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Gregory Walker Levitsky
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Excellent episode, Mike, thank you. Extremely sad, tragic, and frustrating, and of course I say that as someone broadly sympathetic to Tsar Nicholas. I wanted to echo Konstantinos' comments on pronunciation and add Putilov - it is not "pew"(pyu)tilov, but "poo"(pu)tEElov, with the stress on the EE. Additionally, both times you said Gapon's first name as "GrigOry" (like Rasputin). This is Russian for Gregory, which is incorrect. His name was GeOrgy, or George. They sound similar in Russian with the hard G, but are two completely different names. Remember that when Rasputin (NOT the "mad monk") eventually rears his head! Thanks again for all of your hard work!
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2020 on 10.33- Bloody Sunday at Revolutions
Another great episode, Mike, thank you! I wanted to respond to the note about stress marks that was made on the last episode: part of the problem is that there are standard English pronunciations of many of the historical figures you're dealing with: Romanov, Rasputin, etc. Some of these are laughably off the mark (ROmanoff instead of RomAnov, RaspYUtin instead of RaspOOtyeen, and so on). So maybe there's room for correcting the record with some of the surnames, especially the ones that won't be immediately familiar to your listeners. Among these are KROOP-skaya (not Krup-SKA-ya as someone wrote) and KYEryensky, rather than KerEnsky. As I wrote before, I would be more than happy to help with any Russian pronunciations as you go forward, as I'm sure would many of your other listeners. Cheers!
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2019 on 10.23- On Agitation at Revolutions
To answer the above question(s) re:amnesty, this was common tradition on any joyous occasion in the empire, including coronations, large military victories (or cessations of conflicts), and the birth of an heir. So, for instance, when Nicholas II was born in 1868, Alexander II declared an amnesty, and Nicholas II declared one in 1904 on the birth of Alexis. There was another in 1913 in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. Obviously these were not for all criminals, and some criminals got reduced sentences rather than just being released. The monarchy was not really thinking in terms of "political capital," as the Tsar was already assumed to have the love of the people, though there is certainly an element of propaganda in declaring the Tsar's mercy when the amnesty comes around. And yes, I would imagine there is some hope on the part of the government that the amnesty would soften the hearts of those opposed to it. For some, presumably, it did, and I think Mike alluded to those who were just happy to go home and live their lives. Another great episode. Two pronunciation nitpicks: SarAtov and KolYEnkina.
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2019 on 10.21- The Socialist Revolutionaries at Revolutions
Thank you for catching Witte! It grated the ears and was going to be my first comment :-) Do you have anyone to run your pronunciations by? I would be happy to help if you do not. One this episode was "Gatchina" - it's not GatchEEna, but GAtchina (think "Gotcha!"). Another from the previous episode is "Okhrana" - the "kh" in Russian transliteration is meant to signify an H sound slightly more guttural than in English, though not as much so as, say, Hebrew. The K should not be pronounced at all. It is more o-hrAna than o-krAna. Separately, the episodes have been really excellent thus far, but I have two gripes: 1) It seems like Alexander III gets sort of short shrift. His reactionary policies had a significant impact on the revolutionary movements, and really quashed any hope of successful uprising for almost 25 years, until 1905. Though this "success" may have been illusory, I feel it bears mentioning, as does the (possibly apocryphal?) despairing of Lenin that the revolution would not come in his lifetime. He *was* known as the Tsar-Peacemaker, for tranquility at home as well as not engaging in any wars abroad. 2) This is a big one. I've always looked forward to your coverage of the Russian Revolution precisely because you gave such a fair reading to Charles I and Louis XVI, and I only ask that you do the same for Nicholas II, rather than begin with the premise that he was simply the worst possible ruler this scenario has to offer. That is not the universal verdict of (non-Soviet) Russian historians, and while you're doing a good job at portraying him as a sympathetic and tragic figure, I hope that you will find some way to show an alternate view of the Tsar as more than a vacillating incompetent (because he really wasn't). Finally (and I really hope you're still reading!), I am sure that next episode (or the one after that at the latest) you will be introducing Rasputin. I beg, beg, beg of you - do NOT refer to him as "the mad monk." This is an error of abbreviated history - the "mad monk" was not Rasputin at all (who was not a monk, nor was he ever considered "mad" by anyone), but Priest-monk Iliodor (Sergei Trufanov), an ally-turned-enemy of Rasputin's who was constantly in the press for taking on Rasputin, the Synod, and the Court, and was finally excommunicated from the Church and ended his life living as a janitor in New York City. As time passed and the story got shorter, Iliodor vanished, but the nickname remained and became attached to Rasputin himself. Correcting this common mistake - and eventually bringing Iliodor into the story! - would do some justice to this sprawling historical tragedy. Keep up the great work!
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2019 on 10.19- Nicky and Alix at Revolutions
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Oct 23, 2019