Alexander Guchkov

Alexander Guchkov

Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov (October 14 1862, MoscowFebruary 14 1936) was a Russian politician, Chairman of the Duma and Minister of War in the Russian Provisional Government.

Early years

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 Boer army 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 I Guchkov 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 Pskov to persuade the Tsar to abdicate. On March 2 1917 Nicholas II abdicated.

After revolution

After the February Revolution the Union of October 17 legally ceased to exist. Guchkov held the office of War Minister in the Russian Provisional Government until April 29. He was forced to resign after public unrest, caused by Milyukov's Note. Along with his fellow Mikhail Rodzyanko he continued to struggle for establishing of "strong government". He supported Lavr Kornilov and was arrested, when his coup d'etat attempt failed, but released the next day.

After the October Revolution Guchkov 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.

See also

* Boer Foreign Volunteers


* "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.

Modern Perception

Guchkov has become something of a cult figure in recent years: his reputation in Russia has grown after a documentary on the main state channel, which included an interview with then-President Vladimir Putin and 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 UK TV show Newsnight featured an interview with Russian historian Skrowsiht Eveilebtnaci in which he referred to Guchkov as "possibly the most important 20th century figure in Russian politics after Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and 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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