Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => The Russian Revolution => Topic started by: Annie on July 22, 2004, 10:39:04 AM

Title: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Annie on July 22, 2004, 10:39:04 AM
I have read several books that mention this, but exactly how and when did he escape? Anyone got the details? His life was surely in danger from the Bolsheviks. I've heard it was an exciting story about how he jumped the last ship out just in time.

I know he lived in Paris for years, when did he first come to the US and become a professor at Stanford?
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on July 23, 2004, 02:59:26 AM
Annie to my mind there were two significant departures made by Kerensky which can be described.

Most literature only describe Kerensky's departure from the Winter Palace, under the protection of the Americans Lieutenants Knirsh and Vinner in a borrowed Embassy car waving the American Flag. This incident was not his escape, but a trip intended to rally his troop's spirits. They aparently stopped numerous times to salute troops before reaching the city of Pskov. Most literature tend to ignore Kerensky's stay in Gatchina from October 25. It was here in Gatchina that Kerensky makes his first dramatic break from the Bolsheviks.

On the morning of 31 October 1917, the Gatchina Palace began to to be infiltrated with unfamiliar faces. Krasnov - the Commander of Third Cavalry Corps warned Kerensky that the Cossacks were discussing the idea of exchanging him for Lenin. To make his escape he exchanged his clothes for those of a Danish sailor's uniform, and curiously added a pair of aviator's goggles to his new attire. A young soldier called Belensky led this "figure" through the main gate. Kerensky made his way to a car which awaited him at the Chinese Gate at the Gatchina village and made his escape. Sadly the Palace servant who now wore Kerensky's greycoat was beaten and then executed.

Several months later wishing to flee Russia, Kerensky now in Moscow, sought a British visa in May 1918, which was denied to him by Wardrop the British Consul-General. Not permitting this temporary disappointment, Fabrikantoff, Kerensky's minder appealed directly to Bruce Lockhart (Head of the British Mission), for assistance. Lockhart sympathized with Kerensky's plight, agreed to personally provide an unauthorized visa on the Serbian passport procured by Fabrikantoff through the Serbian Mission. This time disguised as a Serbian officer, that same evening he was smuggled to the port of Murmansk where a platoon of Serbian soldiers were returning home. Kerensky boarded a British secret Service trawler to Scotland.

On 24 June he met with Lloyd George the British Prime Minister.

Kerensky lived in Paris where he met the Australian journalist Lydia Tritton. They moved to Brisbane Australia in October 1945, where they lived until her death from a stroke in 1946. He then returned to New York, drifting between France and Germany, and finally settling down in the United States.

In 1955 the ex-President Herbert Hoover invited Kerensky to write a book at Stanford University at the Hoover Institution of War Revolution and Peace. He became a member of staff giving lectures and writing a number of books, with the collaboration of his co-editor Robert Browder. He died in June 1970, at age 89, in New York - the year of Lenin's centenary birth.

More information can be found in the well written books:

Alexander Kerensky The First Love of the Revolution Richard Abraham, Columbia University Press, 1987 and also in
Memoirs of a British Agent R.H. Lockhart, Pan Books, 1985
:)





Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Annie on July 23, 2004, 08:47:51 AM
Thank you, that's all very interesting and exciting! I had that Kerensky book checked out of the library once but never got time to finish it. I'll have to get it again.

All those disguises he used make me think how easy it really would have been to get the IF out to Finland soon after the abdication. If he thought he couldn't do it, maybe his own escapes showed him he could have, even if the family had to be split into groups to avoid the recognition of parents, son, 4 daughters which would have given them away. I know Kerensky thought he was doing his best protecting them at the time he sent them to Siberia, and had no idea he would also fall and they'd be trapped. You never know, and all the if's are very painful.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Mike on July 23, 2004, 09:35:42 AM
The October revolution story, as learned by every schoolchild in the USSR, presented Kerensky's wearing woman clothes for his escape from SPb. While Krasnov, Denikin and other leaders of the White movement were painted as mortal enemies of workers and peasants, Kerensky's Soviet-made image was that of a miserable and even comic figure.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Forum Admin on July 23, 2004, 09:57:11 AM
David Francis was the last US Ambassador to Imperial Russia, in Petersburg during the Revolution. He records that Kerensky virtually commandeered Embassy Secretary Whitehorse's personal car to "go to the front" on Nov. 7 because the Bolsheviks had disabled all of the Provisional Govt vehicles at the Winter Palace. Kerensky had sent an officer of his to follow Whitehorse when he saw his working car in the street, and have the officer request Whitehorse to come to Kerensky at the Winter Palace. It was there that he took the car almost by force. and that Kerensky refused to remove the American flag on the car despite Whitehorse's requests. Kerensky was NOT accompanied by any Americans, as Whitehorse had driven it to the Winter Palace accompanied only by his brother in law, Baron Ramsai.    Kerensky could not return to Petersburg because of Bolshevik troops.

Russia From the American Embassy, April 1916 - November 1918
David R. Francis. Scribner's 1921
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Annie on July 23, 2004, 10:51:35 AM
Thanks for that info!
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on July 23, 2004, 11:57:53 PM
Quote
 Kerensky could not return to Petersburg because of Bolshevik troops.

Russia From the American Embassy, April 1916 - November 1918
David R. Francis. Scribner's 1921


According to Abraham's book, Kerensky did return to Petrograd where he was briefly reunited with Olga and his boys on January 9 at his mother in-law's appartment, while staying with Dr Olga Maximova's appartment on Vasilievsky Ostrov. Here he commenced to pen his first memoirs about ..."his Premiership and the Kornilov Affair" (p 336).

There seems to be much contradictory information about Kerensky's final movements following his departure from the Winter Palace. Abraham's references seem to contradict the notes written by the US Ambassador. Pipes noted that Kerensky borrowed a car from an official of the American Embassy (The Russian Revolution at p 491). Logically it would be difficult to imagine that the car would be returned faithfully, unless of course the driver was indeed an American.

Other contradictions concern the question as to what type of attire he wore upon his departure from the Winter Palace. Did he wear his usual uniform or did he disguise himself by wearing female clothing during this journey? If he was dressed as a woman, than the alleged purpose of his departure was certainly not to seek out his troops, but was actually a journey to save himself from imminent death. Pipes (at p 491), asserts that Kerensky fled wearing a Serbian uniform. This clearly contradicts the statements written by Lockhart (British Mission Head) for June of the following year (1918).

Figes words parallel those of the US Ambassador (p 486 in A People's Tragedy), where he wrote that a Renault was seized from outside the American Embassy which latter was to launch a diplomatic protest. A second car was "found" outside the English Hospital. Figes also parallels's Abraham by writing that Kerensky did go and seek out his troops, but, Figes believed it was for an entirely different reason. Kerensky needed to be assured that his troops still remained loyal to the Provisional Government. His growing insecurity reached its peak early that morning when he realized that his troops had not responded to his summons of the previous evening - a call to gather in Petrograd. Kerensky was forced to travel by car because the Bolsheviks by this time secured the railways and all government vehicles.

I, just as Mike was told that Kerensky did put on women's clothes to disappear from Petrograd. However I could not rely on this allegation without documented evidence.

While it can be interesting to compare a few authors writing about this single incident, it becomes very fustrating for the keen history enthusiast who compares a number of books and not simply rely on a single source.  ;)
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Annie on July 24, 2004, 08:16:29 AM
Thanks!

It's a shame that Kerensky, being a professor and historian, never wrote his official autobiography so we would know these things for sure. He should have!
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Forum Admin on July 24, 2004, 09:33:44 AM
Two points.
First, as I suspected, in checking both Pipes and Figes source notes, neither  read , or at least acknowledged, Ambassador Francis's book.  It is pretty rare and took us a decade to find. So they may account for their not knowing about his report.  I can't lay my hands on our copy of Meredith just now, so I can't check his source notes.

Second, Kerensky did write such a book.  "Russia and History's Turning Point", 1965, Meredith Press.  It is fairly self serving in nature and should be read with a skeptical eye and cross referenced with more "un-biased" accounts.  His account of the incident:
"I decided to take a big risk and drive all the way across the city.  This was part of my normal routine, to which everyone was accustomed.  When the fast car I normally used arrived, we explained to the army driver what to do.  At the last moment, just before the acting commander of the Petrograd military district, my adjutant, and I left, some officials from the British and US embassies arrived on the scene and offered to drive us out of the city under the American flag.  I thanked the Allies for their offer, but said that the head of the government could not drive through the Russian capital under the American flag.  As I later learned, however, the car turned out to be useful for one of my officers who could not fit into my own car.  It drove a distance behind us."
His footnote to this paragraph: "Lies and slander are often quite indistructible.  Even to this day foreigners occassionally ask me, with some embarassment, if it is true that I fled from the Winter Palace dressed as a nurse!  That foreigners should believe this utter rubbish is perhaps forgivable.  But it is quite extraordinary that this story is still p;u out for popular consumption in the Soviet Union.  The more serious historical works published in Moscow give a factually accurate account of my departure from Petrograd to Gatchina, but in a vast number of popular histories the same story is repeated over and over again to fool the people of Russia, and also the people of other countries, that this, that I sneaked away dressed in a woman's skirt."

I think he did commandeer the car,  as pointed out, "borrow" implies a return, which was rather unlikely.  Second, the Francis's reports were sent back to Washington, and so are extremely accurate in their nature and Francis has no reason not to report what he knew exactly.  I do, though, believe that the report of the nurse uniform was a Soviet bit of dis-information to make Kerensky look like a coward when faced with the "courageous" and "victorious" Bolsheviks. Just my 2cents.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Annie on July 24, 2004, 09:40:12 AM
Thank you for that report and the name of his book! I wonder if I will be able to find a copy.

I didn't really believe the woman's clothes stories either. That is a common way to degrade someone, here in the US, in my state of VA, it was widely reported and often believed that Jefferson Davis fled Richmond and was later apprehended in a dress and bonnet. Once again, it was propaganda, a rumor, the Yankees trying to make him look ridiculous, comical, desperate, pathetic and perhaps cowardly. But there is no evidence it is true.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on July 25, 2004, 01:36:53 AM
Quote
Kerensky did write such a book.  "Russia and History's Turning Point", 1965, Meredith Press.  It is fairly self serving in nature and should be read with a skeptical eye and cross referenced with more "un-biased" accounts.  


I concur with FA's assessment, whereby Kerensky's works should be treated with caution. Comparing the extract provided above, with the one presented below, which is an earlier piece written by the same person. The words clearly go a long way to illustrate Kerensky's delusional personality unfolding. FA's reference was written in the US, while the extract below was written soon after Kerensky's exile.

This "slighly" different account may be found in may be found in the 1928 copy of The Fall of the Russian Empire written by Edmund Walsh.

"I do not know how it happened, but the news of my proposed departure reached the Allied Embassies. Just as we were about to leave, representatives of the British and, as far as I can remember, of the American Embassy arrived saying that the Allied envoys desired that I be accompanied by an automobile flying the American Flag....I accepted the suggestion as evidence of the interest of the Allies in the Russian Provisional Government and their solidarity with it.

... I went into the yard of the Staff Building, together with my companions. We entered my car. Close at hand was the American machine. One of my officers, unable to find room in my car, decided to travel alone, but on the condition that in passing through the city he was to keep his machine, flying the American flag, at a respectful distance from ours ... I occupied my usual seat - on the right. I wore my customary semimilitary uniform, which had become so familiar to the population and to the troops."    


According to Walsh (p 254), Kerensky left Petrograd in a final bid to mobilize sufficient troops outside the city to fight the Bolsheviks.

However this final act was really a lost cause, because Kerensky's authority was already undermined and the remnants of the Provisional Government was severely compromised after the Kornilov "Affair".
 
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on July 25, 2004, 02:31:18 AM
Walsh kindly provided Mr Francis' account at p 255, which is certainly the most reliable account. What it does as well, is highlight a very important issue which provides the reason why the Embassy was displeased with the use of the car bearing the American Flag.

... "Sectretary Whitehouse rushed in in a great excitement and told me that his automobile, on which he carried an American flag, had been followed to his residence by a Russian officer, who said that Kerensky wanted it to go to the front. Whitehouse and his brother-in-law, Baron Ramsai, who was with him, accompanied the officer to General Headquarters in order to confirm his authority for making this amazing request. ... Kerensky confirmed the Officer's statement that he wanted Whitehouse's car to go to the front. Whitehouse asserted: "This is my personal property and you have (pointing across the square to the Winter Palace) thirty or more automobiles waiting in front of the Palace." Kerensky replied: "Those were put out of commission during the night and the Bolsheviki now command all the troops in Petrograd except some who claim to be neutral and refuse to obey my orders."
   Whitehouse and Ramsai, after a hurried conference, came to the proper conclusion that, as the car had virtually been commandeered, they could offer no further objection. After they had left the Headquarters, Whitehouse remembered the American flag, and, returning, told the officer who had originally asked for the car that he must remove the American Flag before using the car. He objected to doing this, and after some argument Whitehouse had to be content with registering a protest against Kerensky's use of the flag, and left to report the affair to me."


Clearly the vehicle was not stolen but grudgingly provided for Kerensky's use. Figes' assertion (in A Peoples's Dance) that the act of seizure of the car was the cause of political incident is clearly not correct. IMHO most historians seemed to have ignored  the blatant breach in protocol. The American Flag was "taken" and then used without authority, by a Russian citizen instead of by the American Ambassador.

Both of the exerpts I have provided above at least confirm that Kerensky was more than likely wearing his usual attire (which must be remembered was later exchanged in Gatchina Palace). There is no logical reason for Kerensky to wear anything else under the circumstances provided in the exerpts, and moreso, because he was "protected" by the American Flag.

Secondly, Kerensky did not flee Petrograd with the intention of fleeing Russia as alleged by most historians. The purpose of his departure was indeed to seek out troops loyal still to the Provisional Government. At this time he had no intention of fleeing the country.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Forum Admin on July 25, 2004, 10:20:42 AM
Thank you Belochka. Your transcript of Francis's account is exactly as in his book. I didn't have time to transcribe it, thank you for doing that.

I think it is useful to understand the immediate circumstances here to fully understand this point. Ambassador Francis's stated official and publicly declared position was to fully support Kerensky however he could. (in fact, Francis was the very first foreign ambassador to recognize the Provisional Govt. officially) Whitehorse was fully aware of this, and in fact had some of Kerensky's officers living with him.  As Kerensky was the recognized Head of State at the time, Kerensky's direct request for the car would be seen as "official" to Whitehorse, thus Whitehorse really would have had no choice in the matter, given the Embassy position at the time, but to give him his car. Whitehorse's refusal to cooperate would have been seen as a major change in the offical US position.  
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on July 25, 2004, 10:49:05 PM
Quote
given the Embassy position at the time, but to give him his car. Whitehorse's refusal to cooperate would have been seen as a major change in the offical US position.  


Again FA, I agree with you! The only real point of contention was the breach of protocol. In Kerensky's book Turning Points he condemns himself by claiming that he was permitted to ride in a car bearing the US flag.  ;)

Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Mike on August 30, 2004, 06:24:53 AM
Quote
 I heard from Kerensky himself as he was nearing the end of his life.

Dear Kay,
Could you please tell us more about your encounter with Kerensky? I'm sure many would read it with a profound interest.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: CuriousOne on September 21, 2004, 05:01:40 PM
As we wait for Kay's reply,  do any of you know the answer to this question which was asked on another thread:

Quote
Charlotte's Zeepvat's Romanov Autumn states in the chapter "The Lost Tsar" on Alexei that it is said Kerensky would have permitted the five chidlren to join their grandmother in the Crimea but the children themselves were against leaving their parents. I wonder what Zeepvat's source is because I have not read of any plans to send the children to the Crimea in primary sources.


Thanks.

Curious One
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on September 23, 2004, 10:35:28 PM
Hi CuriousOne,

The author of Kerensky's biography Abraham does not mention that Kerensky ever contemplated that the children should be separated from their parents.

d'Encausse wrote (p 249) that after Nikolai abdicated it was he who was hoping that the family would re-settle in the Crimea. However, Kerensky quashed the idea, in the belief that he was unable to provide safe passage to all of them and their staff over such a long distance. ;)

Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Mike on September 25, 2004, 06:38:00 AM
A striking coincidence for such an enormous country as Russia:

A. Kerensky's family was well acquainted and even friendly (albeit not at the same time) with Lenin's family (in Simbirsk) and with one of the Romanovs (GD Nikolas Konstantinovich, in Tashkent).
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 25, 2004, 09:45:02 AM
I don't know where she got the notion that Kerensky would have permitted the children to be separated. His Autobiography "Russia and History's Turning Point" makes no mention of this whatsoever. Admittedly it is self serving, and so I think he might have included that fact IF he had done so.  His chronology says first that he would have sent them all to England, but as we know, England withdrew the offer. Nicholas then asked they all be sent to the Crimea instead, but Kerensky said no, as it was not safe to travel there ("which would have involved crossing very unsettled and turbulent parts of the country, seemed very unwise at the time."), and he chose Tobolsk instead. period. No mention ever of separating the family.
See pages 332-339.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Guinastasia on October 26, 2004, 03:22:16 PM
Quote
A striking coincidence for such an enormous country as Russia:

A. Kerensky's family was well acquainted and even friendly (albeit not at the same time) with Lenin's family (in Simbirsk) and with one of the Romanovs (GD Nikolas Konstantinovich, in Tashkent).


