Mikhail Rodzianko

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Mikhail Rodzianko in 1917

Mikhail Vladimirovich Rodzianko (Russian: Михаи́л Влади́мирович Родзя́нко; Ukrainian: Михайло Володимирович Родзянко) (February 21, 1859, Yekaterinoslav Governorate – January 24, 1924, Beodra Kingdom of Yugoslavia) was a Russian politician, State Councillor and chamberlain of the Imperial family, Chairman of the State Duma and one of the leaders of the February Revolution of 1917, during which headed the Provisional Committee of the State Duma.


Rodzianko was born in Popasnaya. He came from an old and rich Ukrainian noble family and was educated at the Corps des Pages. From 1877 until 1882 he served in the Her Majesty's Regiment of the Cavalry of the Guard, and served as Kammerherr of Alexander II of Russia during one year. From 1903 until 1905 he was editor of a newspaper. He was appointed as Marshall of the Gentry and for the Zemstvo as Provincial Zemstvo Executive (1906).[1]

Rodzianko, with Guchkov, was one of the founders and leaders of the Octobrist party. He became a deputy in the Third Duma (1907), vice-president in 1909 and was elected Chairman after the resignation of Aleksandr Guchkov in 1911. He then continued as the Chairman of the Fourth Duma from 1912 until its dissolution in February 1917. The government had isolated itself from all the political parties when Rodzianko took action. He became the head of Military-Industrial Committee, an organization created by industrial magnates in order to supply the army. The changes for the Russian Army on the Eastern Front improved in 1916.

"M. Rodzianko was an exceptionally tall and powerful man".[2] When Rodzianko met Tsarevich Alexei for the first time, he introduced himself as "the fattest man in Russia".[3]

Rodzianko was a monarchist and thought after the meeting between Grigory Rasputin and tsar Nicholas II: "It marked the beginning of the decay of the Russian society and the loss of prestige of the throne and of the tsar himself." Rodzianko gathered information on Rasputin and handed it over to Tsar. Rodzianko, who requested him to leave the capital,[4] and Theofan of Poltava held Rasputin for a Khlyst.[5]

On 21 February 1913 Rodzianko dismissed Rasputin from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan shortly before the celebration of 300 years rule of the Romanov's over Russia. He had established himself in front of the seats which Rodzianko, after great difficulty, had secured for the Duma. According to Orlando Figes "... the members were to be seated at the back, far behind the places reserved for the state councillors and senators. This, he complained to the master of ceremonies, was 'not in accordance with the dignity' of the parliament.[6]

The Interim Committee of the State Duma in 1917

"Rodzianko told the Tsar in March 1913: 'A war will be joyfully welcomed and it will raise the government's prestige.'"[7]

On August 11, 1915, the day the Tsar announced he would take the Supreme Command from Grand Duke Nicholas, Rodzianko suffered a heart attack.[8]

In Summer 1916 there was another crisis in the government: Alexander Protopopov was proposed to the Tsar, who hinted at Rodzianko as Premier and Foreign Minister. The Tsarina demanded that Rodzianko's Court rank should be taken from him.[9] Rodzianko was friendly with the British Ambassador George Buchanan.

Rodzianko, Zinaida Yusupova, whose niece he had married, Alexandra's sister Elisabeth, Grand Duchess Victoria and the Tsar's mother tried to influence the Emperor or his stubborn wife [10] to remove Rasputin, but without success.[11]

Mikhail Rodzianko was one of the key politicians during the Russian February Revolution. He presided over the Provisional Committee of the State Duma, and led abdication talks with Tsar, to satisfy the crowds. On 1 March 1917 Rodzianko assured general Mikhail Alekseyev that the Duma leaders, rather than the Soviet ones, would form the new government in Petrograd. The Tsar had no other choice than to follow Rodzianko's advice. On the 3 March (Old Style) the Tsar stepped down. The next day Grand Duke Mikhail declined the crown, after a long talk with Rodzianko.[12]

He emigrated to Serbia in 1920, wrote his memoirs The Reign of Rasputin, and where he died in great poverty.[13] His nephew Aleksandr Rodzyanko was one of the leaders of the White Army.


  1. ^ Bernard Pares' introduction to Rodzianko (1927), at p.v.
  2. ^ Explanatory footnote at Rodzianko (1927), p51, supplied by the Russian-to-English translator Catherine Zvegintzoff.
  3. ^ Leon Trotsky: The History of the Russian Revolution (1.10 The New Power)
  4. ^ G. King (1994) The Last Empress. The Life & Times of Alexandra Feodorovna, tsarina of Russia, p. 188; B. Moynahan (1997) Rasputin. The saint who sinned, p. 168; A. Spiridovich (1935) Raspoutine (1863-1916), p. 286; J.T. Fuhrmann (2013) Rasputin, the untold story, p. 92.
  5. ^ E. Radzinsky (2000) Rasputin: The Last Word, p. 230.
  6. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891–1924, p. 9.
  7. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891–1924, p. 248.
  8. ^ Margarita Nelipa (2010) The Murder of Grigorii Rasputin. A Conspiracy That Brought Down the Russian Empire, p. 95. Gilbert's Books. ISBN 978-0-9865310-1-9.
  9. ^ B. Pares (1939), "The Fall of the Russian Monarchy", p. 381, 395.
  10. ^ The Real Tsaritsa by Madame Lili Dehn
  11. ^ The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: Documents, Volume 1, p. 18 by Robert Paul Browder, Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky [1]
  12. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891–1924, p. 341-342, 345.
  13. ^ Bernard Pares' introduction to Rodzianko (1927), at p.viii.


  • Figes, O. (1996) A People's Tragedy: the Russian Revolution, 1891–1924.
  • Rodzianko, M. V. (1927) The Reign of Rasputin: an empire's collapse: Memoirs of M. V. Rodzianko, A. M. Philpot, (London),

External links[edit]

Media related to Mikhail Rodzianko at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Aleksandr Guchkov
Chairman of the State Duma
Succeeded by