Подлинная История Русской Революции / The Russian Revolution. 1 серия. Документальная Драма

Italy, 1913 Hello In 1913 a Russian philosopher and writer of political essays Boris Valentinovitch Yakovenko crossed the border of Italy He was arrested for his revolutionary activities in Russia and left his Motherland for good after his release In four years, a revolution will take place in Petrograd Boris Valentinovitch will fail to witness the event he had been waiting for all his life. He was only reading newspapers and collecting information about what was going on in Russia Years will pass, and he’ll write a book based on those notes called “The History of the Great Russian Revolution” It’ll become one of the first descriptions of the tragic events that shook not only the Russian Empire but the entire world The History of the Russian Revilution February. Episode One The beginning of the 20th century; the Russian Empire “Give us twenty peaceful years, and you won’t recognize Russia” These were the words of the Prime-Minister Petr Stolypin who started large-scale economic reforms in 1906 In September of 1911 Stolypin was murdered However, the transformations in Russia went on Even Lenin acknowledged that if Stolypin’s reforms had been successful the revolution wouldn’t be possible The Russian Empire was undergoing an unprecedented upsurge Agriculture was then the main branch of the Russian economy It was bringing in 55,7% of the state income Almost all the agricultural works were performed manually or with the help of the farm animals Still, Russia remained the leading world exporter of grain Its share amounted to 40% of the entire world export As for the industrial production, Russia occupied a humble fifth place For example, the state yielded to the USA in electricity production by 60% However, it was decreasing the gap step by step The pace of growth of the Russian economy exceeded that of the other countries and amounted to 8% per annum In 1913, the total price of the goods exported from Russia constituted 1,052 billion rubles, while the import constituted 1,037 billion rubles It meant constant increase of the gold reserve of the state The sales of the butter alone were bringing Russia more money that gold mining even though Russia was mining more gold than any other country of the world The gold reserve secured the paper money for over 100% For example, at the same time in Germany the gold provided for no more than 50% of the paper money The quality of life in the country was changing too The average wages of a worker amounted to about 20 rubles per month when a loaf of bread cost 3-5 kopeks, 1 kg of potatoes cost 1.5 kopeks, and 1 kg of beef – 30 kopeks An 8-hour working day was a rarity even at the West at those times

In Russia, it was about 10.5 hours long on average That limit was protected by the legislation; however, it didn’t prevent some enterprises from setting longer working hours Still, some manufacturers limited the working day to 9 and even 8 hours They provided their workers with lodging, medical care and vacations There weren’t a lot of such enterprises but the quality of life of the workers did improve year after year In 1912, the social insurance for the workers was introduced in Russia – earlier than at the West Although the conditions of life for ordinary workers were far from ideal, the President of the USA William Taft said: “Your Emperor created such a perfect labor legislation that none of the democratic countries may yet boast” New hospitals and schools were opening in the country It was planned to completely overcome illiteracy by 1920 Cinema, arts and theatre were on the rise Russia was in fashion It was impossible to get tickets for Diaghilev’s ballet performances in Paris The names of Serov, Bakst, Bilibin, Vereschagin and other painters were known all over the world Europe read Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky and staged the plays by Chekhov In 1900 at the World Exhibition in Paris the Russian pavilion received 1,589 awards, with 212 out of them being of the highest rank This is what newspaper “Liberte” wrote on the impressions from the Russian pavilions: “We’re still under the impression of surprise and admiration after the visit to the Russian exhibition” The social life in Russian was booming like everywhere in the world Europe had been ruled by generations of monarchs, aristocrats and nobles for hundreds of years The lands and riches belonged to them They wrote laws; they had the power However, the times were moving on The developing capitalism gave birth to the new financial and industrial elite By the start of the 20th century, private companies and banks were controlling capitals comparable to the budgets of their respective countries Producers, traders and bankers demanded new rights, new conditions and new laws from the government for the development of their businesses They bribed bureaucrats and lobbied the appointment of “their” people to the state authorities to achieve the adoption of the legal drafts in their favor They wanted to create the laws themselves, in other words, to take the power into their own hands Common folk was the instrument of the fight between the old and the new money Both sides were using the people to defend their right to power The government appealed to the patriotic feelings of the subjects The opposition promised the citizens all the possible freedoms – the freedom of