The story

Nikolai Maklakov

Nikolai Maklakov


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Nikolai Maklakov was born in Russia in 1871. An ardent monarchist and extremely conservative politician. a strong supporter of Nicholas II and the autocracy, Maklakov was appointed Minister of the Interior in December, 1912.

A strong influence over Ivan Goremykin, Maklakov was the main figure in the government who argued against making concessions to the reformers. He also wanted the Duma to be closed down.

On the outbreak of the First World War Maklakov clashed with Sergei Sazonov over his desire to create a unified, independent Poland.

Under pressure from the Duma, Tsar Nicholas II sacked Maklakov in June, 1915. Nikolai Maklakov was executed by the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution.

Nikolai Maklakov was wholeheartedly for the Russian autocracy. In the concessions of 1905 "one leg had been lifted", and ever since the life of Russia had been like "a drunkard's walk, tottering from wall to wall." He saw the growing discontent, and he claims that he alone was for decisive measures - even for dissolution of the Duma.


Nikolai Maklakov - History

While serving the Emperor, many of the diplomats still espoused liberal views and welcomed the February Revolution (Konstantin Nabokov and Iosif Loris-Melikov among them). However, there were also others, for instance, Mikhail Giers, a true veteran of the Russian foreign mission who was described by Boris Nolde as follows: "He did not retire after the February Revolution of 1917, did not shut himself up in annoyed denial. And this is where his whole approach to life found its expression, inspired by the awareness that the age-long and everlasting interests of Russia, the Russian people and the Russian state, were above any transient forces and even above the regime itself."

Despite their liberal or conservative views, the diplomats perceived their offices as serving the state of Russia, whose interests they were bound by law to protect. A heavily centralized institution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had taught them to rigorously follow the principal foreign policy line, including on war and the possibility of peace. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered, therefore, the beginning of separate peace talks between Russia and Germany under existing conditions to be a capitulation that would relinquish the country to Germany "without any guarantee of victory or subsequent reward for betraying the allies." The latter, in the extremely likely event that the allies would emerge victoriously, could entail retaliatory measures on the part of the allies against Russia for its treason. "We are therefore swapping our powerful friends for a dubious ally, a historical enemy of all Slavic peoples. A peace between the allied forces and Germany at Russia's expense now becomes a likely prospect," lawyer Georgy Mikhailovsky said when summing up the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approach.

In September 1917, the Provisional Government made at least three ambassadorial appointments from among liberal political circles: the well-known lawyer, Duma orator and member of the Constitutional Democratic (Kadet) Party Vasily Maklakov to France former Governor General of Finland Mikhail Stakhovich to Spain and former Minister of Healthcare, the progressive Ivan Efremov, to Switzerland. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Tereshchenko entrusted Maklakov with representing Russia at the Inter-Allied Conference in Paris in November 1917. He convinced Stakhovich to go to Madrid on the false belief that peace talks would actually start in the Spanish capital, so as to have "a prominent political and public figure representing Russia" there. According to the Bolsheviks, Efremov was on his way to Bern for the upcoming peace conference. However, it is quite possible that the underlying reason for this was a secret telegram from the Swiss Charge d'Affaires revealing that clandestine meetings had been held involving the sponsors of the two parties to discuss peace terms, during which the German side pressed vigorously for the Baltic states to be ceded to Germany and Finland to be granted independence [1].

The morning of October 25 (November 7), 1917 saw Ambassadors Maklakov and Stakhovich arriving at the Gare du Nord station in Paris where they were greeted by the chef de protocol, Russian embassy staff, and journalists. The next day, Paris newspapers ran articles quoting Maklakov's statements. One of them flaunted the overconfident headline Russian Ambassador Maklakov is an Optimist. It quoted Maklakov as saying that Russia remained true to its allies. On October 26 (November 8), Maklakov headed to a meeting with French Minister of State Louis Barthou to deliver his diplomatic credentials. It was at this meeting that he learned of the Bolshevik takeover in Petrograd. Maklakov failed to deliver his credentials. He later admitted that he was inadvertently misled by Charge d'Affaires Sevastopulo, who talked him out of presenting his papers immediately. As a result, Maklakov found himself in a precarious position ahead of the Inter-Allied Conference.

Later, Maklakov would write: "I came here on the very day of the Bolshevik coup. In part sincerely, in part wishing to uphold confidence in Russia and keep the allies from despairing, I took the news of the takeover very calmly, predicting that it would be short-lived and in a few days or maybe weeks-months at the most – it would end without a trace i.e., I was repeating what everyone in Russia was saying at the time, and not just me, but all Russians whose opinions were asked. The French were happy to see our confidence and believed it…"

October 27 (November 9), 1917 marked the beginning of Russia's non-Bolshevik representation abroad. That day, both Nabokov in London and Maklakov in Paris sent telegrams to their colleagues in Rome and Washington. The former urged diplomats "to coordinate their further actions," while the latter suggested, "establishing a uniform approach" to the events in Petrograd.

Nabokov appealed to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom Arthur Balfour in a private letter, stating that if the overthrow of the Provisional Government was confirmed, he would "consider it contrary to the sovereign dignity of Russia to remain an official representative." Nabokov intended to refuse to convey to the British government the instructions "coming from a gang of traitors that have temporarily seized the power" [4]. In a personal meeting with Balfour, Nabokov indicated that his immediate concern was to identify all possible measures to preserve the Russo–Romanian front in order to prevent the enemy from winning the war on that front [5].

As a lawyer and proponent of legitimate government, Maklakov's first move was to judge the Bolshevik government in terms of the legitimate succession of power. "The forceful overthrow of the Provisional Government, which has disrupted the legitimate succession of power in Russia, as such succession is also possible during a revolutionary period, has thus called into question whether any government created by the latest overthrow can be considered a nationally recognized government of Russia similar to the one formed after the abdication of Nicholas II. I believe that a government made of the Bolsheviks could never be regarded as such," he wired to his colleagues. Maklakov was positive that "this instant or very soon" the government would, no doubt, "stir up vigorous opposition in the country," and even if seemingly successful, its success would be short-lived and end in complete failure.

Maklakov, therefore, deemed it impossible to recognize a government which had "emerged as the result of a mutiny, was built on pure violence and remained committed to a deliberately catastrophic programme for Russia." However, being a politician, he did not completely rule out a compromise. "If, as a result of the latest events in Petrograd a new government is formed based on compromise between the Bolsheviks and less radical elements, in that case, I believe the attitude towards it should be determined by its programme, the manner of its creation, its makeup and the general national sentiment towards it," he noted [6].

On October 28 (November 10), the veteran of Russia's representation abroad Mikhail Giers communicated his stance. He definitively endorsed Maklakov's appraisal of the events in Petrograd and articulated the main vector for continuing his work: "waiving new policy instructions," which could come through from the Bolsheviks any time now, "to continue, where possible, the work of a representative and protector of the interests of Russia and its citizens in Italy" [8]. In the event of a new government compromise, Giers suggested waiting for its policy on the war to be formed. Bakhmetev also supported Maklakov's line. All published official and unofficial statements of the Russian Embassy in the United States maintained that "the Bolshevik government, no matter how wide and successful its disruptive and demoralizing actions, cannot speak for the Russian people" [9]. Bakhmetev noted that the reality was based "on the natural wish of America to not take actions that would facilitate Russia's withdrawal from the war, and postpone raising the issue point-blank to the very last" [10]. With such an attitude on the part of the United States, Bakhmetev did not even rule out the possibility that the United States might maintain business contacts with the Petrograd government, biding time until a possible new "regrouping of political forces in Russia" took place. Personally, Bakhmetev was "quite sympathetic" to the stance taken by the United States, arguing that the best possible position for the allies during the transitional period would be to "not expedite events and not push the Bolshevik committee to take irrevocable actions, such as pulling out of the war, while deliberately protracting the process until the military and political reality reveals the true alignment of forces" [11]. Bakhmetev absolutely agreed with Maklakov's opinion that, in the event of a new coalition or a compromise, they would have to "thoroughly evaluate the new situation."

The majority of diplomats endorsed Maklakov's view. Nabokov alone spoke strongly against any government formed on the basis of a compromise with the Bolsheviks since "it could enjoy neither the status, nor the authority, nor the confidence."

The Issue of Russian Representation at the Inter-Allied Conference

One of the main tasks of Russian diplomats in the first weeks following the October Revolution was to ensure that Russia's representatives were invited to the Inter-Allied Conference scheduled to take part in Paris in late November 1917. Diplomats were aware that the allies were likely to stop regarding Russia as a great power. On November 5 (18), Nabokov sent a cable to his colleagues informing them that at the conference, the allies were to consider their policy towards Russia for the near future, and therefore it was vital to make sure that Russian diplomatic officials in France, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom took part in the discussions. "There can be no doubt that we would have failed in our duty to Russia if, on the formal pretext of the lack of the required official authorities, we acquiesced to Russia's removal from the allied councils," he noted.

The idea of a unifying centre of Russian foreign representation occurred to several diplomats simultaneously and independently. The members of the Copenhagen mission headed by Meyendorff were the first to voice the idea in their response to Nabokov's message to do everything in their power to help Russian representatives retain voting rights in allied councils [12]. On November 6 (19), the staff circulated a wire across missions in London, Paris, Rome, Washington, Madrid and Tokyo stating that, in view of the possibility of the anarchy lingering in Petrograd and the temporary lack of a coordinating centre supervising the representation of Russia in allied and neutral countries, they believed "it would be an opportune time to raise the question of entrusting the head of one of the embassies with the general leadership of all Russian embassies and missions abroad" [13]. According to them, such a show of solidarity, in addition to its value for Russia's interests, could only produce a favourable impression on allied and neutral governments, as well as boost public opinion.

Following in their footsteps, on November 7 (20), Yury Solovyov sent an urgent telegram to a number of colleagues in Madrid. In the wire, he suggested that it would be advisable to temporarily designate the Paris embassy the centre of activities of all Russian foreign agencies in Europe and resolve some routine matters [14]. Therefore, it was Solovyov who first suggested the idea of nominating the Russian Embassy in Paris led by Maklakov the coordinating centre to his colleagues. Later on in his memoirs, Solovyov, who would eventual return to Soviet Russia, understandably lent a pro-Soviet touch to the post-October period of his activities in Madrid, leaving this fact out of the story.

Where the proposal coming from the Copenhagen mission was related directly to the upcoming Inter-Allied Conference, Solovyov's initiative was necessitated by a "delay in the resumption of the normal course of action" at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Petrograd, which prevented the resolution of urgent day-to-day issues. The truth is that diplomatic missions essentially could not operate without a coordinating hub, since the pre-revolutionary Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a whole, and its foreign missions, in particular, were traditionally characterized by a high degree of centralization. According to Georgy Mikhailovsky, there were no independent-thinking people even on the top rungs of the diplomatic ladder. Service in the ministry relied entirely on rigid discipline and conscientious execution, "and put in a situation that required them to think independently and assume responsibility, people accustomed only to obeying without question showed extreme irresoluteness and were completely at a loss" [15].

Thus, Russian diplomats did not take too long to respond to the questions raised by Copenhagen or Madrid missions. However, the responses were varied. For instance, Konstantin Gulkevich doubted that such a move was even legitimate. On November 8 (October 26), citing the telegram from Denmark, he telegraphed his colleagues to say that while he welcomed "any manifestation unanimity between the officials of our establishment," he, however, believed that offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs located abroad "cannot be isolated into a standalone organization." Such an organization, according to Gulkevich, "bereft of any grounds for representation and cut off by the ongoing events from its homeland, will inevitably become self-centred, assume the right to regard itself as a representative of this or that government and enter upon the path of declarative acts." However, Gulkevich continued, should other Russian embassies and missions recognize the idea proposed by the Copenhagen mission desirable and practical, he, to maintain solidarity with his colleagues, would nominate Giers as a possible leader "as an ambassador whose remarkable track record is so happily related to our establishment."

Maklakov also made a decision. He was prepared, in view of the geographic location of Paris and its importance as a major political centre, to assist in "the formation of a uniform approach across foreign diplomatic missions to the new government in Russia [16]. For the purposes of other general matters concerning Russian foreign missions, Maklakov indicated that he was at the service of his colleagues to ascertain the general viewpoint by centralizing the information. "Such assistance can, however, be restricted to facilitating contacts, and in no event can it involve leadership or guidance on local matters," stipulated Maklakov as a reservation [17].

The discussion by telegraph was, in a manner of speaking, resolved by Giers, the longest serving ambassador currently in office. According to him, such an exchange of ideas was not binding and did not aim to create an organization for demonstrative purposes. He wholeheartedly agreed with Maklakov's view. "There is no need for any kind of leadership. Paris is, of course, a centre that can facilitate such an exchange," Giers observed [18]. Giers' authority worked to ease the last remaining doubts. The Paris Embassy became the coordinating hub.

