The STATE DUMA or IMPERIAL DUMA was the Lower House, part of the
legislative assembly in the late
Russian Empire , which held its
meetings in the
Taurida Palace in
St. Petersburg . It convened four
times between 27 April 1906 and the collapse of the Empire in February
1917. The First and the Second Dumas were more democratic and
represented a greater number of national types than their successors.
The Third Duma was dominated by gentry, landowners and businessmen.
The Fourth Duma held five sessions; it existed until 2 March 1917, and
was formally dissolved on 6 October 1917.
* 1 History
* 1.1 First Duma
* 1.2 Second Duma
* 1.3 Third Duma
* 1.4 Fourth Duma
* 2 Seats held in Imperial Dumas
* 3 Chairmen of the
State Duma of the
* 4 Deputy Chairmen of the
State Duma of the
* 5 Notes
* 6 References
* 7 External links
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Coming under pressure from the
Russian Revolution of 1905
Russian Revolution of 1905 , on August
6, 1905 (O.S.),
Sergei Witte (appointed by Nicholas II to manage peace
negotiations with Japan) issued a manifesto about the convocation of
the Duma, initially thought to be a purely advisory body, the
Bulygin -Duma. In the subsequent
October Manifesto , the
Tsar promised to introduce further civil liberties , provide for broad
participation in a new "State Duma", and endow the Duma with
legislative and oversight powers. The
State Duma was to be the lower
house of a parliament, and the
State Council of Imperial Russia the
However, Nicholas II was determined to retain his autocratic power
(in which he succeeded). On April 23, 1906 (O.S. ), the Tsar issued
the Fundamental Laws , which gave him the title of "supreme autocrat".
Although no law could be made without the Duma's assent, neither could
the Duma pass laws without the approval of the noble-dominated State
Council (half of which was to be appointed directly by the Tsar), and
the Tsar himself retained a veto. The laws stipulated that ministers
could not be appointed by, and were not responsible to, the Duma, thus
denying responsible government at the executive level. Furthermore,
the Tsar had the power to dismiss the Duma and announce new elections
whenever he wished; article 87 allowed him to pass temporary
(emergency) laws by decrees. All these powers and prerogatives assured
that, in practice, the Government of
Russia continued to be a
non-official absolute monarchy . It was in this context that the first
Duma opened four days later, on April 27.
Russian legislative election, 1906
Russian legislative election, 1906 Tsar Nicholas
II's opening speech before the two chambers in the Winter Palace
(1906) Members of the
State Duma with two Russian police
The first Duma opened with around 500 deputies; most radical left
parties, such as the
Socialist Revolutionary Party
Socialist Revolutionary Party had boycotted the
election, leaving the moderate
Constitutional Democrats (Kadets) with
the most deputies (around 180). Second came an alliance of slightly
more radical leftists, the
Trudoviks (Laborites) with around 100
deputies. To the right of both were a number of smaller parties,
Octobrists . Together, they had around 45 deputies.
Other deputies, mainly from peasant groups, were unaffiliated.
The Kadets were among the only political parties capable of
consistently drawing voters due to their relatively moderate political
stance. The Kadets drew from an especially urban population, often
failing to draw the attention of rural communities who were instead
committed to other parties.
The Duma ran for 73 days until 8 July 1906, with little success. The
Tsar and his loyal Prime Minister
Ivan Goremykin were keen to keep it
in check, and reluctant to share power; the Duma, on the other hand,
wanted continuing reform, including electoral reform, and, most
prominently, land reform.
Sergei Muromtsev , Professor of Law at
Moscow University, was elected Chairman. Lev Urusov held a famous
speech. Scared by this liberalism, the Tsar dissolved the Duma,
reportedly saying 'curse the Duma. It is all Witte's doing'. The same
Pyotr Stolypin was named as the new Prime Minister.
