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Sovereignty as a constitutional issue in Imperial Russia, 1905-1915. Hutchinson, John F 1963

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SOVEREIGNTY AS A CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA, 1905 - 1915  by  JOHN FRANKLIN HUTCHINSON B.A., University of Toronto, 1961  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of SLAVONIC STUDIES  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 1963  SOVEREIGNTY AS A CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA, 1905 - 1915  by  JOHN FRANKLIN HUTCHINSON B.A., University of Toronto, 1961  AN ABSTRACT OF A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of  SLAVONIC STUDIES  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 1963  In presenting the  t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l fulfilment of  r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f  B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t  t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . mission f o r extensive  I f u r t h e r agree that  per-  copying of t h i s thesis f o r s c h o l a r l y  p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r by his  representatives.,  I t i s understood that  cation of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n  Department o f  permission.  $/QI)MM>.  ^TuftioJ  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia,. V a n c o u v e r 8y Canada. Date  <L,J  H  i9 .  copying or p u b l i -  s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d  ABSTRACT The turbulent reign of Tsar Nicholas I I has been treated by many h i s t o r i a n s , but few of them have delved deeply into the important constitut i o n a l issues which arose during the c r u c i a l years 1905-1915. the most important  Undoubtedly,  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l problem of the period was the exercise of  sovereignty.  Where did sovereignty reside i n theory, and who exercised i t  in practice?  Was the Tsar the sovereign power, or was sovereignty exercised  on his behalf by someone else?  Could the Tsar have become a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  monarch by l i m i t i n g his own sovereign powers?  Did the October Manifesto  establish a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy, and i f not, what was i t s r e a l significance? These are some of the most important  questions which are discussed i n d e t a i l  i n the thesis. The p o l i t i c a l events of the decade are examined i n the l i g h t of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l problems r a i s e d i n 1905.  The evidence presented  suggests  that the importance of the October Manifesto as a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l document has been exaggerated, and that the Fundamental Laws of 1906 were far more s i g n i f i c a n t than has been generally believed.  Count Witte's r o l e i n pre-  serving the imperial prerogative powers i s analysed i n some d e t a i l .  It i s  argued that the Fundamental Laws l e f t the Emperor's l e g i s l a t i v e prerogative i n t a c t , and that the Duma therefore l o s t i t s raison d'etre long before i t s f i r s t convocation.  This loss caused the f i r s t two Dumas to challenge the  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l system established by the Fundamental Laws.  The Third Duma  achieved a kind of pragmatic authority during the Stolypin regime, but a f t e r 1911  the Duma ceased to play any kind of e f f e c t i v e r o l e i n the  process.  governing  ii F i n a l l y , i t i s argued that Nicholas I I was incapable of exercising i n t e l l i g e n t l y the extensive prerogative powers which the Emperor retained a f t e r 1905. His d e f i c i e n c i e s of character and h i s reactionary p o l i t i c a l ideas made i t impossible for reasonable men to serve as h i s - m i n i s t e r s . In August of 1915, the worsening m i l i t a r y s i t u a t i o n necessitated an unequivocal decision by the Tsar as to whether he would accept once and for a l l the establishment of a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy.  From the course of the negotia-  tions between the Progressive Bloc and the cabinet, i t would appear that a f i n a l transfer of the imperial l e g i s l a t i v e prerogative to the Duma was not contemplated; rather, the l e g i s l a t i v e prerogative would be exercised by a ministry of p u b l i c and m i l i t a r y leaders on behalf of the Emperor. Nicholas could not bring himself to accept.  This  He chose to r u l e rather than  reign, and ruled as a v i r t u a l l y absolute monarch u n t i l 1917, when he suddenly found he had no choice at a l l but to abdicate.  TABLE OF CONTENTS  CHAPTER  I. II. III. IV. V. VI.  PAGE INTRODUCTION  1  THE AUTOCRATIC TRADITION  5  THE REVOLUTION OF 1905  13  PREPARATIONS  31  THE FIRST DUMA  46  STOLYPIN AND THE SECOND DUMA  66  A TIME FOR PRAGMATISM  81  VII.  THE MONARCHY AND POLITICS  100  VIII.  THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS OF 1915  114  CONCLUSION  138  BIBLIOGRAPHY  142  INTRODUCTION  On 17/30 October, 1905, the Emperor Nicholas I I of Russia, hitherto an absolute monarch, issued a Manifesto announcing his i n t e n t i o n to l i m i t his own autocratic sovereignty.  Henceforth, no law would be  enacted without the consent of the State Duma, a body composed of the elected representatives of the people of Russia.  Taken at face value,  the Manifesto amounted to a promise that a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy would be set up i n Russia, and that the Emperor would surrender to the State Duma his prerogative power as supreme l e g i s l a t i v e authority i n the Empire. The purpose of this study i s to ascertain the extent to which this promise was fulfilled. For Imperial Russia to become a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy, i t was necessary that e f f e c t i v e limitations be placed on the absolute sovereignty of the Tsar.  A f t e r the October Manifesto, the central problem i n Russian  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l history i s the degree to which the Tsar shared, or refused to share, h i s prerogative powers with the Duma.  Unless the Duma became  the supreme l e g i s l a t i v e authority i n the Empire, the promises contained i n the Manifesto would remain u n f u l f i l l e d . What, then, i s a sovereign power, and how can i t be recognized? The French philosopher, Bertrand de Jouvenal, has presented an admirably clear and concise d e f i n i t i o n : The d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a Power which i s sovereign a r e — i t s possession of a l e g i s l a t i v e authority, i t s capacity to a l t e r as i t pleases i t s subjects' rules of behaviour, while recasting at i t s own convenience the rules which determine i t s own, and, while i t l e g i s l a t e s for o|hers, to be i t s e l f above the laws, legibus solutus. absolute.  2 Under t h i s d e f i n i t i o n , i t w i l l be obvious that the Emperor was the sovereign power i n Russia before 1905.  I t i s argued i n t h i s study that  i t i s equally obvious that he remained the sovereign power a f t e r 1905. True, he announced h i s intention to y i e l d the supreme l e g i s l a t i v e authority to the State Duma, but this transfer of authority never took place.  The  Fundamental Laws of 1906 reaffirmed the sovereign power of the Emperor, and he remained the supreme l e g i s l a t i v e authority u n t i l 1917. But the struggle to l i m i t the sovereignty of the Emperor d i d not end i n 1906.  The F i r s t Duma demanded not only the transfer of supreme  legislative authority, but also the establishment  of parliamentary  govern-  ment, including a ministry responsible to the Duma. . The Second Duma made the same demands.  The Third Duma, sobered by the fate of i t s predecessors,  avoided a d i r e c t confrontation with the Emperor over the issue of l e g i s l a t i v e authority, but by subtle and quiet methods, i t was able to e s t a b l i s h c e r t a i n powers f o r i t s e l f within a severely l i m i t e d sphere.  The Fourth  Duma also avoided a b a t t l e over the formal l e g i s l a t i v e authority, but i t attempted to make a p r a c t i c a l l i m i t a t i o n on the Tsar's authority by winning h i s approval f o r a 'ministry of confidence',  (a ministry made up  of men who enjoyed p u b l i c confidence, not a ministry responsible to the Duma).  Thus the period began with attempts to place formal, written  l i m i t a t i o n s on the sovereign power of the Emperor, and ended with attempts to place informal, pragmatic l i m i t a t i o n s on this power. sovereignty  The question of  i s therefore the central issue.  The text of the thesis has been organized  chronologically c h i e f l y  because each new attempt to l i m i t the sovereignty of. the Emperor rested  on the experience of a previous f a i l u r e .  The opening chapter describes  the sovereign powers and prerogatives of the Emperor as they existed before 1905.  The circumstances which led up to the October Manifesto and  i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e as a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l document are analysed i n Chapter I I . The Fundamental Laws of 1906 are discussed i n a t h i r d chapter, and the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n offered i s . that they f a i l e d to make any substantial change i n the sovereign powers of the Emperor.  The next three chapters are con-  cerned with the a c t i v i t i e s of the State Dumas from 1906 Stolypin, Nicholas I I s most powerful minister. 1  u n t i l the death\of  Chapter VII analyses the  reassertion of personal autocratic sovereignty a f t e r 1911, and the p o l i t i c a l ideas of Nicholas I I as they emerged at this time. devoted to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c r i s i s of 1915,  The f i n a l chapter i s  the l a s t attempt to l i m i t  the Emperor's sovereignty before the Revolution i n 1917. I t i s true that there i s a wealth of l i t e r a t u r e on this period of Russian h i s t o r y , but very few historians have paid s u f f i c i e n t attention to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l problems involved.  S i r Bernard Pares, English champion  of the Anglophile Kadets, saw this period as a gallant attempt to set up a parliament on the English model i n Russia.  While h i s h i s t o r i c a l scholar-  ship i s impeccable, S i r Bernard too often saw problems through Kadet eyes, and occasionally h i s emphasis was misplaced.  In the opinion of this  writer, he gives too much attention to the 'grand design' of the October Manifesto, and not enough to the harsh r e a l i t i e s of the Fundamental Laws of 1906.  A more recent author, Richard Charques, has given a more balanced  view of the period, but i n his. general account the f i n e r constitutional..  4 points aire j u s t i f i a b l y omitted.  Increased attention to these problems i s  to be rioted i n the work of A l f r e d Levin and S. G. Levitsky, and one looks forward to further studies which w i l l amplify their conclusions. At a time when many countries a l l over the world are attempting to establish c o n s t i t u t i o n a l systems of government, i t i s of the utmost importance that historians should devote their attention to e a r l i e r examples of this same process.  Imperial Russia provides an excellent  example of a country with no c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t r a d i t i o n attempting to establish limited monarchy on the European model.  The ultimate f a i l u r e  of these attempts makes their investigation a l l the more important as i t emphasizes the r o l e which p e r s o n a l i t i e s and emotions can play i n these matters.  This i s not to say that we learn from the past, but rather that  the h i s t o r i a n must interpret history f o r h i s own generation.  The problem  of sovereignty and i t s l i m i t a t i o n i s indeed one of the basic issues facing this generation.  London,  ^Power, the Natural History of I t s Growth, t r . by J . F. Huntingdon, 1947.  CHAPTER  I  THE AUTOCRATIC TRADITION Autocratic.power—of a l l powers the most dangerous, f o r i t causes the f a t e of m i l l i o n s of men to hang upon one man's grandeur of mind and s o u l . — P r i n c e Yashchvil to the ^ Emperor Alexander I, 1801. Autocratic power inspires fear and anxiety i n any country because the sovereign powers of an autocrat are, by d e f i n i t i o n , unlimited.  The  awful r e a l i t y of autocratic power i s that the state i s e n t i r e l y personified i n the Autocrat.  There i s no d i s t i n c t i o n which can be made between the  law of the state and the personal w i l l of the Autocrat. the law was,  quite simply, the w i l l of the Emperor.  In Imperial Russia,  Thus, "...law i n  Russia did not serve as a middle term between the Tsar and the people, but, i d e n t i f i e d with the person of the Tsar, served to emphasize the i d e n t i t y of 2 the r u l e r and the state." was above the law.  He was  The Emperor was the law, and, at the same time, the perfect embodiment of sovereign power.  Furthermore, as the earthly protector of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Emperor wielded a power which was infused with divine authority. Nicholas I proclaimed i n his Fundamental Laws:  As  The Tsar of a l l the Russias i s an autocratic and absolute monarch. God himself commands us to obey the Tsar's supreme 3 authority, not from fear alone, but as a point of conscience. Since the Emperor was the fountainhead of power, a l l the p o l i t i c a l and j u d i c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s of the Empire could only be manifestations of h i s sovereign power.  From a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l point of view, they were merely  agencies or extensions of the personal w i l l of the autocrat.  6 A l l the ministers, f o r example, were appointed by the Emperor and held o f f i c e at h i s pleasure.  Since each ministry acted independently of  the others, i t s importance depended i n large measure on the degree of r o y a l favour which the minister enjoyed at any given moment.  There was,  of course, continual vying for royal favour, the most notable instance of which i n Nicholas II*s reign was the r i v a l r y between Plehve and witte. The ministers sometimes met together with the Imperial and State secretaries, and without the Tsar, as the Committee of Ministers Ministrov).  (Komitet  This was not a cabinet, nor was i t s chairman a Prime M i n i s t e r .  He simply, presided over the meetings, which were held from.time to time '••...to discuss measures within t h e i r competence and'to co-ordinate them in. the interests of the state before presenting them for the sanction of 4 the Emperor." . .  This Committee was abolished i n 1906.  .The Council of Ministers (Sovet Ministrov) was a more formal,  body; chaired by.the Tsar and meeting only at h i s command. of the Ministers, high-ranking state o f f i c i a l s (e.g.  I t consisted  the.Procurator-General  of the Holy Synod), and two members appointed by the Emperor.  The Council,  f a i r l y obviously, discussed state business which required the presence of the Tsar.  I t was t h i s body which was reorganized as a "cabinet" a f t e r  the Revolution of 1905. The Council of State advised the Emperor i n the exercise of h i s l e g i s l a t i v e prerogative.  I t consisted of a Chairman and an unlimited  number of members appointed by the Emperor.  The Tsar reserved the r i g h t  to announce which members would be a c t i v e during any one year, so that less than half the members usually attended  i t s general sessions.  To the Council  7 were attached four departments which prepared They were:  the measures for discussion.  L e g i s l a t i o n ; C i v i l and E c c l e s i a s t i c a l A f f a i r s ; State Economy;  Industry, Science and Commerce.  Each department met  separately, and com-  municated i t s projects to the f u l l Council i n general session. .  The Council discussed the budget and state expenditures.  It  examined projects of l e g i s l a t i o n , approving or r e j e c t i n g them, but not modifying them.  Rejected proposals were returned to the department con-  cerned with suggestions for improvements. :  As the Ministers were ex-  o f f i c i o members, the debates of the Council revolved around them, and  the  members usually voted for the Minister whose argument they found-most convincing.  .  The work of the Council.was hampered by the age and limited  .  knowledge of i t s members, .most of whom were former governors, ministers, and ambassadors, and who activity.  consequently  understood only one area of state  A few of the younger senators did most of i t s actual work.  Men  with expert knowledge could be summoned before the Council, but they r a r e l y gave testimony because the Minister concerned was  unwilling to admit his  ignorance of the.subject, and preferred to defend the proposal himself. .Furthermore, the Council was  alpurely advisory body and had no  l e g i s l a t i v e i n i t i a t i v e , , so that " . . . i n effect the Council was  really  nothing but a court-of c o n c i l i a t i o n for quarreling ministers and government 5  o f f i c e s i n general". . After, the rebuff which the Councillors received from the Tsar at t h e i r j u b i l e e celebration i n 1901, most of them l o s t t h e i r enthusiasm and steered away from r a i s i n g basic p o l i t i c a l problems, f e e l i n g that they no longer..enjoyed  the confidence of the Supreme Power.  -  The highest court i n the Empire, the Senate, was also.the tool of the Emperor.  I t had neither l e g i s l a t i v e nor-executive i n i t i a t i v e , and  „•.;  existed s o l e l y i n order to r e g i s t e r and promulgate laws made by the Emperor.  I f the l a t t e r announced a decision which ran contrary to the  Fundamental Laws, the Senate was powerless to declare the new measure . unconstitutional.. The law of the Empire was,  once again, the most recent  manifestation of the w i l l of the Autocrat. It i s clear that none of the i n s t i t u t i o n s of the Imperial government was more than an extension of the autocracy.  Indeed, the  governing  class never entertained the suggestion that the Supreme Power might be shared with<some other body i n the s t a t e .  Some h i s t o r i a n s have maintained  that M. M. Speransky's Plan of 1809 amounted to the introduction of a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l form of government, but his most recent biographer, i n a thoughtful and perceptive study, has shown that t h i s Plan l e f t the auto6  c r a t i c power i n t a c t .  In f a c t , Speransky's proposed Duma was  l i t t l e more  than a revised Zemskii Sobor, having no power of l e g i s l a t i v e i n i t i a t i v e and existing as a purely advisory body. The prejudice against c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy was Russian r u l i n g class i n the nineteenth century. who v i s i t e d Russia i n 1839,  dogma to the  The Marquis de Custine,  reports a conversation with Tsar Nicholas I,  wherein the Tsar stated bluntly, I can understand the r e p u b l i c - - i t i s an open and sincere government, or at least i t can be; I can understand the absolute monarchy, since I am the head of such a government; but I cannot comprehend the representative monarchy—it i s a government of l i e s , of fraud and corruption, and I would withdraw as - far as, :: China rather than ever adopt i t . ?  This a t t i t u d e was supposedly  shared by Alexander I I I , who h a s t i l y removed the  l i b e r a l Count Loris-Melikov, whom he had inherited from his  father's r e i g n . The prejudice against c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy was of the l a s t two Tsars, K. P. Pobedonostsev, who General of the Holy Synod.  shared by the tutor  later became Procurator-  The views of Pobedonostsev permeated the  Russian court during the two decades p r i o r to 1905, and i t i s therefore worthwhile to examine h i s theories, as they provide an insight into the mind of Nicholas I I . Neither o r i g i n a l nor wholly consistent, Pobedonostsev's philosophy i s nonetheless s t r i k i n g for i t s fanaticism and intolerance. He was a fervent champion of autocracy, who  opposed even an advisory Zemskii Sobor  as an infringement on the r o y a l prerogative.  On the other hand, he wished  the actual executive functions of government to be discharged by a capable and enlightened bureaucracy.  '.'His autocrat was  i n effect a figurehead...  he sought to replace the aristocracy or n o b i l i t y with a group of middleg class executive managers or e f f i c i e n c y experts."  He was b i t t e r l y opposed  to the t r a d i t i o n a l bureaucracy, which he regarded as a c o l l e c t i o n of useless lackies, and h i s advice to Alexander I I I was "cherchez des capables' Everything he wrote was an attack on the l i b e r a l constitutionalism of nineteenth-century Europe.  A r b i t r a r y power, he believed, could never be  replaced by the authority of law.  Such a hope i s a "vain fancy", r e s u l t i n g  i n "violence worse than that which went before".  £ln a democracy} p o l i t i c a l freedom becomes a f i c t i o n maintained on paper by the paragraphs and phrases of the cons t i t u t i o n ; the p r i n c i p l e s of monarchical power disappear; the L i b e r a l Democracy triumphs...such conditions inevitably lead to anarchy, from which society can be saved alone by dictatorship--that i s , by the r e h a b i l i t a t i o n of autocracy i n the government of the world.H Like many Russians, not a l l of whom were as reactionary as he, . Pobedonostsey believed that "the greatest e v i l of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l government l i e s i n the formation of m i n i s t r i e s pn parliamentary or party ..12 principles."  V i s i t o r s to Russia l a t e i n the century report that many  people firmly believed that, when and i f they were granted a parliament, there would be no parties formed, because of the inherent unity of the Russian people. The cornerstone of Pobedonostsev's thought was Russian Orthodoxy. The Church alone was good and true, while man was debased and e v i l . the Church, he believed, was f i t to guide the people.  Only  Democracy, the  popular press, and t r i a l by jury were a l l aspects of the demagogy of e v i l mankind.  The inconsistency here i s obvious, and has been p i t h i l y  by T. G. Masaryk:  stated  "Vox populi vox dei when populus acknowledges the  Orthodox f a i t h ; but vox populi vox d i a b o l i when populus demands a 13 parliament and the suffrage." I t must be said i n j u s t i c e to Pobedonostsev that his low opinion of representative government was not without some foundation i n f a c t . V Could one expect f i n - d e - s i e c l e French or Austrian parliaments to draw the p r a i s e of a foreign observer?  Contemporary events seemed to r e i n f o r c e  Pobedonostsev's b e l i e f that, "the extension of the representative p r i n c i p l e i s accompanied by an abasement of p o l i t i c a l ideas and the v u l g a r i s a t i o n of 14 opinions i n the mass of the electors."  11 Nicholas I I wholeheartedly  accepted Pobedonostsev's condemnation  of parliaments and h i s praise of autocratic power.  The Tsar was, however,  a man of l i t t l e education and mediocre i n t e l l e c t u a l power.  He himself  could not cope with the a f f a i r s of state, and he resented anyone who was his  i n t e l l e c t u a l superior.  Therefore he discarded a most v i t a l part of  Pobedonostsev's philosophy—the necessity for the autocrat to r e l y on a i capable and enlightened bureaucracy. important quality than a b i l i t y .  To Nicholas, l o y a l t y was a more  Jealous of his most capable minister,  Stolypin, Nicholas was only too glad to replace him with such nonentities as Kokovtsov and Goremykin.  I t was this weakness i n the Tsar's character  which was h i s own undoing.  He retained the ideology of autocracy, but he  f a i l e d to establish i t on a sound f o o t i n g . He worshipped the superstructure of h i s power, but he ignored i t s base.  Thus when war came i n 1914, Tsarskoe  Selo proved i t s e l f to be not a bastion of autocracy but a house of cards. i t i s i r o n i c that Pobedonostsev might have been describing thereign of h i s own p u p i l when he wrote that the f i r s t necessity of power i s f a i t h i n i t s e l f and i t s mission. Happy i s power when this f a i t h i s combined with a recognition of duty and moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y l Unhappy i s i t when i t lacks this consciousness and leans upon i t s e l f alone! Then begins the decay ^ which leads to loss of f a i t h and to d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and destruction.  12 FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER I  '''Quoted in. A.P. Izvolsky, Recollections of a Foreign M i n i s t e r . New York, 1921, p. 156. 2  M.  Cherniavsky, Tsar and People. New Haven, 1961, p. 88.  % . Riasanovsky, Nicholas I and O f f i c i a l Nationality i n Russia. 1825-1855. Berkeley, 1959, p. 96. I. Gurko, Features and Figures of the Past: Government and Opinion i n the Reign of Nicholas I I , Stanford, 1939, p. 592, n. 12. 5  I b i d . , p. 29.  ^M. Raeff, Michael Speransky, Statesman of Imperial Russia, 1772-1839. The Hague. 1957. , P.. P. Kohler, (ed.), Journey for Our Time, London, 1953, p. 7  135.  • F. Byrnes, "Pobedonostsev on the Instruments of Russian Government", i n E. J . Simmons (ed.), Continuity and Change i n Russian and Soviet Thought, Cambridge, Mass., 1955, p. 128. ;  .  9  I b i d . , p.  120.  *^K. P. Pobedonostsev, Reflections of a Russian Statesman, London, 1898, pp. 254-255. 1 1  I b i d . , p. 54.  1 2  I b i d . , p. 52.  1 3  T.  G. Masaryk, The S p i r i t of Russia, London, 1919, V o l . I I , p. 201,  •^^Pobedonostsev, Op.cit., pp. 27-28. 1 5  I b i d . , p.  256.  CHAPTER II THE REVOLUTION OF  Like Hamlet, Nicholas II was  1905  tormented by h i s father's ghost.  Alexander I I I had been a powerful monarch, as formidable i n character as he was  i n appearance.  For fourteen years he had been to the Russian  Empire what Gibraltar had been to the B r i t i s h — t h e symbol of strength and endurance.  When he died, he l e f t behind an image which was  to cast a  dark shadow over the r e i g n of h i s v a c i l l a t i n g and weak-willed successor. His son was,  however, perceptive enough to appreciate the impact of h i s  father's reign, and he t r i e d , insofar as he was able, to emulate the p o l i c i e s of the l a s t great autocrat. Alexander I I I was no l i b e r a l , and his son strove to maintain i d e a l of a powerful autocracy.  Yet the autocracy was  the  to be tempered with  j u s t i c e , for h i s father, despite his intolerance of l i b e r a l i s m , had been c a l l e d 'peacemaker', by the people.  Nicholas had no wish to play the  despot, and he f i r m l y believed i n benevolent r u l e .  He would do nothing,  however, to subvert the power which he had i n h e r i t e d . I t was a sacred thing, and he believed i t h i s solemn duty to bequeath that power intact to h i s successor. reform was  For these reasons, therefore, the subject of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  taboo at the court of Nicholas II for the f i r s t decade of his  reign. By 1904,  the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n had worsened to such an extent  that the Emperor was  forced to allow some discussion of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  14 question.  Two Ministers of the I n t e r i o r , D. S. S i p i a g i n and V. K. Plehve,  had been assassinated by revolutionary t e r r o r i s t s .  I f something were not  done to p a c i f y the country, the o f f i c e s of public administration could not be f i l l e d .  No one wished to present himself as a target f o r t e r r o r i s t bombs.  With these thoughts i n mind, Nicholas appointed as Plehve's successor Prince P. D. Sviatopolk-Mirsky, sentiments.  Mirsky's f i r s t act was  a man  of vaguely l i b e r a l  to announce that the government would  henceforth base i t s a c t i v i t i e s on "an a t t i t u d e of sincere trust i n p u b l i c and class i n s t i t u t i o n s and i n the people."^ r e p l i e s from the p u b l i c i n s t i t u t i o n s .  The new Minister soon received  The zemstvo assemblies and  municipal  dumas expressed their support for his p o l i c i e s , provided that the govern= ment's e f f o r t s would be directed toward the establishment  of some form of  representative government—a 'regime of equity', as they c a l l e d i t . ideas were c l a r i f i e d at a Congress of zemstvo and p u b l i c men St. Petersburg  i n November, 1904.  A r e s o l u t i o n was  Their  held i n  adopted c a l l i n g for  p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the framing of laws and the discussion of the annual budget.  I t was  further suggested that a means should be devised whereby  the public could s c r u t i n i z e the l e g a l i t y of the actions of government adminis t r a t o r s . Here, then, was  the basis for what might have been a settlement  the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l question.  of  The i n c l u s i o n of elected representatives of  the zemstvo and municipal organizations i n a reformed State Council would have p a c i f i e d the l i b e r a l n o b i l i t y and most of the p u b l i c men.  I t would  not for the moment have s a t i s f i e d the more r a d i c a l zemstvo leaders, but i f  15 i t were presented as the basis for a gradual broadening of the p o l i t i c a l  ;  structure, even they could not have opposed the substance of such a plan. A few weeks l a t e r , the Ministers assembled for a conference with the Tsar at Tsarkoe Selo.  The zemstvo resolution was embodied i n a report  given by Prince Mirsky on the need f o r a reform of the State Council.  The  i n c l u s i o n of elected representatives had the support of most of the Ministers, but the intractable opposition of the Tsar proved decisive. Nicholas would agree to the presence of public men only i f they were 'elected' by the government.  S. Y. Witte, Chairman of the Committee of  Ministers, saw that the s i t u a t i o n was hopeless, and abandoned attempts to change the Tsar's mind.  The r e s u l t s of the conference were published i n  the Decree of December 12, 1904.  Its various clauses c a l l e d for the  r e s t o r a t i o n of public order, the extension of freedom of speech, r e l i g i o u s t o l e r a t i o n , and l o c a l self-government, the ending of discrimination against national minorities, and the a b o l i t i o n of the extraordinary j u d i c i a l powers of the Land Captains. In theory, the Decree was a step forward, even though i t rejected the demands of the p u b l i c men.  Effectively.enforced, i t could have  a l l e v i a t e d much hardship, and won some much-needed support f o r the government.  In p r a c t i c e , however, the l i b e r a l measures of the Decree were a dead  l e t t e r from the beginning.  The Tsar, s t i l l under the influence of K. P.  Pobedonostsev i n these matters, refused to sanction any concessions to the aspirations of n a t i o n a l i s t s and dissenters. He was  particularly  intransigent on the subject of concessions to the Jews, and was to remain so to his dying day.  16 Despite the Tsar's obvious opposition, Witte did not c u r t a i l h i s e f f o r t s . t o put at least some of the ideals of the Decree into: p r a c t i c e . Witte was by no means a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s t , but he had conceived a grand scheme for transforming the loose, sprawling Romanov Empire into a great modern state.  A f i n a n c i a l genius, he saw himself as the l o y a l servant of  a powerful, .absolute monarch, a sort of Russian R i c h e l i e u . "Unfortunately for him, Nicholas was neither as formidable nor as i n t e l l i g e n t as . Alexander I I I , who had been Witte's i d e a l of enlightened absolutism. Therefore i t was necessary to play the opportunist, i n order to strengthen his p o s i t i o n , and Witte was ready to do just that.  In the words of V. I . 2  Gurko, who knew him well, he became "a v e r i t a b l e virtuoso i n i n t r i g u e . " Unfortunately f o r him, he.was not always successful* The Tsar was not so stupid that he did not r e a l i z e the,danger of Witte*s burning ambition to his own p o s i t i o n i n the state.  He therefore  took the unusual .step of r e l i n q u i s h i n g the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers, and appointed Count D. N. Solsky, President of the State Council, to act i n his place.  He did this not because he wanted to bolster Count  Solsky's p o s i t i o n , but because he wanted to diminish the power of the much too energetic Witte. Before the Council could meet with i t s new Chairman, the Empire was shaken by 'Bloody Sunday', January 9, 1905. The country was aghast at the news of this senseless -slaughter of innocent . people.  A scapegoat had  to be found quickly, and within a. week Prince Mirsky was dismissed from the Interior.  His successor, A, G. Bulygin, was a bureaucratic nonentity.  