Vladimir Kokovtsov

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Kokovtsov, Vladimir Nikolaevich

 

Born Apr. 6 (18), 1853, in Novgorod; died 1943 in Paris. Russian statesman, count (from 1914). Belonged to an ancient family of the dvorianstvo (nobility and gentry); landowner in Novgorod Province.

Kokovtsov graduated from the Alexander Lycée in 1872. He served in the Ministry of Justice (1873–79), in the Chief Directorate of Prisons of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (1879–90), and in the State Chancellery (1890–96). From 1896 to 1902, Kokovtsov was assistant minister of finances under S. Iu. Witte. He was secretary of state from 1902 to 1904. Kokovtsov was minister of finances from February 1904 to January 1914 (except from October 1905 to April 1906). Together with Witte, he arranged a loan in France (1906), which helped the tsarist government suppress the Revolution of 1905–07. In 1905–06 he headed a commission to develop labor legislation; this effort ended in failure.

Kokovtsov envisioned the chief task of the Ministry of Finances to be the creation of a budget without deficits. After the murder of P. A. Stolypin, Kokovtsov served as chairman of the Council of Ministers (and simultaneously as minister of finances) from September 1911 through January 1914. In the area of foreign relations Kokovtsov stood for the strengthening of the Russian-French alliance and for the diminution of conflicts with Germany. In domestic policy he adhered to the course set by Stolypin.

Charges that Kokovtsov was insufficiently loyal to the monarchy and flirted with the State Duma, as well as his negative attitude toward G. E. Rasputin, led to his retirement on Jan. 30, 1914. During World War I, Kokovtsov was an important banker. In 1917 he was a member of the board of the Russian Bank for Foreign Trade. From November 1918, Kokovtsov lived in France.

WORKS

Iz moego proshlogo: Vospominaniia 1903–1919 gg., vols. 1–2. Paris, 1933.