Protopopov, Alexander Dmitrievich
PROTOPOPOV, ALEXANDER DMITRIEVICH
(1866–1918), minister of the interior, 1916–1918.
A member of an upper-class family, mentioned in Russian historical records from mid-sixteenth century, Alexander Dmitrievich Protopopov had an honorable, if not distinguished, career in the zemstvo (local self-government), and he also served in the third and fourth Duma, indeed as vice president from 1914. A left-wing Octobrist by party affiliation, Protopopov was active in the formation of the Progressive Bloc of deputies. His appointment as minister of the interior in September 1916 was not inappropriate, and it could even be considered as an effort by Nicholas II to go beyond narrow court circle and extreme rightist ideologies. Yet it proved to be a total disaster for two reasons: It fore-grounded Protopopov's connection with the notorious Rasputin, and it coincided with the onset of mental illness. The emperor wanted to dismiss his new minister, but he was blocked by the empress, the chief protectress of all connected with Rasputin. And so, in the words of one historian, "a man verging on insanity remained at the head of the Ministry of Interior until the Revolution. This case gives the measure of the decadence of the bureaucratic system."
See also: nicholas ii; rasputin, grigory yefimovich
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky