The ‘Storm-signal of Revolution’

  • Raymond Pearson


Time would not stand still to favour the Progressive Bloc, and before the summer of 1916 was out the moderates found themselves more than ever at the mercy of the government and the country. While the Bloc parties embraced the prolonged period of political convalescence offered by the early summer recess, the Tsar planned a fundamental reorganisation of his government. Krivoshein’s scheme for civil dictatorship had been advanced as long ago as July 1915 but Nicholas’s assumption of military command and later inclination to allow greater play to the Duma had effectively shelved the idea. By late spring 1916 the deteriorating situation in the country, the product of poor organisation rather than ultimately debilitating shortages of raw materials and manpower, had revived active discussion of a civil dictatorship. A colleague of Milyukov stressed the dilemma of authority: ‘There was no one to put things in order. The authorities were everywhere, supposedly giving orders, and there were a lot of them. But there was no directing will, no plan, no system.’ In the increasing chaos of authority, a greater centralisation of civil government seemed essential to the maintenance of the war effort.1


Russian Society Left Wing Military Command Civil Government Opposition Movement 
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© Raymond Pearson 1977

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  • Raymond Pearson

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