Kropotkin, Peter. The Terror in Russia. London: Methuen & Co., 1909. 4th Ed.
THE UNION OF RUSSIAN MEN
The English papers often give news of the so-called Union of Russian Men, which was founded in 1906 under the presidency of a doctor, A. I. Dubrovin, to combat the movement towards freedom by all possible means, legal and illegal, and especially illegal.
This Union, composed of the most heterogeneous elements, has enjoyed the special protection of the Emperor, who, up till quite lately, used to wear its badge,1 and spoke of its members as his most loyal subjects. He lately made them a gift of £1,000, and has from time to time helped them with money. Whenever the President, Dr. Dubrovin, has applied to him in behalf of members of the Union convicted of organising and taking part in pogroms and political murders, or of police officials convicted of torturing prisoners, the Emperor has pardoned them.2
It was lately maintained that the murder of the Duma Deputy, Hertzenstein, was organised with the knowledge of the President of the Union, Dr. Dubrovin, and with the help of agents of the section of the State police known as the Okhrana. The evidence of this was especially strong at the second trial of one of the two murderers, at Kivenepe, in Finland, on March 13-26 of this year. One of the two murderers of Hertzenstein, Polovneff, having been already condemned by a Finnish Court, M. Prussakoff, secretary to Dr. Dubrovin, stated now before the Court on oath that the President of the Union had asked him to find somebody--preferably somebody dying from consumption--who would agree to declare himself the murderer of Hertzenstein, in exchange for a certain reward and a promise that his escape should be arranged afterwards and his family support in case of death. These revelations, which indicated that Dr. Dubrovin had helped to organise the murder of Hertzenstein, caused the Finnish Court to demand the extradition of Dr. A. I. Dubrovin as an accomplice in the murder, and induced the representatives of the Constitutional Democratic and the Social Democratic parties to make an interpellation in the Duma, of which the text is given below.
The revelations summarised in the interpellation implicate also Count Buxhoevden, a high official at Moscow, and a member of the same Union, in the murder of another Deputy, M. Yollos, and in repeated attempts to kill Count Witte. These most compromising disclosures freely circulate in the St. Petersburg and Moscow leading dailies.
Here is the full text of the said interpellation in the Duma, made by the representatives of the Constitutional Democratic and Social Democratic parties in the Duma to the Ministers of Justice and Interior on May 12-25 last:--
"In a series of public trials (those of Leonid Andrianoff, Polovneff, Vorobieff, and Seredinsky) the following facts have been proved:--
"1. E. S. Larichkin, accused of the murder of M. Ya. Hertzenstein, was a member of the Union of Russian Men, and, as such, he received from the police officer of the Schlüsselburg district a revolver, the officer explaining to him that the members of the Union of Russian Men had the right of search and of makingarrests--the former to be exercised as far as possible in the presence of the police, and the latter without the presence and help of the police. According to the testimony of Larichkin, the revolvers which were given to members of the Union of Russian Men were the property of the Government, and were distributed in the bureau of the St. Petersburg police. It also appears from the affair of Vorobieff and Seredinsky, that if St. Petersburg police officers happened to confiscate revolvers from members of the Union, the President of the Union, Dr. Dubrovin, usually ordered the revolvers to be given back, and this order was obeyed by the police.
"The same Larichkin was also prosecuted for the murder of Mukhin, a working man, whom he killed in the Progonnyi Pereulok, in the presence of a crowd.
"At the present time, according to a persistent rumour, the Union of Russian Men have deprived Larichkin of the possibility of ever appearing before a Court.3
"2. Polovneff, now for the second time under sentence for the murder of Deputy Hertzenstein,4 was an agent of the Okhrana, a member the 'Head Council of the Union of the Russian Men,' a head of the 'Putiloff Fighting Legion,' and head of the 'Fighting Legion of the Union for Active Opposition to Revolution and Anarchy.'
"3. Kazantseff, one of the accomplices in the murder of Hertzenstein, who, as it now appears, incited Fedoroff to kill Count Witte and the Duma Deputy Yollos, and was subsequently killed by Fedoroff at St. Petersburg, was also a member of the Okhrana, a member of the Union of Russian Men, and secretary to Count A. A. Buxhoevden, who is now in the Civil Service acting as attaché to the Governor-General of Moscow.5
"The photographs of both Kazantseff and Polovneff, delivered to them as pass-cards by the Okhrana, and bearing the signature of the head of the St. Petersburg section of the Okhrana, Colonel Gerasimoff, were recognised by the gendarme Zapolsky6 as representing Kazantseff and Polovneff.
