Yevno Azef

(5)  1907-1908: The Defeat of the Liberals and the Decline of the Left


Peasants.Czarist Regime.
==early.Jan > The government appropriates $15 million for famine relief

Left-wing violence.Socialist Revolutionaries.Right-wing violence.
Ongoing political terror, from the left and the right:
==Jan.03 > St. Petersburg Governor-General Launits is assassinated by the SR
==Jan.08 > Chief Military Prosecutor Pavlov is assassinated by the SR
==beginning.1907 > The terrorist central SR ‘Combat Organization’ has largely collapsed
==Jan.30 > The brutal St. Petersburg prison warden Gudima is assassinated by the SR
==Jan.--- > An inventor contracts out to the SR to build an airplane that can bomb the Imperial palaces
==early.1907 > The reactionary URP sends death threats to many liberals - ~a wave of far right terrorism is underway
==Feb.05-11 > A sharp wave of assassinations by left terrorists
==Feb.11 > Reactionaries make an assassination attempt on former Premier Witte
==mid.Feb > The University of Odessa is briefly closed after URP attacks on students - Stolypin orders a local crackdown on rightists
==Feb.26 > A SR assassination attempt on Grand Duke Nicholas fails

Peasants.Czarist Regime.
==Jan.14 > Peasants’ redemption payments are formally abolished

Liberals.Czarist Regime.
==mid.Jan > Premier Stolypin meets with liberal leader Milyukov, and offers to legalize the Kadet Party if it denounces terrorism - the Kadets balk

==Jan.19 > A St. Petersburg conference of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks fails to agree on electoral strategy
==late.Jan > Lenin bitterly attacks the Mensheviks - he is soon tried by a RSDRP court, where he brazenly justifies his tactics

==late.Jan or early.Feb > ~Elections are held for the Second Duma, on a fairly broad franchise - the center is weakened; gains by the far left and right - fully a third of the Duma deputies oppose the Duma’s existence

Duma.Czarist Regime.
==late.Jan > The reactionary Comptroller Schwanebach intrigues against Premier Stolypin, and urges the government to restrict the voting franchise

==Jan.28 > The German Ambassador reports that the Czar blames Russian unrest on ‘international Jewry’ - Nicholas expresses contempt for most European powers, but holds deep respect for Germany and America (!)

==early.1907 > Conditions in Russian prisons are growing noticeably tougher

Liberals.Far Left.
==early.Feb > News of the Stolypin-Milyukov meeting leaks, alienating the left from the liberal Kadets

Socialist Revolutionaries.
==end.Feb > The Second SR Congress is held in Finland - the party decides to enter the elections, but refuses to renounce terror

==Feb.27-mid.May > The Orthodox Church incarcerates the liberal priest Petrov

The inauspicious beginning of the Second Duma:
==Mar.04 > A conference of delegates from the left chooses Golovin as president of the Second Duma
==Mar.05-Jun.16 (Feb.20-Jun.03.OS) > The Second Duma - at first resolved to avoid divisiveness, it soon becomes highly polarized and ineffective
==Mar.15 > The Duma chamber is wrecked when its ceiling collapses; fortunately, the Duma was not in session at the time
==Mar.19 > Stolypin’s first speech to the Second Duma is greeted with derision - the start of angry exchanges between the left and the right that increasingly paralyze the Duma
==Mar.26-May > The Kadets block debate on left terrorism - Stolypin is enraged

Peasant Unrest.
==early.Mar to late.Apr > Revived rural unrest

Right-wing violence.Liberals.
==Mar.27 > The Kadet editor Iollos is assassinated by right-wing terrorists - his funeral on Apr.01 is attended by 20,000 liberals

==Mar.--- > Trotsky escapes while in transport to far north Siberia; traveling for a week by reindeer sled with a drunken guide, he eventually makes his way to the Urals, St. Petersburg, and abroad

Socialist Revolutionaries.
==early.spring > The journalist Burtsev begins investigating reports of a police spy in the SR Central Committee

