Paper 1 : Autocracy and Revolt in Russia : 1881 - 1914
The Dumas and Stolypin
Attitude of Tsar II towards the first four Dumas
- Only to be elected from the nobility.
- The first duma met in 1906, but was closed after 72 days.
- The first two Dumas were openly critical to the Tsar which lead to the Tsar dismissing them.
- Nicholas II retained the title of autocrat and continued to appoint and dismiss ministers as he pleased.
- Laws continued to be promulgated by the government without reference to the Duma as Stolypin and Nicholas II changed the electoral system without the Duma in session.
- This defied the purpose of the October Manifesto as the democracy promised to the people was not fulfilled.
- Oppression continued in the power of the Tsar's secret police, Okhrana.
- Again this renders the October Manifesto ineffective.
- This was because Nicholas II only promised to the October Manifesto as a desparate measure and a sign of weakness.
Stolypin's policy of repression and land reform
- Stolypin established military tribunals as a policy of repression
- He proposed public execution of thousands to suppress ongoing revolutionary activity.
- He convicted 16,500 people of political crimes and 3,500 of them to a death sentence.
- As a result, political assassinations dropped to 365 in 1908 compared to 1,200 in 1907.
- When the first 2 Dumas refused to pass the Tsar's legislation, he advised the Tsar to dissolve them.
- In 1907, he changed the franchise to prevent the poor from voting for the third and fourth dumas.
- Suspended voting in areas where the population had not reach civic development lead to fewer representatives from the lower classes, ie. peasants, urban wokers.
- This created Dumas who were more obedient towards the Tsar.
- With the peasants excluded from voting, thus eliminates 78% of the population as the peasants formed the majority.