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Autocracy or autocrat: Nicholas II eyes of the Russian right




Russian right, unconditionally supporting autocracy as the principle, critically estimated Nicholas II as the autocrat. They noted its inconsistency, indecision, inability to fully exercise the power. The disappointment right in the monarch became the most important reason of their political passivity in February-March, 1917

The Russian rightists, unconditionally supporting of the autocracy as principle, demonstrated highly critical attitude to Nicholas II. They noted his inconsistency, indecision, inability to use his power. Disappointment of rightists in the monarch became the most important cause of its political passivity in February and March of 1917.

right, autocracy, revolution, political reforms; rightists, autocracy, revolution, political reforms.

The autocracy was always considered right as the only form of the organization of the power adequate to the Russian conditions. But it did not assume unconditional loyalty to the sovereign, irrespective of undertaken by him or from his name of actions at all. In XIX — the beginning of the 20th centuries the Russian monarchs repeatedly had to face opposition on the right if the reforms announced from throne height seemed threat to the settled order.

Speaking about the political system of Russia in 1906 — 1917, right constantly used the term "autocracy" and derivative of it. Despite obvious reduction of volumes of powers of authority of the sovereign in the new edition of Basic laws on April 23, 1906, the right publicists still considered the tsar samoderzhtsem1. Both the editor of St. Petersburg "Citizen" V.P. Meshchersky, and the head of "The Moscow sheets" of VA insisted on limitlessness of throne. Gringmut2.

The emperor kept the same power, as before reform, not only from the point of view of obviously biased political journalists, but also the professional expert in the field of the state law, professor of the Novorossiysk university P.E. Kazansky — the largest Russian conservative gosudarstvoveda3.

The same way the right politicians argued. It agrees to one of leaders of the Duma right fraction N.E. Markov, legislative innovations did not lead to restriction of the imperial power: just the order of its action changed. It was talked only of "a new way" of implementation of autocratic throne when "The autocrat Vserossiysky deprived the Government of the right to bring the laws which did not pass through the State Duma" 4 on his statement.

At the same time right recognized that at the new legislation on the power there were also elements which were obviously contradicting the idea of autocracy. From them the legislative representation usually was considered as the main thing. The provision on incompatibility of consistently spent autocratic and representative beginnings borrowed

1 Diaries//Citizen, No. 83, 1907, page 12.
2 V.A. Gringmouth. With us God! With us the Tsar!//V.A. Gringmouth. Collection of articles. — M.: University printing house, 1910, issue 4, page 360.
3 Kazan P.E. Vlast Vserossiyskogo of the Emperor. Essays of the operating Russian right. — Odessa: Technician, 1913, page 135.
4 State Duma: Verbatim records. The third convocation. Session II. Part 2. — SPb.: State printing house, 1909, stb. 2353 — 2354.


Mikhail Nikolaevich — and. N, professor; associate professor of the contemporary history of Russia of Perm State University of

the noticeable place in the right discourse. The numerous programs of political transformations assuming demolition of the "updated" system on the right an ultimate goal had establishment of the monarchic power or at all without representative institutions, or having given the last only with zakonosoveshchatelny functions.

As the main character in elimination or radical reform of really existing representative institutions right saw the sovereign. Consecrated representation with the authority, he kept the right to change its design, and even to liquidate it, the right publicist S.F. of Sharapov1 considered. The same way also his Astrakhan allies — the journalist of "The Russian banner" N.I. Eremchenko (N. Poltavets) and L.A. of Tikhomirov2 argued.

The statements of the monarch could not but feed such hopes. Having agreed in the middle of the revolution to creation of representative institutes, Nicholas II repeatedly let know that his creations have to justify the behavior the trust put in them. Approval by the tsar of the electoral law on June 3, 1907 representing direct violation of the Manifesto on October 17 showed clearly its unwillingness to consider itself held down by new rules of a game of politics. According to R. Uortman, the tsar admiring Alexey Mikhaylovich hoped that he, like the ancestor, will manage "to restore absolute monarchy after the period of anarchy and disintegration" 3.

