Nicholas & Alexandra
Study Guide
Note
What is your Russian name? What does it signify and why do you suppose naming evolved in this manner?

Chapter 1
Describe the Russian Empire around the turn of the 20th Century
Describe the life aristocracy
Describe Alexander III personally and politically

Chapter 2
Describe the Tsarevich Nicholas and his relationship with his father
Describe each of these influences on Nicholas:
 Pobedonostsev
 The Murder of Alexander II
 His mother and father
 Kschessinka

Chapter 3
When did Nicholas first meet Alix (Alexandra)?
Why do suppose Alexandra’s romantic interests inclined toward Nicholas and not Prince Albert?
Why do suppose that Marie (Nicholas mother) was not enthusiastic about Alexandra?

Chapter 4
Describe the two major events that open the chapter
Describe the crown jewel conflict and what it represents about the relationship of Alexandra and Marie

Chapter 5 & 6
What was the political significance of the new Tsar’s visit to France
Did Nicholas want to be Tsar? Describe his “management style”
Describe the reception given to Nicholas’s disarmament plan
How did Alexandra and Marie’s relationship play out before the Russian people?

Chapter 7
Describe the social circumstances of both Ulyanov and Kerensky
What affect did the execution of Ulyanov’s brother have on him?
Describe the significance of this quote: “Of this dough, Robespierres are made.”
Contrast the personality of Lenin with that of Kerensky.
Describe the “extraordinary episode” of Easter 1905

Chapter 8
Contrast the personality of William with that of Nicholas
Describe the events leading up to the Russo-Japanese war
Describe how William successfully manipulated Nicholas

Chapter 9
Who was Father George Gapon and what role did he play in Revolution of 1905?
Describe the significance of the quote: “The Tsar will not help us. And so we have no Tsar.”
Describe the effect of the Imperial Manifesto of October 30, 1905.
On what day was Nicholas born? What significance did this have for him? What relevance does it have for Nicholas’s son, Alexis?

Chapter 10 & 11
Describe Tsarskoe Selo both the physical environment and the lifestyle
What is the story of Orlov and the condemned revolutionary. What does it say about Nicholas, the Tsar?

Describe the four girls, their personalities, their interests and their relationships to one another
Describe Alexis’ hemophilia, its symptoms, its treatments, and its affect on him and his family
Describe Gilliard’s influence on Alexis and his upbringing

Chapter 12
Describe the history of hemophilia in the European royal families
Describe both Alexandra and Nicholas’s reaction to Alexis hemophilia
Who was Anna Vyrubova and what was her relationship to Alexandra?

Chapters 13, 14 & 15
What happen to Alexis during the carriage ride at Spala?
In her desperation, what ‘new’ treatment did Alexandra call upon to help Alexis?
Who is Gregory Rasputin and how was he introduced to the royal family?
What is meant by “Matushka” and “Batiushka”? Why does Rasputin use these terms?
How did Rasputin affect his cures?

Chapter 16
Why do suppose Rasputin was popular with many Russian high-society women?
Describe Rasputin’s relationship with Iliodor
Describe the significance of the quote: “Rasputin was a Janus…”

Chapter 17
Who was Stolypin and how could he save Russia?
Describe Nicholas’s changing relationship to the Duma(s)
Describe the events and factors that lead to Stolypin’s downfall
By what means did Rasputin increase his influence in political affairs, and describe the effects of his influence?

Chapter 18
Describe the history of the Romanov family and its domination of political power in Russia
Describe the relationship of the Romanov’s to each other and to the Russian people
Describe Michael Romanov, his personality and lifestyle, and relationship to Nicholas
…Meanwhile, what is Alexander Kerensky up to?
 

Chapter 19
Describe the events of Sarajevo
Describe the slow march toward WWI, how was it that an assassination in the Balkans could lead to war involving all the powers of Europe?
How was the past history between Germany and Russia, William and Nicholas, relevant to current events in the Balkans?
Describe the telegrams back and forth between Nicholas and William

Chapter 20
Describe the Russian people’s reaction to onset of war with Germany
What was Rasputin’s attitude concerning the war?
Describe the Russian military and its readiness for war
Describe Russia’s two top military commanders, their personalities and their relationship to one another
Describe the early battles of the war their effects

Chapter 21
Contrast the “masculine” world of Stavka to the “feminine” world of Tsarskoe Selo
Why did Nicholas feel that Russia and USA were too different to be compared in terms of government?
Why were Nicholas and Alexis forced to return to Tsarskoe Selo?

