Inligting

Sergei Witte


Sergei Witte, die seun van Christoph Witte, is gebore in Tiflis, Georgia, op 29 Junie 1849. Sergei is grootgemaak op die boedel van sy ma se ouers. Sy oupa was Andrei Mikhailovich Fadeyev, 'n goewerneur van Saratov en sy pa was die direkteur van die landbou -afdeling van die Kaukasus. (1)

Witte was aanvanklik nie 'n goeie student op skool nie. Maar toe hy aan die Novorossiysk -universiteit in Odessa studeer het, het hy sy houding verander. "Ek het die lewe vir die eerste keer ernstig begin opneem ... ek het my karakter begin versterk, my eie man geword en is sedertdien so." (2)

Dit lyk asof die dood van sy vader net die energie wat hy in sy studies gestort het, net verhoog het. Sy biograaf, Sidney Harcave, wys daarop: "Sergei oordryf nie die verandering wat plaasgevind het, van 'n feckless jongeling tot 'n verantwoordelike jong man, gedryf deur ambisie, vasbeslote om sy talente te gebruik om die doelwitte te bereik wat hy vir homself sou stel. Hy sou toon gou dat hy 'n ystere wil gehad het, 'n wonderlike werkvermoë tesame met 'n ewe wonderlike vermoë om te leer, op skool te wees of op die baan te wees. " (3)

As 'n jongman het Sergei Witte sifilis opgedoen en die 'siekte het sy neus verslind'. Hy het dit vervang met 'n was, en volgens 'n lid van die koninklike familie sou hy in die somer ''n pet met 'n lang snawel dra, vermoedelik om die wasneus teen die son te beskerm'. (4)

Op advies van graaf Vladimir Alekseyevich Bobrinsk, destydse minister van maniere en kommunikasie, het hy 'n loopbaan in die spoorweë begin. Witte is aangestel as hoof van die verkeerskantoor van Odessa Railways. Hy word egter die skuld gegee vir 'n treinongeluk in 1875 wat baie lewens gekos het. Witte is in hegtenis geneem en tot vier maande gevangenisstraf gevonnis. Hy word egter erken as 'n groot organiseerder en in 1888 word hy aangestel as direkteur van State Railways. Tsaar Alexander III erken sy vermoë en stel hom in 1889 aan as direkteur van die departement van spoorwegsake. (5)

In 1892 raak Witte romanties betrokke by Matilda Ivanovna Lisanevich, getroud en 'n bekeerde Jood. Na haar egskeiding trou sy met Witte. Dit het 'n vreeslike skandaal veroorsaak en baie lede van die adel het hom vermy. Hy het egter die vertroue van die tsaar behou en hy het in die regering gebly. Volgens Witte het hy die tsaar oortuig "dat ... 'n land sonder 'n kragtig ontwikkelde vervaardigingsbedryf nie wonderlik kan wees nie". (6)

In 1893 word Witte aangestel as minister van finansies. Witte kombineer sy ervaring in die spoorwegbedryf met 'n sterk belangstelling in buitelandse beleid. Hy moedig die uitbreiding van die Trans-Siberiese Spoorweg aan en organiseer die bou van die Chinese Oosterse Spoorweg. Witte devalueer ook die geldeenheid van Rusland om internasionale handel te bevorder, hoë tariewe op te stel om die Russiese nywerheid te beskerm en Rusland op die goudstandaard te plaas, wat die land 'n stabiele geldeenheid vir internasionale transaksies bied. (7)

Witte het ook 'n belangrike rol gespeel om die spoed van die industriële ontwikkeling van Rusland te verhoog. Hy besef dat die vaardighede wat nodig is vir 'n vinnige industriële groei, nie in Rusland gevind kan word nie. Buitelandse ingenieurs is aangemoedig om daar te werk, en Witte het op buitelandse beleggers staatgemaak om baie van die geld te voorsien om industriële groei te finansier. "Hierdie strategie was baie suksesvol en teen 1900 vervaardig Rusland drie keer soveel yster as in 1890, en meer as twee keer soveel steenkool." (8)

Witte het egter steeds geglo dat Rusland nie vinnig genoeg geïndustrialiseer het nie: "Ten spyte van die groot suksesse wat die afgelope twintig jaar (dws 1880-1900) in ons metallurgiese en vervaardigingsbedryf behaal is, is die natuurlike hulpbronne van die land nog steeds onderontwikkel en die massas van die mense bly in gedwonge ledigheid ... Tot op die huidige tydperk het die moeilike taak om op te maak vir wat in 'n ekonomiese sluimer van twee eeue lank agterweë gelaat is, gedaal. " Witte het daarop aangedring dat Rusland, tensy hierdie groei plaasvind, 'polities impotent sou wees in die mate dat hulle ekonomies afhanklik is van die buitelandse industrie'. (9)

Sergei Witte het geglo dat politieke hervormings met hierdie ekonomiese groei gepaard moet gaan. Dit het daartoe gelei dat hy magtige vyande gemaak het, waaronder Vyacheslav Plehve, minister van binnelandse sake, wat 'n beleid van onderdrukking voorstaan. Die twee mans was dit nie eens oor die kwessie van industrialisasie nie. "Witte het 'n Rusland voorgestel waarin die outokrasie saam met die industriële kapitalisme bestaan ​​het, Plehve 'n Rusland waarin die ou bewind geleef het, met die adel van die land 'n ereplek, 'n regime wat geen plek vir Jode, wat hy as 'n kanker op die liggaam beskou het. " (10) In Augustus 1903 het Plehve dokumente aan tsaar Nicholas II deurgegee wat daarop dui dat Witte deel was van 'n Joodse sameswering. Gevolglik is Witte as minister van finansies verwyder. (11)

Op 28 Julie 1904 word Plehve dood deur 'n bom wat Egor Sazonov op 28 Julie 1904 gegooi het. Plehve is vervang deur Pyotr Sviatopolk-Mirsky, as minister van binnelandse sake. Hy was liberaal en het gehoop om sy mag te gebruik om 'n meer demokratiese regeringstelsel te skep. Sviatopolk-Mirsky het geglo dat Rusland dieselfde regte moet verleen in meer gevorderde lande in Europa. Hy het aanbeveel dat die regering daarna streef om 'n 'stabiele en konserwatiewe element' onder die werkers te skep deur die fabrieksomstandighede te verbeter en werkers aan te moedig om hul eie huise te koop. "Dit is algemeen bekend dat niks die sosiale orde versterk nie, wat stabiliteit, sterkte en vermoë bied om uitheemse invloede te weerstaan, beter as klein privaat eienaars, wie se belange nadelig sou ly onder alle onderbrekings van die normale werksomstandighede." (12)

In Junie 1905 word Witte gevra om 'n einde te maak aan die Russies-Japannese oorlog. Die Nikolaas II was tevrede met sy prestasie en is in die regering gebring om die industriële onrus wat op Bloody Sunday gevolg het, op te los. Witte het daarop gewys: "Met baie nasionaliteite, baie tale en 'n nasie wat grootliks ongeletterd is, is die wonder dat die land selfs deur outokrasie bymekaar gehou kan word. Onthou een ding: as die tsaar se regering val, sal jy absolute chaos in Rusland sien, en dit sal nog 'n lang jaar duur voordat u 'n ander regering sien wat die mengsel van die Russiese nasie kan beheer. " (13)

