Acting President of the Provisional Government of Russia Rank/Title in Kaiserreich Chronicles (1936 AD.) | World Anvil

Acting President of the Provisional Government of Russia

The Head of State and Government in Russia, poor guy.   Usually, being able to hold onto one job for some 16 years would be considered a respectable achievement. Especially one gained in uncertain times, with fractious and devisive politics, and the pervascent, if unspoken, fear, that things could all go horribly wrong (again) at any moment. Not so for Alexander Kerensky.   In what was, a franky anstonishing display of foresight and unity in the spring of 1920, the leaders of the White Coalition in the Russian Civil War came, almost within a few hours of each other, to a concerning conclusion: 1stly the war was about to end. That was good news. 2ndly, When it did, someone was going to have to be in charge. That was only normal of course. 3rdly It probably wasn't going to be them, which was a relief to most of them until they realised. 4thly, It would then be someone else. This was the worst thought any of them had had in nearly two years; and for some it was quite a bit longer. The problem was quite simple, really.   The Whites were united by their common enemy.   That was it.   Once said enemy was gone, well, then what? Russia is a big place, with a lot of peolple, despite the pains of the Brest-Litovsk treaty it remained so. It should stay together all agreed, what was left to stay together, but how? With the war still raging most of the generals, admirals, politicians, nobles, and others, who made up the White Government, such as it was, agreed that such important questions were best answered later, once everyone was sick of fighting, and had ideally put their guns away.   So it was decided to create a provisional government, that would (this time) last long enough for a peacful and, reasonably, smooth transition to a more permanent settlement. So what form should this temporary government take, who should be in it, who should lead it? So many questions that were, fortunately, made easier to answer by the white leaders by accepting (or kidding) that, in the end, it was only for a while, not permanently, however much it might stick in their craw at the moment. Thus it was that the most (to as many people as possible) inoffensive solution possible be found and put into action by, reluctant, agreement. Once hostilites were over, a presidential republic of sorts would be established, the main job of which would be to keep order until the permanent solution was found. The "Acting President" would preside over an "Acting Cabinet" appointed by him to oversee the day to day affairs of government, with an "Acting Parliament/Congress/Duma" (depending on whether you speak Russian, English, or American) that would be partially elected and hopefully be a sop to the pro-democracy crowd while not being a hot bed of dissent and revolution (again). With the army keeping a not too conspicuous eye on them, just in case. He would also be the one to propose, if not formulate, potential constitutional settlements, which would decide the permanent form of the Russian Government going forward if accepted, if accepted. It's always the small words.   It might seem, at first glance, that the Acting President is a very powerful and influential man with many powers and few limitations. While he does indeed appoint members of his cabinet and part of the Duma, he does have several unofficial limitations. For starters he is not elected, denying him the ability to claim any kind of popular mandate for any action he (or his ministers) might take; while he makes appointments he has never removed anyone once appointed; and he has no power to raise funds for the government on his own, that requires, and for all practical purposes is the chief function, of the Duma.   Continuing in the theme of inoffensiveness, an inoffensive role required an equally inoffensive man to fill it. For this the White leaders turned to none other than Alexander Kerensky, formally a minister in Tsar Nicholas's Government, in various roles, then President of the Provisional Government, and, more recently, the chief diplomatic liason for the white forces. He may seem like an odd choice, after all, being in charge of one's country as it plunges into civil war tends to be a career killing move, at least in a political sense, and quite often a literal one. Yet it is this precise quality that made him attractive to those who held real power (that is, the money and the guns). He lacked the charisma of Wrangel, the drive of Kolchack, and more than anything, he was utterly lacking in a power base of his own. He had no chance of siezing real power, at least absent the support of those who gave it to him. Thus he was popularly, if not enthusiastically, chosen by the whites to fill the role of "The Acting President of the Provisional Government of Russia". In the hopes that in the not too distant future, he would be able to propose a more permanent solution to the question of government, ideally one that favoured the person in question.   As months turned to years however, it was realised, quickly by some, gradually by others, and immediately by quite a few who would've much rather ignored their misgivings if they could, that their temporary solution was in very real danger of becoming permanent by default. If the quip "There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government programme" had been uttered by then, doubtless it would have struck home for many in Russia as the years wore on. Initially, everone did make a sincere effort to find a more permanent solution, or freeze out those who did not. In the latter matter, they managed quite well, in the former, they found considerably greater difficulty. Over the first few years, Kerensky, as Acting President, tried to fulfill his obligations by repeatedly, almost frequently, proposing constitutional settlements for a permanent government. Try as he might however, he has never been able to come up with one that could gather enough support. One was too democratic, the other was not democratic enough; this one was too totalitarian, that one hardly had a government at all; there was one that gave too much power to one group of people (take your pick), and another that gave them too little. Always, without fail, ineviably, there would be something to every proposal that would be the stumbling block that would make someone trip, or choke. Every. Single. Time!   Aside from these ever rarer poposals, and out of hope as much as ideas, the Acting President's lack of involvement in day to day politics is seen as one of the main reasons for the systems endurance. Without any grand, or galling, ideas with which to trouble people, and the inability to do so anyway, Kerensky's administration has simply been left in place. Waiting for the day when something or one finally provides the much needed catalyst for change. What it could be, no one really knows. Until then Kerensky endures, preciesly because no one fears him, and on one loves him, well aside from his wife (what would Macchiavelli say to that!). It is the fact that there is always someone else to fear that no one has tried to remove him, in the vanishingly rare occasions that anyone has seriously contemplated such a move for, as must be clear by now, any one who wants the job, is clearly not qualified to accept it on grounds of either intellect or sanity.
I was torn between placing this under the heading of title or profession, as it could be both, so I include here my responses to the prompts on the profession page, where they do not overlap here, for my memory and your "edification" CJMPD 29/12/23 (O.S.16/12/23).   Career: Qualifications: Career Progression: payment and Reimbursement:Mainly in kind by being given an apartment in the Winter Palace in Petrograd, the right to use former imperial residences and assets such as trains and cars, along with what is, really, quite a modest salary Benefits: He has a nice house, and can take a holiday when he wants to.   Perception: Alternative Names: The Permanent Temp, The Stone Scaffold(?), The Stuck Plug(?), The thing I'm going to fix any day now honest dear ( ;) ) (I'm open to suggestions) Demand: Of the very few who want this job, should any such lunatics exist, they should, under no circumstances, be allowed anywhere near it. Purpose: To maintain a stable government in Russia until a permanent government can be established, and to establish such a government, whatever form it may take. Social Status: A certain degree of respect which is due to the head of a major country, along with a great deal of disrepsect for his failure to do his primary job of making himself redundant, not that is entierly his fault, and a fair amount of sympathy for simply being landed with the job in the first place. Demographics: As head of state, albeit in a temporary role, there is only one person in the job at any given time. Indeed there has only ever been one person in the job. History: Origionally created as a stop-gap measure, it has become much more enduring than anyone thought it would be, or had any right to be.   Operations: Tools: He has a pen, and a desk, and a secretary who does his best not to take incoming correspondance personally. Materials: Stationary mostly, and patience. it's not like he has much else to do. Workplace: The official residence, offices, and other associated spaces are contained within the Winter Palace in Petrograd, a truly grand surroundings for a far from grand job. Pointing out just how out of place he is, really. Provided Services: The Acting President enjoys full catering and cleaning of his official residence, the use of state vehicles such as cars and trains, and the much needed protection of the police, army and de facto secret service, the Okhrana. Hazards: Not many, if you don't count constant assassination attempts by eternally bitter communists to be an occupational hazard. Which, to be fair, some do. Legality: As head of state it had better be legal.   Relations: Famous in the Field: Alexander Kerensky (not that he has much competition) Used By: Russia


