too much is not enough

Fatalism as part of the Rusian DNA, an absurd romanticism stretched to the extreme, grounded in a byzantine hierarchy of social order that defined the nobility, fenced them off from the world at large, and which ultimately this insulation contributed to their demise…

…Russian grand dukes could usually be relied on to behave with most spectacular excess, gambling at Baden-Baden or dueling in the Bois de Boulogne over some celebrated “poule de luxe.” Occasionally a grand duke persuaded some such lady to visit his Russian estates. She was as much a sensation in Russia as he had been in Paris, appearing at bear hunts in “toilettes” from the Rue de la Paix, distracting the beaters as well as the guns. She would return home decked with splendid jewels and telling stories of sleighs festooned with emeralds, or snows strewn with Parma violets rushed from Grasse to prove the ducal lover had not forgotten his inamorata’s favorite flower.

---Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581 Date 1885 Medium oil on canvas ( Repin)

In 1580, Ivan the Terrible got into a fight with his eldest son. It began, innocently enough, as just another family quarrel, ostensibly over what was considered an immodest gown the Czar’s daughter-in-law was wearing. But it grew very violent. Ivan in a blind rage pick up a steel-tipped staff and struck his son on the head with it, and the blow was a fatal one. Ivan wept, tore his hair, sent alms to the Church, and even threatened to abdicate in an act of King David style contrition. Of course he didn’t. The picture above by I.E. Repin shows the grief maddened Czar with his son’s body.

---Konstantin Favitsky - Princess Tarakanova --- Read More:


It was evident that the Russian is a conqueror and not a soldier, that preparedness and military parties never will make one of him. The famous cossack is nowadays a vanquished glory. He is lost in modern warfare, being used only to bring about terror and fright among the inhabitants of occupied places. The Russian’s whole nature struggles against military discipline; he is a fanatic, he is courageous, and he is fatalistic, and he loves to gamble with his life. He invented the spectacle of the alluring war-play, the daring races and horseback riding, to tame the wildness which from time to time boiled in his blood and cried for an outlet. Read More:

…Madame Choglokova was a gambler. She urged me to play faro like all the others. All of the Empress’s favorites usually participated when they were not in Her Imperial Majesty’s apartment. Besides this, also on behalf of Her Imperial Majesty, she gave me three thousand rubles to play faro. The ladies had noticed that I was short of money and had told the Empress. I asked her to thank Her Imperial Majesty for her Generosity.

Toward the feast of Saint Peter, the Empress told us to join her in Bratovshina. We went there immediately. Because I had spent all spring and part of the summer either hunting or else constantly outdoors, the house at Raiova being so small that we would spend most of the day in the surrounding woods, I arrived in Bratovshina overly sunburned and flushed. Upon seeing me, the Empress exclaimed at my redness and told me that she would send me a rinse to get rid of my sunburn. Indeed, she immediately sent me a vial with a liquid composed of lemon, egg white, and eau de vie from France. She ordered my ladies to learn the ingredients and proportions needed to make it. After a few days my burn disappeared, and since then I have always used this rinse and have given it to several people for use in similar circumstances.

…Toward the end of carnival, the Empress returned to the city. The first week of Lent, we began to make our devotions. Wednesday evening I was supposed to go bathe in Madame Choglokova’s house, but the evening before, she came into my room, where the Grand Duke was too, and conveyed to him as well on the Empress’s behalf the order to go bathe. Now, not only did he have a great dislike for bathing and all the other Russian customs or national habits, he even mortally detested them. He said quite firmly that he would do no such thing. She was also very stubborn and blunt in her speech, and told him that this would be disobeying Her Imperial Majesty. He declared that he could not be ordered to do what was repugnant to his nature, that he knew that the baths, to which he had never been, did not agree with him, that he did not want to die and that he held life …( The Memoirs of Catherine The Great)

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