In late November-early December 1917, the 18th Inter-Allied Conference was held in Paris. The following format of participation for Russian representatives was decided upon: Sevastopulo would be admitted to the official opening and closing ceremonies, while Maklakov would be admitted to the private meetings. The latter was asked to voice his opinion on the suggestion of British Ambassador to Petrograd George Buchanan that Russia should be freed from its obligation to take part in the war. Maklakov voiced his disapproval of the idea but advised the allied forces not to demand much from Russia. When asked to prepare the resolution, Maklakov wrote a document along the lines of those drawn up by Colonel Edward House, advisor to President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, at the conference. The text of the joint Maklakov–House resolution has been preserved. It is obvious that Maklakov acted in accordance with Bakhmetev's recommendations: letting U.S .peace terms be his guide.

The Formula for Legitimacy

In the absence of a nationally recognized authority, diplomats were hard-pressed to define on whose behalf they were acting. Maklakov found a solution in his cable to Russia's representative in Siam, Loris-Melikov: the lack of a legitimate government in Russia has prevented diplomats from resigning since there is no one who can accept these resignations. Resignation in the current situation would be an indirect recognition of Lenin's government, which had not been recognized either by Russia or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overthrow of the government, therefore, did not entail the cancellation of all regulations it enacted or the deposition of all appointees. According to Maklakov, the diplomats still served the last legitimate government of Russia and had to continue in office until another legitimate government was formed. It should be mentioned, however, that Maklakov himself was perfectly aware of the fictitious nature of such a formula. Subsequently, in his correspondence with Bakhmetev in 1927, he mentioned that there had been no valid constitution in Russia since the abdication of the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, and no law could be invoked, since the Provisional Government, knowingly and thoroughly, severed any ties with the old regime by omitting to make public the appointment of Prince Georgy Lvov as the supreme authority. "It would be impossible to designate the government as a self-sufficient force drawing its powers from the continuity of legitimate authority, as we sometimes imagined with the Council of Ambassadors or White governments," Maklakov wrote [19]. In another letter, he explored the subject of legitimacy with even more accuracy: "… from the moment of the abdication of Nicholas, there was no telling what was law and what wasn't all we could do was to hold on to the old regulations and people, as we outside the country held on to old ambassadors and consuls after the Bolsheviks came to power" [20].

Having organized themselves into a unified group around the Paris embassy, Russian diplomats were now faced with another urgent problem, namely, that of securing financing for their continued operations, since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had stopped centralized funding. A number of embassies and missions had public money at their disposal – money that had been transferred to them remitted prior to October 2017 and earmarked for other purposes – but diplomats hesitated to use it without explicit ministerial instructions. Nabokov entered into talks with the British government on the possibility of extending lines of credit to Russian diplomatic missions and consulates for his part, Maklakov opened negotiations with the French government. However, in late January 1918, Her Majesty's Exchequer in the United Kingdom denied the request for financing to the Russian diplomatic missions abroad, with only the Russian embassy and consulates in the United Kingdom receiving a reduced amount.

Left in dire straits, Russian diplomats had to raise the money on their own based on the local situation. For instance, Gulkevich put the public money that was at the disposal of the Stockholm mission into a six-month deposit account. "No one can touch it before the term is up. If the order prevails, we dispose of it in line with the ministerial instructions. Should our enemies win and we do not return to power in six months, then the captors of Russia can make use of even this trophy…," he noted in a letter to Olaf Broch in November 1917. However, at the beginning of December 1917, Gulkevich decided, in agreement with the French government, to use money at the mission's disposal to buy French war bonds. He did not consider it possible to use the money without instructions but resolved to pay out small amounts to the staff from the accruing interest (120,000 francs a year, or some 60,000 kronor) [21]. He financed his own operations in the office with his own money.

The Ambassador to Beijing, Prince Nikolai Kudashev, obtained an interest-free loan of 40,000 pounds sterling for the upcoming third of the year (as a rule, Russian diplomatic missions received financing for thirds of the year) from the Russian–Asian Bank against the security of the Boxer Protocol – a contribution paid by the Chinese government as compensation for damages incurred in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. The money was used to finance the operation of all Russian diplomatic missions in the Far East. Later on, the credit line was expanded to 45,000 pounds sterling a year. Ambassador to Madrid Stakhovich, who arrived at his duty station after the Bolshevik coup and failed to deliver his credentials, lived at his own expense for a while. In Washington, the U.S. government allowed Bakhmetev to spend (under its control) public money transferred initially to the Ambassador's personal accounts. Bakhmetev was able to use the money to support Russian diplomatic missions in South America and Spain. Russia's mission in Greece received a loan from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was also paid an annual amount of 300,000 francs a year in repayment of a loan extended by Russia to Greece in 1839. Ambassador Demidov financed his activities with his personal funds. In Buenos Aires, the mission was kept in operation until October 1919 partly thanks to the personal funds of Ambassador Eugene Stein, and partly with church income (some 40 pounds sterling a month) and money granted to the ambassador by Orthodox Syrians and the Russian Circle in Rosario (16 pounds sterling a month).

Up until mid-November 1917 (Julian calendar), it seemed as though People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Leon Trotsky was completely unaware of the existence of Russian diplomatic representatives abroad: for a long time, he spent most of his time at Smolny without paying a single visit to his People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. Trotsky was reminded of the diplomats by French newspapers, which reported on Maklakov's participation in the Inter-Allied Conference. This spurred Trotsky into action.

On November 17 (30), the Pravda newspaper published Trotsky's ministerial decree (apparently, the Narkomindel abbreviation that stood for the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs was still new to him), which said that "Mr Maklakov, who was appointed to a diplomatic post in Paris under the previous government, is stripped of any and all powers. His participation in the Allied Conference reported by official French newspapers would, therefore, be a blatant state crime and entail heavy punishment" [22]. On the same day, Trotsky circulated a telegram among all Russian diplomatic representatives that was drawn up, as the diplomatic rules of the time required, in French. The telegram said that "the Council of People's Commissars suggests that all staff members of the embassy respond immediately as for whether or not they are prepared to pursue a foreign policy as determined by the Congress of Soviets." All those diplomatic representatives in disagreement with the Soviet foreign policies were forced to step down effective immediately, transferring their work to their subordinates, regardless of their prior posts, if they were ready to submit to the new authorities. Any attempts by diplomatic officials to pursue former policies would be regarded as the gravest state crime [23].

However, Maklakov did not receive Trotsky's telegram until November 22 (December 5). The next day, he telegraphed his colleagues that he had left the telegram unanswered. French Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephen Pichon "quite agreed" with Maklakov's decision he informed Maklakov of this in advance so as not to, in his words, tie up the hands of the French government with his decisions. Pichon decided against going public with Trotsky's telegram. Further, Maklakov drew the attention of Pichon, as well as that of Colonel House, to the fact that "it was inadvisable for neutral countries to express their stance on the recognition of Lenin's government before other countries" [24].

Many Russian diplomatic representatives followed Maklakov's lead and left Trotsky's telegram unanswered, with the exception of Solovyov in Madrid and Ungern-Sternberg in Portugal. They were both boycotted by their colleagues and diplomats of the allied countries.

On November 26 (December 9), a new decree by Trotsky was issued saying that "in view of the lack of response to the telegrams and radiotelegrams to ambassadors, envoys, embassy employees, etc., of the Russian Republic suggesting that they immediately reply whether or not they agreed to work under the authority of the Soviet regime based on the platform of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, they are hereby relieved of their duties without the right to a pension or be appointed to any public posts." They were equally stripped of the right to make any kind of withdrawal from public funds [25]. The order listed the names of only 28 Russian diplomats – ambassadors, envoys, charges d'affaires, counsellors, general consuls, one first secretary and one consul.

On December 10 (23), Maklakov sent a telegram to Bakhmetev and copied it to his colleagues in London, Rome and Tokyo outlining a plan for the Allies with regard to Russia. According to him, the events in Russia were doubly dangerous for the allies: one the one hand, they immediately benefited the Germans the moment Russia abandoned the war, while on the other hand, they created exclusively favourable conditions for the entire country to fall under the influence of the Germans. Maklakov believed that, even as the war continued, the Germans would try to further weaken the effects of the blockade by extracting Russia's remaining raw materials. And in the future, Germany reckoned that it would improve its own economic and political positions at Russia's expense and "maybe even, should it fall into Germany's hands, make use of the considerable economic interests of the allies associated with Russia as a negotiation tool to demand further benefits" [26]. Maklakov warned the allies against the enormous strengthening of Germany by subduing Russia for years to come.

Maklakov also feared that "the cultured and propertied class, whose very existence was being threatened by the anarchy," may have itself turned to Germany, seeing no other option. Maklakov saw a lot of signs that this was precisely the essence of Germany's plan for Russia. He was positive that the interests of the Allied Nations in this regard were completely in line with Russia's vital interests "as a cultural and national whole," and the allied countries would be guaranteed the "grateful cooperation of the best Russian forces" in this fight. In his opinion, the Allied Nations had, first and foremost, to do everything in their power to support the forces opposing the Bolsheviks and provide resources to help these forces organize and prepare themselves. Moreover, "these forces could not be expected to continue the war, but only counter the authority of the Bolsheviks and the Germans that keep them company from spreading further."


Many thanks to Peter and, of course, Judge Williams for a book rich with lessons for historians, scholars of the administrative state, and, for me, at least, international relations.

In a world where autocracy remains common if more threatened, Judge Williams sets out to explore the prerequisites for autocracies to transition (peacefully, it would appear) to liberal democracies (14). His vehicle for this exploration is Vasily Maklakov, a lawyer, legislator, and, briefly, diplomat who represents “a Russia that might have been—a Russia struggling with corners of backwardness, to be sure, but liberal, open, welcoming previously unheard voices, and developing institutions that could channel conflict into lawful paths.” (2). Biographical though not a biography, Williams takes us through Maklakov’s rebellious student days, his walks with Tolstoy, his oratory prowess before courts as well as the (largely ignored, manipulated, and ineffectual) post-1906 Duma, his exertions on behalf of judicial reform and minority rights, and, ultimately, his ascendance in the Provisional Government that (sort of) led Russia between February and October 1917 and, finally, his activities in exile. Situated in its relevant scholarly literature but perfectly readable (Chapter 16 on Maklakov’s role in Rasputin’s assassination is a page-turner), Williams has given us an erudite and important contribution to the library of almost-heroes.

From the perspective of a scholar of international relations (the discipline from which I am most qualified to comment), what is most notable about Williams’s work is not the light that it sheds on Maklakov’s career-long balancing act between, on the one hand, advocating meaningful reform of a brutal monarchy from within and, on the other, serving as a fig-leaf for its abuses, but rather how Russia’s social structures and security vulnerability virtually predetermined the outcome of Maklakov’s efforts. Maklakov’s background itself is representative of the dependence of the (small) elite classes in St. Petersburg and Moscow on tsarist favor: his great-grandfather was an official with civil rank equivalent to general the wealth of the family came largely from state salaries (18). Unlike pre-1910 Mexico or early twentieth-century China, there was no long-standing Russian social or political class that could, if alienated by the centralized state bureaucracy, mobilize large segments of the population toward resistance (this was ultimately to occur during 1917, but through a spontaneous and loosely-linked coalition of peasants, workers, and soldiers). Indeed, throughout the book, the reader gets the sense that the St. Petersburg of Maklakov’s activism was disconnected in important ways from the constituencies that shaped the revolution. For example, Maklakov “hadn’t had much to say on [peasant property rights issues]” to his constituents in 1910 because he effectively had no firm position to communicate (227-29). At that point in Russian history, 90% of Russians were peasants, many of whom received lands inferior for cultivation, cut off from necessary resources like water, and before 1905, subject to onerous redemption payments scheduled to the state over decades. As Williams acknowledges, Maklakov did anticipate the socially corrosive effects of the 1906 land reform which exacerbated inequalities between peasant classes and encouraged migration to the cities where former peasants joined the ranks of increasingly agitated workers.

Once peasant marginalization merged with the worker exploitation and alienation that unfolded during state-led industrialization period that began in 1890, Russia became more of a tinderbox than it had been in the lead-up to the 1861 serf emancipation, itself a result of a tsarist calculation that it was “better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait until it will begin to abolish itself from below.” It is for this reason that Russia’s geopolitical security vulnerability made violent revolution a matter of “when” not “if.” All of the major reorganizations of the Russian bureaucratic state followed military crises: the modern judicial system (in which Maklakov flourished), universal military service and zemstvos followed Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War Witte’s program to promote industrialization followed the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 and the adoption of the October Manifesto and commencement of the First Duma followed Russia’s catastrophic defeat by Japan. It is no surprise, then, that the 1917 Revolution followed a protracted, costly war for which peasants, workers, and soldiers easily identified a corrupt and murderous monarchy as its source. Indeed, the vulnerability of the Russian regime never really diminished internally or externally. Over the year following the end of the Russo-Japanese War, government officials were killed or wounded at a rate of 300 per month, a rate of violence that would pose serious challenges even to states with long and robust rule-of-law traditions (145). The imperial secret police appear sporadically throughout Williams’s text (at times under the direction of Maklakov’s brother Nikolai), reminding the reader that they are a fixture of the Russian state (before, during, and after the Bolsheviks ultimately prevailed).

The international situation for Russia hasn’t changed much. From separatist threats originating in the Caucasus (in 2002, Russia used an unidentified chemical gas weapon in the Dubrovka Theater to kill 40 hostage-takers sympathetic to Chechen separatists), to wars with Georgia and (by proxy) Ukraine, to a perpetually hostile posture toward NATO (and its expansion), Russia remains a national security state under which the features of liberal democracy Williams favors are unlikely to emerge.

