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Lessons from Ruinsssia’s parliamentary early twentieth century

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Lessons from Russia’s parliamentary

early twentieth century

Study of Russia’s historical and political experience beginning of XX
century. Promotes better understanding of the social realities of the
Belarusian society, allows a clearer idea of the difficulties and
possibilities of our movement toward democracy and the rule of law.

In Russia the beginning of the century there were signs of the crisis of
the political regime, in which the characteristics of profiling is a
monopoly position of the charismatic leader – the “autocrat”. Any volume
of the Complete Collection of Laws Russia Empire “convinces us that a
decision on even the small, private issue needs to sanction the king. He
personified the hypertrophied role of the state as property relations
and the mechanism of their implementation, and in all other spheres of
national life. To maintain this role, the ruling elite has sought to
“streamline” the political system, although the complexity of the
structure of society and its problems reclaim.

On the growth of opposition sentiment in society at large-scale social
conflicts authority responsible only palliative measures in the sphere
of political system. The stormy events of autumn 1905 forced Nicholas II
to sign the Manifesto of October 17 “On improvement of public order”,
which announces the introduction in Russia “unshakable foundations of
civil liberty. The State Duma was declared a “legislative agency” to
take part in which he promised to bring “to the extent possible” those
segments of the population who were excluded from the elections in
“Bulygin” Duma [1, c. 199].

Consistent implementation of the principles proclaimed on October 17
could lead to the design of the constitutional order. However, in late
1905 – early 1906 enacts a number of limiting civil liberties “temporary
rules”. In April 1906, the text appears in the new edition of “Basic
state laws. Because of this “Code of Nicholas II” disappears definition
of power of the monarch as unlimited, but remains its symbol – obviously
ambiguous – as “autocratic”. The most radical 86-I article “Code” reads:
“No new law can not follow without the approval of the State Council and
State Duma and absorb force without the approval of the emperor”, ie for
the monarch has the final say, and not determined by the necessary
procedures advance the bill in case of disagreement with the Emperor.
Next 87 article provided an opportunity in the event of termination or
interruption of the Duma and State Council to conduct debates in the
Council of Ministers, with subsequent confirmation by the king in the
form of “His Majesty’s orders, take effect immediately. And the king
retained the right to interrupt the meeting of the Duma and the State
Council. Emperor could not enforce the laws in the form of individually
approved by the “acts of top management” [2, c.139]. In the exclusive
jurisdiction of the autocrat were the foreign policy, finances, army and
navy, the appointment to senior posts in the government bureaucracy. All
other public institutions were of secondary nature. Nominally,
reminiscent of some West European counterparts, Russia’s parliament
(State Duma – the lower “chamber plus the State Council – ” upper
“chamber) really is not. Not institutionally integrated, functionally,
these “house” opposed to each other.

The State Council has remained the focus of the higher bureaucracy. The
election of half of its members (the other is still imposed king) did
not essentially changed – The State Council provided its full control,
and without the approval of the recommendation of the State Council of
the Duma are automatically blocked. In some cases, the State Council are
right of the emperor. The legislative powers of the Duma were limited to
a special law that regulated its activity (“Establishment of the State
Duma”): “The State Duma may initiate proceedings to repeal or modify
existing and of new laws, except for essential public laws.” As already
noted, outside the jurisdiction of the Duma was originally submitted by
foreign and military affairs. In fact, the Duma is not controlled and
the state budget. If he did not claim it, the government received the
money in the amount of last year’s estimates. Formation of the cabinet,
the choice of his head, just as the course of the Government, determined
by the emperor. The government was responsible to him, but not before
the legislature. Real leverage over the Duma did not have in this area.
Over the period of the I and II, king of the Duma approved the 612
legislative acts, of which only 3 were discussed and approved by the
State Duma and the Council of State [3, c.266].

The representative character of the Duma was offset by the electoral
system. Elections I and II, the Duma passed on estates and property
curiae. For each of them identified their standards of representation.
In multi-stage elections did not take part, women, military, students,
many minorities. Dispersed the first I, then II, and the Duma, the
autocracy has committed 3 June 1907 constitutional coup, while changing
the electoral law – without consideration of its Duma. The new law
tightened the requirements of the property qualification, cut the
peasant and working-class representation, increased the prerogatives of
landlords, sharply reduced the quota for the national regions. This
provided the reaction of III and IV of the Duma, practically
illegitimate in the eyes of much of the population.