Considering that Kerensky and Lenin both came from the same village, and that their fathers I believe knew each other (I think Kerensky's father was one of Lenin's teachers, or something like that), makes sense.

Did anyone else read Crucifixion of Liberty?  I found it very interesting, so far as political philosophy goes.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Mike on November 20, 2004, 11:36:37 AM
This is how Kerensky's escape was portrayed by a Soviet official painter [size=10](from the SGU collection)[/size]:
(http://www.sgu.ru/rus_hist/img/z074.jpg)
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on November 20, 2004, 10:23:04 PM
According to Count Zubov's (Director of the Gatchina museum) reminiscences, the drawing of Kerensky changing into a nurse's uniform while his adjutants were burning papers in the stove, was fictitious. There were no army nurse uniforms at Gatchina, simply because there were no wounded in that palace.

Apparently the picture was found in a notebook lying on a stove in one of the rooms the "artist" had occupied some years later.

Could this image be the origin of the myth which we all learnt at school - that Kerensky fled in female attire? Genuine eyewitnesses have detailed that he fled wearing a sailor's uniform and goggles, which is far less intriguing.

Thanks Mike for this interesting piece of Soviet history!
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: thetwaz on March 08, 2005, 01:36:51 PM
Did he actually have any involvement in the overthrow or the the events leading up to the overthrow of Nicholas II? If not, who were the key players?
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: AGRBear on March 09, 2005, 04:15:43 PM
Both Kerensky and  Lenin  were born in the same town of Simbirsk.  Kerensky's father was the headmaster of Lenin's gymnasium and knew Lenin's father who was the Chief Inspector of Schools.

From 1900-4 Kerensky studied at the St. Petersburg U. and was a student of the liberals Lossky and Petrazhitsky. It was about that time he started his rebellion and took part in a "series of campus demonstations"  [p. 166 Figes, A PEOPLE TRAGEDY].  And, to prove the direction he was headed he maried into a very liberal family the Baranovskyi who's relative was active in the Socalist Revolutionaries (PSR) of which Kerensky joined.  Soon he found himself the editor of one of the PSR newspapers.

1905-6  Kerensky was imprisionsed and exiled.  

Kerensky returned to the capital and became a defense lawyer and dealt in political cases.

By 1912 he had risen in his standings and rubbing elbows with all kinds of revolutionaries.

In 1912  - he was elected to the Fourth State Duma.

1912 to 1916 - Fourth State Duma

Although the PSR hadn't liked the idea of their own having been elected,  it was soon clear that Kerensky had a even higher role in their future.  His speeches were touching the mass working class...  He joined the Political Freemasonary...

1914 - Kerensky was arrested and sentence to exile but his parliamentary status saved him from this fate

He and Zenzinov rebuild the underground PSR....

1916 - Kerensky  retired from politics to have surgery on a "tuberculer kidney" in Finland.

When he returned to the policial area he did so by going into Central Asia and their revolution.

Was elected Secretary of the Political Freemasonry.
11 March 1917 - Duman refused  Nicholas II's order to dissolution

12 March 1917 Provisional Govt.  is created and is headed by Prince Lvov with Paul Miliukov as leader of the Constituional Democracts, Guchkov as leader of the Octobrists and Kerensky [the only socialist of these men mentioned] as the Minister of Justice

15 March 1917 - Nicholas II abdicated

16 March 1917 - Kerensky was with the group who spoke with Tsar Michael asking for his abdication, instead, gained his signiture of his manifesto and his agreement to wait and be elected as head of the new Prov. Govt. and Constitutional Assembly .....   [Let me go find this point intime and I'll add to this later]

1917 - On the eve of the Feb/March revolution he announced "his membership of the PSR and demanded the assasssination of Nicholas II" [p. 330 The Blackkwell Encyclopeida of the Russian Revolution by Shukman].  "Kerensky was the central figure of the "February Days" and the major personalithy in the Provisional Government of 1917."


7 July 1917 Kerensky became the Prime Minister and moved into Alexander III's suite in the Winter Palace

By 21 July 1917 Kerensky and Commander-in-Chief Kornilov were in dispute over how to handle the the supression of the Bolsheviks.....

This is the time line with Kerensky's activities incerted.

AGRBear
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: thetwaz on March 10, 2005, 11:48:09 AM
Thanks, that's been a real help.   :)
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: AGRBear on March 29, 2005, 02:53:17 PM
Here is a Stanford Article by B. Butcher on Kerensky:

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2001/janfeb/features/kerensky.html

AGRBear
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Finelly on August 07, 2005, 01:55:24 AM
Could this image be the origin of the myth which we all learnt at school - that Kerensky fled in female attire? Genuine eyewitnesses have detailed that he fled wearing a sailor's uniform and goggles, which is far less intriguing.

I was but a babe at the time, but my father worked with Kerensky at Stanford University for a period of time and Kerensky, late at night, would sit and tell stories.  He was rather regretful of his part in the Revolution and, of course, blamed Lenin, et. all for "ruining" Russia.  He used to draw me little cartoons of a man in a sailor suit wearing goggles and with silly shoes....and now I'm wondering if it was a self-portrait!
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Finelly on August 07, 2005, 02:15:09 AM
BTW, Kerensky did not say anything particularly negative about the Emperor.  He did say that he would have been an interesting person to know, had there been more time.  A "nice man, simple, and humble."
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: RussMan on August 31, 2005, 01:55:13 PM
Was he a fool? Why did he decide to stay in the war? did he not see the millions of Russians getting killed by the German war machine?

As a kind of joke, i gave my Russian history professor a miniature T-34. I told him it had to be Russian because it only had one tread. ;)

Case in point. Many of the Russians didn't even have ammunition for their rifles. So how could K expect to stave off any German offensive, let alone win the war for his allies? Had K not remained in the war, likely the Soviet would never have revolted at Lenin's insistence in the first place. :-/
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 05, 2005, 12:39:35 PM
Quote
Was he a fool? Why did he decide to stay in the war? did he not see the millions of Russians getting killed by the German war machine?

As a kind of joke, i gave my Russian history professor a miniature T-34. I told him it had to be Russian because it only had one tread. ;)

Case in point. Many of the Russians didn't even have ammunition for their rifles. So how could K expect to stave off any German offensive, let alone win the war for his allies? Had K not remained in the war, likely the Soviet would never have revolted at Lenin's insistence in the first place. :-/


For starters, the situation is not at all as you describe it. Kerensky was head of government for a few months, tops. The Tsarist government was succeeded by the Provisional Government. By definition this was a temporary government and was not supposed to make far reaching changes such as pulling Russia out of the war.

By summer 1917, most of the original ministry had resigned and Kerensky became head of government, almost by default. He never had a chance to figure anything out about the war, he was too busy trying to keep the government together and deal with the rising power of the Soviets, which were democratic councils in many of the major cities.

Kerensky faced a choice that summer, of supporting the Right, and leaders such as Kornilov, or supporting the Bolsheviks, who were once again in exile. He chose to bring the Bolsheviks back and arm them, and we all know what happened. As a part of this decision, he sealed the fate of the IF by exiling them to Tobolsk so that the Right would have no access to them.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on September 05, 2005, 11:49:50 PM
Quote
Was he a fool?  :-/


Kerensky made foolish administrative decisions, but he was no fool, to attain such a position of authority.

He was a failure, who could have averted the bolsheviks. He allowed himself to be overwhelmed because of his pitiful indecisiveness, within a few short months.

Kerensky's allegiences were clearly defined.

He failed to serve Russia.






Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: TampaBay on September 10, 2005, 12:32:03 PM
Quote
Thanks!

It's a shame that Kerensky, being a professor and historian, never wrote his official autobiography so we would know these things for sure. He should have!


Yes he did!  I have a copy of it.

TampaBay
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on November 22, 2005, 05:28:12 AM
Fascinating how the myths sky and the Provisonal Government live on, and how his attempts to set the record straight are still dismissed as "self-serving". Who was he supposed to serve,? Lenin? If Lenin did not "ruin" Russia what did he do to it? Does anyone seriously believe that the Russians have yet recovered from the application of his "scientific socialism"?  The Russians I met in St Petersburg in 1997 certainly do not.  It does not appear that the ridiculous falsehoods put about by Trotsky, Lenin and their sympathizers in the West do not attract a similar reaction  

As to Kerensky`s escape, he did in fact return to Petrograd for the opening of the Constituent Assembly.  After that had been abolished, at bayonet-point, &  the liberal politcians Shingarev and Kokoshkin were dragged from their hospital beds to be bayonetted to death, a new phase of the Red Terror began. (See pp 1-100 of Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn.)
Industrial levels of torture and murder were intruduced to the Russian people by Lenin, not Stalin. Stalin was just following his master`s blueprint.

Apart from the fact that Kerensky`s father rescued Lenin`s university career (twice), they shared one characteristic. Both were intensely secretive about their private life. In those days, people did not parade their private lives in glossy magazines.
So Kerensky kept his activities in Russia between October and his departure, very much to himself. It may be that throughout the Cold War, there were people who had to be protected. He was sheltered in the forest near Gatchina some of the time.   Believe it or not, the RUssian people  held him in high regard, and many still do.  

As his grandson, I feel Kerensky`s accounts of his political career were not nearly self-serving enough. Historians continue to treat him mainly with an open hostility and contempt.  This usually arises from what they say did not do, or, more usually, because they have got their facts wrong.   This is very easy, in the immense complxities of 1917. Most suggestions of where he went wrong are quite laughable, and they ofter show almost total misunderstanding of what the Provisional Government`s aims were.  

If Kerensky might have got more understanding by attacking the perfidy of the British Government, he might also have made a point about his health.  It is remarkable, that he survived his time in office, let alone lived to be 89.
In August 1917, he had a kidney removed. He came straight out of the Swedish sanatorium and made a 3,000 mile tour of the far Eastern front, where there had been abuses against the indigenous population.    He then worked for between 20 and 24 hours a day from February to October.  

No historical account of 1917 has the decency to mention this fact.  Nor is anything made of the self-serving memoirs  of British politicians who were responsible for the Kornilov Rebellion. Whatever justification for historians such as Figes and Prof Christopher Read invent for continuing to suggest that Kerensky would have wanted to start a civil war by agreeing to Kornilov`s lunatic scheme,  British politicians have never been openly blamed for it.  

In August 1917,  nobody, least of all a general, was going to get away with a counter-revolution. The Revolution had been moving rapidly leftwards from day one, and Kerensky was more intensely aware of it than anyone.  He owed his Premiership to that very fact.
All Kornilov succeeded in doing was to put fresh heart into Hindenberg and Lenin, extending the war by roughly a year. And making the civil war Lenin wanted almost a certainty.  
In July, 1917, Hindenberg had sent a message to the Kaiser saying that it was impossible for the German Army to survive another winter.  

Kerensky did as much to help the poor and oppressed in Russia as anyone it is possible to think of.  He took on the Tsarist legal system and beat it, for the first time, and  many times later.  By contrast Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin brought  injustice, torture, murder and injustice on a scale that had been unknown in Europe since the Middle Ages, or even the Dark Ages.  The Russians are still suffering from their efforts today.  

But we all know who gets taken seriously, and who gets  the benefit of the doubt.  
What is less easy to understand is how a decent, honorable man like Kerensky can get less respect than a monster like Beria. This is largely because so few people have even heard of Beria, or know about his little hobby.

All the same it is great to see so many people interested  in Kerensky`s life and career. Perhaps one day someone will come along and give a fair account of what he did, and what he tried to.  It`s certainly not going to happen here the UK .  

Cheers, StephenKerensky

http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/YaBBImages/angry.gif
Angry
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Wink   http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/YaBBImages/kiss.gif
kiss




>:(
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on November 22, 2005, 06:14:20 AM
Fascinating to see how the myths about Kerensky stilll cling to him, and how the old insults just won`t go away.  

It seems to me that he was not sufficently "self-serving" in his various accounts.  As these were spread over three countries and 50 years, and written in only his third language,  it is not surprising there are a few minor inconsistencies.  
 
A more self-serving person might have made something of  having had a kidney removed six months before the Revolution.   He came straight out of the Swedish sanatorium to make a 3,000-mile tour of the far-Eastern Front.  Russian officers had been abusing the local recruits.

He then worked for 20-24 per day between February and October, trying to keep the war-effort going, and save his country from civil war.  Historians stilll take great pleasure in pointing out that he failed, and vilifying him for it. THe point is even his Allies did their best to prevent him from succeeding, and the Soviet could not get around to making up its mind about anything.    

It is unbelievable that the British should have thought that   General Kornilov`s coup could have been anything but a total disaster.  The Revolution moved rapidly leftwards from Day One, and no-one was more aware of this than Kerensky, who owed the Premiership to this phenomenon. Generals wer probably the least popular men in Russia at the time.  

What was really self-serving was for the British Government to balckmail their Ambassador in Russia out of writing his account after the war.  All they achieved with  Kornilov was to bring about the civil war Lenin was urgently seeking, and put new life back into the Germans. . In July 1917, Hindenburg had told the Kaiser that "the German Army will not stand another winter.  
So the British lengthened the war by almost a year. I think iit would have been more self-serving of Kerensky to stress  this point.  

Incidentally, if had been up to Kerensky, the Romanovs would have found shelter in England,  but opinion inthe Cabinet was that they were trouble and could not be accommodated. The warship that had been sent to collect them was ordered back.  

As his grandson, I find it hard to take, that more or less fictional works like Trotsky`s are still taken seriously in universities, where Kerensky`s attempts to give his side of the story are subjected to ridicule.  For anyone who is interested, there is a fascinating study yet to be made on the position of women in the Revolution, before and after October.  

Kerensky was a man who did more for Russia`s poor and oppresssed than almost anyone. He won the first case for peasants aganist a landlord and many more..  

As to his escape, he went from Gatchina to a cottage inthe ofrest, but returnde to St Petersburg for the opening of the Constituent Assembly.  The murder of Shingarev and Kokoshkin in the hospital beds, and the abolition of the Assembly at bayonet-point brought in a new era of the Red Terror.  Anyone who thinks this was the work of Stalin should read pp1-100 of  "Gulag Archipelago" by Solzhenitsyn.    

Of course the lesons of Lenin`s messianic political fanaticism have not been learned.  That may be why so many people are not prepared to take al-Qaeda seriously.  
It seems a shame that so few people have heard of Lavrenti Beria, and the little hobby he had during his time as Stalin`s Chief of Police.  

But Kerensky?  Ah, there was real half-wit!  


Cheers,    Stephen Kerensky








Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Phil_tomaselli on November 22, 2005, 09:02:45 AM
Is there any hard evidence that British politicians were behind the Kornilov coup attempt?

There are certainly some suggestive lacunae in the British files which make me wonder whether there was a British involvment.  Where, for example, are the relevant records for the Royal Naval Air Service Armoured Cars which tagged along with Kornilov's troops?  I can find them for almost the whole period but not for the time of the attempted coup?

Suspicion is not, however, evidence & I'd be greatly obliged for any suggestions as to where proof can be found.

Phil Tomaselli
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on November 22, 2005, 03:28:40 PM
There was a Cabinet meeting on 25th August 1917 that voted money and supplies to Kornilov and Commander Locker-Lampson of the Royal Marines was ordered to support Kornilov`s coup.  A book called "The Tsar`s Commander" was published by the Royal Historical Society. I am about to go on a work project for a few days. When I come back, I will look up the sources in my notes.  

But it should come as no surprise that the Record Office has seen files disappear.  The same thing happened over a 24-hour period to Nicholai Tolstoy,  when he was researching how the British dispatched thousands of Cossacks to a cruel death at Stalin`s hands in 1945-6, in Yugoslavia.  

I am quite srprised that conspiracy addicts in the historical community have not cottoned on to the fact that Sir George Buchanan was told he would have to give up his pension if he wanted to publish his account of his Ambassadorial service in Russia during the Revolution.  

No doubt if it had happened to someone during the Vietnam War, we would all be fully informed about the circumstances.  

In any case, British hostility was not just a matter of Kornilov. They blackmailed the Provisional Government into more aggressive tactics during 1917 because 50% of the Freench Army had mutinied,and the British Military Attache, General Knox,  swallowed everything the anti- revolutionary Russian generals told him, including their bizarre distortions that made their own troops out to be performing much worse than they actually were.  

Buchanan repeatedlly told the British that Kerensky was the best bet and they should support him, but they wouldn`t have it.  The French diplomat Grenard also noted how much the Allies (!) made life difficult for the Provisional Government.  

However, the general ignorance about Russia in the pre-revolutionary period prevailed.  The result was not just  Lenin and Stalin, but Hitler. Not to mention Mao Tse-tung.   Anyone who thinks Hitler was more brutal and ruthless than Lenin should read "Harvest of Sorrow" by Robert Conquest.  Hitler copied Lenin`s tactics for suppressing hostile populations, but was never quite as thorough.  And of course it was from Stalin that Saddam Hussein learned how it was done.

