Who's Who - Prince Georgy Lvov

Prince Georgy Lvov Prince Georgy Evgenevich Lvov (1861-1925) led the Russian Provisional Government during the Russian revolution's initial phase, from March 1917 until he relinquished control to Alexander Kerenski in July 1917.

A spokesman before the First World War on behalf of the rural landed gentry at the Romanov court, Lvov served as Minister of the Interior from 1886-93 and was a member of the Duma from 1905.  Throughout his political career he remained chiefly concerned with boosting the representation of rural interests in government, and thus while regarded as a reformer he was noted for his moderation.

Head of the All-Russian Union of Zemstvos (rural assemblies) when war broke out in August 1914, Lvov initially devoted himself to voluntary relief work (as he had during the earlier Russo-Japanese War) before, in 1915, voicing rural disquiet at the government's over-reliance economically upon the country's heavy industrial areas (such as Moscow and Petrograd).

June 1915 saw Lvov's appointment as chairman to a new body established to protect rural and urban interests, Zemgor.  His appointment was intended to encourage wider economic participation of rural and urban areas in the war effort.  Within months it played an important role in the production and delivery of crucial medical supplies to the army, although it was regarded with some suspicion by the government.

As revolution approached, Lvov - with a background as a liberal monarchist - came to believe that Russia would suffer military defeat at the hands of Germany and Austria-Hungary unless Tsar Nicholas II abdicated and a new government put in place.

With the February Revolution of 1917 (and the Tsar's consequent abdication) Lvov was appointed Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, chiefly as a means of ensuring liberal urban and rural support for the new political regime.  Although Alexander Kerenski was appointed to the government as something of a token socialist his influence quickly grew to the point where he overshadowed Lvov.

Although Lvov remained nominal Prime Minister with the May 1917 cabinet reshuffle Kerenski effectively ran the government in co-ordination with the Petrograd Soviet, a situation formalised on 8 July 1917 with Kerenski's promotion to Prime Minister.

Initially arrested with the onset of the Bolshevik October Revolution, Lvov nevertheless escaped and sought exile in France, where he subsequently headed a delegation of Russian parliamentary exiles at the Paris Peace Conference.

He died in exile in France on 7 March 1925 at the age of 63.

The Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was the first ever delivered by telegram.

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