Emile J. Dillon, 'n joernalis wat vir die Daily Telegraph, stem saam met Witte se ontleding: "Witte ... het my oortuig dat enige demokratiese revolusie, hoe vreedsaam ook al, die poorte wyd sou oopmaak vir die magte van anargisme en die ryk sou verbreek. En 'n blik op die blote meganiese samestelling - dit kan nie eenheid genoem word nie - van elemente wat so onderling teenstrydig is as wat die etniese, sosiale en godsdienstige afdelings en verdeeldheid van die tsaar se onderdane hierdie voor die hand liggende waarheid by elke onbevooroordeelde en oplettende student van die politiek sou tuisbring. " (14)

In Oktober 1905 het die spoorwegmanne gestaak wat die hele Russiese spoornetwerk verlam het. Dit het tot 'n algemene staking ontwikkel. Leon Trotsky onthou later: "Na 10 Oktober 1905 het die staking, nou met politieke slagspreuke, uit Moskou oor die hele land versprei. So 'n algemene staking was nog nooit tevore gesien nie. Op baie dorpe was daar botsings met die troepe." (15)

Witte sien net twee opsies oop vir die Trar; "of hy moet homself aan die hoof van die volksbeweging vir vryheid stel deur toegewings daaraan te maak, of hy moet 'n militêre diktatuur instel en met blote geweld vir die hele opposisie onderdruk". Hy het egter daarop gewys dat 'n beleid van onderdrukking 'massale bloedvergieting' tot gevolg sal hê. Sy advies was dat die tsaar 'n program van politieke hervorming moes aanbied. (16)

Nicholas skryf in sy dagboek: "Deur al hierdie aaklige dae het ek Witte konstant ontmoet. Ons het baie gereeld in die vroeë oggend ontmoet om net in die aand te skei wanneer die nag val. Daar was slegs twee maniere oop: om 'n energieke soldaat te vind en te verpletter. die opstand deur blote geweld. Dit sou riviere van bloed beteken, en uiteindelik sou ons wees waar ons begin het. deur 'n staatsduma - dit sou natuurlik 'n grondwet wees. Witte verdedig dit baie energiek. " (17)

Groothertog Nikolai Romanov, die tweede neef van die tsaar, was 'n belangrike figuur in die weermag. Hy was baie krities oor die manier waarop die tsaar hierdie voorvalle hanteer het en het die soort hervormings wat Sergei Witte bevoordeel het, bevoordeel: 'Die regering (as daar een is) bly in volle onaktiwiteit ... 'n dom toeskouer wat nie veel kan doen nie dit verswelg die land geleidelik. " (18)

Op 22 Oktober 1905 stuur Sergei Witte 'n boodskap aan die tsaar: "Die huidige beweging vir vryheid is nie van pasgebore oorsprong nie. Sy wortels is ingebed in eeue van die Russiese geskiedenis. Vryheid moet die slagspreuk van die regering word. Geen ander moontlikheid vir Die redding van die staat bestaan. streef openlik na die welstand van die staat en probeer nie om hierdie of daardie tipe regering te beskerm nie. Daar is geen alternatief nie. die elementêre kragte om dit in stukke te skeur. " (19)

Later die maand stig Leon Trotsky en ander Mensjewiste die St. Petersburg Sowjet. Op 26 Oktober vind die eerste vergadering van die Sowjet in die Tegnologiese Instituut plaas. Slegs veertig afgevaardigdes is bygewoon, aangesien die meeste fabrieke in die stad tyd gehad het om die verteenwoordigers te kies. Dit het 'n verklaring gepubliseer wat beweer: "In die komende dae sal daar in Rusland beslissende gebeure plaasvind, wat die lot van die werkersklas in Rusland vir baie jare sal bepaal. Ons moet ten volle voorbereid wees om hierdie gebeure wat verenig is deur ons algemene Sowjet. " (20)

Gedurende die volgende paar weke is meer as 50 van hierdie Sowjets oral in Rusland gevorm en hierdie gebeure het die 1905 -rewolusie bekend geword. Witte het die tsaar steeds aangeraai om toegewings te maak. Die groothertog Nikolai Romanov het ingestem en 'n beroep op die tsaar gedoen om hervormings in te stel. Die tsaar het geweier en hom in plaas daarvan beveel om die rol van 'n militêre diktator te aanvaar. Die groothertog trek sy pistool en dreig om homself ter plaatse te skiet as die tsaar nie Witte se plan onderskryf nie. (21)

Op 30 Oktober het die tsaar teësinnig ingestem om besonderhede van die voorgestelde hervormings wat bekend staan ​​as die Oktober -manifes bekend te maak. Dit verleen vryheid van gewete, spraak, ontmoeting en assosiasie. Hy het ook belowe dat mense in die toekoms nie sonder verhoor in die tronk sal sit nie. Uiteindelik het dit aangekondig dat geen wet in werking tree sonder die goedkeuring van die staatsduma nie. Daar is daarop gewys dat "Witte die nuwe polis met alle krag op sy bevel verkoop het". Hy het ook 'n beroep op die eienaars van die koerante in Rusland gedoen om 'my te help om menings te kalmeer'. (22)

Hierdie voorstelle is deur die St. Petersburg Sowjet verwerp: "Ons kry 'n grondwet, maar absolutisme bly bestaan ​​... Die sukkelende revolusionêre proletariaat kan nie sy wapens neerlê totdat die politieke regte van die Russiese volk op 'n vaste grondslag gevestig is nie, totdat 'n demokratiese republiek tot stand gebring is, die beste pad vir die verdere vordering na sosialisme. " (23) Die tsaar blameer Witte hiervoor en skryf in sy dagboek: "Solank ek lewe, sal ek daardie man (Witte) nooit weer met die kleinste ding vertrou nie." (24)

Toe hy hoor oor die publikasie van die Oktobermanifes, keer pa Georgi Gapon terug na Rusland en probeer toestemming verkry om die vergadering van Russiese werkers in Sint Petersburg te heropen. Sergei Witte het egter geweier om hom te ontmoet. In plaas daarvan stuur hy vir hom 'n boodskap wat dreig om hom in hegtenis te neem as hy nie die land verlaat nie. Hy was bereid om 'n ooreenkoms aan te bied waarin Gapon betrokke was om openlik ter ondersteuning van Witte uit te kom en alle verdere oproerige aktiwiteite teen die regime te veroordeel. In ruil daarvoor is 'n belofte aan hom gegee dat Gapon na die krisis weer in Rusland toegelaat sou word en dat hy met sy vakbondaktiwiteite kon voortgaan. (25)

Die tsaar besluit om aksie te neem teen die revolusionêre. Trotsky het later verduidelik dat: "Op die aand van 3 Desember was die St Petersburg Sowjet omring deur troepe. Al die bestaan ​​en ingange was gesluit." Leon Trotsky en die ander leiers van die Sowjet is gearresteer. Trotski is na Siberië verban en van alle burgerregte ontneem. Trotsky het verduidelik dat hy 'n belangrike politieke les geleer het, "die staking van die werkers het die tsarisme vir die eerste keer op sy knieë gedwing". (26)

Georgi Gapon het sy kant van die winskopie gehou. Waar moontlik het hy personderhoude gelewer waarin hy Sergei Witte geprys het en gemotiveerd was. Gapon se biograaf, Walter Sablinsky, het daarop gewys: "Dit het hom natuurlik sterk veroordelings van die rewolusionêres besorg ... Skielik het die revolusionêre held 'n vurige verdediger van die tsaristiese regering geword." Woede het toegeneem toe dit duidelik word dat Witte vasbeslote was om die land met geweld te laat rustig en dat alle revolusionêre leiers gearresteer is. (27)