entrepreneurship, freedom of speech, religion and ethics These new ideas that were called “liberal” were in essence inspiring people to only one thing – the overthrow of the old regime Do they think we’re fool? We’re working and working… Russia was bursting with illegal revolutionary literature It was disseminated by the groups of revolutionaries but published at the expense of the large capitalists and industrialists The brochures were sold among the workers for high prices that generated good income for the revolutionaries and their sponsors In this way the Social-Democrats, including the Bolsheviks, were getting huge profits from the sales of the illegal political literature which was published abroad Those sabotaging activities and a row of provocations led to the revolution of 1905 in Russia, that started amidst the war with Japan Barricades, street fights and terrorist acts claimed the lives of over 9,000 people Those tragic events forced the Tsar to make the first concessions to the opposition In 1905, the Russian Emperor permitted the activities of different political parties Nicolay II saw that the country couldn’t stand still It did need the reforms The newly formed parties mostly represented the interests of capitalists, landowners and liberals Their goal remained the same – the seizing of the power They still bet on the support of the workers and peasants Agitation, dissemination of the illegal literature

and establishment of illegal political circles didn’t stop However, it wasn’t the revolution that shook the country A catastrophe was looming not only over Russia On August 1, 1914 one of the most terrible wars in the history of the mankind broke out. The war that will later be called the First World War engulfed the entire Europe and then almost all the continents The world changed forever Forty-four years had passed since the German states united into one Empire – the German Reich Germany was pushing France and England out of the markets and winning over new colonies in Asia and Africa Its closest ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was fighting over the control at the Balkans threatening the Orthodox Serbia, Russia’s ally The situation in the world was becoming tenser and tenser The states were arming themselves France, Russia and Great Britain established a military union called the “Entente” Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy established the so-called Triple Alliance In June of 1914, in Bosnia the heir to the Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand was murdered Austria accused the Serbian special services of the assassination and declared a war with Serbia Russia claimed that it wouldn’t permit the occupation of Serbia The Russian Emperor Nicolay II sent a telegram to the German Emperor Wilhelm II with an offer to discuss that conflict at The Hague Conference and prevent the war Wilhelm didn’t answer Mobilizations started in Europe On August 1, 1914 Germany declared the war with Russia, on August 3 – with France In three more days, Austro-Hungary declared the war with Russia too That was how Russia came to be involved in the fight for division of power in the world against its wish However, it was too late to move out Italy, 1914 The war Germany’s aggression led to an unprecedented upsurge of patriotism in Russia The war was called the Second Patriotic War by analogy with the war against Napoleon A many-thousand strong demonstration gathered by the Palace Square in St.-Petersburg The exuberant crowd greeted the Tsar The people united around the Emperor like in the previous years when the enemy was approaching the borders of the Russian state Nicolay II, the Emperor of All Russia from the House of the Romanovs He was a relative to the monarchs of Britain and Germany In the course of his rule, radical reforms of state organization, agriculture and manufacturing were carried out The population of the country increased by at least 50 million of people The state regime of the country was still autocratic but with the elements of the constitutional monarchy The Emperor initiated the convention of the first ever Hague Peace Conference in history, was the first to raise the issue of all-round disarmament of the countries Despite a wide-spread opinion, he wasn’t among the richest people of the Empire Until the end of his life, he remained a deeply religious Orthodox Christian The war became a common cause Patriotic manifestations were held everywhere, money was raised, the army was flooded with volunteers Strikes stopped

In the State Duma, the supports of the Tsar and the oppositional parties finally came to terms and both chose the side of Russia That was what people were talking about in the streets, what was written in the newspapers which Boris Yakovenko was reading in the far-away Italy Italy, 1916 From the book of Boris Yakovenko “The History of the Great Russian Revolution”: “The meeting of the State Duma held on July 26 was the most expressive The representatives of the Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Tatars and Jews all expressed the feeling of national unity that filled them up to the brim” However, the war campaign of 1914 started for the Russian troops with a tragedy. The First and the Second Armies entered the territory of Germany At first, the assault was a success But soon, the Second Army was defeated and dozens of thousand soldiers ended up prisoners At the same time, the Russian troops