Paul Miliukov and approximately 200 deputies, mostly
from the liberal Kadets party decamped to
Vyborg , then part of
Russian Finland, to discuss the way forward. From there, they issued
Vyborg Appeal , which called for civil disobedience. Largely
ignored, it ended in their arrest and the closure of
offices. This, among other things, helped pave the way for an
alternative makeup for the second Duma.
A group of Muslim deputies of the State Duma. Seated left is
Fatali Khan Khoyski
Fatali Khan Khoyski , seated right is Khalil bey Khasmammadov , 1907
Members of the Russian
State Duma from Vologda Guberniya
Stolypin by Repin
The Second Duma (from 20 February 1907 to 2 June 1907) lasted 103
days. One of the new members was
Vladimir Purishkevich , strongly
opposed to the
October Manifesto . The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks (that
is, both factions of the
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party ) and
the Socialist Revolutionaries all abandoned their policies of
boycotting elections to the Duma, and consequently won a number of
seats. The Kadets (by this point the most moderate and centrist
party), found themselves outnumbered two-to-one by their more radical
counterparts. Even so, Stolypin and the Duma could not build a working
relationship, being divided on the issues of land confiscation (which
the socialists and, to a lesser extent, the Kadets, supported but the
Tsar and Stolypin vehemently opposed) and Stolypin's brutal attitude
towards law and order.
On June 1, 1907, prime minister
Pyotr Stolypin accused Social
Democrats of preparing an armed uprising and demanded that the Duma
exclude 55 Social Democrats from Duma sessions and strip 16 of their
parliamentary immunity . When this ultimatum was rejected by Duma, it
was dissolved on 3 June by an ukase (imperial decree) in what became
known as the
Coup of June 1907 .
The Tsar was unwilling to be rid of the State Duma, despite these
problems. Instead, using emergency powers, Stolypin and the Tsar
changed the electoral law and gave greater electoral value to the
votes of landowners and owners of city properties, and less value to
the votes of the peasantry, whom he accused of being "misled", and, in
the process, breaking his own Fundamental Laws.
This ensured the third Duma (7 November 1907 – 9 June 1912) would
be dominated by gentry, landowners and businessmen. The number of
deputies from non-Russian regions was greatly reduced. The system
facilitated better, if hardly ideal, cooperation between the
Government and the Duma; consequently, the Duma lasted a full
five-year term, and succeeded in 200 pieces of legislation and voting
on some 2500 bills. Due to its more noble, and Great Russian
composition, the third Duma, like the first, was also given a
nickname, "The Duma of the Lords and Lackeys" or "The Master's Duma".
Octobrist party were the largest, with around one-third of all the
deputies. This Duma, less radical and more conservative, left clear
that the new electoral system would always generate a
landowners-controlled Duma, which in turn would be under complete
submission to the Tsar, unlike the first two Dumas.
In terms of legislation, the Duma supported an improvement in
Russia's military capabilities, Stolypin's plans for land reform and
basic social welfare measures. The power of Nicholas' hated land
captains was consistently reduced. It also supported more regressive
laws, however, such as on the question of Finnish autonomy and
Russification , with a fear of the Empire breaking up being prevalent.
Since the dissolution of the Second Duma a very large proportion of
the Empire was either under martial law, or one of the milder forms of
the state of siege. It was forbidden, for instance, at various times
and in various places, to refer to the dissolution of the Second Duma,
to the funeral of the Speaker of the First Duma, Muromtsev, and the
Leo Tolstoy , to the fanatical monk
Iliodor , or to the
notorious agent provocateur,
Yevno Azef . Stolypin was assassinated
in September 1911 and replaced by his Finance Minister Vladimir
Kokovtsov . It enabled Count Kokovtsov to balance the budget
regularly and even to spend on productive purposes.