Williams, of course, understands all this, and regularly notes the textual and pretextual use by the tsar of emergency authority or military necessity (to say nothing of his abuse of Article 87’s extra-Duma law-making mechanism) to undermine the Duma as well as institutions like the press and civic or political organizations. This hidden, structural opponent of The Reformer – Russian geopolitical insecurity (in many cases self-inflicted) – makes Williams’s contribution important not only as an “essential book for anyone interested in Russian history” but also the critical importance of geopolitical structural constraints on any transition from autocracy to liberal democracy.


BLOOD LIBEL - MENAHEM BEILIS AND LITTLE ANDREI


In 1911, a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy Andrei Yushchinsky (above) disappeared.

Eight days later his mutilated body was discovered in a cave near a local brick factory.

A non-religious jew called Menahem Beilis (above) was arrested after a lamplighter testified that the boy had been kidnapped by a Jew.

'The lamplighter, on whose testimony the indictment of Beilis rested, later confessed that he had been confused by the secret police.'

Menahem Beilis spent more than two years in prison awaiting trial.

Andrei Yushchinsky . (This source clearly takes the side of Beilis)

Sections of the right-wing Russian press came up with accusations of ritual murder.

Professor Ivan Sikorsky (above), a psychiatrist who lectured at the University of Kiev, "skewed his analysis of Andrei's wounds to support the accusation of Jewish ritual murder."

Sikorsky stated that he found 13 wounds on a part of Andrei's body.

13 is said to be important in "Jewish ritual".

However, "it was then revealed that there were in fact 14 wounds on that part of the body." [6]


Zhenya's mother, Vera Cheberyak, bought and sold stolen goods and often housed criminals.

Reportedly, during a quarrel with Zhenya, Andrei threatened to inform the police of Vera's illegal activities.

Reportedly, Vera and her gang then murdered Andrei.

The lamplighter, Shakhovskoy, originally stated that he saw Andrei and his friend Zhenya at Vera Cheberyak's home.

It was later, after meeting the secret police, that the lamplighter claimed that Andrei had been 'kidnapped by a Jew'.

Between 1905 and 1916 the government allowed over 14 million copies of 3,000 'antisemitic' books to be printed, including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.


Reportedly, Russia's Interior Minister Nikolai Maklakov (above) provided money to bribe witnesses in the Beilis case.


What happened to Menahem Beilis?

Beilis was acquitted by the all-Christian jury.

Reportedly, the jury considered that although Beilis was innocent, Andrei might have been subjected to ritual murder by some other group.

The Beilis Case.

More information about Andrei became widely known in 1912 thanks to a former police detective Nikolai Krasovsky.

Nikolai Krasovsky had been sacked from his post for the unwillingness to frame Beilis.

The substantial home of Vera Cheberyak

Nikolai Krasovsky came to the conclusion that Vera and her gang had murdered Andrei.

Zhenya and his sister Valya mysteriously died in August 1911.

It is alleged that they had been poisoned by their mother Vera, because they knew too much.


The Kouachi brothers have secular (non religious) backgrounds


Elliot Rodger - mind controlled sex slave?


  • ►� (150)
    • ► June (10)
    • ► May (10)
    • ► April (23)
    • ► March (17)
    • ► February (42)
    • ► January (48)
    • ►� (256)
      • ► December (49)
      • ► November (47)
      • ► October (17)
      • ► September (18)
      • ► August (9)
      • ► July (15)
      • ► June (13)
      • ► May (20)
      • ► April (19)
      • ► March (22)
      • ► February (8)
      • ► January (19)
      • ►� (193)
        • ► December (27)
        • ► November (12)
        • ► October (18)
        • ► September (13)
        • ► August (7)
        • ► July (16)
        • ► June (20)
        • ► May (20)
        • ► April (18)
        • ► March (10)
        • ► February (13)
        • ► January (19)
        • ►� (215)
          • ► December (17)
          • ► November (16)
          • ► October (23)
          • ► September (27)
          • ► August (21)
          • ► July (15)
          • ► June (12)
          • ► May (12)
          • ► April (16)
          • ► March (23)
          • ► February (13)
          • ► January (20)
          • ►� (225)
            • ► December (7)
            • ► November (14)
            • ► October (25)
            • ► September (11)
            • ► August (14)
            • ► July (7)
            • ► June (24)
            • ► May (16)
            • ► April (17)
            • ► March (24)
            • ► February (31)
            • ► January (35)
            • ►� (299)
              • ► December (30)
              • ► November (18)
              • ► October (30)
              • ► September (26)
              • ► August (17)
              • ► July (25)
              • ► June (28)
              • ► May (21)
              • ► April (32)
              • ► March (23)
              • ► February (17)
              • ► January (32)
              • ►� (423)
                • ► December (26)
                • ► November (32)
                • ► October (33)
                • ► September (31)
                • ► August (30)
                • ► July (40)
                • ► June (43)
                • ► May (33)
                • ► April (44)
                • ► March (34)
                • ► February (33)
                • ► January (44)
                • ▼� (517)
                  • ► December (44)
                  • ► November (39)
                  • ► October (37)
                  • ► September (36)
                  • ► August (38)
                  • ▼ July (41)
                  • ► June (43)
                  • ► May (45)
                  • ► April (56)
                  • ► March (65)
                  • ► February (30)
                  • ► January (43)
                  • ►� (498)
                    • ► December (43)
                    • ► November (23)
                    • ► October (41)
                    • ► September (27)
                    • ► August (39)
                    • ► July (40)
                    • ► June (47)
                    • ► May (52)
                    • ► April (51)
                    • ► March (46)
                    • ► February (42)
                    • ► January (47)
                    • ►� (509)
                      • ► December (47)
                      • ► November (44)
                      • ► October (40)
                      • ► September (48)
                      • ► August (55)
                      • ► July (47)
                      • ► June (46)
                      • ► May (40)
                      • ► April (52)
                      • ► March (31)
                      • ► February (31)
                      • ► January (28)
                      • ►� (325)
                        • ► December (22)
                        • ► November (40)
                        • ► October (40)
                        • ► September (38)
                        • ► August (21)
                        • ► July (23)
                        • ► June (26)
                        • ► May (25)
                        • ► April (15)
                        • ► March (22)
                        • ► February (16)
                        • ► January (37)
                        • ►� (174)
                          • ► December (32)
                          • ► November (18)
                          • ► October (22)
                          • ► September (22)
                          • ► August (18)
                          • ► July (22)
                          • ► June (19)
                          • ► May (15)
                          • ► April (6)




                          Joanna Higginbotham moniker:


                          4 For God, Tsar and Fatherland

                          In the hills overlooking the western districts of Kiev there are some caves where before the revolution children used to play and, on fine Sundays in the summer, families would come with picnics. One day in the spring of 1911 some children found the corpse of a schoolboy in one of the caves. There were forty-seven stab wounds in the head, the neck and the torso, and the boy's clothing was caked dry with blood. Nearby were his school cap and some notebooks, identifying the victim as Andrei Yustshinsky, a thirteen-year-old pupil at the Sofia Ecclesiastical College.

                          Kiev was outraged by the murder. It filled the city's papers. Because of the large number of wounds on the victim's body some Black Hundred groups said that it had to be a ritual murder by the Jews. At the funeral they distributed leaflets to the mourners in which it was claimed that 'every year before their Passover the Jews torture to death several dozen Christian children in order to get their blood to mix with their matzos'. They called upon the 'Christians to kill all the Jews until not a single Yid is left in Russia'. 36

                          The ritual murder theory received spurious backing from the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery by the tsarist police which had first been published in St Petersburg in 1902, and which long before its enormous success in Hitler's Europe provided a popular basis in Russia for the myth that the Jews formed a worldwide conspiracy to deprave and subjugate the Christian nations. But it was only after 1917, when many Russians blamed the calamities of the war and the revolution on the Jews, that the Protocols were widely read. A copy was found among the last effects of Nicholas II after his murder in July 1918. But they were published in several editions between 1905 and Andrei's murder, and so the charge of the Black Hundred groups that he had been killed for Jewish ritual ends would have sounded familiar and thus perhaps half convincing to many tens of thousands of citizens. There was, moreover, in these years a large 'scientific' literature on Jewish ritual murders, vampirism and white slavery, which gave the charges of the Black Hundred groups a certain cachet. In short, as Witte put it, anti-Semitism was 'considered fashionable' among the elite. 37

                          During the weeks after Andrei's funeral rumours spread through Kiev of an organized ritual murder campaign by the Jewish population of the city. The Rightist press repeated the charge and used it to argue against the granting of civil and religious rights to the Jews. 'The Jewish people', it was claimed by Russian Banner (Russkoe znamia), had been transformed by their religion into a 'criminal species of murderers, ritual torturers, and consumers of Christian blood'. Thirty-seven right-wing Duma deputies, including eleven Orthodox priests, signed a petition demanding that the government bring to justice the 'criminal sect of Jews'. The Ministers of Justice (I. G. Shcheglovitov) and the Interior (N. A. Maklakov) were both convinced of the ritual murder theory, as were most of the government and the court, and it was with the personal blessing of the Tsar himself that they now went in search of a Jewish suspect. 38

                          The man they finally chose was Mendel Beiliss, a middle-aged clerk in a Jewish-owned factory which happened to be near the caves where Andrei's body had been found. There was nothing unusual about this quiet family man, of average height and build with a short black beard and glasses. He wasn't even particularly religious and rarely attended the synagogue. Yet for the next two years, as he sat in prison awaiting trial, the most terrible portrait of him was built up by the police. Witnesses were paid to testify that they had seen him violently kidnap Andrei, or had heard him confess to the murder and to his participation in secret Jewish cults. The two physicians in charge of the autopsy were forced to change their report in line with the ritual murder theory. An eminent psychiatrist, Professor Sikorsky, was even wheeled on to confirm that, based on the soundest 'anthropological evidence', Andrei's murder was 'typical' of the ritual killings regularly carried out by Jews. The press had a field day with fantastic stories on 'Mendel Beiliss, the Drinker of Christian Blood' and articles by various 'experts' on the historical and scientific background to the case. 39

                          Meanwhile, the real cause of Andrei's murder had already been discovered by two junior policemen. Andrei had been the playmate of Yevgeny Cheberiak, whose mother, Vera, was a member of a criminal gang which had recently carried out a series of robberies in Kiev. Stolen goods were stored in her house before being transported to other cities for resale. On one occasion Andrei had discovered their secret cache. In an argument with his friend he had threatened to tell the police, who were already suspicious. When Yevgeny told his mother, the gang took fright, murdered Andrei, and dumped his body in the caves. All this was covered up by the District Attorney in charge of the investigations, a fanatical anti-Semite called Chaplinsky, who was eager to get promotion by satisfying Shcheglovitov with the head of Beiliss. The two junior policemen were dismissed and others with doubts about the case were forced to keep silent. Chaplinsky even concealed the fact that Vera, who would testify at the trial that she had seen Beiliss kidnap Andrei, had poisoned her own son for fear that he might reveal her role in the affair. Yevgeny, after all, was the one witness who could spoil the prosecution case.

                          In 1917, when the full extent of this conspiracy became known, it emerged that the Minister of Justice and the Tsar himself had both acknowledged Beiliss's innocence long before he came to trial, but they had carried on with the prosecution in the belief that his conviction would be justified in order to 'prove' that the Jewish cult of ritual murder was a fact. By the opening of the trial, in September 1913, the identity of the real murderers had already been disclosed in the liberal press on the basis of information supplied by the two policemen sacked by Chaplinsky. There were large public demonstrations against the trial. Dozens of attorneys, including the young Kerensky, staged a protest at the Petersburg bar, for which they were suspended. Gorky, who was now living in Capri, wrote a passionate appeal against the 'Jewish witch hunt' which was signed by Thomas Mann, Anatole France, H. G. Wells, Thomas Hardy, the heads of all the Oxbridge colleges and dozens of leading politicians throughout Europe. In the United States the Jewish lobby campaigned for the cessation of all financial credits to Russia. But the tsarist government was undaunted by the international scandal and even increased its efforts to get Beiliss convicted. On the eve of his trial a number of key defence witnesses were arrested and sent into secret exile. The judge was received by the Tsar, given a gold watch and promised promotion if there was a 'government victory'. During the trial he repeatedly interrupted the proceedings and instructed the jury, which was packed with peasants from an area notorious for anti-Jewish pogroms, to accept what the prosecution had just told them as 'established fact'. Yet even this was not enough to secure a conviction. The prosecution witnesses &mdash tramps, convicted criminals and prostitutes &mdash all exposed themselves as liars paid by the police. In the five weeks of the trial the name of the defendant was barely mentioned at all, as the prosecution relied entirely on denigrating his religion. 'How can we convict Beiliss', asked one of the jurors, evidently realizing that this was what was expected of them, 'if nothing is even said about him?' 40

                          In the end, amidst widespread rejoicing at home and abroad, Beiliss was acquitted. Six months later he emigrated to Palestine and from there went to the United States, where he died in 1934. Charges were never brought against the criminal gang responsible for the murder of Andrei. Vera Cheberiak was asked by the circus to appear in a pantomime about the Beiliss affair &mdash and a pantomime is more or less what the whole thing was. She continued to live in Kiev until 1918, when she was arrested and shot by the Bolsheviks during the Red Terror (one of its few justifiable victims, one might almost say). As for the tsarist government, it continued to act as if nothing had happened, awarding titles, promotions and valuable gifts of money to those who had taken part on 'its side' in the trial. Chaplinsky was promoted to a senior position in the Senate, while the trial judge was appointed Chief Justice of the Appeal Court. In the eyes of the Western world, however, the Beiliss Affair came to symbolize the struggle between the despotism of medieval Russia and the new European-style society of twentieth-century Russia based upon the civil liberties of the Duma era. The tsarist regime, by siding with the former, had committed moral suicide in the eyes of the civilized world.