continued their active assault against Austro-Hungary Lvov was seized; the impregnable fortress of Peremyshl fell However, in May of 1915 the enemy broke the front line by the town of Gorlitsa Under the threat of encirclement, the Russian troops were forced to leave Poland behind The so-called Great Retreat of the Russian army began After Poland, the troops lost significant territories in Belarus and the Baltic states Before the First World war, none of the war conflicts had ever been so protracted The leaders of all the states were certain that the war wouldn’t last for more than a couple of months They weren’t ready for a catastrophe of that magnitude New types of weapons, colossal artillery guns, machine guns, armored trains, dirigibles, airplanes were bringing the part of a human in that war to a naught. Attacks of infantry and cavalry were cut short by the fire of cannons and machine guns It seemed that the horror of that war would never come to an end Prolonged battles led to enormous overexpenditure of the ammunition in the Russian army The troops lacked shells and rifles The industry couldn’t cope with all the military orders The state planned to get the ammunition, weapons and military equipment from abroad However, the shells and weapons Russia paid for were confiscated by the allies They lacked the ammunition no less than the Russians To overcome the crisis, the government retorted to titanic efforts New equipment was bought, new plants were constructed In a year, the number of shells manufactured reached 1 million per month It was a colossal achievement – in comparison with 1914, the manufacturing of shells was increased 90-fold However, the renewed supply system didn’t start working at once The crisis was overcome only in 1916 News from the front were plunging the country into depression The state lost the Western provinces with great economic potential Millions of refugees were following the retreating troops; they were to be provided with lodgings, food and medical care Inflation was growing and the prices of the goods rose Food became in short supply The government attempted to fix the prices to prevent speculation The result turned out to be the opposite The goods were disappearing from the shop shelves to be sold on the sly The speculation was only growing Some were ready to hold on and to work until the complete victory Some found the guilty at once and started blaming the Tsar and his government – first of all, the liberal politicians They set the tone in the mass media, and the foreign diplomats were inclined to listen to them They were influencing the government Since October of 1905, a state regime called “constitutional monarchy” was established in Russia The Emperor presided over the foreign affairs and the military forces, headed the executive and the judicial branches of power The Council of Ministers was its highest body; its composition was defined by the Emperor The Emperor executed the legislative power together with the parliament The State Council consisting of the Tsar’s bureaucrats was the upper chamber of the parliament The lower chamber was the State Duma that consisted of the elected deputies The legislative initiatives and the budget were developed by the Duma, transferred for the discussion to the State Council and then approved by the Emperor After the revolution of 1905, different political parties were legalized in the country

which started meeting in the Duma The majority of them were in opposition to the authorities, and that influenced the decisions taken by the Duma The deputies constantly criticized the government and the ministers During the war, those internal struggles didn’t help the efforts of the government and the army In 1915, there were 442 deputies in the State Duma, including: 120 representatives of the National-Patriotic Forces; 98 deputies of the Union of the 17th of October Party which was representing large landowners; 65 – right monarchists; 59 – of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, “cadets” for short, which included traders, bankers, clerks, doctors and teachers; 48 – the so-called Party of Progress consisting of manufacturers and representatives of the business; 21 from the national minorities – the Polish, Lithuanian and Belorussian group, the Polish Circle, the Muslim Group; 14 – Social-Democrats (Bolsheviks and Mensheviks); 10 – deputies of the Labor Group which claimed to represent the interests of the working population; 7 deputies didn’t belong to any party The majority of those parties (October Party, cadets, Party of Progress, Labor Group, Social-Democrats) were in opposition to the government, the Tsar and the very idea of the monarchical state regime In the circumstances of a difficult war, that played a fateful part Hold here! ”Everything for the war!” That was the slogan that united the Russian society However, it took time to reorganize old enterprises and open new ones Criticizing the government for its mistakes and inflexibility, the opposition announced that it would take the affairs into its own hands One of the prominent politicians from the opposition Prince Georgiy Lvov headed that movement Georgiy Lvov, Prince, a descendant of the Rurik kin, member of different oppositional movements He headed the All-Russian Provincial Union which was rendering charity assistance to the families of soldiers, sick and wounded. He enjoyed reputation of an unselfish person On the