Printable version "State Russian man"

By the 100 anniversary of the death of Peter Nikolaevich Durnovo (1842-1915). Part of 1. ...

From the editors. 24 September marks the 100 anniversary of the death of a prominent statesman of Tsarist Russia, the Minister of the Interior, a member of the State Council, Pyotr Nikolayevich Durnovo. In connection with this anniversary, we offer the attention of our readers to an essay by the Doctor of Historical Sciences Andrei Alexandrovich Ivanov, covering in detail the biography, views and activities of this undoubtedly outstanding person who has provided many services to Russia through his activities. This essay was written for the book "Right Russia", which was published in early summer. More information about the book and the terms of its acquisition can be found here.


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"Durnovo was one of those able to do history", - such words were answered by the famous Russian publicist MO O., a prominent statesman and political figure Peter Nikolayevich Durnovo. Menshikov. Name P.N. Durnovo has long attracted the attention of historians and publicists due to the “prophetic” note that he submitted on the eve of World War I to Emperor Nicholas II, with surprising accuracy predicting the consequences of the military confrontation between Russia and Germany, but it is remarkable not only that. Durnovo, who served as Minister of the Interior in the revolutionary 1905-1906 years, and then, for several years, led the right group of the State Council, was one of the most authoritative conservative politicians of the early XX century, whose state of mind, outstanding ability, will and decisiveness noted as his associates, and enemies.

"Outstanding boy in his abilities"

Peter Nikolaevich Durnovo was born 23 in November 1842 of the year in Tver and came from an old Russian noble family, the founder of which, like the Tolstoy family, according to legend was a German from the “tsar's state” Indros (Indris), who entered the Russian service in the middle of the XIV century and accepted Orthodoxy with the name Leonty. The beginning of the Durnovo family in the middle of the 15th century was put by Mikula Fedorovich Durnovo, the former grandson of Vasily Yuryevich Tolstoy, nicknamed Durnoy. From his six sons came the nobles of Durnovo. The father of Pyotr Nikolayevich was Nikolai Sergeevich Durnovo (1817 - not earlier than 1865), who served as the Olonets, Saratov and Vilna Vice-Governors; mother - Vera Pavlovna, nee Lvova (1817-1886). On the maternal line, Pyotr Nikolayevich was the great-nephew of a famous musician and composer, the head of the Court Singing Chapel, A.F. Lviv (1798-1870), who wrote the music for the Russian Empire’s anthem “God Save the Tsar!”, As well as a relative of the outstanding Russian naval commander Admiral MP Lazarev (1788-1851), who was the uncle and godfather of Vera Pavlovna.

The affinity of the Durnovo family with Admiral Lazarev determined the choice of educational institution for Peter and his brothers. Not having sufficient funds to educate his eight children (by this time Father Durnovo did not receive a salary and had done a lot of debt), V.P. Durnovo filed a petition addressed to the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich with a request to commemorate the merits of Admiral Lazarev to arrange her sons to the public account in the Naval Cadet Corps. This request was respected and in 1855, 13-year-old Peter Durnovo, having brilliantly passed the exams, was determined immediately to the middle cadet class. Among the classmates P.N. Durnovo was a famous battle painter V.V. Vereshchagin, who was with him for four years in the same company and sat with him on the same bench. The newcomer was a serious competitor to Vereshchagin, who had previously been the first student of the class, demonstrating great abilities and hard work. “... We were received by a very well-developed and well-prepared cadet Durnovo, who soon sat down at my place, and I went second,” admitted Vereshchagin, calling in his memoirs a new cadet “outstanding in his abilities as a boy”, a great master “to speak” teachers, surprising them with their knowledge. A good study helped the young Peter to find some extra money for himself - from 15 years he worked on the fact that he translated popular French literature for the publishing house of S. Strugovshchikov, G. Pokhitonov, N. Vodova and K °. In August, 1857, Durnovo was promoted to midshipmen and received a non-commissioned officer’s rank, and a year later, “for good behavior and success in the sciences,” he was appointed senior non-commissioned officer in the 2 cadet company. While studying at the Sea Cadet Corps, Durnovo among the 12 best students had a chance to take part in a voyage abroad on the Kamchatka steam frigate, and then on the Gangut ship. 17-year-old Peter Durnovo published his impressions of the last foreign voyage, accompanied by interesting observations, in the “Sea Collection” under the title “Letters of a midshipman from the ship Gangut”. “These“ letters, ”these are the biogographers of Durnovo, the historian AP Borodin, - perfectly characterize a seventeen-year-old pupil of the Marine Corps. He is intelligent, observant; his impressions are deep; he is interested not only in the professionally close side of the life of the British, but also in social relations, ethnic features; knows how to not only capture what he saw, but rather interestingly describes, explains, compares, evaluates; it is not blinkered - it is quite objective, although, perhaps, it is somewhat adolescently categorical, and the influence of the “Letters of the Russian traveler” is felt. ” In 1860, Durnovo brilliantly completed his education in the Naval Cadet Corps, from where he was released without passing the examinations, since he was in foreign navigation at that time, and the authorities decided, due to "excellent diligence and success", to credit him last year's examination scores as graduation.

"Very knowledgeable and intelligent officer"


In April 1860, the PN Durnovo was sent to serve in the 19 th fleet crew, for ten years having connected his life with the Navy. “Harsh service,” writes A.P. Borodin, - tempered not only physically - a resolute, solid, domineering character was formed; stronger will; developed the ability to make quick decisions; came the ability to lead people and understand them. " Durnovo spent most of his service on long voyages, having been off the coast of China and Japan, North and South America. In the year 1863, during one of the expeditions, one of the islands in the Sea of ​​Japan and now called Durnovo Island was named after Peter Nikolaevich. During this time, P.N. Durnovo has established himself as a "very knowledgeable and intelligent officer." It is interesting to note that in the 1867 year, while serving on the frigate Dmitry Donskoy, one of the subordinates of Lieutenant Durnovo was the future Vice-Admiral, and then the midshipman S.O. Makarov, who received an excellent description from his commander. Many years later, in the 1908 year, speaking in the State Council on the issue of rebuilding the Russian fleet, Durnovo admitted: "The best years of my life were spent on the deck of a warship in long voyages in almost all seas of the globe, and therefore it is clear that I am more than - I could not, without heartache, observe how in the eyes of the whole of Russia, partly intentional, partly criminally frivolous attempts to destroy our fleet took place. To destroy not in the sense of the destruction of ships, but to destroy the service, discipline, military order, traditions, i.e. destroy everything that the fleet cannot exist without. Take other state tools: army, railways, mail, telegraph. Is it possible to compare the complexity of their device and life with the complexity and device of the life of the fleet? A close life on a ship in the midst of constant danger, in the midst of a continuous struggle against menacing and capricious seas, develops in the voyages between the commander and officers and sailors almost family communication and spiritual connection. This spiritual bond, based on mutual trust, nurturing military prowess, is the foundation of the entire naval service. Without this spiritual connection, without mutual trust, a warship cannot live. The sailor, both before and now, with more complex ships in particular, without an officer, cannot and cannot take a single step. We, midshipmen and lieutenants of the old time, were aware that our captain wears in his often harsh head something true and important, that experience, which we are still far from. My dear comrades, together with me, recognized and believed in the experience of our dear commanders. Of course, sometimes they didn’t do without modest criticism in the mess-rooms, but the senior officer put the critic into a good-natured and lively manner ”.

"It was the nature of the fighter"

In 1870, the 27 year-old lieutenant P.N. Durnovo successfully passed the exam at the Military Law Academy and, leaving the naval service, he moved to a more promising and highly paid position of Assistant Prosecutor at the Kronstadt Naval Court. Two years later, Durnovo finally broke up with the Naval Department, becoming a friend of the prosecutor of the Vladimir District Court. “Durnovo’s civil service transition coincided with the introduction of 1864 judicial statutes,” wrote V.I. Gurko. “Together with a whole galaxy of talented peers, he promoted, consisting in the ranks of the prosecutor’s office, the creation of our new court, distinguished by firm legality and independence from the influence of administrative authority.” In this field, P.N. Durnovo made a fairly quick career: in 1873, he was transferred to the position of prosecutor’s associate at the Moscow District Court, in 1875, he was appointed as the prosecutor of the Rybinsk District Court, in the same year, transferred to the prosecutor in Vladimir, and in 1880, he received the rank of collegiate adviser Colonel in the army and captain 1 rank in the fleet), was a fellow prosecutor of the Kiev Court of Justice. According to S.YU. Witte, then Minister of Justice Count KI Palen “knew the court leader Durnovo well and appreciated his abilities and energy.” Later PN Durnovo talked about the fact that during these years he became acquainted with the life of the common people, the Russian province and the realities of the Russian penitentiary system, having toured "all the prison castles of the Moscow and Vladimir provinces."

