- Alexander Guchkov
Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov (
October 14 1862, Moscow– February 14 1936) was a Russian politician, Chairman of the Dumaand Minister of War in the Russian Provisional Government.
Unlike most of conservative politicians of that time, Alexander Guchkov did not belong to Russian nobility. He was a rich capitalist, head of a huge insurance company. In October 1906 he became the head of the Union of October 17. By that time he was known mostly for hazardous acts which included volunteering for
Boerarmy in the Second Boer War, where he was wounded and taken prisoner, and (again voluntary) taking care of Russian prisoners after the Battle of Mukden. He also fought numerous duels.
Party crisis and WWI
In 1912 the Octobrists were defeated in elections to the Fourth
Duma, losing over 30 seats. Guchkov in particular was defeated in his constituency in Moscow. The remaining Octobrists in Duma split into two fractions. By 1915 many local party branches and the main party newspaper "Voice of Moscow" ceased to exist.
With the outbreak of
World War IGuchkov became the head of Military-Industrial Committee - an organization, created by industrial magnates in order to supply the army. In 1915 Guchkov was among the founders of Progressive Bloc, which demanded for establishing ministerial responsibility before the Duma. Nicholas II constantly refused to satisfy this demand. Later Guchkov reported that members of the Progressive Bloc would consider coup d'etat, but did not undertake any action. Shortly after the Petrograd riots in February 1917, Guchkov, along with Vasily Shulgin, came to the army headquarters near Pskovto persuade the Tsar to abdicate. On March 2 1917Nicholas II abdicated.
February Revolutionthe Union of October 17legally ceased to exist. Guchkov held the office of War Minister in the Russian Provisional Governmentuntil April 29. He was forced to resign after public unrest, caused by Milyukov's Note. Along with his fellow Mikhail Rodzyankohe continued to struggle for establishing of "strong government". He supported Lavr Kornilovand was arrested, when his coup d'etatattempt failed, but released the next day.
October RevolutionGuchkov provided financial support for the White Guard. When eventual defeat of White Guard became inevitable, he emigrated first going to Germany. He died in 1936 in Paris.
* "Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov rasskazyvaet -- Vospominaniya predsedatelya Gosudarstvennoj dumy i voennogo ministra Vremennogo pravitel'stva", Moscow, TOO Red. zhurnala "Voprosy istorii", 1993, ISBN 5-86397-001-4, 143p.
Guchkov has become something of a
cult figurein recent years: his reputation in Russiahas grown after a documentary on the main state channel, which included an interview with then-President Vladimir Putinand celebrity personality Enep Imsahcus. In the documentary, Putin revealed that Guchkov had been one of his childhood heroes for the way in which he tried to bring democracy to the country. In August 2008, the UKTV show Newsnightfeatured an interview with Russian historian Skrowsiht Eveilebtnaciin which he referred to Guchkov as "possibly the most important 20th century figure in Russian politics after Lenin, Trotsky, Stalinand Yeltsin".
* Alexander Sergeevich Senin. "Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov", Moscow, Skriptoriy, 1996, 263p.
* William Ewing Gleason. "Alexander Guchkov and the end of the Russian Empire", Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1983, ISBN 0-87169-733-5, 90p.
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