After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War

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After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War

After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War

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The French birth registrars were soon recording increasing numbers of little Ivans, Dimitris, Olgas, and Serges. It also goes to explain that although they survived the revolution many truly were left with nothing and living out a miserable existence, unable to turn home or to the passive aggressive French.

The Exposition Universelle of 1867 brought a huge influx of twenty thousand Russian visitors into Paris. This newfound relationship was sealed by the hugely popular five-day state visit of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, along with their ten-month-old baby daughter, Olga, to Cherbourg and Paris in October 1896. By focusing on one place and one stream of expatriates it illuminates many different aspects of cultural life in the last century.A few of my prosperous Christian merchant family left Russia +/- 1918, spending a short time in Paris, then on to the US. Petersburg and Paris and aware of German intrigues to try to force Russia into an alliance against Britain. Many of these highly educated and cultured aristocrats were forced into routine taxi driver, auto worker, seamstress labor while longing for the restoration of the monarchy which never came. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon. It was now painfully clear that Paul and Olga must make their home permanently in Paris; but they needed a far more imposing residence and initially looked for somewhere near Versailles.

By 1903, having spent some time in Italy, Paul and Olga decided to make a base for themselves in Paris. He invited her to a tête-à-tête dinner later at Maxim’s, where they ate Beluga caviar and celebrated the Franco-Russian alliance in style. However, I have a friend whose Russian family ended up in Tunisia, and I was gratified for more information about that. During that hectic “Russian Week,” Paris’s population, then 2 million, swelled with 930,000 visitors. Grand Duke Vladimir was as lavish in his tips as his spending, even “adding a number of unmounted gems to the gold coin tossing” at Maxim’s on one occasion.There was much gossip about money destined to fund the construction of new battleships and cruisers for the Imperial Navy making its way into Alexis’s pockets during his tenure as commander in chief of the Imperial Fleet—but he was not alone in his brazen siphoning off of money from the treasury; this was but one of many “gigantic swindles” that helped boost the revenues of the unscrupulous Russian grand dukes. It had been built in 1860–61 for Princess Zinaida Naryshkina, widow of Prince Boris Yusupov, when she had remarried to Comte Charles de Chaveau and settled in Paris. The author could not have known about current developments in the Ukraine when she wrote the book but she benefits from the good fortune of serendipity as the book is surprisingly excellent background in how Russian history has led to events of the day. After The Romanovs: The Extraordinary Lives of Russian Exiles In Paris Between The Wars by Helen Rappaport | 9781914484766.

He had remained utterly inconsolable until he met and fell in love with a notable beauty at the Russian court—Olga von Pistohlkors. Dr Helen Rappaport is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Magnificent Obsession, Four Sisters, and Caught in the Revolution. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway.Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, the youngest of the four sons of Alexander II, was by far the most modest and democratic of the Russian grand dukes; his beautiful home at Boulogne-sur-Seine would become, thanks to the charm and social skills of his wife, Olga, Countess von Hohenfelsen, not just a magnet for the most cultured and influential on the French literary, musical, and political circuit but also effectively an “annex” to the Russian embassy in Paris. The scintillating story of the Russian aristocrats, artists, and intellectuals who sought refuge in interwar Paris.

There was even a novel on the subject, La Tournée des grands ducs: Moeurs parisiennes, published in 1901 by Jean-Louis Dubut de Laforest, a prolific French author and publisher of erotica who had been prosecuted for obscenity in 1885. HELEN RAPPAPORT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including A Magnificent Obsession, The Romanov Sisters and Caught in the Revolution . After enjoying Helen Rappaport’s masterpiece Ekaterinburg, I moved onto her latest book After the Romanovs, which focuses on those who got out of Soviet Russia and tried to settle in the French Capital. In exile, White Russians sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, and double agents plotted from both sides. This more lowly title still did not solve all the precedence issues, however, and Olga’s status remained a subject about which Paul was highly sensitive.Events in Russia in 1905 caused both Grand Duke Paul and Countess von Hohenfelsen a great deal of anxiety. He certainly was the archetypal man-about-town; in fact, the burly Alexis bore no little resemblance to his hedonistic fellow royal, King Edward VII, who had also taken the sexual and culinary delights of Paris to his heart as Prince of Wales. For the pleasure-seeking Romanov grand dukes (including Alexander’s own brothers: Vladimir, Alexis, and Paul) the temptation to self-indulgence in the pleasure domes of Paris became even greater, along with trips to the luxurious hotels and casinos of Biarritz on the Atlantic coast and the French Riviera.

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