                          Why was the monarchy ready to go so far in the Beiliss trial? The answer surely lies in the general political situation. By 1911 the Duma system had broken down. The two main parties willing to work with the government, the Octobrists and the Nationalists, were both deeply divided and, in the elections of 1912 to the Fourth Duma, their share of the vote collapsed. The old centre-right majority had disintegrated and the Duma was weakened as it drifted through a series of fragile alliances, unable to find a working consensus.* Kokovtsov's government (1911&mdash14) ignored the Duma, sending it petty, 'vermicelli', bills. The Tauride Palace gradually emptied as the influence of parliament declined. Meanwhile, the workers' movement, which had been largely dormant since 1906, had revived with a vengeance in April 1912, following the massacre of 500 demonstrating miners on the Lena River in the northern wilderness of Siberia. During the next two years three million workers were involved in 9,000 strikes, and a growing proportion of these were organized under the Bolsheviks' militant slogans in preference to the more cautious leadership of their Menshevik rivals. The Bolsheviks won six of the nine labour curiae in the Duma elections of 1912 and by 1914 had gained control of all the biggest trade unions in Moscow and St Petersburg. Their newspaper, Pravda, established in 1912 with financial help from Gorky among others, had the largest circulation of all the socialist press, with about 40,000 copies bought (and many more read) by workers every day. 41

                          * The parties of the Right (the Nationalists and the Rightists) had 154 deputies in the Fourth Duma, those of the Centre (Octobrists and Centre Group) 126, and those of the Left (Kadets, Progressists and Socialists) 152.

                          To the Tsar and his supporters in the court, the Church and Rightist circles, this doubtless seemed both an opportune moment (with the Duma weakened) and a pressing one (with the rise of the militant Left) to roll back the gains of the constitutional era and mobilize the urban masses behind a popular autocracy. Maklakov and Shcheglovitov, the two main government patrons of the Beiliss Affair, had long been pressing the Tsar to close down the Duma altogether, or at least to demote it to the status of a consultative body. It was only Western pressure and the fear of a popular reaction that restrained the Tsar. To these two ministers, in particular, but no doubt to the Tsar as well, who was naive and easily misled, the Beiliss Affair must have appeared as a prime chance (and perhaps the last) to exploit xenophobia for monarchical ends. They must have hoped to mobilize the loyal Russian people' behind the defence of the Tsar and the traditional social order against the evils of modernity &mdash the depravity of urban life, the insidious influence of the intelligentsia and the militancy of the Left &mdash which many simple-minded Russians readily associated with the Jews. As the pogroms of 1905&mdash6 had already shown, popular anti-Semitism was a vital weapon in the armoury of the counter-revolution. The Union of the Russian People (URP), which was its leading exponent, had been among the first Black Hundred groups to proclaim the ritual murder charge and it provided an anti-Jewish claque for the prosecution throughout the Beiliss trial. The Tsar patronized the URP (and the government secretly financed it) in the hope that it might one day become a popular monarchist party capable of taking support away from the socialists. Its manifesto expressed a plebeian mistrust of all the political parties, the intelligentsia and the bureaucracy, which it claimed were obstacles to the 'direct communion between the Tsar and his people'. This was music to Nicholas's ears: he too shared the fantasy of reestablishing the Tsar's personal rule, as it had existed in the seventeenth century. The mystical bond between the Tsar and his people was the leitmotiv of the Romanov tercentenary year. Even Rasputin's success was largely based on Nicholas's wilful self-delusion that the 'Holy Man' was 'just a simple peasant'. In short, to enter the highest ruling circles it was becoming necessary to flatter the Tsar's fantasy of a popular autocracy and expressing support for the URP was the easiest way to achieve this. Leading members of the Church, the court and the government, including the Minister of the Interior Maklakov, all supported the URP. 42

                          The URP was nothing if not a Great Russian nationalist movement. Its first declared aim was a 'Great Russia, United and Indivisible'. But the nationalist card was a hazardous one for the tsarist regime to play. Its consequences were so difficult to predict. The concept of 'the nation' played a key role in the politics of 1905&mdash17. Both the monarchists and the Duma parties used it increasingly in their rhetoric, as they competed with each other for popular support. The idea of 'Russia' served as a vital reference point during this era of transition when the old political certainties seemed to be being undermined and yet the new ones had still to be formed. It served as north on the compass Russians used to steer their way through the new politics &mdash much as it does in post-Communist Russia. Every strand of political thought had its own different nationalism. In the case of the URP it was based on racism and xenophobia. The supremacy of the Great Russians was to be defended in the Empire. For the Rightist leaders of the Church it was similarly based on the supremacy of Orthodoxy. But such Great Russian chauvinism was not limited to the Right. All the centre-right parties of the Duma shared the conviction after 1907 that Russia's best interests, as an Empire in increasing rivalry with the Great Powers of the West, depended on the encouragement of popular nationalist sentiment (for how else were they to raise a strong army?) and on the maintenance of Russia's domination over the non-Russian borderlands. Stolypin's government was forced to tailor its programme to meet the demands of this nationalism, especially after 1909 when the support of the Octobrists declined and the government was forced to turn to the Nationalist Party for a majority in the Duma. The detachment of Kholm from Poland (1909), the re-imposition of Russian rule over Finland in most matters (1910), and the measures to guarantee the domination of the Russian minority over the Polish majority in the Western Zemstvo Bill (1911) were all signs of this new official line in Great Russian nationalism. Many of the concessions won by the non-Russians as a result of the 1905 Revolution were taken away again in these years. Stolypin justified his policies on the grounds of imperial defence. After all, he explained to Bernard Pares, the Finnish border was only twenty miles from St Petersburg: and England would hardly tolerate an autonomous state as near as Gravesend. 43

                          * * * The threat of a war in Europe was increasing. The two great Balkan empires, the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian, were both breaking apart under pressure from nationalist movements. Germany and Russia were lining up for conflict over the spoils, as each sought to advance its interests in the region. The occupation of Constantinople and the control of the Dardanelles, through which half her foreign trade passed, had been Russia's main imperial ambition since the time of Peter the Great. But she also harboured broader hopes of her own Slavic Empire in the Balkans, hopes raised by the nationalist movements in Serbia, Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzogovina.

                          For a long time such pan-Slavist dreams were seen as the stuff of poetry, not practical politics. The country's military and economic weakness demanded a cautious foreign policy. As Polovtsov had put it in 1885, 'Russia needs roads and schools, not victories or honour, otherwise we'll become another Lapland.' 44 It was left to the diplomats to defend Russia's interests in Europe and this, for the most part, meant conciliating her two powerful neighbours in Berlin and Vienna. The Romanov court had long been in favour of this pro-German policy, partly because of the strong dynastic ties between the ruling families and partly because of their mutual opposition to European liberalism. There was even talk of reviving the old Three Emperors' League.

                          After 1905, however, foreign policy could no longer be carried out regardless of public opinion. The Duma and the press both took an active interest in imperial matters and increasingly called for a more aggressive policy in defence of Russia's Balkan interests. The Octobrists led the way, seeking to stop the decline of their own political fortunes by sponsoring a nationalist crusade. Guchkov, their leader, condemned the diplomats' decision not to go to war in 1908, when Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzogovina, as a betrayal of Russia's historic mission to defend the Balkan Slavs. The Russian people, he declared, in contrast with the 'flabby indolence of official Russia', was ready for the 'inevitable war with the German races', and it was their patriotic sentiments that 'foreign and indeed our own diplomats must reckon with'. Not to be outdone by such bluster, the right-wing Kadets fashioned their own liberal version of Slavic imperialism. Struve denounced the Bosnian affair as 'a national disgrace'. Russia's destiny, he argued in a celebrated essay of that year, was to extend its civilization 'to the whole of the Black Sea basin'. This was to be achieved (contradictory though it may seem) by a combination of imperial might and the free association of all the Slavic nations &mdash which in his view would look upon Russia as a constitutional haven from Teutonic oppression. Equally anxious to wave the patriotic flag was the liberal business elite of Moscow, led by Alexander Konovalov and the Riabushinskys, who in 1912 established their own Progressist Party on the grounds that the time had come for the bourgeoisie to assume the leadership of the nation. Russia's control of the Black Sea and the shipping routes through the straits was a principal target of their trading ambitions. 45

                          Much of this bourgeois patriotism was informed by the idea that Europe was heading unavoidably towards a titanic clash between the Teutons and the Slavs. Pan-Slavism and pan-Germanism were two mutually self-justifying credos: the one could not exist without the other. The fear of Russia united all German patriots, while the fear of Germany did the same in Russia. Germano-phobia ran extremely deep in Russian society. The revolution was partly based on it &mdash both as a reaction against the war and as a rejection of the German-dominated Romanov court. This fear of Germany stemmed in part from the Russians' cultural insecurity &mdash the feeling that they were living on the edge of a backward, semi-Asian society and that everything modern and progressive came to it from the West. There was, as Dominic Lieven has put it, 'an instinctive sense that Germanic arrogance towards the Slavs entailed an implicit denial of the Russian people's own dignity and of their equality with the other leading races of Europe'. The wealth of the Germans in Russia, their prominence in the Civil Service, and the growing domination of German exports in Russia's traditional markets only served to underline this sense of a racial threat. 'In the past twenty years', declared a 1914 editorial in Novoe vremia, 'our Western neighbour has held firmly in its teeth the vital sources of our well-being and like a vampire has sucked the blood of the Russian peasant.' Many people feared that the Drang nach Osten was part of a broader German plan to annihilate Slavic civilization and concluded that, unless she now made a firm stand on behalf of her Balkan allies, Russia would suffer a long period of imperial decline and subjugation to Germany. This pan-Slavist sentiment grew as the public became frustrated with the government's conciliatory approach towards the 'German aggressors'. Novoe vremia led the way, denouncing the government's decision, brought about by pressure from Berlin, to recognize the Bosnian annexation as a 'diplomatic Tsushima'.* The newspaper called on the government to counteract the growing influence of Germany in the Balkans with a Slavic campaign of its own. Numerous Slavic societies were established after 1908. A Slavic Congress was even convened in Prague, where the Russians attempted to persuade their sceptical 'brothers' from the Czech lands that they would be better off under the Tsar. By the Balkan Wars of 1912&mdash13 this pro-Slav sentiment had brought together many elements of Russian society. Hundreds of public organizations declared their support for the Slavs, the capital cities witnessed huge demonstrations, and at a series of political banquets public figures called for a firmer assertion of Russia's imperial power. 'The straits must become ours,' Mikhail Rodzianko, President of the Duma, told the Tsar in March 1913. A war will be joyfully welcomed and it will raise the government's prestige.' 46

                          There is no doubt that the pressure of public opinion played an important part in the complex series of events leading towards Russia's involvement in the First World War. By the beginning of 1914 the mood of pro-Slav belligerence had spread to the court, the officer corps and much of the state itself. Prince G. N. Trubetskoi, placed in charge of the Balkan and Ottoman sections of the Foreign Ministry in the summer of 1912, was a well-known pan-Slavist determined to gain control of Constantinople and its Balkan hinterland. Similar views were held by the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, a military man with a powerful influence over the Tsar who in August 1914 was appointed Commander-in-Chief. His father had fought in the Balkan campaigns of 1877&mdash8 and his wife, an ardent Slav patriot, was the daughter of the King of Montenegro. Many generals shared the Grand Duke's Slavic sympathies. Brusilov was a case in point. Concerned by Russia's lack of moral preparation for the coming war, he looked to pan-Slav nationalism as a means of uniting the people behind the army. 'If the Tsar had appealed to all his subjects', he later wrote, 'to combine to save their country from its present peril and deliver all their brother Slavs from the German yoke, public enthusiasm would have been boundless, and his personal popularity would have become unassailable.' 47

                          * Tsushima was the site of Russia's biggest defeat in the war against Japan.