I must say, it is very refreshing to have all this debate going on.   Thes are not ammters that get discussed int h UK.  

Cheers,  

StephenKerensky







Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Tania+ on November 22, 2005, 10:28:47 PM
Stephen,

Welcome to the Board. Yes, I remember reading about the difficulties of Nicholai Tolstoy and his research. It's disgraceful that such a thing could happen.

I was looking for someone to add their information to the AP thread on "Lenin's Vendetta". Perhaps you might stop by and add your input, if you would not mind ? I think you might be able to shed more light on him as a person, not only as the Communist Leader of the USSR.

All input and insights on Lenin is very important here on this particulalr thread. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing your information here on this thread.

Tatiana


Quote
There was a Cabinet meeting on 25th August 1917 that voted money and supplies to Kornilov and Commander Locker-Lampson of the Royal Marines was ordered to support Kornilov`s coup.  A book called "The Tsar`s Commander" was published by the Royal Historical Society. I am about to go on a work project for a few days. When I come back, I will look up the sources in my notes.  

But it should come as no surprise that the Record Office has seen files disappear.  The same thing happened over a 24-hour period to Nicholai Tolstoy,  when he was researching how the British dispatched thousands of Cossacks to a cruel death at Stalin`s hands in 1945-6, in Yugoslavia.  

I am quite srprised that conspiracy addicts in the historical community have not cottoned on to the fact that Sir George Buchanan was told he would have to give up his pension if he wanted to publish his account of his Ambassadorial service in Russia during the Revolution.  

No doubt if it had happened to someone during the Vietnam War, we would all be fully informed about the circumstances.  

In any case, British hostility was not just a matter of Kornilov. They blackmailed the Provisional Government into more aggressive tactics during 1917 because 50% of the Freench Army had mutinied,and the British Military Attache, General Knox,  swallowed everything the anti- revolutionary Russian generals told him, including their bizarre distortions that made their own troops out to be performing much worse than they actually were.  

Buchanan repeatedlly told the British that Kerensky was the best bet and they should support him, but they wouldn`t have it.  The French diplomat Grenard also noted how much the Allies (!) made life difficult for the Provisional Government.  

However, the general ignorance about Russia in the pre-revolutionary period prevailed.  The result was not just  Lenin and Stalin, but Hitler. Not to mention Mao Tse-tung.   Anyone who thinks Hitler was more brutal and ruthless than Lenin should read "Harvest of Sorrow" by Robert Conquest.  Hitler copied Lenin`s tactics for suppressing hostile populations, but was never quite as thorough.  And of course it was from Stalin that Saddam Hussein learned how it was done.

I must say, it is very refreshing to have all this debate going on.   Thes are not ammters that get discussed int h UK.  

Cheers,  

StephenKerensky







 

Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Phil_tomaselli on November 23, 2005, 02:46:02 PM
Stephen

Many thanks for reference to the 25th August Cabinet Meeting.  I shall check out the minutes.

Curiously Michael Kettle makes no mention of it in his usually excellent "The Allies & the Russian Collapse" which deals with the period on an almost day to day basis.

No doubt you are aware that Kerensky's MI5 file is available for inspection at The National Archives at Kew?
There is certainly no mention in there of him escaping dressed as a woman but there are copies of the telegrams from Lockhart advising of his escape disguised as a Serb.  There are also files on Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and various other prominent Bolshevikii, as well as evidence that at one time there have been files on Savinkov and a host of minor characters, many of them "White".  There's even a file on Grand Duke Cyril and occasional references to various White organisations such as ROVS.

All well worth inspecting.

Phil Tomaselli
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: historyblogger on December 07, 2005, 11:27:02 AM
the camel's back?  I wonder if the Provisional Gov't could have held out if White army general Kornilov did not attack Petrograd (returning from the front).  By doing so, Kerensky had to ask peasant for assistance and eventually flee, correct?  Or is this just one more factor?

I'm inclined to see famine as a non-conditional reason for full revolt- so maybe Kornilov was not such a deciding factor after all.  I'll do some research for my blog later on.
http://russian-history-blog.blogspot.com
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on December 08, 2005, 05:11:13 AM
Tania,  

Sorry about the delay, and also for posting more or less the same message twice. I thought I`d wiped the first one.  

Thanks for the invitation to say something about Lenin.  It is hard to choose the precise words to describe a man who unleashed such death and destruction all over the world.  Let no-one forget that Lenin`s great pupil, Stalin, was Saddam`s role model.

My overall conclusion is that Lenin remains one of the most paradoxical figures in world history. My father put it well in his unpublished analysis of Soviet methodology:  "Lenin failed to appreciate the contradictions inherent in creating a social democracy by anti-social, anti-democratic means."

Lenin made it clear long before 1917 that he belonged to that tiny filament of the revolutionary movement that regarded terrror as essential to the creation of a new society.  He took pleasure in inflicting as much suffering as possible on his opponents. These were just as likely to be other leftists as Grand Dukes or operators of large-scale capitalist enterprises.   This is well illustrated by the way he named his party.
  A meeting of the editorial bpoard of the magazine Iskra, was held inLOndon. When most people had gone home, Lenin found, for once, that his tiny group outnumbered the others, all of them being Marxists.  He won the final vote, and therefore declared he was the majority, or Bolshevik party. The much larger group was pronounced Mensheviki, or minority.

In Russia at the time, most of those who recognized the urgent need to modernize Russsia had read Marx.   Most of them also realized his ideas were unrealistic, especially in his area of greatest weakness, agriculture.  It did not take a genius to see how badly his approach would affect Russia.  "Marx & the Peasant" by David Mitrany gives the best analysis.  

One of Lenin`s chief characteristics, which became enshrined in Soviet political theory, was his utter intolerance of any view but his own.  Marx had a similar tendency. This is what made the USSR so brutal, violent and unsuccessful, in social and economic terms.  It was Stalin`s brutality that made him Lenin`s star pupil, for Lenin complained that Russians were too soft-hearted to make proper Bolsheviks.

It is particularly galling that historians continue to blame all the Soviet killings on the Russian character.  Those with a bit more understanding realize that Oblomov is Russia`s chief national hero, rather than Stakhanov, who was, in any case, a fictional character.  
 
Before he took power, Lenin was at great pains to split the Party all the time, although the rationale for this behaviour is not entirely clear.  It seems to have been something to do with what Lenin regarded as his maintenance of the pure Marxist line.  Most Marxists are now reluctant to accept Lenin as being a real Marxist at all.  

On the other hand, Lenin was absloutely sincere in his  belief that he would end the suffering of the working class, and bring about universal happiness.  The difficulty was that, far from being the pragmatic, scientific socialist he imagined himself to be,  he was  grotesquely incapable of seeing how impractical his methods were.   After October, pretty well the entire infrastructure of St Petersburg collapsed, including the sewers.

Most skilled people simply fled the Terror, which was often no more than a threat.  However well  the Bolsheviks disguised it,  some kind of violent orgy took place after the Winter Palace was captured,  in its wine cellars.  There was a report by Boris Krichevsky in the Paris journal "L`Humanite".   LIke their two failed coups against the Provisional Government, the Bosheviks always disowned any behaviour that attracted criticism, however much they had encouraged it.  

The liberal politiciians Singarev and Kokoshkin were dragged from their hospitalbeds and bayonteeted to death, after the Constituent Assembly had failed to show a Bolshevik majority.  These actions terrifired people.  
Nevertheless, if man`s wife and duahgter had been raped and his son lynched inthe street, Lenin still had every expectation that he would be keen to work for the Revolution.   It is this failure to connect with reality that gives Lenin`s pronouncements, like subsequent Soviet statements,  their characteristic flavour.  

Most people in Russia knew about the nihilistic anti-hero in Dostoyevsky`s  "The Possessed", who might almost have been modelled from Lenin.  Such books were read aloud in village halls all over the country.  Lenin`s type of violent revolution was so deeply unpopular that he had to disguise his real intentions, even from his own party.  "Bread, Peace and Land" may have been a successful slogan, but it is one of the most miseleading evre devised. Bread was only for Bolshevik supporters. Peace ws a suicidal  war against Germany, and a civil war in Russia. The land was to be taken from the peasants and given to the commissars.  For Lenin was convinced that the destruction of Russia was necessary tro trigger the "inevitable" start of World Revolution in Germany.  

At the same time as he was ordering death, torture and destruction on a massive scale, Lenin forbade anyone to use the word "death" in his presence.   It would cause him  to have some sort of fit.   This is probably connected with the death  of his beloved brother, whicxh also perhaps triggered the intense rage and hatred against anyone he saw as an enemy, which, after all, was everyone who did not slavishly agree with every word he said.  

Unlike Kerensky, who faced down angry mobs on several occasions, Lenin was always one who steered clear of any scen of action.  It may be that he had some intimation of his frail mental state, and of the series of strokes that would finally killl him.   In any case, he was a poor orator.  

As you may know, Kerensky`s father wrote Lenin`s final school report. It appears in"The Crucifixion of LIberty", which some people think was his best account.  The gist is that though Lenin was a brilliant student, he had a worrying tendency to social isolation.  Alexander Ulyanov had already been hung, and I beleive, for what it`s worth, that this event casued Lenin to lose touch with reality. If that is a working definition of insanity( or PC equivalent), it`s a fair assessment as far as I can see.  Whatever conclusion one comes to, it is impossible to avoid the enormous contradictions that characterized Lenin`s character and policies.    

The tragedy though, is that  Bolshevism was taken seriously, and changed the whole way people think about what is govermentally possible.  Some kind of arrangement had to be entered into with those people, and those who perceived injustices, real or imaginary, in other parts of the world, came to look to the USSR as a blueprint for change.

Unfortunately, as the old joke has it, whereas under capitalism one person exploits another, under Lenin`s system, it is the other way round.  

Cheers,   StephenKerensky
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Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Petrushka on December 08, 2005, 09:49:18 AM
Stephen,

Without wishing to openly pander, may I say what a huge pleasure it is to have your input on this forum!

As a self confessed Romanov obsessive, the site has really opened me up to the popularity of the period.  Your participation is a testimony to this.

As you may have already noticed !!! The portrayal of your grandfather is often unsavoury to those of us who idolise the Imperial Family and it is only as I have grown older that I have begun to appreciate the dilemma he faced and the measured attitude he adopted to the situation.

Whilst he will always be one of the key figures associated with the demise of the Imperial regime, I'm sure Nicholas himself made the point that he only wished he had been fortunate enough to enjoy your grandfathers services in his own set of ministers.

Although Britains conduct in 1917 is, in my opinion, embarrassing, the same can be said of almost all the key players in European affairs.  Whilst we are often guilty of polarising issues to surround the direct consequences of the IF's deaths, there can be no real doubt that had Kerensky managed to maintain control the whole dynamic of history and indeed the present shape of Europe would be vastly different and potentially more positive.

Thanks for getting involved
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on December 08, 2005, 07:19:51 PM
It may be of some interest to Mr. Kerensky to know that Dr. Robert Browder, who along with Alexander Kerensky published the papers of the Provisional Government, held the elder Kerensky in great esteem. I studied under Dr. Browder in the 1980's at the University of Arizona.

It has long been my opinion that AFK's great political error was in arming the Bolsheviks during the Kornilov Rebellion. But for this, the Bolsheviks would not have had their clear shot at power months later.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on December 08, 2005, 10:43:45 PM
The "esteemed" Alexander Kerensky placed the Imperial Family under detention in the palace.

The "esteemed" Alexander Kerensky placed as many imperial ministers and top administrators and Gendarmes under either house arrest or incarcerated inside the Trubetskoi Bastion as he was able to arrest, in order to be questioned before his Extraordinary Committee.

His political motives were highly questionable at the every least.

He failed to serve the Russian nation he personally helped destroy with honor or respect.

The "esteemed" Kerensky destroyed the lives of many families.

No, Alexander Kerensky would not have been an individual to whom I would ever have extended my hand.   >:(
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on December 11, 2005, 12:18:32 AM
The Provisional Government never exercised much power to begin with, and always less power than they thought they had. Therefore, I don't consider the Kornilov Rebellion as a cause for the Bolshevik uprising. The true power in Russia during this period were the Soviets, or councils.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on December 12, 2005, 05:49:49 AM
Thank you, Petrushka, LisaDavidson and Belochka for your comments:  

It seems as if the misconceptions put about by the Left are balanced by some unusual notions on the Monarchist side.  Even before the war, it had become obvous to most intelligent people that Russia was so far behind the rest of Europe that a revolution was inevitable.  Indeed, it was predicted by Dostoyevsky as far back as 1880.  

I`m sorry, I feel it is a bit rich for supporters of Nicholas II to go around blaming Kerensky for ruining Russsia. It was not he who reduced the Russian Army, and the entire nation, to a state of rebellion and collapse. Even the ill-informed British and French governments were able to spot that Nicholas II`s policies were a disaster, and advise him on urgently-needed amendments.  I find it quite incredible that Nicholas should have closed down organizations that were started to provide comfort for the troops, at the beginning of the war, on the grounds that they infringed on his powers.  

Apart from that, the army was riddled with incompetent officers, at the highest level, who owed their position to their aristocratic breeding, rather than any sign on military incompetence.  For example, the Russians persisted in using fortresses, when it was well known that these simply made the troops sitting ducks for German artillery. Yet officers who tried to point out this disastrous weakness were labelled traitorous.  

This is not particularly my area. Anyone who wants a full account should read  "The Eastern Front " by Professor Norman Stone of Oxford University. Although evenhe does not go fully into the diplomatic side.

Talking of traitors, one of the reasons for the Revolution is that the Tsarskoe Selo became a nest of spies.  Admiral Grigorovich tested this out.  He sent a fictitious message to the Palace about movements of the Fleet, and the Germans appeared at the exact spot, at the time stated.  The Provisional Government did what they could to save the country but the Tsar`s legacy was too much for them.  

At no time did Kerensky feel he was controlling the Revoltion in any way at all. To him, it was more like a runaway horse, which he was merely trying to save from galloping over a cliff.  He had nothing to do with the demonstrations for bread that the tsar ordered his troops to kill.   He may have helped to focus the widespread discontent in the country, but no more than that.  And he predicted, in January 1917, that the Revolution was about to start.  

Kerensky did not "arm the Bolsheviks" in August 1917.  Even Trotsky, not often one to pay attention to the truth, had to admit that after the July Days, the Bolshevik Party virtually "ceased to exist in Russia".

As for the Tsar and his MInisters, they were placed in custody for their own protection.  Kerensky himself personally saved one of them, when he was being lynched by an angry mob.

When Nicholas finally met Kerensky, he said: "I should have spoken to you before." So what stopped him? Why was his government so arbitrary and repressive?  Why did he not gather competent ministers about him? Why did he sack every competent ministerwho came his way? Why could he not concern himself with the welfare of his people? As far as I can see, he didn`t deserve them, and they certainly deserved a better ruler than him.  Since the Renaissance,  Europe has not seen many worse.  

Maybe it was his wife, or his own belief in the Divine Right of Kings, which all Nicholas`s relations in the other Royal Houses of Europe had give up a century before, if not earlier.  A repressive political system, backed by falling wages and rising prices, and grotesque misuse of the army by its commanders had far more to do with causing the Russian Revolution than the words or actions of one radical lawyer, whose only interest was the welfare of his country. Nicholas II`s only interest was his power and position.

Do people who blame Kerensky for all Russia`s post-war suffering  really believe that without him, Russia would have reached the end of the war without the Tsar leading them to a disastrous, humiliating defeat?  

If the Provisional Government had not saved the Eastern Front in February 1917,  the Russian war effort would undoubtedly have collapsed. The Germans would have overwhemed the Western Front, probably by the autumn. There were virtually no tsarists left in Russia by February,  not even the Grand Duke Michael, who turned down the Provisional Government`s offer that he should be Regent for the Tsarevich.

True, Lenin was a worse ruler than Nicholas II, if only because he was more cruel.  They were both blinded by a pointless dogma, and probably just as incompetent as each other, in their separate ways.  All the same, the situation in Russia in 1917 was degenerating so rapidly that although the Provisional Government might have rescued the country, it is is just as possible that Russia could have ended up with something like Bolshevism without them.  

Cheers

StephenKerensky


Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: RichC on December 16, 2005, 09:16:33 AM
Quote

It has long been my opinion that AFK's great political error was in arming the Bolsheviks during the Kornilov Rebellion. But for this, the Bolsheviks would not have had their clear shot at power months later.


I realize this is off topic (but how much can one say about Kerensky's escape) but I always thought Kerensky's biggest blunder was not taking Lenin out and shooting him when he had the opportunity.  I make this statement with full knowledge that "hindsight is 20/20".

In regard to the comment about women's rights, I think there is a book out there somewhere that discusses the remarkable (although short-lived) achievements of the Provisional government -- particularly in the areas of social programs, the arts, education, land reform, etc.  I'm afraid I can't remember the name or the author(s)!

RichC
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on December 17, 2005, 03:58:00 PM
Hi, RichC

I`m afraid , in this case, hindsight is nothing like 20/20.  Throughout 1917, Lenin was a deeply obscure political nonentity. Recent scholarship suggests he remained so, until well after the Bolsheviks had taken power.  It is hard to see how killing him could have done anything but accelerate the approach of civil war. Not exactly like South Africa assassinating Nelson Mandela in 1990, but you get the idea.

