Nikolai Pokrovsky

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Nikolai Pokrovsky

Nikolai Nikolayevich Pokrovsky (Russian: Николай Николаевич Покровский) (27 January 1865, St Petersburg – 12 December 1930, Kaunas) was a Russian politician and the last foreign minister of the Russian Empire.

Life[edit]

Pokrovsky attended the law schools of the Moscow State University and St Petersburg University. In 1889, he began his career at the Ministry of Finance. In 1902-1903, Pokrovsky was a deputy chairman (chairman from 1904) of the Department of Taxation of the Ministry of Finance. In 1906, he was appointed deputy finance minister and mainly oversaw taxation affairs. In 1914-1916, Pokrovsky was a member of the State Council (retaining his post of the deputy finance minister until July 1914). From January to November 1916, Pokrovsky held the post of state inspector.

Minister of Foreign Affairs[edit]

On 30 November 1916 (N.S) he was appointed minister of foreign affairs. He succeeded Boris Stürmer, in favour of a peace treaty with Germany. Some of the English newspapers regarded his nomination as a sign of final suppression of Germanophilic agitation in Russia; a defeat for Rasputin and his friends. On his first speech in the Duma on 2 December Pokrovsky announced in the Imperial Duma that the treaty of 1915 with Great Britain and France (later signed by Italy, as well) had finally established Russia’s right on the straits and Constantinople.[1] On 12 December the German Chancellor, Bethmann-Hollweg, in a speech in the Reichstag, offered to open negotiations with the Entente in a neutral country.[2] On 15 December [3] Pokrovsky said that Russia would never sign a peace treaty with the Central Powers,[4] which caused a storm of applause in the Duma.[5]

Pokrovsky favored the attraction of the American financial capital into the Russian economy. With the support of the Ministry of Finance, he proposed to send a special commission on economic and financial affairs to the United States. In January 1917, Pokrovsky prepared a document, in which he defended the idea of establishing close ties with the US in light of this country’s potentially decisive role in ending the war. In his note to the Tsar from 21 February Pokrovsky expressed his confidence in victory over Germany and inquired about a possibility to prepare an expeditionary force for deployment in Constantinople by October 1917. During a session of the Council of Ministers on 25 February 1917, Pokrovsky proposed the resignation of the whole government. He was sent to negotiate this matter with the Duma and Progressive Bloc. On 26 February Pokrovsky reported about his negotiations with the Bloc (led by Vasili Maklakov) at the session of the Council of Ministers in the Mariinsky Palace. The Bloc spoke for the resignation of the government.

After the February Revolution, Pokrovsky headed the Russo-American Committee on Assistance to the Economic Rapprochement between Russia and the US. After the October Revolution, Pokrovsky emigrated from Russia and taught at the Vytautas Magnus University.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hrono.ru/biograf/bio_p/pokrovski_nn.php
  2. ^ http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/5544246
  3. ^ http://www.questia.com/read/3552177/official-statements-of-war-aims-and-peace-proposals
  4. ^ http://archive.org/stream/officialcommunic00carn/officialcommunic00carn_djvu.txt
  5. ^ On 20 December, before the Entente had replied to Bethmann-Hollweg's suggestion for negotiations, Wilson asked each of the powers to formulate its own peace conditions. On 25 December the Tsar rejected Wilson's note. The Central Powers replied on 26 December by virtually repeating their earlier offer. The Allies condemned the first German offer in a note to the USA on 30 December.
Political offices
Preceded by
Boris Stürmer
Foreign Minister of Russia
17 November 1916 (O.S) –2 March 1917 (O.S.)
Succeeded by
Pavel Miliukov