Talk:Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia

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re Helen Rappaport's book[edit]

Am editor is wanting to add this material, which is sourced to Helen Rappaport's book Last Days of the Romanovs, Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. I'm not too sure about this.

Passages such as "only to be met with a bullet in the back of the head, courtesy of Yurovsky" seem too florid. I don't have the book, but it sounds like it might be lifted directly from the book, which we don't want to do. If it's the editor's own words, constructions such as "courtesy of Yurovsky" and so on are too informal for an encyclopedia IMO.

Beyond that, I'm a little skeptical of Rappaport's work, which appears to be a "historical narrative" rather than truly scholarly work. here we have an anonymous person saying that Rappaport writes in the afterword "At all times I have stayed with historical truth in so far as it has been possible to substantiate the facts in the face of much contradictory material, but there have, inevitably, been moments when I have had to take my own leap of faith as a historian and come to my own conclusions" and "The priority was to create a strong historical narrative that did not enter into academic digression...", and that there are no source notes. Again, I don't have the book -- someone who does can confirm or rebut that this is true -- but if it is true this makes me kind of leery of using the book for details.

The actual execution surely was a confused situation. We already have a lot of detail about it. I don't know if, in the interest of adding more details, we want to take the chance of saying anything that we are not quite sure is true, and on this basic I reverted the edit.

We can talk about this though. I'm not sure we can't use some of this, and though I'm skeptical of Rappaport's book I'm willing to listen to evidence supporting its use. Herostratus (talk) 03:47, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

As someone who does own the book, I can confirm that Rappaport does indeed include this disclaimer in her afterword and that the book lacks inline citations, but a quick search through my digital copy verifies that the passages quoted here are the work of the editor in question only rather than a direct quotation (though I do agree that, either way, the language is too florid and informal for Wikipedia). Shvybzik (talk) 08:05, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
These details should be in Shooting of the Romanov family. It is unnecessary to expand on them in this article, which should be about Anastasia herself. DrKiernan (talk) 09:14, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

"Sympathy For The Devil"[edit]

A few minutes ago User:Phoobahr posted the following paragraph into the '‎Influence on culture' section of the article:

The 1968 Rolling Stones album Beggars Banquet featured the song Sympathy for the Devil which contained the lyrics "I stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change/Killed the Tsar and his ministers/Anastasia screamed in vain". [1]

Seeing this, I deleted it with the edit summary "revert - a mention in passing in song lyrics is trivia". [2]

User:Herostratus then restored the paragraph, with the edit summary "Reverted to revision 595363859 by Phoobahr: It's a passing mention, but it's also one of the most famous songs in the Western musical canon, so I'm not sure it doesn't belong. Discuss on talk if desired. (TW)" [3]