The  r e a l power i n the c a p i t a l was given to D. F. Trepov, who was appointed Governor-General  of St. Petersburg.  Trepov was a notorious reactionary,  and h i s increasing power pleased no one except the Tsar, who thought very highly of him.  17 When the Solsky conference f i n a l l y met,  the question of public  p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n l e g i s l a t i o n was immediately r a i s e d .  The Tsar agreed to  the presentation of a draft proposal f o r reform, and empowered Bulygin to a t t r a c t most deserving persons, vested with p u b l i c confidence and elected by the people, to undertake the preliminary examination and consideration of l e g i s l a t i v e p r o j e c t s . I t seemed that, despite the appointment of Trepov, the Tsar was to authorize a measure of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform.  prepared  One can imagine the  surprise of the members of the conference, therefore, when on February 18 a Manifesto was published which strongly reasserted the autocratic p r i n c i p l I t read, i n part, Let a l l Russians stand firm around Our throne, true to the t r a d i t i o n s of Our past...and support the autocracy f o r the good of a l l Our f a i t h f u l subjects.^ Witte, unable to r e c o n c i l e the seeming inconsistency-of Nicholas' behaviour suggests that Pobedonostsev and the Empress were behind this piece of trickery."*  However, Gurko i s probably closer to the truth i n h i s judgment  that " . . . i n the Tsar's mind, the establishment of an advisory elected body would not lead, and was not supposed to lead, to any infringement of the autocratic p r i n c i p l e . "  Nicholas' conduct i n l a t e r years c l e a r l y showed  that he did not-believe that even an elected Duma with l e g i s l a t i v e powers should lead to any infringement of his royal prerogatives. In any event, the r e s u l t of the Manifesto was to unify the Ministers s o l i d l y behind the proposal f o r the establishment of an advisory Duma, consisting of representatives elected c h i e f l y by the peasantry. Kryzhanovsky, an o f f i c i a l i n the Ministry of the I n t e r i o r , had the audacity to suggest that, although the peasants were the most conservative element  18 of the populace, they were also the stupidest, and the most incapable of dealing with questions of government.  Despite the obvious element of  truth i n t h i s c r i t i c i s m , no changes were made i n the draft, since the Ministers were anxious to demonstrate their unanimous opposition to the •autocratic manifesto'.  Thus the Bulygin project was  and was passed on to the Emperor, who  could now  unanimously endorsed  either disregard or  accept the advice of h i s ministers. Meanwhile, the question of the e l e c t o r a l franchise was a r i f t i n the zemstvo ranks.  causing  In February, the Congress had passed a  r e s o l u t i o n favouring the so-called 'Four-Tailed Formula'—universal, d i r e c t , equal, manhood.suffrage.  By A p r i l , an open s p l i t had  developed.  The majority continued to support the e a r l i e r r e s o l u t i o n , but a minority, who  favoured the rapprochement i m p l i c i t i n the Bulygin proposals, voted  i n favour of an advisory Duma elected on the basis of the 1864 Zemstvo E l e c t i o n Law.  This would have meant that the majority of voters would  come from the peasant c l a s s .  This minority of moderate l i b e r a l s , already  led by D. N. Shipov, were to break with the r a d i c a l s a f t e r October and form the nucleus of the future 'Octobrist' party. During the next two months, the government remained s i l e n t , neither accepting or r e j e c t i n g the Bulygin proposals.  As the war  situation  worsened every day, the a r t i c u l a t e p u b l i c increased i t s demands for 'a regime of equity'.  The news of the disastrous b a t t l e of Tsushima reached  St. Petersburg on May. 15.. This, coupled with the appointment of Trepov as Assistant Minister of the I n t e r i o r on May  21, enraged p u b l i c opinion.  On  19  May  24, a Joint Congress of N o b i l i t y , and Zemstvo and Municipal ;  t i v e s , was held i n Moscow.  Representa-  They sent a p e t i t i o n to the Tsar asking that  .persons enjoying public confidence...be summoned to share i n the government."  The following day, the Union of Unions Congress i n St.  Petersburg c a l l e d f o r a constituent assembly elected on the basis of universal suffrage, without regard to sex, r e l i g i o n or n a t i o n a l i t y .  Three  weeks l a t e r , the Congress of Municipal Representatives denounced the Bulygin proposals and c a l l e d for a decree of basic c i v i l r i g h t s , and the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.  In July, the zemstvo-constitu-  t i o n a l i s t s joined the Union of Unions, thus creating a formidable body of opposition to.any further delays by the government i n granting a l e g i s l a t i v e Duma. Nicholas, undaunted by a public opinion he refused to acknowledge, f i n a l l y c a l l e d a conference at Peterhof.  The agenda f o r the  conference was a discussion of the Bulygin proposals.  No member of the  government, with the exception of Count Solsky, attended the conference. Nicholas c a l l e d i n at this juncture only his most f a i t h f u l and most conservative advisers--Counts Ignatiev, Naryshkin, and Bobrinsky and, of course, K. P. Pobedonostsev.  Several Grand Dukes also attended.  Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Governor-General  of Moscow, was  The to have  attended, but he had been assassinated a few weeks before by a t e r r o r i s t bomb.  That this formidable gathering of reactionaries should have approved  the Bulygin proposals i s a testament  to the enormous effect which that  assassination had had on Russia's r u l i n g c l a s s e s . I f the Tsar's uncle were not safe from attack, then the revolutionaries could not be defied any longer.  20 ".The r e s u l t of the conference was: the Decree of August 6, by which.the: Tsar approved  the establishment of a consultative Duma, to be.  elected.chiefly by the peasantry.  I t was empowered to discuss a l l laws  and the budget, although the government did not bind i t s e l f even to . acknowledge the advice of the Duma. Members were to enjoy parliamentary immunity during,sessions of the Duma. Most important of a l l , , the e l e c t o r a l law could not ;be changed without the consent of the Duma. g  Count Witte  has l e v e l l e d scathing c r i t i c i s m at the Decree of  August 6.. Because.the Duma was to h a v e " . . . a l l the prerogatives of a parliament except the chief one," he c a l l s the whole a f f a i r "...a t y p i c a l invention of our bureaucratic eunuchs."  He i s , of course, anxious to  have his readers believe that he had no part i n drawing up the plans, so that he may appear as.the great l i b e r a l who i n October opened a new era for. Russia,.after the e f f o r t s of the incompetent such a miserable f a i l u r e .  bureaucrats had proved  We are already acquainted with Witte's  chameleon-like p o l i t i c s , and i t i s no surprise to f i n d that he was, i n f a c t , a party to these discussions. Count Kokovtsov provides testimony that : during the entire discussion of the Bulygin project in.Count Solsky's conference, Witte, as Chairman of the Ministers' Committee, took the most active p a r t . He never once suggested that the advisory character of the Duma would s a t i s f y no one.10 Witte's attempt  to dissociate himself from the infamous Bulygin Duma must  be regarded as part of the l i b e r a l pose which he struck when i t suited his ambitions. ,  The Bulygin Duma never met.  A sop to the moderates, i t f a i l e d  to s a t i s f y a much larger group who i n s i s t e d on a l e g i s l a t i v e , not a  21 consultative body.  A much more important  Solsky Conference was  aspect of the work of the ,  the introduction into Russia of the cabinet p r i n c i p l e  of government.. Some Ministers, among them Witte, believed that although the Tsar would,not grant a 'ministry of confidence'  (one responsible to  the Duma), he would agree to a u n i f i c a t i o n of the work of the various ministries.  Nevertheless, there was much haggling over a nomenclature  which would not offend the Supreme Power.  A 'Prime Minister' might  "impair the prestige of the Emperor i n the eyes of the people."H Solsky i n s i s t e d that the new  Count  'cabinet* take,the name of the old Council  of Ministers, and that i t s leader be known merely as the Chairman. . Count Witte was much more interested i n how function, whatever i t s t i t l e .  His view was  the cabinet would  that the future Chairman.,  should approve a l l reports made by his colleagues to the Tsar, and attend when the reports were made.  He was  .  opposed by the majority,  feared such.a concentration of power i n the hands of one man.  should who  Kokovtsov,  the Minister of Finance, suggested that i t would be s u f f i c i e n t i f reports were.approved by the Council as a whole. f i c a n t i n d i c a t i o n of his own  Witte's reply was  to be a s i g n i -  course of conduct—  Write what you w i l l ; as for myself I know what I s h a l l do i f I have the pleasure of being Chairman of the future Ministers* C o u n c i l - - ! s h a l l have ministers of my own s e l e c t i o n and s h a l l not worry about their i n d i v i d u a l reports.12 Evidently Witte's statement that he would r e l i e v e the Tsar of his prerogative power of choosing ministers did not reach the ears of Nicholas, who was  favourably impressed by the idea of a u n i f i e d cabinet.  13 he telegraphed to Witte:  On October  22 U n t i l the confirmation of the Cabinet Law, I d i r e c t you to coordinate the a c t i v i t i e s of the ministers, whom I instruct to restore order everywhere. Only i n the t r a n q u i l current of the Empire's l i f e w i l l i t be possible for the Government to ... cooperate i n constructive work with the-future f r e e l y chosen representatives of my p e o p l e . ^ Having received t h i s message, Count Witte was convinced  that he would, i n  f a c t , be appointed Chairman of the new cabinet-council, and he began to plan his strategy. It would be impossible, he believed, to restore "the t r a n q u i l current of the Empire's l i f e " without new concessions on the part of the government.  The consultative Duma had s a t i s f i e d no one, and  s t r i k e s and unrest were reaching such proportions that i n a few days only the army, i f i t remained l o y a l , could restore order.  But Witte had no  l i k i n g for m i l i t a r y d i c t a t o r s h i p , especially since he himself did not stand to benefit from one a t t h i s time.  On the other hand, a great show  of l i b e r a l i s m might win over the p u b l i c for long enough to enable the government to restore order.  A foreign loan was needed t o bolster the  sagging economy, and Witte was the only man with a s o l i d reputation i n international f i n a n c i a l c i r c l e s .  Once the loan were negotiated, the govern-  ment would be strong enough to revoke the most objectionable aspects of i t s e a r l i e r l i b e r a l i s m , and the people, already s e t t l e d back into the routine of d a i l y l i f e , would ignore the further incitements to r e b e l l i o n from the enraged l i b e r a l s who had taken the government at i t s word.  Thus the  government would be i n control of the country, and Count Witte would be i n control of the government.  In the days which followed, he was to prove  himself as masterful a t a c t i c i a n as ?he was a s t r a t e g i s t .  23 On October 14, the Tsar asked Witte to prepare a report on the measures necessary for a. restoration, of public order..  The report,;drawn up  largely by Witte's good f r i e n d , Prince A. D. Obolensky, was presented thefollowing day.  According to the report, Nicholas had only two a l t e r n a t i v e s ;  to put down the r e b e l l i o n by a m i l i t a r y dictatorship, or to grant a constitution.  The Tsar, r e a l i z i n g the gravity of the s i t u a t i o n , asked Witte to  rewrite the substance of the report as a manifesto;- for publication, and to present i t i n f i n a l form the next day. This was done, i n the presence of Baron Frederichs, Minister of the Imperial Court, General Minister of War, and the Grand Duke N i k o l a i Nikolaevich.  Roediger,  The same day,  Nicholas received alternate draft manifestoes from two members of the State Council, Baron Budberg and I . L. Goremykin. Witte had not anticipated t h i s l a s t development.  He was  greatly angered that the Tsar should pay any attention to the advice of Goremykin, whom he considered a bungler.  This new turn of events i n f u r i a t e d  him, f o r although he had suggested that Nicholas "consider this problem i n conference with other government o f f i c i a l s , " he never f o r a moment intimated that the Tsar "should seek l i g h t from...such nonetities as Goremykin."^ Fortunately f o r Witte, Nicholas allowed him to accept o f f i c e on his own terms.  Baron Frederichs brought the three drafts to Witte that night, and  he was then i n a p o s i t i o n to state c a t e g o r i c a l l y that he would accept the Chairmanship only i f h i s draft manifesto:' were, i n f a c t , the one to be published over the royal signature. The Tsar must have r e a l i z e d tha.t there was r e a l l y no a l t e r n a t i v e to accepting Witte on his own terms.  Neither Goremykin nor Budberg  24 inspired confidence among the ministers. could: have formed a united cabinet.  It i s doubtful whether either one  C e r t a i n l y neither was  to secure the all-important foreign loan.  in a position  The only other a l t e r n a t i v e was  to. appoint a m i l i t a r y d i c t a t o r , but the Grand Duke N i k o l a i , who was obvious choice, would have no part of such a plan.  the  Besides, a d i c t a t o r s h i p  was a negative s o l u t i o n which would at best merely postpone the c r i s i s . The gravity of the s i t u a t i o n was  described by Nicholas i n a l e t t e r to his  mother: written two days l a t e r : Witte put i t quite c l e a r l y to me that he would accept the presidency of the Council of Ministers only on the condition that h i s programme was agreed to, and h i s actions not interfered with. He and A l e x e i Obolensky drew up the Manifesto. We d i s cussed i t for two days, and i n the end, invoking God's help, I signed. My dear Mama, you can't imagine what I went through before that moment; i n my telegram I could not explain a l l the circumstances which brought me to this t e r r i b l e decision...I had no one to r.ely on except honest Trepoff. There was no other way out than to cross oneself and give what everyone was asking for. 1 5  For Nicholas i t was  indeed a ' t e r r i b l e d e c i s i o n ' . He had betrayed  the.  heritage of absolute sovereignty which had been his to transmit intact to his successor, and i n doing so he had v i o l a t e d the whole basis of dynastic monarchy.  He obviously considered this to be the greatest s i n of h i s l i f e .  The power of the Romanovs came from God—small wonder he.should cross himself before signing the Manifesto. But sign he did, and on the 17th Witte was and was  t o l d that his draft had been accepted.  Manifesto was  published.  c a l l e d to Peterhof  Later the same day  the  25 The c o n s t i t u t i o n a l provisions were these: 1. To grant the population unshakable foundations of c i v i l freedom on the p r i n c i p l e s of r e a l i n v i o l a b i l i t y of person, freedom of conscience, speech, meetings, and associations. 2. Without stopping the appointed elections to the . . State Duma, to bring to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the Duma, as far as possible i n the shortness of the time l e f t . before i t s summons, those classes of the population which at present are altogether deprived of e l e c t o r a l . . . r i g h t s , leaving afterwards the further development of the p r i n c i p l e of universal suffrage to the newly . . established L e g i s l a t i v e Order (according to the law of August 6/19, 1905, Duma and Council of State). 3. To e s t a b l i s h as an unchangeable p r i n c i p l e that no law can obtain force without the consent of the State Duma, and that to the elected representatives of the people there should be guaranteed the p o s s i b i l i t y of actual p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n supervision of the l e g a l i t y of the actions of the authorities appointed by us.16 On the same day, October 17/30, 1905,  was published a  document which has become known as Witte's " C i v i l L i b e r t i e s Decree". This decree was a modified version of a report which Witte had submitted to the Tsar.  The report i s of the utmost importance because i t contains  a l i s t of ' p r i n c i p l e s which should guide governmental action', p r i n c i p l e s against which the record of the government i n the ensuing decade must be judged.  .Therefore, the text i s reproduced here i n f u l l ;  The unrest which has seized the various classes of the Russian people cannot be looked upon as the consequence of the p a r t i a l imperfections of the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l order or as the r e s u l t of the a c t i v i t i e s of organized extreme p a r t i e s . The roots of that unrest l i e deeper; They are i n the disturbed equilibrium between the aspirations of the . thinking elements and the external forms of their l i f e . Russia has outgrown the e x i s t i n g regime and i s s t r i v i n g for an order based on c i v i c l i b e r t y . Consequently, the forms of Russia's p o l i t i c a l l i f e must be r a i s e d to the l e v e l of the ideas which animate the moderate majority of the people.  26 The f i r s t task of the Government i s immediately to establish the basic elements of the new order, notably personal i n v i o l a b i l i t y and the freedom of the press, of conscience, of assemblage, and of association, without waiting for the l e g i s l a t i v e sanction of these measures by the Imperial Duma. The further strengthening of these foundations of the p o l i t i c a l l i f e of the country must be effected i n the regular l e g i s l a t i v e procedure, just as the work of equalizing a l l the Russian c i t i z e n s , without d i s t i n c t i o n of r e l i g i o n and n a t i o n a l i t y , before the law. I t goes without saying that the c i v i c l i b e r t i e s granted to the people must be lawfully r e s t r i c t e d , so as to safeguard the rights of the t h i r d persons and peace and the safety of the State. The next task of the Government i s to establish i n s t i t u t i o n s and l e g i s l a t i v e p r i n c i p l e s which would harmonize with the p o l i t i c a l ideals of the majority of the Russian people and which would guarantee the i n a l i e n a b i l i t y of the previously granted blessings of c i v i c l i b e r t y . The economic p o l i c y of the Government must aim at the good of the broad masses, at the same time safeguarding those property and c i v i l r i g h t s which are recognized i n a l l the c i v i l i z e d countries. The above-outlined foundations of the Government's a c t i v i t y w i l l necessitate a great deal of l e g i s l a t i v e and administrative work. A period of time i s bound to elapse between the enunciation of a p r i n c i p l e and i t s embodiment i n l e g i s l a t i v e norms or, furthermore, the introduction of these norms into the l i f e of the people and the p r a c t i c e of the Governmental agents. No Government i s ableat once to force a new p o l i t i c a l regime upon a-vast country with a heterogeneous population of 135 m i l l i o n , and an i n t r i c a t e administration brought up on other p r i n c i p l e s and t r a d i t i o n s . I t i s not s u f f i c i e n t f o r the Government to adopt the motto of c i v i c l i b e r t y to inaugurate the new order. Alone the u n t i r i n g and concerted e f f o r t s of a homogeneous Government, animated by one aim and purpose, w i l l bring i t about. The s i t u a t i o n demands that the Government should only use methods t e s t i f y i n g to the s i n c e r i t y and frankness of i t s intentions. Consequently, the Government must scrupulously r e f r a i n from i n t e r f e r i n g with the elections to the Imperial Duma, and also sincerely s t r i v e to carry out the reforms outlined i n the decree of December 12, 1904. The Government must uphold the p r e s t i g e of the future Duma and have confidence i n  i t s work. So long as the Duma's decisions are not out of keeping with Russia's grandeur, the r e s u l t of the age-long process of her history, the Government must not oppose them. In accordance with the l e t t e r and s p i r i t of his Majesty's manifesto, the regulations r e l a t i n g to the Imperial Duma are subject to further development, i n proportion as the imperfections of that i n s t i t u t i o n come to l i g h t and as new demands a r i s e . Guided by the ideas prevalent among the people, the Government must formulate these demands, constantly s t r i v i n g to s a t i s f y the desires of the masses. I t i s very important to reconstruct the Imperial Council on the basis of the p r i n c i p l e of elected membership, f o r that alone w i l l enable the Government to establish normal r e l a t i o n s between that i n s t i t u t i o n and the Imperial Duma. Without enumerating the other measures to be taken by the Government, I wish to state the following p r i n c i p l e s which, I believe, must guide the authorities at a l l stages of their activity: 1.  Frankness and s i n c e r i t y i n the establishment of a l l the newly granted r i g h t s and p r i v i l e g e s . 2. A f i r m tendency toward the elimination of extraordinary regulations. 3. Coordination of the a c t i v i t i e s of a l l the Governmental agents. 4. Avoidance of measures of repression directed against acts which do not threaten either Society or the State, and 5 . Firm suppression of a l l actions menacing Society or the State, i n s t r i c t accordance with the law and i n s p i r i t u a l union with the moderate majority of the people. I t goes without saying that the accomplishment of the outl i n e d tasks w i l l only be p o s s i b l e with the broad and a c t i v e cooperation of the public and on the condition of peace, which alone w i l l enable the Government to apply a l l i t s forces to f r u i t f u l work. We have f a i t h i n the p o l i t i c a l tact of the Russian people. I t i s unthinkable that the people should desire anarchy, which, i n addition to a l l the horrors of c i v i l , war, holds the menace of the disintegration of the very State.  28 These two documents, the October Manifesto and Witte's Report on C i v i l L i b e r t i e s , represented the government's answer to the constitut i o n a l question.  The granting of c i v i l l i b e r t i e s and a l e g i s l a t i v e Duma  was regarded as.a triumph by the zemstvo-constitutionalists.  The Shipov-  f a c t i o n , i n p a r t i c u l a r , was delighted and immediately took steps to found the 'Union of October 17', a body of men dedicated to the task of e f f e c t i n g a rapprochement with the government on the basis of the concessions contained i n the Manifesto.  Those to the l e f t of the Shipov moderates  reserved judgment u n t i l the c r u c i a l e l e c t o r a l law was published. The merchants and i n d u s t r i a l i s t s hoped:that the e l e c t o r a l law would enable the bourgeoisie to predominate  i n the Duma.  The l e f t i n t e l l i g e n t s i a would  be s a t i s f i e d for the moment with a bourgeois c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy, but only as the f i r s t step toward their ultimate goal, a democratic republic.  They refused to acknowledge the r e a l concessions which the  government had made, and would not accommodate their b e l i e f s to the new circumstances created by the Manifesto.  Had they been w i l l i n g to work  with the government f o r a while, the r i g h t i s t s might have found that the Duma was not the horror they believed i t to be, but the r a d i c a l l i b e r a l s , by refusing to.compromise, f u l l y j u s t i f i e d the worst suspicions of the government. As for the remainder of the population, they found the whole idea of 'constitutionalism' to. be irrelevant to t h e i r problems.  The  workers were largely s o c i a l i s t i n sympathy, and regarded even a bourgeois republic as only the beginning for the ensuing s o c i a l revolution. The  peasants were not consciously either republican or monarchist, but. they were convinced that the s o c i a l i s t solution to the land problem was  the  best a v a i l a b l e , and gave their support to the s o c i a l i s t s i n questions agrarian.  The truth i s that the peasants would support whichever group  offered.them the most land. forms and grand statements .. ,. .  They cared not a whit for c o n s t i t u t i o n a l of c i v i l  liberties.  In retrospect, the October Manifesto s a t i s f i e d only Count  Witte, f o r whom i t was a personal triumph, and the moderate l i b e r a l s , who  saw i t as heralding a new  progress, i n Russia.  era of peaceful government and s o c i a l  The Tsar was deeply h o r r i f i e d at what he had done,  and h i s sense of shame was not an auspicious foundation for a constitut i o n a l monarchy.  Yet, despite Nicholas' trepidation, i t appeared that  a capable ministry could be formed, since the Shipov group provided a nucleus of popular 'public men' zemstvo workers.  who would a t t r a c t the support of many  This was not an unpleasant prospect for the battered  ship of state, but the vessel was to run aground on the rocks of Witte* ambition.  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER I I  ,  ;  ^•Gurko, op.cit., p. 297. 2  I b i d . , p. 66.  3  I b i d . , p. 371.  4  I b i d . , p. 369.  5  Witte, S. Y., The Memoirs of Count Witte, Garden C i t y , 1921, p  ^Gurko, op.cit., p. 371. 7  I b i d . , p. 376.  % i t t e was created a Count for h i s services i n concluding the Treaty of Portsmouth with Japan. Witte, op.cit., p. 230.  -  l°Kokoytsov, V • N., Out of My Past, Stanford, 1935.  :  1]  -Witte, op.cit., p. 231.  12  Kokovtsov, op.cit., pp. 67-68.  13  W i t t e , op.cit., p. 239.  1 4  i b i d . , p. 317.  . . f E . J . Bing (ed.), Letters of Tsar Nicholas and Empress Marie, London, 1935, pp. 187-188. Hereafter c i t e d as "N. to M. F." 5  S i r Bernard Pares, The F a l l of The Russian Monarchy, New York, 1939, pp. 503-504. 1 6  17  W i t t e , op.cit., pp. 234-236.  CHAPTER I I I  PREPARATIONS  From the point of view of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l h i s t o r i a n , the Manifesto of October 17/30 had one very serious d e f e c t — i t f a i l e d to establish the r i g h t s and limitations of the royal prerogative.  I t was  not to be expected, of course, that the Manifesto would be a document of the dimensions of the Grand Remonstrance or the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the C i t i z e n .  The Manifesto came from above, not from below,  and t h i s fact alone determined much of what i t did and did not contain. Furthermore, i t was a product of the r e l a t i v e l y p r i m i t i v e t r a d i t i o n s of Russian c o n s t i t u t i o n a l law and p o l i t i c a l thought, and was therefore only, the embryo of a 'constitution' i n the Western sense.  Consequently Miliukov  and the Kadets were not s a t i s f i e d with such a rudimentary document, and continued to agitate i n favour of a f u l l and omnicompetent constitution drawn up by a National Assembly, a suggestion which smacked of French Revolutionary p o l i t i c s .  I t i s no wonder that the establishment viewed:  the Kadet programme with horror, and made every e f f o r t to reduce their influence i n the country. The Kadets had, ,however, missed the point of Western constitutionalism.  The essential p r i n c i p l e of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy,  whether rudimentary or advanced, i s the acceptance of a d i v i s i o n between 'king' and 'Crown*. As early as the fourteenth century, for example,  32 writs f o r the Parliament of England ordered that members come together to discuss 'negotia regis et r e g n i ' — t h e business of the king and of the kingdom.  I t was understood that, while the business of the king was the  exclusive prerogative of the monarch, the business of the kingdom was open to discussion and regulation by 'the common community of the land i n p a r l i a ment assembled'. Once this d i v i s i o n was accepted, England was a 'constitut i o n a l ' monarchy, i n the sense that the monarch did not have absolute control over both, the business of the king and of the kingdom.  From then on, her  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l history was the record of a constant b a t t l e to expand.the •negotia regni' at the expense of the 'negotia r e g i s * . ^ . . .. For Russia*,, then, the important thing was not to establish the 'negotia regni' i n i t s entirety straightaway, although this was the condit i o n which Miliukov, misreading English c o n s t i t u t i o n a l precedents, advanced as the necessary preliminary to Kadet p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a government.  The  most'important thing was to establish the idea of a d i v i s i o n between the business of the king and the business of the kingdom.  Unfortunately, i t was  on t h i s c r u c i a l subject that the Manifesto had absolutely nothing to say. I t should have been made clear i n the Manifesto that the c a l l i n g of the Duma was the Tsar's business, while the delineation of i t s powers would be established by consultation^between the Tsar and h i s government and the elected members.when the i n s t i t u t i o n had assembled. Instead, because the Manifesto was not e x p l i c i t on this point, not only the c a l l i n g of the Duma but also the delineation of i t s powers became the business of the Tsar and h i s Ministers.  The r e s u l t was, of course, that a l l state business was assumed  33 to be 'negptia r e g i s ' .  The Duma was not granted competence to discuss the  business of the kingdom; rather, i t met at the Tsar's pleasure to discuss certain,aspects of the Tsar's business.  In such a s i t u a t i o n , the r o y a l  prerogative remained largely intact,, since the r e s i d u a l power was l e f t to the monarchy.  Despite the Tsar's fear and trembling, then, he i n fact lost-  very l i t t l e when he signed the Manifesto of October 17/30.  ***** The s i x months which followed the p u b l i c a t i o n of the Manifesto were taken up with preparations for the f i r s t meeting of the State Duma. c o n s t i t u t i o n a l sphere, the two most important for  events were the negotiations  a ministry at least p a r t i a l l y composed of public men, and the drawing up  of the Fundamental Laws.  These two events bear witness to. the f a i l u r e of-the  Manifesto to define adequately was  In the  the l i m i t a t i o n s of the r o y a l prerogative. I t  this weakness which was to give free r e i n , for a time, to.the  of Count Witte.  ambitions  .  Witte*s f i r s t problem a f t e r October 17/30  was to appoint a cabinet.  In an e f f o r t to convince the country of h i s l i b e r a l i s m , he met f i r s t with three representatives of the Bureau of the Congresses of Zemstvo and Municipal Public Men—Prince G. E. Lvov, F. A. Golovin, and F. F. Kokoshkin.  These men  f l a t l y refused to p a r t i c i p a t e i n any government which would not c a l l a cons t i t u t i o n a l assembly.  This was an unreasonable demand, and showed no evidence  of a wish to compromise with the government.  C l e a r l y , the intention of this  group was to provoke, but Witte f o i l e d these designs by breaking o f f the negotiations.  .  He then approached some of the most prominent Octobrists, including A. I . Guchkov, D. N. Shipov, Prince S. D. Urusov, and Prince E. N. Trubetskoi.  3.4. There was a p o s s i b i l i t y that these negotiations might have succeeded, i f only Witte had been able to r i d himself of an e a r l i e r promise to P. N. Durnovo that the l a t t e r would be appointed Minister .of the. Interior..  Durnovo  was appointed, even though Witte changed his mind and made an attempt to persuade the Tsar not to-confirm the appointment.  Once the Octobrists: found  out that Durnovo had been given the Interior Ministry over their nominee, Urusov, they refused to j o i n Witte's cabinet.  Shipov and Guchkov pointed  out, quite sensibly, that i f they remained outside the cabinet, they.could swell the tide of moderate sympathy, while their j o i n i n g under these circum2 stances would have no effect at a l l on r a d i c a l opinion. =  These conversations with Witte were reported i n ,the Octobrist organ 3 Novoe Vremia, an incident which brought Witte a stern rebuke from the Tsar. The Prime Minister thereupon ceased his e f f o r t s to broaden the membership of the Cabinet.  Nicholas could have used his ,prerogative .to. exclude Durnovo,  but he chose not to, and thus Witte's planned show of l i b e r a l i s m had backfired.  