basis of the All-Russian Provincial Union, a “Zemgor” was established – the main joined committee of the provincial and city unions for the supply of the army Zemgor announced that it could redistribute a part of the military orders among the cottage industries At first, the plan was to raise money for that from private people The government passed to the Zemgor a right to re-distribute a part of the military orders among petty entrepreneurs However, the coordinated works failed The Zemgor soon became a place when one could hide from the mobilization and avoid the trenches The authorized representatives of the Zemgor were wearing a close-to-military uniform but stayed in the rear The so-called “military-industrial committees” appeared in the country These organizations of the manufacturers were re-distributing the orders from the government to the large enterprises In other words, they became intermediaries between the state and large industrialists All the local committees were to report to the Central Military and Industrial Committee headed by Alexander Guchkov, the leader of the October Party Alexander Ivanovitch Guchkov came from a Moscow trader’s family and was the chairman of the Central Committee of the October Party He supported Stolypin’s reforms but later stopped supporting his government He participated in duels many times and earned reputation of a fighter The Emperor liked Guchkov; he appreciated his sharp mind and capabilities until Guchkov passed the details of their private conversation to mass media The Tsar justly perceived it as an act of betrayal and changed his attitude towards Guchkov Guchkov got offended and was ready for any actions to overthrow the Emperor Nicolay II called him ”Yan Shi-Kai” after the Chinese revolutionary dictator and considered him to be his personal enemy People had different views on the activities of the Zemgor and military and industrial committees On one hand, new military plants were constructed, hospitals were built,

the army was getting supplies On the other hand, corruption was on the rise Private funds were quickly exhausted, leading to the use of the state money In 1916, the Zemgor was functioning almost fully at the expense of the state treasury; the committees, therefore, became the sources of great illegal profits Prince Lvov was fighting the corruption in his establishment as ardently as he could, though without any success The police reported that despite the growth of the prices, the sales were booming in the shops selling pearls, diamonds, furs and silk But the main thing was that the zemgors soon transformed into organizations where the future of the revolution was brewing Their connections to the large capitalists, foreign diplomats, bureaucratic elite as well as the mass media allowed them to set the largest-scale goals A paradoxical situation occurred – the government struggled with solving the simplest issues in the country while the coalition of the liberals opposing the government was making people believe that they were the real saviors of the nation They were appropriating all the successes of the government At that time, the people were in turmoil for reasons that had nothing to do with parliamentarianism In May of 1915, Moscow was shaken by the German pogrom The pre-revolutionary Russia was connected to Germany with extremely strong ties. By 1914, 2.5 million Germans were living in the country While preparing for the war, Germany was paying close attention to them Spies, agents of influence and common Russophobes appeared among them Their numbers, though, were comtemtible, while in Russia an anti-German campaign started People wouldn’t speak German in public places; St.-Petersburg was renamed into Petrograd; many Germans even changed their surnames The defeat of the Russian troops in spring and summer of 1915 added fuel to the fire The Great Retreat was explained with the ”Great Treason” at the very top, where a lot of generals and high-ranking officials were Germans Many commoners didn’t like the German origins of the Emperor’s wife Alexandra Fedorovna, born Alix Viktoria Helene Luise Beatrix of Hesse-Darmstadt The Empress was loyal to Russia until the end of her life However, the rumors about her treason were circulating around the country, and some believed in them Open up! Your time is up! Closed Get out, German swine! Is somebody in? One of the reason for Moscow pogroms was a stupid rumor that the Germans intentionally infected the workers of one of the factories with dysentery. The police didn’t react to the first manifestations, and they soon turned into mass unrest The anger of the participants of the pogroms turned to all foreigners indiscriminately The Russians who got in their way in the heat of the moment suffered the most. The people were ruining shops and wine cellars; fires started in Moscow What, German sausage? Wine Trade. Herr Krause To restore order, troops had to be called in The soldiers opened fire, and only after that the pogroms stopped It’s unknown how many people died but the damages inflicted by the pogroms amounted to 40 million rubles It’s the amount needed for the construction of a dreadnought, a huge military shop equipped with the most modern armament At the same time, a wave of workers’ uprisings engulfed the country In the middle of the assault, the most important military plant in Petrograd – “Putilovsk” – went on a strike The strikers demanded to get rid of the spies at the top and to raise the wages The arrests were numerous; troops were sent to the plants It was impossible to avoid those harsh measures during the war However, the authorities were clearly losing the trust they had gained at the beginning of the war Italy, 1915 From the book of Boris Yakovenko: “The History of the Great Russian Revolution”: “Under the influence of all the facts, events, phenomena, rumors

