State Duma of the Russian Empire

State Duma of the Russian Empire

State Duma of the Russian Empire was a legislative assembly in the late Russian Empire. It was convened four times.

Under the pressure of the Russian Revolution of 1905, on August 6, 1905, Sergei Witte, appointed by Tsar Nicholas II to manage peace negotiations with Japan, issued a manifesto about the convocation of the Duma, initially thought to be an advisory organ. In the subsequent October Manifesto, the Tsar pledged to introduce further civil liberties, provide for broad participation in the State Duma, and endow the Duma with legislative and oversight powers. The State Duma was the lower house of a parliament, and the State Council of Imperial Russia was the upper house.

However, Nicholas II was determined to retain his autocratic power. Just before the creation of the Duma in May 1906, the Tsar issued the Fundamental Laws. It stated in part that Tsar's 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.

Election for the First Duma, which ran between April and June 1906, returned a significant bloc of moderate socialists and both liberal parties who demanded further reforms. For this reason, it was sometimes called "the Duma of public anger". Sergei Muromtsev, Professor of Law at Moscow University, was elected Chairman. Due to growing tensions between the Duma and Nicholas II's ministers (prominently Goremykin), the assembly was dissolved within ten weeks. In frustration members of the liberal 'Kadets' party then underwent the 'Vyborg Appeal', which ended in their arrest and exclusion from future Duma election. This paved the way for an alternative makeup for the second Duma.

The Second Duma (February 1907 to June 1907) was equally short-lived. The Social Democrats and Social Revolutionaries gained 188 deputies, along with members of the right-wing, which meant major conflict within the Duma and with the Tsar. In May police found a meeting of soldiers stationed in Petersburg with members of RSDLP Duma fraction. On 1 June 1907 prime minister Pyotr Stolypin accused social-democrats in preparation of armed uprising and demanded from Duma to exclude 55 social-democrats from Duma sessions and strip 16 of them from parliamentary immunity. When this ultimatum was rejected by Duma, it was dissolved on 3 of June by Tsar's ukase.

The Tsar was unwilling to be rid of the system of the State Duma, despite their problems. Instead, using emergency power, Prime Minister Petr Stolypin changed the electoral law and gave greater electoral value to the votes of landowners and owners of city properties. This ensured the Third Duma would be dominated by gentry, landowners and businessmen.

Between 1907 and 1912, the Octobrist-dominated Third Duma ran its course. Being more oriented towards conservative positions, it was able to last its full five-years term. Although the Bolsheviks later dismissed the later Dumas for being "rubber stamps of government policy", the Third Duma, through links with Stolypin and tentative movements, managed to instigate a succession of reforms (including a national insurance scheme for industrial workers). The assassination of Stolypin and increasingly reactionary policies of the Tsar and his State Council weakened the significance of the Third Duma.

The Fourth Duma of 1912-1917 was also of limited political influence. In August 1914 the Duma volunteered its own dissolution for the duration of the war. However, its former members became increasingly displeased with Tsarist control of military and other affairs and so demanded its own reinstatement, which Nicholas conceded to in August 1915. Its second run is considered even more ineffectual than its first though,or|date=January 2008 and when the Tsar refused its call for the replacement of his cabinet 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. The only role of real importance the Fourth Duma played was after its official dissolution during the 1917 February Revolution, where 12 members remained and formed the 'Provisional Committee', which later ruled Russia by default after the abdication of the Romanovs , renaming itself the 'Provisional Government'.

eats held in Imperial Dumas

Chairmen of the State Duma of the Russian Empire

*The First Duma: Sergei Muromtsev (Cadet Party) 1906
*The Second Duma: Feodor Golovin (Cadet Party) 1907
*The Third Duma: Nikolay Chomiakov (Octobrist Party) 1907-1910
*The Third Duma: Alexander Guchkov (Octobrist Party) 1910-1911
*The Third Duma/The Fourth Duma: Mikhail Rodzyanko (Octobrist Party) 1911-1917

Deputy Chairmen of the State Duma of the Russian Empire

*The First Duma
**Prince 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
**Prince M.V. Volkonsky (Centrum-Right)
***+ Baron Alexander Meyendorf (Octobrist Party) 1907-1909
**Sergei Shidlovsky (Octobrist Party) 1909-1910
**M.Y. Kaspoetin (Octobrist Party) 1910-1912

*The Fourth Duma
**Prince D.D. Oeroesov (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)
**Nikolay Nekrasov (Cadet Party) (1916-1917)
**Count V.A. Bobrinsky (Nationalist) (1916-1917)



External links

* [ Speech from the Throne by Nicholas II at Opening of the State Duma] Photo essay with commentary

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