Not even Lenin expected to take power, nor to hang onto it, if he did.[see John Cole`s New Statesman article, mentioned previously]  Nor did anyone else. That was part of the calculation made by the British, in their backing for Kornilov and their less than half-hearted intervention in the Civil War.  It is also partly why the majority of the revolutionary movement failed to provide significant opposition to the October coup, which disgusted them.  

It seems most of what I have posted so far is off message. All I can say is that the fairy stories about Kerensky`s escape are of a piece with all the other misrepresentations of him and the Provisional Government. It is hard to separate them.  

I`m not quite sure when the PG was supposed to shoot Lenin.  He fled before they could get him to court,  to face charges of taking money from the Germans.  He only appeared in the country from April to July. When he returned post-Kornilov, he was in hiding, and in disguise.

Apart from the waste of effort, tracking down a minor political figure, with very few supporters, in the middle of a war and and a revolution, the PG had many more pressing issues on their hands, such as feeding the population, defending the country against Germany and coping with the malign interference of its so-called Allies.  

Beyond that, there is the question of how effective political assasssination can be during a time of upheaval.  It was poltical necessity, rather than choice,  that made the PG ask the British to send Trotsky back from Canada. The point about Kerensky is that he had to appease both Left and Right-wing polticians, to stop the country sliding into civil war. This was not a consideration that bothered either Lenin or Lloyd George.

To kill Lenin, or to close down the Soviet, or pursue similar courses of action latterly suggested, would have had exactly the opposite effect to that desired in Russia at the time. In other words, it would have created a violent and destructive reaction, which would hardly be helpful.    

Anyone who supports corporal and capital punishment should try to consider the effect it had on the likes of Lenin, Stalin and Hitler.  Who can say what difference it would have made, had Lenin`s brother not been hung?  How many beatings did it take to turn Stalin into a psychopath?

Political assasination, it must be remembered, was part of the armoury of the tsarist regimes that brought about the  Revolution in the first place. As such, it was anathema to the gentle revolutionary movement that Lenin destroyed with the utmost cruelty and bruitality.   [see "Gulag Archipelago"]
It is also worth considering that the sanctitiy of human life was taken more seriously in Russia that elsewhere.  The death penalty was first abolished in 1864.  Unlike Western Christianity, the Orthodox Church makes Easter and self-sacrifice the centre of its year, not the jollity and material indulgence of Chritsmas.  


Season`s Greetings    

StephenKerensky



Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Alixz on December 17, 2005, 08:39:39 PM
Off topic, I was about to ask what became of Kerensky's family when I read that one of his granchildren is posting on this thread.

I am shamefully lacking in knowledge of AK and would truly like to know about his wife and children.

It would seem that he left Russia without them.  What happened?
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: RichC on December 18, 2005, 01:22:34 AM
Quote
Hi, RichC

I`m afraid , in this case, hindsight is nothing like 20/20.  Throughout 1917, Lenin was a deeply obscure political nonentity. Recent scholarship suggests he remained so, until well after the Bolsheviks had taken power.  It is hard to see how killing him could have done anything but accelerate the approach of civil war. Not exactly like South Africa assassinating Nelson Mandela in 1990, but you get the idea.




Thanks for responding, StephenKerensky.  I hope you are proud to have such an illustrious antecessor.  I recognize that no one (Kerensky, Lenin, the British, the Germans, etc.), at the time, expected things to turn out the way they did.  That's why I said hindsight is 20/20.  In fact, as I have posted here many times before, few, as late as 1916, expected Tsarism itself to fall.  (Although the wartime Okhrana reports on the mood of the population are fascinating in how startlingly accurate they turned out to be!)

However, Lenin was hardly a "deeply obscure political nonentity".  The Germans certainly didn't think so, did they?  How many nonentities did the Germans trouble themselves enough to send back to Russia in sealed trains?

Quote

Beyond that, there is the question of how effective political assasssination can be during a time of upheaval.  It was poltical necessity, rather than choice,  that made the PG ask the British to send Trotsky back from Canada. The point about Kerensky is that he had to appease both Left and Right-wing polticians, to stop the country sliding into civil war. This was not a consideration that bothered either Lenin or Lloyd George.

To kill Lenin, or to close down the Soviet, or pursue similar courses of action latterly suggested, would have had exactly the opposite effect to that desired in Russia at the time. In other words, it would have created a violent and destructive reaction, which would hardly be helpful.    



Fair enough, but we don't know what would have happened, since we are speculating.  We do know, however, that what followed, what really happened, was unbelievably violent.  That's why I posted my original statement.  I think it was Lenin who instigated much of the blood-letting and slaughter which subsequently took place.  

Quote

It is also worth considering that the sanctitiy of human life was taken more seriously in Russia that elsewhere.  The death penalty was first abolished in 1864.  Unlike Western Christianity, the Orthodox Church makes Easter and self-sacrifice the centre of its year, not the jollity and material indulgence of Chritsmas.  


I'm not sure why you are making these comments.  But I don't agree with them.  Russia's history, afterall, is soaked in blood.  By saying that, I certainly don't mean to imply that ordinary, individual Russians treasure human life any less than individuals from different cultures.  But I don't think they treasure it any more either.  In fact, I think that people are pretty much the same wherever one happens to go.  

About the religious aspect, my mother was raised Orthodox and my dad was Episcopalian (a protestant denomination).  So I was exposed to Christmas and Easter celebrations twice a year!  The Russian holidays usually followed about two weeks after the Western one's.  Anyway, as an Episcopalian, I don't recall Easter being held in less importance than Christmas.  It was made clear to me, early on, in protestant Sunday school that Easter was a much more solemn occasion.


Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on December 18, 2005, 02:34:52 PM
Alixz, Kerensky`s marriage broke down after his wife Olga aborted her thrid pregnancy.  It is probably just as well, for they would have been unlikely to survie the Terror, if all three were escaping together.  However, they remained good friends.

As it happened, my grandmother, Olga and her two sons were stuck in St Petersburg until 1920. They escaped on false papers, as Estonmians, when they were close to death by starvation.

My grandmother wrote an account of those years which could not find a publisher in Britain, though extracts appeared in tte London Evening Standard, in 1967.  

RichC,  I don`t know where you get your information from. You would be hardpressed to find any serious commentary written after 1900, that did not  revolution a distinct possibility.  It was obvious that change to the antiquated political system had to be achievecd, if Russia was to become a modern country.

As to Lenin, he was certainly obscure, and his unpopular ideas were as far on the fringe of Russian politcal thought as it was possible to go.  He himself had no interest in Russia whatsoever, except to see it destroyed in order to bring about world revolution.  The Germans chose him to support, after their Schlieffen Plan collapsed, because he wasjust about  the only revolutionary who favoured surrender to Germany.  The only people in Russia who knew about Lenin before 1918, or even 1919, were the Okhrana, and other people with special knowledge of Marxists.  

The reason for making the point about Russian attitudes to the sanctity of life is that the most common phrase in al writing about pre-1917 Russia  is "barbarous, Asiatic despotism" and I maintian that this offensive epithet is a long way from the truth.  Many such writeres blame the barbarity of Bolshevism on this so-called "Russian national character" that is allegedly unfit for democratic government.  

And I would suggest that people who were brought up as Episcopalian/Russian Orthodox have an advantage over the majority in the Western world,  in that they had a more thorough grounding in Christian teaching.  

Cheers, StephenKerensky    
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 18, 2005, 03:38:06 PM
Quote
RichC,  I don`t know where you get your information from. You would be hardpressed to find any serious commentary written after 1900, that did not  revolution a distinct possibility.  It was obvious that change to the antiquated political system had to be achievecd, if Russia was to become a modern country.


I don't think RichC is arguing against the fact that revolution was a distinct possibility, even an inevitability, once World War I broke out. I think he is merely trying to emphasize that the form this revolution took might have been less violent and "total" than it turned out to be under Lenin's Bolshevik regime. I mean, do you really think it was inevitable that Russia would replace an authoritarian regime with a totalitarian one? Was that really the only way Russia could enter the modern world?    

Quote
The reason for making the point about Russian attitudes to the sanctity of life is that the most common phrase in al writing about pre-1917 Russia  is "barbarous, Asiatic despotism" and I maintian that this offensive epithet is a long way from the truth.  Many such writeres blame the barbarity of Bolshevism on this so-called "Russian national character" that is allegedly unfit for democratic government.


But famous Russians themselves have made less than flattering statements about their national character, starting with Pushkin: "God save us from the Russian revolt, senseless and merciless." Not so senseless perhaps, as Solzhenitsyn has pointed out in his History of Russia, but certainly merciless. And as you yourself have indicated, Dostoevsky predicted a future for Russia of darkness and evil under the revolutionaries as early as his novel The Devils ("Besy," also translated as The Possessed).

Maybe the point is that the Russian STATE has held life cheap from time immemorial, not that the Russian people themselves have. From the hordes of peasant soldiers submitting courageously if passively to death under artillery fire in the Crimean War to the naval officers and men going down bravely with the Kursk submarine, because Putin refused to call in international rescue workers until it was too late. My husband and I also have Russian friends, and they all individually said the same thing about the Kursk disaster: "See, in Russia life still counts for nothing." But they were referring to the Russian state, not to the people themselves. It's the people who suffer - and eventually revolt, with a purpose, as a result.   

Quote
And I would suggest that people who were brought up as Episcopalian/Russian Orthodox have an advantage over the majority in the Western world,  in that they had a more thorough grounding in Christian teaching.


I don't know, I've had it drilled into me by Protestant ministers in general that Easter is a more important holy day than Christmas in the Christian calendar. And certainly in the Catholic Church Easter is of primary importance. It's just that Christmas is more marketable in the West than Easter - the Easter Bunny can't compete with Santa Claus as a children's hero - and thus you see this tremendous emphasis on Christmas in commmercialized American and British popular culture. But in the actual churches of the West themselves, Easter remains the more important holy day. So I think generally it's a trifle unfair to say that one denomination or another gives a person a more thorough grounding in Christian teaching than another. Certainly the Catholic Church can't be accused of neglecting its flock's spiritual education!!!!
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: RichC on December 18, 2005, 04:49:52 PM
Quote
 

RichC,  I don`t know where you get your information from. You would be hardpressed to find any serious commentary written after 1900, that did not  revolution a distinct possibility.  It was obvious that change to the antiquated political system had to be achievecd, if Russia was to become a modern country.



Thanks for writing again, StephenKerensky.  I'm enjoying your insights.  As Elisabeth said, I didn't really mean to imply that people of the time weren't wanting change or that the idea or possibility of revolution in Russia hadn't occurred to anybody.  I just don't think that's what most people expected would happen.  I get a lot of my information from years of study and a BA in Russian history (although that was many years ago and I don't consider myself a "scholar" by any means!)  But I do admire Richard Pipes, the Harvard professor, who is frequently quoted on this forum.  In his Three Why's of the Russian Revolution he writes, "If you read the Russian and foreign press before 1917, or memoirs of the time, you find that hardly anyone expected the downfall of tsarism either.  On the contrary, people believed that tsarism would survive for a long time to come.  One of the reasons the Russian radical revolutionaries, and even liberals, acted with such reckless abandon against the regime was their conviction that they could do so with impunity because it was virtually indestructible....This was especially true of the Revolution of 1905, which at it's climax looked as if it would bring the regime down.  And yet, within two years of having made some political concessions in the October Manifesto, the regime restored order and was firmly back in the saddle....  Suffice to say that as late as January 1917, when he was an exile in Switzerland, Lenin predicted that he and his generation would not live to see a revolution in Russia.  This he said seven weeks before tsarism collapsed."

Three Why's of the Russian Revolution by Richard Pipes, Vintage Books, 1995.

Quote
As to Lenin, he was certainly obscure, and his unpopular ideas were as far on the fringe of Russian politcal thought as it was possible to go.  He himself had no interest in Russia whatsoever, except to see it destroyed in order to bring about world revolution.  The Germans chose him to support, after their Schlieffen Plan collapsed, because he wasjust about  the only revolutionary who favoured surrender to Germany.  The only people in Russia who knew about Lenin before 1918, or even 1919, were the Okhrana, and other people with special knowledge of Marxists.  



I'm afraid I'm still having trouble seeing why the German's would have bothered with Lenin if he was a nonentity, as you stated previously.  Even if he was among the only one's who favored surrender to Germany, why bother if he was so inconsequential?  

Quote
The reason for making the point about Russian attitudes to the sanctity of life is that the most common phrase in al writing about pre-1917 Russia  is "barbarous, Asiatic despotism" and I maintian that this offensive epithet is a long way from the truth.  Many such writeres blame the barbarity of Bolshevism on this so-called "Russian national character" that is allegedly unfit for democratic government.  


Ok, I see what you mean.  But I also agree with Elisabeth's comments about the attitude of the Russian State toward the sanctity of life.  Unfortunately, the 20th century has shown us that the Russian state has plenty of company.

Best regards,

Richc
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on December 20, 2005, 01:38:56 AM
Anyone who thinks Kerensky was a fool not to get out of the war has not read the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, nor the agreements drawn up between Britain and France for the dimemberment of Russia after the war.  

Kerensky did not have a choice between the Right and the Bolsheviks.  The Bolsheviks were a tiny party, relatively insignificant until after the Kornilov Rebellion.  Both the Mensheviks and  his own parties, the Trudioviks and Social Revolutionaries were much, much bigger.

The point about the Provisional Government was that it had to keep both Left and Right together, until elections could be held on a proper basis, and so that the country could survive the war.  

It was not a matter of being indecisive, or taking bad decisions.  The problem was that different citizens with different politcial opinions, not to mention Russia`s so-called Allies, had different agendas.  Most of their ideas  were utterly unrealistic, in the circumstances.

Cheers, StephenKerensky  
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: StephenKerensky on December 21, 2005, 06:27:39 AM
How splendid this all is!  In the UK the reaction to AFK, and the rest of the family, especially in the media,  is one of sneering contempt.  I really appreciate all this intelligent interest.  

There are very gfew people with Russian background over here anyway, so there is not much chance to discuss all these issues.

Certainly, Elisabeth, there was no need at all for the Revolution to take Russia from authoritarian to totalitarian government.  Lenin`s victory was some kind of miracle, or whatever the opposite of a miracle is.  Nobody expected  the Bolsheviks to triumph.  (I refer you to John COle`s ?1986 articlle in the journal New Statesman, mentioned in an earlier posting, in which Lenin makes this abundantly clear)  

From a Kerenskly perspective, it is the ignorant and deeply stupid perfidy Lloyd George which effectively destroyed any chance Russia had of avoiding defeat and civil war. his was the central plank of all PG policies, and it is the one that most critics choose to ignore, or have failed to understand.  Generally, the more vitriolic they are, the less they apprecaite the situation of Russia in February 1917.  

I absolutely agree about the difference between State and People.  This is exactly what is wrong with Orlando Figes`s book "The People`s Tragedy", where he takes the opposite view, that violence is inherent in the Russian character. Of course, the book was hailed as a masterpiece by  people who know nothing of Russia Figes  seems to forget that Russia`a greatest national hero is Oblomov.  

As to the differences in religious teachings, or the different emphases placed by rival denomnations,  all I can do is point to the severe decline in church-going in Western Europe. Probably things are different in the US. But given the evolution issue, I don`t think different necessarily means better.  

Survey show that most people still believe in God or Christ, without going to church.  The problem with Catholicism,and the Church of England, is that both became harsh and unforgiving instruments of political control.  In this way, it seems to me, they turned the gentleness and forgiveness of true Christianity into the authoritarian dictators, who funded huge armies to cause millions of deaths in wars of religion, while living in vast palaces, wearing gold robes and drinking wine, while the majority suffered various kinds of extreme deprivation.

It has been said that the English Civil War put people strong religious feelings. Those who wantd that srot of thing, Non- Conformists, Quakers etc , took themselves off to America.......

But with a watered-down religion, it seems the Church of England also lost spiritual authority.  Hence Christmas became more "marketable"  than Easter, with its death by torture, and self-sacrifice, which are not such comfortable notions to get to grips with as the birth of a baby.

It might also be worth noting that, in English jails at least, Catholics are represented out of all proportion to their percentage of the population as a whole.    

Pipes may well be right, that the revoltion was "not expected" in the foreign and national press, nor in Russia as a whole.   A very different state of affairs pertained in the Court and in the political circles of Moscow and St Petersburg.  
In "The Crucifixion of LIberty"  Kerensky describes, in some detail, the agonized efforts  of the more intelligent Grand Dukes to get Nicholas to change his ways or abdicate, as early as the beginning of 1916.

Russsia`s plight, from`1915 onwards, became incresingly desperate, until it was  quite obviously reaching the point whenit would be beyond recall.  This is very different to 1905.   It was expected that,even though one of the Grand Dukes had tto threaten suicide to break Nicholas`s stubbornness, the reforms would gradually work. In fact, for every step he took forward, Nicholas took ten steps back, and the unrest inthe country did not cease. So perceptive observers of Russian affairs were easily able to see where things were heading.  