Far Right.
==early.Apr > The extreme right wins the municipal elections in Odessa

Duma.Czarist Regime.
Growing friction between the government and the Second Duma:
==early.Apr > Stolypin steps up police harassment of leftist Duma deputies and suppresses public meetings - rumors of the impending dissolution of the Duma
==Apr.17 > The government is secretly inclined to dissolve the Duma at the first opportunity
==Apr.29 > Wild disruption in the Duma after a RSDRP deputy calls the Russian Army worthless - the Duma narrowly avoids dissolution

Left-wing violence.Socialist Revolutionaries.
==Apr.14 or 13 > A SR group plotting to kill the Czar is betrayed by Azef and arrested

Far Right.
==Apr.--- (OS) >  The URP is recognized as the leading group on the Russian far right

Far Left.Caucasus.
==spring > In Vienna, the 4th Congress of the Armenian Dashnak party admits to excesses - the party’s radicalism and use of terror are loosing it middle class support

Peasants.Czarist Regime.
==May.03 > The harsh field court-martial law lapses: 1,144 peasants have been executed

==May.03-26 > Radical land reform bills are debated and shelved by the Duma

Right-wing violence.Jews.
==May.07 > Right wing attacks on Jews in Odessa

==May.13-Jun.01 > The London (Fifth) Congress of RSDRP: attacks on liberals - the Mensheviks condemn ‘expropriations’ and fighting groups, despite Lenin’s objections - furious debates rage as the party effectively splits again - the Bolsheviks effectively end the Menshevik domination of the Central Committee - Lenin afterwards expands his secret Bolshevik organization

Duma.Czarist Regime.
Preliminaries to the dissolution of the Second Duma:
==May.18 > A revolutionary soldiers’ group secretly pledges to back the RSDRP against the government - the government is quickly informed, and raids the apartment of Menshevik Deputy Ozol in search of evidence
==May.20 > Duma deputies protest the search of Ozol’s apartment
==late.May > Stolypin authorizes the preparation of a restricted voting law
==May.28-Jun.03 > Motions to denounce leftist terrorism are defeated in the Duma
==Jun.01 > Duma President Golovin meets with the coolly cordial Czar in an attempt to stave off dissolution

Labor.Czarist Regime.
==May.29 > The Senate forbids public meetings by labor unions

Right-wing violence.
==May.--- > Reactionaries stage a second assassination attempt on Witte

==May.--- > America contributes 600,000 tons of wheat to ease the Russian famine - the Czar appropriates a further $3 million for relief
==earlyJun > The government announces that the famine is over, but in fact it evidently continues through the year

==Jun.05 > The Holy Synod defrocks liberal priests who are members of the Duma

==early.Jun-Aug > Both terrorist and criminal violence sharply increases - increasing numbers of political arrests

Duma.Czarist Regime.
The fall of the Second Duma:
==Jun.06 > Stolypin is evidently committed to drastic action against the Duma
==Jun.14 [early afternoon] > Stolypin announces to the apprehensive Duma that he’s indicting RSDRP deputies for conspiracy to overthrow the government - the dissolution of the Duma is clearly imminent
==Jun.14 [late night] > The Duma appoints a committee to examine the government charges by the next day - the committee soon finds falsified government evidence
==Jun.14 > Police begin mass arrests of the left opposition in St. Petersburg - ~a crackdown on the left, the press, and the unions is underway throughout Russia
==Jun.15 [1130.PM] > Kadet leaders fruitlessly meet with the intransigent Premier Stolypin
==Jun.16 (Jun.03.OS) > Okhrana (security police) agents occupy the Tauride Palace [600.AM] - the Second Duma is dissolved - RSDRP deputies are quickly arrested - the public response is apathetic; the left is demoralized
==Jun.16 (Jun.03.OS) > The government illegally alters the electoral law, and drastically reduces the franchise of peasants, workers, the urban middle class, Poles, and Caucasians, while Central Asians are virtually disenfranchised - a victory for the extreme right and the conservative landowners - the government announces that elections will be held on Sep.14, and that the new Duma will sit Nov.14

