Name at birth: Alexandr Feodorovich Kerensky
A lawyer by trade, Alexander Kerensky was elected to the Duma in 1912 at a time when the rule of Czar Nicholas II was on shaky ground. Kerensky was a member of the moderate Labor party until the February Revolution in 1917, when he became a leader in the Socialist Revolutionary party. Together with the Bolsheviks, led by Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin, Kerensky helped form a provisional government to replace the overthrown government of the czar. Kerensky became the most powerful member of the provisional government and forced the Bolsheviks underground, arresting Trotsky and several others (Lenin escaped to Finland). The Socialist Revolutionaries, unlike the Bolsheviks, intended to keep Russia fighting in World War I, a decision that became increasingly unpopular with the Russian people. When social reforms were slow to take place under Kerensky (especially land reform), he lost popular support to the Bolsheviks. He fled to Paris when the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution (1917), and eventually emigrated to the United States, where he lectured and wrote until his death in 1970.