For the rest of the population, it has to be remembered that there was stringent censorship in operation. Penalites were severe.  Even if anti-government papers like Pravda were coming out, distribution throughout Russia was not easy to achieve.

Where  Lenin`s judgement is concerned, he could hardly be expected to know what was going on in 1917.  His chief representative, Malinovsky, was working for the Okhrana, as were two or three others in the Party.  Lenin was outraged in 1914 that practically the entire revolutionary movement was "defencist" i.e. backing the defence of Russia against Germany.  This may have been why he began wiping them all out when he took power, starting with the extreme Left, and moving steadilly to the right.  It may also explain the murderous cruelty of the Cheka and the Gulag. This is an island called Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean, and no prisoner ever emerged fromit alive.

Far from the February revolutionaries showing "reckless abandon", they offered the only chance of saving Russia from the utter and complete disaster of being forced to surrender to Germany.  Anyone who looks at the terms of Brest-Litovsk, or  the wish-list drawn up by the British and French for the post-war dismemberment of Russia, will have to admit that this is so.  

The Bolsheviks were supposed to be the "hardest of the hard", merciless and without feeling. Yet when Pokrovsky saw what the Germans were proposing at Brest-Litovsk he broke down and wept. It is a pity that some of Kerenskly`s  critics cannot summon up quite that much feeling for Russia and its people.  

The Germans bothered with Lenin precisely because they were desperate, and in the post-Schlieffen Plan world, they had no-one else to turn to.  Lenin must have sold himself on the basis of having Pravda, which German money turned into a national newspaper. He also had just about enough men to spread propaganda at the front.  

I have a book purporting to be by a German intelligence officer, describing his time with a mutinous Bolshevik company on the Russian front line.  Bolshevik propaganda also appeared in German POW camps.  This was the same strategy the Germans used in France, with Mata-Hari.  

When I reluctantly started looking into all this, about 12 years ago, I found it grotesquely complicated and almost impossible to grasp.   It actually is very hard to believe that Lenin really did take over one of the biggest countries inthe world with a handful of men.  That he did so against the wishes of almost the entire population makes it even more incredible.  

What really makes this a difficult event to understand though, is that so many people, the Bolsehviks, the British, the Germans, had good reason to bury information, and distort the truth.   Obviously, I had to be very careful when dealing with my grandafther`s books, which no-one gives much credit to.  I tried really hard to go in with an open mind, and just see what I came up with.    

In the end, and bearing in mind my father`s extreme tendency to honesty, as well as some German accounts (Ludendorff, Hindenburg)  I have come to the conclusion that the anti-PG people invariably have more holes in their arguments than Kerensky himself.   But perhaps you can convice me otherwise?  

Merry Chirstmas   StephenKerensky

I shall  be switching the machine off now, until 2006.







Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: historywriter on February 04, 2006, 11:58:57 PM
I am not sure where to place this topic because it really involves social history.  If this is the wrong place I will place it somewhere else.  I have just joined.

I am an Australian and was interested to learn that Kerensky married a journalist from Brisbane, Lydia Tritton, while in Paris after the Revolution.  She came from a well-known family of furniture retailers in Brisbane.  I know that Kerensky lived here for a while and Lydia died tragically at a young age.  According to Nina Berberova's autobiography he didn't like Brisbane.  

It would be interesting to find out more about this.

Best Regards,

Lisa
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Belochka on February 25, 2006, 08:21:34 PM
Quote
I am an Australian and was interested to learn that Kerensky married a journalist from Brisbane, Lydia Tritton ...

It would be interesting to find out more about this.

Best Regards,

Lisa


Hi Lisa,

Early last year, 2005, (February or March?) the Weekend Australian inside its journal insert, published a rather extensive article about the Queensland phase of Kerensky's life. Numerous photographs were included.

I suggest that you contact the publisher of The Australian.   :)
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: historywriter on February 25, 2006, 11:45:46 PM
Thank you very much, Belochka.  That is very kind of you.  I am going to try and find that article and may also contact the Russian community in Brisbane to find out more!  

Best wishes,

Lisa
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: historylover on January 28, 2007, 12:08:45 AM
Hello Historyblogger and Lisa,

I am reading Witnesses to the Russian Revolution which is very interesting.  Although it is true that Kerensky didn't have much power and compromised with the Bolsheviks in order to sustain his government, according to this book Kornilov's return did increase support for the Bolsheviks greatly.  I am inclined to think that it did help their coup d'etat.

Best Regards,

Lisa
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Elisabeth on January 29, 2007, 11:55:57 AM
I'm the first to say that maybe I'm wrong, but as  I recall from college courses in Russian history and my own reading, Kerensky wavered fatally on this occasion as on so many others and instead of supporting Kornilov, as he had previously agreed to do (an action which might have saved the provisional government, or at the very least instituted a new military government not beholden to the Soviets!), suddenly did a complete about-face and betrayed Kornilov to his enemies, those very same Soviets, calling upon the latter for their support against this so-called attempted coup by counterrevolutionary forces.

That said, however, isn't the whole Kornilov business even today wrapped in a veil of mystery? Does anyone really know for certain what happened?
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Kurt Steiner on March 06, 2007, 06:38:12 AM
Yes, Kornilov was the last straw. Russia needed a co-operation between the moderate and conservative politicians (Milyukov and Guchkov) and the military. The military and the Kerensky government were never the best of friends, to say the least. As about Kornilov, he considered dismissing Kerensky only as the last measure if no cooperation is possible anymore (what he was critisized by Denikin for). In Kornilov's listing of ongoing ministers Kerensky was the first. Milyukov, L'vov and Rodzyanko (Octyabrist leader) were included also.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: bkohatl on February 22, 2009, 07:25:58 AM
I have always sensed that Nicholas was a man trapped by history, not controlling it. I can imagine the tempting argument that his Generals and Nobility made that a War with Japan would unite the Russian People and return Russia to Greatness.  I know how easy it would be to fall into that trap.
Witte and Stolypin saw that Russian would become a superpower, but she needed 50 years of peace. Had she gotten it, there would still be a Royal Family in Tsarskoe Selo.
It would taken the Czar(Tsar) who realized that his power didn't come from the Rich(like Ayn Rand's family)or the nobility(most of whom were self-serving and self-involved), but that his real power came almost exclusively from the peasants and their love for and loyalty to their "Father," the Czar. He couldn't win the intelligenzia over, the rich and powerful had their own agenda's, but once WWI cost millions of dead, he lost his most loyal supporters. Millions of Orphans, Widows and mourning parents, cost him all that he had. He didn't realize that the real backbone of the Monarchy were the poor.  I only wish that Witte and Stolypin had persuaded the Czar that they were right and he was wrong.  Lenin saw what the Czar and Kerensky didn't see. The slaughter of World War I was pointless and horrific. It wasn't the Great War. It was the Abominable War.
I remember hearing several recordings of Kerensky, some with Ronald Reagan. He became a right wing extremist in the 50's and 60's. Took none of the blame for that which there was so much blame to go around(The British manipulating the Czar and then Kerensky. Oswald Rayner proves that to me). Everything was this person's fault, that person's error. But never his. I think anyone with an iota of intelligence would have realized that he needed to secure refuge for the Imperial Family. Anyone paying attention could have seen what dire straights they were in. Their rapidly worsening treatment by succeeding military regiments at Tsarskoe Selo foretold Yekaterinberg. If Kerensky was as good a man as he claimed he would have sent the royal family into exile, if not to a foreign country, then Vladivostok, Archangel or Livadia. At least they would have had a chance to escape. The picture of Aleksey and Olga on the Rus, proves they knew what Kerensky claimed not to know. And yet he was not stupid, so he says. 
And then the millions of dead after the February Revolution, proved how really stupid Kerensky was.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Sarushka on February 22, 2009, 09:40:19 AM
Their rapidly worsening treatment by succeeding military regiments at Tsarskoe Selo foretold Yekaterinberg.

To my knowledge, there wasn't any "rapidly worsening treatment" at Tsarskoye Selo -- only at Tobolsk following the Bolshevik coup. As far as I know, the regiments comprising the guard were consistent throughout the Romanovs' house arrest at TS, and two out of three regiments were openly sympathetic to the family. Even the 2nd regiment, which gained a reputation for being antagonistic to the family, had some officers that the Romanovs became fond of.


Quote
If Kerensky was as good a man as he claimed he would have sent the royal family into exile, if not to a foreign country, then Vladivostok, Archangel or Livadia. At least they would have had a chance to escape.

IMO, Kerensky's choice was not without its advantages -- Tobolsk was isolated, insulated, loyal, and provided comfortable accommodations. At the time he sent them into exile, Petrograd far was more dangerous than Siberia, though apparently Kerensky expected the revolutionary fervor to die down; he'd told the Romanovs there was a possibility they might return to Tsarskoye Selo by November. Kerensky didn't even forsee his own overthrow, so I don't think it's a matter of morality, of being deliberately negligent of the Romanovs. More like shortsightedness, perhaps.


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The picture of Aleksey and Olga on the Rus, proves they knew what Kerensky claimed not to know.

I've seen that photo, but I don't know what you're referring to.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: bkohatl on February 23, 2009, 05:43:00 AM
Have you ever read Olga's prayer found in Yekaterinberg which went:
PRAYER
Send us the patience, Father, to support us in this year of dark days and tempests, these persecutions of the people and these tortures of our executioners.
Give us the strength, O just God, to pardon the wickedness of our neighbors, and to carry the heavy bloody cross with your humility.
And in these riotious days , when our enemies strip us, help us, Saviour God, to suffer the shame and the insults.
Master of the world, bless us with your prayer and give the peace to our soul appeased at this terrible hour and unbearable.
And at the gates of the tomb, make us born again with the lips of your slaves the superhuman force of humble prayer for our enemies. A twenty-two year old who says "to suffer the shame and the insults," "these tortures of our executioners" is someone who saw Yurovsky approaching long before she ever met him. Then look into Aleksey and Olga's eyes as they sat at that table on the Rus and tell me that you can't feel what they felt and know what they knew.
And Sydney Gibbes, recalled hearing the grand duchesses screaming in terror as they were being ferried on the Rus to join their parents in Yekaterinberg; he often spoke about how he was haunted by his inability to help them. Anna Voruyba recalled the seizing of Aleksey's toy gun by the guards and how Deverenko berated Aleksey into cleaning his boots at Tsarskoe Selo, but even worse was the deliberate humiliation of the Czar himself. It was far more the epaulets, chevrons and medals. It was humiliation born out of sadism and revenge and that started long before Tobolsk. I remember that Colonel Kobylinsky saw his every effort at moderation and reason being challanged. He saw it Tsarskoe Selo and would have told Kerensky. Kerensky did nothing.
I may be mistaken, but I believe that the Empress Marie felt, as I do, getting the family to the coast was the Romanov's only chance for survival. Yekaterinberg and Alapayevsk proved her right.
But getting back to Kerensky, "The Kerensky Offensive" or 1917 agaisnt Austria-Hungary cost 400,000 Russian Casualties and that was nearly ten times more than Axis casualties in the same battle. Every bit as deadly, awful and stupid as  General Paul von Rennenkampf's betrayal of Samsonov at Tannenberg Forest.
I have sought to bring honor to the memory of Nagorny for his courage on a human level, but to me Kerensky leadership in WWI  was as bad as Rennenkampf's; he betrayed the Russian People and both their name's should live in infamy. Then to listen to this man in the 1950's and 60's say how nothing was his fault. The truth doesn't bare him out.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Sarushka on February 23, 2009, 09:06:02 AM
Have you ever read Olga's prayer found in Yekaterinberg which went:
PRAYER
Send us the patience, Father, to support us in this year of dark days and tempests, these persecutions of the people and these tortures of our executioners.
Give us the strength, O just God, to pardon the wickedness of our neighbors, and to carry the heavy bloody cross with your humility.
And in these riotious days , when our enemies strip us, help us, Saviour God, to suffer the shame and the insults.
Master of the world, bless us with your prayer and give the peace to our soul appeased at this terrible hour and unbearable.
And at the gates of the tomb, make us born again with the lips of your slaves the superhuman force of humble prayer for our enemies. A twenty-two year old who says "to suffer the shame and the insults," "these tortures of our executioners" is someone who saw Yurovsky approaching long before she ever met him.

Olga didn't write that poem/prayer. It's by a Russian poet named Sergey Bekhteev.


Quote
Then look into Aleksey and Olga's eyes as they sat at that table on the Rus and tell me that you can't feel what they felt and know what they knew.

No, I absolutely cannot. I can only speculate.

Much has been made of that photo, but I don't see it the same way others do. Olga and Aleksei's expressions are certainly rather sober, but I'm not about to infer that they knew their death was on the horizon. I chalk that up to the fact that they were tired and anxious from their journey and their separation from NAM, but even that's really not visible in the photo unless you know its context. We see what we want to see, because we know more about O&A's fate than they do themselves.

Try showing that image to someone who doesn't know the history of the Romanovs and doesn't know the significance of the moment it's captured. I bet not one of them will say "They look like they know they're going to die." In fact, my mother says: "The woman looks bored, and the boy's curious about who's taking the picture." My father: "The boy's eyes are too blurry to see, and the woman is looking off in the distance, so I don't know."

I'm wandering dangerously close to snarkiness here, but if you want to infer Olga's state of mind from a photograph, I find this one from 1916 much more telling than anything taken after the revolution:

(http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y285/sarahelizabethii/Romanov/Stavka/th_nickmariaolganastya1916.jpg) (http://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y285/sarahelizabethii/Romanov/Stavka/?action=view&current=nickmariaolganastya1916.jpg)


Quote
Anna Voruyba recalled the seizing of Aleksey's toy gun by the guards and how Deverenko berated Aleksey into cleaning his boots at Tsarskoe Selo, but even worse was the deliberate humiliation of the Czar himself.

In Charlotte Zeepvat's book, Romanov Autumn, there is strong evidence to suggest that the incident between Derevenko and Aleksei never happened.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on February 24, 2009, 09:55:36 PM
Did Kerensky make mistakes while he was in a leadership position within the Provisional Government? Certainly. My opinion is that his worst mistake was in arming the Bolsheviks during the Kornilov Rebellion. Had he moved to the Right, the country might have been spared 70 years of Bolshevik terror and mismanagement.

But, was he the worst villain? I beg to differ. Stalin was the worst of them. There was every chance without him that the Revolution would have died a natural death within a generation of Lenin's passing. But, Stalin was history's most prolific mass murderer, with over 40 million killed.

Kerensky may have refused to take responsibility for his mistakes, but he is scarcely the first person to have done this and he will not be the last.

As to the Imperial Family, Kerensky could have killed or harshly imprisoned them, and he did neither. Certainly in retrospect external exile or a port city would have been a better choice than Tobolsk. Yet, even that city would have been a safe haven for them had not the Bolsheviks not intervened and removed them to Ekaterinburg.

What I know of the man is second hand and anecdotal, but one of my professors wrote a book with him and he said AFK felt badly about not getting the IF to safety. He was impressed by the Imperial couple's patriotism and they with his.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: imperial angel on February 24, 2009, 11:29:54 PM
I agree Kerensky made mistakes, but foreign countries willing to take in the Romanovs were hard to find. Recall the battle with England over the Tsar going there. The Tsar and his family were percieved as a liability to a country so even if Kerensky had arranged their leaving or given them a chance to escape, finding a country willing to take Nicholas and (Alexandra as well) because of the political implications was tough. The girls and Alexei would have had an easier time finding refuge in a foreign country. Kerensky was in the middle of a rapidly changing sitiuation, as where the Romanovs, and predictions were hard to make. I think Kerensky never bore the kind of ill- will towards the Imperial Family Lenin did, etc.

I agree World War I was a mistake. Even Rasputin scarcely the wisest of people spoke out against it,  saying that it would cause the fall of the dynasty. Russia's worst time of revolution prior to 1917 was when in 1904-1905, the Russo- Japanese war was going badly. So that World War I might speed up or ignite the flames of already existing discontent was not a conclusion that couldn't have been forseen. Nicholas II had alienated the poor of Russia in many ways before World War I. So it wasn't only the war that alienated them. I think Nicholas and Alexandra did believe that the real backbone of the monarchy was the poor-,actually. Many statements by Alexandra in letters exist to the effect that she believed the poor really had a good image of the Tsar, or something along those lines. She believed the peasants where the real Russians, Nicholas seems to have believed this too. So I think their mistake was not that they didn't recognize that the poor were the backbone of the monarchy- it seems they did. But, their mistake was thinking that the poor worshiped the tsar and the dynasty no matter what the conditions of their lives were, no matter their lack of rights, and that they were always content. They didn't see the growing disillusion with the monarchy among the peasantry, and so had this idealized image of the poor being the foundation of the monarchy, while ignoring that that was becoming less and less true, and that they couldn't give the poor forever no rights. So it wasn't that they failed to see the peasantry's value to the monarchy, it was that they interpreted it in the wrong way. World War I and going to war was a rush of emotional, not rational caluculation, and also Nicholas and Alexandra no doubt believed the peasantry would support them no matter what in the war, simply because it was patriotic to do so. Anyway, they could not have seen the scale of the war.

