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Sergei Witte

( Large statesman)

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Biography Sergei Witte
Among the major public figures of Russia is difficult to find a person how extraordinary, bright, and so ambiguous, contradictory, as was P. YU. Witte. This man was destined to experience the dizzying rise - up from third-office clerk to the most influential minister, in turning the fate of Russia for years - to be chairman of the Committee of Ministers, . then become the head of the beleaguered revolutionary government.,
. He had a chance to shine brightly as a diplomat, to witness the Crimean War, emancipation, reform the 60-ies, the rapid development of capitalism, Russian-Japanese war, the first revolution in Russia
. S. YU. Witte - a contemporary of Alexander III and Nicholas II, P. A. Stolypin and in. N. Kokovtsov, C. V. Zubatov and B. K. Plehve, D. S. Sipyagina and T. E. Rasputin
Life, political activity, the moral quality of Sergei Witte always provoked controversy, sometimes diametrically opposed assessments and judgments. In one recollections of his contemporaries in front of us "exceptionally talented", . "highly prominent statesman", . "exceeds the diversity of their talents, . vastness outlook, . ability to cope with major challenges brilliance and power of his mind all the contemporary people ",
. On the other - is a "businessman, . totally inexperienced in the national economy ", . "suffering from dilettantism and poor knowledge of Russian reality", . man with "sredneobyvatelskim level of development and simplicity of many opinions", . policies which distinguish the "helplessness, . unsystematic and ..,
. unprincipled.
Describing Witte, some emphasized that it was "a European and liberal", others - that "Witte has never been a liberal or conservative, but sometimes he was deliberately reactionary". Write about it even this: "a savage, a provincial hero, insolent and profligate with a sunken nose."
So what was it personality - Sergei Yul'evich VitteN
He was born June 17, 1849, Mr.. in the Caucasus, in Tbilisi, the son of a provincial official. Witte's ancestors on the paternal side - come from Holland, immigrated to the Baltic States - in the middle of the XIX century. received hereditary nobility. Through his mother's lineage was carried out by associates of Peter I - Prince Dolgoruky. Witte's father, Julius Fedorovich, a nobleman Pskov Province, a Lutheran, Orthodox, served as director of the Department of State Property in the Caucasus. His mother, Catherine Andreyevna, was the daughter of a member of the Main Department of the viceroy of the Caucasus, the former governor of Saratov Andrei Mikhailovich Fadeev and Princess Elena Pavlovna Dolgorukoi. Sam Witte eagerly emphasized his family ties with Prince Dolgoruky, but did not like to mention, that came from a family of little-known German Russified. "Actually, my whole family - he wrote in his" Memoirs "- was a high degree of the monarchical family - and this aspect of nature has remained, and I inherited."
. Homestay Witte had five children: three sons (Alexander, Boris, Sergei) and two daughters (Olga and Sofia)
. Sergey spent childhood years in the family of his grandfather, a. M. Fadeeva, where he received the usual education for the nobility, and "early education, - recalled with. YU. Witte, - I gave my grandmother ... she taught me to read and write. "
In Tiflis Gymnasium, where he was then given, Sergei studied "very bad", preferring to play music, fencing, riding. As a result, at sixteen, he received a matriculation certificate with mediocre grades in science and the unit of behavior. Despite this, the future statesman, went to Odessa with the intent to go to university. But young age (the university does not accept people under the age of seventeen years), and everything - a unit of the behavior of closed access to it there ... I had to come back to school - first in Odessa, then in Chisinau. And only after enhanced training Witte passed the exams successfully and got a decent matriculation.
In 1866, Mr.. Sergei Witte entered the Physics and Mathematics Novorossiysk University in Odessa. ... I worked day and night, - he recalled - and therefore all the time of my stay at the university I was really in the sense of knowledge in the best student. "
So went the first year of student life. In the spring, going on vacation, on the way home Witte received the news of the death of his father (shortly before he lost his grandfather - A. M. Fadeeva). What happened was that the family was left without a livelihood: shortly before the death of his grandfather and father had invested all his capital in the company Chiatura mines, which soon collapsed. Thus, Sergei had inherited only the father's debts and was forced to take part of the care of his mother and little sister. Continue his studies he managed only through scholarships, which provided Viceroyalty of the Caucasus.
