1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Protopopov, Alexander Dmitrievich

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PROTOPOPOV, ALEXANDER DMITRIEVICH (1864–1918), Russian statesman, was born in 1864 and educated in a military school. He served for some time in the army, but he soon left the service and went into business. As a big landowner of the Simbirsk province he took an active part in the Zemstvo life and was elected member of the executive board of the Simbirsk Zemstvo and marshal of the nobility of the Simbirsk province. In 1907 he was elected member of the third and subsequently of the fourth State Duma, where he joined the left wing of the Octobrist (Moderate Liberal) party. Later be became vice-president of the State Duma. The first unfavourable rumours with reference to him arose in connexion with an interview with Herr Max Warburg, the German financier at Stockholm. In March 1916 he visited the capitals of western Europe as one of the leaders of the Russian parliamentary delegation. On his return journey he privately met at Stockholm Herr Warburg, the head of the Scandinavian section of the German Committee on Food Supplies. The importance of the conversation was, however, greatly exaggerated by the press, and also by Protopopov himself. At the beginning of Oct. 1916 Protopopov was appointed, through the influence of the Emperor, Minister of the Interior, in succession to Khvostov, and thus entered the Sturmer Cabinet. A former leader of Liberals, he proved to be now the strongest upholder of reaction. He enforced the censorship with unexampled rigour, and his interference with the food-supply work of the Zemstvos and Towns Union created a serious danger to the activities of these organizations. At a stormy meeting held at the Duma he was asked by his political friends to resign his post, and when he refused to do so they struck his name off the list of members of the party. Hated by the Liberal circles and the Duma, Protopopov not only supported the reactionary policy of Sturmer and Prince Galitzin with the utmost energy, but he is said also to have been one of the secret organizers of the disturbances of Feb. 1917, which he proposed to suppress by military force, and which, unexpectedly for him, resulted in the overthrow of the Empire and of himself. He was arrested by the Provisional Government and committed for trial. He remained for many months in the Peter and Paul fortress and was executed by order of the Extraordinary Commission in Sept. 1918.