Far Right.Czarist Regime.
==Jun.16 > The Czar sends a telegram of support to the reactionary URP

Labor.Czarist Regime.
==Jun.19 > The Senate forbids public entertainments by labor unions

Far Right.
==Jun.23 > A Zemstvo Congress in Moscow is strongly dominated by the right, with the Kadets reduced to a small minority

Left-wing violence.Caucasus.Bolsheviks.
==Jun.26 > The Bolsheviks stage an ‘expropriation’ in Tiflis, led by Kamo and directed by Stalin, that nets 250,000 rubles - the act produces a very sharp reaction among socialists; Lenin is denounced, Stalin is expelled from the RSDRP

Czarist Regime.
==Jul.10 > Military trials are streamlined - ~the de facto revival of field courts-martial

Rasputin.Czarist Regime.
==Jul.--- > The young Czarevitch recovers from a severe attack of hemophilia after a healing visit from Rasputin

European Relations.
==Jul.--- > Russian Chief of Staff Palitzin refuses to promise France an early Russian offensive in the event of a war against Germany

Far Left.Czarist Regime.
==summer-fall > Arrests of revolutionaries: the leading SR terrorist groups are dispersed - the RSDRP structure is wrecked - persistent government harassment of the Bolshevik apparatus in Moscow to Nov.1910 causes a local decline of party strength

==Aug.03-05 > RSDRP Conference at Kotka in Finland - Lenin supports participation in the Duma, but is opposed by other Bolsheviks

European Relations.
==Aug.31 (Aug.18.OS) > A British-Russian accord is signed, primarily on south Asia - the completion of the Triple Entente: the vague alignment of Britain, France, and Russia is gradually cemented by German pressure - Austria and Germany are isolated

Far Right.Religion.
==Aug.--- > An Orthodox Synod allows clergy to join reactionary parties

Left-wing violence.Bolsheviks.
==Sep.12 > The popular Georgian leader Chavchavadze is assassinated, probably by the Bolsheviks, after he denounces the revolutionaries

==Sep.14 > Elections for the Third Duma are underway, boycotted by the SR

Left-wing violence.Socialist Revolutionaries.
==Oct.28 > With thirteen pounds of nitroglycerin strapped to body, the deranged SR member Rogozinnikova shoots St. Petersburg prison chief Maksimovsky

Miscellaneous.Central Asia.
==Oct.--- > Thousands are killed in an earthquake in Russian Central Asia

==Nov.20-Jun.1912 (Nov.07-Jun.1912.OS) > The deeply conservative Third Duma, dominated by landowners - the Octobrists are the largest party

==Nov-Dec > Lenin formulates his agrarian policies, calling for the nationalization of land - the program is superficially similar to the SR’s

Liberals.Far Left.Czarist Regime.
The continuing government crackdown on liberal and leftist opposition:
==Nov.--- (OS) > The term ‘Stolypin necktie’ (a noose) is coined during a Duma debate
==Dec.05 > SR terrorist leader Trauberg is arrested in Finland, betrayed by Azef
==Dec.05-14 > The trial of the RSDRP deputies of the Third Duma; twenty-five are exiled or imprisoned
==end.1907-Oct.23.1908 > The young Menshevik Vyshinsky is again arrested for revolutionary activity in Baku, and is imprisoned with the young Bolshevik Stalin
==end.1907 > Over a hundred dissident newspaper editors have been exiled to Siberia in the past few months
==Dec.--- > The liberal signers of the Vyborg Manifesto of Jul.1906 are tried, imprisoned, and disenfranchised - the Kadet Party looses much of its leadership
==Dec.--- > Many Bolsheviks are arrested in western Europe while trying to pass stolen banknotes from the Tiflis robbery

Left-wing violence.Socialist Revolutionaries.
==1907 > The Purification of Mankind by extreme SR theorist Pavlov advocates the mass extermination of ‘exploiters’