Die eerste vergadering van die Doema het in Mei 1906 plaasgevind. 'N Britse joernalis, Maurice Baring, beskryf hoe die lede op die eerste dag hul sitplek inneem: "Boere in hul lang swart jasse, sommige van hulle dra militêre medaljes ... U sien waardig ou mans in rokke, aggressief demokratiese mans met lang hare ... lede van die proletariaat ... geklee in die kostuum van twee eeue gelede ... Daar is 'n Poolse lid wat geklee is in ligblou panty, 'n 'n kort Eton -baadjie en Hessian -stewels ... Daar is 'n paar sosialiste wat geen halsbande dra nie, en daar is natuurlik elke soort hooftooisel wat u kan dink. " (28)

Verskeie veranderinge in die samestelling van die Doema is verander sedert die publikasie van die Oktober -manifes. Nicholas II het ook 'n staatsraad geskep, 'n boonste kamer, waarvan hy die helfte van die lede sou benoem. Hy behou ook die reg om oorlog te verklaar, die Ortodokse Kerk te beheer en die Doema te ontbind. Die tsaar het ook die mag gehad om ministers aan te stel en af ​​te dank. Tydens hul eerste vergadering het lede van die Doema 'n reeks eise gestel, waaronder die vrylating van politieke gevangenes, vakbondregte en grondhervorming. Die tsaar verwerp al hierdie voorstelle en ontbind die Doema. (29)

In April 1906 dwing Nicholas II Sergei Witte om te bedank en vra die meer konserwatiewe Peter Stolypin om hoofminister te word. Stolypin was die voormalige goewerneur van Saratov en sy drakoniese maatreëls om die boere in 1905 te onderdruk, het hom berug gemaak. Eers het hy die pos geweier, maar die tsaar het volgehou: "Laat ons die kruis teken oor onsself maak en laat ons die Here vra om ons albei te help in hierdie moeilike, miskien historiese oomblik." Stolypin het aan Bernard Pares gesê dat ''n vergadering wat die meerderheid van die bevolking verteenwoordig, nooit sou werk nie'. (30)

Sergei Witte is nou van die Russiese establishment verwyder. In Januarie 1907 is 'n bom in sy huis gevind. Die ondersoeker Pavel Alexandrovich Alexandrov het bewys dat die Okhrana, die tsaristiese geheime polisie, betrokke was. Witte het as lid van die Staatsraad in die Russiese politiek voortgegaan, maar het min mag gehad en het sy tyd gebruik om sy memoires te skryf.

Verkiesings vir die Tweede Doema het plaasgevind in 1907. Peter Stolypin het sy magte gebruik om groot getalle van stemming uit te sluit. Dit het die invloed van die linkses verminder, maar toe die Tweede Doema in Februarie 1907 byeenkom, het dit steeds 'n groot aantal hervormers ingesluit. Na drie maande van heftige debat, sluit Nicholas II die Doema op 16 Junie 1907. Hy blameer Lenin en sy mede-Bolsjewiste vir hierdie optrede vanweë die revolusionêre toesprake wat hulle in ballingskap gehou het. (31)

Lede van die gematigde Konstitusionele Demokrate Party (Kadets) was veral kwaad oor hierdie besluit. Die leiers, waaronder prins Georgi Lvov en Pavel Milyukov, het na protes teen die regering na Vyborg, 'n Finse vakansieoord, gereis. Milyukov het die Vyborg -manifest opgestel. In die manifes het Milyukov gevra vir passiewe verset, die betaling van belasting en die vermyding van konsepte. Stolypin het wraak geneem op die rebelle en "meer as 100 vooraanstaande Kadets is tereggestel en uit hul deel aan die Vyborg -manifes geskors." (32)

Stolypin se onderdrukkende metodes het baie konflik veroorsaak. Lionel Kochan, die skrywer van Rusland in rewolusie (1970), het daarop gewys: "Tussen November 1905 en Junie 1906, alleen uit die ministerie van binnelandse sake, is 288 mense dood en 383 gewond. Altesaam, tot einde Oktober 1906, het 3,611 regeringsamptenare van alle geledere, van goewerneur -generale by dorpsgendarme, vermoor of gewond is. " (33) Stolypin het aan sy vriend, Bernard Pares, gesê dat "die publiek in geen land meer anti-regerings as in Rusland is nie". (34)

Die revolusionêre was nou vasbeslote om Stolypin te vermoor en daar was verskeie pogings om sy lewe. "Hy het 'n koeëlvaste baadjie gedra en omring met veiligheidsmanne - maar hy het egter verwag dat hy uiteindelik gewelddadig sou sterf." Die eerste reël van sy testament, geskryf kort nadat hy premier geword het, lui: "Begrawe my waar ek vermoor word." (35)

Op 14 September 1911 is Peter Stolypin geskiet deur Dmitri Bogrov, 'n lid van die Sosialistiese Revolusionêre Party, in die Kiev Operahuis. Nicholas II was destyds saam met hom: "Gedurende die tweede interval het ons pas die boks verlaat, aangesien dit so warm was, toe ons twee geluide hoor asof iets val, ek het gedink dat 'n operaglas dalk op iemand se kop geval het en hardloop terug in die boks om te kyk. Regs sien ek 'n groepie beamptes en ander mense. Dit lyk asof hulle iemand saam sleep. Vroue skree en reg voor my in die stalletjies staan ​​Stolypin. draai sy gesig na my toe en maak met sy linkerhand die teken van die kruis in die lug. Toe merk ek op dat hy baie bleek is en dat sy regterhand en uniform bloedbevlek is. Hy sak stadig in sy stoel neer en begin sy tuniek. " Stolypin is op 18 September 1911 aan sy beserings dood en was die sesde agtereenvolgende minister van binnelandse sake wat vermoor is. (36)

Rusland het gedurende die vroeë jare van die 20ste eeu aansienlike ekonomiese vooruitgang gemaak. Teen 1914 produseer Rusland jaarliks ​​ongeveer vyf miljoen ton yster, vier miljoen ton yster en staal, veertig ton steenkool, tien miljoen ton petroleum en voer ongeveer twaalf miljoen ton graan uit. Rusland het egter nog baie agtergebly by ander groot moondhede. Die nywerheid in Rusland het nie meer as vyf persent van die hele arbeidsmag in diens gehad nie en het slegs ongeveer 'n vyfde van die nasionale inkomste bygedra. (37)

Sergei Witte het besef dat Rusland weens sy ekonomiese situasie 'n oorlog met enige van sy mededingers sou verloor. Bernard Pares het Sergei Witte in die jare voor die Eerste Wêreldoorlog verskeie kere ontmoet: "Graaf Witte het nooit van sy oortuiging afgewyk nie, eerstens dat Rusland die oorlog ten alle koste moet vermy, en tweedens dat sy moet werk vir ekonomiese vriendskap met Frankryk en Duitsland om die oorheersing van Engeland teen te werk. Rasputin was teen die oorlog gekant om redes so goed soos Witte. Hy was vir vrede tussen alle nasies en tussen alle godsdienste. " (38)

Tydens die Julie -krisis in 1914 het Sergei Witte kragte saamgesnoer met Pyotr Durnovo, die minister van binnelandse sake, en Gregory Rasputin, om die tsaar aan te spoor om nie 'n oorlog met Duitsland aan te gaan nie. Durnovo het aan die tsaar gesê dat 'n oorlog met Duitsland 'wedersyds gevaarlik' vir beide lande sou wees, ongeag wie gewen het. Witte het bygevoeg dat "daar noodwendig 'n sosiale revolusie in die verowerde land moet uitbreek, wat uit die aard van die saak na die land van die oorwinnaar sal versprei." Na die uitbreek van die oorlog het Witte probeer om deur sy Duitse bankiervriende 'n vrede te beding. (39)

Sergei Witte sterf op 13 Maart 1915 aan 'n breingewas in sy huis in St.

