Written by Vladimir Moss



     The end of the Russo-Japanese War came with the final defeat of the Russian navy at Tsushima in May, 1905. It markedly increased the political tensions in Russia: a meeting in Moscow of representatives from the zemstva, the nobility and the municipal councils called for the convocation of a national representative body elected on a secret, equal, universal and direct ballot. On June 6 a delegation from the meeting led by Prince Sergius Trubetskoj was received by the Tsar, and on August 6 what became known as the Bulygin Constitution was published: a proposal for a consultative parliamentary body called the Duma.

     Now the Tsar was never against consultative bodies. He welcomed every opportunity to find out more about the opinions and attitudes of his subjects. But he said: “I shall never in any circumstances agree to a representative form of government, for I consider it harmful for the people entrusted to me by God”.[1] The Bulygin Constitution was far from being a representative form of government in the full western sense: its powers were limited, and “the inviolability of autocratic power” was retained. Nevertheless, it was seen as a major concession by the government to the liberal opposition.

     On August 27 the government made another unexpected concession: university faculties were allowed to elect rectors and students to hold assemblies. Moreover, the police were told to keep out of the universities, making them in effect “no-go” areas. Soon workers and other non-students joined the student meetings, and, as Richard Pipes writes, “academic work became impossible as institutions of higher learning turned into ‘political clubs’: non-conforming professors and students were subjected to intimidation and harassment… In Witte’s view, the university regulations of August 27 were a disaster: ‘It was the first breach through which the Revolution, which had ripened underground, emerged into the open.’”[2]

     At the end of September a wave of strikes, economic in origin, but politicised by the Union of Unions and the radical students, hit Central Russia. They culminated in a vast general strike in mid-October. The country was descending into anarchy.

     Both Witte and D.F. Trepov, the Governor-General of St. Petersburg, were in favour of the creation of a constitutional monarchy along the lines of the resolution of the Zemstvo Congress held in Moscow the month before. The Tsar was not convinced. He saw himself as having to choose between two courses: the first, as Oldenburg writes, was to “appoint an energetic military man and try by all means to suppress the rebellion; then there would be a pause, and again in a few months one would have to act by force again; but this would mean torrents of blood and in the end would lead to the present situation, that is, the authority of the power would have been demonstrated, but the result would remain the same… The other path is to present the population with civil rights… Among other things, that would imply the obligation of passing every bill through the State Duma. This, in essence, is a constitution.”[3]

     These words of the Tsar would seem to indicate that he did not believe in the use of force to suppress the rebellion. Nevertheless, he did think of making the reliable and loyal Trepov a kind of military dictator.

     However, writes S.S. Oldenburg, “to the question whether he [Trepov] could restore order in the capital without risking a massacre, he answered that ‘he could give no such guarantee either now or in the future: rebellion [kramola] has attained a level at which it is doubtful whether [bloodshed] could be avoided. All that remains is faith in the mercy of God.’

      “Still unconvinced, Nicholas asked Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to assume dictatorial powers. The Grand Duke is said to have responded that the forces for a military dictatorship were unavailable and that unless the Tsar signed the manifesto he would shoot himself…”[4]

     With “Nikolasha’s” rejection, the Tsar gave in: if he could not impose a dictatorship, he would have to allow a constitution.

     In his Manifesto of October 17, 1905, which was entitled “On the Improvement of Order in the State”, the Tsar declared: “The disturbances and unrest in St Petersburg, Moscow and in many other parts of our Empire have filled Our heart with great and profound sorrow. The welfare of the Russian Sovereign and His people is inseparable and national sorrow is His too. The present disturbances could give rise to national instability and present a threat to the unity of Our State. The oath which We took as Tsar compels Us to use all Our strength, intelligence and power to put a speedy end to this unrest which is so dangerous for the State. The relevant authorities have been ordered to take measures to deal with direct outbreaks of disorder and violence and to protect people who only want to go about their daily business in peace. However, in view of the need to speedily implement earlier measures to pacify the country, we have decided that the work of the government must be unified. We have therefore ordered the government to take the following measures in fulfilment of our unbending will:

  1. Fundamental civil freedoms will be granted to the population, including real personal inviolability, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association.
  2. Participation in the Duma will be granted to those classes of the population which are at present deprived of voting powers, insofar as is possible in the short period before the convocation of the Duma, and this will lead to the development of a universal franchise. There will be no delay to the Duma elect already been organized.
  3. It is established as an unshakeable rule that no law can come into force without its approval by the State Duma and representatives of the people will be given the opportunity to take real part in the supervision of the legality of government bodies.

We call on all true sons of Russia to remember the homeland, to help put a stop to this unprecedented unrest and, together with this, to devote all their strength to the restoration of peace to their native land.”[5]

     The revolutionaries saw the Manifesto as a capitulation to their demands – and continued with their revolution. However, the attitude of most people in the provinces was: “Thank God, now there will be an end to the strikes and disturbances – ‘the Tsar has given liberty’, there is nothing more to demand. This liberty was understood in different ways, and in a very woolly way: but the popular masses came out onto the streets with portraits of the Tsar and national flags; they celebrated the publication of the manifesto and did not protest against it.”[6]

     Witte was invited to chair the Council of Ministers, whom he, and not the Tsar, now selected. His position under the constitution was now critical – and critically ambiguous. Was he still primarily a servant of the Tsar - or a lackey of the Masons in the Duma?

     Fr. Lev Lebedev writes: “When some time had passed, Witte began to praise his Majesty with sweet words for ‘the people’s representation’ in which the Tsar would find support. Nicholas II interrupted him: ‘Sergius Yulyevich: I very well understand that I am creating for myself not a helper, but an enemy, but I comfort myself with the thought that I will succeed in bringing up a state force which will turn out to be useful for providing Russia in the future with a path of peaceful development, without sharp undermining of those supports on which she has lived for so long.’ In the new order the old State Council, composed of high-ranking dignitaries appointed by the Tsar was preserved, as a kind of ‘higher chamber’. However, all this together with the Duma was not a parliament, since his Majesty was not intending to renounce his autocratic power. He made a public declaration about this during a reception of a monarchist organization: ‘The reforms I announced on October 17 will be realized unfailingly, and the freedoms given by me in the same way to the whole of the population are inalienable. But my Autocracy will remained what it was of old.’…”[7]

     But could the Autocracy remain what it was when there was now a mainly liberal Duma with not merely consultative, but also legislative powers? Although the Manifesto made no mention of the word “constitution”, many thought that the Tsar had committed himself to a constitution that permanently limited his autocratic powers. Of course, the Tsar’s power had never been unlimited in an absolutist sense – as Protopriest John Vostorgov said, “The supreme power in a pure, true monarchy is unlimited, but not absolute, for it is limited morally by the content of its ideal”[8] – which is the Law of God. It was because he always saw himself as under God’s law that when the Tsar came to review the Basic Laws of the Empire in April, 1906, he removed the word “unlimited” from Article 1 to describe the nature of his power, while retaining the word “autocratic”. However, the Tsar remained above all human (as opposed to Divine, Church) laws in his realm, since he was the source of them, so that if he bestowed a law, or manifesto, or even a constitution, he was entitled to change it or remove it altogether. Moreover, his subjects were bound by their oath of allegiance to accept such a change, whatever they might think privately of the Tsar’s inconsistency. As N. Rodzevich wrote in Moskovskie Vedomosti: “Let us assume that the Tsar is not knowledgeable on military affairs. Well, he selects an experienced general and declares that without the agreement of this general no military question may be decided. A time comes and the Tsar realizes that the general selected by him gives bad advice; can he really not change his previous order and dismiss the general? Of course he may do so. Similarly, if the Duma does not warrant the Tsar’s confidence, would he not be justified in dissolving the Duma and then creating a new one or refusing to convoke one at all? This depends on the Autocrat’s will.”[9]

