German influence in Czarist Russia

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German influence in Czarist Russia

Post by Gott » 14 Mar 2003 17:11

How influencial were the Germans in the society of Czarist Russia? I knew that the Romanov family were of half German blood. Many German aristocrats also had properties, lands, and titles in the Russian Empire. How did all these happened?

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Post by Karl da Kraut » 26 Mar 2003 00:48

Actionally the largest group of Germans in Russia didn't belong to the landed aristocracy. Most of them were farmers and craftsmen. Already Peter the Great had called foreign experts to Russia, many of them Germans, to Russia to help modernizing the country. The first large wave of German immigration occured in Empress Jekaterina II. Alexejewna's/ "Catherine The Great's" reign (her birth name was Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst - see below). The settlers (c. 30.000) were called in to secure the lower Wolga against the Tartars. Until the 1860ies they had founded more than 300 colonies from the Ural to Ukraine. The second wave took place from 1804-1824 in the Black Sea region (followed by further immigration (1830-1870) to the Eastern Ukraine and since 1881 to Sibiria. In 1914 these gropp numbered c. 1.7 mio. people.
In the Baltic region belonging to Imperial Russia a German minority existed since the 13th century. In this region [only this region!] German nobles formed a small upper class owning most of the farming land. Additionally a few thousand Germans lived in the cities of that area. Historical background: Teutonic Knights, Hanseatic League.

Concerning the Romanovs, you may call them being "of half German blood". Nikolaus II., for example, was married to a Princess of Hessia-Darmstadt. I don't know how often Romanovs (and Romanovas) married to Germans, but certainly they did so quite often. Since 1762, the ruling line of the Romanov dynasty was actionally that of Romanov-Holstein-Gottorf. But that's not a "speciality" of the Romanovs. The mother of William II. was actionally the English princess Victoria. But of course the English dynasty was Saxony-Coburg-Gotha, formerly Hannover; since WWI they call themsleves Windsor. BTW: Elizabeth II.'s , what coincidence, is a Hessia-Battenberg. Confusing? The simple reason is that the members of European dynasties usually married "class conscious" which means they prefered members of other ruling dynasties.

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Post by Balrog » 18 Apr 2003 01:08

i think the influence went both ways. the famous spiked prussian helmet was orginally a russian style of helmet. a prussian prince(or perhaps it was the king) was visiting russia and first saw the helms at a parade. the german prince thought they looked really menacing, the czar replied that they were phasing them out. the german prince took one back to prussia with him. that is the story i read about the origin of the prussian spiked helmet.

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