Nikolai Golitsyn

Prince Nikolai Dmitriyevich Golitsyn (Russian: Никола́й Дми́триевич Голи́цын; 12 April 1850 – 2 July 1925) was a Russian aristocrat and the last prime minister of Imperial Russia. He was in office from 29 December 1916 (O.S.) or 9 January 1917 (N.S.) until his government resigned after the outbreak of the February Revolution.

Nikolai Golitsyn
Николай Голицын
Prime Minister of Russia
In office
20 January 1917  12 March 1917
MonarchNicholas II
Preceded byAlexander Trepov
Succeeded byGeorgy Lvov (As Minister-Chairman of the Russian Provisional Government)
Personal details
Born(1850-04-12)12 April 1850
Porechie, Moscow Governorate, Russian Empire
Died2 July 1925(1925-07-02) (aged 75)
Leningrad, Leningrad Governorate, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Alma materTsarskoye Selo Lyceum


Golitsyn was born in Porechye, a village in the Moscow Governorate into the noble Golitsyn family. His father was Dmitry Borisovich Golitsyn (1803-1864) who came from Bolshiye Vyazyomy, the family estate. Nikolai passed his childhood in the Dorogobuzhsky District. He was a graduate of the Imperial Alexander Lyceum in 1871 and entered the Ministry of the Interior and appointed in Łomża Governorate (Congress Poland). He became vice-governor of Archangelsk (1879); vice-director of the Economic Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (1884); Governor of the guberniyas of Arkhangelsk (1885), Kaluga (1893), and Tver (1897). He was appointed Senator in 1903. As a plenipotentiary of the Red Cross in Turgay and Uralskaya Oblasts and Saratov Governorate he organized help to the famine-stricken areas (1907-1908). He was member of the State Council (1912) and chairman of the commission to render assistance to the Russian prisoners of war abroad (1915). His advanced years led him to regularly fall asleep during State Council meetings. He was a deputy chairman of one of Empress Alexandra's charity commissions.

A hesitating prince Golitsyn did not want to succeed prime minister Alexander Trepov, insisted on the resignation of the Minister of Internal Affairs Alexander Protopopov and begged Tsar Nicholas II to cancel his appointment, citing his lack of preparation for the role of prime minister. The tsar refused, but Pavel Ignatieff, Alexander Makarov and Dmitry Shuvayev were replaced.

During the February Revolution, the government had difficulties in suppressing the riots. Two rival institutions, the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet, competed for power. On 11 March [O.S. 26 February], the Tsar ordered the army to suppress the rioting by force, but troops began to mutiny and join the protesters and demanded a new constitutional government. The meeting of the Duma was prorogued by the Tsar, although Golitsyn opposed its dissolution. A private body of Duma members was formed to help restore order. "On the evening of 27 February (March 12 (N.S.) the Council of Ministers of Russia held its last meeting in the Marinsky Palace and formally submitted its resignation to the Tsar. The Provisional Committee of the State Duma ordered the arrest of all the ex-ministers and senior officials"[1] The next day Golitsyn was transferred to the Peter and Paul Fortress for interrogation. Georgy Lvov formed a new government on 2 March.

After the assumption of power by the Bolsheviks, Golitsyn was released, but forced to stay in Russia, earning his living by repairing shoes and guarding public parks. During the period from 1920 to 1924 he was twice arrested by the OGPU, on the suspicion of connection with counterrevolutionaries. After his third arrest (on 12 February 1925), he was executed on 2 July 1925 in Leningrad on the charge of participating in a "counter-revolutionary monarchist organization".[2]


Prince Nikolai Golitsyn married in Saint Petersburg on 7 April 1881 Evgenia Andrejevna von Grünberg (Saint-Petersburg, 18 April 1864 - Nice, 18 July 1934). The couple had six children:

  • Prince Dimitri Nikolayevich (Archangelsk, 1882 - Nice, 1928), married Frances Simpson Stevens
  • Prince Nikolai Nikolayevich (Archangelsk, 1883 - Solovski, 1931), executed
  • Prince Alexander Nikolayevich (St. Petersburg, 1885 - Toulon, 1974), in exile married the Imperial Princess Marina Petrovna of Russia, daughter of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia.[3]
  • Princess Evgeni Nikolayevna (Archangelsk, 1888 - Paris, 1928)
  • Princess Sofia Nikolayevna (1886 - 1891)
  • Princess Olga Nikolayevna (1891 - 1892)


  1. Orlando Figes (2006) A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891–1924, p. 328-329.
  2. On the night of 15 February 1925 over 150 people were arrested, most of them graduates of the Imperial Alexander Lyceum, but also to graduates of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-09-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Trepov
Prime Minister of Russia
29 December 1916 O.S – 27 February 1917
Succeeded by
Georgy Lvov