==1907 > Lunacharsky’s Religion and Socialism equates Marxism with religion
==1907 > Grigori Zinoviev joins the Bolshevik Central Committee
==1907 > Future security police chief Genrikh Yagoda joins the Bolsheviks

==1907 > A Russian nationalist reaction against minorities is underway - educational restrictions on Jews - White Russian newspapers are suppressed

==1907-1912 > Large-scale migration of Armenians from the turbulent Ottoman Empire and Persia into slightly less turbulent Russian Armenia

==1907 > Artybashev publishes the decadent novel Sanin, which has the line “life is an incurable disease” - ~rising hedonism and cynicism among Russian intellectuals
==1907 > Gorky’s polemical novel Mother is published

==1907 > A cholera epidemic strikes the Volga basin


==beginning.1908 > The government proposes building four new dreadnoughts for the Baltic Fleet

==Jan.20 > A dispirited Lenin returns to exile in Geneva after two years in Russia - he comments “I have the feeling I’ve come back here simply to be put in my coffin.”

Ethnic Unrest.Baltic.
==early.1908 > Widespread arrests throughout the Baltic suppresses the mass terror in the region

Left-wing violence.Socialist Revolutionaries.
==Feb.20 > The SR terrorist ‘Flying Detachment’ is arrested in St. Petersburg, betrayed by SR leader/police agent Azef

==Feb.21 > The Duma finally formally condemns terrorism

==Mar.14 > The Interior Minister admits to the Duma that Russian prisons will soon not be able to hold any more prisoners

==Mar.29 > The birth of Stalin’s first son Yakov (?) - Yakov later died as a prisoner of war held by the Germans during World War II, after his father refused to exchange him

Left-wing violence.
==Mar.--- > Seven leftists are hung in St. Petersburg for plotting to assassinate the Grand Duke Nicholas and the Justice Minister

==Apr.07 > Stalin is arrested in Baku, and imprisoned to Jul.1909

Left-wing violence.Socialist Revolutionaries.
==Apr.--- > Two SR plots to kill the Czar are betrayed by Azef

==Apr.--- > Russian liberals establish the Societies for Slav Culture and Scholarship in an attempt to liberalize the conservative Pan-Slav movement

==spring to 1916 > The construction, under severe conditions, of the Amur Line forming a rail link to Vladivostok by an entirely Russian route

==May.16 > A program for universal compulsory primary education is unveiled - it is to become effective by 1918

==May.--- > The far-left ‘Ultimatist’ wing of the Bolsheviks denounces the RSDRP Duma deputies - ~the faction (which includes Bogdanov, Krasin, Lunacharsky, and Gorky)  speculates on pseudo-religious ‘God-construction’ and ‘collectivity’

Peasants.Czarist Regime.
==early.Jun > Tolstoy’s I Cannot Be Silent pamphlet protests the punitive expeditions that are still being sent against peasants

Military.Czarist Regime.
==Jun.09 > In Duma Speech, Guchkov calls for the Grand Dukes to resign as military Inspectors-General - the Czar is angered - ~the erosion of the Grand Dukes’ power, allowing partial military reform

European Relations.
==Jun.09-10 > Edward VII and the Czar have a cordial meeting at Reval (Tallin) - Britain encourages a Russian military buildup - plans for intervention in Macedonia

Ethnic Unrest.Caucasus.
==Jun.10 > A Georgian nationalist murders Orthodox Exarch Nikon

Left-wing violence.
==Jun.27 > Anarchists expropriate at gunpoint three pairs of boots from a Kiev shop

==Jun.30 > A colossal explosion occurs near the Tunguska River in remote central Siberia, probably caused by a meteor - the site is not visited until 1927

==Jul.--- > The Mensheviks are disgusted with the Bolsheviks’ unscrupulous and ineffective policies and urge the formation of a mass workers’ party and an end to underground tactics - Lenin begins attacking them as ‘liquidators’

Duma.Czarist Regime.
==summer > The Duma opposes the naval budget, infringing on the Czar’s prerogatives