     This was true. And yet we must remember that the date of the October Manifesto, October 17, was also the date of the creation of the St. Petersburg Soviet, or “the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies” to give it its official name, which was controlled by the socialists (they had twenty-one out of fifty seats on the Executive Committee). In other words, whatever kind of state Russia remained in theory, in practice a great change had taken place – the public creation of a revolutionary institution inexorably opposed both to God and the Autocracy that would have been unthinkable in an earlier age. And if this revolution was eventually crushed, it left a general feeling of malaise in the people, and a weakness and uncertainty in state administration (in spite of the efforts of the excellent prime minister, Peter Arkadievich Stolypin), that made 1917 inevitable.

     And so if the Russian revolution was born in October, 1917, it was conceived twelve years before, in 1905…


     The Manifesto, far from calming political passions, excited them to the utmost. Anarchy increased as young revolutionaries rampaged in the cities; the press, freed from all restraints and almost exclusively owned by Jews, raged against the government; and the police, overstretched and unsure of their rights under the new constitution, hesitated to apply strong measures. However, in Petersburg there was a new phenomenon: demonstrations in favour of the Tsar, the so-called “Black Hundreds”, or monarchist counter-revolution…

     1905 is famous particularly for its pogroms. But the truth was different from the view generally accepted in the West that the “Black Hundreds” simply slaughtered masses of Jews. The general pattern was as follows. First the revolutionaries, usually led by young Jews, would call on the population to strike and free prisoners from the prisons, and would themselves tear down the symbols of tsarist authority, although, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes, “undoubtedly both Russians and Jews took part in the destruction of portraits and monograms”.[10] Then, a day or two later, when it was clear that the authorities were unwilling or unable to restore order, the anti-Jewish pogrom would begin.

     Thus in Kiev the pogrom began on October 18. “A crowd of Jews seized the building of the City Duma, tore down national flags and mocked the portraits of the Tsar. One of the Jews cut the head out of a portrait [of the Tsar], put his own [in the hole] and shouted: ‘Now I’m the Tsar!’ Others declared to the stunned Kievans: ‘Soon your St. Sophia cathedral will become our synagogue!’”[11]

     “‘In its initial stage the pogrom undoubtedly had the character of revenge taken for the offence to national feeling. Subjecting the Jews they met on the street to blows, smashing shops and trampling the goods they took out of them into the dirt, the pogromists would say: “There’s your freedom, there’s your constitution and revolution; there are your tsarist portraits and crown”. And then on the following morning, the 19th, a thousand-strong crowd made its way from the Duma to St. Sophia square carrying the empty frames from the broken portraits of the tsar, the tsarist monogram and smashed mirrors. They went to the university, repaired the damaged portraits and served a moleben, while ‘Metropolitan Flavian exhorted the crowd not to behave badly and to disperse to their homes’. ‘But at the same time that the people constituting the centre of the patriotic demonstration… maintained exemplary order in it, people joining it from the street allowed themselves to commit all kinds of violence in relation to the Jews they met and to people wearing the uniforms of academic institutions [students].’ Then the demonstrators were joined by ‘black workers, homeless inhabitants of the flea market and bare-footed people from the river-bank’, ‘groups of pogromists smashed up Jewish flats and stalls and threw out property and goods onto the street. Then they would be partly destroyed and partly stolen.’… The pogromists passed by the stalls of the Karaite Jews without touching them, and also ‘those Jewish flats where they were shown portraits of the emperor’. [On the 19th the wealthiest Jewish shops in the centre were looted.] Proceeding from the fact that ‘almost two thirds of all the trade in the city was in the hands of the Jews’, [Senator] Turau calculates the losses, including the homes of the rich, ‘at several million roubles’. They set out to destroy not only Jewish houses, but also the flats of well-known liberal social activists…

     “In all during the days of the pogrom, according to the approximate estimate of the police (some of those who suffered were taken away by the crowd), 47 people were killed, including 12 Jews, while 205 were wounded, one third of them Jews.

     “Turau concludes his report with the conclusion that ‘the main cause of the Jewish pogrom in Kiev was the long-existing enmity between the Little Russian and Jewish population, based on the difference in their world-views. The immediate cause was the insult to national feeling by the revolutionary manifestations, in which a prominent role belonged to Jewish youth.’ The simple people saw ‘the Jews alone as being to blame for the insults and imprecations against everything that was holy and dear to it. It could not understand the revolutionary movement after the concessions given it, and explained it by the striving of the Jews to gain “their own Yiddish freedom”.’ ‘The failures of the war, at which Jewish youth always openly expressed its most lively joy, their avoidance of military service, their participation in the revolutionary movement, in a series of violent acts and murders of high-ranking people, and undoubtedly the irritation of the simple people against the Jews – that is why there were incidents in Kiev when many Russians openly gave refuge in their houses to poor Jews hiding from the violence, while sharply refusing to give it to young Jews.’

     “The newspaper Kievlianin also wrote about this. ‘Unfortunate Jews! What were these thousands of families guilty of?… To their own woe and misfortune the Jews have not been able to restrain their madmen… But, you know, there are madmen among us Russians, too, and we have not been able to restrain them.’

     “The revolutionary youth went mad – and it was the elderly and peaceful Jews who had to pay for it…”[12]

     Indeed, the older generation of Jewry did not support the young. “’[Jewish] orthodoxy was in a struggle, not always open, but hidden, against the Jewish intelligentsia. It was clear that orthodoxy, in condemning the liberation movement in Jewry, was striving to win the goodwill of the government.’ But it was already late. By 1905 the autocracy had generally lost control in the country. While traditional Jewry by that year had completely lost a whole, and already not the first, generation, which had departed into Zionism, into secular liberalism, rarely into enlightened conservatism, and – the most significant in its consequences – into the revolutionary movement.”[13]

     “It is not surprising,” continues Solzhenitsyn, “that ‘in many places… an active struggle of prosperous religious elements in Jewry against the revolution was noticed. They helped the police to catch Jewish revolutionaries, and to break up demonstrations, strikes, etc.’ Not that it was nice for them to be on the side of the government. But… they not want to accept the revolutionary law, for they honoured their own. While for many young revolutionaries the religious ‘Union of the Jews’ in Bialystok and other places was ‘Blackhundredist’.”[14]

     It must also be emphasized that the main motivation for this flood of Jews into the revolutionary movement was not the restrictions placed by the government on the civil rights of Jewry (which were in any case being quickly whittled down), but infection with the same liberal and revolutionary ideas as infected so many contemporary Russians. “’The participation of Jews in the general Russian revolutionary movement can only to a very small degree be explained by their inequality…  The Jews only shared the general mood’ of the struggle against the autocracy. Is that to be wondered at? The young members of intelligenty families, both Russian and Jewish, had for years heard at home [such phrases as]: ‘the crimes of the authorities’, ‘a government of murderers’. They then rushed into revolutionary action with all their energy and ardour.”[15 