Students with a. YU. Witte had little interest in social problems. He was not worried about any political radicalism, nor the philosophy of atheistic materialism, to agitate the minds of young people 70-ies. Witte was not one of those, whose idols were Pisarev, Dob, Tolstoy, Chernyshevsky, Michael. ... I've always been against all of these trends, because of my upbringing was an extreme monarchist ... as well as a religious person, "- later wrote with. YU. Witte. His inner world was formed under the influence of family, especially his uncle - Rostislav Andreevich Fadeev, General, members of conquest of the Caucasus, a talented military journalist, known for its Slavophile, Panslavist views.
. Despite its monarchical convictions, Witte was elected by students to the committee, headed by student cashier
. This innocent idea was almost finished a dismal. This so-called mutual-aid fund was closed as. dangerous institution, and all the committee members in t. h. Witte, were under investigation. They threatened to exile in Siberia. And just happened to drove the case to the prosecutor scandal helped with. YU. Witte avoid the fate of political exile. The penalty was reduced to a fine of 25 rubles.
After graduating in 1870. University of Sergei Witte's thinking about scientific careers, the professorial chair. However, family - mother and uncle - "very looked askance at my desire to be a professor - recalled with. YU. Witte. - Their main argument was that ... is not of noble cause ". Besides scientific career prevented fervent passion actress Sokolova, after an acquaintance with which Witte, "do not want to write a dissertation.
Having chosen a career bureaucrat, he was counted among the Office of the Governor of Odessa Count Kotzebue. And two years later, the first increase - Witte was appointed head clerk. But suddenly all his plans changed.
In Russia, the rapidly developing railway construction. This was a new and promising sectors of the capitalist economy. There have various private companies, which invested in railway construction amounts in excess of investment in heavy industry. The atmosphere of excitement that has arisen around the construction of railways, took over and Witte. Minister of Communications Count Bobrinsky, who knew his father, Sergei Yul'evich persuaded to try his luck as an expert in railway operation - in a purely commercial area of the railway business.
. In order to thoroughly examine the practical side of business, . Witte was sitting in the station ticket offices, . served as assistant and chief of station, . Comptroller, . Auditor motion, . even went as clerk freight service and an assistant engineer,
. Six months later he was appointed head of the office of motion Odessa railway, soon passed into the hands of a private company.
However, after a promising start career with. YU. Witte was almost completely broke. At the end of 1875. near Odessa train wreck occurred, resulting in many casualties. Head of the Odessa railway Chikhachev and Witte were tried and sentenced to four months in prison. But while the investigation dragged on, . Witte, . remaining in the service, . managed to distinguish himself in the movement of troops to the theater of military operations (was a Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878.), . What attracted the attention of the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, . at the command of the prison where the accused has been replaced by a two-week guardhouse.,
. In 1877, Mr.
. S. YU. Witte becomes head of the movement of the Odessa railway, and after the war - the head of the operating department of the South-Western Railways. On receiving this appointment, he moved from province to Petersburg, where he participated in the commission of the graph Z. T. Baranova (for the Exploration of the railways).
. Service in the private railway companies had on the Witte very strong effect: given the experience of management, taught, calculating, businesslike approach, a sense of conditions, defined the terms of the interests of the future financier and statesman.