In the autumn of 1881, Durnovo again changes duty stations, transferring from the judiciary to the Ministry of the Interior. According to V.I. Gurko, this decision could be influenced by two circumstances: Durnovo’s disappointment in the liberal judicial system and “a correct understanding of their own benefits, since ultimately separating judicial figures into a special caste limited their further service to a poorly paid and extremely slow judicial career. This path did not promise Durnovo the satisfaction of his widespread love of ambition and ambition, and therefore he did not hesitate to leave the judicial office at the first opportunity and go to the Ministry of the Interior as a vice director of the police department when Plehve was the director. However, the vice-director of the police department Durnovo became only two years later, in 1883 years, before that he was in charge of the judicial department of the Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Durnovo's career was developing quite successfully: in 1882, he received the rank of state, and in 1883, he was a real state councilor. In 1884, Pyotr Nikolayevich was sent on a business trip abroad, where he visited the capitals of the leading European countries - Berlin, Vienna and Paris "to familiarize themselves with the police in the populous cities" and with "those methods by which they control the restless and harmful elements of the population, in order to apply these techniques in our country with a corresponding change in the structure of the police. ” In the summer of the same 1884 year in connection with the transfer of the Director of the Police Department V.K. Plehve in the Senate, Durnovo took over this position from him and since January 1885 has been officially approved by the director of the DP MIA

As director of the Police Department, Durnovo began reorganizing the police service and improving the efficiency of this structure. He was described as an energetic, intelligent, energetic, tough, but sympathetic leader. During the management of the Durnovo department, a whole series of arrests of revolutionaries was carried out, an attempt on the Emperor Alexander III was prevented, illegal printing houses were identified and defeated, undercover work was improved, the "development" of L.A. Tikhomirov, who broke with the revolutionary activities and, not without the personal involvement of Pyotr Nikolayevich, who returned to Russia, was pardoned by the Sovereign and restored in his rights. Many years later, LA Tikhomirov, who had become a prominent conservative thinker by that time, wrote about his first meetings, P.N. Durnovo: “Durnovo, a man remarkably intelligent and insightful (I never saw anyone like him in this respect in my life), of course, soon became convinced of my sincerity, so he began to treat me almost in a friendly way. I was impressed by the fact that he didn’t even try to “interrogate” me about something, to extort something about revolutionaries. Only one case, almost on the last date. “You see,” he said, “as we hold ourselves correctly in relation to you, believing you, forgetting the past, I did not ask a single fact from revolutionary affairs, did not try to extort ... But here’s another little thing. This business is not good, p [because] h [all] all these persons have long been arrested and their affairs are finished. But this is a matter of pride. We could not make out a single cipher. It's an unprecedented case, insulting. And what is this cipher so unresolved? You could say that because you will not betray anyone. ” Heavy was for me this minute. The police were really knightly scrupulous, certainly noble. And at the same time, I burdened her with requests for services to me. However, I, - I thank the Lord - having had a crush on heavy silence, said ... "Your Excellency, let me remain an honest man!" He distorted everything, but he restrained himself, and said dryly and hastily, "Oh, please, whatever you want, leave it "...". “I saw him many times, talked a lot with him, and - I owe him a lot,” Tikhomirov confessed. “It was he who helped me out of the absurd administrative exile to Novorossiysk, in which I directly withered, made the onset of the disease that had been harassed me for many years, and was put in dire need to eat my mother with the whole family ... not to mention that could not almost do journalism. I could not stand it and turned to PN Durnovo with a letter asking me to relieve me of this senseless plight. And he responded keenly and quickly removed my supervision from me, so I was free to go anywhere. Since then, I have not missed daily praying for him, and I can say that there was not a day when I would not remember him in prayer. ”

Contemporaries noted that the influence of Durnovo during this period was enormous and the mere mention of the name of the director of the Police Department inspired fear not only in the officials subordinate to him, but also in the governors. But with his personal power, he not only punished, but also pardoned, about which, besides the above story by L.A. Tikhomirov, there are other evidence. Narodovolets A.I. Ivanchin-Pisarev recalled that when he was to talk with Durnovo, people who had already dealt with the director of the Police Department gave him such advice: “Do not use“ Your Excellency ”in conversations with him: he likes to be called by name .. . He is a straight, sharp and stubborn man. If he says "no," no argument will change his decision. He is the enemy of promises, promises, and liberal advances. If the request responds "well-with," consider it fulfilled. " Writer E.N. Vodovozova, who had to work for the police department for her son, who had been expelled for publishing illegal literature, acknowledged that “the orders in this institution, during his administration as Peter Nikolayevich Durnovo as director, were exemplary. Only at the Police Department it was possible to quickly obtain the necessary information, only in this institution did not resort to unnecessary deception of relatives of those arrested or convicted for so-called political crimes. Durnovo did not resort to such senseless means, and the officials kept with him correctly, made proper inquiries even when relatives of the political happened to come after them on the unacceptable days of the director. That Durnovo kept them all in the string is evident from the fact that as soon as he left the Department, everything in his order immediately changed for the worse for his political relatives. Pyotr Nikolayevich, since I had to deal with him in this institution, was a hot-tempered, but quick-witted person, treated us, the parents, with unyielding directness, sometimes reaching unbelievable rudeness, but his character is to some extent not devoid of nobility. True, he often comforted the grieving old mother-mother with these words: “Your information is quite true that they wanted to send your son into exile for three years, and I gave my vote for a five-year term, for what he did and this is still not enough .. . ”But it is in vain to make wasting time for some kind of certificate, giving a deliberately false indication - this was not the case with him at the Police Department. Pyotr Nikolayevich was the same enemy of unnecessary cruelty, cunning and double-headed, as he was the enemy of "political adventurers," as he called arrested and convicted in political cases. " Count S.Yu. Witte, who was by no means inclined to Pyotr Nikolayevich, was also forced to admit in his memoirs that he had several times “heard from people who had the misfortune to share or innocently fall under the ferul of this establishment that Durnovo was a rather humane director ...” Pyotr Nikolayevich later said so about the reasons for his humanity as director of the Police Department: “I always looked at the people who were involved in my time for state crimes as people who sooner or later had a more or less close future eating, will be the same as myself. I see that people who in my time came across state crimes in the vast majority now occupy places and positions that many in Russia may be jealous of and which are considered honorable. Therefore, there can be no talk of eternal punishment. ”


But at the same time, the historian A.P. Borodin, in contrast to those who stumbled, to the inveterate state criminals Durnovo "was harsh, even cruel." This is also indicated by L.A. Tikhomirov: “He could be kind and even tried to be kind, for example, to political criminals, already caught and neutralized. He easily gave privileges to the exiles, and from this side many people praised and thanked him. But when it was necessary to break a man - he did not stop before that. It was the nature of a fighter. ” At the same time, as a publicist and writer M. Aldanov (Landau) wrote many years later, “he did not have any hatred for revolutionaries”. “The revolution,” considered Aldanov, “occupied him as a large and interesting psychological phenomenon. During the lull of the revolutionary movement that began after the defeat of the Narodnaya Volya party, he complained about boring business: at one time, that is, at the height of the terrorist activity of Narodnaya Volya, at the time of the attacks on the king and the ministers, "the affairs" were "more interesting ". And although Durnovo did not hesitate to use harsh measures against representatives of the revolutionary camp, he also did not disdain to bribe informants, “against the background of the current police regimes, against the background of what all sorts of Himmlers do from all sorts of Gestapo and GPU, he and in this regard stand out extremely favorably “- recognized Aldanov. “He believed in a money bribe,” the publicist summarized, “but it never occurred to him that one could force a person to testify with torture and torment. There is not a single such fact behind him, nobody blamed him for that. ”

The activities of the successful and energetic Police Department Director were spotted at the top and highly appreciated. Pn Durnovo regularly presented awards, in 1888 he was promoted to secret advisers, in 1890 he received royal thanks, was repeatedly involved in the work of a number of meetings and commissions designed to improve the internal affairs of the country. “According to the natural mind,” wrote V.I. Gurko, - according to a clear understanding of the entire complex set of circumstances of the time, by innate administrative abilities and, finally, by the firm and resolute nature of P.N. Durnovo was undoubtedly head and shoulders above those who occupied responsible posts in the central administration of the ministry. I would say more, among all the statesmen of that era, he was distinguished by his versatile knowledge, independence of judgment, and courage to express his opinion, regardless of whether he met with sympathy among those present or not. ” “Appointed director of the department,” continued V.I. Gurko, - he showed his administrative abilities to the full, and a wide further career opened before him ”.

But such a successful career suddenly ended in 1893, due to a scandal. The reason for it was the passion PN Durnovo women - many contemporaries pointed to this weakness of the director of the Police Department. At the same time, Durnovo was a family man, he had a son and a daughter, but his wife Ekaterina Grigorievna, nee Akimova, according to P.M. Kaufman, "gave up on him and made up with the inevitable." “In society, Durnovo was called“ Quasimodo, ”recollected publicist I.I. Peg. - He was widely known for his perseverance. But no one denied the talents and wills of Quasimodo. ” “He, of course, was transmitting life far from being virtuous,” wrote L. A. Tikhomirov. - The body was given him a mighty. Small, stocky, PN Durnovo breathed nervous strength and energy. He guarded the physical fortress to late old age. He could develop nervous energy on a huge scale, and it was said that he was terrible in his outbursts. Nature he had a domineering. I believe that he should have had passionate passions. Durnovo, as far as I know, loved to enjoy life. ” “Durnovo had, and to this day, retains a certain weakness for the female sex, although in the sense of rather lengthy attachments,” noted S.Yu. Witte. “The head of the Russian political police,” wrote Aldanov, “was passionately fond of women all his life. He had a lot of novels, because of which he forgot absolutely everything. One novel and it cost him quite dearly. ”

IN AND. Gurko so transmits this scandalous story: “Wanting to be convinced of the unfaithfulness of a certain Mrs. Dolivo-Dobrovolskaya who had been with him in relations, regarding which he had suspicions that she had been in so close a relationship with the Brazilian charge d'affaires, he added the latter as the servants of one of the agents of the secret police. According to Durnovo’s instructions, this agent hacked the diplomat’s writing desk and delivered the contents to him. The Brazilian appealed to the general metropolitan police about his strange theft-seizure, and the latter, who was also always in trouble with the ranks of the Police Department, did not hesitate to clarify the circumstances of this case. On the most generous report about the whole incident, the Petersburg mayor Alexander III imposed a well-known resolution, as a result of which Durnovo was dismissed from the post of director of the Police Department ... ”The resolution of Emperor Alexander III was sharp and categorical:“ Remove this pig in 24 hours ”. And Durnovo was immediately dismissed. Peter Nikolayevich was deeply offended and outraged. “Amazing country! - he was indignant. - 9 months I was in charge of the secret police, and suddenly, some rastakuer, a Brazilian secretary complains about me, and I do not need an explanation and are dismissed! ”But, as S.Yu. Witte, Durnovo was ruined by the fact that "such an Emperor reigned, who had an aversion to everything morally unclean." However, for Durnovo they immediately found another place, “having removed” to the Senate, but this, undoubtedly, was disgraced, since I had to forget about career growth for a long time. “But time passed. Durnovo in the Senate discovered his outstanding abilities and the state mind, and Sipyagin again called him to lively activities ... "- wrote V.I. Gurko.

100 years ago died Peter Nikolaevich Durnovo (1842-1915). Part of 2. ...

Printable version "State Russian man"

Petr Nikolaevich Durnovo

From the editors. Today, 24 September 2015, marks the 100 anniversary since the death of a prominent statesman of Tsarist Russia, the Minister of Internal Affairs, a member of the State Council, Pyotr Nikolayevich Durnovo. In connection with this anniversary, we offer the attention of our readers to an essay by the Doctor of Historical Sciences Andrei Alexandrovich Ivanov, covering in detail the biography, views and activities of this undoubtedly outstanding person who has provided many services to Russia through his activities. This essay was written for the book "Right Russia", which was published in early summer. More information about the book and the terms of its acquisition can be found here.

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The beginning of the essay

“I take all the responsibility”

New Minister of the Interior D.S. In 1900, Sipyagin made a competent P.N. Durnovo his deputy. Pyotr Nikolayevich was actively involved in the work as a friend of the Minister of the Interior and, according to V.I. Gurko, soon "the most important part of the ministry uncontrollably rules Durnovo." From 1900 to 1905, Durnovo was in charge of managing the Department of Common Affairs, as well as the spiritual affairs of non-Orthodox religions; He headed the Police Department (1902-1904), was the head of the Central Statistical Committee (1902-1905), “with undoubted skill and even love” led the General Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs, “in their vastness the whole ministry”, which by his efforts “ significantly improved. " And in the absence of the Minister of the Interior, Durnovo repeatedly performed his duties.

The revolutionary events of 1905 of the year, causing confusion of power, forced the head of government S.Yu. Witte to draw the attention of Emperor Nicholas II to the intelligent, energetic and decisive Durnovo, whom the prime minister proposed to appoint the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, indicating that the latter’s abilities and police experience would be most appropriate in the conditions of growing political crisis and civil confrontation. And after some hesitation of the Sovereign, who remembered his father's resolution, 23 of October 1905, P.N. Durnovo was appointed temporary governor of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This choice was soon fully justified. At a time when, under the conditions of the revolution, almost everyone was confused, Durnovo, according to one of his contemporaries, who had the opportunity to closely observe him, “was not at all depressed”, but on the contrary, “he somehow immediately cheered up”, “began to say somehow louder, somehow even straightened up, so it made an impression, "and began to work" from early morning until late at night. " Resolutely taking up the pacification of the revolution, Durnovo quickly won the confidence of the Emperor. The new minister stopped the postal and telegraph strike, secured the arrest of the St. Petersburg Council of Workers' Deputies, introduced an exceptional situation in most areas of the Empire, dismissed a number of indecisive governors, expanded the powers of the police and local administration, sent out punitive expeditions, demanded the immediate introduction of military field courts, and all government meetings firmly upheld the preservation of the full power of the autocrat, strongly opposing the constitutional endeavors of individual nicknames. Liberally-minded Minister of National Education, Count I.I. Tolstoy recalled: ““ To the wall and shoot ”was his favorite expression in relation to all the“ revolutionaries ”, which he considered everyone dissatisfied with the existing order. He did not have personal attachment to Alexander III and Nicholas II, but he considered them to be the personification of the monarchical principle, which he firmly believed to be a panacea for Russia. ”

In one of the telegrams to the governors P.N. Durnovo insistently demanded: “Take the most energetic measures of struggle against the revolution, do not stop at nothing. Remember! I take all the responsibility. ” Addressing the commander of the Semenov regiment, GA. Mina, whose task was to suppress the armed uprising in Moscow, Durnovo instructed the colonel: “You do not need any reinforcements. Only decisiveness is needed. Do not allow groups even in 3-5 people to gather on the street. If you refuse to break up, shoot immediately. Do not stop before using artillery. Artillery fire destroy barricades, houses, factories occupied by revolutionaries. " “These instructions,” recalled the gendarme general A.V. Gerasimov, - made a proper impression, encouraged Mina. He began to act decisively, and soon we learned about the beginning turn in the moods of the Moscow garrison. ” “... A small, withered old man with a clear mind, strong will and determination to return the confused power to the place,” wrote the head of the Moscow security department, AP Dornovo. Martynov. “Several clear and firm orders — and the sleeping kingdom came to life.” Everything worked, the car went into action. The arrests began, the leaders were hidden, and everything began to return to normal, albeit little by little. ” Durnovo, according to V.I. Gurko, “revealed that consistency and even ruthlessness, which were supposed to inspire the population with confidence that the authorities do not play with words and carry out their decisions to the end”. As a result, "the strong authority of the chief executive somehow immediately felt by its performers, both metropolitan and provincial, and somehow transferred to them by a magnetic current."