Had Witte been sincere i n believing that the membership of the  cabinet had to be broadened, he could have resigned over the issue. . He chose,-however, to remain i n o f f i c e , and remarked petulantly l a t e r that "further acquaintance with these men convinced me that they were not f i t for 4 the-responsible m i n i s t e r i a l posts."  .  Most of the month of December was occupied with conferences on the e l e c t o r a l law f o r the Duma.  Kryzhanovsky,  an o f f i c i a l i n the Ministry of  the I n t e r i o r , presented a revised version of the Bulygin e l e c t o r a l law which merely included new categories of e l e c t o r s .  Another proposal was put forward  35 by the p u b l i c men Shipov, Guchkov, and Trubetskoi.^ moving i n the d i r e c t i o n of universal suffrage.  Their*plan was?clearly  Witte was strongly i n  favour of the o f f i c i a l government plan, but claims that Count Bobrinsky almost persuaded the Tsar to-accept the Shipov plan. voted with Witte.  In the end, Nicholas  According to Witte, he had to use the influence of the  Tsaritsa to persuade the Tsar, but the l a t t e r says that he was acting on 6 his  firm convictions when he declined to support the Shipov plan. -  The acceptance of a revised version of the e l e c t o r a l law was a  major defeat for both moderate and r a d i c a l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s t s .  The r e j e c t i o n  by the government of universal suffrage as the ultimate goal of the e l e c t o r a l law was i n contravention of the Manifesto, which had s p e c i f i c a l l y recognized "the further development of the p r i n c i p l e of universal suffrage."  Although  the Manifesto had l e f t this work to 'the newly established l e g i s l a t i v e order', the action of the Tsar i n voting for the Kryzhanovsky plan made i t clear that he was already determined to prevent the development of a broadly democratic e l e c t o r a l law, -  At this time the e l e c t o r a l law for the State Council was published.  Half ,of i t s 196 members were elected by regions and 'interests' i n this manner:  the Church, s i x ; the n o b i l i t y , eighteen; science, s i x ; economics  (commerce and industry), twelve; provinces with zemstvos, t h i r t y - f o u r ; provinces without zemstvoes, sixteen; Poland, s i x .  The elected half of  the State Council was thus- composed of s o l i d property owners, both landed proprietors and businessmen. by the Emperor.  The other half of i t s membership was appointed  He could name as many members as he wished, but could  36 designate only 96 to s i t ,in any one year.  A l i s t of prospective candidates  was submitted by. the Chairmen of the State Council and the Council of, Ministers, but Kokoy.tsov claims that the success of the l i s t depended on 6a whether these two gentlemen enjoyed the Emperor's favour at the time. Given this system of electing and appointing members, i t was no surprise that the State Council proved i t s e l f to be an ultra-conservative body. Meanwhile, Count Witte was making concerted e f f o r t s to preserve the r o y a l prerogative powers.  When the work of r e v i s i n g the Duma statute began  i n February, 1906, he suggested the public should not be admitted to the sessions of the Duma. His remarks about the lack of maturity of the Russian people.were so biting, that they c a l l e d into question the r a t i o n a l e behind the Manifesto.  In the end, the Tsar refused to sanction closed meetings of  the Duma./'; Defeated on this proposal, Witte went on to suggest that i n the event of a. clash between the Duma and the reformed State Council, the f i n a l 8 decision would rest with the Emperor.  I t takes l i t t l e p o l i t i c a l acumen to  see i n this a clear attempt to preserve the autocracy i n t a c t , since clashes would have been almost unavoidable under the circumstances.  Even Nicholas  saw the r e a l meaning of such a provision, and despite h i s love f o r autocracy, he had i n a l l conscience to oppose such a flagrant v i o l a t i o n of h i s Manifesto. There i s some evidence.that the Emperor was r a p i d l y becoming antagonized by Witte's t a c t i c s .  As early as January 26 (1906), he wrote to  the Dowager. Empress that he was r e l y i n g increasingly on the advice of Trepov.  37 • :  -  he (Trepoy) i s absolutely indispensable to me: -he i s acting i n a kind of s e c r e t a r i a l capacity. He i s experienced -and clear and cautious i n h i s advice. I give him Witte's bulky memoranda to read, then he reports on them, quickly and concisely. This i s of course a secret to everybody but ourselves.^  Furthermore, Nicholas did not wish to trust Witte with preparing the revisions i n the Duma Statute.  The drawing up of new Fundamental Laws was  entrusted to Count Solsky, who passed on the commission to the Imperial Secretary, Baron Uxkull-Gyllenband.  Witte was enormously disappointed that  the task had not been given to the Council of Ministers, where he could d i r e c t the proceedings from the beginning.  As i t turned out, he was shocked  by the l i b e r a l i s m of the draft proposals, and made every e f f o r t to c u r t a i l the sphere of operations of the Duma.  In addition, he abandoned his e a r l i e r  p o s i t i o n that the Laws should not be published before the Duma was convoked. Heenow believed that they should be promulgated as quickly as possible, l e s t the deputies be "drawn into dangerous and f u t i l e controversies about the extent of their r i g h t s and the nature of their r e l a t i o n to the Supreme Power. That such controversies would have arisen i s undeniable, but i t i s questionable whether they would have been f u t i l e .  The drawing up of some sort of working  d i v i s i o n between Tsar and Duma was fundamental to a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy i n Russia, and i t was just this aspect of Uxkull-Gyllenband's  draft that Witte  found so objectionable. His r e f u s a l to permit any d i s t i n c t i o n between the business of the Tsar and the business of the country showed c l e a r l y that he had neither respect f o r , nor understanding of the basic p r i n c i p l e of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarchy.  , 38 The f a i l u r e of the Manifesto to establish "king" and "crown" as separate but interconnected his  e n t i t i e s enabled Witte and the Tsar,'each for  own reasons, to subvert the aims of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reformers by  publishing the new Fundamental Laws before the Duma was convoked. sense, this act may be viewed as a coup d'etat for the monarchy. was  In a The Emperor  concerned to r e t a i n as many as possible of his prerogative powers, so  that he would not be bound by an assembly, by a ministry, or even by Witte, should a s i t u a t i o n a r i s e i n which he f e l t i t necessary to act on his own. Witte, on the other hand, also wanted to save the royal prerogatives, because the authority of his p o s i t i o n derived from his enjoyment of the r o y a l confidence.  He could never hope to lead a ministry which derived i t s authority  from the Duma; he had,  therefore, every reason to see that the authority of  the monarch was preserved at a l l costs. Nicholas  Despite the difference i n motives,  I I and Count Witte were of one mind on the subject of r e s t r i c t i n g  the competence of the Duma. It was no wonder, then, that the Fundamental Laws of 1906 were a 11 resounding v i c t o r y for the monarchy and the o f f i c i a l classes. was  The Duma  forbidden to exercise any kind of, control over the ministers, who were  to remain responsible s o l e l y to the Emperor.  The assembly was also  forbidden  to discuss foreign, m i l i t a r y , or naval a f f a i r s except as they should enter into a discussion of the budget.  T h i r d l y , the c i v i l service was to remain  under the exclusive control of the Tsar and his ministers, and no high o f f i c i a l i n the service could be prosecuted without royal consent.  I t might  have been thought that royal control of the cabinet, foreign p o l i c y , armed  39 forces and the c i v i l service would have been an adequate guarantee against the 'encroachments* of an elected assembly.  This was not the case with  Nicholas I I . Many other powers were s p e c i f i c a l l y reserved f o r the monarchy. A' b r i e f resume w i l l indicate the thoroughness with which the l i s t was drawn up.  > The Assembly was forbidden to enforce the provisions of the October  Manifesto, change the method of selecting members of the Senate, a b o l i s h administrative e x i l e , grant p o l i t i c a l amnesties, abolish the death penalty, deprive the n o b i l i t y of i t s r i g h t s , or rescind laws of the Council of Ministers on any subject whatsoever.  ;  A r t i c l e 15 l e f t the proclamation of a  state of siege solely i n the hands of the Emperor, thus giving him the power to remove vast areas of the Empire from the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the government and the courts.  In matters of economics, i t was forbidden to tamper with  the estates of the monarchy or of the landowners, exempt anyone from taxation, or exercise control over the expenditures of the Ministry of the Imperial Court.  The l a t t e r provision soon became a c a t c h - a l l device f o r a l l kinds  of- expenses which the government did not wish to be included i n the budget. L a s t l y , and perhaps most damaging of a l l , the Duma was forbidden.the r i g h t to address-the Tsar d i r e c t l y ; such addresses had to be made through the Minister^ of the Imperial Court. The c r u c i a l problem of l e g i s l a t i v e i n i t i a t i v e i s treated i n some d e t a i l - i n the Fundamental Laws. According to A r t i c l e 7, l e g i s l a t i v e power i s exercised by the Emperor, concurrently with the Duma and the State Councik no law can-be passed  ( A r t i c l e 86) without the approval of the two l e g i s l a t i v e  '40 bodies.  The Emperor's r i g h t to i n i t i a t e l e g i s l a t i o n i s unlimited, while  neither the Duma nor the State Council can r e v i s e the Fundamental Laws on their own, but must await his i n i t i a t i v e . only i n i t i a t e propositions concerning  The Duma and State Council can  the repeal, or the temporary  suspension,  of a c t i v e laws and the enactment of new laws, with the exception, of course, of the Fundamental Laws ( A r t i c l e 107).  I f the Duma passed a proposition for ,  a law, the ministry concerned would draw up the law ( i f i t agreed with the proposition) and submit i t to the Duma for approval.  I f the ministry did  not approve the proposition, i t could draw up the law as i t saw f i t and submit i t to the Duma; i n this case the Duma could only accept or r e j e c t the ministry's d r a f t . Again, i f the ministry disapproved s i t i o n , i t could simply  of the Duma's propo-  'shelve' the matter, thereby thwarting the Duma's  efforts. To be p e r f e c t l y precise about the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l point involved, one must say that the Duma could exercise i n i t i a t i v e i n a l l areas not within the scope, of the Fundamental Laws,.but under no circumstances could the Duma i t s e l f draw up B i l l s and pass them on i t s own; i t could only accept or r e j e c t B i l l s drawn up by the m i n i s t r i e s at the suggestion of the Duma, the State Council, or the Emperor-.  Only the Emperor possessed l e g i s l a t i v e i n i t i a t i v e  i n the sense that the f i n a l wording of the law always corresponded to what he had proposed.  The Duma and the State Council were r e s t r i c t e d from  exercising f u l l i n i t i a t i v e by the m i n i s t r i e s , who acted as agents of the Supreme Power i n the drawing up of B i l l s . The Ministers a l s o possessed a r e s t r i c t e d l e g i s l a t i v e i n i t i a t i v e , . i n that they could ask the Emperor to command them to draw up a B i l l , but  41 i n t h i s case the f i n a l decision rested with the Emperor. said-that the Fundamental, Laws guaranteed  Thus i t . c a n b e ;  complete freedom of l e g i s l a t i v e  i n i t i a t i v e only to the Emperor, but i n p r a c t i c e a powerful minister could enjoy t h i s freedom so .long as he. remained i n the favour of the Emperor. :  • . ./ The Fundamental Laws made quite clear the intention of the authors not to leave anything to chance.  AlJLmeasures of importance were defined. ..  to f a l l within the,prerogative powers of the Tsar.  Instead of granting to  the Duma a. general surveillance over the 'business of the kingdom.', however nebulous, and i l l - d e f i n e d , , the Laws l e f t the Duma with nothing but the crumbs from .the .royal table.  The Duma was,  i n - f a c t , almost superfluous to the.  system, of. government established by the Laws of 1906.  This f a c t , more than  anything, else, probably accounts for the somewhat e r r a t i c radicalism which characterized i t s f i r s t meetings.  Having nothing on which to concentrate  t h e i r e f f o r t s , the.delegates attempted to discuss everything.  Had they been  conceded c e r t a i n prerogative powers of t h e i r own, wherein they might have, taken the i n i t i a t i v e , i t i s l i k e l y that their energies could have found a channel f o r constructive achievement. The Fundamental Laws aroused a storm of protest among Russian liberals.  With j u s t i f i c a t i o n , they accused the government of breaking f a i t h  with, those who had accepted i t s e a r l i e r pronouncements a t face value. The new Laws went f a r towards p r o h i b i t i n g just what the Manifesto had.promised, namely, that the Duma should p a r t i c i p a t e " i n supervision of the l e g a l i t y of the actions of the authorities appointed.by  us."  Some of the more important  liberals--Muromtsev, Miliukov, Hessen, and M. M. Kovalevsky—had  examined a T  42 draft of the Laws before p u b l i c a t i o n , and had roundly condemned t h e i r contents, Of the many changes which they suggested, only two were accepted:  the power  of the Emperor, to issue decrees was r e s t r i c t e d , and the Council of Ministers was  given.the r i g h t to sanction a l l imperial o r d e r s . . The f i r s t of 12  these  revisions was not obeyed i n p r a c t i c e , and the second was meaningless from the beginning, so no r e a l benefit came from these last-.minute r e v i s i o n s . . The Tsar could only have been pleased at the extent to which his prerogative powers were conserved by the Fundamental Laws.  For t h i s , he  owed a debt of gratitude . to Witte, whose influence.had been paramount i n the discussions.  Nonetheless, the Emperor had not forgiven. Witte for con-  sorting with those dangerous r a d i c a l s , the p u b l i c men.  .'.Witte was  still,  i n h i s view, p o l i t i c a l l y u n r e l i a b l e . The T s a r i t s a constantly warned Nicholas that Witte .was a dangerous r i v a l . t o h i s autocratic p o s i t i o n . When the* . r e s u l t s . o f the Duma elections became known i n March, i t was  clear to Nicholas  that the time for action had come.. Witte could not be trusted to deal with such a r a d i c a l assembly.  On.20 March, 1906,  the Emperor.told .Kokovtsov that  the r e s u l t s of the elections "did not promise any good, and that he was aware of the constant hesitations and even contradictions i n the proposals of h i s Chairman,of the M i n i s t e r s ' Council..."  .  Meanwhile Witte, not r e a l i z i n g that his days were already numbered, was b l i t h e l y making preparations for what he considered the triumph of .his^ career, the securing of a substantial foreign loan.  The Kadets t r i e d .to  persuade the French government that the. loan could not be concluded  without  the approval of the,Duma,, but they were unsuccessful i n their e f f o r t s . _ Witte  43 was  therefore able to present the Tsar with the promised loan, expecting by  this a c t i o n to be hailed as the: Saviour of Russia.  A few days l a t e r , he sub-  mitted h i s resignation and, to his b i t t e r disappointment, The tru;th was  i t was  accepted.  that once the loan had been completed,arid the monarchy had  been saved.from the p o t e n t i a l disaster of 1905, Witte was of no further use to the Tsar. It i s true that Witte had proferred his resignation several times before.  .One suspects that these events were attempts to destroy the,power  of Nicholas* personal advisers, p a r t i c u l a r l y Trepov.  Witte found i t . ' •  exasperating that Nicholas should prefer the advice of Trepov and Durnovo to.his own,  and i t i s probable that, he saw the success of the loan as a „  device by which he might force Trepov's dismissal from.his p o s i t i o n as Court Commandant.  Nicholas, however, had other plans, plans i n which there was  no  room' for the ambitious Count, and the l a t t e r thus found himself summarily 14 dismissed. . . . . . . i  ..-At f i r s t , sight «the dismissal of Witte appears to have been an act  of supreme ingratitude on the Tsar's p a r t .  More than anyone else, Witte  responsible for the preservation of the royal prerogatives throughput trying months of 1905-6.  Yet i t i s , c l e a r now,  was  the  as i t must have been to Nicholas  then, that a l l these e f f o r t s were r e a l l y directed toward maintaining the source of power on which Witte depended for h i s p o s i t i o n .  By maintaining the Tsar's  powers, he also maintained the powers of the Chairman pf the Council of Ministers.  I t did not seem to trouble .Witte that the Fundamental Laws were  quite inconsistent with the s p i r i t of the October Manifesto.  He went,, so f a r  44 as to claim, i n his Memoirs, that only he, of a l l the Prime Ministers of the Duma period, had acted i n accordance with the c o n s t i t u t i o n : Russia was unable to reap the benefits of my triumph over our great d i f f i c u l t i e s , f o r , unfortunately, the r u l i n g group was not enlightened and generous enough honestly to adhere to the p r i n c i p l e s announced i n the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l manifestor- of October 17, 1905. 15  The t r u t h i s that Witte himself destroyed those p r i n c i p l e s by formulating the Fundamental Laws i n such a way as to reduce the Duma to impotency.  He  c l e v e r l y framed the Manifesto so that i t appeared to grant a legitimate sovereignty to the Duma, while i n fact i t d i d nothing of the kind. thing of importance was retained among the prerogative powers. a reactionary as Goremykin saw that Witte's 16 on Western European parliamentarism."  Every-  Even such  'constitution' was only "a parody  45  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER I I I  ^"This i s the interpretation of a well-known school of English c o n s t i t u t i o n a l h i s t o r i a n s , including Bishop Stubbs, T. F. Tout, and, more recently, B. Wilkinson. > 2  Gurko, op.cit., pp. 403-407.  3  N.  to M. F., 27 October 1905, p. 191.  S j i t t e , op.cit., p. 325. petty quarrel took place over the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r this prop o s a l . , Witte (p. 343) claims that they arrogantly announced that they were drawing up a proposal, while Shipov maintains that they did so at Witte's request. (Gurko, p. 709). Witte probably wished to cast further aspersions on t h e i r a b i l i t i e s i n order to hid h i s own r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for what happened. 6  N.  to M. F., 8 December 1905, p. 201.  6 Kokovtsov, o p . c i t . . p. 281. a  10  7  I b i d . . p . 105.  8  I b i d . , p. 106.  9  N.  to M. F., 26 January 1906, p.  212.  W i t t e , op.cit., p. 349.  •^Fundamental Laws of 23 A p r i l 1906. See #27805 i n Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov R o s s i i s k o i Imperii, Sobranie T r e t i e (March 1881-December 1913), St. Petersburg, 1885-1916. l^witte, op.cit., p. 358. AJ  Kokovtsov,  op.cit., p.  14  N i c h o l a s to Witte, 16 A p r i l 1906; Witte, op.cit., p. 361.  1 5  I b i d . , p. 310. Kokovtsov, op.cit., p.  112.  124.  CHAPTER IV  THE  FIRST DUMA  No one expected the F i r s t Duma to be a peaceful gathering. A l l those concerned understood that a battle was about to begin, the outcome of which would decide who would be the e f f e c t i v e sovereign i n Russia.  On one  side were the zemstvo c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s t s , the public men, the moderate l i b e r a l s , the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  democrats, and the r a d i c a l s .  with the exception of the r a d i c a l s , were firm believers constitutional monarchy.  A l l these groups,  i n the p r i n c i p l e of  To them, the issue was not that of l i m i t i n g the  sovereign power of the autocrat—Nicholas II had,  i n theory, done that himself  by signing the October Manifesto—but of arranging for a r e a l sharing of power whereby t h i s l i m i t a t i o n would have meaning i n p r a c t i c e .  Thanks t o the  efforts  of Count Witte, the p r i n c i p l e of limited monarchy which was i m p l i c i t i n the October Manifesto had been largely negated by the Fundamental Laws.  The task  of the F i r s t Duma, as seen by the constitutional monarchists, was to point out the contradiction  between the Manifesto and the Fundamental Laws, and thereby  to seek for a rapprochement with the government which would ensure to the Duma an e f f e c t i v e sovereignty within the new constitutional The  structure.  opposing forces i n this approaching b a t t l e were composed of the  Tsar, the court, the ministers, and the government bureaucracy.  In their  eyes, the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s t s were l i t t l e better than revolutionaries,  whose  ultimate aims were the seizure of power and the a b o l i t i o n of private property.  47 I t was their b e l i e f that the demands for modification of the Fundamental Laws and the i n c l u s i o n of Duma leaders i n the cabinet were only the beginnings of an organized conspiracy to destroy the Imperial Government.  They would  have abolished the Duma, had they not feared the consequences of such an act; therefore, they confined themselves to the vague generalization that they were "...quite prepared to meet a l l the desires of the representatives of the people i n the d i r e c t i o n of improving, our l e g i s l a t i o n and enforcing the p r i n c i p l e of lawfulness i n the work of state administration.""''  Fine  words, as far as they went, but i n cases of c o n f l i c t between the government and the representatives of the people, the p r i n c i p l e of lawfulness was always interpreted to favour the government's case. The Emperor and his Court were even more suspicious of the Duma than were the members of the government.  The Emperor's great problem was to  reconcile the existence of the Duma with his rather vague but stubbornly held concept of personal sovereignty. he experienced ancestors.  Immediately a f t e r agreeing to the  Manifesto,  pangs of conscience at having signed away the heritage of his  A few weeks l a t e r , however, he had r a t i o n a l i z e d the s i t u a t i o n .  He began to believe that he was s a c r i f i c i n g himself i n order to save the throne f o r his descendents.  He t o l d Witte on 6 December, 1905:  I know p e r f e c t l y well that I am agreeing to the establishment of an i n s t i t u t i o n which w i l l be my enemy. Yet I am thinking of the future; I am thinking of my son. I wish to create a new centre, of authority i n the country to insure the strength of the country at l a r g e . 2  Once the country had been p a c i f i e d , his views began to change. He was p a r t i c u l a r l y appalled by the r e s u l t s of the elections to the F i r s t Duma.  48 In a l e t t e r to Witte dated 16 A p r i l , 1906, the .purpose of which was to accept the Count's resignation, the Emperor deplored • the excessive l i b e r a l i s m of the franchise law of December 11th, the i n a c t i v i t y of the population, and the complete non-interference with the e l e c t i o n campaign on the part of the a u t h o r i t i e s , which i s never practiced i n other c o u n t r i e s . 3  The Emperor had taken stock of the opposing forces, and had found them to be stronger than he had expected.  I t was clear already that he would not allow  another election to be conducted without either a change i n the e l e c t o r a l law or interference by the government i n the e l e c t o r a l procedure. Nicholas waspreparing  to defend himself from the f r o n t a l assault  which he expected the Duma to launch on the monarchy.  His choice of Witte's  successor was most important, for the man who held the premiership would have to defend the government's p o l i c y i n the Duma.  He would be Russia's f i r s t  'constitutional' Prime Minister, and on h i s shoulders would be much of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the success or f a i l u r e of the Duma experiment.  What was  needed was a capable, imaginative administrator who was also a practiced diplomat, w i l l i n g to work t i r e l e s s l y for the well-being of the Empire, disregarding narrow and sectional interests for the good of the whole.  The post  required, i n f a c t , a statesman of the c a l i b r e of Prince Menshikov or Count Speransky.  Instead, the Tsar's choce f e l l on I . L . Goremykin, an unimaginative  bureaucrat, half s e n i l e , and exceptional only for the obstinacy with which he clung to h i s outmoded ideas.  Witte had only boundless contempt for h i s  successor, who "had nothing except his huge whiskers to d i s t i n g u i s h him from  4 thousands of bureaucratic mediocrities."  Kokovtsov had no better opinion of  49 Goremykin,"arid bluntly t o l d the Emperor that he was known for h i s indifference and narrow-minded conservatism.  He was somewhat astonished when the Tsar 5  admitted that there might be some truth to what he s a i d . on to point "out that Goremykin*s indifference was,  But Nicholas;went  i n his opinion, h i s best  and most a t t r a c t i v e q u a l i t y . What i s important to me [said the Emperor] i s that Goremykin w i l l not act behind my back, making concessions and agreements to damage my authority. I can be p e r f e c t l y sure that I s h a l l not be given any surprises or made to face any f a i t s accomplis, as was the case with the e l e c t o r a l laws. And that was not the only case. Distrust of Witte*s t a c t i c s was not the only reason why the Tsar forced this onerous o f f i c e on an old man who had no desire to accept i t , and did so only out of l o y a l t y to h i s sovereign.  Witte has discerned the back-  s t a i r s influence of Trepov i n this appointment.^  While there i s no conclusive  evidence on the subject, i t seems probable that, i n h i s j u b i l a t i o n at eliminating Witte, Trepov would only support the candidacy of someone who would never be capable of Witte's ambition. these q u a l i f i c a t i o n s .  Furthermore,  Goremykin c e r t a i n l y f i t t e d  Goremykin's conservative views were i n  tune with those of the Emperor and his closest advisers. For example, during the discussions i n February of the law on the security* of property, Goremykin stated h i s b e l i e f that the Duma should be forbidden to discuss the confiscat i o n of p r i v a t e estates, and should be dissolved i f i t disobeyed i t s 8 instructions.  Therefore, on the eve of the convocation of the Duma, with  the l i b e r a l papers  (Russkaya Vedemosti, Russkoe Slovo and Rech') demanding a  Duma ministry, Nicholas sought out the most trustworthy representative of  50 that bureaucracy which had f a i t h f u l l y served h i s autocratic father, and appointed him Prime Minister of the new •constitutional* Russia; In more peaceful times, Goremykin might have been the Walpole of Russian history, with a l l the v i r t u e s and defects of a good bureaucratic administrator.  Unfortunately f o r him, there were no sleeping dogs to l e t  l i e i n the Russia of 1906. deputies.  Goremykin*s a t t i t u d e only i n f u r i a t e d the Duma  I t could not be said, i n a l l honesty, that he welcomed even  suggestions f o r improving l e g i s l a t i o n from the representatives of the people, although t h i s was the announced p o l i c y of the government. attempted  V. I . Gurko has  to i l l u s t r a t e Goremykin's a t t i t u d e by the apocryphal  statement,  "You Duma members may consider the new l e g i s l a t i v e projects; i f you r e j e c t them, the o l d ones w i l l do."  This i s somewhat of a d i s t o r t i o n , as the  government supplied the Duma not with ' l e g i s l a t i v e projects' as commonly understood, but with proposals of the utmost t r i v i a l i t y . ^  Goremykin's chief  concern was that the government be "strong and s k i l l f u l enough to r e t a i n its authority i n the midst of a l l this i n c r e d i b l e nonsence." ''' 1  It was, then, p a r t i a l l y due to Goremykin's a t t i t u d e of indifference that the government and the F i r s t Duma were soon at loggerheads.  The f a i l u r e  of the government to put before the Duma some worthwhile l e g i s l a t i v e projects was much resented by the deputies, and l e d them to state t h e i r p o s i t i o n somewhat too arrogantly f o r their own good.  In a rather peremptory fashion, they  dispatched to the Tsar a l i s t of their demands. Although a l l these demands were beyond the competence of the Duma as established i n the Fundamental Laws, two i n p a r t i c u l a r were d i r e c t challenges to the whole concept of  51 sovereignty on which the Laws had been based.  The Duma deputies demanded  that the ministry be responsible to the elected representatives of the people 12 and that the State Council be abolished. From the point of view of the Tsar and his ministers, the Duma might as well have asked for the moon. It was inconceivable, not to say preposterous, that the Emperor should voluntarily sign away his authority to a motley assembly of anglophile intellectuals, wild-eyed revolutionaries, and i l l i t e r a t e peasants.  Even i f he had believed them to be capable of good government,  his religious belief that the Emperor held a commission from God to rule His people would have prevented him from violating his coronation oath.  It was  within the power of the autocrat to impose a voluntary limitation on his own sovereignty, but i t was out of the question that he should agree voluntarily to 'reign but not rule*.  There was, to be sure, some room for compromise in  that the Emperor could appoint anyone he chose to the ministry, be he bureaucrat, public man, or Duma deputy; however, the sole responsibility of the minister to the Emperor was definitely not negotiable. The demand that the State Council be abolished was also inadmissable. The government was scarcely more convinced of the u t i l i t y of the State Council than of the Duma. The considerable revision which the Fundamental Laws had made in the composition and duties of the State Council meant that i t was really, like the Duma, in i t s infancy.  It was too early yet to t e l l whether-  the reforms had been effective or not.  In theory, the State Council had  been conceived as a buffer institution between the Imperial Power and the Duma. Two other possible roles were, however, more likely:  either i t would -lapse  52 into the s t a i d conservatism generally c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of an upper house, or i t would become deadlocked within i t s e l f , with the elected members supporting the Duma and the appointed members supporting the government.  Nevertheless,  there was a p o s s i b i l i t y that the State Council might become an e f f e c t i v e part of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l structure, and c e r t a i n l y i t was not sensible to abolish i t before i t had an opportunity to show what i t could do.  I f i t became dead-  lockedj here again there was room for compromise on the number of elected representatives to be included i n i t .  The Duma had been e n t i r e l y too brusque  and presumptuous i n r a i s i n g the issue of sovereignty i n absolute terms so early i n the day. The r e s u l t of such impetuous a c t i o n was that the Duma received a stern rebuke from the government.  The Tsar at f i r s t considered whether he  himself would appear i n the Duma to answer the Address, but he was warned by Kokovtsov that such an action. ...would e s t a b l i s h a dangerous precedent, that i t would bring him i n t o d i r e c t c o n f l i c t with the popular assembly, whereas his r o l e was n a t u r a l l y that of supreme a r b i t e r i n c o n f l i c t s between his government, responsible to himself alone, and the representatives of the people.^ 3  I t might be thought that Kokovtsov*s theory would cast the Tsar i n the r o l e that was o r i g i n a l l y to have been that of the State Council.  This i s not so;  there could be no a r b i t r a t i o n i n the c o n f l i c t which Kokovtsov describes. only road open to the Tsar would be to support  The  the government against the  Duma, for i f he once were to decide i n favour of the Duma, then a Duma ministry would be the l o g i c a l outcome of h i s actions.  Thus, rather than involve the  53 Tsar, the government decided to "stand between the supreme power and the people's representatives and answer the Duma's address i n i t s own name."