                          The Tsar himself was slowly coming round to the pan-Slavist camp. By the beginning of 1914 he was of the view that the time had come for a firm stand against Austria, if not against her more powerful ally in Berlin. 'We will not let ourselves be trampled upon,' he told Delcasse in January. Foreign ambassadors explained this new resolve by the pressure of public opinion. But for the moment Nicholas supported the cautious approach of his Foreign Minister, S. D. Sazonov. Recognizing that a war with the Central Powers was almost certainly unavoidable, they sought to delay it by diplomatic means. Russia's army, according to the military experts, would not be ready for war until 1917. Nor was the diplomatic groundwork complete: for while the support of France was assured, that of Britain was not. But by far the most pressing concern was the threat of a revolution if Russia got bogged down in a long and exhausting campaign. The memory of 1904&mdash5 was still fresh, and there was nothing the revolutionary leaders would now welcome more than a war. A war between Russia and Austria would be a very useful thing for the revolution,' Lenin told Gorky in 1913, but the chances are small that Franz Joseph and Nicky will give us such a treat.' 48

                          All this strengthened the arguments of the pro-German faction at court against the headlong drift towards war. In a prophetic memorandum of February 1914 Durnovo warned the Tsar that Russia was too weak to withstand the long war of attrition which the Anglo-German rivalry was likely to produce. A violent social revolution was bound to be the result in Russia, for the liberal intelligentsia lacked the trust of the masses and was thus incapable of holding power for long in a purely political revolution. Durnovo outlined the course of this revolution in remarkably prescient terms:

                          The trouble will start with the blaming of the Government for all disasters. In the legislative institutions a bitter campaign against the Government will begin, followed by revolutionary agitations throughout the country, with Socialist slogans, capable of arousing and rallying the masses, beginning with the division of the land and succeeded by a division of all valuables and property. The defeated army, having lost its most dependable men, and carried away by the tide of the primitive peasant desire for land, will find itself too demoralized to serve as a bulwark of law and order. The legislative institutions and the intellectual opposition parties, lacking real authority in the eyes of the people, will be powerless to stem the popular tide, aroused by themselves, and Russia will be flung into hopeless anarchy, the issue of which cannot be foreseen. 49

                          Caution was the key-word of the pro-German faction at court. But from Germany's point of view, if there was to be a war with Russia, then it was better fought sooner than later. 'Russia grows and grows, and weighs upon us like a nightmare,' the German Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg declared. When the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated by Serbian nationalists it was not in Germany's interests to restrain its Austrian ally from threatening war against Russia's last real Balkan ally. This threw the delicate balance of Russia's foreign policy into disarray. The Russian press clamoured for war in defence of Serbia and there were large public demonstrations outside the Austrian Embassy in St Petersburg. On 24 July 1914 the Council of Ministers recommended military preparations. Otherwise, argued A. V Krivoshein, the influential Minister of Agriculture, 'public opinion would fail to understand why, at the critical moment involving Russia's interests, the Imperial Government was reluctant to act boldly'. It was more important 'to believe in the Russian people and its age-old love for the fatherland than any chance preparedness or unpreparedness for war'. 50

                          This placed Nicholas in an impossible situation. If he went to war, he ran the risk of defeat and a social revolution but if he didn't, there might equally be a sudden uprising of patriotic feeling against him which could also result in a complete loss of political control. There was little time to reach a decision, for if Russia was to mobilize its forces it would need a head start on its enemies, who could mobilize theirs very much more quickly. On 28 July Austria finally declared war on Serbia. Nicholas ordered the partial mobilization of his troops and made one last appeal to the Kaiser to forestall the Austrian attack on Belgrade. 'I foresee', he warned, 'that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure brought upon me and forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war.' Two days later the Kaiser replied, renouncing Germany's neutrality in the Serbian question. Sazonov recommended a general mobilization, realizing that a German declaration of war against Russia was now imminent (it came on I August). He warned the Tsar that 'unless he yielded to the popular demand for war and unsheathed the sword in Serbia's behalf, he would run the risk of a revolution and perhaps the loss of his throne'. Nicholas went pale. 'Just think of the responsibility you're advising me to assume!' he said to Sazonov. But the force of his Ministers argument was incontrovertible and, reluctantly, the Tsar called for the general mobilization on 31 July. 51

                          Brusilov later claimed that the Tsar had been forced to go to war by the strength of his own people's patriotic fervour: 'Had he not done so, public resentment would have turned on him with such ferocity that he would have been tumbled from his throne, and the Revolution, with the support of the whole intelligentsia, would have taken place in 1914 instead of 1917.' This is undoubtedly an overstatement of the case. The middle-class patriots who assembled in front of the Winter Palace to greet the Tsar's declaration of war on Sunday 2 August &mdash clerks, officials, high-school students and housewives &mdash were hardly the people to start a revolution. Many of them, according to foreign observers, had been ordered to turn out by their employers or masters. But on that sunny afternoon, as Nicholas stood on the balcony of his Winter Palace and surveyed in the square below him the vast flag-waving and cheering crowds, who then, as one, knelt down before him and sang the national anthem, the thought must have crossed his mind that the war had at last united his subjects with him and that perhaps, after all, there was some reason for hope. 'You see,' he told his children's tutor shortly after in a state of great emotion, 'there will now be a national movement in Russia like that which took place in the great war of 1812.' 52

                          And indeed in those first heady weeks of August there was every outward sign of a national ralliement. The workers' strikes came to a halt. Socialists united behind the defence of the Fatherland, while pacifists, defeatists and internationalists were forced into exile. Patriotic demonstrators attacked German shops and offices. They ransacked the German Embassy in Marinskaya Square, smashing the windows and throwing out the furniture, the fine paintings and even the Ambassador's own personal collection of Renaissance sculptures on to a bonfire in the street below. Then, to the cheers of the crowd, they sent two huge bronze horses crashing down from the Embassy roof. In this wave of anti-German feeling people even changed their names to make them sound more Russian: thus, for example, the orientalist Wilhelm Wilhelmovich Struve became Vasilii Vasilievich Struve. Bowing to the strength of this xenophobia, the government also changed the German-sounding name of St Petersburg to the more Slavonic Petrograd. Nicholas welcomed the change. He had never liked St Petersburg, or its Western traditions, and had long been trying to Russify its appearance by adding Muscovite motifs to its classical buildings.

                          'Everyone has gone out of their minds,' lamented Zinaida Gippius, the poet, philosopher and salon hostess of St Petersburg. 'Why is it that, in general, war is evil yet this war alone is somehow good?' Most of the country's leading writers supported the war, and more than a few even volunteered for the army. There was a common assumption among the intelligentsia, searching as ever for a sense of belonging, that the war would bring about Russia's spiritual renewal by forcing the individual to sacrifice himself for the good of the nation. The meaning of the war, lectured one Moscow Professor of Philosophy, lay 'in the renovation of life through the acceptance of death for one's country'. War should be seen as a kind of 'Final Judgement'. Few intellectuals would have shared the gloomy verdict of Gorky, recently returned from exile abroad: 'One thing is clear: we are entering the first act of a worldwide tragedy.' 53

                          The press waxed lyrical on this new-found unity of the Russian people. Utro Rossii, the Progressist paper, pronounced that 'there are now neither Rights nor Lefts, neither government nor society, but only one United Russian Nation'. Finally, as if to consummate this union sacrée, the Duma dissolved itself in a single session of patriotic pomp on 8 August in order, as its resolution declared, not to burden the government with 'unnecessary politics' during its war effort. 'We shall only get in your way,' Rodzianko, the Duma President, informed the ministers in the Tauride Palace. 'It is therefore better to dismiss us altogether until the end of hostilities.' 54

                          But such declarations of loyalty were deceptive. The mass of the people had yet to be touched by the war and the millions of peasants and workers who departed for the Front felt little of the middle-class patriotism that had done so much to raise the Tsar's hopes. There were no flags or military bands to see them off at the stations and, according to foreign observers, the expression on most of the soldiers' faces was sombre and resigned. It was their terrible experience of war that would ignite the revolution. The Tsar's desperate gamble was destined to bring the destruction of his regime.


                          Last Tsar. Nicholas II, His Reign & His Russia by S. S. Oldenburg (1939)

                          I have been collecting books on Nicholas II now for decades, and there is nothing I enjoy more than a good book hunt! The title which I wanted most to complete my library was the English language 4-volume edition of Last Tsar. Nicholas II, His Reign & His Russia by the noted Russian historian and journalist Sergei Sergeiivich Oldenburg (1888-1940). This title has been out of print for many years now, however, several years back, I was able to track down a set in mint condition, through a Dutch bookseller for €75. This is the only study of Russia’s last emperor and tsar that I would recommend to any serious student of the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

                          It was the Supreme Monarchist Council[1], a monarchist organization created by Russian émigrés in 1921, who commissioned Oldenburg to write a comprehensive history of the reign of Emperor Nicholas II. The first volume which appeared in Russian, was published in 1939 in Belgrade (Serbia), and the second was not published until a decade later, and posthumously in 1949 in Munich (Germany). The first Russian edition published in Post-Soviet Russia was in 1991. Numerous reprints have been issued since.

                          The English language edition was published in 1975 by Academic International Press in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Of particular note is the 18-page introduction Searching for the Last Tsar by Associate Professor of History Patrick J. Rollins (now deceased) of Old Dominion University (est. 1930), a public research university in Norfolk, Virginia. As Rollins notes in the study’s preface:

                          “Oldenburg’s [ Last Tsar. Nicholas II, His Reign & His Russia] is a major document in modern Russian historiography. The final contribution of a Russian nationalist historian, it provides uniquely sensitive insights into the character, personality, and policies of Russia’s last tsar. It has no rival as a political biography of Nicholas II and is without peer as a comprehensive history of his reign.”

                          His comprehensive study of Nicholas II is apologetic in nature. Oldenburg substantiates that the revolution interrupted the successful progressive economic development of Russia under Nicholas II: “in the twentieth year of the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, Russia had reached a unprecedented level of economic prosperity”.

                          Oldenburg was able to undertake such a study of Russia’s last tsar, having had access to a unique collection of documents. These included copies of authentic historical acts of the Russian Empire held in the Russian Embassy in Paris on Rue Grenelle. Long before the First World War, duplicates of the originals had been made as a precautionary measure, and sent to the Russian Embassy in Paris for storage. In October 1917, the Provisional Government appointed Vasily Alekseyevich Maklakov (1869-1957), to replace Alexander Izvolsky as Russia’s Ambassador to France.

                          When he arrived in Paris, Maklakov learned about the takeover by the Bolsheviks. Regardless, he continued to occupy the splendid mansion of the Russian embassy for seven years, until France found it necessary to recognize the Bolshevik government. Fearing that the Embassy’s archival documents would fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks, Makloakov packed them up, including Oldenburg’s manuscript, the Okhrana archives, among other items and arranged for their transfer to the Stanford University.

                          Oldenburg’s fundamental historical research on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II, is sadly overlooked or simply ignored by Western historians.

                          Sergei Sergeiivich Oldenburg was born on 29 [O.S. 17] June 1888, in the town of Malaya Vishera, Russia. His f ather Sergey Fedorovich Oldenburg (1863-1934 ), was a famed academician (1900), and Orientalist specializing in Buddhist studies. He served as permanent secretary of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (from 1904), Russian Academy of Sciences (from 1917), USSR Academy of Sciences (1925-1929), and Minister of Public Education (July — September 1917). His mother Alexandra Pavlovna Oldenburg (nee Timofeeva), was a graduate of the Mathematics Department of the Pedagogical Courses. She died in 1891.

                          He graduated from the law faculty of Moscow University, and later worked as an official in the Ministry of Finance of Russia.

                          Unlike his father, who adhered to liberal political views, Sergei from a young age adhered to right-wing views, a member the Union of October 17[2].

                          In 1918 Oldenburg went to the Crimea, where he joined the White movement. In the fall of 1920, he was unable to evacuate with the Russian Army, headed by General Baron P.N. Wrangel, because he was sick with typhoid . Having recovered, with fake documents, he travelled from Crimea to Petrograd, where he met his father, who helped him to emigrate.

                          He crossed the border into Finland, settling in Germany and then Paris, France, where he lived in poverty. Sergei Sergeiivich Oldenburg died at the age of 51, in Paris on 28 April 1940.

                          Russian language editions of Oldenburg’s study of Nicholas II have been issued since 1991

                          [1] The First Monarchical Congress, was held between 29th May to 6th June 1921, in the Bavarian restort town of Reichengal. The international congress of Russian monarchists in Germany, was intended to organize the activities of of monarchists both in emigration and in Russia (now the Soviet Union).

                          The congress was attended by 100 delegates from 30 countries, Metropolitan Anthony (Honorary Chairman), Archbishop Eulogius, Archimandrite Sergius, five senators, two army commanders, five members of the State Council, eight members of the State Duma, fourteen generals and many other statesmen. The chairman of the congress was Alexander Nikolaevich Krupensky (1861-1939).

                          During the Congress, the question of succession was declared untimely, since the possibility of saving the Imperial family was not ruled out. At the congress, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna was recognized as the undisputed authority among Russian monarchists.

                          [2] The Union of October 17, commonly known as the Octobrist Party, was a political party in late Imperial Russia, firmly committed to a system of constitutional monarchy.

                          Founded in late October 1905, from 1906 the party was led by the industrialist Alexander Guchkov (1862-1936) who drew support from centrist-liberal gentry, and businessmen, who shared moderately right-wing, anti-revolutionary views. They were generally allied with the governments of Sergei Witte in 1905-1906 and Pyotr Stolypin in 1906-1911.