Supported Durnovo and nascent Black Hundred movement. As a member of the Russian Assembly, Pyotr Nikolayevich approvingly approached the creation of the Union of the Russian People in 1905 and, according to some information, won state subsidies to this right-wing organization that was actively involved in the anti-revolutionary struggle. Durnovo also granted the request of right-wing organizations to supply them with revolvers to protect public order (subject to immediate return weapons at the first request of the police, which was carried out in March 1906), he opposed the curbing of the Black Hundreds by the police during clashes with the left radicals, since “you cannot tell people to shoot people who are revolutionary revolutionaries”. In gratitude for the support rendered by the right, Durnovo was elected an honorary member of the Moscow NRC in 1909.

Resolve PN Durnovo, by his own admission, was reinforced by the fact that, unlike many other dignitaries, he did not care about how “public opinion” would react to him. After a loud scandal with a Brazilian diplomat who turned Durnovo into an object of ridicule and humiliation, he no longer had anything to do with what the press would write about him. Speaking about the revolution, Durnovo confessed in a private conversation: “All those in power wanted to strike her, but did not dare; all of them, headed by Count Sergei Yulievich Vitte, fear more than public opinion and the press; they are afraid - suddenly they will be deprived of their appearance by enlightened statesmen, and I, in fact, in essence, have nothing to lose from the press; so I hit this face of the revolution right in the face and ordered others: hit me on my head. ”

“It turns out that the most reliable person capable of energy, among the government, is Durnovo,” noted a prominent right-wing leader, General A.A., in 1905 in his diary. Kireev. “At that time, Durnovo was at the apogee of his fame: he pacified the revolution, as it was then expressed,” wrote LA Tikhomirov. - His energetic actions, his success was praised by all supporters of Autocracy. For the first time in his life, Durnovo did a big deal that no one before him could have done. ” “Having stayed for a short time as the Minister of the Interior, [Durnovo], with his energy, contributed to stopping the revolution, or, as they used to say, the liberation movement,” recognized A.A. Polovtsov. “By the appearance of Stolypin, the Court and the reaction had already recovered from the fear: little Durnovo achieved what the great Witte failed to suppress the revolution,” said the publicist I.I. Peg. “Durnovo managed to convince both the tsar and reactionary Russia that the“ reform ”was pulled out with violence and that Russia could be reassured otherwise.” Representatives of the high society, according to the same Kolyshko, “after the“ illuminations ”of their estates, who inhaled with full breastpower the power of the camp officers, police officers and Cossacks, sang hosanna to the“ willful Durnovo ”and betrayed the anathema of the limp graph“ Polusakhalinsky ”.

But if the monarchists glorified Durnovo, then revolutionaries ferociously hated the decisive minister. Esser B.V. Savinkov recalled that "the Central Committee decided that the militant organization would simultaneously undertake two major assassinations: against the Minister of Internal Affairs Durnovo and against the Moscow Governor-General Dubasov, who had just" pacified "Moscow." A real hunt began on Durnovo, which, according to the gendarme general Gerasimov, the minister had so much constrained his freedom of movement, “that he was often forced to refuse to leave even the most intimate dates.” The revolutionaries were counting on catching Durnovo at Tsarskoye Selo station, from where the minister often traveled to the Tsar. For this purpose, an observer, V. Smirnov, was stationed at the station. He arranged for the authorities to alert the vigilance of the distributor of the Black-Hundred newspaper “Russian Flag” and once even came face to face with Durnovo, who took his newspaper from him. But since the observer had no weapons with him, "Smirnov had nothing to do but look after the retreating minister." “This case confirmed the opinion that began to be formed here,” Savinkov recalled. “We have long assumed that instead of open trips in the carriage, Durnovo is using a new tactics for ministers and old revolutionaries — he leaves the house on foot and takes all precautions on the way. So, the observation of our group did not give any results. Except for the case of Smirnov, when Durnovo bought a newspaper from him, we only saw him all the time. ” In the future, the terrorists put forward plans to blow up either the house where the elusive PN lived. Durnovo, or the train in which he traveled to the Tsar, but all these plans were not destined to be realized. "... to the convocation of the State Duma, i.e. by the deadline set by the central committee, we were unable to commit a major terrorist act, ”Savinkov admitted. “I was inclined to attribute these failures to three reasons: firstly, the limitation of the duration of our work, secondly, the outdated method of external observation, which I was convinced by the elusiveness of Durnovo, and, thirdly, the lack of flexibility and mobility of the military organization.” But later it turned out that the plans of the Social Revolutionaries regarding Durnovo were upset by the provocateur Ye.F. Azef “Thanks to him,” wrote revolutionary B. Gorinson, “the guard was aware of the impending assassination, and appropriate measures were taken to prevent it.”

Looking ahead, we note that the last attempt to eliminate Durnovo was made in August 1906, when he was already retired. On behalf of the maximalist Socialist Revolutionaries, T. Leontyev “tracked down” the former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Switzerland and during breakfast she shot out of the browning an elderly man sitting at a nearby table, being confident that Durnovo was in front of her. However, the French rentier Muller, who was treated at the Swiss resort, unfortunately had a resemblance to the Russian minister hated by the revolutionaries. At this attempt on Durnovo stopped. “Durnovo was born under the lucky star! - recorded in her diary, General A.A. Bogdanovich. “After all the repressions and arrests he made, he left unscathed from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.”

Thanks to the successes in the struggle against the revolution and the support of the Emperor, Durnovo as the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs soon reached such an influence that he stopped coordinating his actions with the head of the government S.Yu. Witte. As historian A.D. Stepanov, “Witte hoped that Durnovo would do all the hard work of suppressing the revolution and, being grateful for his appointment, would become an assistant in the intrigues,” but the prime minister miscalculated. Having reclaimed the role of a liberal reformer, and Durnovo a reactionary and suppressor, Witte clearly underestimated the consequences of such a plan. (As recalled I.I. A peg, to his puzzled question: “Will Dornovo introduce the constitution? ..” - Witte replied: “I will introduce the constitution. His duties will suppress the revolution ... "). Seeing that the Emperor was becoming more and more disappointed in the premiere, which convinced him to publish the October 17 Manifesto and take the road of civil reforms, Durnovo, according to the testimony of Count I.I. Tolstoy, "opposed almost every proposal to Witte, as if in principle not approving the entire constitutional plan, finding it premature, not corresponding to the character of the Russian people." “There is a struggle between two rogues - Witte and Durnovo. Witte fades away; his supporters refuse him. The king does not love him. This facilitates the role of D [urnovo], ”noted A.A. Kireev. “Apparently,” concluded Kireev, “two currents in our government are becoming aggravated. Durnovo for repression - Witte says that Durn [ovo] is not in a position to understand that repression is insufficient ... ”Meanwhile, the Emperor, who initially appointed Durnovo only as acting minister of the interior, was completely in this conflict on his side in February 1906, already contrary to Witte's objections, approved Pyotr Nikolayevich as the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At the same time, the Minister of Justice, S.S. Manukhin, replaced by a more decisive MG Akimov, Dornov's brother-in-law. “As long as Witte legislated, Durnovo wrested power from his hands,” recalled Kolyshko. - As long as the prime minister implanted the theory of democracy, his subordinate strengthened the practice of autocracy. Walking along the line of least resistance, he convinced the Sovereign, and most importantly - the Empress, that the revolution was already outlived and that in general fear had big eyes. Needless to say, he nodded at Witte. “Witte, who was married to a Jew, is the one who created the revolution.” Durnovo categorically denied Witte's obedience, pointing out that Russia is in the "claws of the third element created and cherished by the reforms of your excellency". In a conversation with A.A. Polovtsov Witte complained: "The Sovereign has always kept Durnovo's side." As a result, Durnovo’s disagreement with Witte, who was accused by the Interior Minister of indulging the revolution, served as the main reason for the Prime Minister’s resignation in April 1906, but along with the rest of the cabinet members, Peter Nikolayevich, who had already done all the dirty work of suppressing the revolution and who has become an odious figure for wide circles of the liberal public and the State Duma. The emperor did not want to part with the minister, whose actions he was quite pleased with, but many dignitaries were categorically opposed to keeping such an annoying public figure at the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, strongly advising the Sovereign to send Durnovo to resign. In the end, having learned that Nicholas II, though with regret, but had to part with it, Durnovo wrote a letter of resignation. This royal decision, according to the former minister, was for him a “big blow”. However, the bitterness of the resignation of the King sweetened a gift in 200 th. rubles, preservation of the ministerial salary, a complaint to the state secretary and with the remaining Durnovo senator and member of the State Council. Summing up the activities of PN. Durnovo as Minister of the Interior, Vilna Governor D.N. Lyubimov wrote: “If at the beginning of 1906, what happened at the beginning of 1917 was not missed, then we owe a lot to the energy, courage and decisiveness of Peter Nikolaevich Durnovo.”