However the tsar hesitated to go for political counterreform on own initiative. Even such limited measures as dispersal of the II State Duma and adoption of the new electoral law, would hardly take place without powerful about -

1 S.F. Sharapov. Autocracy or constitution? (The first steps of the 3rd "Duma of the solid stupid person"). - M.: Witness, 1908, page 16.
2 See: Correspondence and other documents right (1911-1913)//Questions of history, No. 1112, 1999, page 109; PoltavetsN. Duma and People. - SPb.: Domestic printing house, 1912, page 2; L.A. Tikhomirov. To reform of the updated Russia. - M.: V.M. Sablin's printing house, 1912, page 256.
3 R.S. Uortman. Scenarios of the power: Myths and ceremonies of the Russian monarchy. T.2. From Alexander II before Nicholas II's renunciation. - M.: OGI, 2004, page 711.

pagandistsky pressure of the right organizations and mass media. Besides this result was achieved in the conditions of noticeable falling of political activity of the left elements and growth of influence right which number by the end of 1907 — to the beginning of 1908 reached 400 thousand people 4 Once again repeat June success of 1907 right could not. In 1913 they made a new attempt to achieve revision of the Duma legislation and restriction of the Duma powers. But the tsar, though signed the decree on dissolution of the Duma without purpose of term of convocation following, in action the developed measures not vvel5.

All this disappointed right. Openly they could not discuss merits and demerits of the acting monarch, however the materials of diaries and private correspondence as published, and archival, give quite thorough material for judgments in this respect.

Monarchists emphasized that monarchic beliefs in itself did not impose the obligation in everything to agree with the monarch. "We submit in all ox of the Autocratic Sovereign, we recognize everything that from her proceeds... But we loyal, but not slaves — Paskhalov said. — No vernopoddannichestvo obliges us to admire actions which we consider wrong. As our respect for a royal dignity is big, but after all the Tsar not God also can be mistaken..." 6 Markov called into question royal promises: "to a .dazha its Imperial Majesty is the person and can change the opinion therefore we need not to calm down on those promises, on risky hopes which we have" 7.

The provided public statements

4 Yu.I. Kiryanov. Right-wing parties in Russia. 1911-1917. - M.: ROSSPEN, 2001, page 82.
5 In more detail about attempts of transformation of the Duma

in zakonosoveshchatelny establishment in 1913 see: Avrekh.Ya. Tsarism and the IV Duma. 1912-1914 - M.: Science, 1981, page 114-117; Crisis of autocracy in Russia. 1895-1917/otv. edition V.S. Dyakin. - L.: Science, 1984, page 518-519; 526-527;

The Arkheografichesky year-book for 1987. - M.: Science, 1988, page 309-312; DyakinV.C. The bourgeoisie, the nobility and a tsarism in 1911 — 1914: Decomposition of the third of June system. - L.: Science, 1988, page 158-162.

6 Tsit on: Witness, No. 8, 1907, page 77-78.
7 Works of the V congress of authorized noble societies of 32 provinces. - SPb.: M.A. Alexandrov's printing house, 1909, page 116.

were absolutely abstract; they only noted that I reign as the person nothing human is alien, but did not touch him personally. But at materials of private character there was a set of the sharp, offensive statements to the tsar confirming negative attitude to Nicholas II.

Right noted impossibility to rely on the sovereign. "... Everyone feels that everything that is promised the tsar, it is fragile that it is impossible to hope for him", - the hostess influential wrote down in the diary a game - servativny salon of A.V. Bogdanovich1. "Sovereign. it is to such an extent shaky that it is impossible to count on him. I was influenced by it more than once." - noticed Kireev2 which was often communicating with the tsar A.A. Tikhomirov reproached the sovereign for weak will and nearly trusost3. His indecision and inability to directly announce the will to the interlocutor A.D. noted Samarin4. Paskhalov5 complained of royal ingratitude. As "person. constantly using cunning" the active participant of the right movement, the son of the famous Slavophile D.A. of Homyakov6 characterized the tsar.