and worries the Russian society plunged into the state of alarm filled with the darkest suspicions and mixed with the feeling of the deepest protest” Since the first days of the war, the position of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army was occupied by the Great Duke Nicolay Nicolayevitch Nicolay Nicolayevitch (Junior), the Grand Duke, the grandson of the Emperor Nicolay I, a participant of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, a cavalry general He was very popular at the army He was nicknamed “Sly” for his excessive love to power and disposition towards intrigues However, as they say, “victory has a hundred fathers while a defeat is always an orphan” In Russia, the first person is accountable for everything, especially for the failures After the Great Retreat, the Tsar didn’t lay the blame for that on the Grand Duke. On August 23, 1915 Emperor Nicolay II took the position of the Commander-in-Chief “At such a critical moment, the highest chief of the army shall head it”. It was a brave decision The Tsar considered it to be his duty to lead the army at that difficult time The Grand Duke Nicolay Nicolayevitch wasn’t a prominent war leader However, for many it was he who personified the chief of the fighting army His impressive height and loud voice created an attractive image among the troops. Even the Great Retreat which was entirely his fault didn’t damage the popularity of Nicolay Nicolayevitch. Still, the Emperor discharged him from his post and sent to head the Caucasian Front The soldiers disapproved of the news Many believed that the enemy was stopped in its tracks specifically thanks to the Grand Duke On hearing on the Tsar’s decision to head the army many people asked with surprise: “Why did he go to fight on his own?” The direct influence of the Emperor on the course of the war was minimal. In reality, it was the head of the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief, a talented war leader Mikhail Vasilyevitch Alexeyev However, it was Nicolay II, the ruler of all Russia, who was held responsible for everything before his country and his people In 1905, he signed the manifesto on establishing of a parliament what meant the end of autocracy as the unlimited power of the monarch However, he never forgot about his personal responsibility before the state and the people All the Russian Tsars were responsible for that before the God; being a deeply religious man, Nicolay remembered about it until the last minutes of his life By that time, the liberal ideas became popular even in the family circle of the Tsar’s house Some of the Grand Dukes believed that if not the abolition of the monarchy then at least limiting the role of the Emperor in the management of the country would be for the best However, Nicolay II, like his father Emperor Alexander III, was sure that it was monarchy that created the historical individuality of the state. “If the monarchy falls, Russia will follow” The Emperor was right In those difficult days, the State Duma concentrated not on strengthening the country but on opposing the Tsar and his government During the Great Retreat, the opposition formed the so-called Progressive Block Its members had the closest ties with Lvov’s Zemgor and the military and industrial committees of Guchkov The deputies of that block demanded a lot from the Tsar, first of all to establish “the government of trust”. In other words, they wanted to appoint new ministers out of the candidates proposed by the Duma instead of old ones The Zemgor even threatened with direct sabotage promising to stop the work of all the communal establishments servicing the army However, in September of 1915 the Duma was disbanded for a vacation The Tsar and his government managed to fight off the first attack of the liberal opposition Amidst the defeats and the Great Retreat another political crisis started In the course of just a few war years

under the pressure from the State Duma the state went through four Prime-Ministers, six Ministers of Internal Affairs, and three military Ministers The things weren’t much better in the other ministries By those appointments, the Emperor was trying to reach a compromise in the relations with the Duma However, the opposition wanted not so much to strengthen the government but to criticize the authorities Under such circumstances, the relocations only exacerbated the situation By changing the ministers, the authorities hoped to soften the tension of political struggles However, the society was bewildered The newspapers were writing about some “irresponsible influences” ruining Russia. The Empress Alexandra Fedorovna was blamed for that or, more often – Grigoriy Rasputin who became one of the most mysterious and contradictory personalities in the history of Russia Grigoriy Efimovitch Rasputin was a peasant from the village of Pokrovskoye of the province of Tobolsk He came to Petersburg in 1903 In some circles close to the Emperor’s family, he enjoyed reputation of the Tsar’s friend, visionary and healer