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Boris Savinkov
Boris Savinkov

Full Name Boris Viktrovich Savinkov
Titles V. Ropshin
Born 31 January 1879
Status Alive
Political Party People's Republican Party of Russia

Boris Viktorovich Savinkov, also known as "V. Ropshin," is a writer, terrorist, veteran of the Russian Civil War, and the leader of the National Populist People's Republican Party (NRPR). He aided the White Army by performing anti-Bolshevik guerrilla warfare, causing his detractors to label him as a terrorist. After the Civil War, Savinkov founded the NRPR. The Duma attempted to ban his Party, but failed due to Lavr Kornilov's support.

History

Early Life

Savinkov was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and was the son of a judge in Warsaw. In 1897 he entered the law department of St. Petersburg University, but was expelled in 1899 because of his participation in students' riots, later continuing his studies in Berlin and Heidelberg. From 1898, he was a member of various socialist organizations. In 1901 he was arrested and sent to exile to Vologda, where he served his exile with some prominent Russian intellectuals, including Nikolai Berdyaev and Anatoly Lunacharsky. Despite his time there, he became disappointed with radical Marxism and became a radical anti-bolsheivk. In 1903 Savinkov escaped abroad and joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

Provisional Government

Savinkov became Deputy Head of the Combat Organization under Yevno Azef. His Legion assassinated Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, and he was arrested but escaped soon after. When Azef was revealed as an agent of the Okhrana in 1908, he moved in Paris. Savinkov returned to Russia in April 1917, and in July became Deputy War Minister under Alexander Kerensky. Savinkov planned to create a "Revolutionary Dictatorship" with centralized power under three ministers; Kerensky, Kornilov, and himself. However, the plot failed when Kornilov attempted to launch it early. After the plot, Savinkov said to Kerensky "If you trust me I`ll arrest Kornilov, but otherwise you'll arrest me." Kerensky did not mention any suspicion, but the SR party banned Savinkov, and sent the police to arrest him at his house. Savinkov was imprisoned at Lubyanka and sentenced to death by hanging. Before his execution could take place, he jumped from a fourth floor window to escape, remarking to a chasing prison officer, "Well done officer! Let me vacation for a long time!" He fled to Finland. In October 1917 the Bolsheviks rose up against Kerensky's Government. Savinkov demanded amnesty and the reappointment of General Kornilov, though his demands were declined by Kerensky.

After the Bolsheviks seized power, Savinkov initially moved to central Russia, near the city of Tsaritsyn. There, he formed the Society for Defense of the Motherland and Freedom and organized many rebellions against the Bolsheviks. The largest of these were the July 1918 revolts in Yaroslavl, Rybinsk, and Murom. These revolts allowed the Central Russian SR to negotiate on equal grounds with the Siberians at the The Congress of Omsk. Later, when Aleksandr Kolchak took control of the the Provisional Government, Savinkov urged Kolchak to enact land reform to calm the population.

Post-Civil War

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Flag of the NRPR

After the end of the Russian Civil War, Savinkov left the Right SRs to form the national-populist NRPR party. The NRPR's main platform was a full capitalist economy, along with fervent Russian nationalism. In the wake of the 1932 economic collapse, his party became popular among military officers, industrialists, and peasants.

Savinkov worked to pull the Right SRs away from the Provisional Government. By using Kerensky's "cowardly" policies and alliance with the increasingly syndicalist Left SRs, he was able to convince them to join in a coalition with him. However, Kerensky knew that Savinkov was planning to overthrow and eventually absorb Kerensky's moderate party. Kerensky began appointing conservative moderates to the powerless Senate, then empowering them with veto powers so that Kerensky's party could continue to exert authority if they were not in power. However, this backfired when Kerensky was forced to announce policies that both the Left and Right SRs disliked before the elections. Following the immediate collapse of Kerensky's coalition, the NRPR's coalition managed to take 25% of the votes, placing second behind Kerensky's new coalition with various liberal parties.

Quotes

  • One Nations, One Country, One Russia.
    Caricatured-Savinkov
  • One day, the Great Russian Republic will be much stronger, richer and freer than the old Tsarist Empire. But how much blood will be shed.
  • The Crimea. New Russia. Little Russia. White Russia. Our lands. Our people. They are waiting for us. The Great Russians, the Little Russians and the White Russians are under the German Yoke. Will we leave them in trouble? Never. Will we save them? Yes. Because we don't forget about our brothers and sisters. The era of the betrayal is over. We are the Phoenix, that was destroyed by the German aggressors, but was reborn. Wait for us. We will come. The Russians should help the Russians.
  • You, sons of the steppes. And you, nomads in the deserts. And many of you, who live all over the Russian land. Many of you betrayed us, when Russia needed your help. Many of you didn't give a helping hand to your compatriots, when they struggled against the red menace. We cannot forget it. But we can forgive you. New Russia needs your help in the restoration of its might. Help your country to make it great once again. Glory to Russia and glory to its heroes. It is your country too.

Works

Boris Savinkov
  • The Pale Horse(Novel),1909
  • What Never Happened: A Novel of The Revolution,1912
  • Memoirs of a Terrorist,1917
  • The Black Horse(Novel),1924
  • "Boris Savinkov's Letter to Felix Dzerzhinsky", in The For Freedom!,1930

See also