Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Ке́ренский) is a Russian politician and the first and current President of Russia.
Early life and activism
Kerensky was born in Simbirsk, from a mixed background. His mother, named Nadezhda Adler, was from Austria while his father was Fyodor Kerensky was a teacher and later headmaster in Simbirsk.
Kerensky graduated with a degree in Law from the St. Petersburg University in 1904. He showed his political allegiances early on, with his frequent defense of anti-Tsarist revolutionaries. He was elected to the Fourth Duma in 1912 as a member of the Trudoviks, a moderate labour party who were associated with the Socialist Revolutionary Party. He was a brilliant orator and skilled parliamentary leader as a Socialist Revolutionary and a leader of the socialist opposition to the regime of the ruling Tsar, Nicholas II.
February Revolution of 1917
When the February Revolution broke out in 1917, Kerensky was one of its most prominent leaders: he was a member of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and was elected vice-chairman of the St. Petersburg Soviet. He simultaneously became the first Minister of Justice in the newly-formed Provisional Government. When the Soviet passed a resolution prohibiting its leaders from joining the government, Kerensky delivered a stirring speech at a Soviet meeting. Although the decision was never formalized, he was granted a de facto exemption and continued acting in both capacities.
After the first government crisis over Pavel Milyukov's secret note re-committing Russia to its original war aims on May 2-4, Kerensky became the Minister of War and the dominant figure in the newly formed socialist-liberal coalition government. Under Allied pressure to continue the war, he launched what became known as the Kerensky Offensive against the Austro-Hungarian/German South Army on June 17. At first successful, the offensive was soon stopped and then thrown back by a strong counter-attack. The Russian Army suffered heavy losses and Kerensky was heavily criticised by the military for his liberal policies, which included stripping officers of their mandate (handing overriding control to revolutionary inclined "soldier committees" instead), the abolition of the death penalty, and the presence of various revolutionary agitators at the front.
On July 2, 1917, the first coalition collapsed over the question of Ukraine's autonomy. Following the July Days unrest in Petrograd and the suppression of the Bolsheviks - Kerensky succeeded Prince Lvov as Russia's Minister-President, and at the end of August, he appointed himself Supreme Commander-in-Chief as well. Kerensky next move, on September 15, was to proclaim Russia a republic, which was quite contrary to the understanding that the Provisional Government should only hold power until the Constituent Assembly should meet to decide Russia's form of rule.
October Revolution of 1917
During the Kornilov Affair, Kerensky had distributed arms to the St. Petersburg workers, and by October most of these armed workers had gone over to the Bolsheviks. On October 25 - 27 1917 the Bolsheviks launched the second Russian Revolution of the year. Kerensky's government in Petrograd had almost no support in the city: it took less than 20 hours before the Bolsheviks had taken over the government.
Kerensky escaped the Bolsheviks and went to Pskov, where he rallied some loyal troops for an attempt to retake the capital. His troops managed to capture Tsarskoe Selo but were beaten the next day at Pulkovo. Kerensky narrowly escaped, and spent the next few weeks in hiding before fleeing the country, eventually arriving in France in June 1918. He tried to garner support from the Entente powers to support his government in opposition to the Bolsheviks - but the Allies, already strained by the War and knowing Kerenskyheld little power on the ground, did not ever seriously consider his offer. While originally ambivalent towards the White movement, distrustful of it’s Generals, the German stabilization of both war fronts meant that by the end of 1918, Kerensky saw no choice but to acknowledge the reality of German dominance in Eastern Europe. As such, he now decided to side with the White Movement, and tried to talk the Entente into supporting them, but they still refused, as despite Kerensky‘s cause now being more effective, they were ultimately still far too involved in the Weltkrieg to spare resources. When it was clear that no help could come from them, Kerensky then decided to head back to Russia.
At the Congress of Ufa in April 1919, the White Generals agreed to form a united political front behind the remaining forces of the Provisional Government, among which was Alexander Kerensky, although now reduced to being a minor figure. Despite the initial failure of the 1919 offensives, particularly on Moscow and in the central Russia Theatre, the tides of the Civil War finally turned with the German Expeditionary Intervention. The decisive Battle of Tsaritsyn eventually opened up the way for the conquest of Moscow in January of 1920, and the victory of the White Forces. On October 12, 1921, the Republic of Russia was proclaimed, and Kerensky became its first President.
President of Russia
After the victory in the Civil War, Kerensky had to face the East Karelian national revolt, that threatened to escalate into a full-scale war with Finland. Thanks to German mediation, the Treaty of Tartu was signed between Russia and Finland, giving to Finland the Parishes of Repola and Porajärvi, but proclaiming the remainder of the East Karelian region an indivisible part of the newborn Russian Republic. After setting this revolt, Kerensky had to struggle to keep the federation together, but he succeeded and was also able to establish good relations with the new countries that emerged from the Civil War with former Russian domains, such as Azerbaijan, Turkestan, the Alash Autonomy, Mongolia and Transamur.
The leadership of Kerensky was endangered by the attempted coup of the then Minister of Defence, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, who tried to seize power in 1924. Thanks to Kornilov and Wrangel's refusal to join with Kolchak alongside their right-wing followers, the Coup failed, and Kolchak was forced to flee to Transamur. Since then, Kerensky consolidated his power and led an uneasy coalition between the Social Revolutionaries and the Kadets, dismissing observer’s accusations of blatant electoral manipulation, financial scandals, German economic dominance, undemocratic governence, and German-propped authoritarianism as unfounded.
By 1936, Kerensky is approaching his fifteenth year as President of the Russian Republic, but the situation in Russia is not looking bright. The increasing worsening of the global economy has eroded the trust of the people and, in case of trouble, there are various currently constrained forces that all could see an opportunity to attempt to remove Kerensky from power and seize control of Russia.