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Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich

LORIS-MELIKOV, MIKHAIL TARIELOVICH

(18251888), Russian general and minister, head of Supreme Executive Commission in 18801881.

Mikhail Loris-Melikov was born in Tiflis into a noble family. He studied at the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages in Moscow and at the military school in St. Petersburg (18391843). In 1843 he started his military service as a minor officer in a guard hussar regiment. In 1847 he asked to be transferred to the Caucasus, where he took part in the war with highlanders in Chechnya and Dagestan. He later fought in the Crimean War from 1853 to 1856. From 1855 to 1875 he served as the superintendent of the different districts beyond the Caucasus and proved a gifted administrator. In 1875 Loris-Melikov was promoted to cavalry general. From 1876 he served as the commander of the Separate Caucasus Corps. During the war with Turkey of 18771878 Loris-Melikov commanded Russian armies beyond the Caucasus, and distinguished himself in the sieges of Ardagan and Kars. In 1878 he was awarded the title of a count.

In April of 1879, after Alexander Soloviev's assault on emperor Alexander II, LorisMelikov was appointed temporary governorgeneral of Kharkov. He tried to gain the support of the liberal community and was the only one of the six governorgenerals with emergency powers who did not approve a single death penalty. A week after the explosion of February 5, 1880, in the Winter Palace, he was appointed head of the Supreme Executive Commission and assumed almost dictator-like power. He continued his policy of cooperation with liberals, seeing it as a way of restoring order in the country. At the same time, he was strict in his tactics of dealing with revolutionaries. In the under-ground press, these tactics were called "the wolf's jaws and the fox's tail." In April 1880 Loris-Melikov presented to Alexander II a report containing a program of reforms, including a tax reform, a local governing reform, a passport system reform, and others. The project encouraged the inclusion of elected representatives of the nobility, of zemstvos, and of city government institutions in the discussions of the drafts of some State orders.

In August 1880 the Supreme Executive Commission was dismissed at the order of Loris-Melikov, who believed that the commission had done its job. At the same time, the Ministry of Interior and the Political Police were reinstated. The third division of the Emperor's personal chancellery (the secret police) was dismissed, and its functions were given to the Department of State Police of the Ministry of the Interior. Loris-Melikov was appointed minister of the interior. In September 1880, at the initiative of Loris-Melikov, senators' inspections were undertaken in various regions of Russia. The results were to be taken into consideration during the preparation of reforms. In January 1880 Loris-Melikov presented a report to the emperor in which he suggested the institution of committees for analyzing and implementing the results of the senators' inspections. The committees were to consist of State officials and elected representatives of zemstvos and city governments. The project later became known under the inaccurate name of "Loris-Melikov's Constitution." On the morning of March 13, 1881, Alexander II signed the report presented by Loris-Melikov and called for a meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss the document. The same day the emperor was killed by the members of People's Will.

At the meeting of the Council of Ministers on March 20, 1881, Loris-Melikov's project was harshly criticized by Konstantin Pobedonostsev and other conservators, who saw this document as a first step toward the creation of a constitution. The new emperor, Alexander III, accepted the conservators' position, and on May 11 he issued the manifesto of the "unquestionability of autocracy," which meant the end of the reformist policy. The next day, Loris-Melikov and two other reformist ministers, Alexander Abaza and Dmitry Miliutin, resigned, provoking the first ministry crisis in Russian history.

Having resigned, but remaining a member of the State Council, Loris-Melikov lived mainly abroad in Germany and France. He died in Nice.

See also: alexander ii; autocracy; local government and administration; zemstvo

bibliography

Zaionchkovskii, Petr Andreevich. (1976). The Russian Autocracy under Alexander III. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press.

Zaionchkovskii, Petr Andreevich. (1979). The Russian Autocracy in Crisis, 1878-1882. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press.

Oleg Budnitskii

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Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich

Mikhail Tarielovich Loris-Melikov (mēkhəyēl´ təryĕl´əvĬch lô´rĬs-mĕ´lyĬkəf), 1826–88, Russian general and statesman, of Armenian descent. He was created count for his services in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and in 1880 was made minister of the interior by Alexander II. He promoted some liberal reforms, specifically in the educational system, and drafted a program to allow members of the zemstvos to play a minor advisory role in legislation. Alexander II approved this reform on the day he was assassinated (1884), but Alexander III voided the reform and dismissed its author. Loris-Melikov in his youth is portrayed in Leo Tolstoy's Hadjii Murad.

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"Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/loris-melikov-mikhail-tarielovich