Sergei Witte

Witte, Count Sergei Yulyevich

Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte (syĬrgā´ yōō´lyĬvĬch vĬt´ə), 1849–1915, Russian premier. A railway administrator, he became minister of communications (1892) and minister of finance (1892–1903). He introduced the gold standard, reformed finances, encouraged the development of Russian industries with the help of foreign capital, and opened up Siberia to large-scale colonization with the construction of the Trans-Siberian RR. These measures reduced the gap between the industrial development of Russia and that of Europe and also expanded the Russian industrial proletariat, which was concentrated in a few large cities. Witte was dismissed in 1903, probably because he opposed the aggressive policy of Czar Nicholas II in East Asia, but he was recalled in 1905 at the close of the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5) to negotiate peace with Japan. He secured unexpectedly favorable terms for Russia in the Treaty of Portsmouth and was rewarded with the title of count. Returning to Russia during the Revolution of 1905 (see Russian Revolution), he was called on by the czar to draw up the manifesto of Oct., 1905, by which Nicholas II promised more liberal government under a duma, or legislative assembly. Appointed premier (Oct., 1905), Witte failed to gain liberal support against the Social Democrats and the reactionaries. He secured a loan from France and suppressed a workers' uprising in Moscow (Dec., 1905–Jan., 1906). His resignation was accepted (Apr., 1906) by Nicholas II, who restored a more conservative regime.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Sergei Witte: Selected full-text books and articles

Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia By Theodore H. Von Laue Columbia University Press, 1963
The Memoirs of Count Witte By Sergei Witte; Sidney Harcave; Sidney Harcave M. E. Sharpe, 1990
Count Witte and the Tsarist Government in the 1905 Revolution By Howard D. Mehlinger; John M. Thompson Indiana University Press, 1972
FREE! The Eclipse of Russia By E. J. Dillon George H. Doran, 1918
United Government and Foreign Policy in Russia, 1900-1914 By David MacLaren McDonald Harvard University Press, 1992
The Russian Empire, 1801-1917 By Hugh Seton-Watson Clarendon Press, 1988
The Twilight of Imperial Russia By Richard Charques Essential Books, 1959
Russia and the Soviet Union: A Modern History By Warren Bartlett Walsh University of Michigan Press, 1958
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIII "The State of the Nation and Other Matters"
The Russo-Japanese War in Global Perspective: World War Zero By John W. Steinberg; Bruce W. Menning; David Schimmelpenninck Van Der Oye; David Wolff; Shinji Yokote Brill, 2005
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