State Duma of the
Russian Empire of
the 4th convocation
The Fourth Duma of 15 November 1912 – 6 October 1917, elected in
September/October, was also of limited political influence. According
to the Russian the first session was held from 15 November
1912 to 25 June 1913, and the second session from 15 October 1913 to
14 June 1914. On July 1, 1914 the Tsar suggested that the Duma should
be reduced to merely a consultative body, but an extraordinary session
was held on 26 July 1914 during the
July Crisis . The third session
gathered from 27 to 29 January 1915, the fourth from 19 July 1915 to 3
September, the fifth from 9 February to 20 June 1916, and the sixth
from 1 November to 16 December 1916. No one exactly knew when they
would resume their deliberations. It seems the last session was never
opened (on 14 February), but kept closed on 27 February 1917.
There was one promising new member in
Alexander Kerensky , a Trudovik
, but also
Roman Malinovsky , a
Bolshevik . In March 1913 the
Octobrists , led by
Alexander Guchkov , President of the Duma,
commissioned an investigation on
Grigori Rasputin to research the
allegations being a
Khlyst . The leading party of the Octobrists
divided itself into three different sections.
The Duma "met on 8 August for three hours to pass emergency war
credits, it was not asked to remain in session because it would only
be in the way." The Duma volunteered its own dissolution until 14
February 1915. A serious conflict arose in January as the government
kept information on the battlefield (in April at
Gorlice ) secret to
the Duma. In May Guchkov initiated the War Industries Committees in
order to unite industrialists who were supplying the army with
ammunition and military equipment, to mobilize industry for war needs
and prolonged military action, to put political pressure on the
tsarist government. On 17 July 1915 the Duma reconvened for six weeks.
Its former members became increasingly displeased with Tsarist control
of military and governmental affairs and demanded its own
reinstatement. When the Tsar refused its call for the replacement of
his cabinet on 21 August with a "Ministry of National Confidence",
roughly half of the deputies formed a "Progressive Bloc", which in
1917 became a focal point of political resistance. On 3 September 1915
the Duma prorogued.
On the eve of the war the government and the Duma were hovering round
one another like indecisive wrestlers, neither side able to make a
definite move. The war made the political parties more cooperative
and practically formed into one party. When the Tsar pronounced to
leave for the front in
Mogilev , the
Progressive Bloc was formed,
fearing Rasputin's influence over Tsarina Alexandra would increase.
The Duma gathered on 9 February 1916 after the 76-year-old Ivan
Goremykin had been replaced by
Boris Stürmer as prime minister and on
the condition not to mention Rasputin. The deputies were disappointed
when Stürmer held his speech. Because of the war, he said, it wasn't
the time for constitutional reforms. For the first time in his life,
the Tsar made a visit to the
Taurida Palace , which made it
practically impossible to hiss at the new prime minister.
On 1 November 1916 (
Old Style ) the Duma reconvened and the
Boris Stürmer was attacked by
Pavel Milyukov in
the State Duma, not gathering since February. In his speech he spoke
of "Dark Forces", and highlighted numerous governmental failures with
the famous question "Is this stupidity or treason?" Kerensky called
the ministers "hired assassins" and "cowards" and said they were
"guided by the contemptible Grishka Rasputin!" Stürmer and
Protopopov asked in vain for the dissolution of the Duma. Stürmer's
resignation looked like a concession to the Duma.
Ivan Grigorovich and
Dmitry Shuvayev declared in the Duma that they had confidence in the
Russian people, the navy, and the army; the war could be won.
Octobrists and the Kadets, who were the liberals in the
parliament, Rasputin, and his support of autocracy and absolute
monarchy, was one of their main obstacles. The politicians tried to
bring the government under control of the Duma. "To the
was obvious by the end of 1916 that the liberal Duma project was
superfluous, and that the only two options left were repression or a
On 19 November
Vladimir Purishkevich , one of the founders of the
Black Hundreds , gave a speech in the Duma. He declared the monarchy
had become discredited because of what he called the "ministerial
On 2 December, Trepov ascended the tribune in the Duma to read the
government programme. The deputies shouted "down with the Ministers!