                          With the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, moderate political parties became moribund in Russia. By 1915, the Octobrists all but ceased to exist outside the capital, Petrograd. Several of its prominent members, particularly Guchkov and Mikhail Rodzianko, continued to play a significant role in Russian politics until 1917, when they were instrumental in convincing Nicholas II to abdicate during the February Revolution and in forming the Russian Provisional Government. With the fall of the Romanovs in March, the party became one of the ruling parties in the first Provisional Government.

                          Some members of the party later participated in the White Movement after the October Revolution and during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920), becoming active in White émigré circles after the Bolshevik victory in 1920. By that time, the October Revolution had given the term “Octobrist” a completely different meaning and connotation in Russian politics.


                          Oriana-poetry

                          Rain, London Monika Jakubowska. Tears, tears . . .

                          These are amazing: each
                          Joining a neighbor, as though speech
                          Were a still performance.
                          Arranging by chance

                          To meet as far this morning
                          From the world as agreeing
                          With it, you and I
                          Are suddenly what the trees try

                          To tell us we are:
                          That their merely being there
                          Means something that soon
                          We may touch, love, explain.

                          And glad not to have invented
                          Such comeliness, we are surrounded:
                          A silence already filled with noises,
                          A canvas on which emerges

                          A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
                          Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,
                          Our days put on such reticence
                          These accents seem their own defense.

                          This is not the absurdist, disjointed Ashbery of his later poems. It’s the title poem of his first book, and it’s among my favorite Ashbery poems — which are few (I can think of only three, in fact).

                          These are my favorite lines:

                          you and I
                          Are suddenly what the trees try

                          To tell us we are:
                          That their merely being there
                          Means something that soon
                          We may touch, love, explain.

                          The world is a gift to the lovers, an unearned grace. And the lovers too are a gift to each other “merely being there.” We are back to Heidegger’s insight that we don’t have to try so hard, we don’t have to invent beauty or cleverness already our being is a gift to others.

                          Alienation and isolation are said to be among the central themes of modern literature. But this poem is about connection. And it starts with the trees, “each / Joining its neighbor.” This is a prelude to “soon / We may touch, love, explain.”

                          There is also the sense that when you’re in love, the whole world is smiling. And that certain shyness — “reticence” — that’s the sacred shyness of two people who are about to experience the mystery of each other.

                          “There is no stupider abuse of emotion than the gung-ho, can-do spirit in deciding to go to war.”

                          Jeremy Sherman
                          Powkett Mowse

                          THE END OF TZARIST RUSSIA: WAS IT THE FAULT OF THE RUSSIAN ARISTOCRATS?

                          “Beginning with the solid premise that “Russia was neither as unique nor as exotic as either its admirers or its detractors claimed,” Dominic Lieven seeks to explain the origins of the First World War from Russia’s perspective but within an international context. He correctly reminds us that the challenges faced by the Russian Empire—aggressive nationalism, the emergence of an activist civil society, and the unanticipated toll of modern warfare—were shared by all combatants and that Russia’s three immediate neighbors and principal enemies (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) also succumbed to them. His new analysis offers an original explanation of how the tzarist government really worked. Above all, he provides a remarkable vindication of the role of individual personalities, for better or worse, in making history.

                          To virtually anyone at the highest level of Russian politics in 1914, war with Germany—a fellow authoritarian monarchy with a much larger economy and in many ways both a natural and historical ally—was “suicidal madness.” As a result, an odd paradox at play among the Russian elite was that the more reactionary an official, the less inclined he was to endorse war. Probably the best expression of this entrenched caution was the high-ranking statesman Peter Durnovo’s distillation of numerous internal discussions in a brief but extraordinarily prescient memorandum circulated in February 1914. One of the era’s most revealing documents, it repeated three essential points about Russia’s likely fate in a general European war: that it would probably lose, that victory would only bring more restive ethnic minorities under already unpopular Russian rule, and that the strains of conflict would cause a massive revolution that would destroy Russia’s state and society. Durnovo was no liberal—in the decades before 1914 he had built a career as a nasty secret police chief and Interior Minister devoted to upholding the tzarist order (his early career in high officialdom was nearly undone when it was discovered that he used police spies to steal his mistress’s letters to a rival). But he was absolutely right about what a general European war would do to the Russia he served.

                          As Russia’s leaders edged toward their reluctant decision to go to war in the wake of the July Crisis, Old Regime reactionaries filed report after report denouncing the idea. Those who eventually accepted war as unavoidable did so against their better judgment. When one minister veered toward favoring war in the days leading up to mobilization, he and the adamantly pacifist yet arch-reactionary Interior Minister Nikolai Maklakov nearly fought a duel over it. To add irony to insult, the staunchly anti-war Maklakov was one of the first tzarist ministers to meet his end at the hands of the Bolsheviks.

                          Just why did Russia’s leaders end up in a war almost none of them wanted? Lieven presents a much more banal culprit few scholars have ever suspected: civil society. Russia did have one. Particularly after the unrest of Russia’s “first” revolution in 1905, civic activity exploded as legal restrictions on expression and association almost completely vanished.

                          It may seem surprising that this should have led to a devastating war that claimed millions of Russian lives and ended in an unspeakably violent revolution that claimed millions more. In our relentlessly liberal age, one usually expects that broadening civil society will automatically engender more responsible government. In a mournful irony, Lieven’s study proves that Russia’s war fever was not inflamed by the expected cadre of reactionary lunatic warmongers, but rather by two phenomena that students of modernity are practically inoculated to trust: the independent media and the allied professional meritocracy. Yet at every step in the years leading up to 1914, many of their representatives shamelessly championed war over peace, nationalism over internationalism, and conflict over conciliation.

                          As the reactionary “amateurs” sought to avoid hostilities, they were brutally assailed at every turn by a newly empowered group—a functional middle class—of journalists, editors, academics, parliamentarians, and even professionalized meritocrats who had risen within government circles, all passionately urging them toward war. In an era of mass media in which public opinion truly started to matter, they found their natural caution and reserve broadsided by opinionated critics happy to indulge their lack of government experience with the absence of any practical limitations on what they could say in the public sphere.

                          The critics also roamed free of the cosmopolitan sensibilities and “Olympian Majesty” for which they derided their stunned betters in the halls of the Foreign Ministry. As the documentary record unambiguously shows, the beleaguered government officials suddenly had no choice but to devote time and energy to the new and unfamiliar concept of “spin”
                          —reacting to public opinion, shaping policy to accommodate it, and, very often, simply admitting that it lay beyond their control. The deep irresponsibility of the Russian press, Lieven writes, shattered Europe’s peace more assuredly than any tzarist martinet in court dress. In its final decade Imperial Russia emerges not as a divine-right autocracy but as a disturbingly modern society in which media and information elites arrogated unelected and unaccountable power to themselves.

                          Once they rounded on Russia’s well-known diplomatic reversals in the years beginning with the Bosnian Crisis of 1908, there could be no going back if they felt the country’s prestige had been bruised. Opposing them promised danger at least as great as going along with them. Thus could Nikolai Hartwig, Russia’s self-made middle-class career minister to Serbia, buck up his host government—to the disgust of his nobly born colleagues—with confident assurances that public opinion alone would force Russia to go to war to defend it in its brewing conflict with Austria-Hungary. Hartwig’s allies in the media even relished their corrosive role: “All your arguments will be to no avail,” one Russian popular journalist mocked a diplomat. “Our purpose now is to destroy the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” In sending Russia into a spiral of crisis that toppled its dynasty, unchecked public opinion was as effective as Bolshevik firing squads. As Vladimir Putin cracks down on freedom of expression and association a century later, we might at least credit him with a sardonic ability to learn from history.”



                          http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Officers---gentlemen-8488

                          Oriana: This is an eye-opening article. We tend to assume the aristocrats wanted war in fact they tended to be internationalists rather than nationalists.

                          Valentin Serov: The Anointing of Tzar Nicholas II 1896

                          “There’s no official line from the Kremlin – they can’t identify themselves with Lenin, because he was a revolutionary, and they can’t identify with Nicholas II because he was a weak leader.”

                          Now, it’s not as if Tzarist Russia didn’t deserve to fall it’s that ideally it would have been transformed into a democracy. But Kerensky did not have the courage and wisdom it would have taken to withdraw from WWI, against the tremendous pressure of the Allies and even if he did, the Bolsheviks had cunningly prepared the ground for a coup, and were probably unbeatable at that point.

                          And let’s not forget Germany’s part in this: transporting Lenin and thirty-five of his fellow revolutionaries in a sealed railway car “like a dangerous bacillus” from Switzerland to Sweden, from where he made his way into Russia. Denounced as a “German agent” by the provisional government that he openly sought to overthrow, he had to flee to Finland, but his motto of “peace, land, and bread” gained wide support. Ultimately he returned to Russia to lead the October Revolution — which he hoped was the beginning of a wider revolution all across Europe. The anti-war, internationalist Tzarist diplomats were hopelessly irrelevant at that point, a minor footnote to history.

                          IS “FOLLOW YOUR DREAM” THE RIGHT MESSAGE TO THE YOUNG?

                          Oriana: When I was in an MFA program that turned out to be a huge mistake (not writing per se, but that particular program), I met a man who told me he gave up trying to be a professional actor and instead became a postal employee. He was perfectly happy with that choice: it provided him with a steady income, which in turn led to marriage and two children instead of a life, as he put it, of “living in Los Angeles and going to auditions.” I could barely conceal my outrage that he gave up on his dream. Only later I realized the man’s happiness said it all.

                          This article points out several important facts. The two I chose to highlight in the excerpt seem critical: 1) not knowing what your passion is when you are young and 2) the importance of luck

                          “High school and college graduation speeches often revolve around some variant of the advice to “Follow your passion.” The theme has enduring popularity because it sounds so liberating and affirming, and also because it is pretty much guaranteed to meet with audience approval. It is a safe way to sound daring.

                          Unfortunately, the follow-your-passion plea may actually be poor advice, feeding into some destructive tendencies that new graduates should be trying to overcome.

                          Inexperience. Whose passion is it? The passion of a new high school graduate hopefully will change with age, experience, and maturity. Why would we want to encourage young people to fixate on childhood dreams that are likely to be unrealistic and, by definition, juvenile? Many new graduates have very restricted life experiences, so what career choices can they imagine? Becoming fashion models? Designing video games? Playing in a rock band? Parlaying their enjoyment of student plays into a career in theater or film?

                          Cluelessness. Many young people don’t know what their passion is. Yet they believe they are selling out if they choose paths that aren’t their passion. So they wander through college and post-college unwilling to commit, waiting for the moment when their passion will become clear to them. Some of them wait a long time and never have that epiphany. They spend a lost decade in a twilight state, keeping their options open and rejecting one career path after another because they find some reason to doubt that it is their passion.

                          Magical Thinking. Let’s not ignore the importance of luck. The graduation speakers encouraging young audiences to find their own path tend to be intelligent, persistent, and lucky. Their less fortunate counterparts rarely get invited to give motivational speeches.I am referring to those whose path ran into a brick wall and who persisted anyway because they didn’t want to waste the time and energy they’d already expended. They found their passion, only to get trapped by it.

                          Job and life satisfaction may depend less on finding one’s passion than on making contributions and being valued members of worthwhile organizations. Too many graduates live in the purgatory of skeptically examining each career path to gauge whether this is their ideal. They might be better off learning to bloom where they are planted.
                          Learn to find ways to grow and thrive even if the conditions aren’t perfect. A friend of mine described how, late in his career, he was given an assignment typically reserved for those about to be pushed into retirement. He was disappointed — he wasn’t ready to retire, and he had hoped for additional promotions and challenges. But then he remembered his mother’s admonition to bloom where you are planted. He abandoned hopes for further advancement and plunged into his new work. Without having to worry about supervisor evaluations, he found that he could make some sweeping and necessary changes. He did an outstanding job and, to his surprise, he was promoted.

                          Still, we don’t want to counsel anyone to stay stuck in a terrible situation, so even the advice to bloom where you are planted needs to be tempered. No one-liner is going to fit all situations. Career choices aren’t simple, which is why they shouldn’t be guided by simplistic slogans.”

                          John Singer Sargent: A Street in Venice, c. 1880-1882

                          STAR WARS TRIED TO RESTORE THE FAITH THAT AMERICA IS A FORCE FOR GOOD

                          Star Wars rejects the ambiguity and moral uncertainty of post-Vietnam America and instead depicts a universe of moral absolutes. It deploys elements of classic western films: characters Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca resonate with frontier archetypes. The dust up in the saloon and the frequent shoot outs play with the conventions of the genre.

                          References to American wars in which the US held the moral high ground are another recurring motif. The imagery and iconography of World War II is everywhere in Star Wars. Terms like stormtroopers, the evil empire and super weapons are suggestive. The design of the ships, costumes and weaponry are modeled on examples from World War II. The choreography of the space battles are even based on aerial dogfight sequences from other war movies.

                          Lucas also employs a range of visual cues from Nazi propaganda film The Triumph of the Will, most obviously in the closing medal ceremony.

