Pyotr Stolypin

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This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Arkadyevich and the family name is Stolypin.
Pyotr Stolypin
Pyotr Stolypin LOC 07327.jpg
3rd Chairman of Council of Ministers of the Russian Empire
In office
21 July 1906 – 18 September 1911
Monarch Nicholas II
Preceded by Ivan Goremykin
Succeeded by Vladimir Kokovtsov
Personal details
Born (1862-04-14)14 April 1862
Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony, German Confederation
Died 18 September 1911(1911-09-18) (aged 49)
Kiev, Russian Empire
Nationality Russian
Spouse(s) Olga Borisovna Neidhardt

Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin (Russian: Пётр Арка́дьевич Столы́пин; IPA: [pʲɵtr ɐˈrkadʲjɪvʲɪtɕ stɐˈlɨpʲɪn]; 14 April [O.S. 2 April] 1862 – 18 September [O.S. 5 September] 1911), chairman of the Council of Ministers, served as Prime Minister, and Minister of Internal Affairs from 1906 to 1911. His tenure was marked by efforts to counter revolutionary groups and by the implementation of noteworthy agrarian reforms. Stolypin was a monarchist and hoped to strengthen the throne. He is considered one of the last major statesmen of Imperial Russia with clearly defined public policies and the determination to undertake major reforms.[1]

Family and background[edit]

Stolypin seems to have been born in Baden-Baden on 14 April 1862, but was baptized in Dresden, on 24 May in the Russian Orthodox Church. His family was prominent in the Russian aristocracy and his ancestors had served the tsars since the sixteenth century and as a reward for their service had accumulated huge estates in several provinces. Arkady Dmitrievich Stolypin (1821–99), his father, was a general in the Russian artillery, the governor of Rumelia and Commandant of the Kremlin Palace. He was married twice. His second wife was Natalia Mikhailovna Stolypina (née Gorchakova; 1827–89), the daughter of Prince Mikhail Dmitrievich Gorchakov, the Commanding General of the Russian infantry during the Crimean War and later the Governor General of Warsaw.

Serednikovo
Photo of 14-year old Stolypin

Pyotr grew up on the family estate Serednikovo, once inhabited by Mikhail Lermontov, and near Moscow. From 1869, Stolypin spent his childhood years in Kalnaberžė manor (now Kėdainiai district of Lithuania), built by his father, in what remained his favorite residence for the rest of life.[2] In 1876, the Stolypin family moved to Vilnius, where he studied at the local grammar school. In 1879 the family moved to Oryol. In 1881 he studied agriculture at St. Petersburg University; one of his teachers was Dmitri Mendeleev. He entered government service upon graduating in 1885, writing his thesis on tobacco growing. It is unclear if he joined the Ministry of State Property or Internal Affairs. Four years later Stolypin was elected marshal of the Kovno Governorate. This public service gave him an inside view of local needs and allowed him to develop administrative skills. He was fascinated by the common lifestyle of the Northwestern Krai and sought to propagate their privately owned, single-family farmsteads throughout the Russian Empire.[3]

In 1884, Stolypin had married Olga Borisovna Neidhardt, the daughter of a prominent Russian family. She was engaged to his brother Mikhail, who died two years earlier in a duel. They raised five daughters and a son.[4]

Governor and interior minister[edit]

In May 1902 Stolypin was appointed governor in Grodno, where he was the youngest person ever appointed to this position. In February 1903 he became governor of Saratov. Stolypin is known for suppressing strikers and peasant unrest in January 1905. According to Orlando Figes its peasants were among the poorest and most rebellious in the whole of the country.[5] It seems he cooperated with the zemstvos, the local government. He gained a reputation as the only governor able to keep a firm hold on his province during the Revolution of 1905, a period of widespread revolt. The roots of unrest lay partly in the Emancipation Reform of 1861, which had given land to the Obshchina, instead of individually to the newly freed serfs.[6] Stolypin was the first governor to use effective police methods. Some sources suggest that he had a police record on every adult male in his province.[7] His successes as provincial governor led to Stolypin being appointed interior minister under Ivan Goremykin in April 1906. He instigated a new track of the Trans-Siberian Railway along the Amur River within Russian borders.

Prime minister[edit]

Stolypin by Ilya Repin

After two months Dmitri Feodorovich Trepov suggested the absent minded Goremykin ought to step down and promoted a cabinet with only Kadets, which in his opinion would soon enter into a violent conflict with the Emperor and fail. He secretly met with Pavel Milyukov. Trepov opposed to Stolypin, promoting a coalition cabinet.[8] Georgy Lvov and Alexander Guchkov tried to convince the tsar to accept liberals in the new government.

