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August 16, 2004 by AK

André Glucksmann and alternative Russian history

The aforementioned philosophe has published another one-sided, but this time mercifully brief, piece on Russian affairs, managing to squeeze in a true pearl.

Die Pariser Salons standen dem nicht nach, allen voran Voltaire, der ohne falsche Rücksicht auf die Vergangenheit den Zaren beweihräucherte, der seinen Vater ermordet und seinen Lieblingserben zu Tode gefoltert hatte.

Roughly speaking, that means, if I am not mistaken:

Paris salons kept up [with Peter I’s sycophants], above all Voltaire who, without false consideration for the past, burned incense to the Czar who had murdered his father and tortured to death his beloved heir.

How unglücklich. Peter was born in 1672; his father, Czar Alexei I (Alexei Mikhailovich Romanov) died in 1676. Glucksmann is either ignorant of this or is alluding to some lurid theory that Alexei was not Peter’s real father. Hardly a mainstream hypothesis.

As for Alexei Petrovich, Peter’s anti-reformist son, there is little evidence that the Czar was a loving father. Apart from Alexei’s being the offspring of Peter’s unloved first wife, he seemed to stand for all that Peter loathed, so that his father had good reason to fear that with Alexei’s ascension, his innovations would be wiped out and his associates destroyed. Torture was part of the standard investigative process in Russia then, equally applied to serfs and the privileged. The circumstances of Alexei’s death remain unclear.

But that’s all too complex for Die Welt and the philosopher.


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