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The Dumas 1906 ­ 1914.
Period between 1906 and 1914 was a battle between parliamentary and royalists forces. After
the 1905 Revolution supporters of the Tsar attempted to regain control; others wanted to use the
changes made during the revolution to build a truly parliamentary system of government.
October manifesto offered support to both sides. Royalists saw it as a final change in the political
system, while those on the left side of Russian politics saw it as the beginning of more change.
First Duma.
Elections were done on a broad franchise, but both the SR's and Bolsheviks boycotted the
elections ( wanted Tsar out & he controlled the elections). Largest group elected were the
Trudoviks (loose collection of radicals who supported workers and peasants) followed by the
Kadets & the Progressivists ( loose collection of liberal middle class businessmen). All groups
wanted to use the Duma to introduce further reforms; such as land reform & release of political
prisoners. These requests were refused, Duma passed a vote of no confidence in the prime
minister. Duma was dissolved after 72 days by the Tsar. Only 2 resolutions were passed ; one
against capital punishment & the other in favour of famine relief. Duma became known as the `
Duma of Public Anger'.…read more

Slide 2

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Vyborg Manifesto.
Frustrated by the early dissolution of the first duma, a group of Duma deputies went to Vyborg
and issued the `Vyborg Manifesto' asking the Russian people to resist the Tsar's action through
non-payment of taxes. Plan backfired ­ 200 deputies who made the manifesto were banned
from standing for the next Duma.
Second Duma.
This Duma saw the number of Kadets halve, because many of them were banned from standing
for election after the Vyborg Manifesto . Although both SRs and Social Democrats gained seats.
Under guidance of Stolypin , Duma passed important land reform . 2nd Duma lasted 3 months as
it criticised the administration of the army, angering the Tsar and his supporters. The police
framed radical members of the Duma for trying to encourage mutinies ­ perfect excuse for the
tsar to dissolve to the Duma.
Electoral reform and the Third & Fourth Dumas.
The election of the next Duma was restricited to only the wealthy to ensure the government
received greater support. Excluding most of the reformer supporters. The pro-government
parties performed well ( 287/443 seats). Stolypin used 3rd Duma to push land reforms further. Pro-
government views meant radical opposition called it `' Duma of Lords and Lackeys''. 1911
Stolypin assassinated ­ finance minister Vladimir Kokovstov took his place; he was a supporter
of the Tsar but he couldn't compete with the powerful court fractions dominating government &
the 4th Duma of 1912- 1914 was as conservative as its predecessor.…read more

Slide 3

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Successes and failures.
3rd and 4th Dumas thwarted attempts at reform. However, because they wasn't so radical the
government was more inclined to listen to them. 3rd Duma served its full time and the 4th lasted
right up until the outbreak of WWI. The dumas managed to bring in some successful reforms :
· Land captains (1892) replaced by justices of the peace.
· Government introduced a plan to have universal primary education within 10 yrs.
· Health and accident insurance programmes were introduced for industrial workers.
· Improvements made to the army and navy.
Duma was never truly a parliamentary institution ­ government never wanted it to be one.
Mixture of revolutionary pressure in 1905 and pressure from France (provided loans) that led to
creation of the Duma in the first place. By 1914 political parties established legally and the Duma
offered a major forum for political debate. Dumas did not always succeed in influencing the Tsar
or pushing reforms, duma debates were reported in press. Reformers and radical in the duma
had opportunity to influence public opinion legitimately ­ something that had previously been
denied ( censorship)…read more


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