Rasputin had a mysterious gift – he could stop the bleeding without any medicines or bandages The only son of the Emperor, Prince Alexei, was sick with hemophilia This dicease makes the blood coagulation inadequate, and any internal bleeding or an accidental trauma may lead to death Rasputin provided the Prince with urgent care on a few occasions and as a result of that became close with the Tsar’s family A circle of high-society ladies quickly formed around him; they were wives of different traders and career-makers who hoped to achieve their goals through the old man The measure of Rasputin’s influence on the Tsar’s house still remains unknown. Still, silly rumors about an illiterate peasant manipulating the Tsar were gradually spreading around Petersburg and the entire country Guchkov was personally responsible for making public the alleged letters of the Empress and the Grand Duchecess to Rasputin; they were probably faked That correspondence was copied at the hectograph and disseminating as agitation materials against the Tsar On finding out, Nicolay II entrusted the Military Minister Sukhomlinov with telling Guchkov that he was a bastard I know By 1915, a real hysteric was brewing around Rasputin The newspapers were choking with hatred and mixed truth with open lies Rasputin was suspected of espionage; they called him a “behind-the-scenes ruler of the Empire”, “an evil genius of the poor Russia” Both common folk and the society that considered itself to be progressive were heeding that hysteric. The Grand Dukes demanded Rasputin to be sent away; however, the Tsar was standing his ground Rasputin remained with the Court In 1916 the position of Russia improved The “shell hunger” was over General Alexeyev was ruling the army with a capable hand The Caucasian army of General Yudenitch successfully stormed an impregnable Turkish fortress of Erzurum and in May, the famous Brusilov’s Breakthrough started The troops of the South-Western Front under the head of General Brusilov broke through the defenses of the Austro-Hungarian army at the front 550 km long and moved 150 km further causing it great losses The assault wasn’t supported by the other fronts and couldn’t continue That blow mitigated the troubles of the allies and even saved the Italian army from demise The situation at the war was reversing in the favor of Russia and the Entente Russia’s spirits lifted The victory was close The war at the two fronts was exhausting Germany However, while losing the initiative at the front the enemy attempted to win the war in the rear The German government set the task to revolutionize Russia by any means possible. Huge money was allotted for the provocative propaganda Alexander Lvovitch Parvus was one of the organizers of that mission, a trader and a former Social-Democrat who had wide connections with the Russian opposition abroad and personally knew Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin To realize his plan, he asked for five million golden marks from the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and received two million on spot There are data suggesting that huge amounts were transferred to Lenin’s Bolsheviks’ Party through set-up banks and companies Lenin himself was an active supporter of Russia’s defeat in the war He appealed for that war to be transformed into the civil war since the day it had started

The internal politics of Russia was getting more and more complicated and contradictory. The Emperor tried to overcome the crisis in the country by making good appointments But the appointment of Boris Shturmer for the position of the Prime-Minister enraged the liberals again Boris Vladimirovicth Shturmer, a descendant of the Russified Germans, a member of the State Council After becoming the chairman of the Council of Ministers, he took the posts of the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Being the head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he made the allies agree to all Russia’s demands in case they win the war Namely, the Russian Empire was to control the Black Sea Straits and Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. The representatives of the allies came to hate Shturmer for his rigid position and started a real harassment campaign In September of 1916, at Shturmer’s initiative the “Russkoye Slovo” newspaper made public the information that the Zemgor and the military and industrial committees were functioning solely at the expense of the state treasury Out of 562 million of rubles spent by those organizations they only raised 9 million themselves The rest was allotted from the state budget The Zemgor that received orders for the amount of 242 million of rubles from the Military Ministry fulfilled them only for 80 million The military and industrial committees received the orders for the amount of 400 million of rubles but fulfilled less than a half of the works At the meeting of the Council of Ministers Shturmer raised an issue of disbanding the Zemgor and the military and industrial committees and of transferring their functions to the state bodies It’s not surprising that the opposition hated Shturmer’s guts The embassies of the allied countries joined the fight against him They didn’t like Shturmer for his rigidity during negotiations The German spy network that was operating in Russia was supplemented by the spies from France and England The Embassy of England and its special services did