“Everyone thinks I'm an avid monarchist”

Meanwhile, the reputation of P.N. Durnovo as an extreme reactionary, the most convinced conservative and “fighter with progressive ideas”, which entrenched himself in 1905-1906, was far from reality. Before the 1905 revolution of the year, Durnovo had rather liberal views. IN AND. Gurko recalled that just before the revolution, when Durnovo was a friend of the Minister of the Interior, he “dissociated himself from the reactionary policy of Plehve so much that he even gained a reputation as a liberal progressiveist, a reputation that almost prevented him from taking up the post of Minister of the Interior in 1905 g in Witte's office. ” And during the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs adhered to the liberal views of Prince P.D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky Durnovo, as his deputy, advocated a number of social concessions, painted "a whole picture of Russian lawlessness and arbitrariness of the administration", spoke out with criticism of the "Provision on Enhanced Protection" and, "showing a certain liberalism", stated that "so longer the state cannot live, that the government represents some Tatars living in an armed camp ”. It is noteworthy that the conservatives, who later recognized Durnovo as one of their leaders, in the “era of trust” of Svyatopolk-Mirsky saw him as a dangerous liberal and were awaiting his resignation. And just before Durnovo’s appointment as Interior Ministry governor, Witte, defending his candidacy, declared: “Durnovo knows police affairs very well, and he is for Jewish equality ... And the Jewish question is the most acute”. “Such a conservative as Peter Nikolayevich Durnovo, who currently represents the leader of the most reactionary party in the State Council, then stated in the committee of ministers that the exceptional provisions brought Russia much more harm than good, based on its practice, as the former director of the department the police, ”recalled Witte. A.V. also wrote about this. Gerasimov, who noted in his memoirs: “About him (Durnovo. - A.I.) had the impression of being a very reactionary person. This view was not true. Durnovo was a very capricious, hot-tempered man, absolutely unbearable to contradictions, sometimes a tyrant, but by no means a man who denied the need for big changes for Russia. In old Russia, this type of man was Pobedonostsev. Durnovo was a completely different person. Then I had to listen to him definitely liberal statements. Anyway, in October 1905, he came to power with moods that were not significantly different from those of Trepov, Witte and other creators of the October 17 Manifesto. ”

“... I think that I will not sin against the memory of the deceased, saying that in this old time he did not have any great goals of life,” wrote L. A. Tikhomirov. - Then he changed, but in that time, of course, was not religious. He was very liberal. Then he hardly understood the monarchy in any way. But he served the monarchs, was the director of the police (and excellent), and always the actions of the liberals suppressed. He, as a person, m [b] [b] [se], half-indifferent, but deeply state-owned, was a man of order, and this, of course, was his, m [b] b [c], the only deep conviction. It seems to me that there was nothing idealistic about him. And so - being brilliant abilities, tremendous strength, inimitable work capacity and almost miraculous insight - he spent most of his life without accomplishing anything worthy of his amazing talents. This can only be explained by the absence of any great goals. ” However, Tikhomirov continued, a lot has changed as a result of the revolution. Having met him already at a revolutionary time, in order to try to bring the head of the Interior Ministry closer to the leader of the Russian Monarchist Party, V.A. Gringmut, Tikhomirov remarked: “It was necessary to talk about many things, and Durnovo appeared before me in a new light. This was no longer a superficial "man of order." The terrible developing events that threatened to destroy not only the monarchy, but also Russia, as if awakened in him a dormant Russian person. He was no longer cheerful, talkative, or witty, but serious and thoughtful. He saw not a simple “order”, but the basics of Russian existence and felt their relatives to themselves. I saw the same powerful will and energy; he was full of energy; but it was a state Russian person who penetrated into the very depths of our desperate situation. He was imbued with the desire to restore power in all its mighty greatness. "

But at the same time, in the post-revolutionary period, P.N. Durnovo remained a clever pragmatist, convinced of the need for Russia of firm monarchical power, rather than becoming a man who believed in the religious foundations of royal power and in the advantage of conservative principles over liberal ones as such. This is noticed by cadet V.A. Maklakov, who considered Durnovo first and foremost a realist and not a “captive of a preconceived idea,” who first “reconciled with the constitution and was ready to serve it”, but then, seeing “what our public demands,” the head of the Interior Ministry “imbued with contempt for its impracticality” . Even Pyotr Nikolayevich himself, despite the reputation of a retrograd created by a liberal society, did not consider himself to be such, justifying his firmness in upholding an autocratic monarchy not by religious or romantic feelings, but on the basis of his characteristic pragmatism. “His idea,” wrote Tikhomirov, “was in the great state power imbued with high state intelligence. This is the reason he served the most. I do not know whether he was in principle against popular representation. I think that he would have recognized the clever representation of the people more or less aristocratic. But he despised the actual representation of the State [of the Duma] [Duma] Duma and, perhaps, hated it as a voice of the insignificance that distorted the meaning of the state and the law. In a private conversation with a member of the State Council A.N. Naumov Durnovo once remarked: "Everyone considers me an avid monarchist, a reactionary defender of autocracy, an incorrigible" obscurantist "... and do not assume that I am perhaps the most convinced republican in my views, because I really I consider the situation that is most ideal for any nation, when the population can have the president as the most elected citizen at the head of managing him. For some countries, such an ideal, for one or another happy conditions, becomes available. This in no way can be said about our vast and diverse Russian Empire, where, for purely practical reasons, the management technique and integrity requires the presence of a historically established royal banner. It will not be - Russia will disintegrate. Such is the inevitable law of the nature of the Russian statehood. "

“He is doing his job perfectly and very cleverly!”

The last 9 years of PN's life. Durnovo was associated with the State Council, where the ex-minister soon again attracted the attention of society as the leader of the right group. The right group was formed almost immediately after the reorganization of the State Council. 29 April 1906, Count KI Palen and A.A. The Polovtsov was assembled in the Mariinsky Palace near 30 by members of the upper chamber, to whom P.N. Durnovo, inclined them to his side. The right-wing group did not have a policy document, and the rallying around conservative ideals was informal. Members of the right group were united by a clear understanding of their interests, a well-defined position on the main issues of state and public life, and the presence of the will to defend them. Among the main points of this unregistered program, the following can be conventionally identified: the rejection of the revolution as an absolute evil; disbelief in the possibility of pacification of society by liberal reforms; belief in the natural advantages of the autocratic monarchy; critical attitude to the October 17 Manifesto. The first chairman of the right group was SS. Goncharov, but after two years he was replaced by 65-year-old PN. Durnovo, who skillfully ruled the right group almost until his death in 1915. Durnovo actively participated in the activities of various commissions of the upper chamber, opposed the implementation of “useless” liberal reforms, strongly defended the prerogatives of the Emperor, demanded the complete subordination of state policy in religious matters to the interests of the Orthodox Church, was a supporter of the program military shipbuilding. In one of his speeches, Durnovo explained his position in this way: “In my eyes, all the so-called cultural needs recede into the background before the immediate needs, on which the very existence of Russia as a great power depends. State administration is a harsh business, and we have to put up with, for example, in urban schools, teaching aids are bad when a warship needs a good cannon for which you need to spend money. ”

As the leader of the right group, P.N. Durnovo deserves a very high mark from his supporters. A.N. Naumov considered Durnovo a man of “practical rationality, state foresight and experience,” “quick-witted and decisive,” “eminent state practitioner” and noted that as a leader, Pyotr Nikolayevich “was extremely tolerant of all opinions expressed under his chairmanship,” contributed “to the mood of the group he led was a restraining principle, "knew how" to find a common language with dissident colleagues on many legislative issues "," used among the vast majority of his fellow members of the State th Council unconditional respect, and with all his opinions were considered. " As recalled V.M. Andreevsky, Durnovo led the right group with a “powerful and firm hand,” knowing how to immediately bring order to it. Member of the right group D.S. Arsenyev, in turn, noted: “Our leader, Peter Nikolayevich — we must give him full justice — conducts his business superbly and very cleverly!” And such characteristics given by P.N. Durnovo colleagues quite a lot. As the biographer Durnovo A.P. Borodin, all contemporaries — friends and enemies, during life and after death — were unanimous in assessing the intelligence of the right-wing politician: “remarkably clever,” “very clever,” “considerable mental strength”; possesses a “state mind”, gives the impression of a “completely rational person”, “a brilliant nugget”, etc. Even a political opponent Durnovo M.M. Kovalevsky spoke of him like this: “Durnovo ... is notable for his clear sense of mind, extraordinary certainty and clarity of thought, achieved under the condition of his perfect narrowness. He is not so much a speaker as what the British call the debator, i.e. a man who knows how to smash the motives of his opponents by sorting them apart by bones ... ”. The fact that Durnovo was not a good speaker was also agreed by Archpriest T.I. Butkevich, who left such a characteristic: “A man is clever, somewhat arrogant, in appearance - inconspicuous: of medium height, stooping, about 70; speaks well, sometimes wittily, but not in an orator ”.

