1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lvov, Prince George Eugenievich

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LVOV, PRINCE GEORGE EUGENIEVICH (1861-), Russian statesman, was born in 1861, and belonged to the old Russian nobility. After taking his degree in law in 1885, he spent the greater part of his life in Zemstvo work. He was a member of the executive board of the Tula Zemstvo from 1888 and president of the same from 1902 to 1905. In 1905 he was elected member of the first State Duma and joined the right wing of the Constitutional-Democratic party; he also took part in the All-Russian Assembly of Zemstvos. He refused to sign the Viborg manifesto. In 1909 Lvov went to Canada to study the emigration question in that country.

During the Russo-Japanese War Lvov was the leader of the Zemstvos' organization for the relief of wounded and disabled soldiers. The Minister of the Interior, M. Plehve, tried to stop the development of the Zemstvo work in this direction, because he disapproved of its liberal tendencies. But Lvov contrived to extend the activities of his organization in such a way that even the Government were obliged to recognize the ability of its work and on many occasions called upon it for assistance. From the beginning of the World War Lvov took a leading part in the organization of the All-Russian Union of Zemstvos and Towns for the relief of sick and wounded soldiers, of which he was the president. The activities of this organization were of the greatest value to the army; the administrative incompetence of the Government obliged the latter against its will to enlarge the sphere of action of the Zemstvos' Union, which took a large share in the supervision of production and distribution of munitions and food supplies. In the conflicts which arose continually between the Government and the Zemstvos, Lvov always defended the independence of his organization. He also participated in the manifestations directed towards liberal reforms during the last period of the old régime.

As one of the most popular public men of Russia he was elected Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the first Russian Provisional Government, on March 14 1917. Unfortunately he did not possess the qualities needed to save Russia from the approaching catastrophe. His popularity diminished with amazing rapidity and in a few weeks his Government proved a complete failure. On May 19 Lvov addressed a letter to Rodzianko and Tchkeidze, insisting on the creation of a Coalition Government. The new Cabinet was formed on May 17, and Lvov again accepted the leadership of the Cabinet and the portfolio of the Interior, but he had no real influence in political life, and he resigned from both offices on July 7, ceding the place to the first Kerensky Government. Lvov was arrested and imprisoned in Ekaterinburg after the Bolshevist revolution, but he escaped to Siberia and was sent to Japan as the head of a deputation of the anti-Bolshevist Ufa Government. From Tokyo he proceeded to Europe by way of the United States. On his arrival in Paris Lvov took an active part in the anti-Bolshevist agitation and joined the so-called “Political Consultation” in Paris. Together with some other Russian public men he protested against the proposal of the Prinkipo Conference, and warned the Allies that no treaty with the Soviet Government would be recognized by the future Government of Russia. Lvov always advocated loyalty to the Western Alliance and admitted of no compromise with the Bolsheviks.