Boris Stürmer

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Boris Vladimirovich Stürmer

Baron Boris Vladimirovich Stürmer (Russian: Бори́с Влади́мирович Штю́рмер, Boris Vladimirovich Shtyurmer) (27 July 1848 – 9 September 1917) was a Russian lawyer, a Master of Ceremonies at the Russian Court, and a district governor. He became a member of the Russian Assembly, and as a master of political compromise, he served as Prime Minister, and Minister of Internal Affairs and Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire in the year 1916, but he had little or no experience with Foreign Affairs.[1]

According to Maurice Paléologue he had a taste for history, particularly the anecdotal and picturesque side of history.[2]

Biography[edit]

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 Faculty of Law, Saint Petersburg State 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.

Governor[edit]

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, being patient.[3] In a very delicate situation he "maneuvered quite well". He "declared himself a conservative not out of fear but out of conscience."[4] Despite recurrent rumors of financial mismanagement[citation needed], Stürmer became one of the most trusted administrators. In 1902 Vyacheslav von Plehve, the Minister of Interior, appointed him as director at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After Plehve was killed, Stürmer was willing to succeed. The Tsar even signed a ukase to that effect, yet the post eventually went to Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky. Stürmer was then admitted into the State Council of Imperial Russia in 1904. This appointment was "absolutely exceptional example in the history of Russian bureaucracy." After Bloody Sunday (1905) again Stürmer was mentioned to become Minister of Interior. Stürmer became close friends with Bobrinsky. He dreamed of "autocracy, located in combination with the constitutional regime." Stürmer was one of those representatives of the bureaucratic elite, who preferred to distance themselves from the extreme right. He enjoyed enormous prestige not only at the right but also from his left-wing colleagues. Few members of the Council of State could boast of such a relationship with the monarch.

In the State Council, he supported Pyotr Stolypin and his closest collaborators on agrarian reform, land management and agriculture Chief Governor Alexander Krivoshein "in their endeavors in the field of devices peasants." Stürmer, being a dualist, opposed, on one hand, the Black Hundreds, speaking for unlimited autocracy, and the other - the Octobrists and the Kadets, to practice the idea of parliamentarism. Stürmer believed that the division of bureaucrats on the right and liberals required a very cautious attitude.

In the 1913 countrywide celebrations of the tercentenary of the Romanov Dynasty, he accompanied the Tsar and his family on a journey to Tver. In autumn of the same year he was appointed as mayor of Moscow as the candidate from the left was unacceptable. Stürmer seemed to be the right man to solve the problems in 1914 when the Progressive Bloc was formed, and called for a responsible government. He became a member of the Domestic Patriotic Union (OPS) - a moderately right-monarchist organization, founded in 1915. In November 1915 it was proposed the old Goremykin should be replaced by Alexei Khvostov. Though on 18 January 1916 the Tsar invited Stürmer to discuss the possibility of a new job. Fears of the Black Hundreds were fully justified.

Prime Minister[edit]

Boris Vladimirovich Stürmer (1913)

Stürmer petitioned Tsar Nicholas II to sanction the change of his German surname to Panin.[5] 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. The Tsarina and Rasputin had the opinion it was not necessary for Stürmer to change his name. 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. Nicholas ordered the new prime minister to "take all measures" to ensure that "the government avoided any conflicts with the State Duma," and gave "specific instructions" to "improve relations between the government and the Romanovs."

Stürmer was inclined to peace negotiations[6] and his German name was regarded as an advantage, but his appointment was received with consternation, as an open affront to the whole nation.[citation needed] On the eve of the opening of the Duma Prime Minister told Rodzianko that "the government is ready to make a concession to the Bloc, provided that the unit itself is also ready to make compromises." It was a shift to the left; they expected he would launch a more liberal and conciliatory politics. He would make every effort to get in touch and come to terms with the public."[7] 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.[8] 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 Tauride Palace, which made it practically impossible to hiss at the new prime minister.

"As Director of his Secretariat Sturmer [has] selected Manassievitch Manuilov. This choice, which is regarded as scandalous, is significant."[9]

"The extreme right-wing deputy (A.I. Savenko) could declare at the session of the Duma on February 29, 1916:

Alexei Khvostov and Iliodor concocted a plan to kill Rasputin. Khvostov created the rumour suggesting that Alexandra and Rasputin were German agents or spies.[11][12][13][14][15] Evidence that Rasputin actually worked for the Germans is flimsy at best.[16][17][18] Rather paranoid, Rasputin went to Alexander Spiridovich, head of the palace police, on 1 March. He was constantly in a state of nervous excitement. Khvostov had to resign within a week and Boris Stürmer was appointed in his place. In the same month Minister of War Alexei Polivanov, who in his few months of office had brought about a recovery of the efficiency of the Russian army, was removed and replaced by Dmitry Shuvayev.

The Polish question is the best weapon for a reconciliation with Germany.[19] In two months of office Stürmer has succeeded in making the public want Goremykin back.[20] According to Paléologue Stürmer consulted Anna Vyrubova about everything.[21]

Stürmer's government was deeply unpopular with all ranks.[citation needed] 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.

From then everything went down, according to Alexei Khvostov. For War Minister Alexei Polivanov - who both had to leave politics in March 1916 - it was the beginning of the end.[22] Stürmer took over the Ministry of Interior. 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".