. By the beginning of the 80-ies with the name
. YU. Witte was already fairly well known among rail operators and among the Russian bourgeoisie. He was familiar with the major "railway kings" - and. S. Bliokh, P. I. Gubonin IN. A. Kokorev, C. S. Polyakov, knew well the future Minister of Finance and. A. Vyshnegradsky. Already in these years, apparent complexity of the energetic nature Witte: excellent reception quality, sober, practical businessman, well combined with the capabilities of the scientist-analyst. In 1883, Mr.. S. YU. Witte has published "Principles of railway tariffs for the carriage of goods", which brought him fame among professionals. It was, incidentally, not far from the first and last work, published from his pen.
In 1880, Mr.. S. YU. Witte was appointed manager of the South-West Road, and settled in Kiev. A successful career has brought him and the material well-being. As Managing Witte received more than any minister - over 50 thousand rubles a year.
. Active participation in political life in these years, Witte did not take, though, and collaborated with Odessa Slavic Benevolent Society, was well acquainted with the famous Slavophiles and
. S. Aksakov and even published in his newspaper "Rus" several articles. A serious policy of a young entrepreneur preferred "society of actresses". ... I knew all more or less prominent actresses who were in Odessa, "- he recalled.
The assassination of Alexander II dramatically changed the ratio C. YU. Witte politics. After March 1, he is actively involved in the great political game. Upon learning of the death of the Emperor, Witte wrote to his uncle P. A. Fadeev letter in which he gave the idea of a nobleman's conspiratorial organization for the protection of the new monarch and the fight with the revolutionaries of the same methods. R. A. Fadeev picked up this idea and with the help of the Adjutant General and. I. Vorontsov-Dashkova created in St. Petersburg so-called "Sacred squad". In mid-March 1881. S. YU. Witte was solemnly dedicated to the members of the militia, and soon received his first assignment - to organize in Paris an attempt on a famous revolutionary-populist L. N. Hartmann. Fortunately, soon "Sacred squad" compromised itself inept espionage and provocative activities and, having existed for over a year, was eliminated. I must say that the presence of Witte in this organization is not added luster to his biography, although it provided an opportunity to demonstrate hot loyal feelings. After the death of P. A. Fadeeva in the second half of the 80-ies with. YU. Witte departed from the people in his circle and moving closer to the ideology of the group controlled by state-Pobedonostsev Katkov.
By the mid 80-ies the scope of South-Western Railways ceased to satisfy the feverish nature Witte. Ambitious and power-hungry railroad entrepreneur persistently and patiently began to prepare its further advancement. This was greatly facilitated by the fact that the credibility with. YU. Witte both theoreticians and practitioners of the railway sector has attracted the attention of the Minister of Finance and. A. Vyshnegradsky. And, moreover, came about by accident.
October 17, 1888, Mr.. in Borki crashed royal train. The reason for this was a violation of elementary rules of trains: the composition of heavy royal train with two freight locomotives was in excess of the established rate. S. YU. Witte previously warned the Minister of Communications of the possible consequences. With his usual rugged, he once said in the presence of Alexander III, that the emperor would break his neck if they drive a train with the king's ill-rate. After the collapse of Clips (from which, . however, . neither Emperor, . nor members of his family were unhurt), Alexander III was reminded of this warning, and expressed a desire, . to the newly approved position of Director of the Department of Rail Affairs in the Ministry of Finance was appointed with,
. YU. Witte.
And though it meant a reduction in salary three times, Sergey Yul'evich without hesitation parted with a lucrative place and position of a successful businessman for the sake of his public career manivshey. Simultaneously with his appointment as director of the department he was promoted from the titular directly to the actual state councilor (t. e. received generalship). It was a dizzying leap up the bureaucratic ladder. Witte falls among the closest associates and. A. Vyshnegradsky.
Entrusted Witte department will immediately become a model. The new Director unable to prove in practice their constructive ideas on state regulation of rail tariffs, to show the breadth of interests, quite capable administrator, strength of mind and character.
