16 (28) November 1838, in the outskirts of Helsinki, into the family of a serviceman was born Vladimir B. Frederiks, Russian statesman, Minister of the Imperial court (1897-1917), count (1913), member of the State Council of the Russian Empire (1905).
Frederiks descended from a captive Swedish officer who was settled in Archangelsk. One of the officer’s descendants became a banker of the Russian Empress Catherine II and was granted the barony. Vladimir Frederiks was educated at home. At first he served as a non-commissioned officer in the 4th division of the Life Guards, and gradually became the commander of the mounted guards. The baron moved rapidly up his military career ladder and in the mid 1890s received the rank of the General of Cavalry.
Frederiks’ career as a statesman began in 1871 when he occupied the post of the aide-de-camp to the Emperor Alexander II. In the reign of Alexander II the baron was first appointed the superintendent of the Imperial stables, then, as the deputy minister, occupied the post of the minister assistant of the Imperial court and apanages. In 1897, by order of the Emperor Nikolai II, he was assigned the Minister of the Imperial court. This agency created in 1826, was out of control of the Senate and other supreme government bodies, reporting directly to the emperor. The Ministry united all parts of management of the affairs of the court agency, including land possessions of the emperor, the income of which maintained the life of the emperor, members of his family and the Imperial court. At the ministerial post Frederiks did not seek power, glory or influence at the court which provided him the confidence of the tsar and his family.
In 1900 Frederiks was made General of Cavalry, five years later became a member of the State Council and the superintendent of the main apartment of the emperor. From this moment up to the abdication of Nikolai II in March of 1917 he was one of the retainers of the emperor, accompanying him in his trips. Being keen on automobiles, he was one of the pioneers in this transport in Russia. When the Russian Imperial Automobile Society was created in 1909, baron became its president. His high position at the imperial court and the full confidence of the Russian emperor provided a significant impact of the Society on the solution of problems of motoring and sport in Russia.
Baron Frederiks was awarded with highest Russian orders: the Order of St. Stanislaus, 1st class (1883), the Order of St. Anna, 1st class (1886), the Order of St. Vladimir, 2nd class (1889), the Order of the White Eagle (1895), the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky (1899), the Order of St. Vladimir, 1st class (1906), the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called (1908). In 1908 he was elected an honorary citizen of the town of Novonikolaevsk “for his services rendered to the town in redemption of lands from the Office of His Majesty”. The same year, for the 50th anniversary of his “exemplary service”, by the Imperial decree Frederiks was awarded the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called. In honor of the 300th anniversary of the reign of the Romanovs, in 1913 he was granted the title of count. Frederiks became famous in Russia not only because of his faithful service to the monarch but also owing to his charity.
After the outbreak of the World War I in 1914, count Frederiks accompanied Nikola II in his trips around the country and to the headquarters of the Russian commandment in Mogilev, enjoying a great confidence of the emperor. However, by that time the count’s health worsened: he was no longer engaged with state affairs but focused on managing the property of the emperor in the Office of the Ministry of the Imperial court. Nevertheless, Frederiks went down to history as one of those who signed the document crucial for Russia – the Manifesto of abdication of Nikolai II. Soon after that the city council of Novonikolaevsk resolved to “deprive the first honorary citizen of the town of Nikolaevsk, Minister of the court, count Frederiks, of this honorary title”. The reason for this resolution was the discontent of local deputies by the count’s deed, in spite the fact that fixing the emperor’s signature was his direct duty as the Court’s Minister.
After the abdication of the Russian emperor, the count was forced out of the residence of Nikolai II on the demand of the Provisional government, and a few days later was arrested in Gomel by railway workers. While Frederiks was being searched in a coach of a train, he was deprived of the ministerial seal, arms and diaries. By the personal order of A. F. Kerensky and A. I. Guchkov, he was brought to the Tauride Palace and interrogated by investigators of the Extraordinary Investigation Committee. After that he was freed and had been undergoing a long course of treatment in the Evangelical hospital. Then he lived in Petrograd without break.
In 1924 Vladimir Frederiks received a permission from the Soviet government to emigrate. The same year he and his daughter went to Finland in their estate near Grankulla, where he died July 5, 1927.
Lit.: Земляниченко М. «Old gentleman» Фредерикс и император Николай II. М., 2007; Колоколов Б. Г. Жандарм с царём в голове. М., 2009; Письма П. А. Столыпина барону В. Б. Фредериксу [Электронный ресурс] // Хронос.