Down with Protopopov!" The Prime-Minister wasn't allowed to speak and
had to leave the rostrum three times. Trepov threatened to shut the
troublesome Duma completely in her attempt to control the Tsar. The
Tsar, his cabinet, Alexandra, and Rasputin discussed when to open the
Duma, on the 12th or 19th of January, on the 1st of February, the
14th, if it all. Rasputin suggested to keep the Duma closed until
February; Alexandra and Protopopov supported him. On Friday, 16
December Milyukov stated in the Duma: "... maybe dismissed to 9
January, maybe until February", but in the evening the Duma was closed
until 12 January, by a decree prepared on the day before. A military
guard has been on duty at the building.
February Revolution began on the 22nd when the Tsar had left for
the front, and strikes broke out in the Putilov workshops. On 23rd
(International Women\'s Day ), women in Saint Petersburg joined the
strike, demanding woman suffrage , an end to Russian food shortages,
and the end of World War I. Although all gathering on the streets were
absolutely forbidden, on February 25, some 250,000 people were on
strike. The Tsar ordered
Sergey Semyonovich Khabalov , an
inexperienced and extremely indecisive commander of the Petrograd
military district (and
Nikolay Iudovich Ivanov ) to suppress the
rioting by force. On the 27th the Duma delegates received an order
from his Majesty that he had decided to prorogue the Duma until April,
leaving it with no legal authority to act. The Duma refused to obey,
and gathered in a private meeting. According to Buchanan: "It was an
act of madness to proroque the Duma at a moment like the present. The
delegates decided to form a Provisional Committee of the
State Duma .
The Provisional Committee ordered the arrest of all the ex-ministers
and senior officials." The
Tauride Palace was occupied by the crowd
and soldiers. "On the evening the
Council of Ministers of Russia held
its last meeting in the
Marinsky Palace and formally submitted its
resignation to the Tsar when they were cut off from the telephone.
Soon a group of Duma members formed the Provisional Committee .
Guchkov, along with
Vasily Shulgin , came to the army headquarters
near Pskov to persuade the Tsar to abdicate. The committee sent
commissars to take over ministries and other government institutions,
dismissing Tsar-appointed ministers and formed the Provisional
Georgi Lvov .
In the seventeen months of the "Tsarina's rule", from September 1915
to February 1917,
Russia had four Prime Ministers, five Ministers of
the Interior, three Foreign Ministers, three War Ministers, three
Ministers of Transport and four Ministers of Agriculture. This
"ministerial leapfrog", as it came to be known, not only removed
competent men from power, but also disorganized the work of government
since no one remained long enough in office to master their
On 2 March 1917 the Provisional government decided that the Duma will
not be reconvened. Formally, the Duma existed until October 6, 1917,
when it was disbanded by the Provisional government in connection with
the preparation of the elections to the
Russian Constituent Assembly
Russian Constituent Assembly .
SEATS HELD IN IMPERIAL DUMAS
Tauride Palace , seat of the
State Duma (modern image).
Russian Social Democratic Party
Constitutional Democratic Party (Kadets)
Non-Russian National Groups
CHAIRMEN OF THE STATE DUMA OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE
Main article: Chairman of the
Sergey Muromtsev (1906)
* Fyodor Golovin (1907)
Nikolay Khomyakov (1907–1910)
Alexander Guchkov (1910–1911)
Mikhail Rodzianko (1911–1917)
DEPUTY CHAIRMEN OF THE STATE DUMA OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE
* The First Duma
Pavel Dolgorukov (
Cadet Party ) 1906
Nikolay Gredeskul (
Cadet Party ) 1906
* The Second Duma
* N.N. Podznansky (Left) 1907
* M.E. Berezik (
Trudoviki ) 1907
* The Third Duma
* Vol. V.M. Volkonsky (moderately right), bar. A.F. Meyendorff
(Octobrist), C.J. Szydlowski (Octobrist), M. Kapustin (Octobrist), I.