With some prior political experience as a minister in the Tsar's govenment, and as head of the pre-October revolution government. Kerensky could claim experience in senior government. He was also known abroad and was quite popular in allied nations where he was seen as a supporter of democracy, freedoms, and other such high ideals/mumbo jumbo, depending on who you ask. His best qualifications however, were that he had no power base of his own and was something of a political non-entity by this point as it had been his government that had failed to prevent the civil war.


There are no formal requirements for the position. Really, anyone could be given the job. There are no limits based on age, nationality, prior or current occupations or interests, after all, it was only for a short while.


Kerensky was appointed by the leaders of the White coalition, shortly before the end of the civil war, this technically remains the only way by which someone could be appointed to the role. It had been thought, or hoped, that his rule would be brief enough that the issue of a successor would be decided by a change in government, not person.


His main duties are to act as the face of Russia at home and abroad, not that he goes abroad often. To ensure that peace and order are kept both within Russia and between other countries. x


Day-to-day, he has little to do but

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

There are no formal proceedings for removing or replacing the acting-president aside from a constitutional settlement that has enough support from the major political factions and their leaders. It was assumed that sooner, rather than later, Kerensky would simply make his own position redundant by securing approval for a permanent government. Which would then be formed to take over Russia, and his own position would simply cease to exist as it was no longer necessary.


Russian Civil War, in particualr, the Moscow campaign, its progress signalling the end of the war was near and the future ever approaching. Thus, a compromise post-war settlement was needed to decide the future of Russia and avoid further fighting. It has achived that much at least.

Cultural Significance

Very few attach any great respect or significance to either the title or its holder. Which is a shame as it is rather important, but it also was meant to heave been done away with by now.

Notable Holders

The only holder of the title is Alexander Kerensky.
The one man in Russia who was supposed to lose his job, and been entirely unsuccessful.
Position created: June 1920
First Holder: Alexander Kerensky
June 1920 -

Current Holder: Alexander Kerensky
Civic, Political
Temporary (officially) yet still active
By the agreement of the White leadership in the last days of the civil war
Form of Address
"President" is the most common, or at least, the least insulting.
Equates to
A head of state officially. In practice it is directly comparable in prestige and stature to that of another president. Though most cosdier it a step down from a monarch, and far below the exhalted heighs of the Tsar.
Source of Authority
Somebody had to be in charge and he was the only one enough people could agree on, well accept, tolerate at least.
Length of Term
There was no official term limit given as this is a temporary appointment. At least, it was intended to be so.
Related Organizations


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