. In February 1892, successfully using the conflict between two departments - the transport and finance, with
. YU. Witte seeking appointment as manager of the Ministry of Railways. However, he stayed in office for a brief period. In the same 1892. seriously ill and. A. Vyshnegradsky. In the quasi-circles began behind the scenes struggle for the influential post of minister of finance, in whom Witte took an active part. Not too stuffy and not particularly nice in the means to achieve the goal, set in motion and intrigue, and gossip about the insanity of his patron and. A. Vyshnegradsky (which was not going to leave his post), in August 1892. Witte has space control by the Ministry of Finance. On January 1, 1893. Alexander III appointed him Minister of Finance with the simultaneous production of a Privy Councilor. Career 43-year-old Witte reached its shining peaks.
However, the way to the top was significantly complicated by his marriage with. YU. Witte at Ivanovna Lisanevich Matilda (nee Nurok). It was not his first marriage. The first wife was Witte H. A. Spiridonov (nee Ivanenko) - the daughter of Chernigov Marshal of the Nobility. She was married, but was not happy in marriage. Witte met her back in Odessa, and in love, got a divorce.
With. YU. Witte and H. A. Spiridonov married (probably in 1878). However, they have lived long. Autumn 1890. Witte's husband suddenly died.
About a year after her death, Sergei Yul'evich met a lady in the theater (also married), which made an indelible impression on him. Slender, with gray-green sad eyes, enigmatic smile, charming voice, she seemed embodied charm. Acquainted with a lady, Witte began to pursue her location, assuring a divorce and marry him. To get from her husband's divorce difficile, Witte had to pay smart, and even threatened to resort to administrative measures.
In 1892, Mr.. He married the same for his beloved woman and adopted her children (his children he was not).
The new marriage brought Witte family happiness, but put in a very awkward social situation. Dignitary of the highest rank was married to a divorced Jewish woman, but more as a result of the scandalous stories. Sergey Yul'evich was even ready to "put a cross on a career. However, Alexander III, penetrating into all the details, said that this marriage will only increase his respect for the Witte. Nevertheless Matilda Witte had not been adopted or in the yard, or in high society.
It should be noted that the relationship itself, and Witte, with the highest light of developing not just. Grand Petersburg looked askance at the "provincial upstart". His grated sharp Witte, angularity, nearistokratichnost manners, Southern accent, a bad French accent. Sergey Yul'evich long time became a favorite character of the capital jokes. His rapid advance caused undisguised envy and malice on the part of officials.
Along with this it is clearly favored by the Emperor Alexander III. ... He treated me especially favorably, "- wrote Witte -" liked "," believe me until the last day of my life ". Alexander III was impressed with directness Witte, his courage, independence of mind, even the sharpness of his expressions, the complete absence of servility. And for Witte, Alexander III remained until the end of life ideal autocrat. "The true Christian," "true son of the Orthodox Church," "simple, solid and honest man," "outstanding Emperor," a man of his word, "imperial noble," "with the king's lofty thoughts," - so characterizes Witte Alexander III .
. After taking the chair the Finance Minister, P
. YU. Witte received a great power: he was now subject to Department of railway affairs, trade, industry, and he could put pressure on the most important issues. And Sergei Yul'evich really showed himself a sober, prudent, flexible politician. Yesterday Panslavist, . Slavophile, . a staunch supporter of the original path of development of Russia in the short term become industrializers European model and expressed its readiness in the short term to bring Russia into the category of advanced industrial powers.,
. By the beginning of XX century
. Witte's economic platform has become quite finished shape: for about ten years to catch up with more industrialized countries of Europe, . to take strong positions in the markets of the East, . to accelerate industrial development of Russia through attracting foreign capital, . accumulation of internal resources, . customs protection of industry from competitors and promotion of export,
. Another important mechanism he considered an unlimited government intervention.
