AFAIK, neither Germany nor AH had anything on that level so your idea is not based on any historic experience.

Repeating time and again that Russia must join Britain and France against Germany does not add validity to the argument especially taking into an account that the British participation in such a war was anything but clear: the trigger was German attack on Belgium. With the Russian motivations for getting into such an alliance being dictated predominantly by the financial considerations and to a lesser degree by the Balkans-related idiocy, it was quite obvious that in the case of war Russia would be defending predominantly French and British interests suffering huge losses for nothing.

OTOH, close Russian-German relations would most probably make wwi impossible. An argument that Germany was afraid to become the Russian puppet does not stand to any criticism. It was well-known that Germany has the strongest army in Europe and its economy was bypassing British. Russian industrialization was developing in a high rate but Russian domestic needs had been huge and it could not become the German competitor on international market in any predictable future. OTOH, their structure of imports and exports would complement each other quite well. BTW, it was Witte’s expressed opinion that AIII with his firm policy of a strong pacifism kept Europe out of war.
Oh, please don't do this! Not here! I just came back from the "Was Britain Right to Enter WW1?" thread, and I gotta tell you, that kind of cancer is not something I want overtaking this one too. Let's just forget it, maybe post some kitten pics until the OP comes back.
 
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Oh, please don't do this! Not here! I just came back from the "Was Britain Right to Enter WW1?" thread, and I gotta tell you, that kind of cancer is not something I want overtaking this one too. Let's just forget it, maybe post some kitten pics until the OP comes back.
Please, don’t instruct me what I can post. Nobody forces you to “overtake” anything and it is just fine by me if you disagree with my point of view.

As a side notice, please refrain from using “f-words”: I’m not a prude but so far conversations there are on certain level of civility. Thanks for your cooperation.
 
Your premise is anachronistic and has two major faults: (a) in the late XIX nobody knew about 1941 and (b) Imperial Germany was not an equivalent of the 3rd Reich in its policies and ideology. Which means that the people of that period did not and could no see situation that way. Neither are wwii and its demographic results relevant within the framework of this discussion.
Yeah, it's absolutely anachronistic. I'm fully applying hindsight.

The bit about Manchuria was not about getting more territory, but about NOT going to war with Japan AND doing a saving face move. Partitioning Manchuria between Moscow and Tokyo is a good way to avoid the Russo-Japanese War and still not be perceived as weak, as letting all of Manchuria and Korea to Japan would've been seen. The territory is not that important, certainly much less important than avoiding the war and the revolutionary consequences of such a national humiliation.

About Poland, I simply don't see trying to hold up Poland in the long run as a good thing. If you give them autonomy or even outright independence as a monarchical concession instead of a rebellion achievement than you are managing to preserve the bit of good will the poles still have to Russia and to the Czar. What do you advise instead? Trying to keep Poland down indefinitely? This is only going to cost you blood, and you are probably still going to lose that piece of land in the long run. I better have them as an allied-buffer against A-H and Germany. Of course my idea isn't based in any type of historical precedent, is an anachronistic idea.
 
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Oh, please don't do this! Not here! I just came back from the "Was Britain Right to Enter WW1?" thread, and I gotta tell you, that kind of cancer is not something I want overtaking this one too. Let's just forget it, maybe post some kitten pics until the OP comes back.
You are being the cancer here, bringing drama to the table. So far the conversation here as been normal.
 
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As a side notice, please refrain from using “f-words”: I’m not a prude but so far conversations there are on certain level of civility.
As you wish. Have changed.
You are being the cancer here. So far the conversation here as been normal.
Sorry for the hysteria, but considering the direction I've noticed our own exchanges turning to, it was starting to remind me of something worse.
It is, at least, not so bad as I first thought it would be.
 
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OTOH, close Russian-German relations would most probably make wwi impossible. An argument that Germany was afraid to become the Russian puppet does not stand to any criticism.
They were afraid enough that they thought Russia's industrial capability would surpass Germany's by 1916, which meant that Germany was on a ticking clock to defeat them before they could overwhelm them. As it turned out, they were wrong about Russia's growth, but it was still highest in Europe and could be expected to overtake Germany sometime in 20s and 30s if it wasn't mauled by the Civil War and then the application of Marxism as IOTL.

