Witte, Count Sergei Yulyevich
Witte, Count Sergei Yulyevich(syĭrgā` yo͞o`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 RRTrans-Siberian Railroad,
rail line, linking European Russia with the Pacific coast. Its construction began in 1891, on the initiative of Count S. Y. Witte, and was completed in 1905.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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 IINicholas II,
1868–1918, last czar of Russia (1894–1917), son of Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna. Road to Revolution
Nicholas was educated by private tutors and the reactionary Pobyedonostzev.
..... Click the link for more information. 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 RevolutionRussian Revolution,
violent upheaval in Russia in 1917 that overthrew the czarist government. Causes
The revolution was the culmination of a long period of repression and unrest.
..... Click the link for more information. ), 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 dumaduma
, Russian name for a representative body, particularly applied to the Imperial Duma established as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1905. The parliamentary organization of 1906, largely the work of Count Witte, provided for a state council (an upper house, with some
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.