Alexander Guchkov is a Russian politician, merchant, capitalist, founder of the Octobrist party. He was directly involved in the overthrow of the last Russian emperor.
Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov was born on October 26, 1862 in Moscow. He came from an old merchant family. From early childhood, he gravitated towards the social sciences. After graduating from high school, Guchkov entered Moscow University, receiving a diploma in historian-philosopher. Alexander Ivanovich's parents hoped that their son would be engaged in science. After graduating from university, he was sent to Germany. There he attended lectures on history and philosophy.
In 1897, he joined the guard of the Chinese Eastern Railway. He was enrolled in it as a junior officer of the Cossack Hundreds. After serving only two years, Guchkov retired and returned to Moscow. Even then, he realized that he did not want to do science.
In 1900, together with his brother Fyodor, Alexander Ivanovich went to South Africa. There, on the side of the Boers, he fought against the British. In this war, he showed himself as a brave and courageous fighter. His courage was bordering on recklessness. Guchkov was wounded in the leg and captured by the British.
In the intervals between participation in hostilities, Alexander Ivanovich managed to build a career. In 1886 he was appointed an honorary magistrate in Moscow. In 1893 he became a member of the Moscow City Council. In his post, he managed to do a lot. Under his leadership, the first stage of the sewerage system was carried out and the construction of the Mytishchi water pipeline was completed.
In 1897, Guchkov was appointed a vowel of the Moscow City Duma. Working in this position, he managed to:
- create a commission on the gas issue;
- to develop a methodology for the care of street children;
- to develop a methodology for insurance of hired labor.
In 1901-1908 he worked as a manager of the Moscow Accounting Bank. Alexander Ivanovich, being in the civil service, was also engaged in entrepreneurial activity. He was personally a very wealthy man with family businesses. The bulk of his capital was placed abroad, and his brother Fyodor was in charge of the business.
While working in the Moscow City Duma, Guchkov advocated its dissolution and the creation of a third convocation. He believed that it was necessary to achieve a capable majority, ready to conduct a competent dialogue with the government. In 1907 he became the head of the "Sept. 17 Faction". Subsequently, he became chairman of the Moscow Duma of the third convocation.
Guchkov was a supporter of the constitutional monarchy, but supported Stolypin's reforms. He believed that it was necessary to recognize the rights of some peoples to cultural autonomy, but at the same time opposed fundamental changes. In his opinion, this could completely destroy the Russian statehood.
In 1911, Alexander Ivanovich went to Manchuria as a representative of the Red Cross. He fought the plague in the Russian colonies.
When the First World War began, Guchkov was organizing hospitals, providing them with medicines. He often went to the front. In 1915, he headed the Central Military-Industrial Committee and was responsible for the country's defense.
In 1915, the political views of Alexander Ivanovich changed somewhat. He insisted on increasing opposition activity and creating a responsible government. Guchkov took part in a conspiracy against the current government, but it was originally planned to preserve the monarchy. Subsequently, it became clear that this was impossible.
In March 1917, Guchkov, as part of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma, together with Vasily Shulgin, accepted the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne. In the same year he was appointed to the post of Minister of War.Under him, a number of innovations were developed:
- abolition of the title of officers;
- allowing soldiers and officers to take part in societies and unions;
- abolition of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity in the admission to officers.
Guchkov was a supporter of waging war to a victorious end and proposed many very controversial innovations concerning the discipline of soldiers in the army and the mobilization of the military industry. Not all of his ideas were approved by colleagues, and this forced Guchkov to resign.
Since 1919, Guchkov was in exile. He worked in France, maintained business relations with General Wrangel. During the Holodomor, he advocated helping the white emigration to starving people in the USSR.
After Hitler came to power in Germany, Guchkov predicted a war in which the USSR and Germany would be the main opponents. He believed that war could be avoided only through a coup in Germany and the overthrow of Hitler. He tried to attract his friends - German financiers to the coup, but these attempts were in vain.
Maria Ilinichna Zilotti became Guchkov's wife. She grew up in a very good and respected family. In a marriage with Maria Ilyinichna, three children were born - Vera, Ivan, Lev. Ivan was misdiagnosed in Russia. Doctors considered that he had Down's disease, but later this diagnosis was not confirmed.
In 1935 Guchkov fell ill. Doctors diagnosed him with bowel cancer. Alexander Ivanovich held out to the last and believed that he would be able to recover. He wrote his memoirs, which were never completed. On February 14, 1936, Guchkov died. His ashes were walled up in the wall of one of the French cemeteries. Alexander Ivanovich bequeathed to transport his remains to his homeland when "the Bolsheviks are overthrown." But after Hitler's troops entered Paris, the urn with the ashes mysteriously disappeared.