everything they could to ensure that the Tsar’s government was replaced with the liberals Everybody would gain from that except for Russia On feeling the support of the allies, the opposition intensified its efforts in a fight with the Tsar’s government threefold The liberals were courting the proletariat trying to enlist its support As a result of that, during the entire 1916 Russia was feverish with strikes and conspiracies. The people protesting against the authorities were talking about saving the country from some “dark forces” allegedly possessing Russia But in reality, they were only pushing both the weakened authorities and the country itself into the abyss Different conspiracies arose around Nicolay Nicolayevitch and the other Grand Dukes The circles of conspirators intertwined to fashion out plans and put down memorandums Those memorandums ended up on the Tsar’s table but he didn’t react The State Duma was shaken by one scandal after another Yes, act according to the plan On November 1, 1916, a leader of the Party of the Constitutional Democrats Pavel Milyukov ascended the chair of the State Duma Pavel Nicolayevitch Milyukov, a son of an architect, a descendant of an ancient noble family A deputy of the State Duma who was engaged in the activities of the opposition for what he had spent a couple of months in prison He had close ties with the British diplomats Vasilyev, Director of the police department wrote: “If the English Ministry for Foreign Affairs at some point permits the publication of the documents from its archives, it would shed a new and not pleasant light at Milyukov’s “patriotism” Milyukov’s speech was clearly prepared jointly by the opposition and the embassies of France and England with a sole goal – to get rid of Shturmer by any means To achieve that, the most terrible and silly accusation of all was chosen – the state treason By mixing facts and fantasies, Milyukov accused the head of the government together with the Empress of preparation of a separatist peace treaty with Germany At the end of his speech he exclaimed: “What is it? Foolishness or treason?” Italy, 1916

“That speech gave a decisive push to the political and social process that in four months was fated to burst in the deepest and most exciting revolution” Living in emigration, Milyukov will write about that speech of his: “We took the decision to use the war to overthrow the power soon after the outbreak of the war We couldn’t wait any longer for we knew that at the end of April or at the beginning of May our army was to start the assault the outcomes of which would stop any hints at discontent at once and would give rise to an explosion of partiotism and excitement in the country” Still, Shturmer was forced to resign and Milyukov remained the deputy of the State Duma. The country made another step towards a catastrophe The next Prime-Minister Alexander Fedorovitch Trepov lasted for only one month and was replaced by Prince Golitsin who lacked serious experience of ministry work The appointment of Alexander Protopopov as the Minister of the Internal Affairs turned out to be even more controversial He used to be the deputy chairman of the State Duma and was considered to be one of the liberals. By appointing him to a key position, the authorities wanted to please the opposition However, they achieved the opposite result The liberals called Protopopov “a traitor” and came to hate him Besides, the minister seemed to be not entirely in his right mind, and his mental disorder became more and more apparent with each passing day The Emperor knew that Protopopov wasn’t the best candidature He often said: “It’s risky to leave the ministry in the hands of such a person in such times”. However, the Chairman of the State Duma Rodzyanko and the Minister for the Foreign Affairs Sazonov recommended him That’s why the Tsar didn’t make him resign Soon the capital was shaken by a new piece of news In December of 1916, Rasputin was murdered in Petrograd From the book of Boris Yakovenko “The History of the Great Russian Revolution”: “The news of Rasputin’s death and the circumstances under which it had happened impressed the society, and the mass media talked of nothing else but rumors regarding that event” The entire Petersburg seemed to know the circumstances of Rasputin’s murder The newspapers named the conspirators almost openly, including the member of the Emperor’s family Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovitch Still, not all the secrets of that mysterious murder have been revealed to this day It looks like the investigation was deliberately thrown off the right track Prison 1916 was nearing its end The newspapers were full of terrible rumors The embassies of England and France were scheming The front was preparing for a decisive advance and the rear was preparing for conspiracies and unrest The Tsar knew of all those problems However, during the war he believed that his main task was to save the country from the aggression. He said: “I’ll sort the internal affairs out when we drive the German away” These words became the so-called slogan, a spell the Emperor was clinging to In times of the war, the internal policy held second-rate importance for him It’s possible that this political mistake sealed the fate of the Russian Emperor On the last day of the year, Nicolay II wrote in his diary: “We prayed passionately to God to have mercy for Russia.” The year 1917 was on the threshold