Pavel Nikolaevich Miliukov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Miliukov, Pavel Nikolaevich


Born Jan 15 (27), 1859, in Moscow; died Mar. 31, 1943, in Aix-les-Bains, Department of Savoie, France. Russian political figure. Historian and publicist. White Russian emigre. Son of an architect and professor.

Miliukov graduated from Moscow University in 1882. In 1886 he was named an assistant professor in the department of Russian history at Moscow University. He defended his dissertation for a master’s degree in history in 1892. In 1894 he was dismissed from the university and banished to Riazan’ until 1897 for his association with the student movement. He spent several years abroad, lecturing on Russian history at the universities of Sofia and Chicago. He also contributed to the journal Osvobozhdenie.

Miliukov’s historical views reflected the crisis of Russian bourgeois historical science in the period of imperialism. Essentially, he denied that the historical process is governed by laws. In historical methodology he was close to Kantian positivism. Contrasting the historical development of Russia with that of the West and basing his arguments on the false thesis of the age-old cultural backwardness of Rus’, Miliukov concluded that the role of the “Varangian elements” and of foreign borrowings was progressive. Denying the importance of the class struggle, he endeavored to prove that the Russian masses had always been distinguished by their inertia, and that the decisive role in the country’s history had been played by state power, in his view a supraclass element.

Returning to Russia in the spring of 1905, Miliukov became an active participant in the Union of Liberation, a member of the bureau of the zemstvo (provincial and district assembly) and city congresses, and one of the founders of the Union of Unions. One of the chief organizers of the Constitutional Democratic (Cadet) Party, he became chairman of its central committee in 1907 and editor of its central organ, the newspaper Rech’ He was a member of the third and fourth convocations of the State Duma. After the defeat of the Revolution of 1905–07, he adhered to a counterrevolutionary point of view (the renegade collection of articles Year of Struggle, 1907).

During World War I, Miliukov became an apologist for the expansionist policies of tsarism. At the same time, he sharply criticized the government for its inability to ensure the successful conduct of the war. During the February Revolution of 1917 he tried to preserve the monarchy by transferring power to Grand Duke Mikhail. As minister of foreign affairs in the first bourgeois Provisional Government, Miliukov showed himself to be, in V. I. Lenin’s words, “the henchman of Anglo-French imperialist capital and a Russian imperialist” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 49, p. 419). Miliukov’s note of Apr. 18 (May 1), 1917, which affirmed the Provisional Government’s fidelity to secret treaties among the Allies and its readiness to continue the war “to a victorious conclusion,” brought an indignant outburst from the revolutionary workers and soldiers (the April Crisis of 1917). After his retirement on May 2(15), Miliukov played a prominent role in various counterrevolutionary organizations. He collaborated with White Guards and interventionists after the victory of the October Revolution of 1917. In 1920 he emigrated, living in London and Paris and publishing the newspaper Poslednie novosti. In the struggle against Soviet power he was an adherent of the “new tactic,” which counted on the degeneration of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its subversion from within.

Miliukov wrote a number of works that distorted the history of the October Revolution, including A History of the Second Russian Revolution (3 fascs., 1921–24) and Russia at the Turning Point (2 vols., 1927). During World War II, Miliukov openly opposed the cooperation of Russian émigrés with the fascists and welcomed the successes of the Red Army.


Gosudarstvennoe khoziaistvo Rossii v pervoi chetverti XVIII v. i reforma Petra Velikogo. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Glavnye techeniia russkoi istoricheskoi mysli, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1898.
Iz istorii russkoi intelligentsii, 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1903.
Ocherki po istorii russkoi kul’tury, 3 parts. St. Petersburg, 1896–1903.
Vospominaniia (1859–1917), 2 vols. New York, 1955.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See Reference Volume, part 2, p. 456).
Miliukov, P. N. Sb. mat-lov po chestvovaniiu ego 70-letiia 1859–1929. Paris, 1929. (Bibliography, 1886–1930.)
Ocherki istorii istoricheskoi nauki v SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1963.
Shapiro, A. L. Russkaia istoriografiia v period imperializma. Leningrad, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Perhaps little known is that in the late 1970s he translated and edited in three volumes Pavel Nikolaevich Miliukov's account of the Russian Revolution.
The third chapter, "The Russian Revolution Elected Us (Spring 1917)," outlines liberal actions during the February Revolution and the first few months of the Provisional Government, ending more or less with the departure of the Kadet leader Pavel Nikolaevich Miliukov from the cabinet on 2 May 1917.