     In Odessa, the Manifesto was published on the 17th. The next day, “General Kauldbars, the commander of the Odessa military district, in order to ‘give the population the unhindered opportunity to use the freedom given by the Manifesto in all its forms’, ordered all the soldiers not to appear on the streets, ‘so as not to spoil the joyful mood in the population’. However, ‘this mood did not last for long. From all sides individual groups, mainly of Jews and young students, streamed towards the centre of the city’ with red flags of shouts of “Down with the autocracy!” and “Down with the police!” And orators summoned them to the revolution. From a metallic image on the Duma of the words ‘God save the Tsar!’, the first two words were broken off. They rushed into the Duma hall, ‘a huge portrait of his Majesty the Emperor was torn to pieces, while in the Duma the national flag was replaced with the red flag. They removed the hats from a protopriest, deacon and reader who were passing by in a cab to a pannikhida, and then later at the burial they stopped the procession ‘and interrupted the singing of “Holy God” with shouts of “Hurrah!”’. ‘They dragged along a dead cat and a scarecrow without its head and with the inscription “This is the autocracy”, and collected money on the spot “for killing the Tsar” or “for the death of Nicholas”’. ‘The young people, and especially the Jews, with an evident consciousness of their superiority began to point out to the Russians that freedom had not been given voluntarily, but had been snatched away from the government by the Jews… They openly said to the Russians: “Now we will rule you”’, and also: ‘We gave you God, we will also give you a tsar’.”[16] Prophetic words when we remember that it was little more than twelve years to the Jewish Soviet “tsardom”…

     Soon the students were forcing workers to take off their hats in front of the red flag. When the workers refused, they were shot at. But though unarmed, they succeeded in dispersing the crowd. Then, however, another thousand-strong crowd of Jews began to fire at the workers, killing four. Thus “in various places there began fights and armed confrontations between Russians and Jews: Russian workers and people without fixed occupations, the so-called hooligans, began to catch and beat up Jews. They went on to break into and destroy Jewish houses, flats and stalls.”[17]

     The next day the “counter-pogrom” of the Russians against the Jews began in earnest. Crowds of Russians of all classes carrying icons and portraits of the tsar, and singing “Save, O Lord, Thy people” marched into the centre of the town. There the revolutionaries shot at them, a boy carrying an icon was killed, bombs were thrown…

     Open warfare between Jews and Russians now began.

      “On October 31 [21?] a crowd of Jews destroyed state emblems and seized the Duma, proclaiming a ‘Danubian-Black Sea Republic’ headed by the Jew Pergament. It was suggested that the Don and Kuban lands should be ‘cleansed’ of Cossacks and handed over to Jewish settlers. Moreover, Jewish organizations armed from four to five thousand warriors, and not a little blood was shed in conflicts with soldiers. All this was described by the correspondent of the [London] Times, who was a witness of the events, in an article entitled ‘A Regime of Terror’ (Jewish terror was meant). Then in London the chief rabbi of the Spanish communities Gasper came out in print denying everything (‘Not one Jew insulted the Majesty’ of the Tsar) and affirming that that Tsarist troops and police had killed four thousand completely innocent Jews! The Times correspondent from Odessa refuted this fabrication: in general there had not been thousands of Jews killed. During the Odessa disorders only 293 Jews had been buried, of whom many died a natural death.[18] The Englishman also pointed out that the provocation had been arranged by the ‘central Jewish organization in Switzerland which sent its emissaries from Poland to Odessa’. He quoted L.Ya. Rabinovich on how the transfer of arms had taken place. But such witnesses from objective foreign observers were extremely rare! On the other hand, the whole of the world’s press was filled with descriptions of the horrors of the Jewish pogroms, which rolled in an especially powerful wave from October 18 to 21 in the cities of Orel, Kursk, Simferopol, Rostov-on-Don, Ryazan, Velikie Luki, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Kaluga, Kazan, Novgorod, Smolensk, Tula, Ufa, Tomsk, Warsaw, many others and in all the cities of the ‘Pale of Settlement’. Of course, nothing was said about how these pogroms had been provoked by the Jews themselves (especially often by firing at Russians from the windows of well-known Jewish houses). In our days it has become clearer that at that time social-democratic organizations led by Jews deliberately spread leaflets among the people calling on them to [start] Jewish pogroms.[19]

     The wrath of the people was directed not only against the Jews but against leftists generally. Thus in Tver a crowd set fire to the theatre in which the leftists were sitting – 200 perished. Another crowd threatened to do the same thing in Balashov, but thanks to the courageous actions of the governor, Peter Arkadyevich Stolypin, there were no victims.

     And yet, considering the scale of the disturbances, there were far fewer victims than might have been expected – 1000 dead and several thousand wounded, according to one Jewish source. Again, the Jew G. Sliozberg, a contemporary witness who was in possession of all the information, wrote: “Fortunately, all these hundreds of pogroms did not bring in their wake significant violence against the persons of Jews, and in the vast majority of places the pogroms were not accompanied by murders.”[20]

     For in 1905 faith and morality still held the great majority of the Orthodox people back from taking revenge against their persecutors. It would be a different story during the Civil War…

     On October 27 the Tsar wrote to his mother “that the pogromshchiki represented ‘a whole mass of loyal people’, reacting angrily to ‘the impertinence of the Socialists and revolutionaries… and, because nine-tenths of the trouble-makers are Jews, the People’s whole anger turned against them.’ This analysis was accepted by many foreign observers, notably British diplomats like the ambassador at St. Petersburg, Sir Charles Hardinge, his councillor, Cecil Spring Rice, and the Consul-General in Moscow, Alexander Murray.”[21] It was also supported by Senator Kuzminsky, who concluded that “the October disturbances and disorders were caused by factors of an undeniably revolutionary character and were crowned by a pogrom of Jews exclusively as a result of the fact that it was the representatives of this nationality who took the dominant part in the revolutionary movement”.[22]

     Alexander Solzhenitsyn has shown by extensive quotations from Jewish sources that the Jews were well aware of the true state of affairs. Even the more honest Jews had to admit that 1905 was in essence “a Jewish revolution”. “Thus in November, 1905 a certain Jacob de Haas in an article entitled ‘The Jewish Revolution’ in the London Zionist journal Maccabee wrote directly: ‘The revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution, for it is the turning point in Jewish history. This situation stems from the fact that Russia is the fatherland of about half of the overall number of Jews inhabiting the world…’[23]

     But the revolution was not just a Russian-Jewish affair: it also involved other nationalities within the empire, that in turn threatened intervention by foreign countries. For example, there was anarchy in the Baltic provinces, and “William II promised Professor Theodore Schliemann, a leading spokesman for the Baltic Germans in Berlin, that if the Russian monarchy fell, Germany would not abandon the Balts…”[24] There is no question that the 1905 revolution was a very close-run thing…


     As the disturbances spread through the country and the regions, the government under Witte, to the Tsar’s disgust, showed itself completely devoid of courage and ideas, and of necessity it was the Tsar himself who reassumed power and gradually reintroduced order. He decided to make concessions in Finland, restoring the old constitution there. But in Poland and the Baltic region he imposed martial law, and he sent loyal troops to quell disturbances in many other parts of the country.