When they were on the Rus, correct me if I'm wrong, but that was Spring 1918, and Keremsky hadn't been in power since autumn 1917.The sitiuation changed so fast, and Kerensky wasn't sure what to do. I believe he wasn't particularly a champion of the Romanovs, but that he did his best. If the Rus photo shows Olga and Alexei possibly aware of impending doom, since it was taken when Kerensky wasn't in power, he can't be to blame for their possible doom, or their awareness of it. That photo is haunting, but taking it alone as evidence they were aware of their doom is precarious. They don't look happy in the photo, but who would have been happy under the circumstances? Kerensky may have been the first person with the power to possibly save the Romanovs, but he wasn't the LAST person. As such, he can hardly be blamed completely or even in part for their eventual fate.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: bkohatl on March 06, 2009, 06:51:50 AM
I don't want anyone to think that there weren't heroes, like Admiral Kolchak. He was brave and honest from all that I've read and seen. But radicals like Sverdlov, Trotsky and Lenin are always the ones who profit from disorder and Kerensky's War Policy guaranteed disorder and more revolution. But I guess what was obvious to me, never even occurred to the oblivious Kerensky.

I only wish the assassin's bullet had missed Stolypin(I think it was at the Opera House in Kiev).
I have always been convinced that the only person who could have convinced the Czar to avoid war.

Part of my resentment of Kerensky is his career start as a reformer, ending as one of the worst reactionaries. There was a reason Russia was ripe for reform or Revolution: the suffering of millions of poor. Stolypin's Agrarian reforms certainly headed Russia in the right direction. I think the only way for the Czar to have avoided Revolution was never Kerensky, it was Stolypin.
I wasn't surprised and much heartened that the Russian people named Alexander Nevsky the Greatest Russian and Stolypin second. I think that was well deserved.

And though there is so much to hate about Stalin, no one having read the 900 Days by Harrison Salisbury and other books of the suffering of the Russian People that Stalin's refusal to accept defeat was one element in the extraordinary defeat of Hitler at Stalingrad, St. Petersburg and the Crimea.

As to Olga's picture, your right that is much more to my liking. But I like the ones in which she is pensive, because "silent waters run deep". Also a few, mostly limited to the family, she has the most wonderful whimsical smile. I even recall one very bizarre photo from the Yale Collection where Olga and Maria(?) are sitting on either side of their mother and eyeing her or each other with the strangest expressions. Charming. As to the prayer, I meant that it meant enough to her that she copied it in her own hand. A very somber prayer.

I have never understood Anna Vyrubova. I read her book and her police interviews as posted here. She knew as much or more than anyone else about the Romanovs, but you have a definite feeling that a lot of what she says is hearsay. But the point about hearsay is that somebody probably told her. True about Alexei and Deverenko. I don't know, but it could be true. The only thing that she did that I really resent was demeaning the Czar. I like Nicky. I think he was a good man in an impossible situation. Just one man's opinion.

It took a lot of courage for those who stood by the Romanovs to have done it. Maybe that just wasn't in Deverenko's character and who could blame him, by the summer of 1917 the handwriting was on the wall .
I've beaten up enough on Kerensky.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Constantinople on March 15, 2009, 03:57:06 PM
It is my understanding that Kerensky tried hard both to establish a moderate government and to deal farily with the Imperial Family.  It was not until the communists took power that the seizure of property began as well as the wholesale slaughter.  The purpose in moving the IF to tobolsk was for their safety.  It is my understanding that Alexander Kerensky tried to find a foreign home for them but that he was repeatedly turned down.  I agree about the worst mistake being the arming of the Bolsheviks but it ranks only slightly above sharing the Duma with them.  My reading of Kerensky is that he was too weak to be the leader that Russia needed at that time.
    As for Kolchak, my understanding is that the forces under him were responsible for some of the worst attrocities during the Russian Civil War.  He was probably responsiible for more people turning to communism voluntarily than any other major Russian figure.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Zvezda on March 16, 2009, 02:26:36 PM
Kerensky committed many unpardonable crimes against the Russian people. The most outstanding was the brutal suppression of the July 1917 protests in which the participants merely called for peace and freedom. Kerensky's conspiracy with the bloodthirsty Kornilov to destroy the soviets was outright treason against Russia.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on March 16, 2009, 07:52:02 PM
Kerensky committed many unpardonable crimes against the Russian people. The most outstanding was the brutal suppression of the July 1917 protests in which the participants merely called for peace and freedom. Kerensky's conspiracy with the bloodthirsty Kornilov to destroy the soviets was outright treason against Russia.

Do you have any sources for this? In studying the Bolshevik coup of November 1917, one of the reasons they were able to seize power was Kerensky's release from jail of prominent Bolsheviks, including Lenin, and arming them to suppress the Kornilov Rebellion of July 1917! Had Kerensky not done this, chances are the Bolsheviks would have remained in jail and the right could have prevented many of the left's crimes against the Russian people.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Zvezda on March 16, 2009, 10:21:37 PM
Quote
Do you have any sources for this?
For the July Days, read Alexander Rabinowitch or O.N. Znamensky. For the Kornilovshchina, there is abundant scholarship from Russian historians on the topic.

Quote
Bolshevik coup of November 1917
This delusional conspiracy theory of the Russian Revolution originating with cranky White Russian emigres has been consigned to the rubbish bin by even moderate western scholars like Alexander Rabinowitch, Sheila Fitzpatrick, and others who demonstrate the popular nature of the Revolution in their works. The fact that over 500,000 Russians were in the streets of Petrograd in July 1917 demanding the establishment of soviet power and an end to the Provisional Government is itself overwhelming evidence of the massive character of the Russian Revolution.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: JStorey on March 17, 2009, 11:46:44 PM
Kerensky committed many unpardonable crimes against the Russian people. The most outstanding was the brutal suppression of the July 1917 protests in which the participants merely called for peace and freedom. Kerensky's conspiracy with the bloodthirsty Kornilov to destroy the soviets was outright treason against Russia.

Kerensky, a student of French history, was acutely aware of the threat Kornilov posed to the Provisional Government.  Kornilov was Napolean waiting on the wings; a coup d'etat would have surely followed.  Kerensky leaned far more to the left than right; do not forget he was vice-chairman of the Petrograd Soviet and helped form it in the initial days of the revolution!  He gave them a whole wing of the Tauride Palace.

Keresnky was (initially, at least) an idealist; he was trying to reconcile forces that could never be reconciled, no matter who was in power.  Pulling at the various reigns, he was destined only to be drawn and quartered.  A brutal civil war was inevitable. 

I would also strongly disagree with those who portray him as "the worst villian" in regard to the Romanovs.  He was no such person; one could argue his policy towards the Imperial Family was a contributing factor to his downfall.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Zvezda on March 18, 2009, 02:00:05 PM
The Provisional Government did not resolve the national question. It refused to recognize the right to self-determination or even autonomy for peoples such as Finland and the Ukraine. The old apparatus of oppression, hostile to the natives, was left in charge with almost no change.

The Provisional Government was anti-popular. It did not decree an eight-hour workday, nor did it pass a single law for the improvement of working conditions. It did nothing to combat economic disorganization and starvation. It declared that all land seizures were illegal. The soviets were transformed into and appendage of the Provisional Governments and ceased to be organs of power.   

The Provisional Government openly waged war against the Revolution. During the July Days, the regime gave an order for an armed attack by military officers and cadets against the workers. Hundreds of workers were killed and wounded. The regime ordered the kidnapping and trial of V.I. Lenin and there were terrorist attacks against the offices of Pravda and the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee were destroyed. The regime's goons began to disarm workers, disband revolutionary military units, and carry out arrests.

Above all, the Provisional Government was an accomplice to Kornilov's counterrevolutionary conspiracy. This amounted to treason against the Revolution.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: RichC on March 19, 2009, 06:21:33 PM
Stalin was the worst of them. There was every chance without him that the Revolution would have died a natural death within a generation of Lenin's passing. But, Stalin was history's most prolific mass murderer, with over 40 million killed.


I think the part of about the revolution dying a natural death had Stalin not risen to power is debatable.  There always seems to be some blood-thirsty butcher waiting in the wings in Russia.  Stalin just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Beria came close to replacing Stalin in the 1950's unless I'm mistaken.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on March 30, 2009, 03:32:06 PM
The Provisional Government did not resolve the national question. It refused to recognize the right to self-determination or even autonomy for peoples such as Finland and the Ukraine. The old apparatus of oppression, hostile to the natives, was left in charge with almost no change.

The Provisional Government was anti-popular. It did not decree an eight-hour workday, nor did it pass a single law for the improvement of working conditions. It did nothing to combat economic disorganization and starvation. It declared that all land seizures were illegal. The soviets were transformed into and appendage of the Provisional Governments and ceased to be organs of power.   

The Provisional Government openly waged war against the Revolution. During the July Days, the regime gave an order for an armed attack by military officers and cadets against the workers. Hundreds of workers were killed and wounded. The regime ordered the kidnapping and trial of V.I. Lenin and there were terrorist attacks against the offices of Pravda and the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee were destroyed. The regime's goons began to disarm workers, disband revolutionary military units, and carry out arrests.

Above all, the Provisional Government was an accomplice to Kornilov's counterrevolutionary conspiracy. This amounted to treason against the Revolution.


The Provisional Government was by its very definition a temporary caretaker government and was never charged with the responsibility to do anything but govern until the Constituent Assembly took up the issues of a permanent post Tsarist governance. The Bolsheviks so feared the process of liberal government that they shut down the Constituent Assembly with armed force.

The eventual Soviet Union also declined to solve the National questions, taking over popular governments in Ukraine in the Baltics.

In Lenin's own words, "In 1917, Russia was the freest country on earth". The PG abolished capital punishment and other oppressive laws, "deficiencies" remedied bu the Bolsheviks.

The July Days showed how the Bolsheviks were in rebellion against the government, which then jailed the leaders.

The treason against the Revolution was the murder of millions of its own people by the government of the eventual USSR.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Zvezda on March 30, 2009, 10:54:44 PM
Quote
The Provisional Government was by its very definition a temporary caretaker government and was never charged with the responsibility to do anything but govern until the Constituent Assembly took up the issues of a permanent post Tsarist governance. The Bolsheviks so feared the process of liberal government that they shut down the Constituent Assembly with armed force.

The eventual Soviet Union also declined to solve the National questions, taking over popular governments in Ukraine in the Baltics.

In Lenin's own words, "In 1917, Russia was the freest country on earth". The PG abolished capital punishment and other oppressive laws, "deficiencies" remedied bu the Bolsheviks.

The July Days showed how the Bolsheviks were in rebellion against the government, which then jailed the leaders.


The April, June, and July demonstrations were spontaneous political protests against the illegitimate Provisional Government. To characterize it as a Bolshevik rebellion is something of a delusional conspiracy theory. The people of Petrograd made it abundantly clear that they were sick to death of war, hunger, and reaction.

Concerning the Ukraine and the Baltic countries, soviet power was largely established by the local workers themselves in the period November 1917 to January 1918. In Latvia and Estonia, soviet power was illegally overthrown in February 1918 by the German aggressors and in May 1919 the bourgeois nationalists seized power with interference by the Entente, German units, and Yudenich's White Guard gangs. In Ukraine, soviet power was similarly overthrown by the German aggressors in February 1918 and shortly thereafter replaced by a puppet regime. These regions were not practising their right to self-determination when they were in fact either under German or Entente vassalage.

Concerning the Constituent Assembly, it had no right to govern Russia. In November 1917, the soviets established themselves as the supreme state authority in Russia. The soviets also decided to dissolve the Constituent Assembly when it refused to recognize the soviet government's decrees. You may also recall that the right-wing Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks walked out of the Congress of Soviets when the Petrograd Soviet proclaimed state power, precluding the possibility of the formation of a coalition government with the Bolsheviks and Left SRs.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: nevsky 17 on March 30, 2009, 11:56:49 PM
It's relatively too early to interpret 1900-1918 events in Russia however here is a befitting quotation from Wikipedia that covers your discussion on Kerensky imo:

 The local Russian Orthodox Churches in New York refused to grant Kerensky burial, seeing him as being a freemason and being largely responsible for Russia falling to the Bolsheviks. A Serbian Orthodox Church also refused. Kerensky's body was then flown to London where he was buried at Putney Vale's non-denominational cemetery.

The article also touches on Kerensky's ties to "New York bankers" (who apparently stiill remain beyond criticism or reproach).
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: antti on March 31, 2009, 08:38:01 AM
Quote
The Provisional Government was by its very definition a temporary caretaker government and was never charged with the responsibility to do anything but govern until the Constituent Assembly took up the issues of a permanent post Tsarist governance. The Bolsheviks so feared the process of liberal government that they shut down the Constituent Assembly with armed force.

The eventual Soviet Union also declined to solve the National questions, taking over popular governments in Ukraine in the Baltics.

In Lenin's own words, "In 1917, Russia was the freest country on earth". The PG abolished capital punishment and other oppressive laws, "deficiencies" remedied bu the Bolsheviks.

The July Days showed how the Bolsheviks were in rebellion against the government, which then jailed the leaders.


The April, June, and July demonstrations were spontaneous political protests against the illegitimate Provisional Government. To characterize it as a Bolshevik rebellion is something of a delusional conspiracy theory. The people of Petrograd made it abundantly clear that they were sick to death of war, hunger, and reaction.

Concerning the Ukraine and the Baltic countries, soviet power was largely established by the local workers themselves in the period November 1917 to January 1918. In Latvia and Estonia, soviet power was illegally overthrown in February 1918 by the German aggressors and in May 1919 the bourgeois nationalists seized power with interference by the Entente, German units, and Yudenich's White Guard gangs. In Ukraine, soviet power was similarly overthrown by the German aggressors in February 1918 and shortly thereafter replaced by a puppet regime. These regions were not practising their right to self-determination when they were in fact either under German or Entente vassalage.

Concerning the Constituent Assembly, it had no right to govern Russia. In November 1917, the soviets established themselves as the supreme state authority in Russia. The soviets also decided to dissolve the Constituent Assembly when it refused to recognize the soviet government's decrees. You may also recall that the right-wing Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks walked out of the Congress of Soviets when the Petrograd Soviet proclaimed state power, precluding the possibility of the formation of a coalition government with the Bolsheviks and Left SRs.

Zvezda please leave the Baltic countries and Finland away from your posts since your posts are explained by soviet propaganda and has nothing to do with the truth.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: JStorey on April 01, 2009, 11:22:44 PM
The brief window in which Kerensky was in power was one of incredible tumult and instability.  He was doomed.  It only illustrates that it made little difference who was in power at the time; the conflicting forces were so profound, civil war was an inevitability.  Allied war loans were about the only thing keeping the government afloat; he had no choice. 

All of this rubbish about Witte, Stolypin, and/or Kornilov saving the day is just that - rubbish... 

As is the caricature you're making of Kerensky.  I do agree that what I have read about him in his later years as a professor at Stanford, etc., he seemed rather bitter and full of himself.  But I would like to see someone - anyone - volunteer to step in his shoes during those 10 months - Kornilov on one side, Lenin on the other.  He never had a chance.  There is a very tedious biography of his day to day life (by a fellow named Abraham) that, while may not keep you on the edge of your seat, nevertheless illustrates just what a mess he had on his plate.

He treated the Romanovs as well as he could under the circumstances and considering who Kerensky was.  When England proved out of the question, Tobolsk was a reasonable location.  He was not a Marat and wanted very desperately a bloodless revolution.

In the end he was lucky to get out alive. 

Revolution is a mother who eats her own children.  See Goya's Saturn for illustration.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: bkohatl on May 01, 2009, 02:51:40 AM
My only point was, that if anyone saw what Lenin saw they and they had any courage they could have changed history. The Russian people were sick of the war, too many were dead and too many were dying. If someone had just had the courage to say this is a stupid war. Let us end it hear and now, Lenin might have been a footnote. World War I was not the Great War: it was the stupid war. Think of all the slaughter of the Civil War. If Kerensky had been a real reformer, if he possessed the courag to end the fighting. The Killing would have stopped. Every act he did and everything he didn't do, guaranteed that he wouldn't be the person to decide Russia's or his own fate.
Except for the Anti-Intelligensia and Anti-Semitism which grew up out of the radicallism which infested Russia and which they contributed to, Witte and Stolypin did plant the seeds which directly led to Russia to becoming a Superpower.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: imperial angel on May 01, 2009, 05:31:51 AM
I think the war was equated with patriotism, rightly or wrongly. That maybe why Kerensky didn't end the war when he could have and should have. Nicholas would not have ended the war early since he equated it with patrotism. Lenin cared more about the Bolshevoks getting power than he did about perceptions of ending the war being unpatriotic. The was was indeed a mistake and contributed to the fall of the Romanovs, but Nicholas never saw that.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: amelia on May 01, 2009, 07:00:52 AM
What happened to Kerensky's family? Did they escape to the West? A few years ago I read that one of his grandsons worked for the BBC in London. Is it true? Amelia
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 01, 2009, 11:15:02 PM
What happened to Kerensky's family? Did they escape to the West? A few years ago I read that one of his grandsons worked for the BBC in London. Is it true? Amelia

The Kerensky family indeed made their way West. Stephan Kerensky posts here on occasion.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: JStorey on May 02, 2009, 12:26:02 PM
My only point was, that if anyone saw what Lenin saw they and they had any courage they could have changed history. The Russian people were sick of the war, too many were dead and too many were dying. If someone had just had the courage to say this is a stupid war. Let us end it hear and now, Lenin might have been a footnote. World War I was not the Great War: it was the stupid war. Think of all the slaughter of the Civil War. If Kerensky had been a real reformer, if he possessed the courag to end the fighting. The Killing would have stopped. Every act he did and everything he didn't do, guaranteed that he wouldn't be the person to decide Russia's or his own fate.
Except for the Anti-Intelligensia and Anti-Semitism which grew up out of the radicallism which infested Russia and which they contributed to, Witte and Stolypin did plant the seeds which directly led to Russia to becoming a Superpower.