Chapter 22
Describe the role of faith in the Russian military
How did the German military strategy change in 1915 and what effect did this have on the war with Russia?
How had the Russian people’s attitude about the war changed and how did the affect the Alexandra?
Describe the events that lead to the downfall of Grand Duke Nicholas
Why was the fall Grand Duke Nicholas the beginning of the end of Imperial Russia?

Chapter 23
Contrast the public image of Alexandra with her personal actions
Describe the daily life and lifestyle of Rasputin
Describe the incident at Yar and what it indicates about the relationship of Alexandra and Rasputin
Why did Rasputin want power – what goal was he trying to achieve? What was the key to maintaining his power?

Chapter 24
Describe Alexandra’s transformation concerning politics – what brought it about?
Describe Rasputin’s role in the government – what was his criterion for a good minister?
Describe the succession of ministers that ultimately lead to the ascension of Protopopov
Why couldn’t Nicholas get rid of Protopopov?
How did the Russian public interpret the actions of Alexandra and Rasputin?
How did Nicholas react to the ‘desperate pleas’ of Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich and Paul?
How did Alexandra react to the ‘desperate plea’ of Grand Duchess Elizabeth?

Chapter 25
Who was Prince Felix Yussoupov and why did he decide to murder Rasputin?
Describe murder of Rasputin
What was Rasputin’s greatest crime?

Chapter 26
How had recent events affected Tsar Nicholas?
Who were the “Vladimirs” and what were they up to?
Describe the significance of the quote: “Yes, Your Majesty, for twenty-two years you have followed the wrong course.”
Describe the events of the evening of Nicholas’s departure for the Stavka on March 7, 1917.

Chapter 27
What was the significance of Kerensky’s speech of Feb 27.
Describe the state of the Russian rail system and it importance
Describe the significance of the quote: “They [the revolutionaries] were not ready, but all the rest was ready.”
Describe the state of the military units in Petrograd
Describe the events of March 8-9 that lead to anarchy and March 12 that lead to the fall of the imperial government in Petrograd
Why did Rodzianko accept power?
Who was responsible for the creation of the Soviet, and why did he do it?
Describe Kerensky’s rescue of Protopopov? Why did he do it?
What role did Grand Duke Cyril play in the revolution?

Chapter 28
How as Nicholas’s quote “I shall take up dominoes again in my spare time” has been subject to various interpretations?
Describe the communications that informed Nicholas of events in Petrograd
Why was Nicholas’s train diverted to Pskov, and what was his reception there like?
What was the most compelling factor that led Nicholas to abdication?
Why did Nicholas change his mind and name Michael as successor rather than Alexis?
Describe the end of Romanov dynasty

Chapter 29
Describe the situation at Tsarskoe Selo when Alexandra heard the news of revolution
Describe the security situation at the Alexander Palace
What was Kornilov’s mission when he arrived at the Alexander Palace, and what actions did he take?

Chapter 30
Describe the petty humiliations to which Nicholas and his family were subjected as prisoners at Tsarskoe Selo
Describe the general conditions under which Nicholas and his family lived as prisoners
Describe Kerensky’s first meeting with Nicholas at Tsarskoe Selo
What is the significance of the quote: “He is a man who loves Russia, and I wish I could have known him earlier because he could have been useful to me.”

Chapter 31
How did Kerensky’s pledge to “take the Tsar to Murmansk myself” actually make it all but impossible to get Nicholas and his family out of Russia?
Describe the complications involved in putting Nicholas and his family into exile?
Why did the English government change its mind regarding offering Nicholas asylum?
How did Russia’s war allies strengthen Lenin’s seemingly “weak hand” in Petrograd?
What is the significance of the quote: “The Bolsheviks are after me and then will be after you”?
Why did Kerensky decide on Tobolsk?

Chapter 32
Who were Nikolsky and Pankratov? How did each view Nicholas?
How did Kerensky contribute to his own downfall?
Explain the significance of the quote: “Your Majesty, all authority is fast slipping out of my hands…”
Describe how conditions for the Imperial family changed when the Bolsheviks replaced the Provisional Government

Chapter 33
Who was Soloviev and how was he related to the affairs of the Imperial family?
What was political and social attitude of Ekaterinburg and why was it relevant to the Imperial family?
Why did the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk suddenly make the Germans interested in Nicholas’s safety?
Who was Vasily Yakovlev? To where was he transporting Nicholas and why?
Who are Mirbach and Sverdlov and what roles did they play in the Yakovlev affair?