Going into the future, once uranium's use was discovered it would only seem that much more pressing that Russia, America and Britain controlled all of Germany's supplies of uranium: remember, the Namibian reserves weren't discovered yet (and most of those were only discovered in 60s-90s). To the High Command, it would be a crippling weakness which would automatically make nuclear development costlier for Germany than for the big gorilla to the east, and would put Germany at military disadvantage.
It was well-known that Germany has the strongest army in Europe and its economy was bypassing British.
At the time, that was correct. However, their predictions clearly showed the Russians overtaking them in the 1910s (although it would more likely have come a decade later).
Russian industrialization was developing in a high rate but Russian domestic needs had been huge and it could not become the German competitor on international market in any predictable future. OTOH, their structure of imports and exports would complement each other quite well. BTW, it was Witte’s expressed opinion that AIII with his firm policy of a strong pacifism kept Europe out of war.
No contest.
 
Yeah, it's absolutely anachronistic. I'm fully applying hindsight.

The bit about Manchuria was not about getting more territory, but about NOT going to war with Japan AND doing a saving face move. Partitioning Manchuria between Moscow and Tokyo is a good way to avoid the Russo-Japanese War and still not be perceived as weak, as letting all of Manchuria and Korea to Japan would've been seen. The territory is not that important, certainly much less important than avoiding the war and the revolutionary consequences of such a national humiliation.

About Poland, I simply don't see trying to hold up Poland in the long run as a good thing. If you give them autonomy or even outright independence as a monarchical concession instead of a rebellion achievement than you are managing to preserve the bit of good will the poles still have to Russia and to the Czar. What do you advise instead? Trying to keep Poland down indefinitely? This is only going to cost you blood, and you are probably still going to lose that piece of land in the long run. I better have them as an allied-buffer against A-H and Germany. Of course my idea isn't based in any type of historical precedent, is an anachronistic idea.
Regarding Manchuria, Russia and Japan had more than one agreement regarding zones of influence and Russia was breaking them all. The 1st slap on the face was site of Port Arthur which Russia forced Japan to evacuate just to grab it within few years as a site for the naval base. which was quite idiotic on pretty much all possible accounts:
1. Communication with it was not secure
2. As a naval base it was simply unsuitable: inner bay was so shallow that the battleships could stay in one tiny area and exit was so narrow that they could get out only one by one and only in a full tide (the reason why they were in unprotected outer harbor at the time of attack)
3. It was impossible to provide the repair facility adequate for the case of war. The only dry dock was too small for a battleship and tool shops could not do the major repairs, especially after communications had been cut off. There was unrealized initiative to establish the main base in Vladivostok together with the industrial plant suitable for the task.
4. Russia could not afford construction of the adequate land side fortifications and even the OTL minimized version could not be implemented in time due to both cost and technical considerations.
5. The same goes for “bureaucrat‘s dream”, merchant port Dalnii (Witte’s favorite toy) - as a commercial port it proved to be a very expensive failure and a good asset for the landing Japanese.
The fundamental problem with these ports is that Russia had very limited naval trade off the Pacific coast and did not need a big naval squadron or a warm water port. Vladivostok proved to be absolutely adequate both for the merchant needs and as a naval base, especially with the help of the icebreakers. The huge money wasted in OTL on the Pacific Squadron were not justified by any realistic strategic needs and after the RJW this mistake was not repeated: new Russian naval program included very modest Pacific fleet of few fast cruisers and smaller ships.

Now, even without the “Bezobrazov affair”,which was the last straw for Japan, the whole Manchurian development is a perfect illustration of the fact that even a very intelligent and knowledgeable person can make fundamental mistakes. Witte was unquestionably on of the greatest Russian statesmen ever but, being Minister of Finances, he approached situation primarily from the economic point of view. As a result, the first stage of the TransSib was going to Vladivostok across China territory and the further extensions all the way to Korea and Dalnii had a higher priority than a route going along the Russian side of the Amur. The reason was obvious: the pieces going through China had been bringing income in gold and were OK at the time of peace. OTOH, the Russian segment included a need to built an expensive bridge across the Amur (prefabricated sections had to be shipped all the way to the Far East) and, due to the fact that it was going through the scarcely populated territory, the segment dud not involve too much of a commercial traffic and was not too profitable. So it’s construction was postponed all the way to WWI and became an extra burden in the least convenient moment.