     Some 15 per cent of Russia’s manor houses were destroyed during the 1905 revolution.[25] For “the peasantry,” as Pipes writes, “completely misunderstood the October Manifesto, interpreting it in its own manner as giving the communes licence to take over the countryside. Some rural disorders occurred in the spring of 1905, more in the summer, but they exploded only after October 17. Hearing of strikes and pogroms [both anti-Christian and anti-Jewish] in the cities going unpunished, the peasants drew their own conclusions. Beginning on October 23, when large-scale disorders broke out in Chernigov province, the wave of rural disorders kept on swelling until the onset of winters, re-emerging in the spring of 1906 on an even vaster scale. It would fully subside only in 1908 following the adoption of repressive measures by Prime Minister Stolypin.

     “… The principal aim of the jacquerie was neither inflicting physical harm nor even appropriating land, but depriving landlords and other non-peasant landowners of the opportunity to earn a livelihood in the countryside – ‘smoking them out’, as the saying went. In the words of one observer: ‘The [peasant] movement was directed almost exclusively against landed properties and not against the landlord: the peasants had no use whatever for landlords but they did need the land.’ The notion was simple: force the landlords to abandon the countryside and to sell their land at bargain prices. To this end, the peasants cut down the landlord’s forests, sent cattle to graze on his pasture, smashed his machinery, and refused to pay rent. In some places, manors were set on fire…

     “In an effort to stem the agrarian unrest, the government in early November reduced the due instalments of the redemption payments (payments for the land given the emancipated serfs in 1861) and promised to abolish them altogether in January 1907, but these measures did little to calm the rural districts.

     “In 1905 and 1906 peasants by and large refrained from seizing the land they coveted from fear that they would not be allowed to keep it. They still expected a grand national repartition of all the non-communal land, but whereas previously they had looked to the Tsar to order it, they now pinned their hopes on the Duma. The quicker they drove the landlords out, they reasoned, the sooner the repartition would take place…

     “The government faced one more trial of strength, this time with the radical left. In this conflict, there was no room for compromises, for the socialists would be satisfied with nothing less than a political and social revolution.

     “The authorities tolerated the St. Petersburg Soviet, which continued to sit in session although it no longer had a clear purpose. On November 26, they order the arrest of Nosar, its chairman. A three-man Presidium (one of whose members was Leon Trotsky) which replaced Nosar resolved to respond with an armed uprising. The first act, which it was hoped would bring about a financial collapse, was an appeal to the people (the so-called Financial Manifesto), issued on December 2, urging them to withhold payments to the Treasury, to withdraw money from savings accounts, and to accept only bullion or foreign currency. The next day, [the Interior Minister] Durnovo arrested the Soviet, putting some 260 deputies (about one-half of its membership) behind bars. Following these arrests a surrogate Soviet assembled under the chairmanship of Alexander Helphand (Parvus), the theoretician of ‘permanent revolution’. On December 6, the St. Petersburg Soviet issued a call for a general strike to being two days later. The call went unheeded, even though the Union of Unions gave it its blessing.

     “The socialists were more successful in Moscow. The Moscow Soviet, formed only on November 21 by intellectuals of the three principal socialist parties, decided to press the revolution beyond its ‘bourgeois’ phase. Their followers consisted of semi-skilled workers, many of them employed in the textile industry, professionally and culturally less mature than their counterparts in the capital. The principal force behind this effort was the Moscow Bolshevik Committee. The Moscow rising was the first occasion in the 1905 Revolution when the socialists took the lead. On December 6, the Moscow Soviet voted to begin the following day an armed insurrection for the purpose of overthrowing the tsarist government, convoking a Constituent Assembly, and proclaiming a democratic republic.

     “On December 7, Moscow was paralyzed: the strike was enforced by Soviet agents who threatened with violence anyone who refused to cooperate. Two days later, government forces launched an attack on the insurgents; the latter responded with urban guerrilla tactics. The arrival of the Semeonovskii Regiment, which used artillery to disperse the rioters, settled the issue. On December 18 the Executive Committee of the Moscow Soviet capitulated. Over 1,000 people lost their lives in the uprising and whole areas of the ancient capital were gutted…”[26]

     In Moscow an important role was played by the future hieromartyr Metropolitan Vladimir, who powerfully raised his archpastoral voice, rebuking the rebels and exposing the essence of the revolution.

     Thus on October 16, after the liturgy in the Kremlin Dormition cathedral, he said: “The heart bleeds when you see what is happening around us… It is no longer the Poles, or external enemies, but our own Russian people, who, having lost the fear of God, have trusted the rebels and are holding our first capital as it were in a siege. Even without this we have been having a hard time because of our sins: first harvest failures [in 1891, 1897, 1898 and 1901], then illnesses, then an unsuccessful war [the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05], and now something unheard of is taking place in Rus’: it is as if God has deprived Russian people of their minds. By order of underground revolutionaries, strikes have begun everywhere, in the factories, in the schools, on the railways… Oh if only our unfortunate workers knew who is ruling them, who is sending them trouble-maker-agitators, then they would have turned from them in horror as from poisonous snakes! You know these are the so-called social-democrats, these are the revolutionaries, who have long ago renounced God in their works. They have renounced Him, and yet it may be that they have never known the Christian faith. They denounce her servants, her rites, they mock her holy things. Their main nest is abroad: they are dreaming of subduing the whole world to themselves; in their secret protocols they call us, the Christians, animals, to whom God, they say, has given a human face only in order that it should not be repulsive to them, His chosen ones, to use our services… With satanic cunning they catch light-minded people in their nets, promising them paradise on earth, but they carefully hide from them their secret aims, their criminal dreams. Having deceived the unfortunate, they drag him to the most terrible crimes, as if for the sake of the common good, and, in fact they make him into an obedient slave. They try in every way to cast out of his soul, or at any rate to distort, the teaching of Christ. Thus the commandments of Christ say: do not steal, do not covet what belongs to another, but they say: everything is common, take from the rich man everything you like. The commandments of Christ say: share your last morsel, your last kopeck with your neighbour, but they teach: take from others everything that you need. The commandments of Christ say: give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, fear God, venerate the Tsar, but they say: we don’t need any Tsar, the Tsar is a tyrant… The commandments of God say: in patience possess your souls, but they say: in struggle acquire your rights. The commandment of Christ orders us to lay down our souls for our friends, but they teach to destroy people who are completely innocent, to kill them only for the fact they do not agree with them, and do not embark on robbery, but just want to work honourably and are ready to stand for the law, for the Tsar, for the Church of God…”

     “The sermon of Metropolitan Vladimir elicited the annoyance of the liberal-democratic press, and also of the liberal clergy. The latter either read the sermon in a shortened version, or did not read it at all. In the leftist newspaper Russkoe Slovo 76 priests published a declaration regarding their ‘complete non-solidarity’ with ‘the “Word” of Metropolitan Vladimir…’

     “As a result of the actions of the priests quarrels also arose amidst their flock. The Synod, in response to this, unfortunately saw in the epistle of Metropolitan Vladimir, not a call to defend the Faith and the Fatherland, but ‘a call to the local population to defend themselves in the sphere of political convictions’, and in their ‘Resolution of October 22, 1905 N 150’ instructed the diocesan bishops and the clergy subject to them to make efforts ‘to remove quarrels in the population’, which, to a large extent, were continuing because of the opposition of the liberal priests to their metropolitan.