^ On May 13, Goremykin read the government's answer to the Duma. I t was a stern lecture he delivered, dismissing every demand the Duma had made as "inadmissable".  A riotous scene ensured, during which the Kadet deputy  Nabokov uttered the cry which was to be the permanent and only answer of his., party to a l l questions of sovereignty during the next decade,. "Let the execut i v e power bow before the l e g i s l a t i v e ! " ^ ^  The Duma's reply was expressed i n  a r e s o l u t i o n which c a l l e d on the government to resign i n favour of a Duma 16 ministry.  Here again, the Kadet f a c t i o n was so concerned with following  the 'correct' English precedents that i t forgot that the Tsar had the power to refuse the resignations of the government even i f they were offered. I t would have been more r e a l i s t i c , although no more p r o f i t a b l e , i f they had c a l l e d on the Tsar d i r e c t l y to i n v i t e the present government to resign. In the ensuing deadlock, i t was, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the Tsar who f i r s t 17 moved toward a compromise solution. The new Minister of the I n t e r i o r , P. A. Stolypin was authorized to propose a c o a l i t i o n ministry, which was to include 18 S. A. Muromtsev, D. N. Shipov, V. D. Kuzmin^Karavaev, and P. N. Miliukov, 19 and was to be chaired by P. A. Stolypin.  This proposal was defeated by  Miliukov, who refused to hear of anything but a Kadet ministry. The Tsar then suggested a reforming ministry, under the leadership of D. N. Shipov, which would dissolve the Duma, introduce proposals for reform and present them to a newly-elected Duma. Miliukov.  The Shipov ministry was also vetoed by  Meanwhile, i n the Duma, the Kadets had got wind of the government's agrarian proposals, which were to be based on the denial of compulsory 19a a l i e n a t i o n of land;  With the support of the Kadet President of the Duma,  S. A. Muromtsev, who aided and abetted this unconstitutional procedure, the Kadets carried an appeal to the country for a c i v i l disobedience campaign which was to l a s t u n t i l the Duma brought i n i t s own agrarian proposals.  This  act served as the excuse for d i s s o l u t i o n of the F i r s t Duma, which took effect on 9 July, 1906. The r e a l treason for d i s s o l u t i o n was the deadlock which made any constructive work impossible.  Miliukov had been i n t r a c t a b l e i n the facfe of  sincere attempts to a r r i v e a t a compromise on the part of the government. He c e r t a i n l y overestimated  his own strength, and underestimated the resourcefulnes  of the government, p a r t i c u l a r l y of Stolypin.  Even i n voting the appeal to the  country, the Kadets did riot have an absolute majority i n the Duma.  Miliukov*s  b e l i e f that only the Kadet party had the confidence of the Duma and of the country i s c e r t a i n l y open to question. party's constant sermonizing extraordinary proceedings.  Muromtsev seriously compromised his  about constitutionalism by h i s r o l e i n these Furthermore, the lack of public outcry a f t e r the  d i s s o l u t i o n shows c l e a r l y that Miliukov exaggerated the importance of the Duma i n the eyes of the p u b l i c . The u n o f f i c i a l leader of an i r r e s p o n s i b l e opposition, Miliukov made ho attempt whatever to understand the p o s i t i o n of the government. As one c r i t i c pointed out, Miliukov would only negotiate i f the government accepted  55 the p r i n c i p l e of parliamentary government i n which the dominant party selects and controls the c a b i n e t — a concept of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y hardly understandable to bureaucratic ministers who, l i k e those i n Imperial Germany and i n contrast to the B r i t i s h Cabinet, thought only i n terms of i n d i v i d u a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the Emperor.^ If the Tsar and his government were disappointed at the f a i l u r e of a c o a l i t i o n ministry, so also were the moderate c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s t s , who  had  based t h e i r platform on just such a compromise s o l u t i o n . The Kadet a t t i t u d e forced them to reconsider their p o s i t i o n as mediators between the government and the more r a d i c a l l i b e r a l s .  D. N. Shipov regretted that the Kadet leader-  ship had not been f l e x i b l e enougJiLto meet the  circumstances.  . . . i f the representatives of the Kadet party were brought to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the government and to accept the heavy r e s p o n s i b i l i t y connected therewith, the existing mood of the party would undoubtedly change and i t s representatives, who would become members of the cabinet, would come to consider i t their duty to reduce considerably the party programme...21 The Octobrists were to become even more d i s i l l u s i o n e d with the Kadet leadership after the Viborg Manifesto incident.  This f i a s c o served only to empha-  s i z e the gap which separated the Kadet deputies from the moderate l i b e r a l s . Henceforth,  the Octobrists would be w i l l i n g to work with any member of the  government who  d i l i g e n t l y applied himself to putting the country's  i n order, provided he consulted with the Duma i n so doing.  business  They would  now  oppose the formation of a ministry which included the dogmatic and bumptious Kadet leaders. not  The watchword of the Octobrists became "constitutionalism,  22  parliamentarism".  56 The action taken at Viborg was, justifiable.  i n the opinion of the Kadets, morally  Certainly i t had neither legal nor c o n s t i t u t i o n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n ,  and the signatories were r i g h t l y treated as criminals.  In the words of  Stolypin, they had "openly summoned the people to r e b e l l i o n against the 23 existing order."  The government was quite happy to decree that a l l deputies  who had signed the Manifesto would be i n e l i g i b l e for election to the Second Duma. The Viborg Manifesto has considerable importance i n Russian c o n s t i t u t i o n a l history as an expression of the Kadet p o s i t i o n . document i s largely a mixture of apologia and propaganda.  The text of the The opening  sentences are, however, worthy of closer attention. The Duma has been dissolved by ajti] ukase of July 21st. You elected us as your representatives, you gave us instructions to f i g h t for the country and for l i b e r t y . In accordance with your instructions, and with our duty, we drew up laws to ensure freedom to the people. We demanded the removal of i r r e s p o n s i b l e ministers who transgressed the laws with impunity and suppressed freedom. But f i r s t of a l l we wished to formulate a law f o r the d i s t r i b u t i o n of land to the working p e a s a n t r y . . .  24  This version of the events leaves unsaid the fact that on two occasions the Kadets refused to entertain proposals f o r compromise with the government. Nor does i t mention t h e i r r e f u s a l to work with the public men.  I t charges  the government with i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , although i t has been c l e a r l y shown that the Kadet opposition was by no means free from the same accusation. It must be concluded, therefore, that the Kadets had their  own  clearly-defined idea of p o l i t i c a l morality. Hence, the word " C o n s t i t u t i o n a l " i n the party's name referred not to the constitution i n force i n Russia at the time, but to some system of l e g a l i t y which the Kadets intended to set up  .57  when they attained power.  On this basis, they believed themselves morally  j u s t i f i e d i n opposing the government to which they had.taken an oath of allegiance, and i n proposing the unconstitutional measures (such as. the land d i s t r i b u t i o n p r o j e c t ) , which originated i n their 'sense of duty'.  The attack  ori " i r r e s p o n s i b l e ministers who transgressed the laws" was also the product of this b e l i e f i n moral j u s t i f i c a t i o n ; otherwise, the phrase has no meaning. If i t were to r e f e r to the laws i n effect i n Russia at the time, i t was their enforcement and not their transgression to which the Kadets objected so strenuously.  Hence the expression must r e f e r to a moral code of behaviour  which the Kadets believed should be followed i n the running of a state.  The  Viborg Manifesto was an incitement to revolution issued not i n the name of a v i o l a t e d constitution, which would have been a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l act, but i n the name of the doctrine of popular sovereignty.  Henceforth, the Kadets must be  regarded as forming part of the unconstitutional opposition, along with the Truodoviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, and Social-Democrats.  ***** Unlike the Kadets, Goremykin was j u b i l a n t over the d i s s o l u t i o n of the F i r s t Duma, since the Emperor had simultaneously released the old man from the premiership.  The new Premier was P. A. Stolypin, Minister of the  Interior i n Goremykin's cabinet, who d i d not give up that p o r t f o l i o when he took on the premiership.  As this was a suitable occasion f o r other cabinet  changes, two ministers absolutely opposed to popular representation i n any form were dismissed.  The departure of Stishinsky and Prince Shirinsky-  Shikhmatov enabled Stolypin to negotiate with the Octobrists, who had opposed t h e i r i n c l u s i o n i n the c a b i n e t . ^  58 There was n a t u r a l l y some discussion i n government c i r c l e s as tb " whether a new e l e c t o r a l law would follow the d i s s o l u t i o n of the Duma.  Indeed,  Goremykin had requested that the State Council not be dissolved along with the Duma, " f o r , should i t be necessary  to issue an important  state act, such  as a change i n the statute on elections to the Duma, t h i s could be done 26 through the State Council, which now includes p u b l i c representatives." was,  It  however, the decision of the cabinet to put o f f any change i n the law  u n t i l a f t e r the election to the Second Duma.  But the very evening of  Stolypin's appointment, Kryzhanovsky was requested to begin work on a more r e s t r i c t i v e e l e c t o r a l law. Despite the fact that he was already contemplating  a change i n the  e l e c t o r a l law, Stolypin began to enter into negotiations with men whom he knew would not be a party to any change i n that law. He approached three groups of p u b l i c men with the proposal that some of them j o i n his cabinet. These were:  M. Kovalevsky and V. Kuz'min-Karavaev of the small Party of  Democratic Reform, Count Heyden, M. A. Stakhovich and N. N. L'vov of the Party of Peaceful Reconstruction, and A. I . Guchkov, D. N. Shipov and A. F. 28 Koni of the Union of October 17. On 15 July, 1906, Shipov and L'vov had a long conversation with Stolypin at the l a t t e r ' s summer house, and fortunately for the h i s t o r i a n , Shipov l e f t a f u l l account of what transpired a t that 29 meeting. Shipov was under no i l l u s i o n s about Stolypin's motives i n asking them to j o i n the cabinet.  Stolypin, he believed, "feared p u b l i c h o s t i l i t y to h i s  measures and saw i n our p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the cabinet a means of r e c o n c i l i n g  59 the excited p u b l i c with the government.II  30  If Stolypin was seriously planning  to change the e l e c t o r a l law, he was probably hoping to n u l l i f y the opposition, of the p u b l i c men by i n v i t i n g them into a 'reform' cabinet so that his future coup against the Duma would not f i n d them leading the ' excited p u b l i c ' . Stolypin did, i n f a c t , t e l l them of his intention to enact reforms before the convocation  of the Second Duma.  They objected that a substantial  program of reform should not be undertaken without the consultation of the Duma.  Stolypin's reply was a clear i n d i c a t i o n that as Prime Minister he would  be concerned with e f f i c i e n c y and u t i l i t y , not with c o n s t i t u t i o n a l forms. We [Shipov and L'vovJ ...pointed out that no measure which required the sanction of a l e g i s l a t i v e chamber could be carried out without the confirmation of the l e g i s l a t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s , and said that we were at a loss to understand how, since the Manifesto of October 17, the government could decide what kind of reforms were needed without f i r s t c o n ^ s u i t i n g the people's representatives. P. A. Stolypin then said that as far as he was concerned he saw c l e a r l y what measures were immediately required; he was c r i t i c a l of the l e g i s l a t i v e capacity of the State Duma, at least i n i t s early sessions, and again emphasized his conviction that the government would be able without any delay to grant to a l l classes of the population what they r e a l l y needed. We c a l l e d his attention to the f a c t that the Sovereign Power granted the population the r i g h t to p a r t i c i p a t e through t h e i r elected representatives, i n the determining of the country's p o l i t i c a l l i f e , and asked how His Majesty's government could v i o l a t e this r i g h t ? * 3  Shipov went on to predict that unless Stolypin came over to their point of view, he would f a i l to p a c i f y the country.  He then advanced the  conditions under which the public men would agree to j o i n the cabinet. were as follows:  These  that h a l f of the p o r t f o l i o s be given to public men,  including that of Minister of the I n t e r i o r ; that the cabinet issue a public  60  statement of i t s aims; that on the basis of the Manifesto of October 17, a programme of l e g i s l a t i o n be drawn up for submission to the new  Duma; that  c a p i t a l punishment be held i n abeyance u n t i l the l e g i s l a t i v e bodies had decided on i t s proper use. Shipov's programme was  a f i n e statement of the moderate p o s i t i o n ,  but i t overlooked the fact that the Fundamental Laws had l a r g e l y annulled the October Manifesto.  Stolypin, more of a r e a l i s t , and sensing the strength  of his own p o s i t i o n , r e p l i e d that "...now was not the time to t a l k about programs; public men  must trust t h e i r Tsar and his government and,  i n view  of the d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n i n which the country found i t s e l f , must accept on  u n s e l f i s h l y the i n v i t a t i o n of the government." Shipov and L'vov saw that further discussion was for St. Petersburg.  useless, and departed  At the request of their colleagues, they sent a l e t t e r  to Stolypin, putting their conditions i n w r i t i n g .  On 18 July, Stolypin wrote  to Shipov expressing his regret that "...you refuse to render your valuable 33 and much desired collaboration to our e f f o r t s to be useful to the country." Thus ended the l a s t attempt to reach agreement between the government and p u b l i c men.  A month e a r l i e r , Stolypin had found his own  blocked by the i n t r a c t a b i l i t y of Miliukov; now,  the  e f f o r t s at compromise  he himself was  responsible for  the breakdown of the July negotiations. The question a r i s e s , why i n June but not i n July?  was  the government prepared to compromise  The sudden rejuvenation of the government must be  attributed l a r g e l y to the ease with which the F i r s t Duma was government had been frankly a f r a i d of a new  dissolved.  The  outburst of revolutionary a c t i v i t y ,  61 and.was greatly r e l i e v e d to f i n d that Miliukov had v a s t l y overestimated, h i s party's popularity with the country.  I f the people cared so l i t t l e for the  Kadets, the government was w i l l i n g to r i s k finding out whether the public men  could also be dispensed with.  Stolypin was beginning to sense the new  power of h i s p o s i t i o n , and he was not prepared to s a c r i f i c e h i s reform programme on the a l t a r of constitutionalism.  The Tsar, too, did not wish to  see his f i r s t minister shackled by the conditions which the public men would 34 have imposed.  The apathy which surrounded the d i s s o l u t i o n reinforced his  b e l i e f that Russia was not ready for self-government. Furthermore, temperament.inclined  he was by  to be rather enthusiastic about any new appointment, at  l e a s t . f o r the f i r s t few weeks.  A l l h i s confidence now reposed i n Stolypin,  and the l a t t e r was not slow to take advantage of the s i t u a t i o n .  I f the public  men wanted to enter the cabinet on his terms, well and good; i f n o t — h e would carry on the government just as well without them.  I f Miliukov had not  exaggerated h i s p o s i t i o n , and i f the government had not been taken i n by h i s statements, the public men probably would have been given p o r t f o l i o s i n June, but the events of the ensuing weeks reduced their changes to nothing, because A  their bargaining p o s i t i o n was l o s t .  Stolypin administered the coup de grace.  by refusing the Octobrists' request that the date of convocation of the Second Duma be advanced. Laws.  This, he said, would be a v i o l a t i o n of the Fundamental  With consummate hypocrisy, he went on i n the same breath to repeat his 35 intention to enact basic reforms without consulting the Duma.  62  The negotiations with the public men were a kind of epilogue to the proceedings of the First Duma. The government had cone into battle armed with the Fundamental Laws, and had emerged unscathed.  The Kadets had seriously  compromised, themselves by issuing the Viborg Manifesto,  The Octobrists had  been forced into a corner, and could do nothing to extricate themselves. The Tsar and Stolypin found themselves in a position of new strength, and they could afford to ignore opposition, grumblings about the 'spirit of the October Manifesto*.  Stolypin expressed well the governments attitude when he told  his cabinet that henceforth, "...the v i t a l interest of the country must be 36 placed above this or that provision of the law."  Stolypin had learned his  lesson from the brief but flamboyant career of the First Duma; i t remained, to be seen whether the opposition forces had done the same.  63 FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER IV  •1-Kokovtsov, o p . c i t . . pp. 138-139. ^Reported by Gurko, op.cit., p. 469. 3  W i t t e , o p . c i t . . p. 361.  4  I b i d . . p. 330.  -^Kokovtsov, o p . c i t . . p. 126. I b i d . , pp. 126-127.  6  ?Witte, op.cit., p. 330. 8  I b i d . , p. 354.  9 Kokovtsov, o p . c i t . . pp. 124-125. •^There i s some dispute as to whether Witte l e f t Goremykin with a draft programme of l e g i s l a t i o n to put before the Duma. Kokovtsov states that Goremykin t o l d him that nothing of this kind had been done; Gurko, on the other hand, says that a number of projects were drafted. Nevertheless, i t i s clear that Goremykin had no intention of allowing the Duma to discuss anything of importance. See Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 123; Gurko, o p . c i t . , p. 458. ^Quoted i n Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 124. 12 For the other demands, see R. Charques, The Twilight of Imperial Russia, London, 1958, p. 154. 13 Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 139. l^Gurko, op.cit., p. 472. * Quoted i n Kokovtsov, o p . c i t . , p. 140. 5  ^ F o r the exact wording of the resolution, see Ibid., p. 141. *?The government's opinion of the 'Kadet Duma' i s described v i v i d l y i n Ibid., p. 142. * The Leader of The Moderate Party of Democratic Reform. 8  64 ^ F o r this and f f . , see R. L. Tuck, "Paul Miljukov and Negotiations for a Duma Ministry, 1906", i n American S l a v i c and East European Review, X, No. 2, ( A p r i l , 1951), pp..117-129. 19 Goremykin aroused much controversy by announcing the p o l i c y of the government through an a r t i c l e i n the o f f i c i a l gazette. According to A. P. Izvolsky, this was "...evidence of h i s scorn for the national assembly, and i t was the form of the communication rather than i t s contents which aroused the unanimous indignation of the deputies." Recollections of a Foreign Minister . New York, 1921, p. 179. a  Tuck, op.cit., p. 128. This concept of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y was so strong that the ministers often s i l e n t l y faced attacks i n the Duma for a p o l i c y which the Emperor had forced them to accept. The extent to which the ministers acted without consulting one another i s shown by Kokovtsov's admission that he was not informed either of Stolypin's negotiations or of Goremykin's decision to dissolve the Duma. See o p . c i t . , pp. 150-151. A  *D. N. Shipov, Vospominaniia i Dumi o Perezhitom, Moscow, 1918; translated i n Gurko, op.cit., Appendix 3, p. 713. 2  22 A paraphrase of the p o l i c y announced i n the Duma i n November, 1907, by A. I . Guchkov. See P. Chasles, Le Parlement Russe. P a r i s , 1909, p. 198 and f f . 23  Quoted i n Gurko, o p . c i t . , p. 491.  T h e t r a n s l a t i o n i s from R. W. Postgate, Revolution from 1789 to 1906, New York, 1962, p. 891. 2 4  25 . A. Vasil'chikov succeeded Stishinsky as Minister of A g r i c u l t u r e ; P. P. tfsyolsky succeeded Prince Shirinsky-Shikhmatov at the Holy Synod. Their appointments were not announced u n t i l a f t e r the f a i l u r e of negotiations with the public men. B  2  ^Gurko, op.cit., p. 487.  27  2  Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 154.  ^Shipov joined the Party of Peaceful Reconstruction i n 1908.  29 D. N. Shipov, op.cit., pp. 461-471; Gurko, op.cit., Appendix 4, pp. 717-721. 30 Ibid., p. 718 and f f .  65 p.  719.  32ibid., p.  720.  3 1  ;  Ibid.,  3 3  Loc.cit.  3 4  Gurko,  3 5  Shipov,  3  OP.cit., p. 493. OP.cit., pp.  720-721.  ^Gurko, o p . c i t . . p. 501.  CHAPTER  V  STOLYPIN AND THE SECOND DUMA  Despite Stolypin's importance as the l a s t great statesman of Imperial Russia, there i s a regrettable lack of first-hand materials pertaining to his career. writing h i s memoirs.  The circumstances of his death prevented him from  In any case, he was by nature a man of action, rather  than of deep thought, and therefore one must attempt to i n f e r his philosophy of government from what he did, and from the l i t t l e that he said on the subject. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that he accepted o f f i c e without questioning the Duma's r i g h t to exist as a v a l i d part of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l structure.  There  is no doubt that the Tsar and the court would have been amenable to any suggestion that i t be abolished. Yet Stolypin did not make such a suggestion; he merely obtained the dismissals of the two ministers most opposed to representative government and went ahead with the business of electing and convoking another Duma. At the same time, however, he opened negotiations with the public men and then blocked a l l attempts at compromise with them. He r i d i c u l e d the l e g i s l a t i v e a b i l i t i e s of the Duma, and enacted h i s own program of reforms by means of A r t i c l e 87 of the Fundamental Laws, a procedure of doubtful l e g a l i t y .  1  I t appeared that he was being h y p o c r i t i c a l i n main-  taining the Duma's existence while acting without consulting i t .  To dismiss  him as a mere hypocrite, however, would be a s u p e r f i c i a l judgment indeed. One must inquire more deeply into the reasons which lay behind these t a c t i c a l manoeuvres.  67 Stolypin had served his apprenticeship i n the p r o v i n c i a l administrat i o n before coming to St. Petersburg.  He had been drawn to the attention of  the Imperial government because of the capable job he had done as Governor of Saratov gubernia during the troubled years of war and r e v o l u t i o n . His bureaucratic background n a t u r a l l y led him to regard the executive and adminis t r a t i v e functions of government as being more valuable than the l e g i s l a t i v e . Russia, he f e l t , was not yet ready for the establishment of a l e g i s l a t u r e . The climate was not r i g h t , i n the Russia of 1906,  to expose such a f r a i l  seedling to the open a i r ; he, the master gardener, would have to nurture the s o i l and prepare i t very c a r e f u l l y .  This explains why he was unwilling to  consult the Duma about a reform programme which was,  i n part, designed to lay  a base f o r the future healthy existence of the Duma i t s e l f .  As an experienced  administrator, he believed that he know better than the p o l i t i c i a n s under what conditions the new 'constitutional' Russia could be made to f l o u r i s h . There were also p r a c t i c a l reasons why Stolypin wished to r e t a i n the Duma, even i f i t s functions had to be c u r t a i l e d to please the Supreme Power. In St. Petersburg he was a man alone, an upstart from the provinces.  He  needed, to be frank, more than just the Emperor's confidence to achieve the necessary power to ensure the success of his reform programme.  He could not  be sure of the Tsar, for Nicholas' enthusiasm was a f l e e t i n g thing; i n the eyes of the court he was and would always be a parvenu; the old, a r i s t o c r a t i c bureaucracy regarded him with suspicion because he smacked of the new order. His one source of strength could be the Duma, i f he could prove to the government that he could p a c i f y the country and keep the Duma under control at the  68 same time.  What he forgot was that i n order to do t h i s , he would have to  give some evidence to the moderate group i n the Duma that he was genuinely interested i n seeking a rapprochement.  He seemed to think that i t would be  s u f f i c i e n t i f he merely protected the Duma from a l l attempts to dissolve i t , and did not r e a l i z e that this existence, without a purpose, was useless. There i s no doubt that Stolypin favoured limited monarchy to absolute monarchy.  He supported  the prerogative powers of the Tsar because he,  Stolypin, would be able to exercise these powers as Chairman of the Council of M i n i s t e r s .  He did not, however, want to see any of these powers trans-  ferred to the Duma, for that i n s t i t u t i o n had yet to prove i t s e l f a r e l i a b l e organ of government.  Stolypin's 'constitutionalism* was descended from the  theories of Speransky, not from those of Herzen or the l i b e r a l s .  He was  more concerned with the i n f u s i o n of l e g a l i t y into the p o l i t i c a l system than with the extension of the representative p r i n c i p l e . government was, i n h i s view, i t s e f f i c i e n c y . as being responsible only to the Emperor.  The c r i t e r i o n of good  Thus he n a t u r a l l y saw himself  Whether he enjoyed the  confidence  of the Duma meant l i t t l e to him; i t was convenient, but c e r t a i n l y not necessary,  that i t should be so.  . As a progressive bureaucrat, he was t o t a l l y incapable of understanding the outlook of anyone who d i d not worship his i d o l — a n e f f i c i e n t administration.  He expected the Duma to approve wholeheartedly  despite h i s use of A r t i c l e 87 to enact i t .  of h i s reform programme,  He wrote to V. I . Gurko just  a f t e r the d i s s o l u t i o n of the F i r s t Duma explaining h i s plans:  There are 180 days before the Second Duma assembles. We must make good use of them so that when the Duma meets we may appear before i t with a series of reforms already r e a l i z e d . This w i l l demonstrate the government's sincere desire to remove from the existing order a l l things incompatible with the s p i r i t of the times. 2  The inference here i s that Stolypin himself i s wholly capable to decide, what i s i n accord with the s p i r i t of the times and what i s not.  Stolypin  was not one to play the humble r o l e of f i r s t servant of the state.  He  expected h i s government to work with the precise e f f i c i e n c y of a w e l l - o i l e d machine.  Thus he never accepted advice or assistance from sources which he  did not trust absolutely. For example, the agrarian reforms were almost e n t i r e l y the work of Stolypin and V. I . Gurko, despite the fact that the zemstvo agronomists  had provided the Duma with much information which would  have been very useful i n drawing up these measures.  He preferred advice  from r e l i a b l e sources to that of the zemstvo 'third element', which was, i n his  eyes, a revolutionary force.  He was very suspicious of the l e g i s l a t i v e  committees of the Duma, which i n v i t e d zemstvo and other experts to t e s t i f y regarding draft l e g i s l a t i o n .  He was also opposed to the development of any  kind of intimate r e l a t i o n s between Duma deputies and their constituents, and attempted to prevent the deputies from addressing the electors i n the  3 i n t e r v a l which followed d i s s o l u t i o n .  . . . . . .  ~  Stolypin's unwillingness to work with the zemstvo groups i n drawing up his reforms stemmed from the fact that his outlook was fundamentally d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r s .  The zemstvo workers and p u b l i c men were r e a l l y p u b l i c  servants i n the modern sense of the word, and to them the general well-being  70 of the country was an end i n i t s e l f .  The end of Stolypin's reforms, on the  other hand, was the improved well-being of the Tsar's subjects, not as an end i n i t s e l f , but i n order to bolster the p o s i t i o n of the government and of the dynasty.  This was the goal of the 1906 reforms, and i f the Second  Duma would support Stolypin's programme on this basis, then he would do what he could to keep i t i n existence as a more or less representative body. The Duma which met to discuss the refe rm programme was fundamentally d i f f e r e n t from i t s predecessor. Not only did i t lack the one-party dominance so obvious i n the F i r s t Duma; i t s composition ranged much more widely to the extremes of r i g h t and l e f t . (see  The Kadets, decimated a f t e r the Viborg fiasco  above, Chapter IV) and by governmental interference i n the elections,  were reduced to less than a hundred seats.  The Labour Group had 101 deputies  and the extreme .right and the extreme l e f t each had another hundred deputies. Within these broad c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s there were also sub-groupings, so that the Duma as a whole was indeed a heterogeneous assemblage.  Neither the extreme  r i g h t nore the extreme l e f t were interested i n anything but their own f a c t i o n a l purposes.  The l e f t wished to use the Duma only as a forum f o r the  dissemination of revolutionary propaganda, while the reactionaries who followed Purishkevich were agitating for d i s s o l u t i o n and constantly blocking any constructive a c t i v i t y . Because of the lack of a united opposition, and because the reform programme was e s s e n t i a l l y a f a i t accompli, the issue of sovereignty appeared i n the Second Duma i n a much d i f f e r e n t form than i t had i n the F i r s t Duma. Goremykin's  i n a c t i v i t y , coupled with the Kadet preponderance, had paved the  71 way  f o r a direct challenge to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l system established by the  Fundamental Laws.  The F i r s t Duma's Address and the Viborg Manifesto were  thoroughly imbued with the p r i n c i p l e s of representative government and the doctrine of popular sovereignty.  The government had successfully  defended  i t s e l f against this f r o n t a l assault on i t s p o s i t i o n by d i s s o l v i n g the Duma. The c o n f l i c t s i n the Second Duma were not over limited autocracy versus popular sovereignty, but over the manner i n which this l i m i t e d autocracy was exercising i t s powers.  A r t i c l e 87 of the Fundamental Laws had  been planned as a device by which the government could continue to function when the Duma.was not i n session.^  Stolypin's use of i t to enact h i s reform  programme was c e r t a i n l y contrary to the s p i r i t , i f not the l e t t e r , of the Laws,-and the Kadet deputies e s p e c i a l l y challenged the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i t y o£ Stolypin's a c t i o n s .  In the absence of an independent  there could be no f i n a l binding v e r d i c t handed down.  supreme j u d i c i a l organ, Either the Senate or  the.State Council had the experience and the wisdom necessary to pronounce on the l e g a l i t y of the question, but since Stolypin obviously had the support of the.Tsar, theseibodies were quite unwilling to oppose the Imperial w i l l . In f a c t , the.government had presented the Duma with yet another f a i t  accompli  i n using A r t i c l e 87 and, bearing i n mind the state of p u b l i c apathy toward the fate o f t h e Duma, there was nothing the deputies could do except vent their f  bitterness to each other i n the lobbies of the Tauride Palace. From Stolypin's point of view, the use of A r t i c l e 87 had several advantages which f a r outweighed the cost of accusations about his pseudoconstitutionalism.  I t was the most e f f i c i e n t way to enact the reforms, since  they could be put into effect immediately; i t also prevented d i s t o r t i o n or  72 a l t e r a t i o n of the programme by the Duma.  