What this country needs is a short, victorious war to stem the tide of revolution.

Vyacheslav Plehve
Vyacheslav von Pléhve (1846-1904) Russian Tsarist security director, Interior Minister [Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von Plehve, or Pleve; Вячесла́в Константи́нович фон Пле́ве]
Comment (1903) [tr. Walder (1974)]

Regarding the impending Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). Possibly apocryphal; the comment is quoted in the memoirs of Count Sergei Witte, an opponent of Plehve, several years later (and well after Plehve's 1904 assassination). Witte recounted it as a retort by Plehve to General Alexey Nikolayevich Kuropatkin, who accused Plehve of supporting the conflict for adventurist/expansionist reasons.

Russia, though considered much stronger than Japan militarily, ended up losing the war, destabilizing the government and ironically leading to revolutions in 1905 and 1917.

Alternate translations:
  • "We need a little victorious war to stem the tide of revolution." [tr. Yarmolinsky (1921)]
  • "We need a little, victorious war to stem the revolution." [tr. Harcave (1990)]
  • "To contain the revolution, we need a short victorious war." [tr Hodson (2017)]

Added on 23-Mar-11 | Last updated 28-Feb-22
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