     “But nothing could devalue or undermine the influence of the epistle of Metropolitan Vladimir on the Muscovites, and the true Russian people responded to it. The day after the publication of the ‘Word’, the workers began to serve molebens and return to work; the city water-supply began to work, the trams began to run, etc. Metropolitan Vladimir himself went to the factories and, after prayer, conducted archpastoral discussions with the workers.

     ”Later, in evaluating the labours of the holy hierarch Vladimir in overcoming the disturbances of 1905, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) said the following notable words about him: ‘Meek and humble, never seeking anything for himself, honourable and a lover of righteousness, Vladyka Vladimir gradually and quietly ascended the hierarchical ladder and was immediately exalted by his authority, drawing the hearts of ecclesiastical and patriotic Russia to himself during the days of general instability and treachery, when there were few who remained faithful to their duty and their oath, firm in the defence of the Orthodox Church, the Tsar-Autocrat and the Homeland… when everything began to shake in our Rus’, and many pillars began to waver…’ (speech of Archbishop Anthony of Zhitomir and Volhynia at the triumphal dinner given by Metropolitan Vladimir in honour of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch who was visiting Russia, 22 February, 1913).

     “By ‘pillars’ Vladyka Anthony probably had in mind the liberal members of the Most Holy Synod, who did not support their brother, Metropolitan Vladimir…”[27] Among these, many suspected the most senior member of the Synod, Metropolitan Anthony of St. Petersburg.[28]

  Another under suspicion was Bishop Sergius (Stragorodsky), whose political sympathies were clearly leftist. Thus “when in 1905 the revolutionary professors began to demand reforms in the spiritual schools, then, in the words of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), ‘his Grace Sergius… wavered in faith.’”[29]

     Again, when the revolutionary Peter Schmidt was shot in 1906, Archbishop Sergius, who was at that time rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, served a pannikhida at his grave; and he also gave refuge in his hierarchical house in Vyborg to the revolutionaries Michael Novorussky and Nicholas Morozov (a participant in the attempt on the life of Tsar Alexander II). Having such sympathies, it is not surprising that he was not liked by the Royal Family…[30]

     Bishop Sergius was to betray the Church after the revolution and become the first Soviet patriarch…


      And so the 1905 revolution was crushed. But the revolutionary spirit remained alive, and the country remained divided. The Empire had struck back; but the bell was tolling for the Empire…

     The disturbances, particularly in the countryside, continued well into 1906, and only gradually died down thereafter. Thus in January the Tsar was forced to emphasize to a peasant delegation from Kursk province that the private property of the landlords, no less than that of the peasants themselves, was inviolable.[31] And even after the revolution had been defeated, “between January 1908 and May 1910, 19,957 terrorist attacks and revolutionary robberies were recorded; 732 government officials and 3,052 private citizens were killed, and nearly another 4,000 wounded.”[32] The revolutionary parties disappeared temporarily into the underground. But the liberals formed a new political party, the Constitutional Democrats, or Cadets, and in the elections to the first Duma in March, they triumphed convincingly over their more rightist opponents.

     The Duma simply continued the revolution by other means. After the Tsar had opened its first session with a fine speech on April 27, the deputies began fiercely attacking him and his ministers, and voted to give an amnesty to all political prisoners, “punishing them by forgiveness” in the words of F.I. Rodichev.[33] The deputies also made political demands: the formation of a ministry responsible to themselves and not to the Tsar and the abrogation of the State Senate. They voted for the forcible appropriation of the estates of the landowners – a measure that only incited the peasants to further violence. But at the same time they voted to reduce credit for the starving from 50 million rubles to 15 million![34]

     On July 8 the Tsar dissolved the Duma on the grounds of its open call to disobey the authorities. The deputies were caught by surprise, and many of them travelled to Vyborg in Finland, where they issued an openly revolutionary declaration, calling on the people not to pay taxes, to refuse military service and not to recognize loans concluded with the government during the conflict. However, the governor of Vyborg asked them to cut short their session, fearing that it would lead to restrictions on Finland’s autonomy. The deputies returned to Petersburg having achieved nothing; nobody paid any attention to them… On June 3, 1907 the Second Duma was dissolved and a new electoral law introduced. The Third Duma that resulted was much more rightist, with an important role being played by the “Octobrists” under Guchkov, who decided to work with the government. This was the signal for a significant shift to the right in society as a whole: terrorist acts continued around the country, but for the time being the wind had been taken out of the sails of the revolutionaries…   

     So great was the change in mood that a conference of the Cadets in Helsingfors at the end of September even decided to abandon the Vyborg manifesto. The students returned to their studies. The revolutionaries ceased to be lionized…

     Although the revolution had been crushed, monarchist thinkers felt that the concessions that the Tsar had given in his October Manifesto should be rescinded. True, in his new version of the Basic Laws published on April 23, 1906, just before the opening of the First Duma, the Tsar appeared to claw back some power: “4. The All-Russian Emperor possesses the supreme autocratic power. Not only fear and conscience, but God himself, commands obedience to his authority... 8. The sovereign emperor possesses the initiative in all legislative matters. The Fundamental Laws may be subject to revision in the State Council and State Duma only on His initiative. The sovereign emperor ratifies the laws. No law can come into force without his approval. . . 9. The Sovereign Emperor approves laws; and without his approval no legislative measure can become law.”

     However, there were other parts of the law that suggested that the Duma still had considerable power: “7. The sovereign emperor exercises power in conjunction with the State Council and the State Duma...   86. No new law can come into force without the approval of the State Council and State Duma and the ratification of the sovereign emperor.”[35]

     In any case, even if it was conceded that the Tsar had surrendered some of his autocratic powers to the Duma, he was clearly not going to take them back again. So what was to be done? The answer, in the minds of many monarchists, was the creation of a grass-roots monarchist party - “The Union of the Russian People”, or “the Black Hundreds”, as it was called by its opponents, who reviled it as being the mainstay, not only of monarchism, but also of “anti-semitism” in the Russian people.

     The Unions first became an important force during the successful counter-revolution of 1906-07, when they had about 11,000 local sections, and their members comprised several hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life.[36] Their continued to be important in the following period. They were not so much anti-semitic as anti-Judaist, anti-revolutionary and, of course, pro-monarchical.[37]

     A great organizer of the Unions who emerged into the spotlight at this time was the missionary, future hieromartyr and great friend of St. John of Kronstadt, Fr. John Vostorgov.

     On Great Friday, March 31, 1906 he said the following in the cathedral of Christ the Saviour: "Our homeland has entered upon a new path of life, before and ahead of us is - a new Russia.

     "Forgive us, forgive us, old, thousand-year-old Russia! Before our eyes they have judged you, condemned you and sentenced you to death... Threatening and merciless judges have spat in your face and have found nothing good in you. The judgement was strict, implacable and merciless. Everything has merged into the cry: 'Take her, crucify her!'

     "We also know that nothing human was alien to you; we know that you had many faults. But we also know and see that you made Russia holy, and her people - a God-bearing people, if not in actuality, at any rate in the eternal, undying ideal of the people's soul; you gave birth to and raised a mighty people, preserving it in its bitter fate, in the crucible of its historical trials through a whole series of centuries; you gave birth to and raised an array of saints and righteous ones; you did not perish under the blows, the heavy blows of destiny, but became stronger under them, strong in faith; with this faith, this great power of spirit, you endured all the burdens, and yet you created, and entrusted to us and left behind, a great kingdom. For all this we bow down to the earth in gratitude...