The discontent with personal qualities of the sovereign was complemented with discontent it with an environment. First of all it concerned G.E. Rasputin. The eminent far-right person B.V. Nikolsky considered his murder a necessary condition of implementation of the political plans: "Surgical elimination of Rasputin is positively necessary. There is no other outcome" 7. Extremely were negative to

1 A.V. Bogdanovich. Three last autocrats: diary. Record on October 3, 1907 - M.; L.: Frenkel, 1924, p. 429.
2 A.A. Kireev's diary, record on December 22, 1908//ORRGB, t. 126, to. 14, l. 343 (about)-344.
3 From the diary L.A. Tikhomirov, record on July 20, 1908//Red archive, 1935, t. 5(72), page 156; Diary L.A. Tikhomirov, record on August 29, 1914 (night)//GARF, t. 634, op. 1, 22, l. 201 (about). In the latter case Tikhomirov expressed bewilderment why the tsar did not find it necessary to seem in army closer to the battlefield.
4 A.D. Samarin - to S.D. Samarin, on September 25, 1915//ORRGB, t. 265, to. 162, unit hr. 11, l. 1-2 (about).
5 See: K.N. Paskhalov - to N.A. Maklakov, on December 19, 1915//In the same place, l.2280-2280 (about).
6 D.A. Homyakov - to K.N. Paskhalov, on January 20, 1916//GARF, t. 102, op. 265, 1049, l. 135.
7 B.V. Nikolsky's diary, record on October 28
1913//RGIA, t. 1006, op. 1, 4b, l. 325 (about).

to the royal favourite members of influential Samarinykh clan, one of representatives of which because of the conflict with it it was dismissed from the post ober-prokurora8. According to V.F. Dzhunkovsky, "in the most conservative circles. found what would be great happiness if Rasputin died" 9.

Haters of "aged man" specified that that compromises royal family and a dynasty in general, undermines prestige of the monarchic power among the population. About imperial family wrote Nikolskiy10 about "a terrible rumor". ". God knows dynastic complications about which in the province tell what nasty things", - the former member of the State Duma of Ampere-second remembered in the private letter. Vyazigin11. In such situation focus of discontent of many right was the empress Aleksandra of Fedorovna12.

Sometimes even the political credo of the tsar who seemed insufficiently (or, at least, insufficiently consecutive) right was exposed to doubts. "In general about our tsar it is possible to tell that he - a riddle, today he right and what will be tomorrow, is covered with an uncertainty gloom", - wrote Bogdanovich13. "Its majesty under the influence of the emperor Wilhelm deigned to return to Russia with quite right mood (my italics. - M.L.)", - the chairman of the Permanent Council of the joint nobility, the member of the Duma fraction right sarcastically noticed (later - pra-

8 See, for example: S.D. Samarin - S.D. Samari-noy, on August 24, 1915//ORRGB, t. 265, to. 160, unit hr. 4, l. 10 (about)-13 (about).
9 V.F. Dzhunkovsky. Memoirs. - M.: Publishing house of Sabashnikov, 1997, t. 2. page 335.
10 See, for example note materials about Rasputin which Nikolsky prepared for Nicholas II//GARF, t. 588, op. 1, 1297. About what Nikolsky quite trusted rumors about "aged man", his diary entries demonstrate

about the empress's "erotomanstvo". See: B.V. Nikolsky's diary, record on July 1, 1912//RGIA, t. 1006, op. 1, 4b, l. 254.

11 A.S. Vyazigin - to M.M. Borodkin, on January 11, 1913//GARF, t. 102, op. 265, 916, l. 68.
12 See: Diary A.V. Bogdanovich, records on June 10, 1908, November 21, 1908, on August 31, 1909//A.V. Bogdanovich. Decree. soch., page 447, 454, 466; A.A. Bobrinsky's Diary, record on January 15
1911 //Red archive, t. 1(26), 1928, page 144.
13 Diary A.V. Bogdanovich, record on October 3, 1907//A.V. Bogdanovich. Decree. soch, page 429.

howl groups of the State Council) A.A. of Bobrinskiy1.