When Goremykin, according to S. Witte a bureaucratic nonentity, resigned on July 21 [O.S. July 8] 1906 Nicholas II appointed Stolypin also as Prime Minister, and stayed on as Minister of Interior; an unusual concentration of power in Imperial Russia. He dissolved the Duma, despite the reluctance of some of its more radical members, in order to facilitate government cooperation.[1] In response, 120 Kadet and 80 Trudovik and Social Democrat deputies went to Vyborg (then a part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and thus beyond the reach of Russian police) and responded with the Vyborg Manifesto (or the "Vyborg Appeal"), written by Pavel Milyukov. Stolypin allowed to signers to return to the capital unmolested.

Stolypin's wooden villa after the attempted assassination. One third was blown to pieces.

On 25 August 1906, three assassins from the Union of Socialists Revolutionaries Maximalists, wearing military uniforms, bombed a public reception Stolypin was holding at his dacha on Aptekarsky Island. Stolypin was only slightly injured by flying splinters, but ca 28 others were killed—among them his 15-year-old daughter; his three year old son was slightly wounded, standing with his sister on the balcony.[9] Stolypin moved into the Winter Palace. In October 1906, at the request of the Tsar, Grigori Rasputin paid a visit to the wounded child.[10]

Stolypin changed the nature of the Imperial Duma to attempt to make it more willing to pass legislation proposed by the government.[11][12] After dissolving the Second Duma on 8 June 1907 (Coup of June 1907), and 55 Kadets were arrested; he changed the weight of votes more in favor of the nobility and wealthy, reducing the value of lower class votes.[12] The leading Kadets were inelegible. This affected the elections to the Third Duma, which returned much more conservative members, more willing to cooperate with the government.[1] It changed Georgy Lvov from a moderate liberal into a radical.[13]

Distribution of newly formed farms in Grodno governorate (1909)

In Saratov Stolypin had come to the conviction that the open field system had to be abolished. Like in Denmark he introduced land reforms in order to resolve peasant grievances and quell dissent. Stolypin's reforms aimed to stem peasant unrest by creating a class of market-oriented smallholding landowners.[14] He was assisted by Alexander Krivoshein, 1908 becoming the Minister of Agriculture. He aimed to create a moderately wealthy class of peasants that would support societal order. (See article "Stolypin's Reform").[15] He tried to improve the lives of urban laborers and worked towards increasing the power of local governments, but the zemstvos adopted an attitude hostile to the government.

Since 1905 Russia was plagued by revolutionary unrest and discontent was widespread among the population. With broad support, leftist organizations waged a violent campaign against the autocracy; throughout Russia, many police officials and bureaucrats were assassinated. To respond to these attacks, Stolypin introduced a new court system of martial law, that allowed for the arrest and speedy trial of accused offenders. Over 3,000 (may be 5,500) suspects were convicted and executed by these special courts between 1906 and 1909. In a Duma session on 17 November 1907, Kadet party member Fedor Rodichev referred to the gallows as "Stolypin's efficient black monday necktie". As result, Stolypin challenged Rodichev to a duel, but the Kadet party member decided to apologize for the phrase in order to avoid the duel. Nevertheless, the expression remained, just as Stolypin car.

Stolypin attempted to improve the acrimonious Russian-Jewish relationship at the level of nationalities policy. Sergey Sazonov was the brother-in-law of Stolypin, who did his best to further his career; in 1910 he became Minister of Foreign Affairs, following Count Alexander Izvolsky. Around 1910 the press started a campaign against Rasputin who paid too much attention to young girls and women. Stolypin wanted to ban him from the capital and threatened to prosecute him as a sectarian. Rasputin went on a trip to Jerusalem and came back to St Petersburg only after Stolypin's death.

"Stolypin resigned in March of 1911 from the fractious and chaotic Duma after the failure of his land-reform bill"[16] or the Polish question.[citation needed] He had proposed spreading the system of zemstvo to the southwestern provinces of Russia. It was originally slated to pass with a narrow majority, but Stolypin's political opponents stopped it. Tsar Nicholas II decided to look for a successor of Stolypin: Sergei Witte, Vladimir Kokovtsov or Alexei Khvostov.

Assassination[edit]

Kiev Opera House where Stolypin was assassinated
Stolypin's burial. The Romanov's did not attend his funeral because he was Rasputin's foe.

In September 1911 Stolypin traveled to Kiev despite police warnings that an assassination plot was afoot. There had been already a dozen of attempts to kill him.

On 1 September 1911 Old Style there was a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan at the Kiev Opera House in the presence of the Tsar and his two eldest daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. The theater was occupied by 90 men posted as interior guards.[17] According to Alexander Spiridovich after the second act "Stolypin was standing in front of the ramp separating the parterre from the orchestra, his back to the stage. On his right were Baron Freedericks and Gen. Suhkomlinov." His personal body guard had gone to smoke. Stolypin was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the chest by Dmitry Bogrov, a leftist revolutionary, trying to rehabilitate himself. Bogrov ran to one of the entries and was subsequently caught. "He [Stolypin] turned toward the Imperial Box, then seeing the Emperor who had entered the box, he made a gesture with both hands to tell the Emperor to go back." The orchestra began to play "God Save the Tsar."