I t also served to demonstrate to  the Duma that the cabinet was not floundering and that the government was making every e f f o r t to restore order and a measure of prosperity throughout the country.  Furthermore, i t served as an announcement to the Duma that i t s  r o l e i n l e g i s l a t i o n would be purely advisory and that on the most important measures i t s opinion would have no e f f e c t at a l l i f i t ran contrary to government p o l i c y . Even i n i t s opposition to the government's methods, the Second Duma was  unable to achieve a purposeful unity.  Only the Kadets and the Octobrists  objected to the reform programme on c o n s t i t u t i o n a l grounds; the left-wing p a r t i e s wished to discuss only the economic implications of the programme. Again, the Kadets were strongly i n favour of the Duma's exercising i t s prerogative to confirm that part of the budget which was submitted to i t , while the l e f t i s t s wished to make a general attack on the.machinery which drew up the e n t i r e budget. foundation  For the Kadets, discussion of the budget was "...a  stone for the new parliamentary  vital  structure."^. The s o c i a l i s t p a r t i e s ,  however, wanted to use the budget debate as an excuse for another vote of no confidence  i n the government.  The extreme r i g h t managed to throw the assembly into chaos by presenting a motion condemning terror as a p o l i t i c a l weapon.  This r e s o l u t i o n  placed the Kadets i n a most d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n . Although they were making a r e a l attempt to act with r e s t r a i n t so that the government would allow the Duma to become more of a parliament,  on the other hand, they could not forget  t h e i r revolutionary legacy from the days of the Union of L i b e r a t i o n .  They  73 were unwilling to condemn terror because i t would alienate the S o c i a l Democrats and the S o c i a l i s t Revolutionaries, and the Kadets desperately wanted these parties to remain sympathetic to the Duma as the embodiment, . however imperfect, of the representative idea.  Thus the Kadets were forced  to s i t on the.fence while the r i g h t i s t s g l e e f u l l y portrayed them to the government as bloodthirsty r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s . The same, lack of unity i s demonstrated by the i n t e r p e l l a t i o n s which were conducted by the Second Duma.  The Kadets t r i e d hard to make the i n t e r -  p e l l a t i o n s meaningful and worthwhile, but they were frustrated by the r i g h t , who wished only to embarrass the government.  Stolypin viewed the i n t e r -  p e l l a t i o n s as another attempt by the Duma to arouse the people against the government.  Consequently, the ministers refused to cooperate with the Duma  and, no matter what the offence, were protected by the government whenever the Duma sought to attack them for i r r e g u l a r i t i e s i n administration.  The  Duma's attempts to i n t e r p e l l a t e , coupled with i t s r e f u s a l to condemn p o l i t i c a l t e r r o r , served only to increase the f e e l i n g i n o f f i c i a l c i r c l e s that i t should be dissolved. Only i n opposing the f i e l d courts-martial were the Kadets able to form a united front of the opposition p a r t i e s . throughout most of the provinces  These courts, which operated  of European Russia i n 1906-7, were Stolypin's :  answer to continued acts of terrorism by the revolutionary  organizations.  Their j u s t i c e was swift and harsh, and the hatred engendered by them against the government was growing-constantly.  They had been i n s t i t u t e d under  A r t i c l e 87, so t h e i r power was due to expire i n A p r i l , 1907.  The Kadets  74 brought i n a b i l l some weeks before this which would have abolished their powers immediately.  Purishkevich and the extreme r i g h t group were almost  h y s t e r i c a l i n defending the courts, but the Kadet b i l l was passed by a large majority.  The triumph of the l e f t wing was  short, however, for the State  Council vetoed the b i l l and the Tsar declined to intervene i n the controversy. Thus Stolypin was able to l e t the extraordinary courts carry out their duties for  two more months, and was  thereby able to present himself to the Tsar as  the p a c i f i e r of Russia. In the i n t e r p e l l a t i o n s , i n the dispute over the budget, and i n the haggling over p o l i t i c a l terror, the Second Duma revealed i t s fundamental unworkability.  Although i t had not d i r e c t l y challenged the sovereignty of the  Tsar and h i s ministers, i t had pointed out the inadequacy of the budgetary regulations and the misdirection of the government's agrarian p o l i c y . Furthermore, i t had overstepped  the bounds of good taste i n daring to c r i t i -  c i z e the torture of r e b e l l i o u s workers by the p o l i c e i n Riga and one of the deputies, Zurabov, had even questioned the bravery of the Imperial Russian Army. his  -  The Tsar was aghast.  One week a f t e r the Zurabov incident, he made  feelings known to Kokovtsov.  .  ...Is there any need f o r further proof that we can no longer tolerate such action unless we are prepared to be swept away by the storm of revolution? I understand why Stolypin i n s i s t s that simultaneously with the d i s s o l u t i o n there must be proclaimed a new e l e c t o r a l law, and I am ready to wait a few more days, but I t o l d him that I considered the d i s s o l u t i o n of the Duma as s e t t l e d , and that I hoped that I should not be kept waiting longer than necessary for the completion of the work on the new law, which, i n my opinion, was proceeding much too slowly... 7  75 Two of the r i g h t i s t ministers, Swanebach and Durnovo, began to urge Stolypin to dissolve the Duma. At court, there was considerable a g i t a t i o n for d i s solution, and the Tsar himself was becoming impatient at Stolypin*s r e f u s a l to face the i n e v i t a b l e . ^ Stolypin had known since he assumed o f f i c e that another Duma could not be elected without d r a s t i c changes i n the e l e c t o r a l law.  Kryzhanovsky  had been at work on.the draft of a new e l e c t o r a l law since August, 1906. The d i f f i c u l t y was not i n drawing up the law, but i n the manner of i t s promulgation.  According  to the Fundamental Laws, any change i n the Duma e l e c t o r a l  law had to be approved by the Duma, and Stolypin had been t r y i n g to convince the deputies  that he was a s t i c k l e r f o r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l e g a l i t y .  Nevertheless  he knew, as d i d a l l the ministers, that the d i s s o l u t i o n would have to be accompanied by a r e v i s i o n i n the e l e c t o r a l law, or there would be no t h i r d Duma.  , Since there was no legal way of changing the e l e c t o r a l law, i t would  have to be done i l l e g a l l y .  Swanebach was the f i r s t to advocate the p u b l i c a t i o n  of the law by sovereign ukase.  The only opposition to this came from the  Foreign Minister, Izvolsky, but he soon changed h i s mind.  Once Kryzhanovsky's  draft had been approved by the cabinet, Stolypin seems to have become convinced of the necessity to publish i t by decree. A manifesto was framed which announced to the people that the c o n s t i t u t i o n had been v i o l a t e d because of the necessity of obtaining a workable lower house.^  The ukase to the  Senate announcing the change i n the e l e c t o r a l law employed the meaningless  76 formula, "confirmed by the extraordinary powers of the M i n i s t e r s ' Council."^^ Stolypin r a t i o n a l i z e d h i s p o s i t i o n by taking the r e a l i s t i c view that i t was 12 better to have a less representative Duma than to have no Duma at a l l . Kryzhanovsky, t e s t i f y i n g before the Investigating Commission of the P r o v i s i o n a l Government i n 1917,  has raised a very i n t e r e s t i n g point i n connec-  t i o n with the foregoing events.  He said that the cabinet was agreed that the  Tsar had every r i g h t to abolish or to l i m i t an i n s t i t u t i o n which he himself had founded.  Since Nicholas II had not taken an oath to support a l l laws  issued during h i s reign, he himself was not v i o l a t i n g any promise by issuing 13 an Imperial Ukase announcing the new e l e c t o r a l law.  This argument has  merit, and cannot be dismissed by the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l h i s t o r i a n as a mere rationalization.  In the absence of an independent supreme j u d i c i a r y (apart  from the Tsar himself), the only way i n which the i n v i o l a b i l i t y of the Fundamental Laws of 1906 could have been guaranteed would have been a new oath by Nicholas, modifying h i s e a r l i e r Coronation Oath.  Had the Tsarevich  A l e x e i ever ascended the throne, he would have bound himself to observe the Laws of 1906,  but the Laws which Nicholas had sworn to uphold were those i n  force i n the r e i g n of Alexander I I I .  Thus, although i t i s true that the new  e l e c t o r a l law v i o l a t e d the Fundamental Laws of 1906,  i t i s also true that  these Laws were not i n v i o l a b l e u n t i l the r e i g n of Nicholas' successor. Curiously enough, no one suggested the necessity of a new royal oath i n 1906. Professor Miliukov, who of a l l people should have recognized the delicacy of these c o n s t i t u t i o n a l questions, was busy jockeying for a cabinet p o s i t i o n , and the other ' c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s t s * wasted their breath accusing the government of v i o l a t i n g the ' s p i r i t of October 17'.  77 A f t e r the decision to dissolve the Duma had been taken, the government set about creating an excuse for d i s s o l u t i o n . both underhanded and clumsily executed. among the Social-Democratic  An agent of the Okhrana was planted  deputies to 'discover* that they were implicated  i n a plot to propagandize the army. of the i n v i o l a b i l i t y  The method chosen was  Implicit i n this plan was the question  of Duma deputies.  On 1 June, Stolypin revealed the  'plot' and demanded that the Duma turn over the 5 5 Social-Democrat deputies to the a u t h o r i t i e s f o r t r i a l .  This was tantamount to saying that any  unlegalized party ( i . e . , l e f t of the Octobrists) could be prosecuted by the government at any time. Once again the disunity of the Second Duma revealed i t s e l f . The right-wing groups were i n favour of expelling the deputies immediately. The Kadets regarded Stolypin's demand as an infringement of the Duma's rights and suggested, with the.support formed to discuss the s i t u a t i o n .  of the centre groups, that a committee be The Social-Democrats wanted some dramatic  demonstration i n which the Duma would confront the government on behalf of the doctrine of popular representation.  Along with the Narodnik S o c i a l i s t s ,  they moved that the Duma refuse to confirm the budget and annul the agrarian reform programme.  This motion f a i l e d when they were unable to obtain the  support of the Kadets. Stolypin was not prepared to await the findings of the Duma committee. On 3 June, the Second Duma was dissolved by Imperial Ukase.  The accompanying  manifesto accused the Duma of f a i l i n g to work for the good of Russia, f a i l i n g to condemn p o l i t i c a l terror, d e l i b e r a t e l y delaying confirmation of the budget,  78 using i n t e r p e l l a t i o n s to undermine the authority of the government, and of harbouring conspirators i n i t s ranks.  Elections f o r the Third Duma would  take place under the new e l e c t o r a l law on 1 September, and the convocation was set f o r 1 November, 1907. successful one at that.  I t was, then, a coup d'etat, and a very  By demonstrating  that the Fundamental Laws of 1906  were not i n v i o l a b l e , Stolypin answered those who asked i f the Tsar were not bound by h i s own act to accept a l i m i t a t i o n on h i s sovereignty.  This was the  14 end of the "demi-semi-constitutional monarchy",  the end of the sham  l e g a l i t y which had lasted less than fourteen months.  The Duma had been  reduced by Stolypin almost to the impotence of a Bulygin Duma. Stolypin could not eliminate, however, the memories of the c o n f l i c t s of 1905-1907. The absolute sovereignty of the Tsar had been challenged, had been limited, and had been largely re-established, but the issue would remain to plague the government f o r another decade. triumphant;  the Duma had challenged him and he had slapped i t down, as he 15  t o l d h i s mother he would i n March. of l e g a l i t y ?  For the moment, however, Nicholas was  And what remained of Stolypin*s facade  One can imagine him shrugging and paraphrasing the B i b l i c a l  text, "The Tsar has given and the Tsar has taken away...".  o  79 FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER V  ^"The consent of the reforms i s not under discussion here, but d e t a i l s of the various measures are given i n R.. Charques, o p . c i t . , pp. 161-166. ' Quoted i n Gurko, o p . c i t . , p. 494.  3 A. Levin, The Second Duma, New Haven, 1940,  p. 231.  ^Accurate figures are not a v a i l a b l e because of the regroupings which took place during the session. A good estimate i s that of Charques, o p . c i t . , p. 168: S o c i a l Democrats^ - 65 P o l i s h Kolo - 47 S o c i a l i s t Revolutionaries - 34 Octobrists - 32 Narodnik S o c i a l i s t s - 14 Moderate Right - 40 - 50 Trudoviki -101 Extreme Left - 22 Kadets - 92 -*The text of A r t i c l e 87 i s as follows: " I f , i n the absence of the Imperial Duma, extraordinary circumstances necessitate some measure before i t can be examined according to l e g i s l a t i v e procedure, the Council of Ministers s h a l l refer i t d i r e c t l y to His Majesty the Emperor. However, this measure cannot contain any modif i c a t i o n s of the Fundamental Laws of the State; nor of the Organic Laws of the State Council or of the Duma, nor of the e l e c t o r a l laws for the Council or the Duma. The measure ceases to be i n force i f , within the two months which follow the resumption of the work of the Duma, the Minister or the proper Director-general do not submit to the Imperial Duma a project of law corresponding to the measure i n question, or i f the project i s not adopted by the Duma or the State Council." From Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov R o s s i i s k o i Imperii, 1906; see also P. Chasles, "La C r i s e C o n s t i t u t i o n n e l l e de mars 1911 et les Oukazes Extraordinaires en Russie", Revue du Droit Public, P a r i s , 1912, V o l . 29, pp. 5-25. I t i s to be noted that the A r t i c l e did not specify who was to judge when 'extraordinary circumstances' prevailed; nor did i t specify that the project submitted l a t e r to the Duma was to duplicate the o r i g i n a l u k a s e — i t was s u f f i cient i f the project 'corresponded' to the ukase. Furthermore, Chasles points out that there was nothing to prevent the government from publishing the same ukase again even i f i t had f a i l e d to gain r a t i f i c a t i o n i n the Duma. ^Levin, o p . c i t . , p. 202. Kokovtsov, o p . c i t . , p. 181  80 See evidence of V. N. Kokovtsov i n Padenie Tsakskogo Rezhima, Moscow, 1924, VII, pp. 97-100. Hereafter c i t e d as Padenie. ^Kryzhanovsky, Padenie V, p. 382; Kokovtsov, Padenie VIIj p. 99. 10  Kokovtsov, Padenie VII, p. 102.  11  Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 177.  12  Kokovtsov, Padenie VII, p. 102.  l^Kryzhanovsky, Padenie V, p. 381, pp. 417-418. 14  T h e phrase i s that of Charques, o p . c i t . , ch. 7.  15  N . to M. F., 29 March 1907, pp. 228-229.  CHAPTER VI  A TIME FOR  PRAGMATISM  The Third Duma, convoked i n November 1907, assemblage of conservative Russian property-owners.  was predominantly an The centre and  left-wing  groups, sobered and chastened by the events of the l a s t fourteen months, were grateful that the Duma was i t was.  s t i l l i n existence, no matter how  unrepresentative  The r i g h t wing, exhilarated by the Stolypin coup, viewed the  new  Duma as a.triumph for the monarchy, and could hardly wait to demonstrate t h e i r l o y a l t y to the Emperor. r e s u l t s of the e l e c t i o n s .  Stolypin himself was  Here was  also pleased with the  a body he could manage, a body which  would not be constantly a g i t a t i n g for hasty and hazardous reforms, either i n the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l or i n the economic sphere. The Third Duma was deputies  each.  composed of three large groups of roughly  150  The Kadets and the s o c i a l i s t s made up one group—the e l e c t o r a l  law had done i t s work w e l l — o f left-wing p a r t i e s ; the Octobrists and moderates occupied  other  the centre; the various n a t i o n a l i s t and reactionary groups  made up the r i g h t wing.^*  Because of the rough numerical equality of these  groups, and because of the natural mediating r o l e of the centre, the Third Duma began by taking on a predominantly Octobrist character.  The Second Duma  had dramatized the f u t i l i t y of f a c t i o n a l struggles, and the r e s t r i c t i v e e l e c t o r a l law had to some extent reduced the d o c t r i n a i r e nature of the party programmes.  Stolypin's personal outlook was  conservative rather than  reactionary, so that he was not opposed to the Octobrist v i a media.  If the  82 outlook of the Octobrist party can be summed up i n a few words, they would be these:  that p a r t i c i p a t i o n by the Duma i n the l e g i s l a t i v e process was more  important than the degree to which the Duma t r u l y represented the Russian people.  This was not, i n f a c t , a compromise with the Stolypin regime. The  Octobrist programme had always stressed p a r t i c i p a t i o n rather than represent a t i o n — a pragmatic view perhaps, but i t was a time for pragmatism. The Octobrist party contained not a few men who were w e l l - q u a l i f i e d to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the l e g i s l a t i v e process.  For the most part, they were  enlightened conservative gentry and b i g businessmen who had served i n respons i b l e positions i n government and i n society.  Aleksandr Guchkov, the leader  of the group, had for years taken a prominent r o l e i n the zemstvo movement. N i k o l a i Khomiakov, the f i r s t President of the Third Duma, had been a senior o f f i c i a l i n the Ministry of A g r i c u l t u r e . held high posts i n the government service.  Shidlovsky and Zvegintsev had also As a group, the Octobrists were  remarkable for their a b i l i t y , the more so when they are contrasted with the decimated  left-wing groups and the narrow, bigoted reactionaries who owed t h e i r  e l e c t i o n to the e f f o r t s of the Ministry of the I n t e r i o r .  The centre group  was composed of talented men who could have occupied the most senior positions i n the government, but who "...were only prevented from r i s i n g higher by 2 their  enlightenment." Although the Octobrists wanted the Duma to work with, rather than  against the government, they were c e r t a i n l y not a 'government party'. were unpopular at court, and Stolypin was,  They  i n f a c t , condemned by the court  c i r c l e s for his alleged sympathy with the Octobrists. no formal agreement between Stolypin and Guchkov.  There was, however,  They did not work against  83 each other because i t was to their mutual advantage not to do so. Realists both, they took a p r a c t i c a l , and to some extent cynical view of the s i t u a t i o n . Stolypin had staked h i s p o s i t i o n on the new e l e c t o r a l law, and i f the Third Duma had to.be dissolved, he would be dismissed along with i t .  Guchkov knew  t h i s ; he also knew that, under these circumstances, Stolypin's successor would be.one-of the r e a c t i o n a r i e s .  Therefore i t was to the advantage of Guchkov,  and of the Duma as a whole, to support Stolypin as far as p o s s i b l e . This support would, i n turn, strengthen Stolypin's p o s i t i o n v i s - a - v i s the other ministers, not a l l of whom were h i s l o y a l colleagues.  The Minister of J u s t i c e ,  I. G. Shcheglovitov, was p a r t i c u l a r l y notorious for his sympathy,with the reactionaries.  C l e a r l y then, an informal rapprochement between Stolypin and  Guchkov was necessitated by the exigencies of the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n . ; The Octobrists began by committing  a faux^pas which did l i t t l e to  enhance their already poor reputation at court.  In drafting the Duma's reply  to the Tsar's, opening message, the Octobrists, with the support of the Kadets and s o c i a l i s t s , deleted the word 'autocrat' from the t i t l e s of the monarch. For the Octobrists, t h i s was a s i g n i f i c a n t r e v i s i o n , since they  understood  that Nicholas I I had limited h i s own power by granting the Manifesto*^ of October 17/30, 1905. For the l e f t , however, this omission was treated as a protest, against the continuing irresponsible absolutism of tsardom, and this was how the incident was interpreted at court. immediately  The right-wing deputies  c a p i t a l i z e d on the s i t u a t i o n and presented their own reply i n an  audience with the Tsar.  A. I . Dubrovin, leader of the ultra-reactionary  Union of the Russian People, wrote a polemical pamphlet accusing the Octobrists 3 of working to subvert the monarchical p r i n c i p l e i n Russia.  The court seized  84 on the incident as yet another proof of Stolypin*s willingness to t o l e r a t e insolence from the Duma.  I t would seem, however, that Stolypin c a r r i e d the  day, since there were no o f f i c i a l recriminations forthcoming.  There was  truth i n the Octobrist argument, and Nicholas either recognized  this fact  or else f e l t that he could afford-to overlook the affair-because of the overwhelmingly conservative character of the Duma. native.  In r e a l i t y , he had no a l t e r -  One could not r e s t r i c t the e l e c t o r a l law further; i f the Third Duma  had to be dissolved, the Duma as an i n s t i t u t i o n would have to be abolished. Neither Stolypin nor the Tsar was prepared to take this step and thus alienate the large number of conservative gentry and businessmen upon whose support they depended i n the struggle to eliminate the revolutionary movement. A f t e r this f i r s t r e l a t i v e l y minor c o n f l i c t , the Third Duma s e t t l e d down to work. two years.  The deputies had learned well from the events of the  previous  There was no attempt to challenge the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l system  established by the Fundamental Laws of 1906. l i b e r a l i z e the harsh e l e c t o r a l law of 1907.  There was no move made to There was no concerted a g i t a t i o n  for  control of the executive by the l e g i s l a t u r e .  In short, the Duma did not  try  to usurp the legitimate functions of any other organ of the government.  Instead, the emphasis was on the Octobrist idea of ' p a r t i c i p a t i o n ' i n the governing process.  This involved not the gradual taking over of the functions  of the other organs (which was the aim of the f i r s t two dumas), but the cons t r u c t i o n of a useful r o l e for the Duma as one organ within the e x i s t i n g c o n s t i t u t i o n a l structure.  P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s sense was effected not by  usurpation, but by the invention of new techniques and procedures which enabled the Duma to conduct i t s business and play i t s r o l e more e f f e c t i v e l y .  85 I n d i r e c t l y and unobtrusively, the Third Duma established a kind of limited sovereignty of i t s own within the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l structure. The Stolypin coup had not robbed the Duma of i t s r i g h t to discuss large parts of the budget.  While i t could never wield the "power of the  purse" i n the f u l l sense of the term, i t could discuss, d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y , almost everything except the expenses of the Ministry of the Imperial Court. In addition to the annual budget presented by the Minister of Finance, each  4 minister (except the Minister of the Imperial Court)  had to explain his  departmental estimates to the various Duma committees.  The deputies soon  r e a l i z e d that they could exert a subtle pressure on uncooperative and r e c a l c i t r a n t ministers by simply delaying the passing of that department's  estimates.  They could also exert this pressure on several ministers u n t i l the l a t t e r had convinced one p a r t i c u l a r minister that his unpopular measures were bringing the business of the government to a s t a n d s t i l l .  Pressure of this kind had  i t s l i m i t a t i o n s , of course, but i t did at least e x i s t .  An attempt was made  i n January, 1908, to include at least a token estimate from the Ministry of the Imperial Court i n the Duma's discussions, but this proposal was s o l i d l y opposed by the government.  Rather than lose the advantages they had already  gained, the Octobrists l e t the plan die i n the Duma's Budget Committee. These committees of the Duma, which i n scope corresponded roughly to the various m i n i s t r i e s of the government, were the most important device by which the Duma established i t s e l f as a useful part of the governing process. Oddly enough, these committees, which the Kadets especially came to r e a l i z e were invaluable to the o v e r a l l strength of the Duma, were a hangover from the Bulygin project, to which the l i b e r a l s had objected so strongly.^  Each  86 committee was composed of representatives of a l l p a r t i e s , the number of representatives being proportional to the strength of the party i n the Duma. Here again, d o c t r i n a i r e party attitudes tended to moderate i n the course of time.  Many deputies found the party programmes to be either a d i s t o r t i o n  o f j or i r r e l e v a n t to the actual s i t u a t i o n .  This was the sort of p r a c t i c a l  experience which had hitherto been denied to the Russian i n t e l l i g e n t s i a , and i t was of enormous benefit i n broadening their outlook. The ministers found i t to their advantage to cooperate with the Duma committees as f a r as p o s s i b l e .  I t was the committees which heard the e s t i -  mates of the various m i n i s t r i e s . I t was wise for the minister to consult with the chairman of the committee concerned i n order to ensure that h i s estimates would not arouse too much opposition.  In addition t o the chairman,  each committee had a spokesman, who acted as a sort of 'shadow minister' i n the Dumaj and who spoke for the committee on any subject within i t s sphere of competence.  Naturally these spokesmen often became as well-informed as  the ministers of the government.  A. I . Shingarev, spokesman of the Finance  Committee, was a constant thorn i n the side of Kokovtsov throughout the 6 Third Duma.  Guchkov managed to e s t a b l i s h quite a strong p o s i t i o n for himself  as Chairman of the Committee on Imperial Defence.  His attacks on Alexeyev,  who had been Viceroy of the Far East i n 1904-5, for mismanagement of the war e f f o r t won him acclaim i n the Duma and hatred at court, as Alexeyev was a favourite of the Empress.  Another popular cause supported by Guchkov was -  the removal of the grand dukes from t h e i r positions as inspectors-general of the armed forces.  Some of them resigned v o l u n t a r i l y and continued to  serve i n other ranks, because they saw the dangers of the sinecure system which Guchkov attacked.  The sound, reasoned arguments of Shingarev, Guchkov,  Anrep (who ^crusaded f o r educational reform) and other deputies brought new prestige to the Duma and made i t a force to be reckoned  with.  : The growth i n number and i n scope of the Duma committees n a t u r a l l y gave r i s e to the question of whether the Duma had an unlimited r i g h t t o . appoint such committees.  In 1908,  for example, rumours of mismanagement of  the railways led to a proposal that the Duma appoint a committee to i n v e s t i gate the transportation system. u l t r a v i r e s the Duma.  The government opposed the measure as being  The argument was that the M i n i s t r y of Ways and  Communications coordinated both p u b l i c and p r i v a t e transport enterprises, but that the Duma had no right to meddle i n p r i v a t e businesses as this was a p r i v i l e g e "...not provided for by the p r i n c i p l e s upon which i t was organized." This was a dubious argument, and Kokovtsov went on to reveal what must have been the r e a l reason for the government's opposition to the proposal.  I f the  Duma approved the project and the State Council vetoed i t , the Tsar would be placed i n the unenviable p o s i t i o n of having to choose between two groups of conservative and l o y a l supporters of the regime.  On the other hand, i f the  State Council approved the project and the'Tsar accepted i t , those ministers who had opposed i t would f e e l that they no longer had the confidence of the Tsar.  I t was a complex problem, but by no means insoluble.  It is difficult  to believe that any harm would have been done i f the government had allowed the Duma to proceed within c e r t a i n c a r e f u l l y defined limits? *  Instead, the  incident blew up i n everyone's face and ended i n bitterness on a l l sides. Miliukov, i n a speech j u s t i f y i n g the Duma's r i g h t to appoint  'parliamentary'  88 committees, aroused Kokovtsov's wrath, and the l a t t e r f i r e d back, "Thank God we have no parliament y e t l "  At t h i s remark the anglophile Kadets threw a  sort of c o l l e c t i v e tantrum, exaggerating out of a l l proportion the s i g n i f i cance of the comment.  I t was not, however, the sort of thing which Stolypin  would have said, and even the moderate Octobrists resented i n s u l t to the contribution which the Duma was making.  this covert  The end r e s u l t was  that the railway committee project was shelved u n t i l tempers cooled down. One of the most favourable  developments i n the Third Duma was the  cessation of attacks on the Duma i t s e l f by the deputies of the extreme r i g h t . On 28 A p r i l , 1908, Purishkevich announced that the extreme r i g h t had approved 8 the October Manifesto.. had overnight  This did not, of course, mean that a l l the reactionaries  become Octobrists, but i t did mean that they would no longer be  a g i t a t i n g constantly for the d i s s o l u t i o n of the Duma without j u s t cause. The r i g h t i s t s continued to adopt a more s t r i c t l y n a t i o n a l i s t i c outlook than did the Octobrists, and t h i s gradually became t h e i r most outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . One material advantage which the reactionaries gained by acceding to the Manifesto was the r e s t o r a t i o n of government subsidies to t h e i r press and electoral a c t i v i t i e s .  Stolypin had cut o f f these subsidies during the Second 9  Duma, but they were now restored and s u b s t a n t i a l l y increased. Although the Third Duma was becoming a useful and v i a b l e part of the government, c o n f l i c t s s t i l l arose over some quite minor issues, largely because of the whims of the Tsar.  In 1909, the Duma and the State Council  both passed a l e g i s l a t i v e proposal  concerning the c r e d i t s f o r the new Naval  General S t a f f .  Appended to the project was a l i s t of the suggested personnel  of the General S t a f f . was  S t r i c t l y speaking, the appointment of s t a f f o f f i c e r s ;  the prerogative of the Emperor under A r t i c l e 96 of the Fundamental Laws,  but i n p r a c t i c e these appointments were made on the advice of the ministry concerned i n consultation with the Duma committee. b i l l with a substantial majority.  The Duma passed the  Durnovo, one of the prominent right-wing  members of the State Council, brought up the technical i r r e g u l a r i t y of the measure but, rather than s p l i t hairs, the Council also passed the b i l l . Stolypin himself had presented the project to the Emperor for h i s approval. Despite a l l t h i s , Nicholas rejected the b i l l f l a t l y as a v i o l a t i o n of r o y a l prerogative.  I t seems l i k e l y that Durnovo, working through the Empress,  had managed to persuade the Tsar that he should not approve the p r o j e c t . The Tsar showed very poor judgment i n refusing to sign.  In doing so, he was  merely wasting the time and e f f o r t s of h i s most l o y a l supporters i n the Duma and State Council, and to no good purpose—the p r i n c i p l e involved was of the utmost t r i v i a l i t y .  A f t e r the events of 1905-6, he seemed incapable of  deciding what was a threat to his sovereignty and what was not, and he could always be persuaded to oppose something i f convinced that i t challenged the imperial prerogative power. It i s interesting to note that there was one instance when the Third Duma "proved i t s e l f even more imperial than the emperor himself . " ^ This was the question of the r e l a t i o n s of Finland to the imperial government. The Fundamental Laws of 1906 had preserved the old system whereby the Tsar acted on Finnish a f f a i r s with the advice of the State Secretary for Finland and the F i n n i s h Diet.  