* The Fourth Duma
* Prince D.D. Urusov (
Progressive Bloc )
* + Prince V.M. Volkonsky (Centrum-Right) (1912–1913)
* Nikolay Nikolayevich Lvov (
Progressive Bloc ) (1913)
* Alexander Konovalov (
Progressive Bloc ) (1913–1914)
* S.T. Varun-Sekret (
Octobrist Party ) (1913–1916)
Alexander Protopopov (Left Wing
Octobrist Party ) (1914–1916)
Nikolai Vissarionovich Nekrasov (
Cadet Party ) (1916–1917)
* Count V.A. Bobrinsky (Nationalist) (1916–1917)
* ^ On February 8, 1917 on request of the Emperor N. Maklakov and
Protopopov drafted the text of a manifesto to dissolve the Duma.
Harold Whitmore Williams (1915)
Russia of the Russians, p. 82
* ^ A B C D E F G H I Walter Gerald Moss (1 October 2004). A
History Of Russia: Since 1855. Anthem Press. pp. 97–106. ISBN
978-1-84331-034-1 . Retrieved 24 May 2010.
* ^ Thatcher, Ian (2011). "The First State Duma, 1906: The View
from the Contemporary Pamphlet and Monograph Literature". Canadian
Journal of History.
* ^ A B Inevitable?: Turning Points of the Russian Revolution by
* ^ Abraham Ascher, "P.A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in
Late Imperial Russia", Stanford, 2001, p. 102
* ^ Mikhail Larionov and the Cultural Politics of Late Imperial
Russia by Sarah Warren, p. 64.
Vladimir Gurko (1939) Features and Figures of the Past.
Government and Opinion in the Reign of Nicholas II, p. 8.
Harold Whitmore Williams (1915)
Russia of the Russians, p. 78
Harold Whitmore Williams (1915)
Russia of the Russians, p. 102,
* ^ B. Moynahan (1997) Rasputin. The saint who sinned, p. 169-170.
* ^ J.H. Cockfield (2002) White Crow, p. 159.
* ^ J. Joll, p. 192
* ^ G.A. Hosking (1973) The Russian constitutional experiment.
Government and Duma, 1907-1914, p. 205.
* ^ O. Figes (1996) A People\'s Tragedy : The Russian Revolution,
1891–1924, p. 270.
* ^ Alexanderpalace
* ^ The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: Documents, Volume 1,
p. 16 by Robert Paul Browder, Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky
* ^ Pares , p. 392.
* ^ O. Antrick, (1938) "Rasputin und die politischen Hintergründe
seiner Ermordung", p. 79, 117.
* ^ O. Figes (1996), p. 811.
* ^ O. Figes (1997) A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian
Revolution, p. 278.
* ^ The Cambridge History of Russia: Volume 2, Imperial Russia,
1689-1917, p. 668 by Maureen Perrie, Dominic Lieven, Ronald Grigor
* ^ Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December
1916 to November 1918 By James Brown Scott. Questia.com. Retrieved on
15 July 2014.
* ^ Wartime Correspondence, p. 673-675
* ^ Wartime Correspondence, p. 681
* ^ The decrees of the governing Senate
* ^ Alexander Palace
* ^ Ф.А. Гайда, к.и.н., исторический
факультет МГУ им. М.В. Ломоносова
Министр внутренних дел Н.А. Маклаков:
политическая карьера русского
* ^ H. Rappaport (2016) Caught in the Revolution Petrograd 1917, p.
84. Hutchinson Penquin Random House UK
Orlando Figes (2006) A People\'s Tragedy : The Russian
Revolution: 1891–1924, p. 328-329.
* ^ http://www.johndclare.net/Russ_Rasputin_Figes.htm
* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed".