«MINORITY OPINION» OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ON THE POLISH QUESTION DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR


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Abstract

Since the beginning of the First World War, the Polish question for the Russian state has again become the serious foreign policy problem, which required the search of new ways to solve it. Russia’s interest to Poland was a strategic character and was determined by the proximity of this state to the theater of operations, which could cause the serious complications for the Russian government. The task of Russia in the First World War was expressed in the proclamation of the Supreme Commander Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich to the Poles. But it was met ambiguously in the environment of the Russian government.
The discussion of the Polish question was devoted to five sessions of the Council of Ministers. The opinions on this problem were requested from the various government departments. The hot discussions on the Polish question caused a split in the ruling circles of Russia. At the same time, the representatives of various departments did not want to listen to the point of view of the opposite side. Generally we can distinguish two sharply opposing groups within the tsarist government. One of these groups united around Foreign Minister S.D. Sazonov and advocated for the changes in the course of the Russian state with regard to Poland. The other group, consisting of N.A. Maklakov, I.G. Shcheglovitov and M.A. Taube, was an opponent of concessions to the Poles. The article analyzes the special memorandum that formulated their «special opinion» on the Polish question. This memorandum is of particular interest, because it defines the military targets in the First World War according to the degree of their importance for Russia.

About the authors

A. V. Pleshcheeva

St. Petersburg University

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

postgraduate student, Department of Source Studies of Russian History

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