Sergi Witte ... was waarskynlik die bekwaamste predikant wat Nicholas II ooit gehad het ... Uiters skerpsinnig het Witte op pad opgeklim oor 'n aantal mense, en dit is 'n bewys van sy vermoëns dat hy dit gedoen het terwyl hy getroud was met 'n Joodse vrou wat geskei is. Hy het 'n vreemde sosiale probleem gehad omdat hy in sy jeug sifilis opgedoen het, en die siekte het sy neus verslind. Hy het dit vervang met 'n wasmasjien, en een lid van die keiserlike familie het aan hierdie skrywer gesê dat hy Witte op die kaai by Jalta sal sien dra met 'n pet met 'n lang snawel, vermoedelik om die wasneus teen die son te beskerm.

Die huidige beweging vir vryheid kom nie van pas af nie. 'Vryheid' moet die slagspreuk van die regering word. Die idee van burgerlike vryheid sal seëvier, indien nie deur hervorming nie, dan deur die pad van rewolusie.

Die regering moet gereed wees om grondwetlik te volg. Die regering moet homself aan die hoof van die beweging plaas wat die land aangegryp het, of dit moet aan die elementêre magte afstaan ​​om dit in stukke te skeur.

Deur al hierdie aaklige dae het ek Witte konstant ontmoet. Witte verdedig dit baie energiek.

Byna almal wat ek die geleentheid gehad het om te raadpleeg, is van dieselfde mening. Witte het dit baie duidelik aan my gestel dat hy die voorsitterskap van die Ministerraad slegs sou aanvaar op voorwaarde dat daar op sy program ingestem word en sy optrede nie inmeng nie. Ons het dit twee dae lank bespreek en uiteindelik het ek God se hulp ingeroep wat ek onderteken het. Hierdie verskriklike besluit wat ek tog bewustelik geneem het. Ek het niemand gehad om op te vertrou nie, behalwe eerlike Trepov. Daar was geen ander uitweg as om jouself te kruis en te gee wat almal vra nie.

Solank ek lewe, sal ek daardie man (Witte) nooit weer vertrou met die kleinste dingetjie nie. Ek het genoeg gehad van verlede jaar se eksperiment. Dit is nog steeds vir my soos 'n nagmerrie.

Ons kry 'n Witte, maar Trepov bly; ons kry 'n grondwet, maar die absolutisme bly bestaan. Alles is gegee en niks word gegee nie. Die proletariaat weet wat hy wil en wat hy nie wil hê nie. Dit wil nie die polisie -hooligan Trepov of die liberale bemiddelaar Witte hê nie - nie die kake van 'n wolf of die stert van 'n jakkals nie. Dit wil nie hê dat Kosak -swepe in 'n grondwet verpak is nie.

Na Stolypin sien ons dieselfde posisie beklee deur Plehve, dan deur prins Svyatopolk-Mirsky, dan Bulygin, dan Witte. Almal, die een na die ander, het aangekom met die vaste voorneme om oproerigheid te beëindig, die verlore gesag van gesag te herstel, die grondslae van die staat te handhaaf - en elkeen op sy eie manier het die sluise oopgemaak van revolusie en is self meegesleur deur die stroom daarvan.

Sedisie het gegroei asof volgens 'n majestueuse plan, sy gebied voortdurend uitgebrei, sy posisies versterk en hindernis na hindernis afgebreek; terwyl daar op die agtergrond van hierdie geweldige poging, met sy innerlike ritme en sy onbewuste genie, 'n reeks klein mannekyne van staatsmag verskyn het, nuwe wette uitgevaardig, nuwe skuld aangegaan, werkers geskiet, boere verwoes - en as gevolg daarvan gesink het die regeringsgesag wat hulle probeer het om al hoe dieper te beskerm in 'n moeras van woeste impotensie.

Plehve was net so magteloos teen oproer as sy opvolger, maar hy was 'n vreeslike plaag teen die koninkryk van liberale koerante en landelike samesweerders. Hy verafsku die revolusie met die hewige weersin van 'n polisiespeurder wat oud geword het in sy beroep, bedreig deur 'n bom om elke straathoek; hy het sedisie met bloedbelope oë gevolg - maar tevergeefs.

Plehve was skrikwekkend en afskuwelik wat die liberale betref, maar teen sedisie was hy nie beter en nie slegter as die ander nie. Die beweging van die massas het noodwendig die perke van wat toegelaat en wat verbode was, geïgnoreer: wat het dit dan saak gemaak as die grense 'n bietjie smaller of 'n bietjie wyer was?

Stolypin val op 'n revolusionêre koeël. Plehve is deur 'n bom in stukke geskeur. Svyatopolk-Mirsky is op 9 Januarie omskep in 'n politieke lyk. Bulygin is, soos 'n ou stewel, deur die stakings in Oktober uitgegooi. Graaf Witte, heeltemal uitgeput deur die opstand van werkers en soldate, val sonder glorie neer op die drumpel van die staatsduma wat hy self geskep het.

Graaf Witte het nooit van sy oortuiging afgewyk nie, eerstens dat Rusland die oorlog ten alle koste moet vermy, en tweedens dat sy moet werk vir ekonomiese vriendskap met Frankryk en Duitsland om die oorwig van Engeland teë te werk. Nicholas verafsku hom, en nou meer as ooit; maar op 13 Maart sterf Witte skielik.

Die ander formidabele teenstander het nog gebly. Hy was vir vrede tussen alle nasies en tussen alle godsdienste. Hy het beweer dat dit in 1909 en in 1912 afgeweer is, en ander het geglo dat dit beweer is.

Bloody Sunday (antwoord kommentaar)

1905 Russiese rewolusie (antwoordkommentaar)

Rusland en die Eerste Wêreldoorlog (Antwoordkommentaar)

Die lewe en dood van Rasputin (antwoordkommentaar)

Die steenkoolbedryf: 1600-1925 (antwoordkommentaar)

Women in the Coalmines (antwoordkommentaar)

Kinderarbeid in die kolwerye (antwoordkommentaar)

Kinderarbeidsimulasie (onderwyseraantekeninge)

The Chartists (antwoord kommentaar)

Women and the Chartist Movement (antwoordkommentaar)

Padvervoer en die industriële rewolusie (antwoordkommentaar)

Canal Mania (antwoordkommentaar)

Vroeë ontwikkeling van die spoorweë (antwoordkommentaar)

Gesondheidsprobleme in industriële dorpe (antwoordkommentaar)

Hervorming van openbare gesondheid in die 19de eeu (antwoordkommentaar)

Richard Arkwright and the Factory System (antwoordkommentaar)

Robert Owen en New Lanark (antwoordkommentaar)

James Watt en Steam Power (antwoordkommentaar)

Die huishoudelike stelsel (antwoordkommentaar)

The Luddites: 1775-1825 (Antwoordkommentaar)

The Plight of the Handloom Weavers (Antwoordkommentaar)

1832 Hervormingswet en die House of Lords (antwoordkommentaar)

Benjamin Disraeli en die hervormingswet van 1867 (antwoordkommentaar)

William Gladstone en die hervormingswet van 1884 (antwoordkommentaar)

(1) Lionel Kochan, Rusland in rewolusie (1970) bladsy 25

(2) Sergei Witte, Die herinneringe van graaf Witte (1921) bladsy 31

(3) Sidney Harcave, Graaf Sergei Witte en die skemering van die keiserlike Rusland: 'n biografie (2004) bladsy 9

(4) Jamie H. Cockfield, Wit kraai: die lewe en tye van die groothertog Nicholas Mikhailovich Romanov (2002) bladsy 117

