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Petr Durnovo

Pyotr Nikolayevich Durnovo (Russian: Пётр Николáевич Дурновó) (1845 in Moscow Governorate - September 24 [O.S. September 11] 1915 in Petrograd) was an Imperial Russian lawyer and politician. He was a graduate of the Imperial Naval School and Military/Naval Law Academy. He served in the Ministry of Justice reaching the position of Assistant Procurator of the Kiev Court of Appeals until transferring to the Ministry of the Interior in 1881. He was appointed Director of Police in 1884 and remained in that position until 1893 when he was forced to resign due to a disagreement between himself and the Spanish Ambassador to Russia that involved misuse of Police powers. He was appointed to the Imperial Russian Governing Senate in 1893 where he distinguished himself. In 1900, he was appointed Assistant Minister of the Interior in charge of Posts and Telegraph services at the request of Sipiagin. He remained in this position until 1905 when he was appointed Minister of the Interior on Witte's recommendation. He departed from the position of Minister shortly after Witte's resignation from the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers despite his differences with Witte.

Durnovo is noted for his outspoken opposition to close relations with France and the United Kingdom in favor of close relations with Germany. He believed that German and Russian interests were complementary while War between the two could only result in destruction of the existing political orders of both. He explained his views, most of which were realized in the aftermath of World War I in a letter [1] to Nicholas II in 1914.

He was the last Russian Imperial Minister of Interior, whose death was resulted by natural causes. His six successors were assassinated or murdered during Red Terror.



  • Out of My Past: The Memoirs of Count Kokovtsov Edited by H.H. Fisher and translated by Laura Matveev; Stanford University Press, 1935.
  • The Memoirs of Count Witte Edited and translated by Sydney Harcave; Sharpe Press, 1990.
Preceded by
Alexander Bulygin
Minister of Interior
October 1905 – April 1906
Succeeded by
Petr Stolypin


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