Under his administration the country suffered drastic inflation and a transportation breakdown, which led to severe food shortages.[23] Stürmer simply let matters drift until he was replaced.[24]

In June the Tsar had to decide on the question of Polish autonomy. Stürmer and most of his colleagues were more hostile to the idea than ever.[25] The Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Sazonov, who had pleaded for an independent and autonomous Congress Poland, was replaced on 23 July. ("Sturmer is secretly carrying on a very active campaign against him."[26]) They disagreed on too many questions. "After Sazonov's dismissal Stürmer took the portfolio of Foreign Affairs; the Emperor had ordered him to conduct the foreign policy of the Empire on the same principles as before, i.e., in the closest co-operation with the Allied Governments. His activities in this department resulted in the premature declaration of war by Romania, so disastrous for that country and for Russia."[27] In July Aleksandr Khvostov, not in good health, was appointed as Minister of Interior. (After the Brusilov Offensive Romania joined the Allies in August and attacked Transylvania.) In September Alexander Protopopov, had been appointed as his successor. Protopopov, an industrialist and landowner, raised the question of transferring the food supply from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of the Interior. A majority of the zemstvo leaders announced that they would not work with his ministry. His food plan was universally condemned.[28] In October Sukhumlinov was released from prison on instigation of Alexandra, Rasputin and Protopopov. (On 24 October (O.S) the Kingdom of Poland was established by its occupiers.) This time the public was outraged[29] and the opposition parties decided to attack Stürmer, his government and the "Dark forces".[30] Since Stürmer has been in power Rasputin's authority has greatly increased.

For the liberals in the parliament, Grigori Rasputin, who believed in autocracy and absolute monarchy, was one of the main obstacles. A strongly prevailing opinion that Rasputin was the actual ruler of the country was of great psychological importance.[31]

As none of the parties could win the Germans started separate peace talks. Stürmer (supposedly with his German name as an advantage) tried to negotiate a separate peace with Germany, and in this regard was criticized after Kingdom of Poland (1916–18) became independent on 23 (?) October 1916 (O.S). On 1 November Pavel Milyukov, 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.[32] 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!"[33] Even the Tsar had to concede that Stürmer was as much of a red rag to the parliament as to everyone else.[34] On 10 November he was sacked. It appeared to Maurice Paléologue, the French ambassador, he was a broken man.[35]

Following his resignation, Stürmer ran for a seat in the Fourth Duma. He was arrested by the Russian Provisional Government after the February Revolution in 1917 and died of uremia in September at the hospital of the Peter and Paul Fortress (or the Kresty Prison).

References[edit]

  1. ^ to Glory: Late Imperial Russia and the Turkish Straits by Ronald Bobroff
  2. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-09.htm
  3. ^ Features And Figures Of The Past Covernment And Opinion In The Reign Of Nicholas
  4. ^ http://bezh-citi.ru/izvestn/147-shtjumer.html
  5. ^ Letters of Nicholas II to his wife, Jan. 1916
  6. ^ Governments, Parliaments and Parties (Russian Empire) By Fedor Aleksandrovich Gaida
  7. ^ http://bezh-citi.ru/izvestn/147-shtjumer.html
  8. ^ O. Antrick, (1938) "Rasputin und die politischen Hintergründe seiner Ermordung", p. 79, 117.
  9. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-06.htm
  10. ^ Cherniavsky, p.18.[1]
  11. ^ Kerensky, p. 160
  12. ^ Nelipa, p. 163-164
  13. ^ Vyrubova, pp. 289–290
  14. ^ Moe, p. 387.
  15. ^ "The Life and Tragedy of Alexandra - Chapter XXIII - Before the Storm". Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Radzinsky asserted that it was the Germans who had spread the rumor that Rasputin was being told military secrets by the "'debauched German tsarina".Nelipa, p. 162, 505
  17. ^ King, p. 258
  18. ^ Pares, p. 400.
  19. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-07.htm
  20. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-08.htm
  21. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-08.htm
  22. ^ B. Pares (1939), The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. A Study of the Evidence, p. 318. Jonathan Cape. London.
  23. ^ http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/sturmer.htm
  24. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/570180/Boris-Vladimirovich-Sturmer
  25. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-10.htm
  26. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal2-09.htm
  27. ^ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1922_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/St%C3%BCrmer,_Boris_Vladimirovich
  28. ^ Frank Alfred Golder (2008) Documents of Russian History 1914–1917. Read Books. ISBN 1443730297.
  29. ^ Figes, p. 286.
  30. ^ Gytis Gudaitis (2005) Armeen Rußlands und Deutschlands im 1. Weltkrieg und in den Revolutionen von 1917 und 1918 : ein Vergleich. Thesis. Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. p. 142.
  31. ^ Vladimir I. Gurko (1939) "Features and Figures of the Past", p. 10. [2]
  32. ^ Alexanderpalace
  33. ^ The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: Documents, Volume 1, p. 16 by Robert Paul Browder, Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky [3]
  34. ^ Massie, Robert K., Nicholas and Alexandra, New York, Ballantine Books, 1967, ISBN 0-345-43831-0.
  35. ^ http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal3-04.htm

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