Boris Stürmer is the new prime minister of Russia. He has an embarrassing problem: his name. Russia is in the midst of a war with Germany. The war is not going well and mamny blame this on traitors at the centre of the Russian government who are betraying the country. Stürmer’s Germanic surname means that he is the subject of much speculation as to where his real loyalties lie.
To try and deflect the attentions of rumour-mongers and affirm his Russian patriotism, Stürmer has applied to change his surname to Panin. However, as the Panins are an old Russian aristocratic family, the Tsar feels that he must consult with all of them before allowing Stürmer to take their name. The Tsar is away at army headquarters so it will be some time before he can consult with all the Panins.
In the meantime Stürmer is advised by Tsarina Alexandra to keep his original surname. She and Grigori Rasputin, her spiritual adviser, think that there is no benefit to Stürmer’s changing his name. Alexandra is herself of German birth, a member of the royal house of Hesse. On marriage to the Tsar she took the Russian surname Feodorovna, so it is odd that she would advise Stürmer to keep his German name. But the Tsarina has never been well liked by the Russian people and perhaps she thinks that Stürmer would be wasting his time trying to court their popularity.
Stürmer’s German surname contributes to rumours about his true loyalties, but these are as nothing to the rumours surrounding the Tsarina. As the daughter of a German royal house, many believe that she remains loyal to the country of her birth. And there is much lurid speculation as to the nature of her relationship with Rasputin. It is Rasputin’s apparent ability to treat the haemophilia of her son, Tsarevich Alexei, that has brought him into the Tsarina’s circle. However, the holy man has an earthy and sensual side, leading to speculation that the Tsarina is another of his lovers.
Boris Stürmer (Wikipedia)
The Tsarina and Rasputin (Alpha History)