Rasputin.Czarist Regime.
==summer > Rasputin establishes complete dominance over Anna Vyrubova, the Empress’ closest friend, strengthening his influence over the Imperial family

==Aug.--- > The crumbling RSDRP Central Committee attempts to impose discipline on its Duma members - the socialist underground party structure is collapsing in Russia
==Aug.--- > Lenin thwarts a Menshevik investigation into Bolshevik finances and ‘expropriations’ (bank robberies)

European Relations.
==Sep.15-16 (Sep.02-03.OS) > The Austro-Russian Buchlau Conference: Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky agrees to back the eventual Austrian annexation of Bosnia in return for vague promises by Foreign Minister Aehrenthal of Austrian support for the Russian control of the Straits

Radicalized Military.
==Sep.17 > Several dozen exiled Potemkin mutineers sail for Argentina from London

European Relations.
==Oct.06 (Jun.03.OS) > Austria annexes Bosnia: the Bosnian Crisis to Apr.1909 - Aehrenthal dupes Izvolsky; Russia is enraged and humiliated - ~the rise of pro-Russian neo-Slavism

==Oct.24 > The Bolsheviks engineer a shady marriage to gain control of the Schmidt fortune, giving them control of ample funds to oppose the Mensheviks - ~the Bolsheviks are growing openly unprincipled

Socialist Revolutionaries.
The fall of SR terrorist chief/police agent Yevno Azef:
==May.--- > The SR exonerates Azef of vague charges of being a police spy - although in fact he is one
==Jun.--- > Azef ends his career as a police agent
==Aug.--- > SR London conference: the journalist Burtsev explicitly accuses Azef of being a police agent
==Oct.07 > Azef’s abortive plan to use revolutionary sailors on the cruiser Rurik to assassinate the Czar 
==end.Oct-Dec > A formal SR trial in Paris unmasks Azef as a police spy - the SR is badly damaged - the tempo of political assassinations slows
==Jan.06 > Azef flees into hiding abroad

==Oct.--- (OS) > The first version of the newspaper Pravda, edited in Vienna by Trotsky - ~the paper is attacked by Lenin

==Nov.--- (OS) > The cumbersome State Defense Council is abolished - the General Staff is subordinated to the War Minister

Rasputin.Czarist Regime.
==late fall > Rasputin’s rising influence over the Imperial family is becoming common knowledge in St. Petersburg high society

Left-wing violence.
==late.1908 > The ‘Union of the People’s Vengeance is formed in St. Petersburg to coordinate leftist terrorism

==mid.Dec-Jun.1912 > Lenin is living in Paris - he detests the city, engages in bitter political squabbles, and grows ever more depressed

==Dec.23 > The All-Russian Women’s Congress in St. Petersburg is suppressed: the collapse of Russian feminism - Alexandra Kollontai flees abroad

Rasputin.Czarist Regime.
==late.Dec > Rasputin first comes under police scrutiny; Stolypin sends the first report on his sexual escapades to the Czar, but fails in an attempt to exile him

==1908 > Russian industrial expansion to 1914

Left-wing violence.Maximalists.
==1908 > The extreme-left Union of Maximalists collapses

Far Right.
==1908 > The ultra-right-wing Vladimir Purishkevich breaks with the URP and establishes the Union of the Archangel Michael

==1908 > The height of Russian emigration to Siberia: 759,000 migrate in 1908

==1908 > Education Minister Schwarz revives restrictions on Jewish students - increasingly reactionary education policies

==1908 > The government pursues aggressive russification in Bessarabia

==1908 > Cholera spreads from the Volga to the Baltic, the Black Sea, and Siberia, but the epidemic soon eases off


Russia: Introduction   ///   (1)  1904: Prelude to Revolution
(2)  Jan-Sep.1905: Russia in Chaos   ///   (3)  Oct-Dec.1905: The Crisis of the Revolution
(4)  1906: Repression and Terror   ///    (6)  1909-1911: Order Restored
(7)  1912-Jul.1914: Renewed Unrest   ///   Biographies and Glossary