(5) Sidney Harcave, Graaf Sergei Witte en die skemer van die keiserlike Rusland: 'n biografie (2004) bladsy 32

(6) Sergi Witte, Die herinneringe van graaf Witte (1921) bladsy 338

(7) Jamie H. Cockfield, Wit kraai: die lewe en tye van die groothertog Nicholas Mikhailovich Romanov (2002) bladsy 117

(8) David Warnes, Rusland: 'n Moderne geskiedenis (1984) bladsy 6

(9) Lionel Kochan, Rusland in rewolusie (1970) bladsye 27-28

(10) Sidney Harcave, Graaf Sergei Witte en die skemer van die keiserlike Rusland: 'n biografie (2004) bladsy 96

(11) Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, 'N Geskiedenis van Rusland (1977) bladsy 446

(12) Ivan Khristoforovich Ozerov, Beleid oor die werkvraag in Rusland (1906) bladsy 138

(13) Roman Rosen, Veertig jaar diplomasie: Deel II (1922) bladsy 240

(14) Emile J. Dillon, Die verduistering van Rusland (1918) bladsy 378

(15) Leon Trotsky, My lewe: 'n poging tot 'n outobiografie (1970) bladsy 180

(16) Sergei Witte, Die herinneringe van graaf Witte (1921) bladsye 450-451

(17) Nicholas II, dagboekinskrywing (19 Oktober 1905)

(18) Jamie H. Cockfield, Wit kraai: die lewe en tye van die groothertog Nicholas Mikhailovich Romanov (2002) bladsy 116

(19) Sergei Witte, brief aan Nicholas II (22ste Oktober, 1905)

(20) Verklaring uitgereik deur St. Petersburg Sowjet (26 Oktober 1905)

(21) Greg King, Die lot van die Romanofs (2005) bladsy 11

(22) Lionel Kochan, Rusland in rewolusie (1970) bladsye 104-105

(23) Verklaring van die St. Petersburg Sowjet (30 Oktober 1905)

(24) Nicholas II, dagboekinskrywing (November 1905)

(25) Walter Sablinsky, The Road to Bloody Sunday: The Role of Father Gapon and the Petersburg Massacre van 1905 (2006) bladsy 306

(26) Leon Trotsky, My lewe: 'n poging tot 'n outobiografie (1970) bladsy 185

(27) Walter Sablinsky, The Road to Bloody Sunday: The Role of Father Gapon and the Petersburg Massacre van 1905 (2006) bladsye 307-308

(28) Maurice Baring, 'N Jaar in Rusland (1907) bladsye 191-192

(29) David Warnes, Rusland: 'n Moderne geskiedenis (1984) bladsy 25

(30) Peter Stolypin, onderhoud met Bernard Pares, gepubliseer in Die Russiese resensie (1913)

(31) David Shub, Lenin (1948) bladsy 405

(32) Orlando Figes, 'N Volkstragedie: die Russiese rewolusie (2014) bladsy 221

(33) Lionel Kochan, Rusland in rewolusie (1970) bladsy 124

(34) Peter Stolypin, onderhoud met Bernard Pares, gepubliseer in Die Russiese resensie (1913)

(35) Orlando Figes, 'N Volkstragedie: die Russiese rewolusie (2014) bladsy 223

(36) Tsaar Nikolaas II, dagboekinskrywing (18 September 1911)

(37) Lionel Kochan, Rusland in rewolusie (1970) bladsye 16-17

(38) Bernard Pares, Die val van die Russiese monargie (1939)

(39) Lionel Kochan, Rusland in rewolusie (1970) bladsye 174


Die huis van die laaste tsaar - Romanof en Russiese geskiedenis

& quot Vanuit Parys het ek, via Petersburg, na die Krim gegaan, waar ek gebly het in 'n huis van die Ministerie van Maniere en Kommunikasie, op die pad van Jalta na Livadia. (Die keiser was toe in Livadia woonagtig) en ook naby was graaf Lambsdorff, Kuropatkin, Sipiagin, groothertog Michael Nikolaevich en natuurlik baron Freedericksz.

Op 1 November [1900] het die keiser siek geword. Soos gebruiklik by lede van die keiserlike familie, wou hy nie mediese hulp kry nie. Boonop het sy persoonlike dokter, die bejaarde Hirsch, alles vergeet wat hy ooit geweet het, as hy in werklikheid ooit iets geweet het. Op my voorstel is professor Popov van die Militêr -Mediese Akademie gestuur vir: sy diagnose - tifus. Op 28 November het die keiser begin herstel.

Gedurende die siekte het die vraag ontstaan ​​wie die keiser sou opvolg as hy dan sterf. Toe die keiser se broer en erfgenaam, groothertog George Aleksandrovich die voorafgaande jaar oorlede is, is die volgende in opvolging, groothertog Michael Aleksandrovich, as erfgenaam uitgeroep. Ek het destyds so 'n afkondiging onbehoorlik gevoel, aangesien dit heel moontlik was dat die keiser nog 'n seun sou verwek, wat dan groothertog Michael Aleksandrovich as erfgenaam sou vervang. Sipiagin het my op 'n oggend, op 'n tydstip toe die toestand van die keiser ontstel het, my telefonies gevra om na die Hotel Rossiia te kom, waar hy gebly het. Daar vind ek, benewens Sipiagin, graaf Lambsdorff, baron Freedericksz en groothertog Michael Nikolaevich. Toe ek aankom, begin 'n bespreking oor hoe om te werk te gaan as 'n tragedie sou plaasvind en die keiser sou sterf: wat sou die prosedure met betrekking tot die opvolging wees?

Ek was verbaas oor so 'n vraag en het daarop gewys dat die wet geen twyfel oor die opvolging gelaat het nie: groothertog Michael Aleksandrovich sou onmiddellik slaag. My antwoord wek die wenk dat die keiserin in 'n interessante toestand was (blykbaar het Baron Freedericksz daarvan geweet) en kan sy 'n seuntjie baar: sou dit nie beter wees as die opvolging 'n paar maande uitgestel sou word totdat sy geboorte gegee het nie? Ek het geantwoord dat die opvolgingswet nie so 'n gebeurlikheid in ag neem nie. Die wet was duidelik: as die keiser sou sterf sonder om 'n seun te hê, moet groothertog Michael Aleksandrovich slaag. Om anders op te tree sou onwettig wees en tot ernstige afwykings lei. Niemand kon in elk geval voorspel dat die keiserin 'n seun sou baar nie. Nadat hulle die wet nagegaan het, het die ander met my saamgestem.

Toe vra die bejaarde groothertog Michael Nikolaevich my wat sou gebeur as die keiserin 'n seun sou baar nadat groot Hertog Michael Aleksandrovich die troon bestyg het. Ek het geantwoord dat slegs groothertog Michael Aleksandrovich die vraag beslis kon beantwoord, maar ek het geglo dat hy, as 'n baie ordentlike en eerbare man, die troon sou prysgee ten gunste van sy neef. Nadat ons tot 'n ooreenkoms gekom het, het ons besluit om die keiserin privaat in te lig oor ons ontmoeting.

A few days after the meeting General Kuropatkin stopped off for lunch. (He was on his way back from giving a report to the Emperor, who, despite his illness, heard reports in special cases.) After lunch, when we were alone, he asked me about the meeting, saying that he had been invited, but had been unable to attend. I reviewed what we had said and remarked that it was unfortunate that he could not have been there. Striking a theatrical pose, he said: "I will not cause my Empress grief." Knowing him for a poseur, I did not attach any significance to this remark and asked why he assumed that he alone had the privilege of not "causing the Empress any grief."