The doctors hoped Stolypin would recover, he never lost consciousness, but his condition deteriorated. Stolypin died after four days. The next day distressed Tsar knelt at Stolypin's hospital bedside and repeated the words "Forgive me". The Tsarina had disliked the Prime Minister, from the moment he started to attack Rasputin. Bogrov was hanged 10 days after the assassination; the judicial investigation was halted by order of Tsar. This gave rise to suggestions that the assassination was planned not by leftists, but by conservative monarchists who were afraid of Stolypin's reforms and his influence on the Tsar. This, however, has never been proven. On his request Stolypin was buried in the city where he would be murdered.[18]

Legacy[edit]

A statue of Pyotr Stolypin in central Kiev, removed after the February Revolution.
Stolypin's grave in the Pechersk Monastery (Lavra) in Kiev.

Opinion about Stolypin's work are divided. In the unruly atmosphere after the Russian Revolution of 1905 some say that he had to suppress violent revolt and anarchy. However, historians disagree over how realistic Stolypin's policies were. The standard view of most scholars in this field has been that he had little real chance of reforming agriculture since the Russian peasantry was so backward and he had so little time to change things. Others, however, have argued that while it is true that the conservatism of most peasants prevented them from embracing progressive change, Stolypin was correct in thinking that he could "wager on the strong" since there was indeed a layer of strong peasant farmers. This argument is based on evidence drawn from tax returns data, which shows that a significant minority of peasants were paying increasingly higher taxes from the 1890s, a sign that their farming was producing higher profits.

There remains doubt whether, even without the interruption of Stolypin's murder and the First World War, his agricultural policy would have succeeded. The deep conservatism from the mass of peasants made them slow to respond. In 1914 the strip system was still widespread, with only around 10% of the land having been consolidated into farms.[19] Most peasants were unwilling to leave the security of the commune for the uncertainty of individual farming. Furthermore, by 1913, the government's own Ministry of Agriculture had itself begun to lose confidence in the policy.[20] Nevertheless, Krivoshein became the most powerful figure in the Imperial government.

In "Name of Russia", a 2008 television poll to select "the greatest Russian", Stolypin placed second, behind Alexander Nevsky and followed by Joseph Stalin.[21] He is seen by his admirers as the greatest statesman Russia ever had, the one who could have saved the country from revolution and the civil war.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Imperial Russia, 1815-1917 - Position Paper
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Memory of Stolypin immortalized in Vilnius
  4. ^ Blumberg, Arnold. Great Leaders, Great Tyrants?: Contemporary Views of World Rulers Who Made History, p. 302. Greenwood Press, 1995, ISBN 0-313-28751-1.
  5. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, p. 223.
  6. ^ PyotrArkadevich Stolypin © 2000–2013 Pearson Education, publishing as Fact Monster. 20 May. 2014
  7. ^ ::Peter Stolypin::
  8. ^ Recollections Of A Foreign Minister (1921)
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Joseph T. Fuhrmann (2013), p. 41
  11. ^ Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, p. 225
  12. ^ a b Oxley, Peter (2001). Russia, 1855 - 1991: from tsars to commissars. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-913418-9. 
  13. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, p. 220
  14. ^ Piotr Arkadevich Stolypin — FactMonster.com
  15. ^ P.A. Stolypin and the Attempts of Reforms
  16. ^ Stolypin’s Murder
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, p. 223.
  19. ^ Lynch, Michael From Autocracy to Communism: Russia 1894-1941 p.42 ISBN 978-0-340-96590-0
  20. ^ Lynch, Michael From Autocracy to Communism: Russia 1894-1941 p.42 ISBN 978-0-340-96590-0
  21. ^ Stalin voted third-best Russian
  22. ^ O. Figes (1996) A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, p. 221.

Further reading[edit]

  • Fuhrmann, Joseph T. (2013). Rasputin, the untold story (illustrated ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 314. ISBN 978-1-118-17276-6.
  • Ascher, Abraham (2001). P. A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in Late Imperial Russia. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3977-3. 
  • McDonald, David MacLaren (1992). United Government and Foreign Policy in Russia, 1900-1914. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674922396. 
  • Conroy, M.S. (1976), Peter Arkadʹevich Stolypin: Practical Politics in Late Tsarist Russia, Westview Press, (Boulder), 1976. ISBN 0-8915-8143-X

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pyotr Nikolayevich Durnovo
Minister of Interior
26 April 1906—18 September 1911
Succeeded by
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Makarov
Preceded by
Ivan Goremykin
Prime Minister of Russia
21 July 1906—18 September 1911
Succeeded by
Vladimir Kokovtsov