Vyacheslav von Plehve
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von Plehve (Russian: Вячесла́в Константи́нович фон Пле́ве), also Pléhve, or Pleve (20 April [O.S. 8 April] 1846 in Meshchovsk, Kaluga Guberniya – 28 July [O.S. 15 July] 1904 in St Petersburg) was the director of Imperial Russia's police and later Minister of the Interior. He was very conservative throughout his career and he put many of his men in government positions during his time as minister of interior.
Plehve was born in Meshchovsk, Russia, on 20 April 1846. He was the only son of schoolteacher Konstantin von Plehve and Elizaveta Mikhailovna Shamaev, daughter of a minor landowner. In 1851 Plehve's family moved from Meshchovsk to Warsaw, where his father accepted a job as instructor in a gymnasium.
After studying law at the Moscow University, he joined the ministry of justice in 1867. He served as assistant prosecutor in the Vladimir circuit court and as prosecutor in Vologda. In 1876 he was appointed assistant prosecutor of the Warsaw Chamber of Justice, and - in 1879 - prosecutor of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Justice.
In 1881 he investigated the murder of Alexander II and then joined the MVD as a Director of the Department of Police, also in charge of Okhrana. He is credited with the destruction of numerous "People's Will" terrorist groups.
He became a member of the Governing Senate in 1884 and assistant minister of Interior in 1885. As assistant minister, at first under Count Dmitry Tolstoy and later under his successor, Ivan Durnovo, Plehve had shown definite administrative talent.
In April 1902, following the assassination of Dmitry Sipyagin, he was appointed minister of interior and chief of Gendarmes. After a brief attempt at conciliation with the zemstvo conservatives failed, he relapsed - disbanding the police-supported labour unions (zubatovshchina).
In 1902, Plehve used his position as minister of interior to insist that Hirsh Lekert, who had tried to assassinate the governor of Vilnius, Victor von Wahl, be tried under wartime law. This virtually guaranteed a death sentence.
In August 1903 he met with Theodor Herzl in Saint Petersburg, discussing the establishment of Zionist societies in Russia and proposed a Russian government request to the Turks to obtain a charter for Jewish colonisation of Palestine.
Plehve became a target for Jewish revolutionaries after his meeting with Theodore Herzl although he had forwarded Herzl's proposals to the czar.
After he did nothing to prevent a bloody wave of anti-Jewish violence in 1903, the known double agent Yevno Azef decided not to inform on the SR plans to kill Plehve. He survived one attack in 1903 and two in 1904 before the Socialist-Revolutionary Combat Group succeeded. On 28 July 1904, a bomb was thrown into Plehve's horse-drawn carriage by Yegor Sazonov, on his weekly audience with the Tsar at Izmailovsky Prospekt in Saint Petersburg, killing him at 58.
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