The leadership of the right group was suddenly interrupted in the 1911 year, when P.N. Durnovo entered into conflict with P.A. Stolypin, with whose policies he largely disagreed and, according to L.A. Tikhomirov "tried (but tactfully) to overthrow Stolypin, that is, shake the constitution. " Speaking as a decisive opponent of the Stolypin project, which envisioned conducting in the Western gubernias under the flag of Russian nationalism, a virtually unitless Zemstvo, Durnovo, together with V.F. Trepov achieved his rejection by the State Council. Stolypin regarded this as an “intrigue” directed against him personally, and obtained from the Emperor the right to dissolve the Duma and the Council on the 3 day, during which he passed the law on the zemstvo according to the 87 article, which allowed to issue urgent laws in between sessions of the legislative chambers. At the same time, Stolypin insisted on removing his opponents Durnovo and Trepov from the State Council, who were forcibly sent on leave abroad. This Stolypin “reprisal” provoked the indignation of the right, who supported Durnovo. Duma deputy and leader of the Russian People’s Union named after Mikhail Archangel V.M. Purishkevich accused the prime minister of the fact that he, declaring himself a champion of legality, “considered it impossible for him to fight against PN. Durnovo by force of his convictions, although he was above him, demanded that he give his head his political opponent, one of the most prominent, powerful, powerful and talented people of Russia. ” “I affirm,” declared Purishkevich, “that with this step the chairman of the Council of Ministers, who bears the symptoms of a personal petty revenge of some county administrator, and not the person at the head of the government of the empire, that with this very step he strikes the strongest blow the prestige of those institutions in which we work, but that it delivers the strongest blow to what we serve, what we hope for and what we believe in ... ”Count SD Sheremetev, who also regarded Stolypin’s act as “an act of arbitrariness and arrogance,” recalled that Durnovo, who had learned that he was being expelled from the State Council, involuntarily fell from the lips of the phrase: “Well, tell me, is it possible to serve?” He tried to soften the situation The emperor, who transmitted Durnovo through the chairman of the State Council, MG Akimov, that he still trusts him, highly appreciates his merits and has nothing against him personally. And I must say that this was indeed the case. Nicholas II soon made an attempt to return Durnovo to the State Council, but under pressure from Stolypin he abandoned this plan. Durnovo, once again in disgrace, was forced to go abroad. But the disgrace turned out to be relatively short, 5 September 1911, the year Stolypin died from injuries received during the assassination attempt, and Durnovo was able to return to the duties of the chairman of the right group.

However, personal friction and disagreements on a number of issues did not prevent Durnovo and Stolypin from paying tribute to each other. Durnovo recognized the prime minister as a man "worthy and courageous", although he too gave attention to public opinion; Stolypin, who in turn called Peter Nikolayevich his political opponent, noted that the leader of the Right served Russia in “1905” a “great service”. Comparing Stolypin and Durnovo, LA Tikhomirov, who was much more sympathetic to the prime minister, still admitted: "Actually, as a mind, as a mental apparatus, Durnovo was undoubtedly superior." The same conclusion was reached by Secretary of State S.E. Kryzhanovsky, who was at that time Stolypin’s colleague: “Durnovo cannot be denied personal courage, nor calm dignity. Durnovo, moreover, was higher than Stolypin and according to his intelligence, according to the merits of Russia, which he saved in 1905 from the fate that had befallen her in 1917. ”

"Swan Song of the Conservative School"


Possessing extraordinary intelligence and great analytical skills, PN. Durnovo had no illusions about the real state of affairs in the country, giving a full account to the fact that the monarchical statehood is in deep crisis and the future of Russia does not bode well for the conservatives. “We are at an impasse,” he said A.N. Naumov, I am afraid that we all, with the Tsar together, will not be able to get out! ”Durnovo showed no less insight even before the beginning of the First World War, having compiled an analytical note for the Emperor, in which he presented the most sober, reasoned and surprisingly accurate justification catastrophic for Russia military clash with Germany.

This note is often referred to as “prophetic”, and some researchers proclaim its author as an oracle and even “Russian Nostradamus”. And this is not surprising, since much of what the ruling sphere of Durnovo in February 1914 warned of the year soon turned out to be a tragic reality. “If a warning voice was broadcast then, it was from the right-wing circles, from whose ranks the note drawn up at the beginning of 1914 came out of one of the firm and, of course, especially etched by the right ones - P.N. Durnovo, who predicted what consequences the imminent war would have for Russia, ”noted the prominent historian of the Church N.D. Talberg.

The content of this fairly voluminous document is well reflected in the headings of the “Notes” sections, apparently given to it already when published in Soviet Russia: 1. The future Anglo-German war will turn into an armed clash between the two groups of powers; 2. It is difficult to catch any real benefits gained by Russia as a result of rapprochement with England; 3. The main groups in the coming war; 4. The main burden of the war will fall to Russia; 5. The vital interests of Germany and Russia do not collide anywhere; 6. In the field of economic interests, the Russian benefits and needs do not contradict the German ones; 7. Even a victory over Germany offers Russia extremely unfavorable prospects; 8. The struggle between Russia and Germany is profoundly undesirable for both sides as it boils down to a weakening of the monarchical principle; 9. Russia will be plunged into a hopeless anarchy, the outcome of which is difficult to foresee; 10. Germany, in case of defeat, will have to go through no less social upheavals than Russia; 11. Peaceful cohabitation of cultural nations is most threatened by the desire of England to keep elusive supremacy over the seas.

Pn Durnovo, very clearly denoting the balance of power, warned that when a military conflict began, which would inevitably erupt because of the rivalry between England and Germany, and then develop into a world conflict, if Russia were to become involved, it would lead to ottyagivayuschego plaster. "The main burden of the war will undoubtedly fall to our lot, since England is hardly capable of taking a wide part in the continental war, and France, poor in human material, with the enormous losses that will accompany the war under modern conditions of military equipment will follow strictly defensive tactics. We will get the role of a battering ram breaking through the thickest German defense, and in the meantime how many factors will be against us and how much we will have to spend our strength and attention on them, ”the right-wing politician warned. Foreseeing a number of complications resulting from the war, Durnovo stated: “Are we ready for such a stubborn fight, which, no doubt, will be the future war of European nations? This question has to be answered without negative objection. ” At the same time, Durnovo pointed out that the alliance between England and Russia does not offer absolutely no benefits to the latter, but it promises clear foreign policy problems. “The obvious goal pursued by our diplomacy with the rapprochement of England is the opening of the straits, but, I think, the achievement of this goal hardly requires war with Germany. After all, England, and not Germany at all, closed our way out of the Black Sea, ”he rightly noted.

