Boris Stürmer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Boris Vladimirovich Stürmer (1913)

Baron Boris Vladimirovich Stürmer (Russian: Бори́с Влади́мирович Штю́рмер, Boris Vladimirovich Shtyurmer) (27 July 1848 – 9 September 1917) was a Master of Ceremonies at the Court and a corrupt and incompetent Russian statesman.[1] He was a member of the Russian Assembly, served as Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire during 1916. Under his administration the country suffered drastic inflation and a transportation breakdown, which led to severe food shortages. Stürmer simply let matters drift until he was able to be relieved of this post.[2]


Stürmer was born into a landowning family in Baykovo, Kesovogorsky District, Tver Governorate. His father Vladimir Vilgelmovich Stürmer was a retired Captain of Cavalry in the Imperial Russian Army. His mother was Ermoniya Panina.

As a honorary graduate of the Law Faculty of St. Petersburg University in 1872, Stürmer entered the Ministry of Justice, the Governing Senate and the Interior Ministry. He was appointed in 1879 as Master of the Bedchamer at the Russian Imperial Court. Stürmer gained a reputation as "a great connoisseur of all sorts, especially diplomatic ceremonies." However, in the early 1890s his career took an completely unexpected turn. In 1891 he became chairman of the district council in Tver. As an unquestionably talented administrator an appointment as Governor of Novgorod in 1894 and Yaroslavl in 1896 followed. Stürmer proved himself as a master of political compromise; he avoided any clash with Zemstvo. In a very delicate situation he "maneuvered quite well". He "declared himself a conservative not out of fear but out of conscience."[3] Despite recurrent rumours of financial mismanagement, Stürmer became one of the most trusted bureaucrats working under Vyacheslav von Plehve and was admitted into the State Council of Imperial Russia in 1904. This appointment was "absolutely exceptional example in the history of Russian bureaucracy." He aspired to succeed Plehve in office and the Tsar even signed a ukase to that effect, yet the post eventually went to Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky.

Stürmer's career took a plunge under Pyotr Stolypin, but he resurfaced in connection with the 1913 countrywide celebrations of the tercentenary of the Romanov Dynasty, when he accompanied the Tsar on a journey along the Volga. Then he was nominated for the post of the mayor of Moscow. Stürmer's election bid was unsuccessful.

Prime Minister[edit]

At the height of World War I, Stürmer petitioned Tsar Nicholas II to sanction the change of his German surname to Panin.[4] Since the Panins were a distinguished family of Russian nobility, the monarch could not agree to Stürmer's request until he had consulted all members of the Panin family. Pending these proceedings, Stürmer was appointed Prime Minister on 20 January 1916, following the 76-years-old Ivan Goremykin, who was opposed to the convening of the Duma, but inclined to peace negotiations.[5] His appointment was received with consternation, as an open affront to the whole nation. From then everything went down, according to Alexei Khvostov. For War Minister Alexei Polivanov it was the beginning of the end.[6] The Duma gathered on 9 February 1916. The deputies were disappointed when Stürmer held his speech, as the politicians tried to bring the government under control of the Duma.[7] Because of the war it was not the time for constitutional reforms.[citation needed] For the first time in his life, the Tsar had made a visit to the Taurida Palace, which made it practically impossible to hiss at the new prime minister. After he was simultaneously acting as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was regarded by Rodzianko as a "dictator with full powers".

Stürmer's government was deeply unpopular with all ranks. He was suspected of arch reactionary views and Germanophilia. His ill-fated attempt to conscript non-Russians into the active army touched off a bloody Kyrgyz uprising known as the Urkun. On 1 November (O.S) Paul Miliukov, concluding that Stürmer's policies placed in jeopardy the Triple Entente, delivered his famous "stupidity or treason" speech at the Imperial Duma, which had not been gathering since February. [8] He spoke of "Dark Forces", and highlighted numerous governmental failures. Alexander Kerensky called the ministers "hired assassins" and "cowards" and said they were "guided by the contemptible Grishka Rasputin!"[9] For the Octobrists and the Kadets, the liberals in the parliament, Grigory Rasputin, who believed in autocracy and absolute monarchy, was one of the main obstacles.

Even the Tsar had to concede that Stürmer was as much of a red rag to the parliament as to everyone else.[10] On 10 November he was sacked. Following his resignation, Stürmer ran for a seat in the Fourth Duma. It appeared to Maurice Paléologue, the French ambassador, he was a broken man. He was arrested by the Russian provisional government after the February Revolution in 1917 and died at the Peter and Paul Fortress later that year.


  1. ^ World War I: A Student Encyclopedia by Spencer Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts, p. 793. [1]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Letters of Nicholas II to his wife, Jan. 1916
  5. ^ Governments, Parliaments and Parties (Russian Empire) By Fedor Aleksandrovich Gaida
  6. ^ B. Pares (1939), The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. A Study of the Evidence, p. 318. Jonathan Cape. London.
  7. ^ O. Antrick, (1938) "Rasputin und die politischen Hintergründe seiner Ermordung", p. 79, 117.
  8. ^ Alexanderpalace
  9. ^ The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: Documents, Volume 1, p. 16 by Robert Paul Browder, Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky [2]
  10. ^ Massie, Robert K., Nicholas and Alexandra, New York, Ballantine Books, 1967, ISBN 0-345-43831-0.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ivan Goremykin
Prime Minister of Russia
2 February – 23 November 1916 (N.S.)
Succeeded by
Alexander Trepov
Preceded by
Alexei Khvostov
Interior Minister of Russia
3 March - 9 July 1916
Succeeded by
Aleksandr Khvostov
Preceded by
Sergei Sazonov
Foreign Minister of Russia
20 July - 23 November 1916
Succeeded by
Nikolai Pokrovsky