     “The monarchist Unions,” wrote Fr. John, “… foresaw the terrible dangers that threatened the Russian religious and popular-state structure and way of life. Others arose in their hundreds after the danger had already appeared, so as to protect the religious and state ideals of Russia and defend the integrity and indivisibility of Russia. Their essence consists in the fact that they are a storehouse of the religiosity and patriotism of the Russian people. At a fateful moment of history, when the ship of the Russian State was listing so far to the left that disaster seemed inevitable, the monarchist patriotic Unions leaned with all their strength to the right side of the ship and saved it from capsizing. The distinguished activists of the right-wing Unions came out onto the field of public work at a time when they could expect nothing except bullets and bombs, killings from round the corner, persecutions from the newspapers, mockery and disdain from the disoriented intelligentsia and even the government itself – that of Witte of sorrowful memory and his comrades and helpers…”[38]

     In 1906-07 the higher ranks of the clergy were divided about the Union. Thus Metropolitan Anthony (Vadkovsky) of St. Petersburg opposed it. But Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow[39], Archbishop Tikhon (Bellavin) of Yaroslavl, Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Volhynia, Bishop Hermogen of Saratov, St. John of Kronstadt, Elder Theodosius of Minvody, Fr. John Vostorgov and many others joined it without doubting.

     Archbishop Makary (Parvitsky-Nevsky) of Tomsk explained the nature of the struggle: “’For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland!’ – that is the inscription on the banner of the Union of the Russian People. It calls, evidently, for Russian people to be united, so as to stand up for the foundations of the Russian Land. But the banner of unification has at the same time become a banner of altercation. Against the band standing with the banner ‘For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland!’ there stands a horde of people with the red banner, on which is written: ‘Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood’. On this latter banner there remain traces of blood, blood that has already darkened with time. This is not our Russian banner, but has been brought from another country, where it was once steeped in blood. It appeared amongst us only recently. With its inscription, which speaks of freedom, equality and brotherhood, it has drawn the attention of many, not only foreigners who live in the Russian Land, but also Russians, who have not suspected that under this visible inscription there is hidden another meaning, that by this freedom we must understand violence, by equality – slavery, and by pan-brotherhood – fratricide. Between the horde of freedom, equality and brotherhood and the band for Faith, Tsar and Fatherland a struggle for dominance is taking place.”[40]

     In general, however, the Union was plagued by schisms and by poor leadership that gave it a bad name. The “Union of the Archangel Michael”, led by the deputy V.M. Purishkevich, separated from the “Union of the Russian People” led by A. Dubronin. Another major problem was that the monarchist parties turned out to be “more royal than the king”: in the provinces they often criticized the governors for being liberal, while in the Duma they remained in opposition to the government of Stolypin – who, of course, had the confidence of the Tsar.[41]

     Dubronin was only superficially Orthodox. Thus he was for the tsar - but against hierarchy! And he wanted to rid the empire of “the Germans”, that is, that highly efficient top layer of the administration which proved itself as loyal to the empire as any other section of the population. When interviewed years later by the Cheka, Dubronin declared: “By conviction I am a communist monarchist, that is, [I want] there to be monarchist government under which those forms of government [will flourish] which could bring the people an increase in prosperity. For me all kinds of cooperatives, associations, etc. are sacred.” Fr. John Vostorgov, one of the founders of the Union, considered Dubronin an enemy of the truth… He stressed that true patriotism can only be founded on true faith and morality. “Where the faith has fallen,” he said, “and where morality has fallen, there can be no place for patriotism, there is nothing for it to hold on to, for everything that is the most precious in the homeland then ceases to be precious.”[42]

     The major problem for the monarchists was the paradoxicality of the idea of a monarchical party within a monarchy. The Tsar was seen as standing above party and class interests, reconciling them all in obedience to himself. But the October manifesto appeared to many to divide power between the Tsar and the Duma. So the monarchists were forced to conduct party politics in favour of the idea that the state should not be the product of party politics, but incarnate in the tsar who was above all party politics…

     In spite of these contradictions, the monarchist parties played an essential role in shoring up support for the Tsar and Tsarism at a critical time. And that is why the best churchmen of the time supported them, entering into open battle with the leftists. For there could be no real unity between those who ascribed ultimate power to the Tsar and those who ascribed it to the Duma. Moreover, the struggle between the “reds” and the “blacks” was not simply a struggle between different interpretations of the October manifesto, or between monarchists and constitutionalists, but between two fundamentally incompatible world-views - the Orthodox Christian and the Masonic-Liberal-Ecumenist. It was a struggle between two fundamentally opposed views of where true authority comes from – God or the people.

     As Bishop Andronicus, the future hieromartyr, wrote: “It is not a question of the struggle between two administrative regimes, but of a struggle between faith and unbelief, between Christianity and antichristianity. The ancient antichristian plot, which was begun by those who shouted furiously to Pilate about Jesus Christ: ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him: His blood be on us and on our children’ - continued in various branches and secret societies. In the 16th century it poured into the special secret antichristian order of the Templars, and in the 18th century it became more definite in the Illuminati, the Rosecrucians and, finally, in Freemasonry it merged into a universal Jewish organization. And now, having gathered strength to the point where France is completely in the hands of the Masons, it – Masonry – already openly persecutes Christianity out of existence there. In the end Masonry will be poured out into one man of iniquity, the son of destruction – the Antichrist (II Thessalonians 2). In this resides the solution of the riddle of our most recent freedoms: their aim is the destruction of Christianity in Rus’. That is why what used to be the French word ‘liberal’, which meant among the Masons a ‘generous’ contributor to the Masonic aims, and then received the meaning of ‘freedom-loving’ with regard to questions of faith, has now already passed openly over to antichristianity. In this resides the solution of the riddle of that stubborn battle for control of the school, which is being waged in the zemstvo and the State Duma: if the liberal tendency gains control of the school, the success of antichristianity is guaranteed. In this resides the solution of the riddle of the sympathy of liberals for all kinds of sects in Christianity and non-Christian religions. And the sectarians have not been slumbering – they have now set about attacking the little children… And when your children grow up and enter university – there Milyukov and co. will juggle with the facts and deceive them, teaching them that science has proved man’s origin from the apes. And they will really make our children into beasts, with just this difference, that the ape is a humble and obedient animal whereas these men-beasts will be proud, bold, cruel and unclean….”[43]

      Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) put the monarchist case in February, 1907 as follows: “Perhaps there are countries which are best ruled not by tsars, but by many leaders. But our kingdom, which consists of a multitude of races, various faiths and customs that are hostile to each other, can stand only when at its head there stands one Anointed of God, who gives account to nobody except God and His commandments. Otherwise all the races that inhabit the Russian land would go against each other with knives, and would not be pacified until they had themselves destroyed each other, or had submitted to the power of the enemies of Russia. Only the White Tsar is venerated by all the peoples of Russia; for his sake they obey the civil laws, go into the army and pay their taxes. Our tsars are the friends of the people and preservers of the holy faith, and the present Sovereign Nicholas Alexandrovich is the meekest and quietest of all the kings of the whole world. He is the crown of our devotion to our native land and you must stand for him to your last drop of blood, not allowing anybody to diminish his sacred power, for with the fall of this power, Russia also will fall…

