Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich

Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich

Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich (mēkhəyēlˈ təryĕlˈəvĭch lôˈrĭs-mĕˈlyĭkəf), 1826–88, Russian general and statesman, of Armenian descent. He was created count for his services in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and in 1880 was made minister of the interior by Alexander II. He promoted some liberal reforms, specifically in the educational system, and drafted a program to allow members of the zemstvos to play a minor advisory role in legislation. Alexander II approved this reform on the day he was assassinated (1884), but Alexander III voided the reform and dismissed its author. Loris-Melikov in his youth is portrayed in Leo Tolstoy's Hadjii Murad.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarielovich


Born 1825 in Tbilisi; died Dec. 12 (24), 1888, in Nice. Count; Russian statesman; adjutant general; member of the State Council. Descendent of dvoriane (nobility or gentry) of Tiflis Province.

Loris-Melikov studied at the Lazarev Institute and in a school for guards subensigns and cavalry Junkers in St. Petersburg. From the late 1840’s he took part in military operations against Shamil’ and against the Turks in the Transcaucasian theater during the Crimean War of 1853-56. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 he commanded a corps in the Caucasian theater. In early 1879 he was appointed acting governor-general of Astrakhan, Saratov, Samara, and Kharkov. While waging the struggle against the revolutionary movement, Loris-Melikov, in contrast to other governors-general, attempted to win over the oppositional segment of society.

After the explosion in the Winter Palace perpetrated by S. N. Khalturin on Feb. 12, 1880, Loris-Melikov was appointed head of the Supreme Administrative Commission and became, in effect, a dictator. On Aug. 6, 1880, the commission was abolished on Loris-Melikov’s initiative. He was appointed minister of the interior and chief of the gendarmes, but this did not lessen his influence. Continuing the struggle against the revolutionary movement, he alleviated punitive measures in order to get the approval of liberal public opinion. He presented a report to Alexander II suggesting a number of economic reforms, and the report was approved. At the same time, he attempted to have representatives of enfranchised society take part in examining the projects for reforms. After the murder of Alexander II and the promulgation by Alexander III of a manifesto strengthening the autocracy, Loris-Melikov retired in 1881. He lived primarily abroad.


Lenin, V. I. “Goniteli zemstva i Annibaly liberalizma.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 5, pp. 25-72.
Gr. M. T. Loris-Melikov. Tiflis, 1889.
Zaionchkovskii, P. A. Krizis samoderzhaviia na rubezhe 1870-1880-kh gg. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.