In 1910,  the Emperor decided that because of the  90 increasing importance of m i l i t a r y p o l i c y , Finland should be represented i n the Imperial Duma so that i t s m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s could be discussed i n the Duma. An Imperial Rescript to Stolypin (14 October, 1910) asked him to submit a proposal to this effect to the Duma. Meanwhile there had been a change i n the party structure of the Duma. Count Bobrinsky, a man of mediocre i n t e l l i g e n c e but a good organizer, had formed a strong N a t i o n a l i s t group out of the bulk of the r i g h t wing and the uncommitted moderates.  Fervently pro-Russian and intensely i m p e r i a l i s t , the  new party made i t s debut on the Finland b i l l .  They proposed that the Imperial  Duma should be given competence not only over the m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s of Finland, 12 but over a whole host of other matters as w e l l .  In e f f e c t , their amendments  amounted to a withdrawal of the r i g h t s of the F i n n i s h Diet and offered instead only a handful of deputies i n an overwhelmingly Russian  legislature.  The Emperor and Stolypin were delighted with these amendments, which they had not dared to include i n the o r i g i n a l b i l l .  During the discussion of the  amendments, i t became clear that the house was almost evenly divided. The rump of the extreme r i g h t , the N a t i o n a l i s t s , and about half of the Octobrists were i n favour of the amendments.  The rest of the Octobrists wanted to modify  them, while the Kadets and the s o c i a l i s t s opposed both the b i l l and the amendments.  Miliukov, the leader of the Kadets, committed one of the great t a c t i c a l  blunders of h i s career by c a l l i n g f o r a party boycott when the vote came. The amendments were carried by a majority of less than a hundred votes.  The  N a t i o n a l i s t s were triumphant and the Kadets thoroughly d i s c r e d i t e d . The boycott had served no useful purpose, and i t ended a l l chance for presenting moderate amendments i f the N a t i o n a l i s t s had f a i l e d to carry their proposals.  91 The appearance of the N a t i o n a l i s t Party i n l a t e 1910 spelled doom for  the informal accord which had existed between Stolypin and the Octobrists..  Stolypin's land reforms had been '.aimed a t the creation of a class of l o y a l and conservative  small landowners.  The e l e c t o r a l law of 1907 had ensured  the preponderance of the landowning classes i n the Duma. Part and parcel of this conservatism was the reassertion of Russian n a t i o n a l i t y , that o f f i c i a l natsional'host':  which had been introduced  Count Uvarov i n the 1830's.  into the ideology of tsar ism by  Bobrinsky's N a t i o n a l i s t Party seemed to be the  f u l f i l m e n t of both these trends, and Stolypin welcomed i t s b i r t h with open arms. The Chairman of the Ministers' Council was glad to be able to j e t t i s o n the Octobrists, who were becoming more of a l i a b i l i t y than an asset. The Tsar's enthusiasm for his chief minister was wearing t h i n with the passage of time.  The court continued to attack him for his * sympathy, with the Duma'.  The Empress was turning against him, as she turned against anyone whom she thought was preventing her husband from exercising his autocratic powers to the f u l l .  She also resented  Stolypin's t o l e r a t i o n of Guchkov.  She loathed  the Octobrist leader because of h i s attack on the grand dukes, and because of h i s increasingly frequent references  to the mystical and obscurantist  14 tendencies of the court.  Stolypin r e a l i z e d that her feelings would soon  have t h e i r e f f e c t on his r e l a t i o n s with the Emperor, i f indeed they had not already done so.  Furthermore, the pragmatic Stolypin was f i n d i n g i t  increasingly d i f f i c u l t  to work with the equally pragmatic Octobrists.  Con-  vinced that the Duma was not i n immediate danger of d i s s o l u t i o n , they began  92 to weigh h i s proposals with more care, and could not always be counted on to support them completely.  The subtle pressures exercised on the ministers by  the Duma committees were becoming more and more annoying. . For a l l these reasons, Stolypin decided that an a l l i a n c e with the N a t i o n a l i s t s could do nothing but good for h i s shaky p o s i t i o n . One of the f i r s t r e s u l t s of the new 'entente' was the introduction into the Duma of a proposal to create zemstvo i n s t i t u t i o n s i n the western provinces of the Empire.  The e l e c t o r a l arrangements for the zemstva were  such that they would ensure representation for the Russian peasants of the region at the expense of the P o l i s h landowners.  This was what appealed to  the N a t i o n a l i s t s , and they gave the b i l l their wholehearted  support.  Incidentally, this provision which gave power to the peasants at the expense of the gentry for p o l i t i c a l reasons also revealed that the 1906 reforms had been p r i m a r i l y p o l i t i c a l rather than economic i n conception.  The zemstvo  extension b i l l , as i t came to be c a l l e d , r a i s e d a l l sorts of grave problems with regard to the prerogatives of the Tsar and the r i g h t s of the Duma and State Council, problems which showed c l e a r l y that the issue of sovereignty was by no means dead even i n the r e l a t i v e l y cooperative Third Duma. Thanks to the r e l i a b l e N a t i o n a l i s t majority, the b i l l was speedily approved i n the Duma. The major c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c r i s i s arose when the State Council rejected those clauses of the b i l l which provided for the voting to be weighted i n favour of the Russian population of the area.  The argument  advanced by Durnovo and Trepov, who led the opposition to the b i l l i n the Council, was that weighted voting was contrary to the p r i n c i p l e s on which the  93  zemstvo organizations had been created by Alexander II. This argument was an attempt to conceal the fact that the natural sympathies of the Council were with the landowners, even though they might be Poles and Roman Catholics. Stolypin was incensed by the decision of the State Council, and immediately threatened to tender his resignation-. He also informed the Tsar that he would not accept an appointment to the State Council as long as Trepov and Durnovo continued to be members of i t , thereby forcing Nicholas into accepting or rejecting his resignation. There would be no room for 'friendly persuasion'; Stolypin was set on forcing the issue. The Tsar, however, rather shrewdly saw that he could avoid taking a stand for or against the b i l l i f he treated the matter as a clear-cut question of ministerial responsibility.  "What" he asked Stolypin, "would become of a government responsible  to me i f ministers came and went, today because of a conflict with the State Council, tomorrow because of a conflict with the Duma? Think of some other 15 way out..."  However much Nicholas may have wanted to accept Stolypin's  resignation, he could not do so over this issue. For one thing, the argument about ministerial responsibility was absolutely true, and this was one subject on which the Tsar had very definite ideas.  Furthermore, one suspects that  he himself strongly approved of the pro-Russian aspects of the b i l l . The 'way out' which Stolypin proposed was to employ again Article 87 and thus present the Council with a fait accompli.  The houses would have to  be prorogued for three days, during which time the b i l l would be promulgated as law by sovereign ukase. He was confident that the Duma would ratify the decree, since i t had already passed the b i l l , although he expected to receive  94 another sermon from the Kadets for misusing A r t i c l e 87.  He also proposed to  the Tsar that Trepov and Durnovo be temporarily r e l i e v e d o f . t h e i r seats i n the State Council, to ensure that the decree would be r a t i f i e d by that body. In r e a l i t y , there were only two other courses of action open to him.  He  could have dropped the b i l l e n t i r e l y , but he was not a man to surrender so easily.  He could have waited f o r a time and submitted i t to both houses  again, but he was not prepared to wait f o r several months to do t h i s .  He  f e l t so strongly about the b i l l that he was prepared to r i s k another v i o l a t i o n of the c o n s t i t u t i o n .  On 12 March, 1911, the Duma and the State  Council were prorogued and ordered to reassemble three days l a t e r . was published on 14 March.  The ukase  Trepov and Durnovo were requested to absent, them-  selves from the State Council for s i x months; Durnovo agreed but Trepov resigned, thereby becoming a sort of martyr i n the eyes of the Council. . A. I . Guchkov has indicated the reaction of contemporaries to the events described above: By t h i s act Stolypin aroused the entire Russian public against him. The Left wing and the Centre were indignant . at such a flagrant circumvention of the c o n s t i t u t i o n , while the Right wing was indignant at his treatment of i t s leaders i n the State Council. I was Chairman of the Duma at that time, and i n s p i t e of my good r e l a t i o n s with Stolypin I was obliged to protest against h i s v i o l a t i o n of parliamentary r i g h t s . My p o s i t i o n enabled me to make this protest by resigning from the chairmanship of the Duma. This was p a r t i c u l a r l y necessary i n order that no suspicion might be aroused that I and the Octobrist party, which I headed and which had f u l l y supported Stolypin's law regarding western zemstvos, were i n sympathy with his unconstitutional a c t i o n s . ^ 1  As was the case i n 1907, the Senate again f a i l e d to i n t e r f e r e and prevent this v i o l a t i o n of the provisions of the Fundamental Laws.  As the  guardian of l e g a l i t y , i t should have been the duty of the Senate to refuse to publish an ukase which had been promulgated i n flagrant v i o l a t i o n of the  95 constitutional o r d e r . ^ in  The Senators may  have r a t i o n a l i z e d their i n a c t i v i t y  1907 by considering the two opposition Dumas to be the sort of exceptional  circumstances  required to j u s t i f y the use of A r t i c l e 87, but there could be  no such argument i n 1911.  In f a c t , the use of A r t i c l e 87 was  doubly bad  when one takes into account the fact that the b i l l had already been rejected by one of the two chamers.  One cannot, however, lay the blame e n t i r e l y .at  the door of the Senate, for the r e a l v i l l a i n i n this state crime l i v e d at Tsarskoe Selo. to  Too weak-willed to choose the harder way,  Nicholas gave i n  Stolypin, and once again alienated some of the strongest supporters of  the monarchy. The Duma's r i g h t to i n t e r p e l l a t e ministers also became an issue i n connection with the zemstvo extension b i l l . submitted  In A p r i l , when the decree was  for r a t i f i c a t i o n , the Duma attempted to I n t e r p e l l a t e Stolypin  regarding h i s government's p o l i c y i n the western provinces.  Stolypin countered  by r e f u s i n g to answer questions, saying that the p o l i c y had been decided by the Council of Ministers at a meeting chaired by the Emperor himself.  The  Duma, he said, had no r i g h t to i n t e r p e l l a t e the Council of Ministers when i t 18 functioned as an organ of the Supreme Power.  Stolypin would have been  better advised simply to refuse to answer, as provided for i n A r t i c l e 59 of the Organic Law of the Duma, f o r he put his head into a hornet's nest by taking the tack that he did. The b r i l l i a n t Kadet deputy, V. A. Maklakov, challenged the v a l i d i t y of Stolypin's argument. ...The Prime Minister ought not to forget that even though the Emperor presided over the Council of Ministers, as i s his r i g h t , he does not become, i n doing so, a member of i t ;  nor does the Council r i s e to the l e v e l of the Monarch. . The Emperor only r a t i f i e s the decisions adopted by the members of the Council of Ministers without accepting the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the act i t s e l f . Consequently, the Council of Ministers continues to be responsible for a l l i t s actions and acts, and must account f o r t h e i r l e g a l i t y before the Duma.^ Maklakqv's argument was i r r e f u t a b l e .  I f the Council of Ministers  became an organ of the Supreme Power merely by the addition of the Emperor's presence, then the same case could be made for anyone who received instructions from the Tsar either personally or by Imperial Rescript.  The l a t t e r  were, of course, only agents, not organs, of the Supreme Power, and were thus capable,of error, whereas the Supreme Power i t s e l f was i n f a l l i b l e . (Constitutional theory did not take account of the Tsar's unfortunate habit of sending contradictory instructions to various m i n i s t e r s ) .  Stolypin was thus  overruled, not only by Maklakov's argument, but by the very A r t i c l e which he c i t e d i n h i s own defence.  The Council of Ministers was not subject .to the  20 authority of the Senate, and could therefore be i n t e r p e l l a t e d by the Duma. \  Stolypin f i n a l l y had to consent to answer the Duma's questions. The promulgation of the zemstvo extension b i l l was Stolypin's l a s t great triumph. provocateur funeral.  On 1 September 1911, he was shot to death by an agent-  i n Kiev.  Not one member of the Imperial family attended h i s  Nicholas had held him responsible f o r the uproar created i n March,  and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s had worsened r a p i d l y i n those l a s t months.  Thus passed  from the scene the most capable and enlightened minister of the r e i g n .  He  had done as much as any man could to restore the foundations of the monarchy which had been so badly shaken i n 1905.  Yet, i f he was not an enemy of  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l government, neither was he i t s f r i e n d .  He had kept the Duma  97 a l i v e , yes, but only on h i s own terms.  He worked with i t when i t suited him,  but he did not turn from the coup d'etat when he believed i t to be necessary. He began by announcing his concern for l e g a l i t y i n government, but he i s remembered for the e l e c t o r a l law of 1907 and for his repeated misuse of A r t i c l e 87. The Octobrists asked only that the Duma be allowed to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the governing process, and the pragmatic accord between Stolypin and Guchkov allowed i t to do so. However, when Stolypin saw that he could get unquestioning support from the N a t i o n a l i s t s , he discarded the Octobrists with relief.  He holds an important place i n Russian history because of his undying  e f f o r t s to restore the strength of the Russian s t a t e .  He never ceased to  work for the good of the dynasty, despite the unfavourable a t t i t u d e which prevailed towards him at court.  None of his successors was capable of  carrying on h i s work to any s a t i s f a c t o r y degree, so that without him the government was l i k e a ship a d r i f t .  Nonetheless, the Stolypin years, i t must  be agreed, were very much of a mixed blessing for Russian c o n s t i t u t i o n a l history.  98 FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER VI '''For examples of Senatorial interpretations of the electoral law which damaged the left's chances for election to the Third Duma, see S. N. Harper,. The New Electoral Law for the Russian Duma, Chicago, 1908, pp. 1014, and 36-41. 2 Sir Bernard Pares, My Russian Memoirs, London, 1931, p. 166. 3 The text of the pamphlet was in this vein: "The elections brought to power the Octobrists who, with an extreme eagerness, immediately disclosed their ambitions on 13 November, 1907, when they declared to the Duma that the Emperor no longer possessed his autocratic power." Quoted and translated from N. Savickij, "P. A. Stolypin", Le Monde Slave, 1934, No. 4, p. 396. 4 The Minister of the Imperial Court never appeared i n the Duma except on state occasions. The Bulygin project conceived of the committees as doing the day-to-day work of the sessions, and anticipated that plenary sessions of the whole Duma would be held only infrequently. The idea of these "government reform commissions" had originally come from the reform proposals of Count Loris-Melikov, drawn up in 1881. 5  ^See Kokovtsov, op.cit., Part III and f f . 7  Ibid.. p. 203.  Q  P. Chasles, Le Parlement Russe, Paris, 1909, p. 206, n. 4.  a  Kryzhanovsky, Padenie Tsarskogo Rezhima V, pp. 402-416. See Kokovtsov, op.cit., pp. 218-224. ^ S i r D. M. Wallace et.al., A Short History of Russia and the Balkan States, London, 1914, p. 77. 12 Among the subjects proposed were: the use of Russian in Finland, the principles of Finnish administration, police justice, education, the formation of companies and associations, public meetings, the press, the customs t a r i f f , the monetary system, and the means of communication. See loc.cit. 10  99 See N. Riasanovsky, Nicholas I and O f f i c i a l Nationality i n Russia, 1825-1855, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959;, * See below, Chapter 7. 4  ^Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 264. 16 "Iz Vospominanii A. I . Guchkova," Posledniia Novosti, 1936, reprinted i n t r a n s l a t i o n i n Gurko, op.cit., Appendix 5, p. 721. Guchkov succeeded Khomiakov as President of the Third Duma i n March, 1910. He was i n turn succeeded by M. V. Rodzianko, who remained President of the Duma u n t i l the Revolution. * P. 7  Chasles has pointed out the flagrant i l l e g a l i t y of Stolypin's  action: "He did not have recourse to A r t i c l e 87 because i t was urgent to l e g i s l a t e i n the absence of Parliament; rather, he prorogued Parliament i n order to be free to have recourse to A r t i c l e 87. I t was a reversal-of means and ends..." ;  "La C r i s e Constitutionnelle...", in. Revue du Droit Public, P a r i s , 1912, p. 15.  V o l . 29,  18 The Duma could not i n t e r p e l l a t e the Emperor or any organ of the Supreme Power, including the Council of National Defence, the M i l i t a r y Council, the departments of the State Council, the Ministry of the Imperial Court, and the Chancellery. I t did, however, have the r i g h t "to i n t e r p e l l a t e the ministers and the heads of departments, who by law are subjected to the authority of the Senate...". See Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov R o s s i i s k o i Imperii, St. Petersburg, 1906. 19 Tret'ya Gosudarstvennaya Duma, Stenograficheskie Otchety, Session IV, Part I I I , p. 2887. 2 0  S e e note 18.  CHAPTER VII  THE MONARCHY AND POLITICS  The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c feature of Russian p o l i t i c s a f t e r the death of Stolypin was the reassertion of the personal sovereignty of the Tsar.  Most  of the Tsar's prerogative powers, i t has been shown above, were retained i n the Fundamental Laws of 1906, and could have been reasserted strongly at any time.  Stolypin, although by no means a " c o n s t i t u t i o n a l " Prime Minister, had  at least kept the exercise of r o y a l prerogative within r a t i o n a l bounds, but a f t e r his death i n 1911 even these l i m i t s disappeared.  None of Stolypin's  successors Wis anxious to accept the fact of the Duma's existence, nor did they establish the informal accords through which Stolypin had worked f i r s t with the Octobrists and then with the N a t i o n a l i s t s .  Kokovtsov and Goremykin  were both representatives of the St. -Petersburg bureaucracy, and both were chosen to preserve the status quo, not to p a c i f y the country.  The preserva-  t i o n of the status quo required of them only that they r e t a i n the confidence of the T s a r — t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with the Duma were hence quite immaterial to them.  There was, i n any case, less reason to establish an accord with the  Third Duma i n 1911 than there had been i n 1907.  For one thing, the now  dominant Nationalists were much less concerned with 'participation* i n the l e g i s l a t i v e process than the Octobrists had been.  They were content to  support the increasingly repressive measures of R u s s i f i c a t i o n put forward by the government, and challenges to governmental frequent.  estimates became less and less  Furthermore, by 1911 a l l members of the Duma tended to be more  101 concerned with the forthcoming elections than they were with the immediate p o l i t i c a l situation.  Thus Kokovtsov was not under pressure from any source  to establish good working r e l a t i o n s with the Duma. This combination of a nondescript Prime Minister and a d o c i l e Duma paved the way f o r a reassertion of the personal sovereignty of the Tsar. Overshadowed f i r s t by Witte and then by Stolypin, the Tsar had not been an e f f e c t i v e force i n Russian p o l i t i c s since the early years of his r e i g n .  After  1911, however, he began to play a more extensive r o l e i n the governing process, and i t i s necessary to analyse i n some d e t a i l his character and p o l i t i c a l beliefs. Nicholas II*s most outstanding personal t r a i t was h i s weakness of will.  T o t a l l y lacking i n i n t e l l e c t u a l power, he was neither a builder nor  a reformer, and had no grand idea of where he was leading Russia.  He was  putty i n the hands of anyone stronger than himself, and the examples of his weakness are too numerous to mention.  Nevertheless, because of h i s weakness,  Nicholas was also a very stubborn man. Once he had been convinced that a p a r t i c u l a r course of action was r i g h t , he clung to h i s b e l i e f with the singlemindedness of a J e s u i t missionary. stand.  This stubbornness  i s not hard to under-  Being incapable of formulating a p o l i c y by himself, he was equally  incapable of r e v i s i n g his p o s i t i o n i n the l i g h t of new events or of new information.  This,fact alone accounts f o r most of the seeming inconsistencies  of h i s behaviour. The Tsar's weakness of w i l l also led on occasion to outright cowardliness. He shirked a l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for his a c t i o n s .  In 1905, f o r  example, he d i d nothing to d i s p e l the rumour that Count Witte had f o i s t e d the  102 October Manifesto on him as a diktat*  J u s t i f i a b l y annoyed, Witte sent him  a memoir describing the circumstances which surrounded  the signing of the  1 Manifesto.  . Nicholas gave the memoir to Baron Frederichs to return to Witte,  saying, "The facts i n Witte's memorandum are described c o r r e c t l y .  However,  2 do not make this.statement.to him i n writing, but o r a l l y . "  Later, a f t e r  Witte's resignation, the Tsar asked him to return " . . . a l l l e t t e r s and  tele-  3 grams.with h i s autographed commentariesj"  presumably so that Witte could  never reproduce these documents i n h i s memoirs.  A l l the important  political  figures of..the r e i g n record s i m i l a r incidents which attest to the Tsar's cowardly behaviour.  None of them was as b i t t e r as Kokovtsov, who  arrived  home from a pleasant audience with the Tsar to find a l e t t e r containing h i s dismissal awaiting himi  This sort of conduct was not l i k e l y to engender warm  l o y a l t y f o r the sovereign among h i s ministers. The Tsar's moral cowardliness often created unpleasant but his. stubbornness  usually had very serious consequences.  situations,  I t was well  known,, for example, that he was absolutely opposed to the idea of s e l f government i n Russia. hands of. Alexander be said below.  This b e l i e f can be traced to his upbringing at the  I I I and to the-influence of his wife, of which more w i l l  His d e f i n i t i o n of self-government  p a r t i c i p a t i o n : i n the governing process.  included any form of p u b l i c  Hence he opposed a l l efforts to form  a c o a l i t i o n ministry a f t e r the d i s s o l u t i o n of the F i r s t Duma, the only kind of ministry which r e a l l y could have put into practice the p r i n c i p l e s 4 enunciated i n the October Manifesto..  As far as the Tsar was concerned,  the  p u b l i c a t i o n of the Fundamental Laws of 1906 r e l i e v e d him of .any obligation to l i v e up to the promises of. the Manifesto.  He firmly supported Stolypin,  103 even when the l a t t e r v i o l a t e d the Fundamental Laws, but it* must be noted that a l l these v i o l a t i o n s were i n the i n t e r e s t s of the government and were directed towards the preservation of order i n the state. Another issue on which Nicholas showed himself to be p a r t i c u l a r l y intractable was  the Jewish question.  In December, 1906,  Stolypin, as Minister  of the I n t e r i o r , proposed the l i f t i n g of some of the most serious r e s t r i c t i o n s on the' Jews.  The Council of Ministers embodied his proposals  dation' to the Tsar.  Nicholas  1  i n a recommen-  reply was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c :  I am returning £itj to you without my confirmation... Despite most convincing arguments i n favour of adopting a p o s i t i v e decision i n this matter, an inner voice keeps on i n s i s t i n g that I do, not accept r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for i t . So far my conscience has not deceived me. Therefore I intend i n this case also to follow i t s d i c t a t e s . I know that you, too, believe that *A Tsar's heart i s i n God's hand'. Let i t be s o . 5  Nicholas' p a r t i c u l a r i n t r a c t a b i l i t y on the two questions  of self-government  and the Jews i s s i g n i f i c a n t , for i t lends credence to the often-heard ment that he was  a f i r m supporter  state-  of the Union of the Russian People, the  reactionary organization founded by A. M. Dubrovin i n  1905.  I f the doctrine of the Union of the Russian People was  the sum  of the Emperor's p o l i t i c a l thought (and i t would seem that this was  total  the case),  then one can e s t a b l i s h with reasonable certainty the Emperor's idea of autoc r a t i c sovereignty.  The doctrine of the Union was  r e a l l y nothing more than  the p o l i t i c a l theory of Pobedonostsev, s l i g h t l y adjusted to take account of post-1905 developments.  The Emperor, i t was  and,. as such, i s above the law.  held, i s the source of a l l law  Autocracy i s the best form of government f o r  Russia because the interests of the Emperor and his subjects are i d e n t i c a l . The Emperor i s not swayed by oratory, and can thus follow a consistent p o l i c y ( l ) , while assemblies are always subject to demogogy and factionalism.'' I f Russia must have an assembly, the Union believed that i t should be a r e p l i c a of the Zemskii Sobor. (we urge} the establishment of a State Duma with the r i g h t of immediate report to the Sovereign, the r i g h t of inquiry of the ministers, the r i g h t of actual control over the u n o f f i c i a l a c t i v i t i e s of the ministers, and the r i g h t to s o l i c i t the g Supreme Consent of the Emperor to questions raised i n the Duma. and again: the State Duma, avoiding a l l attempts to l i m i t the Supreme Power, must be ail-Russian. I t i s obliged to give correct information about the actual needs of the people and the s t a t e . I t must be prepared to carry out by l e g a l means prepared reforms emanating from the Supreme Power.... I t must not be allowed an a r b i t r a r y w i l l . . . ^ According to Dubrovin, the Duma would merely have the p r i v i l e g e of supporting the actions of the Tsar.  I t would, i n f a c t , have been even more of a  debating society than the Duma envisioned i n the Bulygin p r o j e c t . Naturally enough, the name of Count Witte was anathema to the Union of the Russian People.  Besides being responsible for the October Manifesto,  Witte was also " . . . i n league with the Kadets, the r a d i c a l s , Satan, the Jews, the Catholics, and J a p a n . " ^  The Count, f o r h i s part, describes the Union  as "dark-minded and ignorant.. .the leaders are unhanged villains."^"''  Witte's  resignation from o f f i c e was greeted with approval by the Union, and the Fundamental Laws of 1906 were hailed as a reassertion of the absolute sovereignty of the Emperor.  Simultaneously, the party newspaper denounced  the 'mistaken idea' that the October Manifesto had been a constituional charter for Russia.  1Q5 The Union ran candidates f o r the F i r s t Duma, but when they f a i l e d to secure any e f f e c t i v e representation, the Union announced that the Duma should be abolished.  Having observed the conduct of the F i r s t Duma, Dubrovin  concluded gloomily that the Kadet members were insane, and should be trans-  13 ferred "...into a p s y c h i a t r i c hospital for treatment."  When i t was  announced that a Second Duma would be convoked, the Union again announced i t s intention of securing a r i g h t i s t majority.  Nicholas I I , i n a message  to Dubrovin,  replied I s h a l l continue to r e i g n as the Autocrat and to no one but God s h a l l I render account of my doings.... T e l l your friends that with God's help and with the assistance of the Union I s h a l l destroy my enemies.^  The Union f a i l e d again i n the elections to the short-lived Second Duma, but i n the Third and Fourth Dumas i t was well represented by the i r r e p r e s s i b l y vocal V. M. Purishkevich. the badge of the Union i n p u b l i c .  By t h i s time the Emperor was wearing  Dubrovin received another message from the  Tsar: The basic p o s i t i o n of [thej Union i s included i n the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, and that i s why every l o y a l c i t i z e n , besides Union members, i s bound to one duty only. This obliges him not only to recognize, but to honour as sacred the holy w i l l of the Tsar Autocrat, not for fear's sake, but for the sake of conscience. There i s no need to dwell here on the m i l i t a n t racism and a n t i Semitism of the Union of the Russian People.  There i s a wealth of l i t e r a t u r e  oh the pogroms and the 'Black Hundred' gangs which were sponsored by the Union.  The point should be made, however, that Nicholas subscribed to the  r a c i s t theories of the Union, as well as to i t s p o l i t i c a l doctrine.  106 For the Emperor, then, autocratic sovereignty was a trust from God, and should be exercised personally by the Tsar, accepting no l i m i t a t i o n s on t h i s power from the ministers, the State Council, or the State Duma. Circumstances had thus, far prevented him from putting h i s b e l i e f s wholly into practice-:-so long as the country had to be p a c i f i e d , Nicholas was unable to overcome the opposition of Witte and Stolypin to the untrammeled exercise of personal sovereignty.  Furthermore, h i s natural weakness of character  him from asserting h i s w i l l .  prevented  By 1911, however, the s i t u a t i o n had changed  s u b s t a n t i a l l y . . The country was r e l a t i v e l y quiet, Stolypin was dead, and the Duma was carrying on with r e l a t i v e l y few disturbances.  Urged on by his  domineering and power-seeking wife, Nicholas began to play the autocrat more often than he had done before. Stolypin's colourless successor, Kokovtsov, was apprised of this change of mood during one of h i s f i r s t audiences at Tsarskoe Selo.  The Tsar  spoke b i t t e r l y of h i s former f i r s t minister, who "...was always so anxious 16 to keep me i n the background."  He made i t clear to Kokovtsov that the  l a t t e r was to be an administrator, not an i n i t i a t o r of government p o l i c y . The Empress supported her husband by condemning Stolypin's rapprochement with the Duma moderates.  She t o l d Kokovtsov that she hoped he would never  range himself "...with those h o r r i b l e p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s which only hope to be able to seize power or to subjugate the government."*''  The royal couple  had l i t t l e to worry about as Kokovtsov, by his own admission, the confidence of the Duma moderates. was  did not inspire"  He accepted the r o y a l warnings, and  soon t e l l i n g a deputation of N a t i o n a l i s t s who were seeking a continuation  of Stolypin's p o l i c i e s that "...they attributed more authority to the 18 Chairman of the Council of. Ministers than he a c t u a l l y possessed." Kokovtsov's lone and s h o r t - l i v e d v i c t o r y over the Tsar was the choice of h i s own candidate f o r Minister of the I n t e r i o r .  The Tsar wished  to appoint the reactionary A. N. Khvostov, but Kokovtsov argued adamantly for the appointment of the more moderate A. A. Makarov. .The Tsar f i n a l l y agreed, but only because he accepted Kokovtsov's argument that Makarov's appointment would end p o l i t i c a l squabbling.  Apart from Makarov, Kokovtsov  was i n the d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n of having inherited a l l h i s cabinet colleagues. While t h i s d i d not r e s u l t i n a u n i f i e d p o l i c y , . i t nevertheless reassured the Tsar that Kokovtsov would never become as powerful a President as Stolypin had been.  