Witte Sergey Yul'evich 
(17(29).06.1849-28.02(13.03).1915)


Outstanding Russian statesman. 
Born in Tbilisi in the family of a major official, a member of the council of the Caucasian governor-general. Representatives of the German-Baltic clan Witte, who also had Dutch roots, moved to the Baltic during the rule of the Swedish domination and received hereditary nobility in 1856. Witte's cousin was the founder of the Theosophical Society, the writer and traveler E. Blavatsky. 
He studied at the I Chisinau Russian gymnasium, in 1870 he graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of the Novorossiysk University in Odessa, received the degree of Candidate of Physics and Mathematics. In the next about 20 years, Witte worked in private railway societies. During this period, he was formed as a financier and government official, having risen to the post of director of the railway department under the Ministry of Finance. 
In February 1892, Witte became Minister of Railways, and in August, Minister of Finance. In this position, he managed to implement major economic measures: the introduction of the wine monopoly, the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the monetary reform, according to which gold circulation was introduced and the free exchange of the credit ruble for gold was established. Witte contributed to the rapid construction of the Yermak icebreaker. In his economic policy, he relied on attracting foreign capital, which allowed speeding up the economic development of Russia. Many provisions of his agrarian program were subsequently used by P. A. Stolypin. 
In foreign policy, Witte advocated opposition to strengthening Japan in the Far East and pursued a policy of rapprochement with China. With his participation, a defensive alliance was concluded with China and an agreement on the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria. At the same time, he considered it premature a military conflict with Japan, advocating an agreement with her. This conviction did not sharply coincide with the policy of Nicholas II, which was the reason for his resignation from the post of Minister of Finance. 
In 1905, Witte led a delegation that signed the US Portsmouth Peace Treaty with Japan, which insisted on transferring all of Sakhalin to it. He managed to achieve the loss of only the southern part of the island, for which he received the title of count and the humorous nickname “Count Polusakhalinsky”. 
From October 1905 to April 1906, Witte headed the Council of Ministers. On his initiative, the Manifesto was drawn up on October 17, which granted basic civil liberties and introduced the institute of people's representation - the State Duma. At the same time, during the 1905 revolution, Witte initiated the sending of punitive expeditions to Siberia, the Baltic states, and Poland. 
Under his order, troops were sent from St. Petersburg, deciding the fate of the Moscow armed uprising.

 

Bust Witte at St. Petersburg State University


In 1906, Witte successfully negotiated with France about obtaining an extremely necessary loan of 2.25 billion francs, which strengthened the position of the government in the struggle against the revolution. However, despite the obvious successes of the government headed by Witte, he himself was too “left” for the majority of the nobility and the upper ruling bureaucracy and too “right” for the bourgeois-liberal circles of the Octobrist-Cadet persuasion. Witte was forced to resign.

Witte's merits are awarded with the orders of St. Vladimir of 1 degree, St. Alexander Nevsky , St. Anna of 1 degree , Black Eagle (Prussia), Crown 1 class (Prussia), cross of the Order of the Legion of Honor (France). He is an honorary citizen of the cities: Yekaterinburg (1896), Aleksandrovsk, Cherepovets (1899), Velikie Luki (1899), Tikhvin (1901), Saransk (1898), Arkhangelsk, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Odessa, Orenburg. 
The last years of his life spent in St. Petersburg and abroad, while remaining a member of the State Council and chairman of the Finance Committee. 
He died in Petrograd from a brain tumor. He was buried at the Lazarevsky cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. 
An island in the Kara Sea among Tsivolki Islands in arch. Nordenskiölda near the islands of Ermak and Makarov. Named RPE in 1901. 
The island is part of the Iokang islands in the Svyatonossky Bay of the Barents Sea near the coast of the Kola Peninsula. Described in 1822 by the expedition of F.P. Litke in the brig "Novaya Zemlya" and mapped under the name B. Bezymyanny. Renamed by the Marine Ministry in 1894.

Glacier descending to the top of Bear Bay on the east coast of the northern island of New Earth. Named in 1901 by artist A.A.  Borisov and his assistant zoologist G.E.Timofeev "in gratitude for the material support that was provided to the expedition."

Strait separating the island Chaichiy from the island Witte in the Iokang islands in the Bay of Svyatonossky of the Barents Sea. Named on the island Witte.

 

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