Happily, the Emperor recovered and there was no further talk then of the succession question, but before leaving the Crimea I made it a point to advise Baron Freedericksz that it would be wise to issue new instructions, legally enacted, to avoid future ambiguities. A few years later, as I learned from Pobedonostsev and Nicholas Valerianovich Muravev, Their Majesties raised the question of whether or not their eldest daughter could succeed if they had no son the two were instructed to look into the matter. Pobedonostsev was absolutely opposed to the notion of changing the succession, believing that the succession laws laid down by Emperor Paul had contributed to the stability of the throne. Nonetheless, Pobedonostsev and Muravev were instructed to prepare the draft of a decree providing for the succession of the eldest daughter, but the decree was not published and, in 1904, lost its validity with the fortunate birth of a son, Grand Duke Alexis Nikolaevich, to Their Majesties. I know nothing more about the episode of the decree.

A legend was to arise that, at the meeting I have just described, I showed myself less than devoted to the Emperor. I heard about it not long ago, in Biarritz, from Alexandra Nikolaevna Naryshkina, whose only claim to fame is that she is the widow of Emmanuel Dmitrievich Naryshkin, the illegitimate son of Emperor Alexander I and the well-known Naryshkina, a Pole by origin. (See the memoirs dealing with this subject published a few years ago by Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich.)

Well, during our conversation she asked if I knew why the Empress was unsympathetic, if not hostile, toward me. I said that I did not know how she felt about me, for I rarely saw her and had spoken with her on but a few occasions.

Naryshkina then said: "I know that her attitude arose from the fact that when the Emperor nearly died at Livadia, you insisted that Grand Duke Michael Aleksandrovich succeed to the throne. "I said that I had not insisted on anything and had merely explained the exact meaning of the existing laws and that the others present, including Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich, son of Emperor Nicholas I, whom none could suspect of being less than totally devoted to the Sovereign, had agreed."


Tales of Imperial Russia: The Life and Times of Sergei Witte, 1849-1915

History and biography meet in this book, a study of the late-Romanov Russian Romanov, told through the figure of Sergei Witte. Like Bismarck or Gorbachev, Witte was a European statesman serving an empire. He was the most important statesman of pre-revolutionary Russia. In the Georgia, Odessa, Kyiv, and St. Petersburg of the 19th century, he inhabited the worlds of the Victorian Age, as young boy, student, railway executive, lover of divorcees and Jews, monarchist, and technocrat. His political career saw him construct the Tran-Siberian Railway, propel Russia towards Far Eastern war with Japan, . Meer

History and biography meet in this book, a study of the late-Romanov Russian Romanov, told through the figure of Sergei Witte. Like Bismarck or Gorbachev, Witte was a European statesman serving an empire. He was the most important statesman of pre-revolutionary Russia. In the Georgia, Odessa, Kyiv, and St. Petersburg of the 19th century, he inhabited the worlds of the Victorian Age, as young boy, student, railway executive, lover of divorcees and Jews, monarchist, and technocrat. His political career saw him construct the Tran-Siberian Railway, propel Russia towards Far Eastern war with Japan, visit America in 1905 to negotiate the Treaty of Portsmouth concluding that war, and return home to confront revolutionary disorder with the State Duma, the first Russian parliament. The book is based on two memoir manuscripts that Witte wrote between 1906 and 1912, and includes his account of Nicholas II, the Empress Alexandra, and the machinations of a Russian imperial court that he believed were leading the country to revolution.


The Home of the Last Tsar - Romanov and Russian History

Count Witte was born in Tiflis in the Caucasus (now Georgia) in 1849. His father was a Baltic german and his mother Russian and a member of the nobility. Witte went into railroading and rose to director of the department of Railroads in 1889. Alexander III showed great faith in Witte by making him his Finance minster in 1889. When Nicholas II came to the throne in 1894 he inherited Witte "a rising star, an ambitious, brash, brash and young man", with some reservations. Witte's power and authority continued to grow, but Nicholas decided his power had grown too strong and he promoted Witte down to the dead-end position of chairman of the Committee of Ministers in 1903.

In 1905 Nicholas reluctantly called about Witte to negotiate peace with Japan . he travelled to the USA and skillfully worked both US public opinion and the Japanese to secure a treaty that cut Russia's expected losses at the negotiating table after a humiliating loss to Japan in the Far East. Upon his return to Russia and despite the Tsar's past doubts Nicholas made him a Count and gave him unprecedented power as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Witte assumed this responsibility in the midst of the troubles of 1905. Widespread unrest and the belief that things were spiraling out of control lead Witte to recommend drastic reforms which he felt were essential to preserve Russian and the throne. Nicholas accepted these recommendations under duress and issued the October 17 Manifesto which at one stroke turned Russia into a constitutional monarchy. Although Nicholas felt this was the only choice open to him he still resented Witte's part in the abrogation of the throne's autocratic power and in six months he retired him from government service.

After service that Witte felt had saved Nicholas and the Empire this dismissal - couched as it was in polite language and royal largesse - embittered Witte, but due to his loyalty and sense of propriety he kept his mouth shut for the time being.

Witte and his wife travelled abroad. Rumors of plots to assassinate Witte reached him and in January 1907 a bomb was found planted in his home. Late that year and began work on his memoirs, which he planned to publish one day to set the record straight. In 1908 he returned to Russia and continued work on his manuscript. This effort continued for many years and was basically completed in 1912, although publication was put off until sometime in the future.

The outbreak of war found Witte and his family in France and his memoirs were left in a secure French bank vault while they returned to Russia. Witte died in 1915. His widow escaped from Bolshevik Russia and 1919 and took his memoirs to New York for publication, where they appeared in 1921.

At the time of his forced retirement in 1905 Count Witte felt a natural bitterness toward Nicholas which was expressed in the earliest parts of his manuscripts. Alexandra hardly appears as she was not involved in politics until World War I, although he still expresses great antipathy for her and censures what he felt was her negative reinforcement of the Tsar's worst qualities. Later, with time and reflection, his attitude toward them mellows.


Sergei Witte – gifted statesman

Sergei Yulyevich Witte, the future Russian reformer, graduated from the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the age of 21. And later he took the post of head of the Odessa Railway movement. At 40, he became director of the Department of Railways under the Ministry of Finance, three years later – Minister of Railways and Finance.
Witte introduced the “state monopoly of the trade in drinks” in the country. The state began to live not from the labor and talent of its subjects, but from alcoholism. So, the drunken revenue filled the budget for a quarter. Excise taxes on matches, tobacco, kerosene, sugar, tea, etc. were growing. Taxes grew, and the people, naturally, became poor.
Witte built the Trans-Siberian Railway Network so that, in his words, “Europe got a gate to the Asian East,” but Russia should be a gatekeeper at that gate. For this reason, he chose the road through Chinese Manchuria to the Pacific Ocean as the most interesting for western merchants.

For the sake of obtaining the right to build the China-East Railway (CER), they offered a bribe of three million rubles to the actual head of the Chinese empire, the noble mandarin Li Hongzhang. He agreed, although he was already a rich man: he held a monopoly on the trade in opium in central China. He was given a million, then Nicholas II gave him a diamond ring worth about a million, and built a CER. And one million rubles disappeared without a trace.
Having received the railway, Manchuria quickly turned into the most developed part of China. In less than seven years, its population had doubled, cities had economically overtaken Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.
In 1897, Witte, who wanted to attract foreign investment, persuaded the tsar to issue a decree on the free exchange of cards for gold and on the manufacture of gold coins. They devalued by lowering the gold content of the ruble by a third. The second act was the transfer Russian debts from silver to gold, which significantly increased them. The third number was the understatement of the exchange rate. Fourth – the limitation of the capabilities of Russian industrialists, so as not to compete with the Europeans.