     “Russian man, lend your ear to your native land: what does it tell you? ‘From the righteous Princess Olga, from the equal-to-the-apostles Vladimir until the days of Seraphim of Sarov and to the present day and to future ages all the wise leaders of my people think and say the same,’ that is what the land will reply to you… ‘They taught their contemporaries and their descendants one and the same thing: both the princes, and the tsars, and the hierarchs who sat on the Church sees, and the hermits who hid amidst the forest and on the islands of the sea, and the military commanders, and the warriors, and the boyars, and the simple people: they all taught to look on this life as the entrance courtyard into the future life, they all taught to use it in such a way as not to console the flesh, but to raise the soul to evangelical virtue, to preserve the apostolic faith unharmed, to keep the purity of morals and truthfulness of speech, to honour the tsars and those placed in authority by them, to listen to and venerate the sacred monastic order, not to envy the rich, but to compete with the righteous ones, to love to work the land as indicated by God to our race through Adam and Noah, and to turn to other crafts only out of necessity or because of a special talent; not to borrow the corrupt habits of foreigners, their proud, lying and adulterous morals, but to preserve the order of the fatherland, which is fulfilled through chastity, simplicity and evangelical love; to stand fearlessly for your native land on the field of battle and to study the law of God in the sacred books.’ That is what our land teaches us, that is what the wise men and righteous ones of all epochs of our history entrusted to us, in which there was no disagreement between them, but complete unanimity. The whole of Rus’ thinks in the same way. But she knows that only the Anointed of God must preserve this spirit and defend it from enemies visible and invisible by his mighty right hand. And look he hardly stepped back from life when his popular privileges were snatched from him by deception and violence by his enemies and the enemies of the people. Yes, the Russian people thinks and feels one thing: in its eyes public life is a general exploit of virtue, and not the realm of secular pleasures, it is the laborious increase of the Kingdom of God amongst us ourselves and its implanting in the unenlightened tribes, and not the equalisation of all faiths and superstitions. The Orthodox people knows and feels this. It feels that without one ruling royal right hand it is impossible for our land of many tribes to exist. In it are 102 different faiths, 102 tribes that will now nourish malicious enmity against each other immediately they cease to feel the ruling right hand of the White Tsar above them. Let him hear out the reports of the people’s delegates, let him allow them to express their opinions on various matters of the kingdom. But the final decision will be made by him himself, and he will give an account for this only through his conscience before the Lord God. One only submission, one only limitation of his power is necessary to the people: that openly on the day of his crowning he should confess his Orthodox faith to God and the people in accordance with the Symbol of the Fatherland – so that he should not have human arbitrariness, but the evangelical law of God as his unfailing guide in his sovereign decisions and undertakings. That is the kingdom we need, and this is understood not only by Russian people, but also by people other faiths who live in our land with a healthy people’s reasoning, and not through lies and deceit: both Tatars and Kirgiz and the old Jews who believe in their own way, and the distant Tunguz. All of them know that shaking the Tsar’s Autocracy means beginning the destruction of the whole of Russia, which has been confirmed in the last three years…”[44]


    In 1911 an interesting debate took place between the revolutionary-turned-monarchist Lev Alexandrovich Tikhomirov and Stolypin. Tikhomirov considered the new order in Russia after 1906 to be “unprincipled” and “neither monarchy nor democracy” “Being ambiguous in concept and deviating from a clear attitude to any Supreme Power, it was formed in such a way that in it everyone can get in everyone else’s way but there is no one who could force the institutions of state to collaborate. His Majesty the Emperor himself can independently only not allow a law to be enforced, but he cannot independently create a law that is necessary for the country. But… the state, on the contrary, has the task of working, and especially in a country that has been so disturbed during the preceding years of woes and troubles.

     “This order, which is extremely bad from the point of view of its apparatus, is, in addition to that, complete antinational, that is, it does not correspond either to the character of the nation or to the conditions of the general situation of the Empire. As a result of this, disorganization in the country is being engendered on all sides. Unifying elements are weakening. A friable, bored, discontented mood has appeared. The Russians are losing their spirit, their faith in themselves, they are not inspired by patriotism. Moreover, class and inter-racial quarrels are necessarily becoming sharper.

     “Russia constitutes a nation and a state that are great in instincts and means, but also surrounded by great dangers. It was created by Russians and is preserved only by Russians. Only Russian power brings the remaining elements to some solidarity amongst themselves and with the Empire. … We have a huge non-Russian population… The strongest of the other races are foreign to our patriotism. They are eternally quarrelling amongst themselves, but are inclined to rebel against the dominion of the Russians. The unifying element, the general bond is we, the Russians. Without us the Empire will disintegrate, and these other races will perish. Therefore we must remember our mission and support the conditions of our strength. We must remember that our state is a matter not simply of national egoism, but a global duty. We occupy a post that is necessary for all. But in order to keep this post we need a one-person Supreme Power, that is, the Tsar, not as the adornment of a pediment, but as a real state power.

     “No combinations of popular representation or elective laws can guarantee the supremacy of the Russians. We must understand ourselves. As a people that is essentially statist, the Russians are not suited to petty political struggles, they can do politics only wholesale, not retail, by contrast with the Poles, the Jews, etc. The aims of the supremacy of such a people (as with the Romans) are attainable only by a one-person Supreme Power that realizes its ideals. With such a power we become stronger and more skilful than all, for no Poles can compare with the Russians in the capacity for discipline and solidarity around a one-person power endowed with a moral character.

     “But if it has no centre of unity, the Russian people loses its head and particularist peoples begin to obstruct it. Historical practice has created a Supreme Power in accordance with the Russian character. The Russian people has grown for itself a Tsar in union with the Church. [But] since 1906 that which was proper to the people has been undermined, and it is being forced to live in a way that it is not able to and does not want. This was undoubtedly a huge constitutional mistake, for whatever theoretical preferences there may be, practically speaking state reason requires institutions that conform to the character of the people and the general conditions of its supremacy. In destroying that, 1906 deprived us of that without which the Empire cannot exist – the possibility of creating a dictatorship immediately. Such a possibility was given first of all by the presence of a Tsar having the right to engage in the situation with all his unlimited Supreme Power.

     “The consciousness alone of the possibility of an immediate concentration [of power] filled the Russians with confidence in their strength, while inspiring our rivals with fear and dread. Now that has been taken away. And without our watchfulness there is nobody to keep the remaining races in unity…”[45]

     Stolypin replied on July 9: “All these fine theoretical considerations would in practice have turned out to be a malicious provocation and the beginning of a new revolution…”[46]

     Both men were right. Tikhomirov was right that the post-1906 order in Russia was no longer a true autocracy in the full sense, and that it contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction. But Stolypin was right that there was no real practical alternative, and that through him and his government the Tsar could at any rate carry out a part of his autocratic will.


May 3/16, 2016.

St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves.


[1] Yana Sedova, “V Plenu Mifov i Stereotipov” (In Captivity to Myths and Stereotypes), Nasha Strana (Our Country), 17 July, 2010, pp. 1-2.

[2] Pipes, The Russian Revolution 1899-1919, London: Collins Harvill, 1990, pp. 36-37.

[3] Oldenburg, Tsarstvovanie Imperatora Nikolaia II (The Reign of Emperor Nicholas II), Belgrade, 1939, pp. 312-313.

[4] Pipes, op. cit., p. 43.

