Studied mathematics at Novorossiiskii University (now Odessa State University); 1889 established railway department in Ministry of Finance, leading quickly to positions of minister of communications and minister of finance; Hired Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians as subordinates, against typical bureaucratic prejudice; Devoted much energy to the Trans-Siberian railway; wanted to link European and Asiatic Russia, bring progress to rural areas, and serve as intermediary between Western Europe and the Far East; 1892-1903 Minister of Finance. This duration known as the “Witte Period”; August 1903 removed from Ministry of Finance. Despite Witte’s successes, international conflicts resulted in reduced foreign loans to Russia. Additionally, peasant strikes and a poor relationship with Nicholas II contributed to his removal; Subsequently appointed to chairman of the Committee of Ministers; July 1905 appointed chief Russian plenipotentiary for peace negotiations with Japan; September 1905 signed the Treaty of Portsmouth that ended the Russo-Japanese War; 1905 convinced Nicholas II to issue the October Manifesto; 1905-1906 first constitutional Prime Minister of the Russian Empire; April 1906 forced to resign; 1914-1915 opposed Russia’s entry into World War I; 1915 died in Petrograd.
portrait: SJP-Photo-Witte~01; satjrnl-m14; article/chapter: "Witte, Sergey Yulyevich, Graf." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 25 Feb. 2009 <http://search.eb.com/eb/article-7981>.; book: Mehlinger, Howard D., and John M. Thompson. Count Witte and the Tsarist Government in the 1905 Revolution. Indiana University international studies. Bloomington, Ind: Indiana U.P., 1972.; book: Vitte (Witte), S. IU. and Sidney Harcave. The Memoirs of Count Witte. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1990.