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COUNT PAUL IGNATIEV'S EFFORTS TO SAVE THE MONARCHY OF NICHOLAS II LEONID 1. STRAKHOVSKY I N the last two years of the Russian monarchy there were a few courageous and patriotic men who at the risk of incurring the disfavour of the Emperor or even of breaking their own careers tried in vain to persuade their Sovereign to adopt a course of action which might have prevented the revolution of 1917 and thus saved the monarchy. One of them was Count Paul Nikolaievich Ignatiev. Scion of a distinguished family,' Count Ignatiev was born on July 24, 1870,' in Buyuk-Dere, the summer residence of the Russian Embassy at Constantinople, the fourth child of Count Nicholas Pavlovich Ignatiev, then Russian Ambassador to Turkey.' After completing his secondary education in Odessa and studying at the University of St. Petersburg and at the Sorbonne in Paris, he graduated from the School of Law of the University of Kiev in 1892. At that time he was inscribed on the lists of civil servants in the Ministry of the Interior. He then did his military service in the Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Guards where he came into close contact with Emperor Nicholas II, then only heir to the throne, who commanded the First Battalion of the regiment. He completed his military training in 1894 and the next year was appointed County Marshal of Nobility in the province of Kiev where he owned an estate. In 1896 at the coronation of Emperor Nicholas II he was appointed Master of Ceremonies at the Imperial Court. In 1903 he married Princess Nathalie Meshchersky, lady in waiting to Empress Alexandra. The following year he was elected President of the Executive Committee of the Kiev Zemstvo, which had been instituted in that province only the previous year. In 1906 he was appointed Governor of the province of Kiev, and three years later was called to St. Petersburg to serve as chief of the Board of Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Conservation under Alexander Krivoshein, an exceptionally gifted and enlightened civil servant. In 1912 he was promoted to the post of Assistant Minister of AgricullSce appendix to this article. 2All dates are according to the Gregorian calendar. 3"Once a Minister in Imperial Russia: The Memoirs of Count Paul Nikolayevich Ignatiev" (unpublished manuscript made available to the author by the sons of the late Count Ignatiev ; their pennission for the use of it is hereby gratefully acknowledged ), 1. To be cited hereafter: Ignatiev Memoirs. Count Ignatiev states that it was his habit to write down the contents of his conversations with the Emperor and the Empress immediately after they took place (p. 1) , and that he has used these records for his memoirs. 64 Vol. XXIII, no. 1, Oct., 1953 COUNT PAUL IGNATIEV 65 ture.' In this new position Count Ignatiev developed extensive contacts with members of the Imperial Duma, since be had often to appear before the different commissions of the legislature which dealt with agricultural matters. Believing sincerely that Russia's progress hinged upon co-operation between the government and the elected representatives of the people, Count Ignatiev became a popular official in Duma circles.1i It was precisely because of this popularity that Mr. Krivoshein, who "in the hope of encouraging public confidence in the government bent all efforts in order to introduce into the Cabinet of Ministers new men who would support his point of view,"· offered to Count Ignatiev in November, 1914, the portfolio of Minister of Public Instruction left vacant by the death of L. Kasso. The offer was repeated by Prime Minister I. L. Goremykin in December of the same year, but Count Ignatiev declined both offers feeling that he was not the man for the position.' Then suddenly on January 21, 1915,' he was summoned to Tsarskoye Selo where the Emperor announced to him his appointment to the cabinet. For forty minutes Count Ignatiev tried to dissuade the Emperor from making the appointment, arguing that he was not fit for the post, because of his particular ideas that the greatness of Russia lay in the unity of tsar and people and that the wall erected by bureaucracy between tsar and...


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