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"And-the portrait? That is:-And he is not-and Rus he has abandoned... Who is he? The senator? Apollon Apollonovich Ableukhov? But no: Vyacheslav Konstantinovich… But what about him, Apollon Apollonovich?"
-Bely, Petersburg**

Viacheslav Konstantinovich Plehve (1846-1904).

Plehve was born in Meshchovsk on 20 April, 1846 and studied jurisprudence at the University of Moscow. In 1867, he joined the Ministry of Justice in 1867 and served as Director of Police from 1881-84. As the Vice-Minister of the Interior (1884-99) and Secretary of State for Finnish Affairs (1899-1902), Plehve began to acquire a reputation as a ruthless enforcer of Russification and a persecutor of the empire's minorities like Jews and Armenians.

In 1902, when he was appointed Minister of the Interior-- whereby he oversaw administration of the police, postal and telegraph services, the penal system, censorship, and non-Orthodox religions--Plehve's list of enemies grew and the attacks on his life increased. He lived in police department building itself surrounded by guards and bodyguards except summer at dacha on Aptekarsky Island. Like the Tsar, Plehve had a special carriage with iron-lined window shades, which was always surrounded by bicycle detectives whenever Plehve was aboard. In his work, historian Edward Judge mentions that Plehve may have even wore some type of armor under his clothes. (233)**

By mid-1904, Plehve had survived six attempts on his life, only two of which he was aware.


*Petersburg, 32-33.
**Edward H. Judge, Plehve: Repression and Reform in Imperial Russia, 1902-1904. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1983, 233.

For Further Reading: Charles A. Ruud, Sergei A. Stepanov, Fontanka 16: The Tsars' Secret Police. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002.

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