Indeed, some members of the Council worked against  Kokovtsov, i n p a r t i c u l a r Krivoshein, who d e l i b e r a t e l y curried favour with 19 the Empress. The main problem which Kokovtsov faced a s , f i r s t minister was the presence of the notorious Rasputin i n the Imperial Household. 1912,  In January,  the Tsar advised Makarov that the press was to be forbidden to mention  Rasputin.  Appreciating public reaction to such a decree, Kokovtsov, Makarov,  and Sabler (the Procurator-General of the Holy Synod), through the medium of Baron Frederichs, t r i e d to persuade the Tsar to send Rasputin back to Siberia.  The Tsar's unfavourable response to this request was learned of  by the Duma, and c r i t c i s m became even more widespread.  In order to put a  stop to the outcry, the President of the Duma, M. V. Rodzianko, was allowed to prepare a report on Rasputin based on the f i l e s of. the Holy Synod, i n order that he might thereby convince himself and the Duma of Rasputin's  blameless  character.  Meanwhile Makarov, who was so unwise as to give the Tsar some  compromising l e t t e r s from the Empress to Rasputin, was dismissed for h i s pains.  Nicholas chose as the new Minister of the I n t e r i o r , N. A. Maklakov,  a notorious reactionary and a great f r i e n d of Prince Meshchersky, the editor of the u l t r a - r i g h t wing Grazhdanin.  Maklakov had to his c r e d i t a long record  of h o s t i l i t y to the zemstvo organizations.  He immediately tightened the  control of the press by the censors. The l a s t days of the Third Duma were marked by constant bickering. When Rodzianko submitted a most unfavourable report on Rasputin.^, he incurred the wrath of the Tsar.  Nicholas t o l d Kokovtsov that the conduct of the  President of the Duma was " r e v o l t i n g " , and that he would not receive him at an o f f i c i a l audience.  This was a v i o l a t i o n of the Fundamental Laws, which  guaranteed to the presidents of the l e g i s l a t i v e chambers the r i g h t of free access to the Emperor.  Kokovtsov was, however, shrewd enough to point out  to the Emperor that a h o s t i l e Duma would refuse to pass credits for Nicholas* pet scheme, the naval construction programme.  The Tsar conceded, and the naval  estimates were passed, but by this time the Empress had cooled the Tsar's early enthusiasm for the programme.  The Duma continued to c r i t i c i z e  Rasputin, and on the very l a s t day of the s i t t i n g opposed the estimates of the Holy Synod f o r the construction of parish schools.  Consequently, the  Emperor's reception for the Duma deputies, the preparation of which had cost Kokovtsov much time and e f f o r t , was marked by a c e r t a i n coolness on the part of the Tsar. deputies.  I t was a poor conclusion to f i v e years of hard work by the  109 The elections for the Fourth Duma were quiet enough, and their r e s u l t s made no great changes i n the composition  of the Duma.  The represen-  tation of the extreme r i g h t was increased by the election of a number of p r i e s t s , and the N a t i o n a l i s t s also increased their representation s l i g h t l y . The Kadets and s o c i a l i s t s were returned i n almost the same numbers as i n the Third Duma.  The most important  change was the loss of deputies by the  Octobrists, who were severely c r i p p l e d by the e l e c t o r a l defeat of A. I . Guchkov.  This l a s t event caused much r e j o i c i n g at Tsarskoe Selo, however,  for as Kererisky has pointed out, The Empress r i g h t l y considered the leader of conservative constitutionalism as the most dangerous adversary of her own p o l i t i c a l plan: the reestablishment of unlimited absolutism. The loss of Guchkov l e f t the Octobrists disunited i n the face of the overwhelming ascendancy of the N a t i o n a l i s t s and R i g h t i s t s . badly with both these p a r t i e s .  Kokovtsov got on  The N a t i o n a l i s t s accused him of betraying  Stolypin's p o l i c i e s , while the R i g h t i s t s never forgave him for refusing to increase their subsidies during the e l e c t i o n campaign. Rasputin's  continued presence at Court seriously damaged the prestige  of the monarchy i n the eyes of the moderates.  In the;.months which followed  Stolypin's death, i t became increasingly more evident that the Emperor wished to destroy even that severely limited sovereignty which the Third Duma had so c a r e f u l l y fostered.  The moderates therefore began to go over  to the ranks of the opposition.  Already before the opening of the Fourth  Duma, Guchkov launched the slogan, "Against the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of i r r e s p o n s i b l e men  i n state a f f a i r s .  For a government responsible to the nation's  110 representatives."  21  In June, 1913, on the i n i t i a t i v e  of the Octobrists, the  Duma passed a motion of censure against the government for delaying the introduction of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform. resolution.  The government e n t i r e l y ignored this  At the Octobrist Party Congress i n November, Guchkov introduced  a r e s o l u t i o n that the parliamentary f a c t i o n [of the party] should resort i n f u l l measure to a l l l e g a l forms of parliamentary combat, such as the freedom of the tribune, the r i g h t of i n t e r ^ p e l l a t i o n , the r e j e c t i o n of b i l l s and the r e f u s a l of c r e d i t s . Guchkov's action was motivated  by resentment that the Octobrist i d e a l of  • p a r t i c i p a t i o n ' i n the l e g i s l a t i v e process had been f r u s t r a t e d by the p o l i c i e s of the government.  I f this goal were to be attained now, i t could  only be done i f three conditions were f u l f i l l e d :  the severance of r e l a t i o n s  between the Imperial family and Rasputin, the dismissal of Maklakov and preferably/ also of Kokovtsov, and a change of a t t i t u d e on the part of the Emperor.  In order to further these immediate aims, Guchkov was, i n e f f e c t ,  urging that the Octobrists become a f u l l - f l e d g e d opposition party, employing l e f t i s t t a c t i c s for the attainment  of moderate ends.  Guchkov's r e s o l u t i o n was the cause of b i t t e r controversy, and i t s adoption resulted i n a s p l i t  i n the party.  The majority, who supported  Guchkov, became known as 'Left Octobrists', while the conservative minority, led by M. V. Rodzianko and N i k o l a i Shidlovsky, continued to support the o r i g i n a l moderate t a c t i c s of the party, and took the name of 'Zemstvo Octobrists'.  This s p l i t  i n the Octobrist Party was of the utmost importance,  since i t paved the \iay for the formulation of a united opposition programme.  Ill Meanwhile, Kokovtsov's r e l a t i o n s with the Duma did not improve, while his r e l a t i o n s with the Imperial Family seriously deteriorated.  Even Maklakov  had not been able to strangle c r i t i c i s m of Rasputin i n the press, and for every new scandal the Empress held Kokovtsov responsible. .  . . . i n her mind, Rasputin was c l o s e l y associated with the health of her son and the welfare of the Monarchy. To attack him was to attack the protector of what she held most dear. Moreover, l i k e any righteous person, she was offended to think that the sanctity of her home has been questioned i n the press and i n the Duma. She always thought that I {Kokovtsov] , as head of the government, was responsible for permitting these attacks, and could not understand why I could not stop them simply by giving orders i n the name of the Tsar. She considered me, therefore, not a servant of the Tsar but a tool of the enemies of the state and as such deserving d i s m i s s a l . 2 3  Kokovtsov's days as President of the Council of Ministers were indeed numbered.  Prince Meshchersky's Grazhdanin  kept up a constant tirade  against him f o r attempting to usurp the Tsar's authority, and f o r being (of a l l things) a "Duma b o o t l i c k e r " . ^ dismissed.  4  In January, 1914, he. was  finally  His successor, recommended by Prince Meshchersky, approved by  the Empress and Rasputin, and chosen no doubt f o r h i s unquestioning l o y a l t y and remarkable a b i l i t y to ignore the Duma, was the venerable bureaucrat, Ivan Logginovich Goremykin.  Given a p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n i n which even the  moderates had l o s t their f a i t h i n the monarchy, i t would now take only the s l i g h t e s t added stress on the structure of the state to bring on a full-scale political  crisis.  ^  112  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER VII  *See above, Chapter 2. 2  Witte, op.cit., p. 185.  3  I b i d . , p. 189.  ^Although Stolypin's s i n c e r i t y i n these negotiations has been c a l l e d into question (see above, Chapter 4), i t was quite obvious to the public men that the Tsar was opposed to any kind of c o a l i t i o n ministry except on his own terms. 5 Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 167. 6 For a statement of the -policy of this party based largely on the f i l e s of the party paper, Russkoe Znamya, see S~. D. Spector, The Doctrine and Program of the Union of the Russian People i n 1906, unpublished essay for the C e r t i f i c a t e of the Russian I n s t i t u t e of Columbia University, 1952. ^Ibid., p. 33. ^ I b i d . , p. 35, n. 2. ^Ibid., p. 29 (emphasis added) 1 0  I b i d . , p. 39, n. 2.  1:L  Witte, op.cit., p. 192.  12 Spector, op.cit., p. 26. 13 Ibid., p. 37, n. 1. 1 4  I b i d . , p. 38.  1 5  I b i d . , p. 25.  •^Quoted i n M. Paliologue,  An Ambassador's Memoirs, London, 1923, I ,  p. 298. 17  Kokovtsov, op.cit., p. 282.  1 8  I b i d . , p. 275.  19  Count N. P. Ignatiev, The Minister of Education, was Krivoshein's  nominee.  A, F. Kerensky, "Russia on the Eve of World War I", The/Russian Review, V o l . V., No. 1, (1945), p. 21. 2  *Quoted i n Ibid., p. 29.  M. V. Rodzianko, The Reign of Rasputin: Tr. by C. Zvegintzoff, London, 1927, p. 93. 22  23  2 4  Kokoytsov, op.cit., p. 454. I b i d . , p. 399.  An Empire's Collapse,  CHAPTER VIII  THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS OF  War  1915  tests the. strength of states as well as the strength of armies,  and on 19 July/1 August, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia.  The war  placed a gigantic s t r a i n on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l structure of the Russian state.  In times of war sovereignty becomes a complex problem i n any country,  because the state must do much more i n the way of regulating the l i f e of i t s c i t i z e n s than i s done i n peacetime.  Many more decisions must be taken,  and to each new decision i s attached a sense of urgency which colours a l l discussion and a f f e c t s every action.  When a state i s at war, c i v i l sovereignty  must of necessity take a back seat to m i l i t a r y sovereignty, and this rapid t r a n s i t i o n imposes a severe burden on even the most f i r m l y grounded constitutional systems.  Under these circumstances, i t i s not surprising that  Imperial Russia found i t s e l f i n a grave s i t u a t i o n . The Tsar's f i r s t act was to appoint the Grand Duke N i k o l a i N i k o l a i e v i c h Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army, thereby waiving his own prerogative to assume this p o s i t i o n . Headquarters  The establishment of Army  (Stavka) under the Grand Duke (by the Statute of F i e l d  Administration, 16 July, 1914) brought fundamental changes i n the organization of  the state.  Besides having complete authority  over a l l m i l i t a r y forces  at  the front and i n the rear, Stavka also had f u l l control over the  administration of a l l areas i n which there were m i l i t a r y operations or i n s t a l l a t i o n s , either at the front or i n the r e a r .  According to the Statute,  115 neither the cabinet nor any other c i v i l authority had any voice i n the administration of these areas.  Administrative personnel could be changed at  the d i s c r e t i o n of the Commander-in-Chief.  (This power was exercised i n  p r a c t i c e by the Chief of the General S t a f f , General Yanushkevich.)  Through-  out the war, vast areas of the Empire were under the complete control pf Stavka, including Finland, Petrograd, Archangel, the B a l t i c Provinces, Poland, the Caucasus, and Vladivostok.  I f the Council of Ministers had any questions  or recommendations about the administration of these areas, i t had to bring them to the attention of Stavka.  Ministers could correspond with, or t r a v e l  to Stavka, but "...even they had the greatest d i f f i c u l t y i n obtaining r e p l i e s , and could not challenge any of the decisions which had been reached."*' The deplorable state of r e l a t i o n s between the army command and the c i v i l government can be surmised from the fact that the Statute of F i e l d  Administration  omitted any mention of the Council of Ministers or of i t s President. As the Duma was not i n session when war was declared, i t was natural that the deputies should have expected a speedy convocation  i n order that the  organization of f a c i l i t i e s and services i n the rear might be discussed.  The  declaration of war had provoked a tremendous outburst of national f e e l i n g , and even the t r a d i t i o n a l factionalism of the Duma had given way to the upsurge of p a t r i o t i c sentiment.  The Duma was at this time prepared to work  even with the government of Goremykin, but i t could not work unless i t was convoked. Rumours, reached the Duma leaders at this time that Maklakov had persuaded the Council of Ministers that the Duma should not be convoked u n t i l  116 the Autumn of 1915.  Such a plan v i o l a t e d the Fundamental Laws, as i t was  stipulated that the Duma should meet at least once a year i n order to approve the budget.  Evidently Goremykin was prepared to drain the treasury and r e l y  on foreign loans rather than r i s k convoking theDuma i n wartime. l e g i s l a t i o n as was necessary could be passed under A r t i c l e 87.  Such Naturally  the Duma leaders were annoyed when Goremykin refused to meet them f o r a discussion of the s i t u a t i o n .  Working through Krivoshein, however, they  managed to extract the concession that the Duma should meet 'not l a t e r than February', 1915.  The convocation took place at l a s t on 27 January, but  Goremykin would permit only a three-day session devoted exclusively to the consideration and passage of the budget.  There was nothing theDuma leaders 2  could do but attend the session under Goremykin s conditions. A f t e r the January session the government set i t s face r e s o l u t e l y against any further contact with the Duma, but after only a few months, the government found i t s e l f i n an awkward s i t u a t i o n .  The munitions scandals  were only one example of the hopeless disorganization which was hampering the war e f f o r t .  The prestige of the government was declining daily as .  people began to r e a l i z e that a l l the blame f o r the munitions scandals could not be l a i d at the door of General Sukhomlinov.  Inevitably, that p a t r i o t i c  sentiment which had accompanied the declaration of war began to be transformed into a growing resentment against the incompetence of the government. Cries f o r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform came from outside the Duma for the f i r s t time since 1905. .To these demands Goremykin had no answer, but while he remained s i l e n t , two other members of the cabinet spoke out.  Their words  117 dramatized e f f e c t i v e l y the disunity of the government at that time. The Minister of J u s t i c e , I , G. Shcheglovitov,  told the French Ambassador that  " c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l i b e r a l i s m i s a heresy as well as a stupid chimera...If p o l i t i c a l reforms are necessary they must be c a r r i e d out only i n the s p i r i t  3 of autocracy  and orthodoxy."  Three weeks l a t e r , M. Paleologue was told, by  A. V. Krivoshein that "...the p l a i n duty of Ministers i s to remove the causes, of the f r i c t i o n which has been observable for several months between 4 the Government and public opinion; i t i s a sine qua non of v i c t o r y . " Krivoshein made.it clear that although he favoured a further r e s t r i c t i o n of the Imperial power, he would not support c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform u n t i l a f t e r the war.  He was nevertheless w i l l i n g to support, for the moment, the forming  of a ministry i n which the p u b l i c could have confidence. p o s i t i o n and that of Shcheglovitov  Between h i s  there was a world of difference, and  the remainder of 1915 was occupied by the struggle between these two points of view. Increased attacks on the government for i t s lack of unity, coupled with the v i t a l . n e c e s s i t y of reorganizing the war e f f o r t , produced substantial changes i n the personnel of the Council of Ministers i n June and early J u l y . The Tsar, i n answer to Rodzianko's constant badgering, f i n a l l y consented to summon the Duma ' i n the near future',  Having made this decision, he was  faced with the necessity of dismissing Maklakov, Sabler, and Shcheglovitov, i f he wished to r e t a i n the services of the more progressive ministers, l e d by Krivoshein and Kharitonov.  The three reactionary ministers signed  their  own writs-of p o l i t i c a l execution by opposing both the c a l l i n g of the Duma and  118 the continuation of the war at a cabinet meeting on 3 June.  For  Nicholas  I I , the continuation of the war was a point of honour, and i t was no surprise that Maklakov was dismissed  the following day.  Prince N. B. Shcherbatov, a f i r m supporter  In his place was appointed  of the m i l i t a r y e f f o r t .  A week  l a t e r , General Sukhomlinov was replaced as War Minister by General PolivanoVo-. Although the Tsar did not believe that Sukhomlinov was personally implicated i n the munitions scandals, he was unwilling to leave unanswered any cause for complaint against the war e f f o r t . On June 14, an important meeting of the Council of Ministers was held at Stavka under the chairmanship of the Tsar himself, who was v i s i t i n g Headquarters at that time.  Over the objections of Shcheglovitov,  Sabler,  and Rukhlov," a Manifesto was issued stressing the need for national unity, and announcing that the Duma would be summoned 'not l a t e r than August'. Also over the objections of the reactionaries, a committee was appointed to discuss the question of autonomy for a restored Poland.'*' At the same time a s p e c i a l council on defence was set up to include ministers, senior o f f i c i a l s of the bureaucracy, and members of the State Council and the Duma. The s p e c i a l defence council had been proposed by Rodzianko, and i t met with the warm approval of the Emperor.  As a r e s u l t of the work of this meeting i t  became a foregone conclusion that Sabler and Shcheglovitov  would have to be  replaced.  Three weeks l a t e r , on 5 July, A. D. Samarin was appointed  Procurator  of the Holy Synod i n place of Sabler, and on the following day,  A. A. Khvostov was appointed Minister of J u s t i c e to, succeed  Shcheglovitov.  119 S i r Bernard Pares has c a l l e d the cabinet meeting of 14 June "...the most d e c i s i v e step taken so far towards co-operation between the Government and the p u b l i c . "  Yet i t must be said that the cabinet changes i n no  s i g n i f i e d a change of course on the part of the Emperor.  way  He was not turning  away from the r e a s s e r t i o n of personal sovereignty which had marked the years 1912-1914 towards a new c o n s t i t u t i o n a l arrangement.  He was  simply taking  precautions to ensure that h i s goal, the successful conclusion of the war e f f o r t , would be achieved as quickly and as e f f i c i e n t l y as p o s s i b l e .  If  the Tsar had r e a l l y wished to co-operate with the p u b l i c , he would have removed the Chairman of the Council of M i n i s t e r s .  Instead, Goremykin was  l e f t at the head of the Council as a warning to the would-be reformers  that  no further changes were contemplated. Perhaps the most i n t e r e s t i n g aspect of these cabinet changes i s that they represent a triumph for the influence of Krivoshein and the Grand Duke N i k o l a i over that of the Empress and Rasputin.  According to V. I. Gurko,  Prince Shcherbatov, Polivanov, Samarin and Khvostov were appointed on the advice of the Grand Duke. ...an agreement enjoyed at that ...Polivanov was and Shcherbatov Gor emykin P  There had been  between the Stavka and Krivoshein, who time s p e c i a l influence with the Emperor advanced mainly by the Stavka, Samarin by Krivoshein, and Khvostov by his f r i e n d  Gurko reveals that Krivoshein once hoped to succeed Goremykin, and wanted a cabinet "...whose members should be, as far as possible, representatives of 8 the p u b l i c . "  Although Miliukov speaks favourably of Krivoshein as being 9  acceptable to the Duma leaders,  Gurko reports that Krivoshein l a t e r decided  that he was not capable of heading the government.  In any case there are no  120 grounds for b e l i e v i n g that Nicholas successor  to Goremykin.  ever seriously considered him as a  For the reasons stated above, i t was  absolutely  essential to r e t a i n Goremykin as Chairman of the Council of M i n i s t e r s .  If  Krivoshein ever did plan on succeeding Goremykin, his dream was frustrated by the Tsar.  The 1915  cabinet changes did, however, go a long way  towards  bolstering Krivoshein*s p o s i t i o n i n the Council of M i n i s t e r s . The Tsar was m i n i s t e r i a l changes.  under no i l l u s i o n s about his wife's opposition to the I t i s perhaps s i g n i f i c a n t that the important decisions 10a  i n this matter were taken at Stavka, rather than at Tsarskoe Selo.  The  Empress had already objected to Polivanov's  appointment because of his known  friendship with Guchkov, and because he was  ""'our Friend's  ^Rasputin's]  enemy."''"''' The very day of the cabinet meeting she wrote to Nicholas, 12 demanding that he "be more a u t o c r a t i c . " The next day, she sent him a long and revealing message from Rasputin: ...you are to pay less attention to what people w i l l say. to you, not l e t yourself be influenced by them but use y r . own i n s t i n c t & go by that, to be more sure of yourself & not l i s t e n too much nor given to others, who know less than you ...He regrets that you did not speak to Him more about a l l you think & were intending to do & speak about with y r . ministers & the changes you were thinking of making... {sicj  ^  Although Nicholas had c a r e f u l l y prepared her for the appointment of Samarin, M. Paleologue reports that she was  "absolutely thunderstruck" when the f u l l 14  extent of the cabinet changes became known. The Empress was of the Duma i n August.  also very angry about the announced  convocation  ...our Friend begged you several times to do i t as l a t e as possible & not now...here they w i l l t r y to mix i n & speak about things that do not concern them. Never forget that you are & must remain authocratic [sic] Emperor,—we are not ready for a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l government [Grand DukeJ N [ikolaij *s f a u l t & Witte's i t was that the Duma exists, & i t has caused you more worry than joy.-'--' A week a f t e r this l e t t e r had been written, the Duma leaders began to demand that Goremykin summon the Duma at once.  The Empress hastened to write to  Nicholas, ...oh please dont {sicj , i t s not their business, they want to discuss things not concerning them & bring more discontent—they must be kept away--I assure you only harm w i l l a r i s e — t h e y speak too much. Russia, Thank God, i s not a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l country, tho' those creatures t r y to play a part & meddle i n a f f a i r s they dare not. Do not allow them to press upon ^ y o u — i t s f r i g h t i f one gives i n & their heads w i l l go up. The Tsar, however, was s t i l l at Stavka, under the influence of the Grand Duke and Polivanov.  Persuaded by them that an early convocation of  the Duma would increase p u b l i c enthusiasm for the war e f f o r t , he telegraphed Goremykin to announce that the Duma would be convoked on 19 J u l y .  Two days  l a t e r , Nicholas returned to Petrograd, where he was confronted by Samarin on the subject of Rasputin.  Samarin refused to continue at his post unless  Rasputin has l e f t Petrograd when the Duma assembled.  On 9 July, Rasputin  had l e f t for his native v i l l a g e of Pokrovskoe, but M. Paleologue notes that the Empress t o l d him he could return r i g h t after the Duma session, "which wouldn't take l o n g . " ^ Despite the opposition of Rasputin assembled on 19 J u l y . war  and the Empress, the Duma  Appreciating the Emperor's fervent interest i n the  e f f o r t , many deputies were resolved to place co-operation ahead of con-  s t i t u t i o n a l reform.  Only by l i n k i n g the co-operation of the Duma with the  122 military fate of Russia could the deputies ensure that the existence of the Duma would be protected by the Emperor. They therefore gave an enthusiastic reception to General Polivanov, who was the f i r s t minister to address the Duma. The French Ambassador was most impressed by the evident determination of the Duma "...to organize the co-operation of the national representatives with the government in such a way as to make a l l the productive resources  18 of the country available for the army."  Despite the facade of moderation,  i t was evident that the majority of deputies now considered the present cabinet, headed by Goremykin, to be incompetent to solve the problems of the day. The Duma could co-operate only with a 'ministry of confidence' which presumably would have included such men as Polivanov, Krivoshein, Kharitonov, Guchkov, Shingarev, and perhaps Miliukov, with Krivoshein as Chairman. It was absolutely necessary for the Emperor to r i d himself of his beloved Goremykin and of his backstage advisers, Rasputin,, the Empress, and Prince Meshchersky. A united front of Nationalists, Octobrists, and Kadets emerged, demanding a 'ministry of confidence' chosen by the Emperor and responsible to him, while the Left Kadets, Trudoviks, and Social Democrats wanted a ministry chosen by the Duma and responsible to i t .  By sheer strength of  numbers, the united front carried the day, and Miliukov went on to outline the reforms which were considered absolutely indispensable for the continuation of the war effort.  V. A. Maklakov, in a b r i l l i a n t speech, summarized  19 the Duma's attitude in the slogan, "The right men in the right place." The resolutions were sent on to the Council of Ministers, and the Duma proceeded to a discussion of the defence council and to the impeachment of General Sukhomlinov.  123. Before the Council of Ministers had a chance to discuss the resolutions of the Duma, an even greater problem arose. informed  the Council that the Emperor had decided to exercise his highest  prerogative:  to take command of the army at the f r o n t .  doubt that t h i s . d e c i s i o n was Empress.  On 6 August, Goremykin  There can be no  largely the r e s u l t of the influence of the  She feared and hated the Grand Duke N i k o l a i , and resented h i s  interference i n the June cabinet changes.  She longed for revenge, and by  playing on the Tsar's r e l i g i o u s conception of his o f f i c e , she managed to convince him that his place was at the f r o n t , leading the Russian Army and sharing i n the sufferings of h i s people. to Nicholas who,  This sort of argument appealed  i t should be remembered, was  constantly duped by the.  'spontaneous' demonstrations of l o y a l t y arranged by the Union of the Russian People.  Having made his decision, the Tsar advised Goremykin that i t was  irrevocable.  „  From a m i l i t a r y point of view, Nicholas* decision was at best u n j u s t i f i e d ; from the p o l i t i c a l point of view i t was a calamity.  His  departure for the front would,leave the c i v i l administration i n the hands of the Empress and Rasputin, who  had already returned from Pokrovskoe,  cabinet, under the i n d i f f e r e n t Goremykin, would be powerless to curb  The  the  reactionary p o l i c i e s of the Empress, and the Duma would be dismissed immediately.  A l l the ministers, with the exception of Goremykin, were  agreed that the Tsar must be dissuaded  from his decision.  Polivanov and Shcherbatov spent the next week trying to persuade the Tsar to abandon h i s plan, but to no a v a i l .  On 15 August the cabinet  . 124 requested a special meeting under the chairmanship of the Tsar.  Meanwhile -  Krivoshein, through Polivanov, suggested a 'National Government', headed by the War M i n i s t e r .  This idea smacked of a m i l i t a r y dictatorship, however,  and Nicholas was not l i k e l y to agree to this now when he had already rejected t h i s solution during the equally trying days of 1905. In any case, the Empress would have opposed a ministry headed by "our Friend's enemy." That.she had regained her influence over the Tsar at this time i s demonstrated by the dismissal on 19 August of Dzhunkovsky and Orlov, both avowed 20 enemies of Rasputin.  Hence i t was not surprising that at the s p e c i a l  cabinet meeting held next day, Nicholas repeated his decision and emphasized once again that i t was irrevocable. Faced with the Tsar's impending departure, the cabinet decided that the threat of resignation was the only avenue open to them.  Without  Goremykin, they met at the Foreign O f f i c e and drew up a l e t t e r i n which they again appealed t o t h e Emperor to repent of h i s decision. attention to  They drew  .  ...the i r r e c o n c i l i a b l e difference between our Chairman and us i n our estimate of the s i t u a t i o n i n the country and of the p o l i c y .to be pursued by the Government. Such a state of things i s inadmissable at a l l times, and at the present moment i t is- fatal.. Under such conditions we do not believe that we can be of r e a l service to 21 Your Majesty and to our country. This -letter was given to Nicholas just before he l e f t Petrograd for Tsarskoe Selo en route to Stavka to take command.  Undoubtedly he showed i t to the  Empress while at Tsarskoe Selo, and her reaction to i t can be imagined.  The  next-day she wrote to him revealing i n her own words how much she had t r i e d to influence him while he was at Tsarskoe Selo:  125 Had you given in now in these different questions," they would have dragged out yet more of you. Being firm is the only saving...forgive me, I beseech you...for ' " having left you no peace & worried you so much—but I too well know yr. marvellously gentle character & you had to shake i t off this time, had to win your fight alone against a l l . . . you w i l l save your country & throne through your firmness. A few days later, she told the British Ambassador, 1 have no patience with Ministers who try to prevent him from doing his duty. The situation requires firmness. The Emperor, unfortunately, is weak; but I am not, and I intend to be firm. The Empress had been "waiting a long time for the situation in which she now found herself, and she was determined to reassert personal, autocratic sovereignty to the f u l l , disregarding the State Council, the Duma, and even the ministers i f necessary. Throughout the August c r i s i s , the Duma had by no means been idle; developments had taken place which offered one last change to avoid a return to the evils of unlimited autocracy in i t s pre-1905 form. A 'Progressive Bloc' had been formed in the Duma and a programme had been drawn up which could provide the basis for negotiations with the government. If an agreement could be reached between the Bloc and the cabinet, and i f the Tsar could be persuaded to approve the agreement, there was a strong l i k e l i hood that the crisis would not end in disaster. The formation of the Progressive Bloc has been described in detail 24 by one of the principal participants, P. N. Miliukov. It was, in his opinion, "...a last attempt to find a way out of a situation which was daily 25 becoming more terrible." The emergence of this united front in the Fourth  126. Duma was f a c i l i t a t e d p a r t i c u l a r l y by the s p l i t i n the Octobrist Party, which had brought Guchkov*s group.into closer contact with the Kadets. the Octobrists even accepted  the Kadet agrarian programme.  Eventually  The increased  p o l i t i c a l experience of a l l p a r t i e s made them less dogmatic and more r e a l i s t i c than they had been i n the early years.  F i n a l l y , the war had served as a  binding agent, uniting previously i r r e c o n c i l a b l e groups i n the face of a common external threat.  Given the state of Russia i n 1915,  i t was not  d i f f i c u l t to f i n d a number of measures on which a majority of the Duma could unite. The Council of Elders (Senioren-Konvent) of the Duma decided to form the Bloc during the f i r s t week of August. questions facing them was the composition  One of the most  important  of a ministry which could be trusted  to enact the programme of the Bloc. . The Duma majority  (Nationalists,  Octobrists, and Kadets) desired a government which would guarantee "...union 26 with the whole country and enjoy i t s confidence." ..  