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Alexander Kerensky
Kerensky 4

Full Name Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky
Born 4 May 1881

in Simbirsk, Russia

Status Alive
Allegiance Flag-RUS Russia
Political Party Socialist-Revolutionaries Party

Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Ке́ренский) is a Russian politician and the first and current President of Russia.

History

Early life and activism

Kerensky was born in Simbirsk, from a mixed background. His mother, named Nadezhda Adler, was from Austria while his father was Fyodor Kerensky was a teacher and later headmaster in Simbirsk.

Kerensky graduated with a degree in Law from the St. Petersburg University in 1904. He showed his political allegiances early on, with his frequent defense of anti-Tsarist revolutionaries. He was elected to the Fourth Duma in 1912 as a member of the Trudoviks, a moderate labour party who were associated with the Socialist Revolutionary Party. He was a brilliant orator and skilled parliamentary leader as a Socialist Revolutionary and a leader of the socialist opposition to the regime of the ruling Tsar, Nicholas II.

February Revolution of 1917

When the February Revolution broke out in 1917, Kerensky was one of its most prominent leaders: he was member of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and was elected vice-chairman of the St. Petersburg Soviet. He simultaneously became the first Minister of Justice in the newly-formed Provisional Government. When the Soviet passed a resolution prohibiting its leaders from joining the government, Kerensky delivered a stirring speech at a Soviet meeting. Although the decision was never formalized, he was granted a de facto exemption and continued acting in both capacities.

After the first government crisis over Pavel Milyukov's secret note re-committing Russia to its original war aims on May 2-4, Kerensky became the Minister of War and the dominant figure in the newly formed socialist-liberal coalition government. Under Allied pressure to continue the war, he launched what became known as the Kerensky Offensive against the Austro-Hungarian/German South Army on June 17. At first successful, the offensive was soon stopped and then thrown back by a strong counter-attack. The Russian Army suffered heavy losses and Kerensky was heavily criticised by the military for his liberal policies, which included stripping officers of their mandate (handing overriding control to revolutionary inclined "soldier committees" instead), the abolition of the death penalty, and the presence of various revolutionary agitators at the front.

On July 2, 1917, the first coalition collapsed over the question of Ukraine's autonomy. Following July Days unrest in St. Petersburg and suppression of the Bolsheviks, Kerensky succeeded Prince Lvov as Russia's Prime Minister and at the end of August he appointed himself Supreme Commander-in-Chief as well. Kerensky next move, on September 15, was to proclaim Russia a republic, which was quite contrary to the understanding that the Provisional Government should only hold power until the Constituent Assembly should meet to decide Russia's form of rule.

October Revolution of 1917

During the Kornilov Affair, Kerensky had distributed arms to the St. Petersburg workers, and by October most of these armed workers had gone over to the Bolsheviks. On October 25 - 27 1917 the Bolsheviks launched the second Russian revolution of the year. Kerensky's government in St. Petersburg had almost no support in the city: it took less than 20 hours before the Bolsheviks had taken over the government.

Kerensky escaped the Bolsheviks and went to Pskov, where he rallied some loyal troops for an attempt to retake the capital. His troops managed to capture Tsarskoe Selo, but were beaten the next day at Pulkovo. Kerensky narrowly escaped, and spent the next few weeks in hiding before fleeing the country, eventually arriving in France. During 1918 Kerensky decided to side with the White Movement and tried to talk the Entente into supporting them but they refused, as they were too involved in the Weltkrieg to spare resources. When it was clear that no help could come from them, Kerensky decided to head back to Russia.

Russian Civil War

At the Congress of Omsk in April 1919, the White Generals agreed to form a united political front behind Alexander Kerensky and the remaining forces of the Provisional Government. Despite the failure of the 1919 offensive on Moscow, the tides of the civil war finally turned with the German intervention in 1920. The decisive battle of Tsaritsyn opened the way to the conquest of Moscow in September 1921 and the victory of the White Forces in the civil war. On October 12, 1921 the Republic of Russia was proclaimed and Kerensky became its first president.

President of Russia

After the victory in the Civil War, Kerensky had to face the East Karelian national revolt, that threatened to escalate into a full-scale war with Finland. Thanks to German mediation, the Treaty of Tartu was signed between Russia and Finland, giving to Finland the region of Petsamo but proclaiming East Karelia an indivisible part of the newborn Russian Federation. After setting this revolt, Kerensky had to struggle to keep the federation together, but he succeeded and was also able to establish good relations with the new countries that emerged from the Civil War, such as Azerbaijan, Don-Kuban Union, Alash Orda, Mongolia and Transamur.

The leadership of Kerensky was endangered by the attempted coup of the then Minister of Defence, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, who tried to seize power in 1924. Thanks to Denikin's loyalty and Wrangel's refusal to support Kolchak and his right-wing followers, the coup failed and Kolchak was forced to flee to Transamur. Since then, Kerensky consolidated his power and led an uneasy coalition between the Social Revolutionaries and the Kadets, dismissing the accusations of electoral manipulation as unfounded.

In 1936, Kerensky is approaching his fifteenth year as President of the Russian Republic, but the situation in Russia is not looking bright. The increasing worsening of the global economy have eroded the trust of the people and, in case of trouble, unknown forces could attempt to remove Kerensky from power and seize control of Russia.

See also