Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii
Prince Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii (Russian: князь Пётр Дми́триевич Святопо́лк-Ми́рский) (August 30 [O.S. August 18] 1857, Vladikavkaz – May 29 [O.S. May 16] 1914, Saint Petersburg) was a Russian politician and police official, Minister of the Interior in 1904–1905. He was the son of the general Dmitry Ivanovitch Sviatopolk-Mirskii and father of the literary historian D. S. Mirsky.
Pyotr was born in the Vladikavkaz into a well-known and distinguished family. He was educated at Page Corps (graduated in 1874 with the first-class honours) and was appointed Page of the Chamber. In 1875 he became a cornet at Her Empress Leib-Guards Hussars.
Pyotr Dmitrievich took part in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78 and was decorated for his valor in the Battle of Kars. Then he studied at the General Staff Academy (graduated in 1881). In 1884 he was the acting commander of staff of 31st Infantry division, in 1887 he was the commander of staff of 3d Grenadier division. In 1895 he was appointed the Governor of Penza, and in 1897 the Governor of Yekaterinoslav.
In 1900 Sipiagin appointed him Assistant Minister of the Interior and Commander of the Imperial Corps of Gendarmes. After Sipiagin's assassination (1902) Sviatopolk-Mirskii resigned as Assistant Minister but was persuaded to accept the position of Governor-General of the North-Western province that included gubernias of Vilna, Kovno and Grodno (that is modern-day Lithuania and most of the Belarus). As the Governor-General, Sviatopolk-Mirskii was credited with successful liberal reforms, defusing national tensions in the provence by allowing more rights to the national minorities, stopping pogroms against the Jews.
In July, 1904 he succeeded to the position of Minister of the Interior after Plehve's assassination. His appointment was seen as a victory of Liberals over the Conservatives and in the Court term as a victory of the party of widow Empress Maria Fyodorovna (who supported the liberal reforms and was a patroness of Pyotr's sister Olga) over the party of Empress consort Alexandra Fyodorovna.
Conservative Ministers Witte and Sipiagin credited Sviatopolk-Mirskii with being an honorable, intelligent man of the highest moral principles, which is notable due to his attempts at liberal reform in Imperial Russia while Minister. These reforms began with permitting members of the local Zemstvos to gather to discuss broader policy issues and coordination of Zemstvo programs, something that had not been permitted in Russia regularly. The remaining reforms were embodied in a decree that called for the inclusion of elected members to the State Council, removal of the restrictions on the Old Believers, measures to strengthen legality, extend freedom of the press and religion, broaden the authority of local self-government, eliminate unnecessary restrictions on non-Russians, and do away with exceptional laws in general. Sviatopolk-Mirskii not only allowed the congress, but also participated in its work and personally delivered its decision to Tsar Nicholas II along with his own plan for constitutional reforms.
The Sviatopolk-Mirskii's plan included transferring more power to the State Council of Imperial Russia. The plan was much less radical than the reforms implemented by the October Manifesto 1905, but in December 1904 it was considered ultra-radical and was dismissed.
On January 22 [O.S. January 9] 1905 occurred the massacre of a peaceful demonstration in Saint Petersburg, known as Bloody Sunday. According to Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Miirskii, he never had authorised the shooting of the demonstrators, but still fulfilled his final duty to the tsar, becoming the scapegoat for the massacre. According to Miirskii's opponents, he not only did authorise the shooting but also in order to push his own political agenda actively encouraged the demonstration.
Sviatopolk-Mirskii was replaced as Minister of the Interior by Bulygin in February 1905 and retired from government service. As a retired Minister of Interior, he was expected to be appointed a member of the State Council of Imperial Russia, but it was not the case. He retired from the political life until his death on May 16, 1914.
- Out of My Past: The Memoirs of Count Kokovtsov Edited by H.H. Fisher and translated by Laura Matveev; Stanford University Press, 1935.
- The Memoirs of Count Witte Edited and translated by Sydney Harcave; Sharpe Press, 1990.
- Biography of Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopok-Mirsky in Russian
Vyacheslav von Plehve
|Minister of Interior
July 1904 – February 1905
Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii had a younger brother who converted to Judaism at age 17 after witnessing the suppression of what was called "the 1st Russian Revolt" conducted against the Czar by Jews and peasants in Moscow. The revolt was commanded by his own brother Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii. During this revolt, many innocent people died. Following a visionary night dream which showed the younger brother the glory of Jerusalem and ordered him to convert to Judaism, the younger brother began to question his family's connections and actions and decided to renounce his princely title and wealth and begin a journey on foot to Jerusalem. He was aided by a donkey he sometimes rode while sometimes used to carry his meager possessions. His Russian family warned him that he would be shunned if he decided to become a Jew. Still, he followed his spiritual vision, which he later described as: "A mystical calling from God showing me my future life in Jerusalem and that of my descendants to come." He left Moscow in the late 1880s and on his way to Jerusalem was aided by Jewish families of the Prushim Chassidic sect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilna_Gaon. He arrived in Jerusalem after his year long journey by foot, already a convert to Judaism. In the Old City of Jerusalem, in its Jewish Quarter, he became a Rabbi and later a leader of the Prushim movement. He never revealed his Russian first name and took on the first Name of Avaraham Mordechai. He kept his last name Mirsky. He married Hatoon Mizrahi: whose mother's mother came to Palestine with Ali's invasion in the 1830s from Egypt. Her father was of Kurdish origin of Jews who settled in the Old City's Jewish Quarter hundreds of years before. Hatoon was a born Jew on both sides. Eventually, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Mirsky gained utmost respect as one of the greatest leaders of the Prushim and practical kabbalists and became the "Gabay" or head Rabbi, of the Hurva synagogue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurva_Synagogue He died before World War I, of influenza, after getting a cold while burying a miscarried embryo on the Mount of Olives. His daughters tell how he foresaw his own death when arriving on that full moon night at the Mt. of Olives' Jewish Cemetery to bury the embryo, as he did often, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_of_Olives there he saw 9 men calling him by his name, to say the "Kadish" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish prayer, when he approached them, he saw them hovering upon his own grave while the 9 men: "dissipated like ghosts". Soon after that foretelling vision, he died and was buried on the Mt. Of Olives. His burial site along with that of thousands of other Jews, was demolished, when Jordan built a road crossing through the middle of the cemetery. Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Mirsky was described as extremely "Nordic" looking; tall, and blond with sapphire blue eyes, humble and happy at his lot and devoted to Judaism as well as religious Zionism in the style of Haggaon of Vilna http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilna_Gaon. He left Hatoon a widow with 7 children whom as Ashkennazi Jews, grew up in abject poverty and famine in Jerusalem's Old City, until they were forced to leave in 1948 when that part of the city surrendered to Jordan. All of his children looked like him and were often mistaken for Christians, except for his youngest daughter, who had her mother's dark complexion. His great grandson, working as an architect for the city of Jerusalem in the 1990s and early 21st century, was credited with saving the ruins of the Hurva synagogue by persuading then Architect Nahum Meltzer to speak to Mayor Ehud Olmert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehud_Olmert, to restore the ruins of the former Hurva synagogue to its former glory instead of building a business complex as the city planned to do. A mystic himself, the great grandson, enlightened the respected mayor Olmert and Nahum Melzer, with a multitude of "synchronicities" he claimed were sent by his great grandfather and grandmother. The mayor was convinced and ordered the complete restoration of the Hurva synagogue. Yeshivat "Eitz Chayim" in the heart of Jerusalem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mea_Shearim commemorated Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Mirsky and even boasted his only known photo, proudly framed at its entrance for nearly a century, until it disappeared.