You are on page 1of 5

Russian legislative election, 1906

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Russian legislative election, 1906

March, 1906


All 478 seats to the

State Duma of the Russian Empire

Tsar Nicholas II's opening speech before the two chambers on 27 April 1906

Sergey Muromtsev (1850-1910) was the President of the First State Duma

Prime Minister Ivan Goremykin (1839-1917) was instrumental in the dissolution of the First State Duma

Legislative elections were held in the Russian Empire in March 1906. At stake were the 478 seats
in the State Duma of the Russian Empire, the legislative assembly. Election for the First State
Duma, a session which only ran from 27 April to 21 July 1906, returned a significant bloc of
moderate socialists and two liberal parties which demanded further reforms. For this reason, it is
sometimes called the Duma of Public Anger ( ).

1 History

1.1 Electoral legislation

1.2 Basic Law

1.3 Session

1.4 Dissolution

1.5 Composition of the 1st State Duma

1.5.1 Jewish members of the First Duma

2 Members of the First Duma

3 See also

4 References


The State Duma was created in a wave of violent attacks against imperial officials and public
upheaval, which culminated in a national strike in October 1905 known as Russian Revolution of
1905, paving the way for Russia's first parliament. With the nation's infrastructure all but paralyzed,
Emperor Nicholas II signed a historic manifesto of 17 October 1905, promising civil rights to the
population and creating Russia's first parliament.

Electoral legislation[edit]
The electoral laws were promulgated in December 1905 and introduced franchise to male citizens
over 25 years of age, and electing through four electoral colleges. The elections were therefore not
universal as they excluded women, soldiers, and officers. Nor were they equal since the
constituencies differed greatly in size.
The general elections to the State Duma took place in March 1906 and were boycotted by the some
socialist groups and the Bolsheviks. Among the political parties formed were the peasant leaders'
Labour Group (Trudoviks), liberal-intelligentsia Constitutional Democratic party (the Kadets), the less
liberal Union of October 17 (the Octobrists), and the positively reactionary Union of Land-Owners.

Basic Law[edit]
In April 1906, only weeks after the election, the government issued the Basic Law of 1906, setting
the limits of this new political order. The Emperor was confirmed as absolute leader, with complete
control of the executive, foreign policy, church, and the armed forces. The State Duma was shifted,
becoming a lower chamber below the reformed State Council of Imperial Russia, which had been
the Russian legislative body since 1810. Legislation had to be approved by the Duma, the Council
and the Emperor to become law - and in "exceptional conditions" the government could bypass the
Duma. The Basic Law introduced a special provision, Article 87, which allowed the government to ex
officio issue new legislation during breaks between sessions of the State Duma. Later on, Emperor
Nicholas II would frequently use this provision in order to carry out the laws that had not been
supported by the State Duma.

The State Duma (and the State Council - the upper house) convened for the first time on 27 April
1906. On 10 May Sergey Muromtsev, a Law Professor at the Saint Petersburg University, was
elected President of the Duma. Professor Muromtsev, a leading figure of the liberal Kadet party, tried
to maintain some degree of order and dignity in this difficult assembly. He was much praised for the
way he chaired the debates, always keeping to the strictest legality, but always pursuing a
constitutional and anti-autocratic agenda.
The anti-autocracy was evident from the first days of the First Duma. In response to the Emperor's
opening speech on 5 May, the assembly called for amnesty for political prisoners, real political
freedom and equality. Eight days later, the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Ivan
Goremykin, rejected all these claims. The State Duma in turn adopted a resolution of non confidence
of the government and demanded Prime Minister Goremykin's resignation. During the 72-day
session of the First Duma, a total of 391 requests about illegal actions of the government were filed.
Only two laws were passed: a ban on capital punishment and measures to help provinces that had
been hit by a famine.

Due to the growing tensions between the State Duma and Emperor Nicholas II's Council of
Ministers, prominently Prime Minister Goremykin, the assembly was dismissed by
Imperial ukase after only 10 weeks, on 21 July 1906. The Emperor said that instead of drawing up
laws, the deputies were investigating the authorities and thereby intruding on his authority. In a sign
of frustration, members of the liberal Cadets party wanted the elected Duma to continue its work and
proposed that it should retreat to Vyborg, Finland. Despite the hopes of the Kadets and the fears of

the government, there was no widespread popular reaction. However, an assassination attempt
on Pyotr Stolypin led to the establishment of field trials for terrorists. For signing this Vyborg Appeal,
the Cadets (including Duma President Muromtsev) were arrested and imprisoned for some months and consequently excluded from future Duma elections. This paved the way for an alternative
makeup for the Second Duma of 1907.

Composition of the 1st State Duma[edit]

Parties and coalitions


Constitutional Democratic party (Kadets)


Trudoviks (moderate labor)


Russian Social Democratic Labour Party


Octobrist Party (conservative-liberal)


National minorities



105 (including 34 SRs)



Jewish members of the First Duma[edit]

In total, there were twelve Jewish deputies in the First Duma, falling to three in the Second Duma
(February 1907 to June 1907), two in the Third Duma (1907-1912) and again three in the fourth,
elected in 1912. At the 1906 elections, theJewish Labour Bund had made an electoral agreement
with the Lithuanian Labourers' Party (Trudoviks), which resulted in the election to the Duma of two
(non-Bundist) candidates in the Lithuanian provinces: Dr. Shmaryahu Levin for theVilnius province
and Leon Bramson for the Kaunas province.[1]
Among the other Jewish deputies were Maxim Vinaver, chairman of the League for the Attainment of
Equal Rights for the Jewish People in Russia (Folksgrupe) and cofounder of the Constitutional
Democratic Party (Kadets), Dr. Nissan Katzenelson (Courland province, Zionist, Kadet), Dr. Moisei
Yakovlevich Ostrogorsky (Grodno province), attorney Simon Yakovlevich
Rosenbaum (Minsk province, Zionist, Kadet), Mikhail Isaakovich
Sheftel (Ekaterinoslav province, Kadet), Dr. Bruk, Dr. Victor Jacobson. Three of the Jewish deputies
joined the Labour faction, the nine other joined the Kadet fraction.[2] According to Rufus Learsi, five of
them were Zionists, including Dr. Shmaryahu Levin, Dr. Victor Jacobson andSimon Yakovlevich

Two out of twelve, Grigori Borisovich Iollos (Poltava province) and Mikhail Herzenstein (b. 1859, d.
1906 in Terijoki), both from the Constitutional Democratic Party, were assassinated by the Black
Hundreds antisemite terrorist group.[4]