In a Russia increasingly vulnerable to political extremism of both the left and right varieties, the moderate course was weakening rapidly. The Tsar still resisted the reactionary urgings of his wife but his surrender was expected daily. The Okhrana discerned two rival groups locked in conflict at court: the Nicholas group ‘advocating the immediate necessity of meeting the wishes recently expressed in both legislative chambers’ and the Alexandra group which ‘categorically opposes any change in the course of politics and stands by an earlier conception of government’. That Nicholas favoured a measure of trust in the Duma is indicated in a letter of 13 December: ‘he [Trepov] unfolded his plan concerning the Duma — to prorogue it on December 17th and reassemble it on January 19th, so as to show them and the whole country that in spite of all they have said, the government wish to work together.’ However, little faith could be placed on the word of a monarch whose very next letter betrayed an ugly cynicism: ‘It is unpleasant to speak to a man one does not like and does not trust like Trepov. But first of all, it is necessary to find a substitute for him and then kick him out — after he has done the dirty work. I mean to make him resign after he has closed the Duma. Let all the responsibility and all the difficulties fall on his shoulders.’


Public Organisation Central Committee Constitutional Principle Rival Group Dirty Work 
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  1. 2.
    Samuel Hoare, The Fourth Seal: the end of a Russian Chapter (London, 1930), p. 106.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Rodzyanko, The Reign of Rasputin (London, 1927), p. 251.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    L. Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution (London, 1932), p. 92;Google Scholar
  4. S.P. Melgunov, Na Putyakh k Dvortsomu Perevorotu (Paris, 1931), pp. 143–93.Google Scholar
  5. 24.
    Lord Milner, ‘Before Russia Went West’, National Review cv (Dec 1940), pp. 659 and 661;Google Scholar

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© Raymond Pearson 1977

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  • Raymond Pearson

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