Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution

Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution

Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution

Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution

Synopsis

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Excerpt

In January 1912, a total of 159 Armenians were charged with membership in the revolutionary Dashnaktsutyun Party before Russia's supreme court, the Senate. Kerensky was one of the lawyers for the defense. Founded around 1980 to defend the Armenians against Turkish massacres, the Dashnaks had turned against Russia in 1903, when Prince Golitsyn insisted on the Russification of the Armenian educational system. During the Revolution, the Dashnaks had split into Old Dashnaks, allied with the Kadets and Young Dashnaks, aligned with the SRs. Determined to prove that all forms of Armenian nationalism were equally culpable for revolutionary excesses, the Russian authorities put "the entire Armenian intelligentsia, including writers, physicians, lawyers, bankers, and even merchants" on trial. Only fifteen or twenty spectators were allowed in the gallery and the newspapers were forbidden to describe the evidence.

The original investigators had been encouraged by the local administration to use any available means to get convictions. the defense challenged much of their evidence. Kerensky, despite warnings from the court as to his fate should he be mistaken, insisted on an expert examination of the pre-trial deposition of one of his clients. Kerensky was entirely vindicated. It emerged that the magistrate had altered his client's words "cannot recognize" to read "and also recognizes," and "unlike" to "very like." While the court was still sitting, other controversial documents disappeared.

Kerensky and other counsellors made openly contemptuous declarations to the press about this incident, but got away unscathed.

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