Minister of War of the Russian Empire A.F. Roediger: Between service and politics

Minister of War of the Russian Empire A.F. Roediger: Between service and politics

Andrey N. Egorov
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The Russian Empire of the early 20th century saw gradual alienation of the supreme authority represented by the emperor and his inner circle from the bureaucracy and the generals who were their most important supporters, which contributed to the political crisis escalation. The article considers this issue on the example of certain aspects of the administrative and political activities of Alexander Roediger, General of Infantry, who served as Minister of War in 1905–09. The article shows his attempts to solve personnel problems in the army by removing unqualified personnel from the Higher Command, which caused discontent among the courtiers. The author analyzes A. Roediger’s political views, which can be described as moderately liberal. The Minister of War himself never went public about them, considering it unacceptable for an officer to engage in politics. However, due to his position, he could not completely distance himself from politics, especially during the revolutionary upheavals of 1905–07. Alexander Roediger belonged to those statesmen of Russia who sought to carry out serious reforms along the lines of constitution through a constructive dialogue with the legislative authority. The article also notes his role in preserving the Second State Duma during the “Zurabov incident,” his close cooperation within his ministerial powers with the Third Duma State Defense Commission, and so on. Such a course of the government official turned out to be unacceptable for Nicholas II, which caused resignation of Roediger. The desire of Minister of War Alexander Roediger to improve the state of things in the army through cooperation with moderately liberal deputies (members of the Octobrist Party) aroused suspicions of his political disloyalty, for which there were actually no grounds, and the attempts to solve personnel problems by purging of senior officers brought into question the established personnel policy in such an important area for the tsar as the imperial army. The material analyzed in the article convincingly shows that absolute loyalty to the monarch was the main personnel principle of the last reign. It implied that any attempts of a government official to manage his sphere as he deemed necessary in the interests of the cause rather than as it was understood by the monarch were doomed to fail.
Andrey N. Egorov
Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor
Cherepovets State University, Cherepovets, Russia
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Ministry of War, senior officers, A. Roediger, State Duma, State Council
For citation:
Egorov, A.N. “Minister of War of the Russian Empire A.F. Roediger: Between service and politics.” Historia Provinciae – the Journal of Regional History, vol. 6, no. 3 (2022): 891–932,

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