Party affiliation: Constitutional Democratic
Pavel Nikolayevich Miliukov was a Russian historian and liberal politician. His name is sometimes rendered in English as Paul Miliukov or Paul Milukoff. Milyukov was the founder, leader, and the most prominent member of the Constitutional Democratic party (known as the Kadets). In the Russian Provisional Government, he served as Foreign Minister, working to prevent Russia's exit from the First World War.
- Milyukov studied history and philology at the Moscow University, where he was influenced by Herbert Spencer, Auguste Comte, and Karl Marx. His teachers were Vasily Klyuchevsky and Paul Vinogradoff. In summer 1877 he briefly took part in Russo-Turkish War as a military logistic, but returned to the university. He was expelled for taking part in student riots, went to Italy, but was readmitted and allowed to take his degree. He specialized in the study of Russian history and in 1885 received the degree for a work on the State Economics of Russia in the First Quarter of the 18th Century and the reforms of Peter the Great.
Penalized in this fashion for his political liberalism, Miliukov responded by spending most of the following decade abroad, teaching in the Balkans, Britain, and the United States. During these years he won a place as a major figure in Russian liberal politics. He was a founding father of the Constitutional Democratic party (the so-called Kadets) in 1905, and he became the leading policymaker for the Kadet delegation in the Duma, the quasi-parliament established in 1906. Barred from running in the first two elections to the Duma, Miliukov finally became a Duma deputy in 1907.
Although the Kadet program included sweeping proposals for land reform, Miliukov put his most enthusiastic efforts behind the push for political change. He hoped and expected Russia's autocracy to evolve into a constitutional monarchy similar to Britain's. Frustrated in his efforts to attain such reform in domestic affairs, Miliukov, between 1907 and 1914, developed a strong interest in foreign policy.
With the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, Miliukov became an ardent supporter of the war effort. Military victory, he hoped, would enhance Russia's status as a great power, specifically by the acquisition of the Turkish Straits and the city of Constantinople. Moreover, he expected the wartime alliance with Britain and France to help bend Russia's autocratic government toward liberal reform. In 1915 he began to criticize the government's inept prosecution of the war, and he led in the formation of the Progressive Bloc, a loose association of Duma liberals and conservatives who called for more capable ministerial leadership. Miliukov's attacks on the regime reached a climax in a bitter speech in the Duma in November 1916 in which he obliquely attacked the Empress Alexandra as well as Prime Minister Sturmer.
Following the March 1917 Revolution, Miliukov took the post of foreign minister and dominated the provisional government during its early months. He was unable to perceive or accept the need for sweeping social reforms or shifts in Russian foreign policy. Instead, he urged that Russia fight the war to a victorious conclusion and collect the prize of the Turkish Straits. Miliukov's foreign policy became the first important cause of friction between the provisional government and the more radical Petrograd Soviet. Unyielding in his commitment to war aims and political ideals that antedated the March Revolution, Miliukov was pushed aside by events. Soviet pressure, given weight by massive street demonstrations, forced his resignation in May 1917. Russia began to depart from its wartime alliance.
Miliukov maintained his role as a pillar of moderate liberalism. He led the Kadets in their effort to limit the scope of the revolution, and vigorously opposed Lenin and the Bolsheviks. After the November Revolution, he was threatened with arrest and fled to the Don, where White opposition to the new Bolshevik regime was gathering. His final role in wartime Russia was a futile attempt in the summer of 1918 to ally German occupation forces in the Ukraine with the White army of General Alekseev. He emigrated to France in 1919, where he lived and worked as a writer and journalist until his death on March 31,1943.
Born January 27, 1859
Died March 31, 1943