Milyukov, Paul Nikolayevich

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(18591943), Russian historian and publicist; Russian liberal leader.

Milyukov was born in Moscow. He studied at the First Gymnasium of Moscow and the department of history and philology at Moscow University (1877-1882). His tutors were Vassily Kliuchevsky and Paul Vinogradov. After graduating from the university, Milyukov remained in the department of Russian history in order to prepare to become a professor. From 1886 to 1895, he held the position of assistant professor in the department of Russian history at Moscow University. In 1892 he defended his master's thesis based on the book State Economy and the Reform of Peter the Great (St. Petersburg, 1892). In the area of historical methodology Milyukov shared the views of positivists. The most important of Milyukov's historical works was Essays on the History of Russian Culture (St. Petersburg, 1896-1903). Milyukov suggested that Russia is following the same path as Western Europe, but its development is characterized by slowness. In contrast to the West, Russia's social and economic development was generally initiated by the government, going from the top down. Milyukov is the author of one of the first courses of Russian historiography: Main Currents in Russian Historical Thought (Moscow, 1897). In 1895, he was fired from the Moscow University for his public lectures on the social movement in Russia and sent to Riazan, and then for two years (18971899) abroad.

In 1900 he was arrested for attending the meeting honoring the late revolutionary Petr Lavrov in St. Petersburg. He was sentenced to six months of incarceration, but was released early at the petition of Kliuchevsky before emperor Nicholas II. In 1902, Milyukov published a program article "From Russian Constitutionalists in the Osvobozhdenie" ("Liberation"), magazine of Russian liberals, issued abroad. Between 1902 and 1905, Milyukov spent a large amount of time abroad, traveling, and lecturing in the United States at the invitation of Charles Crane. Milyukov's lectures were published as Russia and Its Crisis (Chicago, 1905).

In 1905 Milyukov returned to Russia and took part in the liberation movement as one of the organizers and chairman of the Union of Unions. On August, 1905, he was arrested, but after a month-long incarceration was released without having been charged. In October of 1905 Milyukov became one of the organizers of the Constitutional Democratic (Kadet) Party. His reaction towards the October Manifesto was skeptical and he believed it necessary to continue to battle the government. Due to formal issues, he could not run for a place in the First and Second Dumas, but he was basically the head of the Kadet Faction. From 1906, Milyukov was the editor of the Rech (Speech ) newspaper, the central organ of the Cadet Party. From 1907, he was the chairman of the Party's central committee. From 1907 to 1912, he was a member of the third Duma, elected in St. Petersburg. He favored the tactics of "the preservation of the Duma," fearing its dissolution by the tsar. He became a renowned expert in the matters of foreign policy. In the Duma, he gave seventy-three speeches, which total approximately seven hundred large pages. In 1912 Milyukov was reelected to the Duma, once again from St. Petersburg.

After the beginning of World War I, Milyukov assumed a patriotic position and put forth the motto of a "holy union" with the government for the period of the war. He believed it necessary for Russia to acquire, as a result of the war, Bosporus and the Dardanelles. In August of 1915, Milyukov, was one of the organizers and leaders of the oppositionist interparty Progressive Bloc, created with the aim of pressuring the government in the interests of a more effective war strategy. On November 1, 1916, Milyukov made a speech in the Duma that contained direct accusations of the royal family members of treason and harshly criticized the government. Every part of Milyukov's speech ended with "What Is This: Stupidity or Treason?" The speech was denied publication, but became popular through many private copies and later received the name of "The Attacking Sign."

After the February revolution Milyukov served as the foreign minister in the Provisional Government. Milyukov's note of April, 1917, declaring support for fulfilling obligations to the allies provoked antigovernmental demonstrations and caused him to retire. Milyukov attacked the Bolsheviks, demanding Lenin's arrest, and criticized the Provisional Government for its inability to restore order. After the October Revolution, Milyukov left for the Don, and wrote, at the request of general Mikhail Alexeyev, the Declaration of the Volunteer Army. In the summer of 1918, while in Kiev, he tried to contact German command, hoping to receive aid in the struggle against Bolshevism. Milyukov's "German orientation," unsupported by a majority of the Cadet Party, led to the downfall of his authority and caused him to retire as chairman of the party. In November of 1918, Milyukov went abroad, living in London, where he participated in the Russian Liberation Committee. From 1920, he lived in Paris. After the defeat of White armies, he proposed a set of "new tactics," the point of which was to defeat Bolshevism from within. Milyukov's "new tactics" received no support among most emigré Cadets and in 1921 he formed the Paris Democratic Group of the Party, which caused a split within the Cadets. In 1924 the group was modified into a Republican-Democrat Union. From 1921 to 1940 Milyukov edited the most popular emigré newspaper The Latest News (Poslednie Novosti). He became one of the first historians of the revolution and the civil war, publishing History of the Second Russian Revolution (Sofia, 1921-1923), and Russia at the Turning-point (in two volumes, Paris, 1927).

In 1940, escaping the Nazi invasion, Milyukov fled to the south of France, where he worked on his memoirs, published posthumously. He welcomed the victories of the Soviet army and accepted the accomplishments of the Stalinist regime in fortifying Russian Statehood in his article "The Truth of Bolshevism" (1942). Milyukov died in Aix-les-Bains on March 31, 1943.

See also: constitutional democratic party; february revolution historiography; liberalism; october revolution


Emmons, Terence. (1999). "On the Problem of Russia's 'Separate Path' in Late Imperial Historiography." In Historiography of Imperial Russia, ed Tomas Sanders. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Miliukov, Pavel Nikolaevich. (1942). Outlines of Russian Culture. 3 vols., ed. Michael Karpovich; tr. Valentine Ughet and Eleanor Davis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Miliukov, Pavel Nikolaevich. (1967). Political memoirs, 19051917, ed. Arthur P. Mendel, tr. Carl Goldberg. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Miliukov, Pavel Nikolaevich. (19781987). The Russian Revolution. 3 vols., ed. Richard Stites; tr. Tatyana and Richard Stites. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press.

Miliukov, Pavel Nikolaevich; Seignobos, Charles; and Eisenmann, L. (1968). History of Russia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

Riha, Thomas. (1969). A Russian European: Paul Miliukov in Russian Politics. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Stockdale, Melissa K. (1996). Paul Miliukov and the Quest for a Liberal Russia, 1880-1918. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Oleg Budnitskii