Russian statesman Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte

Finding out how good the investment climate in Russia was, the western businessmen ran there with their capitals. In 1902, 783 million rubles were exported, and in 1903 – even 902 million.
To achieve such a remarkable result, it was necessary to ruin population by killing the local economy. There was very little paper money in circulation, the demand for goods was falling, and the consumption of basic food products fell to the level of 1861, the year the peasants were freed from serfdom. The enchanting flowering of industry, based on the big money of foreigners and the small salaries of Russians, ended in 1899. After this collapse, the economy returned to its pre-reform state, and foreign capital ran away – but the population had already managed to become impoverished.
The country moved towards the 1905 revolution.

Japan had conquered many lands in China. Witte persuaded the Japanese government to abandon the Liaodong Peninsula, which was close to Russia, so that the rights of all countries were equal. Japan believed him and Russia gained a foothold in the Kwantung region at the tip of the peninsula. Minister of War Kuropatkin proposed pulling a railway line here, and Witte agreed.
Again they paid a bribe to Li Hongzhang, and Russia received Kwantung with the cities of Port Arthur and Dalniy, allegedly for rent.
Port Arthur became the main naval base of the Russian Pacific squadron, and the port of Dalniy Witte opened for international trade.
The Japanese demanded to expel the treacherous Russians from China. Finally, Japanese Prime Minister Ito arrived in St. Petersburg and made proposals acceptable to both sides, but did not receive a clear answer. Witte stood on the idea that Japan should not be allowed into Russian lands. And Japan began to purchase weapons from Western countries.

Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte

Meanwhile, the Trans-Siberian Railway was completed. It turned out that it was not capable of mass troop transfers. But the war with Japan showed the obvious: strategically important railways had to be laid on own territory. So, the Russians had to build the Amur Railway, which was finished in 1916.
Having defeated the Russian fleet in Port Arthur, Japan nevertheless fell into a terrible situation. It was in danger of financial collapse on land, the army could not advance – there were more Russian troops there than Japanese. However, Witte convinced the tsar that Russia could not fight. And the tsar appointed him the head of the delegation, which went to Portsmouth (USA) to sign peace with Japan.
As a result, Russia lost the southern part of the CER, Port Arthur and Dalniy and half of Sakhalin. For this feat, the tsar gave Witte the title of count, and the people gave the nickname Semi-Sakhalin.

The economy was in ruins. Witte went from Portsmouth to Paris, where he took a huge loan. Meanwhile, the tsar, already having an agreement on the Franco-Russian alliance, signed an agreement on an alliance with Germany with an obligation to protect each other in the war. But Germany could have only one war – with France and England, already united in the Entente. Witte was terrified (what about the French loan?) and begged the tsar to annul the alliance with Germany.
So the loan he took to save the country from the consequences of his own activities predetermined not only that Russia would fight in 1914, but also with whom and against whom.
In the same year, His Excellency Count, chairman of the Council of Ministers, extinguished the revolutionary wave: sent punitive expeditions to Siberia, the Baltic states, Poland and Moscow. Also he wrote the Manifesto and Nicholas II announced the beginning of liberalization in Russia on October 17, 1905.
Finally, even the tsar realized who was responsible for all the troubles, and he dismissed the count. In turn, Sergei Yulyevich, unshakably confident in his righteousness, issued memoirs in which he introduced the tsar, who prevented him, Witte, from carrying out reforms in Russia.
Sergei Witte died on February 28, 1915.


On this day: The birth of Russian state reformer Sergei Witte

Sergei Witte. / Library of Congress

Sergei Witte, born June 29, 1849, was a highly influential economist, state minister, and prime minister in Imperial Russia. He was also one of the key players in the political arena of the late 19 th &ndash early 20 th century. Witte served under the last two Russian emperors, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

Witte was head of the Russian Ministry of Finance for 11 years, during which the state budget tremendously increased and major economic reforms were made. "During my tenure as Finance Minister, industry grew so rapidly that it could be said that a Russian national industrial system had been established. This was made possible by the system of protectionism and by attracting foreign capital," wrote Witte in his memoirs.

In his Report for Czar Nicholas II (1899), Witte said his famous words: &ldquoBut there is a radical difference between Russia and a colony: Russia is an independent and strong power. She has the right and the strength not to want to be the eternal handmaiden of states which are more developed economically.&rdquo

Witte died on May 15, 1915 due to meningitis, or a brain tumor.

Read more: Searching Russia&rsquos economic past for secrets of growth

Gee altyd 'n aktiewe hiperskakel na die oorspronklike materiaal as u enige van die inhoud van Russia Beyond gebruik, gedeeltelik of volledig.


  • By 1910 only 30% of Russia’s national production was industrial, compared to 75% for Great Britain and 70% for Germany
  • Most of Russia’s exports were still agricultural produce.
  • Critics of Witte have said that he was too dependent on foreign money and that he was too interested in heavy industry and ignored Russia’s agricultural needs
  • Undoubtedly there was underinvestment in agriculture and this added to peasant difficulties, but it did not cause them
  • Aimed at Students studying across AS/A2 Level or equivalent
  • Premium resource
  • Use as you wish in the classroom or home environment
  • Use with other Russia History Lessons & Resources
  • Includes challenging questions

School History is the largest library of history teaching and study resources on the internet. We provide high-quality teaching and revision materials for UK and international history curriculum.


Blavatsky and Count Witte

HPB’s first cousin, Count Sergei Witte, will get a new evaluation based on his written memoirs. Oxford University Press will be publishing Francis W. Wcislo’s study, Tales of Imperial Russia: The Life and Times of Sergei Witte, 1849-1915, which is scheduled for release in May. Subjecting Witte’s reminiscences to historical record, Wcislo writes: “Truth be told, his memoirs are, quite simply stories: narrated tales and remembered impressions of a life in imperial Russia that allow the historian access to the cultural values, human identities, and patterns of life experience, which constituted its rhythms.…Indeed, Blavatsky’s story was the very first genuine ‘tale’ he told. All of Witte’s narrative devices were here for the first time on display.”

The English version of Witte’s Herinneringe, based on dictated material and translated by Abraham Yarmolinsky in 1921, and by Sidney Harcave in 1990, has been a prime source of information on Blavatsky’s life in Russia. His mother, Katherine Witte (née Fadeeva), was the younger sister of HPB’s mother, and he spent part of his childhood living with his grandparents, as HPB had done.

What Witte knew of Blavatsky’s debut in the 1850s was mainly family lore, buttressed by both his belief she possessed ‘some sort of supernatural talent’ and his own few boyhood memories of her. In that sense he constructed Blavatsky. There was Blavatsky the orphan, raised by his grandparents after Elana Gan’s early death. Blavatsky was a young, harried woman, married off to a much older civil official in Armenia when she was 17, who within months had fled home to her grandparents. She was the runaway. Returned to Tiflis, Blavatsky was dispatched to her father in Russia, but, arriving in the Black Sea steamship depot of Poti, she ‘took the scent (sniukhat’sia)’ of an English steamship captain and sailed off with him to the capital city of the Ottomans, which Witte in Greek and Slavic fashion called Constantinople. There she became…a circus bareback rider, lover of the European opera bass Mitrovitch, companion of a London man on business in America, follower of the mid-century’s ‘greatest spiritualist’, concert pianist and choirmaster of the Serbian king. This bewildering array of indentities for the illicit woman was very much Witte’s concoction. They all bore little facsimile to the historical record, none more so than his own memory of a chastened Blavatsky, returned in 1860 to Tiflis and a respectable life, when Witte would have been 12.


