Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov

Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov

Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov – Միքայել Լորիս-Մելիքյան (1824-1888) – Russian-Armenian statesman, General of the Cavalry, and Adjutant General of H. I. M. Retinue.

Loris-Melikov is the representative of an old noble family whose ancestors in the 14th century owned the town of Lori and the province of the same name. They belonged to the aristocratic society of Georgia. In Russian nobility the princely family of the Loris-Melikovs was approved in 1832.

He attended the Lazarian Institute of Oriental Languages and the Guards’ Cadet Institute in St. Petersburg before he joined a hussar regiment in 1843. Assigned to the Caucasus in 1847, he served as governor of the Terek region (1863–75) and, while commanding an army corps in Turkey during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, scored notable military victories. For his heroism, he was made a count.

After serving briefly as governor-general of the plague-ridden lower Volga region (1879), count Mikhail Loris-Melikov was transferred to the provinces of central Russia, where he recommended to the emperor a modest scheme of administrative and economic reforms, aimed at alleviating the causes of social discontent and, thereby, combating revolutionary terrorism. Impressed by his suggestions, Alexander appointed him chairman of a special commission that was given authority to use the entire government apparatus to suppress the revolutionary movement and also to prepare a reform program for the country. Six months later Alexander abolished the commission and named Loris-Melikov the new minister of the interior (November 1880).

In this position Loris-Melikov devised a program of moderate reforms that included provisions for locally elected representatives to give the government advice on certain current problems. Although the project was approved in principle by Alexander, the emperor was assassinated (March 13 [March 1, O.S.], 1881) before it was formally enacted. When his successor, Alexander III, started to undo some of the reforms that his father, Alexander II had promulgated, Count Loris-Melikov resigned several months later and lived in retirement until his death at Nice on 22 December 1888.

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