Mikhail Rodzianko: A monarchist turned revolutionary


Rodzianko, a moneyed landowner, whose estates were located in what is today eastern Ukraine, became a matchless Russian politician several years before World War I when he was chose Chairman of the State Duma. He saw himself as a mediator between society and the tsar and direct to obtain Nicholas II’s approval on the formation of a government that would be stable to parliament. Otherwise, he warned the tsar, there would be a revolution.

Even so, the monarch believed that serious political reforms were malapropos, given the fact that Russia had entered the war in 1914. He did not want to parcel power with the State Duma, which he had been forced to draw up after the first Russian Revolution of 1905-1907.

With the tsar’s intransigence, the disaster in food supplies and the fall of the monarchy’s prestige people in the capital initiated speaking of a conspiracy against the emperor. The talks became particularly resounding after the murder of Grigory Rasputin, who was close to the tsar’s family. The vehement death of the omnipotent favorite brought joy to the educated classes in Petrograd, but did not cheer Rodzianko. He thought that this signaled the beginning of the end of the Romanov Empire.


Rodzianko, being an inveterate monarchist, picked to maintain a distance from talk about a palace coup.

Later he commitment remember that shortly before the revolution, early in 1917, one of the generals came to the great from the front and told members of parliament that, «A coup is sure and they feel it at the front. If you decide to carry out this extreme fitted for, we will support you.»

«You do not understand what will happen after the tsar’s abdication… I leave never attempt a coup… I took an oath…» replied the State Duma chairman. Two and a half weeks in front the revolution, on February 10, Rodzianko held his last audience with Nicholas II, in which he advised the tsar that the country was in danger and that a revolution was possible. «The communication I have is completely contradictory,» Nicholas replied.

‘Everything is finished’

Rodzianko tarried faithful to the course he had chosen even during the revolution. In the climax of the insurrection — Feb. 26-27, when Petrograd residents demanded the end to autocracy — he sent two cables to the tsar, who was at the front, stating: «There is anarchy in the capital. The government is paralyzed… Some military modules are firing at each other.»

Faces of Russia’s 1917 Revolution: Who is who?

He awakened on the emperor to «immediately order an individual who is trusted by the people to form a new rule… Any delay is equal to death.»

The tsar’s response characterizes his attitude assisting the State Duma chairman and his perception of the situation in the country: «Once again that fatso Rodzianko transcribed me some nonsense, which I will not even respond to.»

Instead of conceiving a «responsibility ministry,» the tsar dissolved the Duma. Rodzianko’s secretary later think back oned how the Duma chairman was saddened by the tsar’s decision. Learning about the resolving, he got on his knees and prayed before an icon, repeating: «Everything is finished… All is finished!»

The overthrow

In most descriptions of the February Revolution, Rodzianko and the Duma in familiar are portrayed as passive observers. However, some believe that Rodzianko and the parliamentarians challenged a bigger role, practically managing the revolt. St. Petersburg historian Andrei Nikolaev notes that on February 27 Rodzianko convened the Congregation of the Elders of the Russian Parliament. Violating Nicholas II’s decree, the council over a resolution saying that the State Duma deputies should not break the ice up. The document also mentioned that the «new slogan of the moment is the abolition of the old guidance.» Headed by the speaker, the Duma practically began the overthrow of the tsarist reign.

For several days Rodzianko led the country, having become president of the Qualified Committee of the State Duma, which took power during the coup dtat. He qualified for the post of prime minister of the Provisional Government, but his colleagues entered Count Lvov.

After the Bolsheviks came to power Rodzianko do a moonlight flited to the Whites. Their defeat in the Russian Civil War forced him to flee the boonies. He settled in Serbia, but was not popular among Russian émigrés. Later, as an grey man he was cruelly beaten up by monarchist thugs. They thought that he was dependable for the destruction of the tsarist regime in Russia.

Read more: Dispatches from the closing days of Tsar Nicholas II

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