Alexander Guchkov Simulation

Alexander Guchkov was born in Moscow, Russia on 14th October, 1862. He was a major industrialist and in 1907 was elected to the Duma. Guchkov advocated political reform and became leader of the Octobrist Party. Later he became a leading figure in the Constitutional Democratic Party (Cadets).

Guchkov was also a strong critic of the relationship between Alexandra and Gregory Rasputin. In the Duma Guchkov claimed that Rasputin was an "ignoble deceiver" and a "dangerous adviser". He also doubted whether Nicholas II would ever accept a constitutional monarchy. Some progressives were suspicious of Guchkov because of his close friendship with Peter Stolypin and other senior government ministers.

Alexander Guchkov

1. Was highly critical of Nicholas II and the autocracy.

2. Wanted Russia to have universal suffrage.

3. Wanted the Russian government to allow freedom of expression and an end to political censorship of newspapers and books.

4. Thought Russia should support Serbia against the Triple Alliance.

5. Thought Russia should honour its obligations and support the Triple Entente against the Triple Alliance.

6. As the Russian Army was the largest army in the world he was convinced that Russia would defeat Austria-Hungary and Germany in a war.

Primary Sources

(1) Bernard Pares, a British academic, met several of the leading political figures in Russia during the summer of 1914.

Guchkov, grandson of a serf, son of a merchant and magistrate of Moscow, was a restless spirit always coming into prominence on this or that issue of the moment. Guchkov's chief quality was a daring gallantry; he was at ease with himself and enjoyed stepping forward under fire with a perfect calm whenever there was anything which he wished to challenge; his defect was his restlessness; without actually asking for it, he was instinctively always in the limelight, always trying to do too much.

He had the easy organizing ability of a first-rate English politician; he was quietly proud of his democratic origin, and all his actions were inspired by an ardent love for Russia and the Russian people, in whose native conservatism, common sense and loyalty he fully shared.

(2) Alexander Kerensky, Russia and History's Turning Point (1965)

When Guchkov become the president of the Duma Defense Commission he made immediate contact with such men in the War Ministry and the Admiralty as were in favour of an ambitious reorganization of the services. In this way the Duma became the focal point for all the work of reorganizing Russia's defenses.

In the spring of 1908, during the discussion of the War Ministry budget in the Duma, Guchkov made a speech in which he called upon the grand dukes to make a "patriotic sacrifice", pointing out that the Duma had already asked the people to submit to great privations in the interests of defending the country. Guchkov was in fact asking the grand dukes to relinquish their administrative jobs in the army, for which they were hardly suited anyway, and in which they had shown great irresponsibility.