Sergei Witte, one of the most influential men in early 20th century Russia is one who despite being both loathed and praised should be admired for unwavering dedication to his cause. According to Freeze, Witte set Russian industrial growth on the fast track to success at a rate of 8% increase in production each year prior to the 1905 revolution. This success was short lived by the actual outcomes of the policies in Russian society including first and foremost the unrest of the workers.
There is nothing like a mixed message or kicking those who are already down though, and this comes through Czar Nicholas’ praise of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. An article from the 11 October 1905 New York Times reads: “Highly appreciating the ability and statesmanlike experience you have shown and as a grateful recognition of your great and highly important services to the Fatherland, I grant you the rank of Count of the Russian Empire… I remain ever your well-disposed and highly grateful, Nicholas.” I can see this as the gasoline added to the fire for many, and is a defining moment which made the struggling feel that their voice was even less important.
One may say that Witte gave up on his cause when he became the first Prime Minister of the Constitutional Government when he found his position next to impossible and respectfully withdrew from the mainstream politics in Russia in 1906. What do you think would have happened without the some of Witte’s so called controversial successes in 1905 Russia?
Image of Sergei Witte:
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