If in China Russia held to the existing agreements with Japan it would keep control (and trade) in the Northern Manchuria and there would be no need for face saving: concession on the East China RR survived into the 1930s. RJW was not something inevitable, it was just a result of the short-sighted greediness.

Now, Russian Poland is a popular subject of discussion so I’m not going to say anything which was not already said in the recent discussions. As usually, the hell is in the details and the 1st “detail” is a question “What is Poland?” The answer was anything but clear in pre-wwi world. Putting aside the German and AH (both tricky) parts, formally Russian Poland should be the former Congress Poland but for the Polish nationalists it should also include the firmer Grand Duchy of Lithuania and preferably part of Belorussia. “True patriots” would include all former PLC territories in the Russian possession. 2nd detail was the fact that outside Poland-proper these areas not necessarily had the Polish majority but some of them had majority of the Polish nobility. As an illustration, in OTL the 2nd Republic got a big chunk of Lithuania with Vilnius because majority of the population in that region was either Polish or polonized beyond recognition. So, pretty much in any scenario somebody would be left unhappy. And the history of the XIX was not very encouraging in the terms of having the satisfied Poles. OTOH, it is not like in the late XIX the Poles in Russia were turned into the specifically oppressed minority like the Jews so why would they need a special treatment comparing to other national entities. Economically, the Polish territories were among the most developed with Warsaw and Łódź being important industrial centers. After all, extremists like Pilsudski & Co were a minority and majority was not demonstrating any specific disloyalty.

Then again, your whole proposal is based upon the premise that Russia should be as antagonistic to Germany and AH as possible. This is a valid premise but it was tried in OTL and results are well-known. Scenarios based upon it are usually along the lines of either what to change to allow Russia to win the war (recent thread about Stolypin) or how to make it to go down with even louder “boom!”.

What I’m talking about is a different approach that would allow to avoid wwi altogether by readjustment Russian political course. After all, in OTL the Russian-German confrontation was not over the direct conflict of interests. France was looking for revenge to Germany (and Germany was looking for war to kill that idea) and got Russia hooked by the loans. AH was looking for a further expansion on the Balkans which brought it into conflict with Serbia toward which Russia felt some kind of the moral obligations which could not be explained in any meaningful way. Cynically, in all that pre-wwi combination Russia was playing the greatest idiot because its goals in a potential conflict could not be coherently explained (after February Revolution Sturmer could not explain the Russian goals beyond “we wanted to get Straits”).
 
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They were afraid enough that they thought Russia's industrial capability would surpass Germany's by 1916, which meant that Germany was on a ticking clock to defeat them before they could overwhelm them. As it turned out, they were wrong about Russia's growth, but it was still highest in Europe and could be expected to overtake Germany sometime in 20s and 30s if it wasn't mauled by the Civil War and then the application of Marxism as IOTL.

Going into the future, once uranium's use was discovered it would only seem that much more pressing that Russia, America and Britain controlled all of Germany's supplies of uranium: remember, the Namibian reserves weren't discovered yet (and most of those were only discovered in 60s-90s). To the High Command, it would be a crippling weakness which would automatically make nuclear development costlier for Germany than for the big gorilla to the east, and would put Germany at military disadvantage.

At the time, that was correct. However, their predictions clearly showed the Russians overtaking them in the 1910s (although it would more likely have come a decade later).

No contest.
Conversation about the nuclear weapons is irrelevant: nobody could predict their appearance in the late XIX and they can’t be credibly considered as an argument for the political decisions of the few following decades.

As for the economic competition is involved, Russia could sooner or later to reach a high level of industrialization but it does not mean that it would be a serious competitor to Germany in the world markets. Britain and the US would be much more likely competitors and I don’t remember Germany being eager to start war with any of them. But, anyway, if Germany and Russia are friendly then this line of a reasoning is not relevant.
 