                          Moral high ground

                          In the film’s opening moments, Lucas reminds audiences of another war with mythic implications, America’s Revolutionary War. This conflict ideally suited Lucas’s purpose because it is perhaps the most unambiguous war in American history: the Americans were underdogs fighting a well-equipped empire – but they were victorious. For Lucas it is a compelling and attractive alternative to Vietnam’s moral ambiguities, atrocity and defeat.
                          Looking at the film through the lens of the Revolutionary War, Lucas’s myth building is fascinating. The opening shot of the small blockade runner being chased down by the massive Star Destroyer perfectly articulates the heroic context and asymmetry of the conflict.

                          This sense of poorly equipped rebels versus a professional military force is further enhanced when the action comes aboard the smaller ship, where a small force of men awaits combat. These are not traditional soldiers, however: they are not young men at the peak of physical and psychological readiness. Rather they are all older, scared, a volunteer militia, and the coming combat, as historian John Hellman has suggested, resonates with the iconic clash of redcoats and minutemen.

                          Lucas’s efforts were an attempt to repair and rebuild American confidence and the belief that the United States was a force for good by celebrating the simplicity and certainties of mythic narratives. Star Wars reminds audiences of the qualities of innocence, purity and heroism these stories contain. The “return to childhood” that critic Pauline Kael recognized in her famously negative New Yorker review in 1977 is an acknowledgement of Star Wars’ ability to reconnect audiences with a more innocent time.

                          On April 20, 1970, the poet Paul Celan left his home in Paris, walked to a bridge over the River Seine, and jumped to his death. He left a biography of Hölderlin open on his desk, with the following words underlined: ‘Sometimes this genius goes dark and sinks down into the bitter well of his heart.’

                          The sentence does not end there. Celan chose not to underline the rest: ‘but mostly his apocalyptic star glitters wondrously.’

                          Maggie Nelson, from The Red Parts

                          Celan is known mainly for the great poem Todesfuge — The Fugue of Death — an elegy for Holocaust victims (strange how “elegy” seems too shallow a word for that poem).

                          As for not underlining the positive part of the sentence — possibly not even noticing it, or, even if noticing, not remembering it — anyone who knows from experience how depression distorts perception and memory would not be surprised.
                          The grave of Paul Celan near Paris

                          "In the vast literature about Stalin and Hitler during World War II, little is said about their being allies for twenty-two months. That is more than an odd chapter in the history of that war, and its meaning deserves more attention than it has received.

                          Two factors were involved in this neglect. One was that after Hitler chose to conquer Russia he did not succeed Stalin emerged as one of the supreme victors of World War II. The other was the Western Powers’ relative lack of interest in Eastern Europe. Yet the war broke out in 1939 because of Eastern Europe, as a result of the British (and French) decision to oppose the German conquest of Poland. The political earthquake of the Nazi–Soviet Pact of August 23, 1939, nine days before the outbreak of war on September 1, did not deter Britain and France from declaring war on Germany upon its invasion of Poland. This is one of the few—very few—decisions in their favor at the time. That they were reluctant in the months that followed to wage war seriously against Germany is another story.

                          [Before the Nazi-Soviet pact] Nazism and communism were outright enemies. From the very beginning of his political rise Hitler described Judaism and communism as his principal enemies. Stalin, by that time, was less of an ideologue. Like Hitler, he was a nationalist he had little interest in international communism.

                          What was more important than the Non-Aggression Pact was its addendum, a Secret Protocol, that called for nothing less than a division of Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, part of which was to be taken over by the Soviets. In addition, Germany recognized Russia’s “sphere of interest” in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, some of Lithuania, and the Romanian province of Bessarabia. Moscow denied the very existence of this Secret Protocol for a long time, well beyond World War II. But it existed in the German archives and in 1939 it became a somber and dreadful reality. As late as 1986 the aged Molotov (then over ninety) denied its very existence to a Russian journalist. In fact, many of its conditions survived both the world war and the succeeding conflicts until 1989.

                          Poland, its army and its people, fought the Germans bravely for a month in 1939 (almost as long as France, with its considerable army, in 1940). But seventeen days after the German invasion Stalin’s armies invaded Poland from the east. A few days later in Brest, a meeting place then just on the Russian side of the new partition of Poland, there was a small joint military parade of Nazi and Soviet soldiers and military vehicles. Just over two months later, less than three months after the outbreak of World War II, the only fighting on land in Europe was between Russians and Finns, who would not accept Russian control of their country. The British were aghast. They (and the French) even considered, briefly, intervening, but this did not come about. Soon Hitler’s armies conquered Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium—and then France. Churchill and Britain stood alone, for more than a year to come.

                          At the end of September 1939 Ribbentrop flew to Moscow once more to arrange some border deals that would carry out the Secret Protocol. Throughout the war, of all Germany’s high officials, he was the most inclined to seek and keep agreements with the Russians. (His counterpart among the Russians, Molotov, had often reciprocal inclinations.) In this respect we may also notice the reciprocal tendencies of Hitler and Stalin. Hitler thought it necessary to carry out the terms of the alliance with Stalin Stalin, for his part, was more enthusiastic about it than Hitler. One example is his perhaps unnecessary toast to Hitler after the signing of their pact on August 24, 1939: “I know how much the German nation loves its Führer, I should therefore like to drink to his health.” More telling for the historical record and more consequential for the peoples of Eastern Europe were the Soviets’ intentions and their aggressive behavior soon after the signing of the Nazi–Soviet Pact.

                          Two months later the Winter War with Finland began. The small Finnish army fought well and courageously, a fact that even Stalin had to accept the result was a treaty that gave up pieces of territory to the Soviet Union but for the most part maintained Finnish independence.

                          Far more ominous and horrible was the situation in Poland. There the Soviet occupation was at least as brutal and murderous—if not more so—than in the parts of Poland subjugated by the Germans. The Russians deported at least one million people—including entire families, without any of their belongings—to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and the Russian far north, with very few ever seeing their homelands again. In April and May 1940, some 22,000 Polish officers were shot to death near Katyn. More than a million Polish prisoners and workers were deported to Germany for forced labor during the war.

                          On June 14, 1940, the very day the German army marched into Paris, Moscow finally decided to implement the Secret Protocol. Within a day or two it declared the total incorporation of Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania into the Soviet Union. Their governments were imprisoned or exiled. Many of their former officers were executed, and at least 25,000 of the Baltic peoples were deported to the Soviet Union. Hitler transported the German minorities in the Baltics to Germany on German ships.
                          Stalin ordered many friendly gestures toward Germany, including speeding up the deliveries of Soviet products there. He did not in the least react to a warning from Churchill about a prospective German attack against the Soviet Union. During the ten days before the Nazi invasion—all kinds of information about the German threat notwithstanding—Stalin did his best or, rather, his worst, to affirm his faith in Hitler and in Germany. I do not know of a single instance of such abject behavior (for that is what it was) by a statesman of a great power.

                          The German attack shocked Stalin into silence at first. (Molotov’s words after the German declaration of war were also telling: “Did we deserve this?”) Stalin’s first orders for the Soviet army were not to respond at all. It took him hours after the invasion—until noon—before he ordered the army to resist.

                          There is still a controversy about how shaken he was during the first days of the Nazi onslaught. Eventually he pulled himself together. On July 3, 1941—eleven days after the German invasion—he addressed the peoples of the Soviet Union as a patriot. By that time some Nazi troops were more than one hundred miles inside the western Soviet Union and advancing toward Moscow.

                          Nazi and Soviet officers at Brest-Litovsk, September 22, 1939

                          TRAITS OF AUTHORITARIAN FOLLOWERS

                          “Wanna-be tyrants in a democracy are just comical figures on soapboxes when they have no following. So the real…threat lay coiled in parts of the population itself…ready someday to catapult the next Hitler to power with their votes.”

                          “Research indicates that a bed rock 20-25% of the adults in North America is highly vulnerable to a demagogue who would incite hatred of various minorities to gain power. 25% of the American population is always ready to vote for a dictator. These people are constantly waiting for a tough “law and order” “man on horseback” who will supposedly solve all our problems through the ruthless application of force. When such a person gains prominence, you can expect the authoritarian followers to mate devotedly with the authoritarian leader, because each gives the other something they desperately want: the feeling of safety for the followers, and the tremendous power of the modern state for the leader.

                          We know a lot about authoritarian followers. Compared with most people:

                          They are highly ethnocentric, highly inclined to see the world as their in-group versus everyone else. Because they are so committed to their in-group, they are very zealous in its cause. They will trust their leaders no matter what they say, and distrust whomever the leader says to distrust.

                          They are highly fearful of a dangerous world. Their parents taught them, more than parents usually do, that the world is dangerous. They may also be genetically predisposed to experience stronger fear than people skilled at “keeping their heads while others are losing theirs.”

                          They are highly self-righteous. They believe they are the “good people” and this unlocks a lot of hostile impulses against those they consider bad.

                          They are aggressive. Given the chance to attack someone with the approval of an authority, they will lower the boom.

                          They are highly prejudiced against racial and ethnic minorities, non-heterosexuals, and women in general.

                          They will support their authorities, and even help them, persecute almost any identifiable group in the country.

                          Their beliefs are a mass of contradictions. They have highly compartmentalized minds, in which opposite beliefs live independent lives in separate boxes. As a result, their thinking is full of double-standards.

                          They reason poorly. If they like the conclusion of an argument, they don’t pay much attention to whether the evidence is valid or the argument is consistent. They especially have trouble realizing a conclusion is invalid.

                          They are highly dogmatic. Because they have mainly gotten their beliefs from the authorities in their lives, rather than think things out for themselves, they have no real defense when facts or events indicate they are wrong. So they just dig in their heels and refuse to change.

                          They are very dependent on social reinforcement of their beliefs. They think they are right because almost everyone they know and listen to tells them they are. That happens because they screen out sources that will suggest that they are wrong.

                          Because they severely limit their exposure to different people and ideas, they vastly overestimate the extent to which other people agree with them. And thinking they are “the moral majority” supports their attacks on the “evil minorities” they see in the country.

                          They believe strongly in group cohesiveness, and being loyal. They are highly energized when surrounded by a crowd of fellow-believers because it makes them feel powerful and supports their belief that “all the good people” agree with them.

                          They are easily duped by manipulators who pretend to espouse their causes when all the con-artists really want is personal gain.

                          They are largely blind to themselves. They have little self-understanding and insight into why they think and do what they do. They are heavily into denial.

                          I hasten to add that studies find examples of all these things in lots of others, not just authoritarian followers. But not as consistently, and not nearly as much.

                          A wannabe dictator is all about dominance. He wants to dominate everyone and he will do whatever he can get away with to become “Number One.” Often the movement he leads becomes a personality clique, because ultimately it is really just about, only about, him. Trump appears every bit as narcissistic as he is aggressive and constantly striving for dominance.

                          The most remarkable thing about Donald Trump as an authoritarian leader, in my mind, is that he’s so obvious about it. Look at his comments about Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong-un. While he has some negative evaluation of each, he praises all three for becoming autocrats and using their power to dominate their countries.

                          The authoritarian followers’ connection with their leader is not rational but emotional. It’s based on fear that he fans and anger that he channels. That’s why Trump can contradict himself so often, and say so many outrageous things, with no effect on his followers’ support. He is likely more vulnerable to emotional backlash among his followers when he does something horrendous than to intellectual rejection when he lies or says something stupid.”

                          This stands out for me: authoritarian followers tend to see the reality in terms of their in-group versus everyone else. Their in-group is the “good people” anyone different is bad. The world is a dangerous, alien place. They are dogmatic and dismiss evidence. If their leader says something is true, it’s true. They severely limit their exposure to different people and different ideas and assume they are the “moral majority.”

                          Naturally those are the nationalists rather than the internationalists, people who can say “Pittsburgh not Paris” without the slightest inkling that anyone might find it ludicrous. And it’s an easy guess that they aren’t familiar with Casablanca, never mind that it’s an American movie classic — but with an international flavor.



                          To some extent the description of authoritarians fits most of us — we all prefer our “in-group.” There is, however, a question of degree. Some people have had much more exposure to other cultures and are more curious about the world — which they don’t see mainly as a bad, dangerous place, populated by evil minorities who worship the wrong god.

                          This may seem trivial, but I find this clue to be quite useful: a preference for ethnic restaurants usually indicates a less authoritarian person. Having tasted snails, frog’s legs, unusual kinds of seafood, odd Chinese fruit and so forth is an excellent sign of openness to experience. I hope I don’t sound like a hopeless foodie, but this has never failed me.

                          (By the way, this article was written before the election.)

                          I find comfort in my perception that Trump doesn’t have the vitality and charisma that Hitler and Stalin had, nor their cunning at playing the game of politics. He’s old and fat and in mental decline. Still, laugh as we may at “covfefe” and other twitter nonsense, there is no denying the damage.

                          “Trump is always reaching for a stronger and better word . . . and not finding it.”

                          “Turns out that the Trump era isn’t �.’ It’s ‘King Lear.’ Turns out there is no monolithic power — there is just one man’s erratic personality.”

                          Washington Post
                          “Every authoritarian follower I know is on an urgent crusade against other authoritarians”

                          Jeremy Sherman (thus the right wing opposes Marxists, for instance)

                          “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

                          Oscar Wilde

                          YIDDISH CURSES ON REPUBLICAN JEWS

                          “May you live to a ripe old age, and may the only people who come visit you be Mormon missionaries.

                          May your insurance company decide constipation is a pre-existing condition.

