Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky

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Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky
Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky

Aleksandr Kerensky ( Russian Александр Фёдорович Керенский ., Scientific transliteration Aleksandr Kerensky Fedorovic , IPA : [ɐlʲɪksandr kʲerʲɪnskʲɪj] * April 22 . Jul / 4. May  1881 greg. In Simbirsk ; † 11. June 1970 in New York , United States) was a Russian politician and temporarily head of the transitional government between the February and October revolutions in 1917.


Kerensky, like Lenin , was born in Simbirsk. His father was of noble origin and head of a high school in the city, which the young Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) also attended at times. The mother, Nadezhda (nee Adler), was the daughter of the head of the topographic office of the Kazan Military District (KazVo) and the granddaughter of a wealthy Moscow merchant. While some researchers describe the Adler family as Jewish, others assume a Russian-German origin. Alexander Kerensky first studied history and philosophy and then law in Saint Petersburg since 1899 . After successfully completing his studies in 1904, Kerensky was admitted to the St. Petersburg Bar Association. In the same year he married Olga, the daughter of a Russian general. During the first Russian Revolution 1905-1907 he openly sympathized with the Social Revolutionary Party . In December 1905 he was briefly detained because the authorities accused him of membership in Boris Savinkov's terrorist organization . After successfully dispelling these suspicions, Kerensky was released. In later years he gained notoriety as a lawyer in many political trials, in which he often defended anti-Tsarist revolutionaries.

Political activity in revolutionary times

In 1912 he was elected as a member of the Trudoviki , a social democratic party, in the Russian parliament, the Duma , and was first its deputy parliamentary group leader and, from 1915, parliamentary group chairman. Also in 1912 he joined a Russian Freemasons lodge . From 1915 to 1916 Kerensky was secretary of the Supreme Masonic Assembly of Russia. Several ministers in his future government, such as Konovalov and Mikhail Ivanovich Tereshchenko, were also Freemasons. Kerensky was one of the signatories of the pacifist declaration of the Menshevik faction of the Duma, which was adopted at the beginning of the First World War . Afterwards Kerensky changed his positions and became an advocate of the greatest possible social mobilization with the aim of democratizing the state structures and establishing a constitutional monarchy after a victory in the war .

After the February Revolution of 1917 and the dismissal of the Tsar was Kerensky, now a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party , Justice minister in the transitional government Lvov (March 3 jul. / 16 March 1917 greg. ). In terms of foreign policy, the new government was faced with the question of whether it wanted to continue the war or was prepared to accept large territorial losses in favor of Germany. After a government reshuffle in May 1917, Kerensky took over the War and Navy Ministry. At that time, the Lvov government committed itself to a “peace without annexations and contributions ”. Kerensky hoped that the large-scale Kerensky offensive would improve his position vis-à-vis the Central Powers in order to achieve a favorable peace. However, the offensive collapsed after a short time in July.

Presidency of the government and exile

After an unsuccessful attempt at insurrection by left groups in July 1917 and the resignation of Prime Minister Lvov, Kerensky took over the chairmanship of the government in addition to the war and naval ministries. His appointment of Kornilov as Supreme Commander turned out to be a mistake, because Kornilov tried to pursue his own policy with the troops under his control, and he launched a coup . He failed to recognize the danger that the Bolsheviks threatened his government . The executive director of the Provisional Government, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov , said in his memoir that he asked Kerensky in mid-October 1917 about the possibility of Bolshevik action, whereupon the latter declared that he was longing for such an action in order to crush the Lenin party on this occasion: " I have more powers than I need ”.

The opposite was the case. A few days later, before the outbreak of the October Revolution , Kerensky fled Petrograd in an open car . His government became July 25th . / 7th November  1917 greg. arrested by Bolshevik sailors. Kerensky formed a small force ready to fight, but they had no chance against the Bolsheviks in Petrograd. Kerensky fled to Pskov , where he organized military resistance with Pyotr Nikolayevich Krasnov . His troops were able to take Tsarskoye Selo , but were defeated on the Pulkovo Heights . Kerensky narrowly escaped and lived in hiding for weeks before leaving the country.

In exile in France, he published several books on the Russian Revolution. He remained neutral during the civil war . In 1939 he divorced and married his secretary, the Australian journalist Lydia Ellen Tritton . After the German invasion of Paris (1940) Kerensky fled to the United States with his wife. After the German attack on the Soviet Union , he offered his help to Stalin , but the latter refused.

Kerensky taught at various American universities and published a number of books, including his memoirs in 1965 ( The Kerensky memoirs ). After the war he set up a "Union for the Liberation of Russia", which, however, was not popular. The local Russian Orthodox Church in New York refused to give him a Christian burial because they held him responsible for the establishment of communism in Russia. Kerensky's body was then transferred to London , where he was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery .


  • Allied policy towards Russia . Kraus, Nendeln 1975 (reprint of the London 1920 edition).
  • The catastrophe . Kraus, Millwood / NY 1977 (reprint of the London 1927 edition).
  • The crucification of liberty . Kraus, New York 1972 (reprint of the New York 1934 edition).
  • The Kerensky memoir. Russia and the turning point in history. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989, ISBN 3-499-12477-7 .


  • Oscar Blum : Russian heads. Kerensky, Plekhanov, Martov, Chernov, Savinkov-Ropschin, Lenin, Trotsky, Radek, Lunacharsky, Dzerzhinsky, Chicherin, Zinoviev, Kamenev. With 9 portraits. Schneider, Berlin 1923.
  • Richard Abraham: Alexander Kerensky. The First Love of the Revolution , Columbia University Press, New York 1987.


Web links

Commons : Alexander Kerensky  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. « Товарищ Керенский »: антимонархическая революция и формирование культа « вождя народа » ( гарда 1917 - .ионьа) Глава I. Революционная биография и политический авторитет (Б. И. Колоницкий, 2017) . ( [accessed November 5, 2018]).
  2. ^ Susan Rubin Suleiman: The Némirovsky Question: The Life, Death, and Legacy of a Jewish Writer in Twentieth-century France . Yale University Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-300-17196-9 ( [accessed November 5, 2018]).
  3. Alexander Kerensky Net Worth - Bio, Facts, Popularity . In: How Rich is Celebs? August 27, 2018 ( [accessed November 5, 2018]).
  4. ^ A Doomed Democracy ., accessed August 26, 2012.
  5. February 1917: Kerenskis hour Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung August 1, 2007, p. N3. ( Memento from March 27, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Pavel Miljukov: Vospominanija . Moscow 1991, p. 475 ff.
  7. Vladimir D. Nabokow: Petrograd 1917. The short summer of the revolution. Rowohlt, Berlin 1992, p. 65.
  8. Women Soldiers in Russia's Great War . Great War. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  9. ^ Short biography Australian Dictionary of Biography, accessed August 26, 2012.
  10. October in the Internet Movie Database (English).
predecessor Office successor
Georgi Lvov Prime Minister of the Russian Empire / Russian Republic
July 21, 1917 - November 8, 1917
(Office abolished)