And it was not a mere declaration. As of 1894-1895. S. YU. Witte achieved stabilization of the ruble, and in 1897. did what his predecessors could not: put a gold currency, ensuring up to the First World War, the country hard currency and the inflow of foreign capital. In addition, Witte sharply increased taxes, particularly indirect, introduced wine monopoly, which soon became one of the main sources of government budget. Another major event held by Witte in the beginning of its activities, was the conclusion of the customs treaty with Germany (1894), followed by. YU. Witte even the interest on. Bismarck. This extremely flattered vanity of a young minister. ... Bismarck ... drew particular attention to me, - he wrote later - and several times through a friend expressed the highest opinion of my personality. "
. With the economic rise of 90-ies Witte system worked perfectly: the country had laid an unprecedented number of railways in 1900
. Russia came in first place in the world on oil, bonds Russian government loans highly traded abroad. Authority with. YU. Witte has grown immeasurably. Minister of Finance of Russia has become a popular figure among the Western entrepreneurs, attracted favorable attention of the foreign press. Patriotic same print sharply criticized Witte. The former associates accused him of imposing a state of socialism ", . supporters of reform 60-ies has been criticized for the use of state intervention, . Russian liberals have embraced the program Witte as a "grand diversion autocracy", . distracting public attention from the socio-economic and cultural-political reforms ",
. No statesman Russia was not the subject of such diverse and contradictory, but stubborn and passionate attacks, like my ... husband - wrote later Matilda Witte. - At the court he was accused of republicanism, in radical circles, attributed to him a desire to curtail the rights of the people in favor of the monarch. Landowners blamed him in an attempt to destroy them in favor of the peasants, and the Radical Party - in an effort to deceive the peasantry in favor of the landowners'. They accused him even in friendship with A. Zhelyabovs, in an attempt to bring to the decline of agriculture in Russia, to deliver the benefits of Germany.
In fact, the whole policy with. YU. Witte was subordinated to a single goal: to implement industrialization, to achieve successful development of Russia's economy, without affecting the political system, without changing anything in public administration. Witte was an ardent supporter of autocracy. Absolute monarchy, he considered "the best form of government for Russia, and all they do, do, in order to strengthen and preserve the autocracy.
. With the same purpose Witte began the development of the peasant question, trying to obtain a review of agricultural policy
. He realized that to expand the purchasing power of the domestic market can only be due to the capitalization of the farm, due to the transition from communal land ownership to the private. S. YU. Witte was a staunch supporter of private peasant ownership of land and strenuously sought to move the government to the bourgeois agrarian policy. In 1899. with his participation, the Government has drafted and adopted laws to abolish the mutual responsibility of the ejido. In 1902, Mr.. Witte has a special commission on the peasant question ( "Special Meeting the needs of the agricultural industry") that aims to "reestablish the personal property in the village.
. However, in the way Witte got his longtime adversary in
. K. Plehve appointed by the Minister of Internal Affairs. The agrarian question was the scene of confrontation between the two powerful ministers. Implement ideas Witte did not succeed. However, the government initiated the transition to a bourgeois agrarian policy was precisely. YU. Witte. As P. A. Stolypin, then later Witte repeatedly emphasized that he was "robbed" him, using the ideas, a strong supporter of whom was himself, Witte. That is why Sergei Yul'evich could not recall P. A. Stolypin without a sense of bitterness. ... Stolypin, - he wrote - has a very shallow mind and the almost complete absence of public culture and education. Education and intelligence ... Stolypin presented him bayonet-type cadets.
Events beginning of XX. questioned all the grandiose undertakings Witte. World economic crisis to an abrupt halt development of industry in Russia has decreased the inflow of foreign capital has shifted budgetary balance. Economic expansion in the East, exacerbated the Russian-British conflicts, hastened the war with Japan.
The economic "system" Witte obviously shaken. This enabled his opponents (Pleven, Bezobrazov, etc.) gradually push the finance minister from power. Campaign against the Witte, Nicholas II willingly supported. It should be noted that between C. YU. Witte, Nicholas II, came to the throne in 1894, established a rather complex relationship: from Witte demonstrated distrust and contempt on the part of Nicholas - the distrust and hatred. Witte thronged a restrained, seemingly correct and well-educated king, constantly insulted him, himself unwittingly, its harshness, impatience, self-confidence, inability to hide his contempt and disdain. And there was another factor that turns a simple reluctance to Witte in hatred: Still no Witte was impossible to do. Whenever needed, indeed a great wit and resourcefulness, Nicholas II, though, and grinding their teeth, turned to him.