                          May you find yourself insisting to a roomful of skeptics that your great-grandmother was “legitimately” raped by Cossacks.

                          May the state of Arizona expand their definition of “suspected illegal immigrants” to “anyone who doesn’t hunt.”

                          May you be reunited in the world to come with your ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.”

                          “OK, sure, but what's the point, other than venting your personal anger and frustration? Why bother, knowing that your words will change nothing?”

                          “Not so. Everything changes something in some way. Every spoken or written word does. Silence does, too. Silence is no less interpretable than speech, and no less of a statement.”

                          St. Sebastian (note the arrows — apparently even his soul is a permanent pincushion — or, as Charles commented, this is an example of medieval acupuncture) interceding for the plague-stricken at Pavia Josse Lieferinxe (Netherlandish), ca 1500. Note also the angel and the devil flying above the city. Ah, the good old days.

                          THE FIRST TIME I STOOD UP TO A PRIEST was just after I turned 14, a month or so after I'd left the church. The beauty of it unfolded when I suddenly realized I didn't have to stand there and listen to him practically yell at me in the street. It was a major, crowded street (Grójecka, in the Ochota district of Warsaw). The priest was having a combined rage and anxiety attack. He was red in the face and shaking. “Have you stopped going to church?” he asked sharply. Then, with unmistakable fear in his voice, “Have you stopped believing in god?”

                          His fear startled me. I did not answer. My silence was the answer. And this seemingly tiny fact — that a young girl had decided that the invisible god in the sky wasn’t real — seemed to unnerve him to the core, to threaten his whole worldview. It was the first time in my life that I felt I was threatening to someone — a middle-aged man at that!

                          Yet I was only a teenager, a “girl from a good home” who’d never be impolite to an adult. No need to fear that I’d say some equivalent of “Fuck Jesus” or "Fuck god" or “give the priest a fig” (like “giving him the finger”). That was simply unimaginable. (I say “equivalent” since I was too innocent to even know the f-word in Polish — I am not kidding. In six weeks in Milwaukee I learned all the bad words in English two-thirds or more I wouldn’t have been able to translate into Polish.)

                          I merely stood in the middle of the sidewalk, small next to this massive man in his voluminous black “sutanna” (‘soutane, a priestly cassock’), a sparrow against a crow — “little sparrows,” as our literature teacher called me now and then, strangely using the plural, as if I were a collectivity of smallness — a mere girl but suddenly with a mind that had obviously done something other than regurgitate catechism. He, red in the face and screaming me, cool and silent, just staring at him.

                          After about seven or eight minutes of listening to his frantic scolding, I suddenly realized that he had no power over me. Other than rant, what could he do? Nothing. It was centuries too late for burning atheists at the stake. So, first the beautiful realization that god had no power to punish me — then the realization that my parish priest had no power to punish me. He continued to speak in a loud voice, getting even redder in his face, gasping. Without a word, I turned my back on him and resumed walking to wherever I was going.

                          But at that point it was no longer real courage. I wish I'd had courage back when hell was terribly real for me, and oh, how I hated going to confession! But I didn’t rebel as long as I though god actually existed, an invisible man in the sky who was all-powerful and could read everyone’s thoughts.

                          I might have stayed longer in a liberal Protestant church, the kind where they tell you you don’t have to worry about going to hell because you’re already saved . . . (“You don’t have to worry about your sins. Nothing can separate you from the Lamb,” Martin Luther said — but I learned that only decades later). Or perhaps not as long because who knows at what point reading the bible (forbidden to Catholics) would make me question the more revolting stories . . . I'm pretty sure that even in a supportive “everyone goes to heaven your dog too will be waiting there for you” congregation, I would sooner or later come to question the truth of the teachings. Even in a church so advanced that it held that Jesus died for everyone, even the extraterrestrials! (this I learned of course only in the U.S.)

                          It was fascinating, though, to see a priest throw a tantrum in public, pedestrians in a quick staccato walking by us with with barely a glance at the spectacle — the usual human wave of faces lost in their own preoccupations. I threatened his worldview, while he did not threaten my new clarity. He, a suddenly frightened priest of a dead god I, suddenly filled with courage, my life ahead of me, the future, the new world.

                          Post-script: In retrospect I'm astonished that he didn’t threaten me with hell, the most prevalent spiritual terrorism the church used. Was his own belief in hell wavering? Or did he by any chance sense that to threaten me with hell would have been even more abusive than hitting me, and that would have been ignoble, a big man hitting a small young girl? Finally, I wonder if he understood that the sole power he used to have over me relied totally on my belief in all kinds of invisible nonsense. A person who doesn’t believe in hell will not be manipulated by being threatened by it. Lack of belief reduces the church to impotence — now that it can’t burn heretics and apostates at the stake.

                          By the way, I’ve noticed an interesting trend: some people keep saying that god is a good guy it’s religion that’s bad. Religion is divisive, and at its worst leads to suicide bombings and other atrocities. Let’s get rid of religion, but keep god!

                          But god is a social construct without a social structure (e.g childhood indoctrination, places of worship, ritual) to support the idea that god exists, the idea — and a particular god — would vanish. Does anyone believe in Zeus anymore? Yet at one time true believers in Zeus swore that the god guided them and answered their prayers. They even claimed they could sense the god’s presence. Yet as soon as the worship of Zeus ended, it was as if he had never existed — except for the myths, the broken up statues, and the ruins of temples. And for those we are eternally grateful — not only for their beauty, but also for having provided an example of how quickly and totally an unworshiped deity can die.


                          ending on beauty

                          To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
                          To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
                          and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
                          and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

                          Wendell Berry, To Know the Dark

                          photo: Connie Peterson


                          Russian Civil War, aka The Second Time of Troubles

                          Part 10 from my series about the world, where Russia united much sooner, she didn't had any internecine warsdisunity periods (at that time).

                          Warning! This deviation contains unexplained parts and languageorder gore. Be advised!

                          Russian Civil War, aka The Second Time of Troubles, October 25, 1916 - August 13, 1924.

                          February 15, 1916: The February Revolution - Tsar Nicholas 2 refuse to abdicate and with the family and several loyal persons he retreats to the North Fleet Command location in Murmansk (after RSFSR started moving forward they retreated to city of Viva and later on several ships RUSE officials moved to Governorate-General of South Russia). With his absence the revolutionaries abolish the monarchy and begin the transformation of the Russian Empire into the First Russian Republic. Creation of the Provisional Government. This situation gets worse with every day and when the October Revolution hits, country were already collapsing

                          October 25, 1916: October revolution-the Overthrow Of The Provisional Government. Formation of the Russian Soviet Republic. The date considered to be the beginning of the Civil War

                          March 3, 1917: Soviet Russia signes the "Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty" with the Central Powers. Russian Imperial Army start withdrawing her troops from the Ottoman territory. Central powers begin regrouping it's armies and preparation for the comeback.

                          Russian Civil War participants:

                          - North Fleet Command and Graf Keller Tsar'grad Army - RUSE remnants where the legitimate Tsar' Nikolay the Second still holds levers of power. The latter was under the RUSE government-in-exile rule until Tsar Nikolai The Second officially ended all hostilities between RUSE-in-exile and USSR by signing on April 6, 1942 "Moscow Peace Treaty"
                          - Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), Azerbaijan SSR, Far East SSR - country with the Socialist type of government. Official date of establishment - October 25,1916. Their goal - to wipe out all of the the bourgeoisie elements. Leader - Vladimir Lenin
                          - Baltic Kingdom, Ukrainian Republik, Polish Republic, Kievan Rus' - german puppet-buffer states created as a result of "Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty". De Jure they are neutral, De Facto they don't mind participating in the battle
                          - Armed Forces of South Russia (do not mistake with the GG South Russia) - remnants of the russian armies that fought with the Ottomans. A lot of them dispersed across the country, but AFSR have the significant power to protect itself and conduct offensive actions. Leader - Anton Denikin
                          - Caucasian Green Army - a large group of people with anarchistic ideas. De Jure they have various leaders, de facto - their leader is Nestor Makhno
                          - Russian National State - country with the authoritarian nationalism (National Populism) as a political ideology. RNS is a one-party state with National Populist People's Republican Party (NRPR) as a ruling party and Boris Savinkov as it's leader
                          - Principality of Russia, aka Kingdom of Russia - remnants of the Romanov family and their allies that supported the February Revolution. They are anathematized by the church and The Whole World and considers them as traitors
                          - Khiva and Bukhara - states that was and RUSE protectorate and after the Collapse they saw an opportunity and annexed several territories around them. Think about fighting with each other more, than fighting with the others
                          - Provisional All-Russian Government, aka The First Russian Republic - Was created in a chaos of the Second Russian Revolution, when Tsar refused to abdicate and fled to the North Fleet Command. Based on French and British democratic system. Leader - Alexander Kerensky
                          - Russian All-Military Union - A military junta. They believe that Russia should be ruled only by strong army will. Leader and founder - Peter Vrangel
                          - Siberian and Far East Defence Army - Core of this group - armies that was stationed in Siberia and Far East. Despite being a military junta, they believe in Imperial Russia, but with Elective Monarchy, based on ancient Rome and Byzantium
                          - Baikal Democratic Union, aka The Second Russian Republic - The First countrygroup that declared it's independence on June 17, 1916 by those, who believed in American type of democracy. Their leader - Vasily Maklakov
                          - Pacific Defence Front - Remnants of the armies and fleets that was station in Mstislavl', Ingvar, Vladivostok and Yaropolk. Despite having considerably large army in their disposal, they decided to take neutral position. PDF will maintain this status until someone reunites Russia.


                          Notes

                          1. ↑ Shelokhaev, V. V. (ed.): S’’ezdy i konferentsii konstitututsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, volume 2, Moscow 1997-2000, p. 535.
                          2. ↑ Gosudarstvennaia duma: Sozyv IV. Stenograficheskii otchet zasedaniia 26 iiulia 1914 g. [The State Duma: Fourth Convocation. The Stenographic Report of the 26 July 1914 Session], Petrograd 1914, columns 24–25.
                          3. ↑ Shelokhaev, V. V. (ed): Protokoly TsK i zagranichnykh grupp konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, volume 2, Moscow 1994-1999, p. 382.
                          4. ↑ Otdel rukopisei Rossiiskoi Gosudarstvennoi Biblioteki [The Manuscript Department of the Russian State Library], f. 171, papka 8, ed. khr. 2b, l. 40–40 ob.
                          5. ↑ Maevskii, I. V.: Ėkonomika russkoi promyshlennosti v usloviiakh Pervoi mirovoi voiny [The Economy of Russian Industry in the Conditions of the First World War], Moscow 1957, pp. 86–93.
                          6. ↑ Gosudarstvennaia duma: Sozyv IV. Stenograficheskie otchety [The State Duma: Fourth Convocation. The Stenographic Report], volume 1, Petrograd 1915-1916, columns 415, 513–514, 1014, 1055–1057, 1183.
                          7. ↑ Cadets (54 deputies), Progressives (38), Octobrists (22), Zemtsy-Octobrists (60), Centre (34), Nationalist-Progressives (28) in total 236 of the 397 members of the Duma (59 percent). There were six groups in the State Council, including the Left Group (12 members), Centre (63), and the “Non-Party Alliance” (15), that is 90 of the 191 Council members (47 percent).
                          8. ↑ Shulygin, V. V.: Gody. Dni. 1920, Moscow 1990, p. 425.
                          9. ↑ Gosudarstvennaia duma: Sozyv IV, sessiia V [The State Duma: Fourth Convocation, Session 5], Petrograd 1916, columns 36–46.
                          10. ↑ Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossijskoj Federatsii [The State Archive of the Russian Federation], f. 5856, op. 1, d. 184, l. 6: P. N. Miliukov – I. I. Petrunkevich, 2 October 1919.
                          11. ↑ Gosudarstvennaia duma: Sozyv IV, sessiia V, columns 251–288.
                          12. ↑ Burzhuaziia nakanune Fevral’skoi revoliutsii. Sb. dok. i mat. pod red. B. B. Grave [The Bourgeoisie on the Eve of the February Revolution. A Collection of Documents and Materials Edited by B. B. Grave.], Moscow 1927, pp. 159–160.
                          13. ↑ Mel’gunov, S. P.: Na putiakh k dvortsovomu perevorotu [On the Road towards a Palace Coup], Paris 1931, p. 149.
                          14. ↑ Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii [The Russian State Archive of Sociopolitical History], f. 451, op. 1, d. 100, l. 98. Russian State Military History Archive (Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi voenno-istoricheskii arkhiv), f. 13251, op. 11, d. 36, l. 17ob–18.
                          15. ↑ Gosudarstvennaia duma: Sozyv IV, sessiia V, Petrograd 1917, columnes 1347, 1353–1354, 1428, 1720, 1741–1756.
                          16. ↑ Shelokhaev, S’’ezdy volume 3, 1997-2000, pp. 369, 493, 661–668.
                          17. ↑ Protasov, L. G.: Vserossiiskoe Uchreditel’noe sobranie. Istoriia rozhdeniia i gibeli [The All-Russian Constituent Assembly. The History of its Rise and Fall], Moscow 1997, p. 164.


                          Watch the video: Дорогой длинною (May 2022).