Chapter 34
What was the Impatiev house in Ekateringburg and how was it renamed?
Describe the treatment of the Imperial family in Ekaterinburg
Describe Yurovsky, his manner, personality, and treatment of the Imperial family
Why had the Bolsheviks decided to execute Nicholas and his family?
Describe the execution of the Imperial family. How did Anastasia die?

Epilogue
How were the remains of the Imperial family discovered?
Why did the Bolsheviks deny that Nicholas’s family had been killed along with him?
Describe the fate of the other prominent members of the Romanov family, of what significance is the quote: “The revolution does not need historians.”
What became of Lenin and Kerensky?
Consider this final thought: If there had been no Rasputin, there would have been no Lenin. If there had been no hemophilia, there would have been no Rasputin.
 
 

Evolutionary Psychology and Nicholas & Alexandra

Nicholas’ relation to God, and common people’s relationship to Tzar
The evolution of religion and transegalitarian societies. The role of ancestor worship.

Starting Source: Hayden (2003) Chapter 5; 181-218

Alexandra’s attraction to Nicholas rather than other “elite” males
Female concern for resource-sharing not just resource-holding. Cultural adjustments to naturally-evolved desire

Starting sources: Buss D., “Evolution of desire”; also Eagly & Wood American Psychologist, 54 408-423

Two revolutionaries: Beta males seeking increased status
Question: Are beta males responsible for the world’s revolutions?

Starting sources: de Wall “Chimpanzee Politics”; Crane’s “Anatomy of revolution” especially chapter 4, “types of revolutionaries”

Ruling systems and human nature
Is monarchy or communism more ‘natural’ to humans as a system of governance?

Starting sources: A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation (Hardcover)
by Peter Singer; Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart; Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom (Rutgers Series on Human Evolution) (Paperback)
by Paul, H. Rubin (Author)

Rasputin’s healing power
The role of the mind in healing. Ritual healing and the evolution of religion

Starting source: McClenon’s “Wondrous Healing”

Elite women’s attraction to Rasputin
Good genes? Outsider status (avoidance of inbreeding)? Did husband’s acceptance vary based on wives’ reproductive status? Enhanced attraction due to power/status?

Starting source: Buss “Evolution of Desire?

Alexandra’s distress
Increased maternal demand by sons. Trivers-Willard hypothesis

Starting source: Chapter 6 of Low’s Why sex matters

Tsar Nicholas vs. Kaiser William – differences in personalities
Risk-taking male status enhancement strategy vs. Risk-avoidant male status conserving strategy

Starting sources: Articles on male reproductive strategies.
 

Genetics and hemophilia
Why are certain non-adaptive genetic traits retained in the population
Starting source: Chapter 3 “Genetic maladies” from Avise’s “The Genetic Gods”

Tsarskoe Selo and the motivation to control
Does the Tsar’s ‘created world’ represent the ultimate human expression of the evolved motivation to control

Starting source: Geary’s Evolution of mind

The corruption of the Romanovs
Does evolutionary theory help to explain why powerful dynastic families appear to inevitably fall into corruption?

Starting source: Ridley’s Origins of Virtue; Evolution of morality in Evo Psych handbook

Start of WW1: Costly to fake signs of commitment.

Starting source: Evolution and the capacity for commitment.

Russia in WW1: The evolution of war, why do men fight?

Starting source: Keely’s “War before civilization” ; Chagnon’s ‘Yanamamo: the fierce people”  Low’s “Why sex matters” chapters 13 & 14.

Alexandra as ruler: Can she be understood as protecting resources critical to her family (especially her son’s) fitness interests. Note how she seeks to ‘strengthen’ her husband’s status and guard her ‘protector’s (Rasputin) position.

Starting source: Jolley’s Lucy Legacy, especially “courtship and choice” and “lemurs, monkeys, and apes.” And Low’s “Why sex matters” chapter 4-8.
 

Humanizing and dehumanizing of the out-group
Evolution of tribal instincts

Starting source: Tribal instincts chapter from Evolution and capacity for commitment

Remembering and misremembering the failure to extract the Romanovs from Russia
The adaptive function of memory

Staring sources: Shacter’s seven sins of memory; Evo handbook chapters on memory