|4th Chairman of the Council of Ministers
of the Russian Empire
18 September 1911 – 30 January 1914
|Preceded by||Peter Stolypin|
|Succeeded by||Ivan Goremykin|
|Finance Minister of Imperial Russia|
26 April 1906 – 30 January 1914
|Prime Minister||Ivan Logginovich Goremykin
Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin
|Preceded by||Ivan Shipov|
|Succeeded by||Pyotr Bark|
5 February 1904 – 24 October 1905
|Prime Minister||Sergei Yulyevich Witte|
|Preceded by||Eduard Pleske|
|Succeeded by||Ivan Shipov|
|Born||Vladimir Nikolaevich Kokovtsov
18 April [O.S. 6 April] 1853
|Died||29 January 1943
Count Vladimir Nikolaevich Kokovtsov (Russian: Влади́мир Никола́евич Коко́вцов; 18 April [O.S. 6 April] 1853 – 29 January 1943) was a Russian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Russia from 1911—1914, during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II.
Following graduation from the Imperial Alexander Lyceum in December 1872 Kokovtsov applied for admittance to Saint Petersburg State University to study law on the recommendation of Aleksandr Gradovsky, Nikolai Tagantsev and S. Pakhman all notable legal authorities of the time. However, his father, who had promised to pay for his education suddenly died leaving the family in strained financial circumstances. As a result, instead of attending university he entered the civil service to provide him and his family an additional income.
Kokovtsov was admitted as a candidate for a civil service position in the Imperial Ministry of Justice serving first in the statistical, then the legislative and finally in the criminal office. From 1879–90 he served as Senior Inspector and Assistant Head of the Central Administration of Prisons. This period is noted for its prison reforms formulated by State Secretary K.K. Grot a senior member of the Imperial State Council. From 1890–96 he served in the State Council as Assistant State Secretary, State Secretary and finally as Assistant Imperial Secretary where he worked primarily on matters reviewed by the Russian Imperial State Council's Department of State Economy.
From 1896–1902 he served in one of the three Assistant Minister of Finance positions under Sergei Witte.
He resigned the next year when his former superior in the Finance Ministry, Witte, assumed the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers. During this time—although not a Minister—he played a substantial role in securing a loan that did nothing less than keep the Imperial government from having to devalue its currency and leave the gold standard. At the time, the gold standard was the basis of almost all financially stable, secure and modern countries. Kokovtsov returned as Minister of Finance in the cabinets of Ivan Goremykin (1906) and Peter Stolypin (1906–11) .
Kokovtsov succeeded Stolypin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers after Stolypin's assassination in 1911, while also maintaining his post as Minister of Finance, and held both offices until his retirement in 1914. Kokovtsov opposed to the appointment of Alexei Khvostov.
In 1912 Kokovtsov asked the Tsar to authorize Grigori Rasputin's exile to Tobolsk. Nicholas refused; "I know Rasputin too well to believe all the tittle-tattle about him." Kokovtsov had offered Rasputin a substantial amount of money to leave for Siberia and ordered the newspapers not to mention his name in connection with the Empress. The Tsar dismissed Kokovtsov on January 29, 1914 for a "lack of control over the press".
In domestic policy, Kokovstov's time as Prime Minister saw the passage of two laws in 1912 that provided accident and sickness insurance to about 20% of workers.
Retirement and later life
Upon retiring, Kokovstov was invested with the title and rank of count. After the February Revolution, he moved to Kislovodsk. After the October Revolution of 1917 he was investigated by the Cheka, but escaped with his family to Finland and eventually settled in Paris,. He was a leading figure in Russian émigré society until his death on 29 January 1943. In 1933 he published his memoirs, describing his childhood and education as well as his early years in government service life from 1903 till 1919.
Relationship with Sergei Witte
Witte states in his autobiography that while Kokovtsov was serving as one of his assistants, he was left alone to do the business he knew so well and that Kokovtsov was the source of several small but meaningful reforms in the finances of the Russian Empire.
Much was made of Kokovtsov's differences with Witte which resulted in the two refusing to work with one another after 1905—06. The apparent cause of these differences were conflicts over courses of action in the preparation for peace talks with Japan, following the Russo-Japanese War; the changing of the government structure in the wake of widespread political unrest; Witte's opposition to several of Kokovtsov's policies as Minister of Finance during the Russo-Japanese War, and in an important loan negotiation that occurred in 1905—06. These differences were made public in the Council of State when one or the other would make comments in opposition to the other's viewpoint on various issues.
Many historians have made the case that the differences were the result of Witte's desire to return to the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister of Russia) and his knowledge that his long-time associate was one of his chief rivals for the position. Some[who?] speculate that the differences were actually rather minor and overstated so that these two men, being in opposing political camps could safeguard the financial reforms they worked together to implement in the 1890s and early 1900s. It is known that Kokovtsov did visit Witte in 1915 during the illness that led to Witte's death and that Witte offered Kokovtsov the position of State Controller in his government which was a ministerial post.
- "Kokovsoff Gives Details. Assassin Suddenly Forced His Way in Front of Prince.". New York Times. October 27, 1909. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
Brief dispatches received from Minister of Finance Kokovsoff at Harbin add little to the news dispatches concerning the murder of Prince Ito. The Minister points out that no blame is to be attached to the railroad police, who had been specially requested to admit all Japanese to the station.
- "M. Kokovsoff Takes Vacancy Made by Stolypin's Assassination.". New York Times. September 23, 1911. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
Kokovsoff, the Russian Minister of Finance, has definitely assumed the Premiership made vacant by the death of Stolypin.
- J.T. Fuhrmann (2013) The Untold Story, p. ?
- Foundations of the Welfare State, 2nd Edition by Pat Thane, published 1996
- M. Rasputin (1934) My father, p. 70.
- Harcave, Sidney. (2004). Count Sergei Witte and the Twilight of Imperial Russia: A Biography. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-1422-3 (cloth)
- Kokovtsov, Vladimir. (1935). Out of My Past (translator, Laura Matveev). Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Witte, Sergei. (1921). The Memoirs of Count Witte (translator, Abraham Yarmolinsky). New York: Doubleday.
- Media related to Vladimir Nikolaevich Kokovtsov at Wikimedia Commons
- Vladimir Nikolayevich Kokovtsov at Flickr
|Prime Minister of Russia
18 September 1911 – 30 January 1914