Considering the foreign policy goals of the Russian Empire and the possibilities of achieving them, Durnovo came to the conclusion that "the vital interests of Russia and Germany nowhere collide and provide a full basis for the peaceful coexistence of the two states." Therefore, he believed, neither the difficult-to-reach victory over Germany, much less defeat from it, promised Russia any benefits - neither in the internal political situation (weakening of the monarchical beginning, growth of liberal and revolutionary sentiments), nor in the economy (collapse of the national economy and large debts loans), or in foreign policy (the natural desire of the Allies on the Entente to weaken Russia, when it no longer needs). The conclusion from the “Note” followed this: “We are not on the path with England, it must be given its fate, and we don’t have to quarrel over it with Germany. The threefold agreement is an artificial combination, which has no basis for interests, and the future does not belong to it, but to an incomparably more vital close rapprochement between Russia and Germany, reconciled with the last of France and associated with Russia by a strictly defensive union Japan. ”

Durnovo was also far from the dreams of Russian nationalists to annex the Austrian Galicia, which was once a part of the Old Russian state, to the Russian Empire. In his opinion, “it is obviously unprofitable, in the name of the idea of ​​national sentimentalism, to attach to our fatherland an area that has lost any living connection with it.” “After all, on an insignificant handful of Russians in the spirit of the Galicians, how many Poles, Jews, Ukrainianized Uniates will we get? - the right politician wrote on the eve of the war. “The so-called Ukrainian or Mazepa movement is not scary now, but we should not let it grow, increasing the number of restless Ukrainian elements, since in this movement there is an undeniable embryo of extremely dangerous Little Russian separatism, under favorable conditions that can reach completely unexpected sizes.”

At the same time, Durnovo also pointed out the weakness of Russian liberalism, which, in the event of a deep systemic crisis caused by the impending war, will not be able to restrain revolutionary action. If the will of the autocratic government is enough to nip opposition speeches firmly enough, then, the conservative analyst believed, "if the opposition does not have serious roots in the population, this will be the end." But if the government makes concessions and tries to enter into an agreement with the opposition (which eventually happened), it will only weaken itself by the time the socialist elements appear. “Although it sounds paradoxical,” he wrote, “but an agreement with the opposition in Russia certainly weakens the government. The fact is that our opposition does not want to reckon with the fact that it does not represent any real power. The Russian opposition is completely intelligent, and this is its weakness, since there is a deep abyss of mutual misunderstanding and mistrust between the intelligentsia and the people. ”

Speaking about the inevitability of revolutionary actions in the event of military defeats, Durnovo predicted: “It will begin with the fact that all the failures will be attributed to the government. a fierce campaign against him will begin in legislative institutions, as a result of which revolutionary actions will begin in the country. These latter were immediately put forward by socialist slogans, the only ones that can raise and group the broad strata of the population, first black division, and then we are the general section of all values ​​and assets. The defeated army, which, besides during the war, lost its most reliable cadre, embraced for the most part by a spontaneous common peasant desire for land, would be too demoralized to serve as a bulwark of law and order. Legislative institutions and opposition-intelligent parties deprived of real authority in the eyes of the people will not be able to contain the dispersed popular waves raised by them, and Russia will be plunged into hopeless anarchy, the outcome of which cannot even be foreseen. ” “Despite the opposition of Russian society, just as unconscious as the socialism of the broad masses of the population, the political revolution in Russia is impossible, and every revolutionary movement will inevitably degenerate into a socialist one. There is no one behind our opposition, it has no support among the people ... ”- P.N. Durnovo.

The surprising prognostic accuracy of the “Note” and the fact that it became widely known in the post-revolutionary period, when much of what Durnovo had predicted had already happened, inevitably caused some skepticism and gave rise to doubts about its authenticity. M. Aldanov, for example, wrote: “When you read this“ Note, ”sometimes it seems that you are dealing with an apocrypha.” It seemed to Aldanov quite incredible how the tsarist official "could so predictably accurately and confidently predict events of a gigantic historical scale." But in later works, Aldanov no longer expressed any doubt about the authenticity of the “Memorandum”: “Political predictions are good when they are completely specific. Specifically, it was a prediction made a few months before the First World War by the former minister of Durnovo, and I consider this prediction to be the best of all I know, and, frankly, I’ve been brilliant: he predicted not only war (which would be easy) and in detail predicted the entire configuration in it of large and small powers, predicted its course, predicted its outcome. "

The fact that the "prophetic note" is not a hoax, there is very specific evidence. Emigrant leader D.G. Browns wrote that this "document was withdrawn from the papers of the Sovereign and was confirmed in emigration by the few who saw it." This statement is confirmed in a number of sources. According to Countess M.Yu. Bobrinsky (nee Princess Trubetskaya, daughter of Lieutenant-General Suite and commander of His own Imperial Majesty's convoy) in a letter to A.I. Solzhenitsyn, she read this note before the revolution, and therefore can vouch for its authenticity. A typewritten copy of the “Notes” (and in pre-revolutionary spelling) was preserved among the papers of Patriarch Tikhon dated 1914-1918. and in the fund of archpriest John Vostorgov, who also make up documents up to 1918 of the year. It is also known about the typewritten copy of the “Notes”, deposited in the fund of a member of the State Council, a prominent lawyer A.F. Horses The “Notes” variant has also been preserved in the papers of the former Minister of Finance P.L. Barge. The references to the “Note” are found in the memoirs published in German by the former comrade of the Minister of the Interior, General PG Kurlov and fellow Minister of Education MA Taube. According to the director of the department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs VB Lopukhina, although he didn’t hold Durnovo’s “Notes” in his hands, but he was read and retold by a member of the State Council who occupied 1916-1917. the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, N.N. Pokrovsky. “What it was, but with awareness and in mind, to Peter Nikolaevich Durnovo, with all his negative qualities, was impossible to refuse,” Lopukhin wrote. - And his note deserved attention. Experienced statesman expressed himself, like no one else who had clarified to himself the internal position of Russia at that time. The author of the note seems to have been able to predict events in the way they actually played out. However, the prophecy later justified by faith at that time was not given. ”

Soviet historian E.V. Tarle called the analyst Durnovo a "logically strong attempt" to destroy the Entente and avoid a war with Germany. Being an ideological opponent of Durnovo, he nevertheless acknowledged that “intellectually, the mind cannot be denied in any way”, and the “Note” itself and the thoughts expressed in it are full of foresight “of extraordinary strength and accuracy”, “marked a seal of great analytical power. " At the same time, calling the work of Durnovo “the swan song of the conservative school”, Tarle noticed an important point in it, which often eluded Durnovo’s critics who wrote him down in “Germanophiles”: not a single word in the “Notes” does not say a word about the need to break the Russian French relations, and the rejection of the right-wing politician caused only a rapprochement between Russia and England, condemning Russia to a conflict with Germany. At the same time, rightly noted by Tarle, Durnovo valued the Franco-Russian alliance, allowing to achieve the stability of the European equilibrium. “His (Durnovo - A.I.) insight in almost everything that he says about the likely grouping of powers is indisputable; his criticism is strong against the cries against German domination in 1914; convincing indications of the uselessness and futility of Russia for a possible victory, the grave economic consequences of the war with any outcome, ”said Tarle, who found only one important miscalculation in the conservative analyst — Durnovo’s conviction that Germany did not need war.

And it’s hard not to agree. Durnovo's conviction of the possibility of creating a Russian-German alliance was truly the most vulnerable point of the Zapiski. Despite the confidence of the Russian conservatives that the Russian-German military clash was not necessary for Berlin either, in practice the situation was different. As the conservative German publication Reichswart, which published the “prophecy” of the Russian conservative for the first time, noted in 1921, “a memo shows that Durnovo at that time had erroneous and incomplete views on the state of affairs in Europe. Also, he did not have comprehensive data on the situation in Germany. However, he comes to absolutely correct conclusions and turns out to be a prophet. ” “Unfortunately,” stated the German weekly, “and in Germany such a view was unpopular due to the wide and incessant Jewish propaganda in the circles of German liberals and social democrats.”

