Plehve, Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von°

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PLEHVE, VYACHESLAV KONSTANTINOVICH VON ° (1846–1904), Russian statesman, a leader of Russian reactionary circles during the reigns of Alexander iii and Nicholas ii. In 1881 he was appointed director of the police department of the Ministry of the Interior and from 1884 to 1894 he was deputy minister. He adopted a systematic anti-Jewish policy in interpreting the restrictive laws against Jews. In 1902 Plehve was appointed minister of the interior, in which capacity he took strong measures to subdue the revolutionary movement. When riots broke out in *Kishinev on Passover 1903, liberal and Jewish circles declared that Plehve was responsible for them and the London Times published an order which he had sent to the provincial governor of Bessarabia not to open fire on the rioters, although the authenticity of this order was not definitely proved. In June 1903 Plehve called for strict measures to be taken against the Zionist movement which, according to information available to the secret police, had become a powerful political movement encouraging youth to organize self-defense and take up a struggle against the anti-Jewish regime. These measures impelled Herzl to request a meeting with the rulers of Russia. In August 1903 Herzl met with Plehve, Finance Minister *Witte, and other high officials, asking for the support of the Russian government in establishing a Jewish state to absorb the persecuted Jews of Russia. The reply was that as long as the Zionists encouraged emigration of Jews from Russia the authorities would not disturb them; any political activity in Russia, however, would be crushed. On July 15, 1904, Plehve was assassinated by a member of the Socialist Revolutionaries, E.S. Sazonov. His successor, Svyatopolk-Mirski, adopted a more liberal policy.


Dubnow, Hist Russ, index; T. Herzl, Complete Diaries, ed. by R. Patai (1960), index; E. Feldman, in: He-Avar, 17 (1970).

[Yehuda Slutsky]