For its part, Witte gives in "Memoirs" is very sharp and bold response to Nicholas. Enumerating the many merits of Alexander III, he always makes it clear that his son was not in any way they did not have. On the very same emperor, he wrote: "... Emperor Nicholas II ... represented himself a good man, not a fool, but shallow, weak-willed ... His main qualities - kindness, when he wanted ... cunning and total lack of character and weak-willed ". Here he adds a "touchy", and that rare "rancor". In "Memoirs" C. YU. Witte's got quite a few unpleasant words and Empress. The author calls it "bizarre special" with "narrow and stubborn character," with a dull, selfish nature and a narrow worldview.
In August 1903. campaign against Witte's success: he was dismissed as Minister of Finance and was appointed to the post of chairman of the Committee of Ministers. Despite the grandiose name, it was the "honorable retirement" as a new post was immeasurably less influential. However, Nicholas II was not going to permanently remove Witte, because that is clearly sympathetic to the Empress Maria Feodorovna, mother and brother of the king of the Grand Duke Mikhail. Also, just in case, Nicholas II, and he wanted to have on hand an experienced, intelligent, energetic official.
After being defeated in political struggle, Witte did not return to private business. He set out to win back lost ground. Staying in the shadows, he tried not to lose the final location of the king, often to attract the "highest attention", to strengthen and develop links in government circles. Start an active struggle for the return to power possible preparation for war with Japan. However, Witte hopes that with the beginning of the war, Nicholas II will call him, is not justified.
In the summer of 1904,. Social Revolutionary E. S. Sozonova was killed longtime opponent Witte Interior Minister Plehve. Disgraced dignitary made every effort to occupy the vacant place, but here it was waiting for a failure. Despite the fact that Sergei Yul'evich successfully fulfilled its mission - concluded a new agreement with Germany - Nicholas II appointed the Minister of Interior Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky.
. Trying to attract attention, Witte takes an active part in meetings of the king on attracting delegates from the public to participate in the law, trying to increase the competence of the Committee of Ministers
. He uses even the events of "Bloody Sunday" to prove to the king, that without him, Witte, to not do that if the Committee of Ministers under his chairmanship had been given real power, such a turn of events would have been impossible.
. Finally, on Jan. 17, 1905, Mr.
. Nicholas II, despite their dislike, still appeals to the Witte and instructs him to organize a ministerial meeting on "the measures necessary to pacify the country and possible reforms. Sergey Yul'evich clearly had hoped that this meeting he will be able to convert to the government "Western model" and become the head of his. However, in April the same year, followed by a new royal favor: Nicholas II meeting closed. Witte was again out of work.
However, this time disgrace did not last long. In late May 1905. at the next meeting of the military became clear need for a speedy end to the war with Japan. NEWS uneasy peace negotiations was charged Witte, . who has repeatedly and very successfully acted as a diplomat (negotiated with China on building CEL, . with Japan - a joint protectorate over Korea, . with Korea - the Russian military instruction and Russian financial management, . with Germany - to conclude a treaty of commerce, etc.), . through with this remarkable abilities.,
. On the appointment of ambassador extraordinary Witte, Nicholas II went with great reluctance
. Witte has long pushed the king to begin peace negotiations with Japan that "although a little reassure Russia". In a letter to that of 28 February 1905. He said: "The continuation of the war more than dangerous: further sacrifices country under the current state of mind will not survive without the terrible accident ...". It is generally believed the war was ruinous to the autocracy.
