Zubatov had long harboured plans for the restructuring and expansion of the political police, envisioning an elite and quasi-independent political police, acting under the direct order of its own Special Section and only indirectly under the orders of Fontanka; a truly secret police expanding and operating at the behest of the MVD‘s edicts, circulars, and regulations and not through the statutes of the Svod Zakonov (Digest of Laws).
Plehve dismissed Lopukhin’s plan and gave Zubatov’s proposals his full support. Zubatov’s ideas on police reform fitted comfortably within Plehve’s view of traditional tsarist bureaucratic behavior, satisfying both his belief in Imperial power politics and his secretive nature. He conceived of political police reform in the only way his experience allowed him to: not through decentralization of authority as Lopukhin believed, but through its deconcentration — the expansion of central authority in the provinces. Indeed, this strategy would permit Plehve to swell the size of the political police to ministerial proportions. As a result Plehve would in fact hold two very powerful ministerial portfolios: minister of internal affairs and the unofficial post of minister of internal security, enhancing his power and prestige within both ministerial circles and the court, making him the most powerful man in Russia next to the tsar.
Zuckerman, Fredric S. The Tsarist Secret Police in Russian Society, 1880-1917. Pp. 92-93. Washington Square, New York: New York University Press, 1996.
“Fontanka” refers to “Fontanka 16 Quai” (St. Petersburg), the central location, evidently of minimized importance at the above passage, for Tsar Alexander II’s secret police.
Other and Related Reference and Terms
According to Wikipedia, “Many authors maintain that it was Rachkovsky’s agent in Paris, Matvei Golovinski, who in the early 1900s authored the first edition. The text presented the impending Russian Revolution of 1905 as a part of a powerful global Jewish conspiracy and fomented anti-Semitism to deflect public attention from Russia’s growing social problems. Another Rachkovsky agent, Yuliana Glinka, is often cited as the person who brought the forgery from France to Russia.”
A rabbi said to me one afternoon in relation to religious zealots, “end times”, and terrorism: “Everyone’s in too much of a hurry to get to the end of the story.”
We were then looking forward.
At the moment, BackChannels has been looking backward and would say to the rabbi, “To the contrary, everyone wants to go back to the drawing board!”
For the Islamists, the “drawing board” appears to be 7th Century Medieval Barbarism.
For the Russian President, perhaps, it may be the political police serving Tsar Nicholas II.
“Reset!” takes on new meaning.
Zuckerman’s book has been the reading on deck and under way, but there is another coming: “Fontanka 16” is not only a place but (in the wild literary ways of the west) the title of another book (and one incoming): (URL to Review of the same) Fontanka 16: The Tsars’ Secret Police, by Charles A. Ruud and Sergei A. Stepanov. Montreal, Quebec, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999.
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