Welp, Clearly the update isn't coming out tonight, I'll try to get it out this weekend, glad to see such lively discussion. hope to see more going forward
 
I really like this idea of a strong Monarchist Russia. I have have always wondered what if Russia had turned into a constitutional monarchy with democratic elections. The world and Russia itself would look very different.
 
I really like this idea of a strong Monarchist Russia. I have have always wondered what if Russia had turned into a constitutional monarchy with democratic elections. The world and Russia itself would look very different.
Actually, in 1905 Russia became a constitutional monarchy with the democratic elections.
 
That's not what I meant. I meant an fully fledged democracy where the Tsar doesn't simply ignore the Duma
Well, it is rather difficult to know what you mean unless you formulate things clearly.

What you are talking about was not a prevalent political model in the contemporary Europe and, anyway, Tsar could not “simply ignore” the Duma or State Council (which also was half elected). What Russian Empire did not have was a “responsible government”, which would, on one hand, make emperor a powerless figurehead but OTOH would deflect criticism from him. Needless to say that there is absolutely no guarantee that this government would be better in any aspect that the people appointed in OTL: the known “public figures” did not possess any competence in any area related to governing the country as was convincingly demonstrated both by decade of Duma’s existence and then by the activities of the Provisional Government. There was catch-22 situation: the “public figures” (those with a chance to be popular elected) usually did not have any serious experience of administrative service and those with such an experience had a very low chance to end up in an elected government. Then, if they somehow managed, what would be chance for, say, Witte and Stolypin, to conduct their reforms? Practically zero because there would be a strong opposition from both right and left.

To achieve the goal you stated (strong “Monarchist Russia” which is actually not monarchist but a “fully pledged” democratic state in which monarch is just a well-paid clown) there would be a need of a steady un disturbed political and economic development for many decades. No major wars, no failed economic policies, no revolutionary terror, fundamentally different attitude of the educated classes to the government, completely different monarchs, and probably quite a few other things. So you’d need to start with a completely different NI (or even better AI) and proceed gradually avoiding the bad political and economic decisions which had been plaguing Russia since 1820s.
 
Chapter 1.5 - Nicholas, The Tsar (1894)
Chapter 1.5 - Nicholas, The Tsar

“Kidney Failure, that's what they said”​

Alexander III was dying, he had failed to part with any meaningful training for his son, and now his days were numbered, on October 21st, Fiancé to Nicholas, Princess Alix, would meet with the Tsar to receive his blessing, and he would be in full dress uniform to grant it. This exhausted him, and on November 1st, he would pass on from this world. Leaving his Son, Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov, as Tsar of All Russia. Doubts circled in his head, he had no training, all he had done was run the construction of a railway. He wasn’t meant to be Tsar, he was only 26, but in the end this was the case.

Nikolai II Aleksandrovich Romanov, was Tsar of All Russia, and despite feeling somewhat unprepared for the role, he was grateful for his experience on the Railroad. But the doubts wouldn’t let him rest, His Family arrived on November 13th, and on November 18th, Alexander III, The Late Tsar of All Russia, The Peacemaker, was laid to rest. That night, Nicholas couldn't sleep, the past two weeks had taken a toll, he felt as if he wasn’t fit for the role. As he paced the halls in silence, trying to reconcile his doubts in his skill to what he felt had to be done, he passed by his Grandfather’s portrait, stopped to look at it, and left for the church.

The Sun had fallen nearly six hours ago, and yet Nicholas was going to church, to pray. He sought to end the doubts in his mind, but prayer alone would not settle them, but it would put him on the path to confidence. Rising from his prayer, he would later write down in his journal the next morning “I am the Tsar of All Russia, and so it is my duty to lead, God gave me this duty, and so i shall carry it out with all the might i can muster”.

