Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Fish.
St. Petersburg , July 31, 1874. (Received August 18.)
Sir: The recent changes in the government are productive of much comment.
Count Shuvaloff, the head of the secret police and a most intimate and trusted friend of the Emperor, has been appointed embassador at London. The appointment was widely known here, as well as in England, even before the usual permission had been asked of the Queen by an autograph letter from the Emperor, though, until a formal answer is received, the nomination will not be gazetted.* * * * *
General Potapoff, the present governor-general of the northwestern provinces, stationed at Wilna, is named director of the third section in Count Shuvaloff’s place. He has already served in the secret police as assistant director, and was subsequently ataman of the Cossacks of [Page 842] the Don. Judging from this appointment, it is not probable that there will be much change in the spirit which actuates this department. The governor-generalship at Wilna is to be given to Count Albedinsky, formerly governor-general of the Baltic provinces.
A few days ago Count Bobrinsky, the minister of ways of communication, was removed. The removal of Count Bobrinsky had been long foreseen, as he had got into a bitter quarrel with the minister of finances, growing out of the new method of subscriptions for railway concessions, which was very detrimental to the financial interests of the empire. The new minister of ways of communication is Admiral Pos-siett, well known in America as having accompanied the Grand Duke Alexis thither. His appointment is very favorably regarded by the press and by the commercial world. It is expected that he will pay more attention than the late minister did to the question of water-communications, and especially to the enlargement of the Marie Canal, which connects the Yolga with the Baltic, and gives facility to the grain-trade, and to the construction of a good commercial port at St. Petersburg, which is very necessary, and has long engaged public attention. Two other questions will also occupy the new minister—the construction of a railroad from Nijni-Novgorod through Kazan to Siberia, and the regulation of the freight tariff on the railways. At present the tariff is so arranged that a great portion of Russian produce seeks an outlet at Konigsberg and Memel rather than through Russian ports.
I have, &c.,