This formula had the  support of the Union of Zemstvos, which had advanced the same slogan at i t s June Congress.  The left-wing groups of the Duma, supported by the Union of 2  Towns, c a l l e d ^ f o r "a ministry responsible before the popular representation," but they were defeated by the majority.  Thus the i n s t i t u t i o n of a f u l l  parliamentary regime, with a cabinet responsible to the l e g i s l a t u r e , was not part of the programme of the Bloc.  Even i f this programme had been approved  by the Goremykin cabinetj the choice,of future ministers would have been l e f t to the Tsar, i n accordance with the Fundamental Laws of 1906.  On 11 August i t was decided to begin negotiations with members of the State Council, i n order that the Bloc might have a strong base i n both l e g i s l a t i v e chambers.  The l e f t wing of the State Council, led by Meller-  Zakomel'sky and Grimm, held several meetings with the Council of Elders, and on 15 August they agreed to support the Block i n the State Council.  This  unprecedented rapprochement opened the way for l e g i s l a t i o n on the i n i t i a t i v e of the Duma. Not u n t i l 1915 was there substantial support for the Duma i n the State Council, and this agreement enormously increased the p o t e n t i a l strength of the Duma. For the f i r s t : time since 1905,  the Duma could pass  a measure with reasonable assurance that i t would get at least some support i n the upper house. On 25 August, four days a f t e r Nicholas l e f t for the front to take 28 command of the Army, the programme of the Progressive Bloc was published. It was by no means a revolutionary document.  I t did not advocate either a  palace revolution or a parliamentary regime.  I t did not demand any formal  l i m i t a t i o n s on the prerogative powers of the Tsar. I t asked only for ...the formation of a united Government, consisting of persons who have the confidence of the country and are i n agreement with the l e g i s l a t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s as to carrying out, at the e a r l i e s t time, a d e f i n i t e programme. [There would have to be^ ...A d e c i s i v e a l t e r a t i o n of the methods of government hitherto employed, founded on d i s t r u s t of p u b l i c i n i t i a t i v e ; i n p a r t i c u l a r : (a) A s t r i c t observance of the p r i n c i p l e of l e g a l i t y i n administration. (b) A removal of the dualism of m i l i t a r y and c i v i l power i n questions which have no immediate r e l a t i o n to the conduct of 30 m i l i t a r y operations.  128 Most members of the cabinet were impressed with the programme of the Bloc, and were determined to r a i s e the question of negotiations with the leaders of the Bloc. Meanwhile the Emperor, unaware of these developments i n Petrograd, wrote to this wife, (25 August, 1915)  >  I am so glad that you have spoken to old Gor [emykin] and have consoled him (i« «> about the ministers' letter} Please t e l l him, next time, from me, that as soon as the Council of State and the Duma f i n i s h their work they must be adjourned, no matter whether I s h a l l be back by that time or s h a l l s t i l l be h e r e . e  31  Goremykin was  undoubtedly overjoyed by this news, for he was  finding i t i n -  creasingly d i f f i c u l t to control the course of events i n Petrograd. his  opposition, the cabinet had met  Bloc at Kharitonov's  Despite  u n o f f i c i a l l y with the leaders of the  house on 27 August.  During the discussion, i t became  evident that there was " . . . l i t t l e i n the programme of the Bloc that presented ..32 any insurmountable obstacle to agreement." On the following day, 28 August, 1915, cabinet meeting of the reign of Nicholas I I . which the cabinet found i t s e l f was  was held the most c r u c i a l  The p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n i n  intolerable.  The Tsar, against the advice  of his ministers, had gone to the front and l e f t the governing of Russia i n the hands of the Empress, Rasputin, and Goremykin.  The ministers had  attempted to resign rather than serve under these conditions, but their resignations had been ignored.  A l l the important public o r g a n i z a t i o n s — t h e  Union of Zemstvos, the Union of Towns, and the War  Industries Committee—were  crying out for a ministry i n which the public could have confidence. Progressive Bloc had outlined the personnel of such a ministry, and  The had  brought forward a programme of measures which would create an atmosphere of  129 public confidence and would ensure the successful continuation of the war effort.  The Tsar, however, seemed bent on ignoring h i s ministers and pro-  roguing the Duma. Continuing indecision could lead only to chaos and revol u t i o n , which had to be prevented a t a l l costs. Kharitonov f i r s t reported to the cabinet the r e s u l t s of the meeting with the leaders of the Bloc.  The question which bothered  the ministers  most was the s e l e c t i o n of new ministers to enact the programme of the Bloc. They were anxious l e s t the Tsar lose this prerogative power to the Duma, but Kharitonov allayed t h e i r fears by pointing out that the programme permits the c a l l i n g by His Imperial Majesty of persons who enjoy p u b l i c confidence, to whom would be commissioned the forming of a cabinet according to their d i s c r e t i o n , for the establishment of d e f i n i t e mutual r e l a t i o n s with the State Duma. 33  Kharitonov  ended by making i t quite clear that further negotiations with the  Bloc were not only possible, but desirable. circumstances,  He suggested that under these  the prorogation of the Duma might not be a wise step, at least  for a time. To f o r e s t a l l further discussion, Goremykin announced that the Duma would be prorogued because that was the w i l l of the Emperor; i t remained only for the Council of Ministers to choose an appropriate day for i t to take place.  Most of the ministers agreed that the Duma should be prorogued, but  i n a f r i e n d l y fashion, on the understanding Bloc and the cabinet would continue. to the the opinion of the majority:  that negotiations between the  General Polivanov voiced what proved  130 ...at the l a s t session, before resorting to the p u b l i c a t i o n of the Supreme Ukase of prorogation, i t should be the duty of the President of the Council of Ministers to come forward in both l e g i s l a t i v e chambers with the government's announcement, and to state i n a c o n c i l i a t o r y tone that there i s no i r r e c o n c i l a b l e difference of opinion with the Bloc. This announcement should be b r i e f , and i t should add that i t i s useful to cause the dismissal not from considerations of p r i n c i p l e but of a p r a c t i c a l nature. Prince Shcherbatov was  i n f u l l agreement with the War M i n i s t e r :  ...among the population, the conviction i s held that the government stands aside and wishes to do nothing, excusing i t s e l f because of the m i l i t a r y s i t u a t i o n . Therefore our appearance before the l e g i s l a t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s i s i n the interests of the government i t s e l f , which by t h i s method can inform the country about i t s work and further intent i o n s . I t i s even more important that, i n general, the programme of the Progressive Bloc by largely accepted... Having heard t h i s , many who have been wavering w i l l be i n favour of c o n c i l i a t i o n . 3 5  The other ministers agreed with Polivanov and Shcherbatov, but Krivoshein refused to be s a t i s f i e d with this course of action.  He  was  exasperated by Goremykin's attempt to divert discussion from what he considered to be the most important question, ...the r e l a t i o n s h i p of His Imperial Majesty to the government as presently constituted and to the demands of the country regarding an executive power invested with p u b l i c confidence. Let the monarch decide how i t w i l l please him to guide our future i n t e r n a l p o l i c y , whether by disregarding such requests,., or by r e c o n c i l i a t i o n , having chosen i n the second case a person enjoying p u b l i c sympathy and charging him with the formation of a government. Without s e t t l i n g this cardinal question we cannot leave here. Personally I support the second course of a c t i o n — t h e Emperor should choose a person and commission him to form a cabinet which f u l f i l l s the expectations of the country.  131 Goremykin attempted to ignore Krivoshein's remarks, but Sazonov, Ignatiev, and Kharitonov a l l supported the view that a change of the cabinet must be carried out simultaneously with the prorogation of the Duma. Goremykin was, at l a s t , made to understand  that the f i n a l decision was to be  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the Tsar, not of the Council of M i n i s t e r s . We, the senior servants of the Tsar, \[said Krivoshein] are taking on the unpleasant task of proroguing the Duma, ana together with this werare strongly declaring to the Emperor that the general internal s i t u a t i o n of the country necessitates changes of the cabinet and, of course, of p o l i c y . One or another decision by His Majesty on this basic question w i l l predetermine the composition of the future government. To this Goremykin r e p l i e d that he d i d not intend to deliver an ultimatum to the Tsar: The r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r proroguing the Duma I take on myself without anxiety, being of the conviction that this measure i s indispensable f o r the calming of the country and for the organization of defence. But i t i s impossible f o r me to force on the Emperor persons who are disagreeable to him. As I have said before, perhaps my outlook i s archaic, but i t i s too l a t e for me to change. ** 3  At this point, Samarin t r i e d to mediate between Krivoshein and Goremykin.  He recognized the necessity for a change of cabinet, but he also  sympathized with Goremykin's unwillingness to leave the decision to the Emperor.  I t was not f a i r , Samarin argued, to present the Emperor with the  problem of choosing a new cabinet unless he was given a clear i n d i c a t i o n of the programme which i t should carry out. I t i s necessary to present to His Majesty the indispensable foundations of a programme of p o l i c y which conforms to the changed conditions of the i n t e r n a l and external s i t u a t i o n , and simultaneously to report that i n i t s present composition, the  132 Council of Ministers has neither s o l i d a r i t y nor i n t e r n a l unity, especially with regard to the important events which are developing, and that we therefore intercede regarding the creation of another government to replace us, one which would be strong enough to put the programme into e f f e c t . If such a declaration from us receives approval i n p r i n c i p l e , then our duty i s to point out an acceptable person, since these general phrases about p u b l i c confidence i n fact mean nothing... The wisdom of Samarin's argument was appreciated by the cabinet, and Goremykin closed the meeting by promising to report i n d e t a i l to the Emperor everything that has been discussed. A f t e r this most important meeting, events moved very quickly indeed. On 30 August the Emperor received Goremykin at Stavka.  Just what was said  at this audience w i l l never be known, but i t i s reasonable to assume that Goremykin gave the Emperor a highly coloured version of the proceedings at the cabinet meeting.  I t i s doubtful that he even mentioned the cabinet's  f e e l i n g that both the personnel and the p o l i c y should be changed.  More  than l i k e l y , he t o l d the Tsar only that the Duma must be prorogued before some mutinous ministers made a deal with the leaders of the 'revolutionary' Progressive Bloc.  In any case, Goremykin returned with permission to prorogue  the Duma, and nothing more.  The Ukase was signed on 2 September, and next  day Rodzianko had the thankless task of reading i t to the Duma.  The Ukase  contained no mention of the negotiations with the Bloc, nor did i t indicate how  long the prorogation would l a s t .  sitting.  None of the ministers attended the  At a cabinet meeting on 2 September, Goremykin t o l d the ministers  only that the Duma had been prorogued i n d e f i n i t e l y , and that the Tsar had commanded a l l ministers to remain at their posts. to object, Goremykin closed the meeting.  When some ministers attempted  133 The hope for a 'ministry of confidence' had been dashed to b i t s . The course of action suggested by the ministers had been motivated only by i o y a l t y to the monarch, yet they had been ignored once again.  Nicholas I I  chose to regard the whole a f f a i r as a "...question of i n t e r n a l reform which 40 must wait t i l l a f t e r the conclusion of peace." The prorogation of the Duma touched off a two-day s t r i k e i n Petrograd, but i t was quickly suppressed by the Gendarmerie.  The only other  s i g n i f i c a n t reaction to the Tsar's decision was another i n f l u x of telegrams of  comendation, c a r e f u l l y organized by the Union of the Russian People.  Nicholas was most impressed by this demonstration of l o y a l t y , and wrote to his  wife, . . . a l l t h i s c l e a r l y shows me one thing: that the Ministers, always l i v i n g i n town, know t e r r i b l y l i t t l e of what i s happening i n the country as a whole. Here I can judge c o r r e c t l y the r e a l mood among the various classes of the people... 41  The Tsar was so disturbed by h i s ministers' lack of perception that he summoned them a l l to Stavka on 16 September and administered a severe rebuke for  their disobedience.  Afterwards, he telegraphed to the Empress, "The 4  conference passed o f f w e l l .  I told them my opinion sternly to their faces."  Next day he wrote to her regarding the need to dismiss those ministers who "do not wish to work with old Gor [emykinj , i n spite of the stern words which I addressed to them."  On 26 September, Shcherbatov and Samarin were  dismissed, and one month l a t e r , Krivoshein was also r e l i e v e d of h i s p o s i t i o n . Thus the cabinet had been cleared of those members to whom the Empress had objected so strongly.  134 A f t e r August, 1915,  the Fundamental Laws of 1906 ceased to be the  basis on which the governing of Russia was  conducted.  Unlimited autocracy  with a l l i t s attendant e v i l s once again became the p r e v a i l i n g system of government.  Only the Empress and Rasputin benefited from the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  c r i s i s of 1915, rule.  for a f t e r that they were able to exercise unlimited a r b i t r a r y  The Tsar, on the other hand, not only lost control of h i s own power  as sovereign by going to the front; he had also rejected the l a s t compromise which might have preserved the dynasty.  Had he accepted the recommendations  of the cabinet and agreed to the formation of a 'ministry of confidence', he would have emerged from the c r i s i s an autocrat limited i n p r a c t i c e but not i n theory.  In this s i t u a t i o n , he would have retained many of his prerogative  powers, but instead of preserving some of them,: he chose to preserve a l l of them, thereby losing everything.  135 FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER VIII * S i r Bernard Pares, The F a l l of the Russian Monarchy, New York, 254.  1939, p.  2 P. N. Miliukov, Vospominaniia, New York, 1955, I, pp. 191-192. 3 x Quoted i n Paleologue, op.cit., I, p. 259. 4  I b i d . , p.  273.  "*One of the few acts of Nicholas I I which ran counter to the aims of the Union of the Russian People was the Manifesto of August, 1914, which announced that Poland would be restored as an autonomous state under the suzerainty of the Russian Tsar. See i b i d . , pp. 84-85. Pares, op.cit., p.  247.  ^Gurko, op.cit., p. 555. As early as September, 1914, Paleologue had taken s p e c i a l notice of "...Krivoshein, whose personal authority, l u c i d i n t e l l e c t and p o l i t i c a l talents seem to have won him a high degree of confidence and favour with Nicholas I I . " op.cit., V o l . I, p. 135. 8 Gurko, op.cit., pp. 555-556. 9 Miliukov, op.cit., p. 191. ^Gurko, op.cit., p.  556.  N o t only was Nicholas away from his i n t e r f e r i n g wife; he was also subject to pressure from the Grand Duke N i k o l a i . I t seems clear from the Grand Duke's behaviour during the next few months that he was i n favour of a c o a l i t i o n ministry led by either Polivanov or Krivoshein. The Grand Duke's m i l i t a r y experience explains h i s understandable desire that the government have the support of the public organizations, on which the army depended f o r medical and other supplies. 1 0 a  L e t t e r s of the T s a r i t s a to the Tsar, 1914-1916, London, 1923, 12 June 1915, p. 91. Hereafter c i t e d as A. F. to N. 1:L  12  A.  F. to N., 14 June 1915, p. 94.  13  A.  F. to N., 15 June 1915, p. 95.  Paleologue, op.cit., I I , p. 33; Letters of the Tsar to the T s a r i t s a , ed. C. E. Vulliamji,, London, 1929; 15 June 1915, p. 60; hereafter c i t e d as N. to A. F. 14  15  A.  F. to N.,  17 June 1915, p.  100.  16  A.  F. to N., 25 June 1915, p.  110.  136  V  1 7  'Paleologue, op.cit., I I , p. 35. 1 8  I b i d . , I I , p. 40.  I b i d . , I I , p. 48. ^General Dzhunkovsky had been Commander of Gendarmerie and Aidede-Camp to the Emperor. Prince Orlov was Director of the Imperial M i l i t a r y Household, 21 1 9  2  Pares, op.cit., p. 270. 2 2  A . F. to N., 22 August 1915, p. 114.  Quoted i n S i r George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia, Boston, 1923 V o l . I , p. 238. M i l i u k o v , op.cit., pp. 206-218. 23  s  24  2 5  I b i d . , p. 206.  26 Ibid., p. 214. 2 7  Loc. c i t .  28 The f u l l text may be found i n A. N. Yakhontov, "Tyazhelye Dni", Arkiv Russkoi R e v o l u t s i i , XVIII, B e r l i n , 1926, pp. 109-110. ^Quoted i n Pares, op.cit., p. 272. 3  ^Loc. c i t .  3 1  N . to A. F,, p. 71.  32pares, op.cit., p. 275; Yakhontov, op.cit., p. 119. 33 Yakhontov, op.cit., p. 119. 3 4  I b i d i , p. 122.  I b i d . , pp. 122-123. 36 37 Ibid., p. 124. Loc. c i t . 3 5  J q  l b i d . . pp. 124-125,  3 9  I b i d . , p.-125.  •-  ^Quoted i n Buchanan, op.cit., I I , p. 5. 41 N. to A. F.. 9 September 1915, p. 85. 4 2  N.  to A. F., 16 September 1915, p. 90.  4 3  N.  to A. F.. 17 September 1915, p. 91.  CONCLUSION  In the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l history of Imperial Russia, i t must now be agreed that the October Manifesto was l i t t l e more than a scrap of paper. I t was  favourably received by some contemporaries,  and has been praised by  numerous h i s t o r i a n s , as the basis for a grand new period of co-operation between the Russian people and i t s government.  I t promised the e f f e c t i v e  l i m i t a t i o n of the l e g i s l a t i v e prerogative of the sovereign and the transfer of this prerogative to the l e g i s l a t i v e chambers. Manifesto proved a worthless document.  In f a c t , however, the  I t l e f t the establishment of the  competence of the l e g i s l a t u r e i n the hands of the autocracy.  Thus, that  l o y a l servant of autocratic government, Count Witte, was able to frame the Fundamental Laws of 1906 i n such a way as to ensure that the prerogative powers of the monarchy could neither be usurped by, nor transferred to, the Duma.  The Fundamental Laws so r e s t r i c t e d the competence of the Duma that the A  l a t t e r l o s t i t s raison d etre.  Deprived of the power to i n i t i a t e l e g i s l a t i o n ,  i t could only r a t i f y or r e j e c t proposals drawn up by some other organ of the government.  Furthermore, i t had no power to prevent a measure which i t had  rejected from becoming law by means of an imperial decree under A r t i c l e 87. Shorn of any useful l e g i s l a t i v e function, i t could at least have offered advice to the government on the state of the country, but i t was unable even to do this because the Fundamental Laws f a i l e d to establish the p r i n c i p l e of negotia r e g n i — t h e business of the kingdom. The f i r s t two Dumas challenged the system established by the Fundamental Laws, and found themselves dissolved for their presumption. The  139 Third Duma accepted the system and was able to play a small but e f f e c t i v e part i n the l e g i s l a t i v e process.  I t was nevertheless unable to exercise the  l e g i s l a t i v e p r e r o g a t i v e — i t could only influence i n a very r e s t r i c t e d manner the exercise of this prerogative by the government.  The Fourth Duma was  likewise unable to d i r e c t the l e g i s l a t i v e process, the more so as c i v i l sovereignty increasingly had to y i e l d before m i l i t a r y sovereignty a f t e r the outbreak of war. In r e s t r i c t i n g the competence of the Duma, the Fundamental Laws made a l l the more necessary r o y a l prerogative powers.  the capable and purposeful exercise of the Since the Tsar was incapable of exercising these  powers wisely, h i s chief minister found wide scope for his own ambitions and abilities.  Count Witte had so vexed Nicholas I I by his own powerful  ambition  that he was never permitted to exercise the powers he had so s k i l f u l l y preserved for the monarchy.  The Tsar, f e a r f u l of ambitious men, would have  preferred the inert and inept Goremykin as his Prime Minister, but the s i t u a t i o n i n the country necessitated a strong man at the centre, and the Tsar was forced to appoint the able and dynamic Stolypin.  In the hands of  Stolypin the authority of the autocracy was so ably asserted that the person of the autocrat was almost obscured. was  A f t e r Stolypin's assassination the Tsar  determined to reassert h i s personal sovereignty as well as his sovereign  authority.  His p o l i t i c a l ideas, o r i g i n a t i n g i n the doctrine of the Union  of the Russian People and i n the mind of h i s wife, were neither i n t e l l i g e n t nor appealing, and his reassertion of personal autocratic sovereignty led even the f i r m i s t supporters of autocratic monarchy to question their l o y a l t y .  140 When the l e g i s l a t i v e prerogatives of a sovereign power are being exercised by a group such as Nicholas I I , the Empress, Rasputin and Goremykin, one cannot expect that power to survive even thesmallest national c r i s i s . The outbreak of war, necessitating the establishment of a competent m i l i t a r y authority to replace a bungling c i v i l government, placed an i n t o l e r a b l e s t r a i n on the p o l i t i c a l system established by the Fundamental Laws of  1906.  By August of 1915 a l l of the Tsar's ministers saw the dangers inherent i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n , which the Tsar was about to complicate by h i s decision to take command of the Army. consent  The only workable solution was  for the Tsar to  to a c o a l i t i o n ministry of capable representatives of the m i l i t a r y  authorities and of the p u b l i c organizations. the Tsar ensured the f i n a l collapse of his own  In r e j e c t i n g this proposal, imperial authority.  Unable  to accept honestly the r o l e of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarch, he chose a path which could only lead to the destruction of the monarchy i t s e l f .  BIBLIOGRAPHY  BIBLIOGRAPHY  I.  GENERAL  Charques, Ro The Twilight of Imperial Russia, Florinsky, M. T. Press, 1931.  The End of The Russian Empire.  Kluchevsky, V. 0. A History of Russia. New York: R u s s e l l & Russell, 1960. Masaryk, T. G. 1919.  London:  The S p i r i t of Russia.  Phoenix House, 1958,  New Haven:  Trans. C. J . Hogarth.  2 vols.  Walsh, E. A.  Russia.  Revised e d i t i o n .  The F a l l of the Russian Empire.  II.  Golder, F. A. (ed.).  London and New York, 1912. Boston, 1928.  Paris, Payot, 1928.  The Russian Provisional Government. 1917.  Documents of Russian History 1914-17.  Nicholas I I , Tsar of Russia. Gosudarstvennaya Duma:  New York:  DOCUMENTS  Archives Secretes de l'Empereur Nicholas I I . Browder, R. P., and Kerensky, A. 3 v o l s . Stanford, 1961.  5 vols.  London: The MacMillan Co.,  Seton-Watson, H. The Decline of Imperial Russia 1855-1914. Praeger, 1952. Wallace, S i r D. M.  Yale University  Journal Intime de Nicholas I I .  Stenogrficheskie Otchety.  London, 1927. Paris, 1925.  St. Petersburg, 1906-1917.  Padenie Tsarskogo Rezhima. Report of the Extraordinary Investigating Committee of the P r o v i s i o n a l Government. 7 v o l s . Moscow and Leningrad, 1924-1926. Monarkhiia Pered Krusheniem. (The Monarchy Before I t s Downfall). Semennikov (ed.). Moscow and Leningrad, 1927.  V. P.  143 Soyiuz Russkogo Naroda. Report of the Extraordinary Investigating Commission appointed by the Provisional Government. Moscow and Leningrad, 1929. Wilhelm I I , Emperor of Germany. Letters of the Kaiser to the Tsar. I . D. Levine (ed.). New York; 1920. N. F. Grant (ed.). London, 1920. Yakhontov, A. N. "Tyazheye Dni", (Minutes of the Secret Sessions of the Council of M i n i s t e r s , July 15 - September 2, 1915; O.S.). Arkhiv Russkoi R e v o l u t s i i . XVIII. B e r l i n , 1926.  III.  LETTERS  Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia. Tsar 1914-1916. London, 1923.  Letters of the T s a r i t s a to the  Nicholas I I , Tsar of Russia. Letters of the Tsar to the T s a r i t s a . C. E. Vulliamy (ed.). Trans. A. L. Hynes. London: The Bodley Head, 1929. . The Letters of Tsar Nicholas and Empress Marie. Bing (ed.). London, 1937. York,  . Secret Letters of the Last Tsar. 1938.  E. J .  E. J . Bing (ed.).  New  v  Lettres des Grands-Ducs a Nicholas I I .  IV. Alexander Mikhailovich, Grand Duke. Baring, M.  A Year i n Russia.  Benckendorff, Count Paul. 1927. Buchanan, S i r George. &Co., 1923. G i l l i a r d , P.  Paris; Payot,  MEMOIRS Once a Grand Duke. —___—_——_______  London,  Cassell,  1932.  1927.  Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo.  My Mission to Russia.  London: Heinemann,  2 v o l s . Boston: L i t t l e , Brown  Treize Annees a. l a Cour de Russie.  Gurko, General V a s i l y . MacMillan, 1919.  1926.  Paris,  1922.  War and Revolution i n Russia, 1914-1917.  New  York:  144 Gurko, V..I. Features and Figures of the Past: Government and Opinion i n the Reign of Nicholas I I . Stanford, 1939. Hanbury-Williams, J .  The Emperor Nicholas I I as I Knew Him.  London, 1922.  Izvolsky, A. P.* Recollections of a Foreign Minister : (Memoirs of Alexander Iswolsky). Trans. C. L. Seeger. New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1921. v Kerensky, A. F. .  The Catastrophe.  New York,  The C r u c i f i x i o n of L i b e r t y .  Kokovtsov, Count V. N. Korff, Baron S. A.  1927.  New York,  Out of My Past.  1934.  Stanford, 1935.  Autocracy and Revolution i n Russia.  New York,  1923.  Miliukov, P. N. Vospominaniia. M. M. Karpovich and B. E l k i n (eds.). 2 v o l s . New York: Chekhov Publishing House, 1955. Mosolov, A. A. At the Court of the Last Tsar; being the Memoirs of A. A. Mosolov, Head of the Court Chancellery, 1900-1916. London, 1935. Nolde, Baron B, E.  L'Ancien Regime et l a Revolution Russe. P a r i s ,  1928.  Paleologue, M. An Ambassador's Memoirs. 1923-1925.  3 vols.  Pares, S i r Bernard.  London: Jonathan Cape, 1931.  My Russian Memoirs.  Pobiedonostsev, K. P. Purishkevich, V. M.  London: Dorah & Co.,  Reflections of a Russian Stateman. Dnevnik.  R a d z i w i l l , Princess Catherine.  (Diary).  Riga,  Rasputin.  London,  1898.  1924.  New York,  1918.  Rodzianko,' M. V. "Gosudarstvennaya Duma i Febralskaya 1917 Goda Revolutsya." Arkhiv Russkoi R e v o l u t s i i , VI, B e r l i n , 1924. .  The Reign of Rasputin: An Empire's Collapse. Trans. C.  Zvegintzoff. Sazonov, S. Shipov, D. N.  London, 1927.  F a t e f u l Years.  New York,  1928.  Vospominaniia i Dumi o Perezhitom.  Moscow, 1918.  145 Shulgin, V. V. Dni. (Days). Belgrade, 1925. V a s s i l i , Count Paul. Viroubova, Anna. Witte, S. Y.  Behind the V e i l at^the Russian Court.  Memories of the Russian Court.  The Memoirs of Count Witte.  Youssoupov, Prince F e l i x .  Rasputin.  V.  Bykov, P. M. Chasles, P.  New York, 1923.  Garden C i t y , New York, 1921.  London, 1927.  SPECIALIZED WORKS  The Last Days of Tsardom. Le Pariement Russe.  Cherniavsky, Michael. 1961.  New York, 1914.  London:  Martin Lawrence, 1937.  P a r i s , 1909.  Tsar and People.  New Haven: Yale University Press,  C u r t i s s , J . S. Church and State i n Russia: The Last Years of the Empire 1900-1917. New York, 1940. D i l l o n , E. J .  The E c l i p s e of Russia.  FuM.p^Miller, R.  New York, 1918.  Rasputin, the Holy D e v i l .  Garden C i t y , New York, 1928.  Gronsky, P. P. and Astrov, N. J . The War and the Russian Government. Haven: Yale University Press, 1929.  New  Hare, Richard. P o r t r a i t s of Russian Personalities Between Reform and Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959. Harper, S. N.  The New E l e c t o r a l Law for the Russian Duma.  Kovalevsky, M.  Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia.  . . Russian P o l i t i c a l I n s t i t u t i o n s . Press, 1902. Levin, A.  Chicago:  Chicago, 1908. London, 1891.  University of Chicago  The Second Duma. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940.  Liepman, H. Rasputin and the F a l l of Imperial Russia. F i t z g e r a l d . New York: Rolton House, 1959. Maynard, J . Russia i n Flux: New York, 1948.  Before October.  Trans. Edward  London, 1941. Enlarged edition  146 Milyukov, P. N. .  Le Mouvement Inttilectuel Russe.  Russia and i t s C r i s i s .  Nolde, Baron B. E. Press, 1928.  Paris,  Chicago, 1905.  Russia i n the Economic War.  New  1918.  London,  1912.  Haven: Yale University  Odinetz, D. M. and Novgorodtsov, P. J . Russian Schools and U n i v e r s i t i e s i n The World War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929. Pares, S i r B. .  The F a l l of the Russian Monarchy. Russia and Reform.  New York,  New York,  1939.  1939.  Polner, T. I., Prince J . A. Obolensky and S. P. Turin. Russian Local Government During the War and the Union of Zemstvos. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1930. Raeff, Marc. Michael Speransky, Statesman of Imperial Russia 1772 -1839. IheiHague: Martinus N i j h o f f , 1957. ;  Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. Nicholas I and O f f i c i a l Nationality i n Russia. 1825-1855. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959. Smith, C. J . J r . Telberg, G. V.  The Russian Struggle f o r Power, 1914-1917.  The Last Days of the Romanovs.  Vinogradoff, P.  Self-Government i n Russia.  New York,  London,  New York,  1956.  1920,  1915.  Wallace, S i r D. M., Prince Kropotkin, e t . a l . A Short History of Russia and the Balkan States. (Reproduced from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed.). London, 1914. Warth, R. D. 1954.  The A l l i e s and the Russian Revolution.  VP.  Durham, North Carolina,  ARTICLES  Byrnes, R. F. "Pobedonostsev on the Instruments of Russian Government." i n E. J . Simmons (ed.), Continuity and Change i n Russian and Soviet Thought. Cambridge^ Harvard University Press, 1955. . ,  147 Chasles, P i e r r e . "La C r i s e Constitutionnelle de Mars 1911 et les Oukazes Extraordinaires en Russie," i n Revue du Droit P u b l i c . V o l . 29. P a r i s , 1912, pp. 5-25. Karpovich, M. "Two Types of Russian Liberalism: Maklakov and Miliukov," i n Continuity and Change i n Russian and Soviet Thought. E. J . Simmons, (ed.). Cambridge; Harvard University Press, 1955. Kerensky, A. F. "Why the Russian Monarchy F e l l , " Slavonic Review VIII, No. 24, 1930. . "Russia on the Eve of World War I," The Russian Review. V o l . I . No. 1, 1945, pp. 10-30. Levin, A. "The Russian Voter i n the Elections to the Third Duma," Slavic Review, XXI, 4. December, 1962. Levitsky, S. L. "Interpellations according to the Russian Constitution of 1906," S l a v i c and East European Studies. V o l . I (Spring, 1956). University of Montreal. . " L e g i s l a t i v e I n i t i a t i v e i n the Russian Duma," American S l a v i c and East European Review, XV. October, 1956, pp. 315-24. Pares, S i r B. "Rasputin and the Empress," October, 1927, pp. 140-154. S a v i c k i j , N. "P. A. Stolypin", No. 1 (1936).  Foreign A f f a i r s . V o l . VI, No. 1.  Le Monde Slave. No. 4 (1933), No. 4 (1934),  Smith, C. J . J r . "Miliukov and the Russian National Question," Russian Thought and P o l i t i c s . H. McLean, et a l . , (eds.). Cambridge, 1957. Treadgold, D. W. "The Constitutional Democrats and the Russian L i b e r a l T r a d i t i o n , " American Slavic and East European Review, X, No. 2. A p r i l , 1951. . "Was Stolypin i n Favour of Kulaks?" American Slavic and East European Review, XIV, No. 1. February, 1955. Tuck, R. L. "Paul Miljukov and Negotiations for a Duma Ministry, 1906," American S l a v i c and East European Review, X, No. 2. A p r i l , 1951. Williams, Harold. "Petrograd," June, 1923, pp. 14-35. VII.  The Slavonic Review.  V o l . I I , No. 4.  UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL  Spector, S.D. "The Doctrine and Program of the Union of the Russian People i n 1906." Unpublished essay for the C e r t i f i c a t e of the Russian I n s t i t u t e of Columbia University, 1952.  

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