August 23, 1905, Mr.. was signed by Portsmouth Peace. It was a brilliant victory Witte, confirming his outstanding diplomatic skills. From the hopelessly lost war, a talented diplomat managed to come out with minimal losses, achieving at the same time for Russia "almost decent world". Despite his reluctance, . King appreciated the merits of Witte: for the Portsmouth peace be upon him was conferred the title of Count (by the way, . Witte once mockingly prozovut "Count Polusahalinskim", . accusing thereby assignment in Japan the southern part of Sakhalin).,
. Returning to St. Petersburg, Witte with his head sunk into policy: taking part in the "Special Meeting" Agriculture, where he developed projects for further state reform
. With the rise of revolutionary events Witte insistently shows the need for "strong government", convinces the king that he, Witte, will play the role of "savior of Russia". In early October, he appealed to the king with a note which outlines the whole program of liberal reforms. In the critical days for the sovereignty inspires Witte to Nicholas II, that in fact had no choice but to establish a dictatorship in Russia, either - premiership Witte and make some liberal steps in the constitutional direction.
. Finally, after painful hesitation, the king signed a document drawn up by Witte, who has become known as the Manifesto of October 17
. Oct. 19 King has signed a decree on the reform of the Council of Ministers, headed by Witte was placed. In his career Sergei Yul'evich reached the peak. In the critical days of the revolution, he became head of the government of Russia.
. In this position, Witte has demonstrated remarkable flexibility and the ability to maneuvers, speaking in extraordinary circumstances, the revolution is hard, ruthless protector, the skillful peacemaker
. Chaired Witte government was engaged in a wide variety of issues: reorganize peasant proprietorship, . has introduced a unique position in the various regions, . resorted to the use of courts-martial, . death penalty and other repressive, . led preparations for the convening of the Duma, . drafted the Basic Laws, . implemented a proclaimed October 17 freedom.,
. However, led by C
. YU. Witte Council of Ministers did not become like the European study, and Sergei himself Yul'evich stayed on as chairman only six months. The ever-increasing conflict with the king forced him to resign. This happened in late April 1906. S. YU. Witte was in full confidence that it complied with its main task - to provide the political stability of the regime. The resignation was in fact the end of his career, although Witte and withdrew from political activity. He is still a member of the State Council, frequently appeared in print.
. It should be noted, Sergei Yul'evich awaited new appointment and tried to approach him, led a fierce struggle, first against Stolypin, was appointed chairman of the Council of Ministers, and then against in
. N. Kokovtsov ". Witte hoped that the withdrawal from public scene of his influential opponents will allow him to return to active political. He did not lose hope until the last day of his life and was even willing to resort to the help of Rasputin.
At the beginning of World War II, predicting that it would fail to autocracy, C. YU. Witte stated its readiness to assume a peacekeeping mission and try to negotiate with the Germans. But he was already terminally ill.
Died In. YU. Witte, 28 February 1915, a little before the age of 65 years. They buried him modestly, "the third category". No official ceremonies were. Moreover, a study of the deceased had been sealed, papers seized in a villa in Biarritz made a thorough search.
Witte's death has caused quite a broad resonance in Russian society. Newspapers were filled with headlines like: "In memory of a great man," "great reformer", "a giant of thought ... Many of those who knew Sergei Yul'evich, made memories.
After the death of Witte, his political activity was evaluated highly contradictory. Some sincerely believed, . that Witte had a home "great service", . others claimed, . that "Count Witte far not lived up to expectations", . that "it is in no way brought the country a real favor, . even, . opposite, . activities of his "should rather be considered harmful.",
. Political activities of Sergei Witte was really very controversial
. Sometimes she combined an irreconcilable: the desire for unlimited attraction of foreign capital and the struggle against international political consequences of this involvement; commitment to unlimited autocracy and understanding of the need for reform, . undermining its traditional values; Manifesto of October 17 and follow-up, . which brought him almost to zero, . and t,
. d. But whatever the outcome of policies evaluated Witte, one thing is certain: the meaning of his whole life, all of the service was "great Russia". And this could not fail to recognize both his supporters and opponents.

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