Strictly, theoretically, P.N. Durnovo, like some other Russian conservatives, was absolutely right that the war against Russia itself was not needed by Germany, assessing the real consequences of such a military conflict for the Reich; but in practice it was Germany that sought this war, unleashing it in the summer of 1914. “Perhaps it was overdue,” wrote S.S. Oldenburg. “In any case, in Germany at that time, no desire to“ meet ”was noticed.” However, at the same time, according to Tarle, Durnovo “perfectly understood what an impermissible, disastrous thing is to walk with a match in a powder magazine, when one cannot be sure in his future”. “Durnovo was a Black Hundred and a reactionary,” wrote MP Pavlovich in the preface to the first publication of the full text of the “Note” in Soviet Russia, but undoubtedly, in assessing the nature of the future war, the role of the Entente in it, on the one hand, Russia, on the other, in anticipation of the outcome of the war, he discovered a remarkable mind and ability to the correct prediction. Compared to Durnovo, all the luminaries of our liberal opposition and the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the Milyukovs, the Maklakovs, the Kerenskys, and others, turn out to be miserable pygmies in their mental attitude, who completely failed to understand the meaning of world war and did not foresee its inevitable outcome. ”

"We are afraid to order"


The beginning of the First World War, which he considered a catastrophe for Russia, P.N. Durnovo met with no enthusiasm, but with readiness to fulfill his patriotic duty to the Tsar and the Motherland. According to S.D. Sheremetev, about the hostilities Durnovo spoke with reserve and, contrary to public opinion, predicting a difficult and protracted war. At the same time, Durnovo took financial part in the formation of the Red Cross infirmary State Council members, and his son Peter, who graduated from the Nikolaev Military Academy in 1914 on the first category, was directly involved in military operations in the rank of captain. In 1914, according to the testimony of A.A. Lodyzhensky, an experienced old bureaucrat, almost again did not call for active public work as the head of the new department at the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, who was called on to deal with the affairs of the military administration, but this appointment did not take place because of disagreement with the candidacy of Durnovo Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, who was afraid The head of the Interior Ministry will behave in this position too independently.

As a result, P.N. Durnovo remained chairman of the right group of the State Council, continuing the struggle for upholding autocratic principles in this post. Adhering to an extremely skeptical view of the State Duma (as early as 1911, Durnovo stated that “the State Duma does not know how to make laws” and that it “only interferes with the State Council”), Pyotr Nikolayevich considered it an error of the supreme authority to resume the work of the lower chamber in war . “I recognized such a convocation as not only useless, but also absolutely politically harmful,” he admitted in a letter to his comrade in the right-wing group A.A. Naryshkin - but in view of the wartime he thought it impossible to prevent the government from getting out of an unpleasant and dangerous situation as it considers most appropriate. ”

19 July 1915 year PN Durnovo for the last time in his life made a speech from the rostrum of the State Council. This speech, deep and reasoned, caught the attention of contemporaries. “Petr Nikolaevich Durnovo spoke rarely and only in extreme cases,” emphasized A.N. Naumov. - He spoke quietly, measuredly and briefly, weighing every word. The State Council always listened with special attention. ” Additional interest was caused by the fact that, according to the newspapers, Durnovo was already very sick and, despite the fact that he was again re-elected chairman of the group in 1915, he warned his like-minded people that he could no longer participate in the work of the State Council. Therefore, the journalists concluded, only an urgent need could force the leader of the right group to personally address the Council.

In this speech, starting with the military failures that befell Russia, P.N. Durnovo presented to the members of the State Council his view on their causes. “We, as always, were very poorly prepared for war in all branches of military and civil administration,” said a conservative politician. - We are still in the order of the original habit among the huge heaps of papers all the time looking for and could not find Russia in the war and therefore fought the war without sufficient and absolutely necessary intensity. We are all guilty of this, literate Russians. ” Stressing further that he would not name the most guilty, Durnovo noted that this is not required, “because the root of evil is not in them, but in the fact that we are afraid to order. ” From these words, his speech acquired a programmatic nature and made a lot of noise in a liberal environment. “They were afraid to order, and instead of disposing, circulars were written, innumerable laws were issued, and the power that doesn’t love the premises, meanwhile, disappeared in search of stronger shells, which it found where it was not at all the place,” noted Durnovo. “Meanwhile, we were obliged to firmly remember that in Russia it is still possible and should be ordered, and the Russian Tsar can command everything that His Higher Intelligence is useful and necessary for His people, and no one, not only illiterate, but literate, will not dare to disobey him . They will obey not only the royal commandment, but also the commands of the one whom the King authorizes. That is why the government is obliged to educate in this spirit not only the people, but also all outgoing institutions from the people, as well as their own representatives. Without this, it is impossible to wage wars and any auspicious war that has begun can be turned into an irreparable disaster. ” The way out of the current sad situation for the authorities and the right was seen by Durnovo in the following: “We need to drop feathers and ink. It is useful to send young officials to the war, to teach young leaders to order and obey and forget the fear of the various fetishes to which we so often bow out. When a few months of such a regime pass, everyone will fall into his place, the now unnecessary reforms will be forgotten, and victories will go slowly, which will lead Russia to a position where reforms and all other changes are possible. But one can only be surprised to read about the reforms of secondary and higher education at times like these. ”

This speech - straightforward and devoid of any equivocation - was basically, without any doubt, fair. It’s another thing that Durnovo’s recipe for establishing order in the country leading the hardest war was left no one to implement. Ordering power really forgotten how ... "PN Durnovo is right that now you need to know how to order, ”wrote L.A. on the pages of his diary. Tikhomirov, - but he overlooks that there is no one else who could order. It was and floated. And in the absence of this, at a critical moment only quarrels, bickering, and mutual incriminations appear. ”

The opposition-minded society, as one would expect, met this performance with hostility, hurrying to hang on the far-sighted old man the labels of a terry retrograde and "Viya Russian reaction", "not understanding" the true interests of Russia. However, the speech of Durnovo frightened part of the right, who felt after the calm and firm performance of their leader in an “uncomfortable position” before “society”. As “Morning of Russia” reported, “a significant part of the right and center responds very disapprovingly about Durnovo’s speech,” since "Durnovo, in their opinion, did not appreciate the moment Russia is experiencing." As a result, Durnovo’s speech only intensified the crisis processes that took place inside the right wing of the upper chamber, in which the threat of a split arose. Seeing that the members of the right group are beginning to leave her, and his attempts to combine the melting conservative forces in the so-called. The “black bloc”, designed to repulse the Progressive Bloc of the liberal opposition, does not lead to success, Durnovo made the forced decision to give up leadership, handing over the reins to Count A.A. Bobrinsky, "as a person more flexible in the sense of belief."



The rejection of his position by society, and especially by a significant part of the right, was finally undermined by the forces of P.N. Durnovo. 11 September 1915, Peter Nikolaevich, died of heart failure. PN was buried Durnovo in the estate Treskino Serdobsky district Saratov province (now - Kolyshleysky district of the Penza region) in the fence of the Church in the name of the Nativity. “With the death of P.N. Durnov's extreme right lost a leader who could not be denied consistency and perseverance, the liberal publicist KK noted. Arsenyev. “It was a fragment of the past, survived among the ruins, but could not find a place in the new building.” “The reaction has lost one of its most loyal servants, the Russian public sees them descending into the grave of their worst enemy,” the progressive Morning of Russia exulted. Only a few like-minded people, who understood the significance of this extraordinary person for Russia, mourned the demise of Durnovo. Already on the eve of the tragic events of 1917 of the year, so accurately predicted by Peter Nikolayevich, the right-wing politician N.А. Maklakov, indignant at the fact that the government "stands in fright with a gaping mouth before the buffoons of the new revolution," stated: "If the second Durnovo was found, then everyone would obey." But a person equal P.N. Durnovo in mind, experience and decisiveness in the Russian government then was not ...

In conclusion, a few words should be said about how the fate of family members P.N. Durnovo. His daughter Nadezhda (born 1886) lived after the death of her father in Petrograd with her mother Ekaterina Grigorievna (1852-1927), where they both met the revolution. They soon had to move from their own apartment to a communal flat, and after the death of their mother, N.P. Durnovo went to work as a typist in the library of the Academy of Sciences. In 1930, she was arrested and sentenced to five years of forced labor camps, in 1937, a secondary arrest and sentence followed - eight years of ITL, followed by traces of N.P. Durnovo lost. Otherwise, the fate of his son Durnovo - Peter (1883-1945). He met the February Revolution with the rank of captain; in the summer of 1917, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and served as a senior aide to the headquarters of the Guards Cavalry Corps. After the Bolsheviks came to power, PP Durnovo took part in the activities of the Petrograd monarchist officer organization, then he ended up in the Russian Western Army, where he was appointed Comrade War Minister of the Western Government. After graduating from the Civil War in the position of Chief of Staff of the Russian troops in Germany, P.P. Durnovo moved to Yugoslavia. During the Second World War, he entered the service of the Germans, leading the Abwehr network in Yugoslavia, and by 1945 was listed as the commander of the 1 of the eastern group of front-line intelligence for special purposes. Life P.P. Durnovo and his entire family broke off during the bombing of the Allied air forces of Dresden.
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