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men...  I have a question:  if you were Kerensky, just how would you "end" the war?  You would have to surrender and sign a treaty with the Germans.  The Germans would force extraordinary concessions.  The Allies would abruptly end all war loans, their financial support the only thing holding your government tenuously afloat.  Your money would then have to come from Germany, making your position of negotiation even weaker.  In other words, you would be in a situation identical to Lenin's: Treaty of B-L, dependency on Germany money, lack of support from Allies, outrage from military and monarchists, etc.  All of which equals:  civil war.

Kerensky was in the classic double-bind: "damned if you do, damned if you don't"...

Re: Stolypin - I would argue that Stolypin's land reforms contributed more to revolutionary conditions then to Russia becoming a superpower.  Promoting the sale of communal farm land to individuals forced the migration of peasant workers from the countryside to the cities and factories, creating a surplus of "factory-serfs" readily exploited in - at the time - a work environment utterly devoid of basic human rights.  He did it for a good reason:  farms in Russia needed to become modernized - larger and more efficient - to compete with the rest of the world, but the short-term outcome was a disaster.   

Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: historylover on May 13, 2009, 08:08:59 PM

I agree with you about Kerensky.  The terms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty were very harsh and much worse
than the Treaty of Versailles, apparently.

Someone else brought this up but I didn't know about any alleged links with New York bankers?
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: JStorey on May 14, 2009, 11:26:47 AM
All that could possibly be in reference to - as far as I know - are the Allied war loans that kept the Provisional Government afloat upon the condition they stayed in the war. 
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: historylover on May 16, 2009, 06:37:37 PM
It's surprising that Kerensky is now being criticised for wanting Russia to remain in the war.  Lenin is often regarded as a traitor for
coming to terms with Germany.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Alixz on May 16, 2009, 06:44:10 PM
On the 3rd December 1917 a conference between a Russian delegation, headed by Leon Trotsky and German and Austrian representatives began at Brest-Litovsk. Trotsky had the difficult task of trying to end Russian participation in the First World War without having to grant territory to the Central Powers. By employing delaying tactics Trotsky hoped that socialist revolutions would spread from Russia to Germany and Austria-Hungary before he had to sign the treaty.

After nine weeks of discussions without agreement, the German Army was ordered to resume its advance into Russia. On 3rd March 1918, with German troops moving towards Petrograd, Vladimir Lenin ordered Trotsky to accept the German terms. The Brest-Litovsk Treaty resulted in the Russians surrendering the Ukraine, Finland, the Baltic provinces, the Caucasus and Poland.


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWbrest.htm
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Alixz on May 16, 2009, 07:00:34 PM
The Allies needed Russia to remain in the war.  Without Russia and before the Americans intervened, the French were afraid of Germany being able to turn all of its attention toward her.

The people were war weary.  They truly wanted out of the war, but both Nichols Ii and Kerensky believed in "death before dishonor" and wanted to stay true to their allies and their treaties.

Lenin didn't care about treaties.  He only wanted Russia.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on May 20, 2009, 04:09:57 PM
Lenin didn't care about treaties.  He only wanted Russia.

Lenin wanted international revolution of the proletariat - no, he didn't want it, he believed it was an historical inevitability.  Perhaps his greatest disappointment and miscalculation was that revolution did not follow in Germany.  So I don't believe it is accurate to say he wanted only Russia.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Alixz on May 21, 2009, 08:09:17 AM
I meant that he only wanted Russia at that time.

He wanted to get out of the war and have the time to get Russia settled and begin his socialist programs without a war to contend with.

As to the future, Lenin was wrong about the inevitability of Germany following and that may have been good or bad depending on your outlook on the inevitability of WWII and the Holocaust.  Perhaps if Germany had followed Russia in its policies there would have been no Hitler.

Would there have been a Holocaust without Hitler?

If Kerensky had pulled Russia out of the war would the rise of communism have been inevitable?  If Nicholas had pulled Russia out of the war, would his abdication have been inevitable?
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on May 22, 2009, 12:13:14 PM
This gets back to the fundamental question:  just how do you "pull Russia out of the war"?  The choices were either surrender or win.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: historylover on May 30, 2009, 06:53:37 PM

I agree with you, JStorey.  The  Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was very hard on the Russians.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: bkohatl on June 28, 2009, 03:19:52 AM
I've been reading the very interesting comments by Mr. Kerensky. You are right,  any negotiated settlement with Germany would have been very much like Brest-Litovsk: a disaster. But what Kerensky didn't realize was Russia didn't have to negotiate and had several things going for it. Everyday that Germany fought brought American entry into the war closer. The Von Schlieffen Plan depended on a time table which the Kaiser's advisors cited over and over again as being inviolable, because it was the only way Germany could win the war. All Kerensky had to do is what Alexander I did, destroy provender for the German Army and keep drawing them deeper and deeper into Russia. It may not have been popular, but like the Roman General Fabius who fought Hannibal to a stalemate, proved, it would have frustrated and handicapped any invader(Scipio Afracanus is reputed to have said that if Fabius had been kept in command, Hannibal would have returned to Carthage on his own and there would have been no Cannae or Lake Trasimene defeats); Hannibal is supposed to have thrown emotional tantrums against Fabius, screaming how can anyone defeat a General who won't fight. I am absolutely convinced that the strategy would have worked in Russia's favor. 
Germany's time was running out and an army which placed strategy above tactics was exactly what Hindenburg and Ludendorff and the brilliant Colonel Hoffman, who was the true architect of the Germany victory at Tannenberg Forest, feared most. It was Hoffman who predicted correctly that Russian General Von Rennenkampf would not come to General Samsanov's aid in the Battle of Tannenberg Forest. If I had been the Czar or Kerensky in 1914 my first act after Tannenberg would have been to shoot Rennenkampf personally.
I have never seen World War I as "The Great War". Who cares about the war loans, Lenin reputed all of the Kerensky-Czarist Debt and got away with it. 
As to Stolypin, remember that a poll of Russians put him second behind only Alexander Nevsky as the greatest Russian of All-Time. I agree with them. The difference is that the Imperialist hated him because he was against the Russo Japanese War(Remember they thought a war would have brought Russians together. They were wrong). The intelligensia didn't care. But it was the peasants who profited most from Stolypin and they remembered that he made their lives better. I don't agree that large farms were the answer. In America at that same time small family farms flourished and would have in Russia too. Large Farms were a byproduct of the second half of the 20th Century, not the first.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Alixz on June 28, 2009, 01:38:08 PM
There has been a change of the definition of "great" since the beginning of the 20th century.

I believe that great was used as in "big" or overwhelming.  As in the title of the book  All Creatures Great and Small by the veterinarian James Herriot.

Not great as in the way tend to use it now - that was a great movie!

They truly believe that World War I would be the "war to end all wars", they just could not see mankind going into another general conflict as universal or "great" as that one had been.

But I agree that using the tactics that Alexander I had used against Napoleon might have worked.  Stretch out the supply lines and make the enemy march into the snows of winter.

Nicholas had made a vow not to stop fighting as long as one enemy soldier remained on Russian soil.  That was his major problem.  He kept trying to drive them out instead of exhaust them.

Even in World War II, the citizens of Leningrad withstood the siege and that was what ultimately stopped the Germans.  But it happened on Russian soil.  Nicholas and Kerensky didn't want that.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: bkohatl on June 28, 2009, 07:21:04 PM
You're right, but, between 5,000,000-10,000,000 dead in World War indicate that the Russian Military while getting better in leadership and weaponry, was not in Germany's class. I don't even think the English were either, except for their Navy. It was the overwhelming number of American Soldiers and the violation of Von Schlieffen Plan, which assured Germany's defeat. Remember that it was Lenin pushing for Brest-Litovsk in the face of Trotsky opposition that got Russia out of the War. At an incredible price, but considering the carnage, the millions of dead, was well worth it in the eyes of starving mothers and chldren of Petrograd, Kiev and Moscow.
If the goal was to win, then the strategy of Nicholas II and Kerensky was a failure and the Russian War Dead prove that.  Lenin's victory proves that. It tipped the balance to his favor.
I remember that Lincoln was the subject of immense criticism everytime Robert E. Lee invaded the North. At Antietam and later Gettysburg, calls resounded through the North to bring the Army of the Potomac and Ohio home to defend the Union. It was Grant, after victories at Shiloh and Vicksburg who convinced Lincoln that defending the homeland wasn't the answer. Grant said at one point every Union General worries about what Lee is going to do. I intend for Lee to worry about what I'm goiing to do.
It was developing a coherent strategy that mattered. Lincoln didn't think he was going to win re-election in 1864. Grant and Sherman proved Lincoln Right.
Alexander I's strategy of drawing the French into Russia and denying the sustenance helped defeat Napoleon. It was a brilliant strategy. And the right one too.
In reading Hindenburg, Ludendorff and Colonel Hoffman's reports, you get a sense that they anticipated every move the Russians made before they made it. Just read Hindenburg's report about the Tannenburg Forest. Hindenburg described as a perfect German Victory. Von Rennenkampf assured that result just as Hoffman had predicted.
Defending Russian soil is a great jingle, but starving Prussian/German soldiers outside Moscow and Petrograd could have brought German collapse well before the American entry into the war.
I think Alexander III would have done what I suggested. Just  a hunch I have. But who knows.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: bkohatl on June 28, 2009, 07:28:50 PM
Doing what everyone expects you to do is a recipe for failure, not victory. Great leaders do the unexpected and win. Caesar at Alesia faced a Gaullic Army of between 200,000 and 300,000 with only 40,000 Romans. Had he retreated, Vercingetorix would have won and Rome would have lost and all of European history would have changed. He risked everything and won everything. A poll of Military Historians ranks Caesar's victory at Alesia and Phllip II's victory at Lepanto as the two greatest and most important battles in all of history. Both involved risking everything by doing what no one expected.
Had Nicholas II or Kerensky drawn the Kaiser into Russia, Germany might have collapsed in 1915 or 1916, not November 1918. And no German would have seen it coming.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on July 17, 2009, 03:31:55 PM
You can't have it both ways.  One of the primary criticisms of Nicholas II was that he involved himself too much in military matters he should have left up to his generals.  And your strategy, while interesting, is one for Kornilov not Kerensky, though I suspect even Vercingetorix himself - were he thrust into the situation - would have had his hands full.
Title: Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
Post by: Skipper on November 17, 2009, 04:51:49 PM
Annie to my mind there were two significant departures made by Kerensky which can be described.

Most literature only describe Kerensky's departure from the Winter Palace, under the protection of the Americans Lieutenants Knirsh and Vinner in a borrowed Embassy car waving the American Flag. This incident was not his escape, but a trip intended to rally his troop's spirits. They aparently stopped numerous times to salute troops before reaching the city of Pskov. Most literature tend to ignore Kerensky's stay in Gatchina from October 25. It was here in Gatchina that Kerensky makes his first dramatic break from the Bolsheviks.

On the morning of 31 October 1917, the Gatchina Palace began to to be infiltrated with unfamiliar faces. Krasnov - the Commander of Third Cavalry Corps warned Kerensky that the Cossacks were discussing the idea of exchanging him for Lenin. To make his escape he exchanged his clothes for those of a Danish sailor's uniform, and curiously added a pair of aviator's goggles to his new attire. A young soldier called Belensky led this "figure" through the main gate. Kerensky made his way to a car which awaited him at the Chinese Gate at the Gatchina village and made his escape. Sadly the Palace servant who now wore Kerensky's greycoat was beaten and then executed.

Several months later wishing to flee Russia, Kerensky now in Moscow, sought a British visa in May 1918, which was denied to him by Wardrop the British Consul-General. Not permitting this temporary disappointment, Fabrikantoff, Kerensky's minder appealed directly to Bruce Lockhart (Head of the British Mission), for assistance. Lockhart sympathized with Kerensky's plight, agreed to personally provide an unauthorized visa on the Serbian passport procured by Fabrikantoff through the Serbian Mission. This time disguised as a Serbian officer, that same evening he was smuggled to the port of Murmansk where a platoon of Serbian soldiers were returning home. Kerensky boarded a British secret Service trawler to Scotland.

On 24 June he met with Lloyd George the British Prime Minister.

Kerensky lived in Paris where he met the Australian journalist Lydia Tritton. They moved to Brisbane Australia in October 1945, where they lived until her death from a stroke in 1946. He then returned to New York, drifting between France and Germany, and finally settling down in the United States.

In 1955 the ex-President Herbert Hoover invited Kerensky to write a book at Stanford University at the Hoover Institution of War Revolution and Peace. He became a member of staff giving lectures and writing a number of books, with the collaboration of his co-editor Robert Browder. He died in June 1970, at age 89, in New York - the year of Lenin's centenary birth.

More information can be found in the well written books:

Alexander Kerensky The First Love of the Revolution Richard Abraham, Columbia University Press, 1987 and also in
Memoirs of a British Agent R.H. Lockhart, Pan Books, 1985
 :)






Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Skipper on November 17, 2009, 04:57:50 PM
Belochka
I know this topic is from some time ago but I only just came across this forum.
You stated that Kerensky boarded a British secret Service trawler to Scotland, I am very interested in this as I have so far been unable to find such a specific description of his journey. Please could you tell me where this information came from?
I believe that to be more specific he landed at Kirkwall and that my Grandfather was involved in this operation.
Skipper
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: historylover on November 17, 2009, 06:08:33 PM
Is there an interesting bio of Kerensky?  I'm not keen on reading a tedious one!
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Nicolá De Valerón on November 17, 2009, 07:17:12 PM
Is there an interesting bio of Kerensky?  I'm not keen on reading a tedious one!

historylover, I know only one book published in English about him
"Kerensky: First Love of the Revolution"(1987), by R. Abraham. Excellent book. Totall autobiography.

There are several Kerensky works, that he made after emigre:
The Prelude to Bolshevism (1919),
The Catastrophe (1927),
The Crucifixion of Liberty (1934),
Russia and History's Turning Point (1965).

Also he wrote, but only in Russian, about Romanovs. Book called something like Tragedy of Romanovs.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: historylover on November 28, 2009, 09:53:40 PM
Hello Nicola,

Thank you.  I will read that one.  I am more interested in the story of his second wife who was Australian
but I am very interested in Kerensky.

I can't help thinking that he was cheeky to write about the Romanovs.  He didn't exactly help them!
However, I don't think that he would have agreed with what the Bolshevisks did to them.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Nicolá De Valerón on November 29, 2009, 10:31:41 AM
Thank you.  I will read that one.

You are welcome.

I can't help thinking that he was cheeky to write about the Romanovs.  He didn't exactly help them!

How you can imagine that!? It would be very funny, when the Russian social liberal revolutioner would be friendly and helpful with those whom he just overthrew;)

However, I don't think that he would have agreed with what the Bolshevisks did to them.

Of course he as a intelligent and civilized man could never agree with what happened with them.
That's why, I think, later in emigration he wrote a book about their destiny.
Moreover, he was a typical type of a kind Russian revolutioner, and eventually he became more and more sympathy to their fate.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: historylover on December 12, 2009, 01:19:58 AM
Thank you, Nicola.  I must read the biography and see what his thoughts were towards the end of his life.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on February 19, 2010, 02:27:39 AM
Is there an interesting bio of Kerensky?  I'm not keen on reading a tedious one!

historylover, I know only one book published in English about him
"Kerensky: First Love of the Revolution"(1987), by R. Abraham. Excellent book. Totall autobiography.

Um, having read the book in its entirety, it is the very definition of tedious.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, though there is much gained in terms of dispelling some of the silly myths surrounding Kerensky.

He is a fascinating character.  From the very same town as the Lenin brother's; Kerensky's father actually wrote a letter of recommendation for Lenin.  My memory is rusty but I think Kerensky watched the carriage of Lenin's brother Alexander when it passed through town for his execution.  Very ironic.  Another interesting childhood event regarding Kerensky is that he constructed a wreath and actually wept upon the death of Alexander III.  He had very much internalized the Tsar/Father ideal; it quite shaped his decision making once he was in power. 

From the point of view of politics, Kerensky spent far too much time at the Alexander Palace.  After determining that most of the vile rumors circulating throughout the Tauride Palace (and in Petrograd generally) were untrue - many of which he himself had helped perpetuate - he became the Romanov's protectorate.  He truly shielded them from harm.  Sending them to Tobolsk was probably the safest place they could go.  He certainly did his best to send them to England...