"4. Alexandroff, also sentenced by the Finnish court to months' imprisonment for abetting the murder of Hertzenstein, had likewise shown Zapolsky his card of membership of the Okhrana, but Zapolsky could not satisfactorily verify it, as he was hurrying to catch a train.
"After having served his term in the Finnish prison, Alexandroff remained a member of the Union of Russian Men, from which continued to receive moneys.
"5. A man named Rudzik, who is still wanted by the Court as an accomplice in the murder of Hertzenstein, also described himself as a member of the Okhrana."
We omit three more paragraphs of less importance only to mention the last paragraph:--
"8. A doctor's assistant named Byelinsky, head of the 'Punitive Expedition' of the Union of Russian Men, acting upon orders received from A. I. Dubrovin, engaged men to kill P. N. Milukoff. The attempt was made, and failed for reasons beyond the control of the organisers. The fact having been made known in the newspapers, Byelinsky has now disappeared.
"Limiting ourselves to a brief mention of the facts already established before the Law Courts, and leaving entirely aside for moment quite a series of other accusations, now under judicial investigation, or made in the Press only, the authors of this interpellation ask the following questions:--
"Are the Ministers of Justice and the Interior aware--
"1. That the Head Council of the Union of Russian Men, with the knowledge of the police and of the Okhrana Department, has organised fighting legions, and that the police have assisted them to arm these legions with revolvers and bombs?
"2. That quite a number of the members of the Union of Russian Men and its fighting legions have been at the same time members of the Okhrana?
"3. That the same persons took part in the in the murder of Hertzenstein and Yollos, and in attempts against Count Witte and P. N. Milukoff, with the support of the Head Council of the Union of Russian Men, and of its President, A. I. Dubrovin?
"If these facts are known to the Ministers of Justice and of the Interior, what measures do they intend to take in order to stop criminal activity of the Union and its agents?"
1The wearing of this badge was, however, prohibited in May last by a Ministerial order.
2Here are a few instances in point: The President of the Volsk section of the Union of Russian Men applied to the Emperor to obtain the pardon of four townsmen--Dolgoff, Glazoff, Mironoff, and Ereméeff--condemned to hard labour for a pogrom in Volsk on October 20, 1905. He was informed that "His Imperial Majesty has deigned to write, on February 18, 1907, in his own hand, on the said petition: 'I grant pardon to the four condemned,' which decision the Prime Minister has communicated by telegram to the Governor of Saratof." On February 7, 1908, the Russian papers announced that His Majesty had pardoned seven peasants of the province of Grodno, sentenced to imprisonment for pogroms of the Jews. "The head of His Majesty's Chancery for the reception of petitions, Baron Budberg, has communicated this decree of the Monarch to the President of the Union of Russian Men, Dr. Dubrovin." Of late such pardons have become quite usual.
3We translate verbally this mysterious statement.
4In Finland, by a Finnish Court, after an appeal against the first condemnation.
5The Duma Deputy Yollos, who, like Hertzenstein, was a specialist in matters concerning the peasants and the land question, was killed at Moscow by Fedoroff. This young man afterwards expressed his repentance to the Revolutionary Socialists at Paris, and revealed to them that he had acted at the instigation of a certain Kazantseff, whom at that time he believed to be a revolutionary. Kazantseff had also incited him to murder Count Witte, and he had made an attempt to blow up Count Witte in his room by lowering infernal machines through the chimneys. The machines did not explode, and Kazantseff urged him to make another attempt, this time by throwing a bomb at the Count's motor-car on his way to the Council of State. The bomb was to be supplied by Kazantseff; but meantime Fedoroff had learnt that Kazantseff was a member of the Union of Russian Men, and had told the revolutionists about his conduct. They urged Fedoroff to kill him, which he did at St. Petersburg. Having taken refuge in France, Fedoroff recently gave himself up to the French Government, and asked to be extradited to Russia on condition of being tried by a jury, as a common law murderer, for the murders of Yollos and Kazantseff. The extradition has been granted. The text the Russian demand for the extradition of Fedoroff has appeared in Paris Tribune Russe. This extraordinary official document gives all details of the attempt of the Union of Russian Men to kill Count Witte.
6A witness, before the Finnish Court, for the prosecution of Polovneff for the murder of Hertzenstein.
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