Who's Who - Boris Sturmer

Boris Sturmer Boris Vladimirovich Sturmer (1848-1917), a favourite of the Tsarina Alexandra, served as Russian Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs during World War One.

Born on 28 July 1848, Sturmer's career was one of a bureaucrat who, by the time war arrived in August 1914, was already in retirement.  Prior to his surprise appointment as Prime Minister on 2 February 1916 Sturmer had served as master of ceremonies at court, and as a departmental head of the Ministry of the Interior; he had also held the post of provisional governor of Yaroslavl.

His rapid climb to power during the war owed everything to his close relationship with both the Tsarina and her friend, the 'holy man' Rasputin.  His unexpected appointment was attributable to the Tsarina's perception of him as a reliable politician.

A deeply vain and highly ambitious politician, he was nevertheless notable for his remarkable lack of political judgement and appeared to have difficulty following the complexities of policy (possibly partly on account of continuing ill-health).  Time and again he demonstrated his malleability at the hands of the Tsarina, upon whom he continued to rely for his continuation in office.

With the Tsar's decision to personally lead his army at the front in the summer of 1915 political affairs were effectively left in the less than competent hands of his wife.  With the Tsar away Sturmer acceded to the Tsarina's demands to dismiss many of the Tsar's political advisors, including those who were both competent and loyal to the crown.

The Ministry of the Interior was added to his existing responsibilities in March 1916.  During his tenure however the country suffered a drastic rise in inflation and a breakdown in the transportation system (which resulted in far more serious food shortages).

Relieved of the Interior Ministry he was nevertheless handed the more prestigious Foreign Ministry in July 1916.  Just as fumbling in this post he was accused, along with the Tsarina, of being in the pay of the German enemy.

Under intense fire from the Duma, he was finally sacrificed from office by the Tsarina in November 1916 with Russia facing revolution, which duly arrived in February 1917 (much to the Tsarina's surprise).

Placed under arrest by the Provisional Government, Sturmer died in prison at Petrograd on 2 September 1917.

A sandbag was a sack filled with earth from which defences were built.

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