The next few days passed by like a blur, but Sergei would wind up knocking on Nicholas’ office door, “Your Imperial Majesty, may we talk for a moment”. Sergei sat down, and launched into a speech “Your Imperial Majesty, your father was a fierce lion, with a strong will, he built this nation into an autocracy, he built a court of supporters of such an autocracy, these men, these supporters are sly devils, yet your father tamed them, he tamed the lion’s den that was his court. And forgive me, but i shall be blunt, you do not have such a will, the mere sight of your gaze, your disapproval won’t make these devils stop whatever they are conversing about with someone else. To you, his court is a den of vipers, filled with snakes, you may not be a lion, but you can be a fox, and that is the snake’s worst fear, to face someone equal in skill”
Sergei got up from his seat and left without another word, and Nicholas was left to ponder this, and he would, even in his sleep. As he slept, pictures, portraits of Grandfather and Father would appear before his eyes, with a pulsating glow emanating from behind them, the Former, the Liberator, a beacon for a reformed Russia, and the latter, the peacemaker, an icon for a renewed Russian autocracy. Nicholas couldn’t pick between the two, yet in this dream he felt he must. He couldn’t however, and so he was punished by his own mind by being welcomed back to reality, he was awake, and he would stay awake for the rest of the day.
Because of this, Nicholas leapt to his feet and tried to meet with his Brother-in-law, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, who was set to depart that morning, The Grand duke was groggy, it was only 5 in the morning after all. “Alex, I'm only 26, and I'm Tsar of all Russia, how am I, just… What is going to happen to me and all of Russia?” To which Alexander, despite his groggy state replied "You are God's Chosen Tsar of Russia, His Hand will guide you, as he had done with all past Tsars but look back at your father and grandfather, God can strike Tsars down as well, so be careful, and do know History will guide you just as much as God."

1615076032408.png

Tsar Nicholas and his soon to be wife, Alexandra Feodorovna on their wedding day

A few more days past, and soon it was November 26th, Nicholas' Wedding day, which he had moved up by several months. It was a quaint wedding for a Ruling Monarch, not some big event, likely due to its expedited nature. The Tsar would marry Princess Alix, a German Princess, who would take on the Russian Name, Alexandra Feodorovna. Some of the more powerful Royals were there, Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, the Rest of Nicholas' Family and Alexandra's Family, and on invite of Nicholas himself, Kaiser Wilhem II, a cousin of Nicholas, who brought along his children.

That Night, having married Alix, Now Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna, he thought of the future, coming to a simple conclusion. Nicholas stepped out onto a balcony, the sun had set many hours prior and he would mutter to himself "As Alexander said, I am God's Chosen Tsar, his hand guides my Actions, as he did so with my Father, and my Grandfather, But he was wrong in one regard, God struck down my Father, but it was by the People's hand that my Grandfather was struck down, not god, and it was not through my Grandfathers actions that brought him down, no, it was his failure to protect himself. This Country needs a change in course, Russia wasn't ready for it, but they will be now, even if it kicks and screams, i will not have god strike me down, nor will i have the people, angered by inaction or radical action, do it for him. I must protect Russia, and to do that i must survive, and so change must begin."

The Tsar would remain on the balcony for little over a half hour, looking out to the lifeless city, its denizens in blissful slumber, unaware of the fact that Russia’s soul was in limbo. Sergei would meet with him during that time. “Sergei, my father said to trust you, and so I shall, you are not only a friend or a mentor, you are to be an ally. As you said earlier, it's a den of snakes, but would a snake wish to face off against the Eagle, in public, The Fox, in private, and his agent the…” Nicholas looked at Sergei deciding which animal Sergei would be, with himself being the Fox and Eagle “... and his agent, the owl, all at once. I don’t the snakes would.”

Sergei paused before speaking “Nicholas, if I may, the court will be harder to tame if you go against it, and i can see it in your eyes that you plan to, we need more allies beside you and me”

“You can?, let us hope it is because you have known me for so long, but anyways, let me reassure you, more will come in due time, and Russia will change.” Nicholas then went back to bed, but before he could, his old friend got a final word in, "We must tread carefully, Nicholas," and the two departed from the balcony, but as he left, Sergei stopped, and suddenly stood taller, confidence was in the air that night, and both the Tsar and his ally, the owl, could feel it.
 
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A Nicholas who is aware to the needs of reformation?

As above, now you have my attention.

I have the sudden need to reread my copy of Massie's "Nicky et Alix"...
 
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