Thus, the formal legislative and independent Duma and State Council has
actually performed the role of “zakonosoveschatelnyh” institutions, and
reflect their opinions only propertied of the population of the empire.
For all positions, they were dependent on the monarch and the executive
branch. At relatively short period (1905 – 1907 gg) Block of public
institutions of the empire had lost signs of systemic. It actually
restored the June Third coup, but not on the new (liberal democratic)
basis, and the old – the authoritarian.

Crisis facing the regime, did not become an incentive to develop
thoughtful course of reform and consolidation around the ruling camp.
The position of the monarch, dovlevshego all their authority, has not
been consistent. Support Nicholas II’s reform efforts Witte and Stolypin
wore a conditional, limited, autocrat obviously did not realize the need
of their proposed reforms. The ruling elite, forced by circumstances to
allow the opposition to participate in political life continued to
arrogantly ignore it, provoking the process of radicalization of
society. Activity even liberals have become more pronounced
anti-systemic nature. Already in February 1911 Octobrist Maklakov
stated: “The idea of the center, the idea of sharing the renewal of
Russia by the Government and the Duma was killed…” [4, c.57]. Bulgakov
painfully wrote: “In essence, the agony of autocracy continued reign of
Nicholas II, which was all solid, continuous suicide autocracy…
through all the innumerable zigzags its policies and the latest insanity
of war ” [5, c.296].

Manifesto of October 17 and the electoral law were the result of not
consciously chosen strategy, as a consequence of extraordinary
circumstances. Instead of accepting the new conditions of the political
game, the ruling elite has consistently sought to restore the status
quo, their monopoly on decision-making. The result was the
intensification of contradictions, the growth of confrontation, loss of
power of legitimacy in the eyes of society, in the end – the forcible
removal from the political arena – the collapse in 1917

In the mass of the ruling elite has not grown to awareness of the need
of large-scale reforms in all major areas of society.
Vlastpriderzhaschie did not understand the need for a holistic policy
that implements the reform programs on the basis of civil concord,
assignments of the new socio-political forces.

“Huge, transformed into a self-sufficient force, the Russian state was
afraid of initiative and activity of the Russian people, it will cease
to be human burden of responsibility for the fate of Russia… The state
must become an internal force of the people, his own positive power of
his instrument, rather than outside of them beginning, not the master of
his ” [6, c.66].

Thus, the formal legislative and independent Duma and State Council has
actually performed the role of “zakonosoveschatelnyh” institutions, and
reflect their opinions only propertied of the population of the empire.
For all positions, they were dependent on the monarch and the executive
branch. At relatively short period (1905 – 1907 gg) Block of public
institutions of the empire had lost signs of systemic. It actually
restored the June Third coup, but not on the new (liberal democratic)
basis, and the old – the authoritarian.

Crisis facing the regime, did not become an incentive to develop
thoughtful course of reform and consolidation around the ruling camp.
The position of the monarch, dovlevshego all their authority, has not
been consistent. Support Nicholas II’s reform efforts Witte and Stolypin
wore a conditional, limited, autocrat obviously did not realize the need
of their proposed reforms. The ruling elite, forced by circumstances to
allow the opposition to participate in political life continued to
arrogantly ignore it, provoking the process of radicalization of
society. Activity even liberals have become more pronounced
anti-systemic nature. Already in February 1911 Octobrist Maklakov
stated: “The idea of the center, the idea of sharing the renewal of
Russia by the Government and the Duma was killed…” [4, c.57]. Bulgakov
painfully wrote: “In essence, the agony of autocracy continued reign of
Nicholas II, which was all solid, continuous suicide autocracy…
through all the innumerable zigzags its policies and the latest insanity
of war ” [5, c.296].

Literature

1. The historical experience of the three Russian revolutions. V 3 kn.
Kn.1. Dress rehearsal of the Great October Revolution: first
bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia / by Society. Ed. PA Golub. –
M., 1985.

2. Sorokin, AK from authoritarianism to democracy / AK Sorokin / Polis.
– 1993. – № 1.

3. Eroshkin, N. History of public institutions of pre-revolutionary
Russia / NP Eroshkin. – M., 1983.

4. Shelohaev, V. Ideology and political organization of Russia’s liberal
bourgeoisie 1907 – 1914 gg. / VV Shelohaev. – M., 1991.

5. Bulgakov, SN Christian Socialism / SN Bulgakov. – Novosibirsk, 1991.

6. Berdyaev, N. The fate of Russia / Berdyaev. – M., 1990.

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