Though notoriously tough, there were two delightful stories showing him to have compassion. [Czar Nicholas II a century later might have been the opposite of his predecessor!] Czar Nicholas I was once going up an elevator and because the attendant had fallen asleep sitting at his desk while writing something, the Czar took a look at the notebook.The words trailed off after a tale of misery:"WHO will pay off my debt so my family can survive?..."The Czar wrote underneath, "I will" - or maybe he said "We will" with the imperial we.He signed it underneath.In fact, the Czar of All the Russias gave the large sum and the man could scarcely believe his good fortune in having fallen asleep at the right juncture!Czar Nicholas also is remembered for having noticed a pauper's funeral procession passing without a single mourner. He himself followed the coffin all the way to the Church graveyard and defrayed the expenses.Though the (to me) controversial Father Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, CA, named Czar Nicholas I when asked who was his favorite czar, Nicholas I certainly is not mine -- though it's fun to read about all of them.It was this expansionist autocrat who persecuted the Lion of Daghestan, Imam Shamyl. That amazing freedom fighter kept the Russians from taking over the Caucasus for decades. Czar Nicholas I had a strange obsession about the need to beat Shamyl and his Murids [ascetic spiritual disciples of a Sufi Order.] He should have let the Caucasus be free and turned his attention to more useful endeavors. Like paying off debts which no doubt restored the recipients' faith in God's presence and help!Great pics on the video though I had problem hearing the solemn & appropriate Orthodox chant background; it was a little choppy. But beautiful.
When Nicholas I was a hard man it was because he felt he had to be. He not expected nor did he have any desire to be Czar, but once power was thrust upon him he would wield it like he would a regiment. He was not himself a harsh or cruel man though he would tolerate no opposition. I suppose one of my soft spots for him is that he rode to the rescue of the Hapsburgs when Hungary revolted. He was the avowed enemy of revolution on principle, no matter what country it occurred in; hence his nickname, "the Gendarme of Europe". I don't know what the problem hearing the music could be, it comes through fine at this end.