[5] Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossijskoi Imperii (A Complete Collection of the Laws of the Russian Empire), 3rd series, vol. XXV/I, N 26803).

[6] Oldenburg, op. cit., p. 315.

[7] Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 424-425.

[8] Vostorgov, in Fomin & Fomina, Rossia pered Vtorym Prishestviem (Russia before the Second Coming), Sergiev Posad, 1998, p. 403.

[9] Rodzevich, in A. Ascher, The Revolution of 1905, Stanford University Press, 1992, p. 12.

[10] Solzhenitsyn, Dvesti Let Vmeste (Two Hundred Years Together), 2001, p. 375.

[11] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 428.

[12] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 379-380, 383-384.

[13] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 358.

[14] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 367-368.

[15] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 361.

[16] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 390-391.

[17] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 393.

[18] “According to information provided by the police, those killed numbered more than 500, of whom 400 were Jews, while the wounded registered by the police numbered 289… of whom 237 were Jews”(Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 397). (V.M.).

[19] Lebedev, op. cit., pp. 428-429.

[20] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 401.

[21] Niall Ferguson, The War of the World, London: Penguin Books, 2006, p. 68.

[22] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 398-399.

[23] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 421.

[24]Lieven, Towards the Flame. Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia, London: Allen Lane, 2015, p. 190.

[25] Macmillan, op. cit., p. 167.

[26] Pipes, op. cit., pp. 48-50.

[27] Riasophor-Monk Anempodist, “Sviaschennomuchenik mitropolit Vladimir (Bogoiavlenskij) i bor’ba s revoliutsii” (Hieromartyr Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoiavlensky) and the struggle against the revolution), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), 53, N 1 (636), January, 2003, pp. 2-10.

     Metropolitan Vladimir’s strong monarchist convictions were apparent already at his ordination, when he said: “A priest who is not a monarchist is unworthy to stand at the Holy Altar. A priest who is republican is always of little faith. A monarch is consecrated to his power by God, a president receives power from the pride of the people; a monarch is powerful through his carrying out of the commandments of God, a president holds on to power by pleasing the mob; a monarch leads his faithful subjects to God, a president leads them away from God.” (Valentina Sologub, Kto Gospoden – Ko Mne! (He who is the Lord’s – Come to me!), Moscow, 2007, p. 45)

[28] Metropolitan Anthony was said to be an enemy of St. John of Kronstadt and even a Freemason. See Fomin & Fomina, Rossia pered Vtorym Prishestviem (Russia before the Second Coming), Sergiev Posad, 1998, pp. 391-392; M.B. Danilushkin (ed.), Istoria Russkoj Tserkvi ot Vosstanovlenia Patriarshestva do nashikh dnej (A History of the Russian Church from the Restoration of the Patriarchate to our Days), vol. I, St. Petersburg, 1997, pp. 78-80, 771-783; Nadieszda Kizenko, A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000, chapter 7.

[29] “Preemstvennost’ Grekha”, publication of the parish of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Tsaritsyn, p. 7.

[30] In 1915 the Empress wrote to the Emperor that Sergius “must leave the Synod” (A. Paryaev, “Mitropolit Sergij Stragorodskij: Neizvestnaia Biographia”, Suzdal’skie Eparkhial’nie Vedomosti, N 1, September, 1997, pp. 12-15).

[31] S.S. Oldenburg, Tsarstvovanie Imperatora Nikolaia II, Belgrade, 1939, vol. I, p. 337.

[32] Douglas Smith, Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy, London: Macmillan, 2012, p. 58. Fr. Raphael Johnston writes: “Alexander III came to the throne over the corpse of his father. The revolutionaries, emboldened, as they always are, by liberal pacification, the communist and other far left groups were becoming increasingly violent. From the reign of Alexander II to 1905, the total number of people — both innocent civilians and government officials (including lowly bureaucratic clerks) — murdered by the Herzenian “New Men” came roughly to 12,000. From 1906-1908, it rose by 4,742 additional, with 9,424 attempts to murder. On the other hand, the Russian government’s attitude towards the “New Men” was mixed. Generally, the monarchy was lenient. Exile to Siberia was often not a punishment. Siberia is not entirely a massive, frozen wasteland, but is possessed of great natural beauty, mountains and rivers. It is cold, but it is not the locale of the popular imagination. Local people, not knowing who the deportees were, received them with hospitality; they became part of town life, and the deportees were given much personal freedom. This sort of “imprisonment” was far superior to the American penal system, which can be — at its maximum security level — considered merely a gang war between various minority groups.” (The Third Rome)

[33] Oldenburg, op. cit., p. 349.

[34] Oldenburg, op. cit., p. 355.

[35] Svod Zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii (The Collection of the Laws of the Russian Empire), 3rd series, vol. 1, pt. 1. St Petersburg, 1912, pp. 5-26.

[36] S. Anikin, “Buduschee prinadlezhit trezvym natsiam” (The Future Belongs to Sober Nations), Vernost’, 142, March, 2010,

[37] It is ironic that the “anti-semites” were helped in these years by a large loan secured in France by Witte through the mediation of one of the Rothschilds – for which the Alliance Israélite Universelle labelled Rothschild a traitor.

[38] Vostorgov, in Valentina Sologub (ed.), Kto Gospoden’ – ko mne! (He who is of the Lord – to me!), Moscow, 2007, p. 115.

[39] Monk Anempodist writes: “Metropolitan Vladimir went on to take part in the movement of the right conservative forces of Russia that was being formed. Thus in 1907 he took part in the work of the All-Russian congress of ‘The Union of the Russian People’. In 1909, while taking part in the work of the First Monarchist congress of Russian People, Metropolitan Vladimir was counted worthy of the honour of passing on a greeting to the congress from his Majesty the Emperor Nicholas II in the following telegram:

     “’To his Eminence Vladimir, Metropolitan of Moscow. I entrust to you, Vladyko, to pass on to all those assembled in the first capital at the congress of Russian people and members of the Moscow Patriotic Union My gratitude for their loyal feelings. I know their readiness faithfully and honourably to serve Me and the homeland, in strict observance of lawfulness and order. St. Petersburg. 30 September. Nicholas.’”Riasophor-Monk Anempodist, “Sviaschennomuchenik mitropolit Vladimir (Bogoiavlenskij) i bor’ba s revoliutsii” (Hieromartyr Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoiavlensky) and the struggle against the revolution), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), 53, N 1 (636), January, 2003, pp. 2-10.

[40] Tatiana Groyan, Tsariu Nebesnomu i Zemnomu Vernij (Faithful to the Heavenly and Earthly Kings), Moscow, 1996, p. CXI.

[41] Oldenburg, op. cit., vol. II, p. 60.

[42] Vostorgov, in Fomin & Fomina, op. cit., p. 400. My italics (V.M.)

[43] Bishop Andronicus, “Russkij grazhdanskij stroj zhizni pered sudom khristianina” (The Russian civil order before the judgement of the Christian), Fryazino, 1995, pp. 24-25. In 1918 Bishop Andronicus would suffer martyrdom at the hands of these men-beasts by being buried alive…

[44] Rklitsky, op. cit., vol. 2, pp. 173, 175-177.

[45] Tikhomirov, “Poslednee pis’mo Stolypinu”, in Petr Stolypin, Moscow, 1998, pp. 235-237.

[46] Oldenburg, op. cit., vol. II, p. 76.

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