Widespread eschatological expectations in the right environment were associated with the tsar. "Russia slowly, but steadily comes to a banal all-civil, constitutional way. The kingdom Russian is over at Nicholas II. And from the end of the kingdom of Russian the church political system comes to an end and soyuzno. All this, apparently, is already immutable, irrevocably", - wrote in the diary on January 21, 1908 of Tikhomirov2. Time wasted for itself considered Nicholas II Nikolsky's government: "My God, my God, what horror to live in Nicholas II's reign and the nobility it is so much how many I know, and to understand hopelessness of the future for about 12 - 15 years!" 3

War aggravated these moods, having added to them the new moments. Some right were confused by underestimation by the emperor of nationalist sentiments in society. "Quickly. ranks of the highest State] Uchrezhd are joined. [eniye] Germans - whether in peak it for general desire of disappearance of Germans from the next ring standing at a throne?" - the right noble figure A.K. of Varzhenevskiy4 wrote concerning new appointments to the State Council. As unwillingness to consider public opinion A.D. Samarin interpreted the fact of replacement with the tsar of the grand duke Nikolay Nikolaevich on a post of the Supreme Commander: "Becoming at the head of army G. [osudar] only strengthened a dialect about the German preponderance. I am afraid that this change will not be in vain" 5. The German origin imperatritsy6 became the additional compromising factor.

However, during the war among right also her active admirers were found.

1 A.A. Bobrinsky's diary, record on November 24, 1910//Red archive, t. 1(26), 1928, page 139.
2 Red archive, t. 5(72), 1935, page 134.
3 B.V. Nikolsky's diary, record on July 1
1912 //RGIA, t. 1006, op. 1, 4b, l. 254.
4 A.K. Varzhenevsky - to S.D. Sheremetev, on June 26, 1915//RGADA, t. 1287, op. 1, 5127, l. 198-198 (about).
5 A.D. Samarin - to S.D. Sheremetev, on August 18, 1915//In the same place, l. 174 (about).
6 In particular, paid attention to it

Tikhomirov. See: Diary LA. Tikhomirova. 1915 —

1917. Record on January 28, 1917 - M.: ROSSPEN,
2008, page 330.

"Keep in mind, - the head of the Odessa Union of the Russian people N.N. Rodzevich wrote on January 14, 1917, - that the main stronghold of Autocracy now the MONARCHESS. It is necessary to address Her" 7. It is obvious that so flatter characteristic of Alexandra Fiodorovna showed mistrust to her husband who as "the main stronghold of autocracy" any more was not perceived by the author of these lines.

The tsar turned "a weak link" of the Russian monarchism more and more; its personal characteristics did not meet the expectations assigned to it at all. "Now against the tsar - in the sense of full disbelief in it - a great number of most ordinary "inhabitants", even those who in 1905 were monarchists, right...", - noted a month before overthrow of the monarchy Tikhomirov8. Without stopping being a political symbol, the sovereign was not perceived as actively operating political figure any more. ". To surround the SOVEREIGN both in Royal, and in the Rate only right", - the provincial right activist N.N. of Tikhanovich-Savitskiy9 advised. Similarly also Tikhomirov who wrote argued: "Well, at such mood it is very possible - to pull out a thought it (Nicholas II. - M.L.) force from hands of "treason" and to give it other "assistants"" 10.

Thus, the real carrier of the monarchic power was the person incapable to protect it, to dispose of it. There was a stalemate created by expectations of right. They believed that the tsar has to act as if possessed the autocratic power, but as he actually was not capable to act. Having disappointed right, Nicholas II became in their eyes "not real" tsar unworthy support. It is not necessary to be surprised that in critical days of February-March, 1917 right did not even try to save him.

7 N.N. Rodzevich - P.M. Latugina, on January 14, 1917//GARF, t. 102, op. 265, 1068, l. 100.
8 L.A. Tikhomirov's diary. 1915-1917. Record on January 28, 1917 - M.: ROSSPEN, 2008, page 331.
9 N.N. Tikhanovich-Savitsky - to N.A. Maklakov, on January 31, 1917//GARF, t. 102, op. 265, 1070, l. 10 (about).
10 See: L.A. Tikhomirov's diary. 1915-1917. Record on January 28, 1917 - M.: ROSSPEN, 2008, page 331.
John Flores
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