Sergei Witte-Fortune’s Favorite or Great Politician?

Sergei Witte’s rise to power was an unusual one. As an young adult, Witte was more interested in physics and mathematics rather than politics. All that changed, however, when he accepted a position at a railroad company, where he steadily rose in the ranks.

One compelling incident occurred during Witte’s career as a railroad technician. A train wreck occurred in 1875 on a railway line that Witte was in charge of. The wreck killed several people, and he was summoned to provide evidence for the investigation. During his time there, he made such an impact on the officials of the Ministry of Finance that they offered him a government position. An event that could have ended his career as a railway technician ended up being the nudge he needed to start his political career.

Witte’s next stroke of luck occurred in 1888. The train that Tzar Alexander III and his family was travelling in had derailed. The Minister of Ways and Communication at the time had resigned, and the tzar offered Witte to be the head of the railway department in the Ministry of Finance. In 1893, Witte became the head of the Ministry of Finance.

As the head, Witte pushed out a number of reforms. He stabilized the ruble to the gold standard. He increased taxes to offset the deficit in budget. Witte completed his Trans-Siberian Railway project, and negotiated with the Chinese to build the Chinese-East Railway.

Alexander III held Sergei Witte in high regards, but Nicholas II, the czar who took the throne after Alexander III, didn’t feel the same way. Nicholas II disliked Witte’s stubborn and independent attitude, but couldn’t dismiss Witte’s competence as Minister of Finance. Thus, Witte was able to keep his position.

Though Witte lost his position early in the 20th century, he was determined to return to the political spotlight however. And he did, during the end of the Russian Japanese war. The war was a loss for Japan and he was assigned as a diplomat to negotiate peace talks with Japan. Witte managed to procure minimal losses for Russia, and was given the title of ‘Count’ for his achievements. He also created the 17th October Manifesto during the 1905 revolution, and he was appointed to head of Council of Ministers, the peak of his political career.

Witte had additional plans for Russia during WWI, but, unfortunately, sickness got in the way. He died in 28 February, 1915.

The title comes from the two very different perspective of Witte from the two sources that I used for this post. The New York Times article describes Witte as an extremely lucky man who just stumbled his way onto success. Being at the right place at the right time. The other source, from Russiapedia, describes Witte as an extremely scrupulous person. He capitalized on human weakness and used bribery to get what he wanted, and rumors to remove those above him.


The Origin Story of the Protocols: Okhrana

A secret society called the Learned Elders of Zion never existed, but the spurious document that invented it—the Protocols—does exist. (Image: DedMityay/Shutterstock)

The Supposed Origin Story of the Protocols

Picture a semi-dark room in Paris. The year is 1904 or 1905. Two men peer at papers laid out on a small table. One copies from one of the documents to another. The second watches with satisfaction. The writer is Matvei Golovinsky, an employee of the Russian secret police, or Okhrana. The other is his boss, Peter Rachkovsky, who oversees the Okhrana’s foreign operations.

The document Golovinsky copies from is an 1864 political tract titled The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. The document he’s creating is the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion or Protocols for short. Rachkovsky will soon put the finished product in the hands of the religious fanatic Sergei Nilus, who’ll publish them in his 1905 book The Great in the Small. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Purpose of the Origin Story

Sergei Nilus published the Protocols in a 1905 book called The Great in the Small. (Image: Sergei Nilus (1862-1929)/Public domain)

However, the story isn’t true. It never happened. It couldn’t have happened. The true origins of perhaps the most pernicious document in modern history remain a mystery. The Protocols purport to be the minutes of a Jewish secret society—the so-called Elders of Zion—bent on world domination.

Anti-Semitism, which is to say, anti-Jewism, was nothing new. It had been around for centuries. But the Protocols subtly and critically changed this prejudice. While Jews had long been persecuted for not being Christians, they generally weren’t seen as irredeemable or inhuman. All they had to do was convert.

But the Protocols turned Jews into predatory monsters scheming to enslave the rest of humanity. In this view, Jews weren’t a nuisance, but a threat a threat that could only be removed by their extermination.

Dit is 'n transkripsie uit die video -reeks The Real History of Secret Societies. Watch it now, on Wondrium.

The ‘Okhrana-Did-It’ Version

The ‘Okhrana-did-it’ version of the Protocols’ origins has been popularized by the late Norman Cohn’s 1967 book Warrant for Genocide.

Cohn was a London-born linguist and expert on Nazi anti-Semitism. In 1999, the Okhrana theory received further support when a Russian researcher named Mikhail Lepekhin discovered documents in Moscow that seemed to confirmed Matvei Golovinsky as the forger.

The Supposed Role of Sacred Brotherhood

Golovinsky was also a member of a secret society: The Sacred or Holy Brotherhood, a group that plays a murky but important role in this story.

The Sacred Brotherhood sprang-up after the 1881 assassination of Tsar Alexander II at the hands of revolutionaries. The man credited with dreaming it up was the future imperial finance and prime minister Sergei Witte.

Witte believed that the only way to fight revolutionary terrorism was with counter-terrorism. But the person who turned Witte’s dream into a reality was the chief of the tsar’s personal guard, Count Illarion Vorontsov- Dashkov.

Headed by a secret, five-man ‘council of elders’, the Sacred Brotherhood enlisted hundreds of noblemen, businessmen, and others anxious to protect the tsar and save Russia.

The Brotherhood included several Jewish members as well. But it was a private, not a state, organization. That earned it the hostility of many tsarist officials. Some were just jealous, while others smelled something sinister. One minister declared the Brotherhood preached ‘sedition of another kind’.

The Formal End of the Sacred Brotherhood

Official pressure and internal quarrels formally ended the Sacred Brotherhood barely two years after it began. But that didn’t mean it was dead. The Russian secret police, the Okhrana, was basically an official replacement for the Sacred Brotherhood, and the Okhrana undoubtedly absorbed parts of it. Under men like Peter Rachkovsky, the Okhrana created a vast clandestine network of spies and informers stretching across Europe.

But in pinning the blame for the Protocols on Rachkovsky, Norman Cohn inadvertently relied on very unreliable sources. The same was true of Russian researcher, Lepekhin, who simply repeated what French intelligence had picked up from many of the same dubious sources. A lie ended-up being explained with more lies.

Doubts over Okhrana’s Role and Protocols’ Date

Doubts about the Okhrana’s role in the Protocols arose early on. The Russian scholar Vladimir Burtsev was a revolutionary and staunch critic of the tsarist secret police. Nevertheless, investigation convinced Burtsev that the Okhrana had nothing to do with it. For instance, Burtsev determined that neither Rachkovsky nor Golovinsky were even in Paris at the time.

Rachkovsky had been dismissed from Okhrana service in 1902. So why would he have been concocting the Protocols for that agency two years later?

Moreover, Italian researcher Cesare de Michelis found that the first version of Protocols actually appeared in 1903, not 1905. It appeared in a small St. Petersburg paper called Znamya, which was a mouthpiece for violently anti-Semitic groups known as the Black Hundreds.

Common Questions about the Origin Story of the Protocols: Okhrana

We can’t be sure about the provenance of the Protocols . But there is plenty of evidence that stands against the assertion that Okhrana wrote the Protocols.

The Protocols was first published in 1903, and not 1905. But, the more popular version is the 1905 one, published by Sergei Nilus.

There is no credible source that informs about the author of the Protocols of the Elders of the Zion . Nevertheless, it’s quite likely that the book was written by Maurice Joly, the author of The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu.

Maurice Joly is the author of The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu from which certain parts of the Protocols are plagiarized.