Though I agree that "Sympathy For The Devil" is indeed "one of the most famous songs in the Western musical canon" (and one of my personal favourites for that matter), I would still argue that the fact that it mentions Anastasia is of limited relevance to a section in this article concerning Anastasia's influence on culture. The Stones' mention many things in "Sympathy...": Jesus Christ, Pilate, the Czar and his ministers, Anastasia, tanks, generals, blitzkrieg, stinking bodies, the Kennedys, traps for troubadours, Bombay, cops, criminals, sinners, saints, 'you and me', and of course Old Nick himself. Should we add a similar paragraph to articles on each of these subjects? I think not. Song lyrics need to be analysed and understood for what they are as a whole, not cherry-picked as evidence for 'influences' that Wikipedians assert is there without further evidence from reliable sources actually discussing the subject. Frankly, with further consideration, my objection (beyond the obvious lack of any source asserting an 'influence') is that this cherry-picking of a word from the lyrics actually trivialises the lyrics themselves. There is much more to them than a literalist assertion that Beelzebub was responsible for Anastasia's death. The paragraph doesn't belong here not so much because it is trivia concerning Anastasia, but because it trivialises "Sympathy...". AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:04, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Totally agree with Andy's comments above. It is trivia. David J Johnson (talk) 23:08, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Complete and utter trivia. The song name-drops some of the largest events in history, and this instance has not been the subject of any academic discussion in relation to Anastasia herself. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 01:03, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Well no, but. If we're going to use academic discussion as the rubric, why are Ingrid Bergman and Meg Ryan in there? The section is "In popular culture". Actually for some reason it's named -- misnamed I would say, and contrary to usual practice -- "Influence on culture", as if are now going to discuss masterpieces of art or broad cultural movements. But we don't, and indeed its like most other "In popular cultural" sections. We provide a full paragraph on a middling Hollywood Yul Brenner/Ingrid Bergman costume drama loosely based on Anastasia, then there's shorter bits on a (pretty bad) Disney cartoon movie, a TV miniseries, and such. All this is fine, it is "In popular culture" after all and helps to buttress and flesh out the "False reports of survival" section to emphasize one of the more important things about this person who was otherwise basically a pampered teenager of no discernable accomplishment: the long-lived middlebrow popular fascination with her.
Which is why Mick Jagger brought her into his conversation. Ogla and Tatiana also screamed in vain, but Jagger didn't mention them. Of course not: the reference would have been entirely obscure. But everyone knows who Anastasia is. I daresay Jagger couldn't even have gotten away with "Killed Nicholas and his ministers" without risking a "who dat?" reaction from too many. Jagger doesn't even imply that Anastasia escaped (rather she "screamed in vain") -- he doesn't have to. He fame no longer depends on that.
So Jagger's image is not of Cinderella-Anastasia; rather Jagger uses her fame, leverages the reference that everyone will understand, into an even darker theme: outraged innocence. The child screamed in vain as the shots rang out -- what was she screaming at? A shot to the head or the heart doesn't make you scream, it makes you stop screaming. What makes you start screaming? Mommy and Daddy dead on the floor in a pool of blood. it's one of the most chilling lines in the song, which is #32 on the Rolling Stone''s list of the greatest rock and roll songs. The article Sympathy for the Devil gives it a full-on literary treatment as if it was a Yeats poem or something.
Sure it's just one line. But we have entire articles about single lines in poems, we ought to be able to spare a short paragraph for this one. We're talking about quality not quantity here. Besides which, the whole point of "In popular culture" is to demonstrate the person's position in popular culture. The fact that two Hollywood movies were made demonstrate this. That the Rolling Stones included her in a song with the implicit assumption that their audience (mostly kids and headbangers at this time, mind you) would understand the reference also demonstrates this.
Yeah we probably wouldn't reference Jagger's song in articles on the blitzkreig or the Kennedy brothers and so forth. Those are all big topics. This teenage girl isn't. The material's appropriate. Herostratus (talk) 03:39, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "We're talking about quality not quantity here" - Well, needless to say, an unreferenced blurb is not quality by Wikipedia policy. This smacks of trivia, as it is a single line, in a single song, no matter how popular it were. If the entire composition was about Anastasia, perhaps. And how is Anastasia not a big topic? You spent half your post arguing that she was a big topic, in the context of popular culture. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 03:43, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
By quality I meant the quality of the line. It's worth more artistically, certainly, than Disney's Anastasia which -- besides being only very loosely based on history (it featured the ghost of Rasputin and an anthropomorphic bat, for instance) was lousy, even for a Disney cartoon. It was much longer than Jagger's line, but so? The line in the song is worth more artistically and is much more famous too. I believe that same applies to most of the other stuff in the section.
She's not a big topic compared to other things in the song, such as the Kennedy assassinations. World War II, for instance, was a very large and important and complicated event and there are a lot of things to say about World War II, and the article is probably very long and full of many interesting details, and so it's probably too much detail to include "World War II was mentioned in Sympathy for the Devil" in the article World War II. That does not apply to this short article. I explained this once before.
Not sure what you mean by unreferenced blurb. Are you contesting the lyrics of the song? It's easy enough to find a ref.
Here's another thing. Sympathy for the Devil is probably the literary work that most people would recognize as being associated with Anastasia, by far. The Bergman movie's forgotten, and the Disney movie pretty much also, except for being somewhat recent; the mini-series and the musical and other movies I've never heard of and I doubt many remember them. Notability counts for something.
You could make a case for removing the entire section. I don't think that'd be a service to the reader, but you could make a reasonable case I guess. The case for removing the material in question and keeping the rest is weaker, IMO.
Meh. I wrote a fairly cogent defense of the material. I get the vibe that your mind's made up and you only read it looking for things to pick apart. If that's the case, why not remove yourself from the conversation -- this is not a vote -- and let those who are actually willing to consider the case on its merits work this out? Herostratus (talk) 07:04, 14 February 2014 (UTC)


This article is a biography, therefore a section titled "Biography" is nonsensical. Please consider changing it to something more appropriate. Rklawton (talk) 18:49, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

It's not really a biography even though the article title is a person's name. The main point of interest for Anastasia is her death and rumored survival, her biography before that is distinctly secondary. It would be reasonable to name the article Death and rumored survival of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, just as we name some articles Death of Caylee Anthony and so on. However, I think the that longer title would be unwieldy, royal princesses commonly have articles under just their name, and there's no real reason to change it, although you can propose it if you like and maybe you'd be right. Herostratus (talk) 21:53, 27 February 2014 (UTC)