The analogy that I most often used for Kerensky is this:  he alone had the audacity to try and reign in the various and disparate political interests in Russia, pointing them in a singular direction.  In this regard he failed miserably (reconciling a Provisional Government with a Soviet wasn't going to happen, to say nothing of reconciling the emerging Reds and Whites)... In short he was destined - the moment he took hold of the reigns - to be drawn and quartered.  Each horse was off running in a radically different direction.  Kornilov on one side, Lenin on the other...  The conservatives already riled by their loss of power, ready to reclaim it; the soviet (which Kerensky himself served on) chomping at the bit for more power...  Hardly the time for a conciliatory voice.

Kerensky was much more a disciple of the French revolution than a true socialist (although his true leanings were to the hard left).  He wanted a bill of rights, democracy, constituent assembly, etc.  Kerensky is certainly the character that connects the French, American, and Russian revolutions together.  They were, in some respects, not terribly different from one another in spirit.  Remember I am speaking of the February revolution here (so don't hit 'post' with a scathing diatribe too quickly)...

I think in the end he simply became overwhelmed.  He was a great orator, a passionate fellow, but not a true leader.  I hate to say it but in times of trouble true leaders seek power ruthlessly.  They are not interested in compromise or debate or ideals.  With Kerensky at the helm, power was for the taking.  If not Lenin, Kornilov would have surely grabbed it... 

He ended up a somewhat bitter professor at Stanford, from what I understand.  I read that he was a tough prof...  Very ironic that he was driven away in an American car - a Peirce Arrow!  It is said that his aid - in a desperate search for an escape vehicle - knocked upon the door of the Nabokov residence.  Their son would of course later become well known in circles of both lepidoptery and literature.  And they wisely declined to loan a car...   

The one thing Abraham's book does convey well is that Kerensky was indeed the singular divining rod of revolutionary passion in the spontaneous moment of the February revolution.  The choices he made were those of life and death.  He had to deal with with the prospect of his actions judged as either treason or justice, depending upon the outcome of the revolution, which was far from certain.  He took a great risk and owned the moment, and for that (despite where you stand regarding the Romanovs) he really should be recognized and - in some sense - celebrated. 
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: historylover on April 11, 2010, 12:45:13 AM
Thank you very much, JStorey. 

I haven't been here for a long time - I'm sorry for the late reply.  I agree with everything that you wrote but I am not sure what you meant by Kerensky being 'hard Left'?

Is there another book on Kerensky?  I am sorry to learn that he was bitter but it was understandable.

I am very interested in his second wife, Lydia Tritton, but I can't find out much about her.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 18, 2010, 08:47:57 PM
this might help

Tritton, Lydia Ellen (1899 - 1946)
TRITTON, LYDIA ELLEN (1899-1946), journalist and public speaker, was born on 19 September 1899 in East Brisbane, fourth of six children of Frederick William Tritton, a furniture warehouseman from Jersey, Channel Islands, who became a wealthy retailer, and his English-born wife Eliza Ellen, née Worrall. Educated at the Brisbane High School for Girls (Somerville House from 1920), Lydia insisted on the faux French name of 'Nellé', preferring to be 'hated [rather] than ignored'. After leaving school, she made several public appearances as an elocutionist, and published privately an anthology of verse, Poems (c.1920). She moved to Sydney in the early 1920s and worked as a journalist.


In 1925 Miss Tritton sailed for London. She toured the Continent and gained a reputation as an authority on international affairs. In Italy she read the Journal (Paris, 1887) of Marie Bashkirtseff, a nineteenth-century Russian émigré who had lived in France. It inspired her to meet and mix with expatriate Russians. At the register office, Kensington, London, on 11 December 1928 she married Nicholas Alexander Nadejine, a 43-year-old professional singer and former officer in the White Russian Army. They were childless. While visiting Brisbane, Nadejine gave a recital; Nell (as she by then styled her Christian name) took private lessons in Russian from Nina Maximoff (later Christesen), who was to found the department of Russian language and literature at the University of Melbourne. Back in London, Nadejine unsuccessfully tried to join the Covent Garden opera company. Thereafter he reputedly deceived his wife with 'some crazy elderly Englishwomen who were rich and idle'. Nicholas and Nell were divorced in 1936.

Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 18, 2010, 08:48:56 PM
In the early 1930s, possibly in Paris, Mrs Nadejine had met the exiled Alexander Kerensky and begun working as his secretary. Kerensky, a lawyer, had been a member of the Russian duma, minister for war, and prime minister of Russia for three months from July 1917. After the October revolution he lived in Paris, but spent some time in the United States of America raising money for the anti-Bolshevik cause. Nell fell in love with him. Kerensky did not at first reciprocate her affections. In March-June 1939 she visited Brisbane, where she lectured to various organizations on international politics and continued her Russian lessons, with M. I. Maximoff, Nina's father. Kerensky enticed her to come to the United States by suggesting they might soon be married. His divorce from his wife Olga became absolute on 29 June. Alexander and Nell were married at Martins Creek, Pennsylvania, on 20 August that year. The justice of the peace in whose home the ceremony took place, reported that 'a man wearing a monocle and carrying a cane arrived accompanied by a pretty blonde'.


M. and Mme Kerensky left New York at the end of September 1939 and took up residence in Paris. The self-exiled Russian author Nina Berberova, whom they visited frequently, described Nell as 'beautiful, calm, and intelligent', with 'shoulders and a bosom like Anna Karenina'. On 11 June 1940, shortly before the fall of France, the couple left Paris by motorcar. After a harrowing trip, they reached the Spanish border eighteen days later. Kerensky, as a Russian refugee, was not permitted to cross. They both turned back, and drove to St Jean-de-Luz whence they made their way to England in a British naval vessel. Travelling in a trans-Atlantic liner, they arrived in New York on 12 August 1940 and received a triumphal welcome from the New York Times. They lived in a small, rented apartment on Park Avenue until 1942 when they acquired a large wooden farmhouse near the New York-Connecticut border. Kerensky's lecture tours provided their main source of income. Their life, when they were together, was idyllic, with numerous visitors and games of croquet.

Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 18, 2010, 08:49:53 PM
During her husband's absences, Mrs Kerensky sometimes thought of returning to Australia to undertake war-work. They moved to a smaller house closer to New York city and in October 1945 travelled to Brisbane. In February 1946, while staying with her parents at Clayfield, Nell suffered a stroke. Survived by her husband, she died of chronic nephritis on 10 April that year and was cremated with Anglican rites. On his return to Paris in 1949, Kerensky read to Berberova his 'History of the Illness and Death of Nell'.

Select Bibliography
N. Berberova, The Italics are Mine (NY, 1969); R. Abraham, Alexander Kerensky (NY, 1987); J. Armstrong, The Christesen Romance (Melb, 1996); Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 23 Aug 1939, 11 Apr 1946. More on the resources

Author: Judith Armstrong

Print Publication Details: Judith Armstrong, 'Tritton, Lydia Ellen (1899 - 1946)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, Melbourne University Press, 2002, pp 409-410.

Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on April 20, 2010, 12:19:02 PM
I haven't been here for a long time - I'm sorry for the late reply.  I agree with everything that you wrote but I am not sure what you meant by Kerensky being 'hard Left'?

Is there another book on Kerensky?  I am sorry to learn that he was bitter but it was understandable.

Sure - by the way despite it being tedious I'd still read the Abraham bio... 

In terms of 'hard left' I suppose what I mean by that is just from the perspective of American politics (I'm American) the spectrum of 'liberal' and 'conservative' - even now in an ever-polarized climate - pales in comparison to the political spectrum existing in 1917 Russia.  In the American framework, Kerensky would fall off the chart into socialist obscurity, while in the Russian context he was deemed by the left as far too conservative and restrained in his decisions.  Rodzianko, who on the eve of revolution tried in vain to warn the Tsar of the desperate  situation in Petrograd, was a wild liberal from the point of view of the monarchy.  Dissolve the Duma!  Yet from the left Rodzianko was too conservative to even enter the conversation.  Similarly, the staunch monarchists and their politics would also push the American definition of conservative into new territory (some might argue over that one, but I wouldn't.)...   In other words, in today's world we don't quite realize just how polarized a political climate can really become. 

I find that amusing.  Well perhaps amusing isn't the word; I find it alarming too, because the emerging political patterns in America bear increasing resemblance to those of Russia before the revolution, albeit minus true economic collapse (a prerequisite for discord, it seems).  Increasing social stratification, growing political polarization, dissatisfaction with government, dissatisfaction with war, mild economic pressure, corruption/greed among vital elite institutions, etc.  To me - if we are to take anything from history - this all points to some kind of systemic internal conflict/fracture within the next 50 years or so, probably earlier.  In any case I digress...

Anyhow I did find the Stanford article, truly fascinating:

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2001/janfeb/features/kerensky.html
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 21, 2010, 01:29:57 PM
I would label Kerensky as a social democratic socialist who was coopted by the communists.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on April 22, 2010, 09:30:16 AM
I would label Kerensky as a social democratic socialist who was coopted by the communists.

Hmmm...  I'd say Kerensky "coopted" the 'communists' rather than the other way around. 

First of all you can't say communists.  You have to specify Bolshevik, Menshevik, etc.  There was widespread disagreement about what to do and who was in charge among the 'Communists' as you call them.  Lenin was initially laughed at and booed when he proposed the forceful takeover of power.  Kerensky spontaneously initiated the formation of the Petrograd Soviet in the opposite wing of the Tauride Palace following the 'Soviets' of Father Gapon's movement in 1905.  It was a very passionate, democratic expression that quickly went awry as the Soviet quickly chomped at the bit for power and butted heads with the provisional government.  Also as prominent figures returned to the political scene from exile.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 22, 2010, 09:50:05 AM
I believe that I can say communists as a general blanket term.  they were all indoctrinated into Marx@s political philosophies and ideiologies.  Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were all shades of the same colour - Red
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on April 22, 2010, 01:45:21 PM
I believe that I can say communists as a general blanket term.  they were all indoctrinated into Marx@s political philosophies and ideiologies.  Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were all shades of the same colour - Red

Well of course you can - I merely suggest that you shouldn't if you want to examine the period with any rigor.  Take your telling point, for instance:  red...  Well, why red?  (Drum roll, I shall tell you....)  Red was the color of the February revolution (later borrowed by the 'communists' as you call them) in homage to the French Revolution (their muse a shirt soiled in blood).  The February revolution was very much perceived as a long-awaited and logical extension of the French.  Red was in fact a connecting thread between French, American, and Russian revolutions - all far more interwoven then some might have us believe (and that, in the Russian/American case, subsequent historical tensions have distorted into a baffling and utterly false dichotomy). 

Only when you begin to understand how the actors thought in the context of the time and culture can we interpret their actions with clarity.  Generally the revolutionaries did not segregate notions of democracy, bill of rights, rights of man, etc. with Marxist ideology - they were all intertwined as philosophies empowering the oppressed common man.  Read Kerensky's speeches (as well as all the others) for a myriad of examples.  How could Kerensky serve as vice-chairman of the Soviet and head of the provisional government all at once, without a common thread of uniting principles between them?  (Of course this thread quickly unraveled when the stakes were raised, but that is neither here nor there to the point I am making)...  Similarly, why would Lenin be so roundly abused - literally shouted down by his colleagues - when he first sought support for what he later simply went out and did on his own?   

The alternative, anachronistic analysis, simply doesn't work:  we take our own mental paradigm of socialism, democracy, communism, etc. and project it backwards.  (How is the Russian revolution known today?  As the 'Communist revolution' of course - wrong)  How the actors behaved and why becomes incomprehensible because we make no attempt to understand how they thought.  The best we can do is invent all sorts of our own modern-day rubbish:  'if they had only stuck with so and so [Witte, Stolypin, insert name here] then x never would have happened' - or - 'if Kerensky had only abandoned the war, then y never would have happened' etc.

Well there's a few paragraphs that should foment some kind of lively discussion. 
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 22, 2010, 02:11:30 PM
I agree with you that historical revisionism and hypothesis about alternate possible outcomes of historical facts are fantasy at best but they allow us to try to play with history and possibly understand it better.  And I have studied a lot of nuanced histories of the period including but not exclusively Alexander Solzheytzens November 1917.  I also have friends who have written extensive histories on the revolutions but most of the time when I am posting on here, I do not want to go through my library to find and source particular points. It is more fun just to react to what one contributor has written and mmore power to those who do the hard research prior to posting.
  By the way do you have any information on the Shtandart in the period between 1918 and when it was converted into a mine layer (the Marti).  aside from it being used as a deteniton center.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Kitt on April 23, 2010, 11:18:35 AM

What a totally neat thing.  I live only about 10 or 15 miles from Martins Creek.  I've never heard of this. I must investigate.  When I was in college at East Stroudsburg State, in the same region, I remember going past an area of land with a very high wire fence around it. I was told that Karensky had a home there, in Bushkill, Pa. A few years ago, I tried to find the area, but after 40 years, the area really changed. and I couldn't find it.
All the best,
Kitt


"In the early 1930s, possibly in Paris, Mrs Nadejine had met the exiled Alexander Kerensky and begun working as his secretary. Kerensky, a lawyer, had been a member of the Russian duma, minister for war, and prime minister of Russia for three months from July 1917. After the October revolution he lived in Paris, but spent some time in the United States of America raising money for the anti-Bolshevik cause. Nell fell in love with him. Kerensky did not at first reciprocate her affections. In March-June 1939 she visited Brisbane, where she lectured to various organizations on international politics and continued her Russian lessons, with M. I. Maximoff, Nina's father. Kerensky enticed her to come to the United States by suggesting they might soon be married. His divorce from his wife Olga became absolute on 29 June. Alexander and Nell were married at Martins Creek, Pennsylvania, on 20 August that year. The justice of the peace in whose home the ceremony took place, reported that 'a man wearing a monocle and carrying a cane arrived accompanied by a pretty blonde'.


M. and Mme Kerensky left New York at the end of September 1939 and took up residence in Paris. The self-exiled Russian author Nina Berberova, whom they visited frequently, described Nell as 'beautiful, calm, and intelligent', with 'shoulders and a bosom like Anna Karenina'. On 11 June 1940, shortly before the fall of France, the couple left Paris by motorcar. After a harrowing trip, they reached the Spanish border eighteen days later. Kerensky, as a Russian refugee, was not permitted to cross. They both turned back, and drove to St Jean-de-Luz whence they made their way to England in a British naval vessel. Travelling in a trans-Atlantic liner, they arrived in New York on 12 August 1940 and received a triumphal welcome from the New York Times. They lived in a small, rented apartment on Park Avenue until 1942 when they acquired a large wooden farmhouse near the New York-Connecticut border. Kerensky's lecture tours provided their main source of income. Their life, when they were together, was idyllic, with numerous visitors and games of croquet."

Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: JStorey on April 23, 2010, 01:17:39 PM
Their life, when they were together, was idyllic, with numerous visitors and games of croquet."

Croquet with Kerensky - if I could travel back in time what a conversation that would be.

And Constantinople - yes good points all... 

Re: the Standart (I think Shtandart is a different, earlier ship) I don't know what happened to it but a very interesting question indeed.  The Bolshevik's overly-pragmatic transformations assigned to what they perceived as symbols of decadence, opulence, tyranny, etc. are a fascinating study in psychology.  And of course - in the midst of condemnation - the revolutionaries gave in to temptation too... One of the famous criticisms of Kerensky was that he began to sleep in the Tsar's bed in the Winter Palace, rode in the Tsar's limos, had his portrait done by Repin, etc.  He who wears the crown of King Dodon will fall into slumber.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Constantinople on April 23, 2010, 01:25:07 PM
Shtandart is the Peter 1's yacht.  the political implications of it were immense and it cost the equivalent of a year's budget for education for Russian = $2,000,000.  It was interesting that the Polar Star did not receive the same political labelling but maybe the point was two yachts of that magnitude was a yacht too far, one yacht over the tipping point.  Imperial yachts make interesting political statements and symbols.  If my Russian was good enough I would write a book about the Shtandart.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: historylover on May 23, 2010, 06:03:29 AM
Thank you very much, Constantinople.  It's a pity that 'Nell' died so young but she certainly had a fascinating life! She must have been
very modern and forthright to become a journalist in those days.  I can imagine that it would have been especially difficult for a woman
in Australia.

Trittons was an excellent furniture store.  My parents used to shop there and I am old enough to vaguely remember it.

Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Nemos on September 05, 2011, 04:15:26 AM
(http://image.imgfiles.ru/user/bnx52bn5hk.jpg) (http://user-4543.imgfiles.ru/bnx52bn5hk.html)

http://www.prlib.ru/Lib/pages/item.aspx?itemid=51053

А. Ф. Керенский и Ф. Ф. Колчак в автомобиле [Изоматериал] : [фотография]. - 1917. - Проекционная печать с негатива, черно-белая ; 9х12 см .
Alexander Kerensky and FF Kolchak in the car [Izomaterial]: [photo]. - 1917. - Projection print from a negative, black and white, 9x12 cm.
Title: Re: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?
Post by: Alixz on September 06, 2011, 05:24:44 PM
Nemos  - Please type in English.  FA has decreed that this is an English speaking board and requires that everyone post in English.

Thank you,


Alixz