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About the liberal project of reforming of state system in pre-October Russia




The liberalism role in formation and development of a social and political thought in Russia is shown in article. The complex of the factors which interfered with realization of the liberal ideas as a result of revolution of 1905-1907 is analyzed

The role of liberalism in forming and development of public and political thought in Russia is showed in the article. The complex of factors, which interfered to realization of liberal ideas due to the revolution of 1905-1907, is analyzed.

liberalism, reorganization of state system, constitutional changes, national representation, traditionalism, modernization, civil society; liberalism, reorganization of state system, constitutional changes, public representation, traditionalism, modernization, civil society.



AbdulMutalibovich is the senior teacher of department of history of Russia Historical akhivnogo institute of RGGU

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Revolution of 1905 — 1907 and the State Duma created as a result of revolutionary fight provided prerequisites and conditions for transformation of an autocratic form of the government in Russia on the way of constitutional monarchy or the parliamentary republic. As it is represented, the key role was played here by features of formation of the Russian liberalism. It is indicative that in Russia the fate of the concepts "liberalism", "liberal", "liberal" was surprisingly ill-fated. A little who had enough spirit to add various negative estimates to the word "freedom", but "liberalism" in mass consciousness closely was associated with such epithets as "rotten", "spineless", "false", etc. Naturally, the liberal ideas not always got a due response and support among a general population. In this context the total rejection of liberalism by orthodox church is indicative. The most zealous defenders of church were convinced that the idea of "liberal and conservative synthesis" on the church soil at best is a utopia, and in the worst — the illusion dangerous to Orthodoxy. Baptized Russia with her orthodox patriarchal views of the world was simply not able to accept freedom and a private property as the highest blago1.

By the beginning of revolution the group of political elite (representatives of the intellectuals, the person of "liberal professions", figures of the public, territorial, professional organizations, businessmen, etc.) in more and more growing degree realized itself ready to participation in processes of change of state system and an imperious system. The protest against maintaining monopoly for the power behind a royal dynasty and a ruling bureaucratic clique extended. Later the leader of cadets P.N. Milyukov saw sources of the going deep split in unwillingness of a tsarism to decide on cardinal political transformations to "Russia official and all other Russia". It, according to him, promoted formation "revolution psychology, having isolated the yard and the power from all population groups and from all nationalities" 2.

And it is valid, a tsarism, despite radical changes,

1 V. Averyanov. About synthesis of orthodox ideology// of analit/rusideo/syntez.htm
2 P.N. Milyukov. History of the Second Russian revolution. T. I. Issue 1. — Sofia, 1921, page 17-19.

occurred in the country after "great reforms" of Alexander II, did not want to concede to requirements of the most advanced part of society and a wide people at large in any way. It is right that revolution of 1905 created conditions for transformation of unlimited autocracy into constitutional monarchy. However remnants of unlimited autocracy remained in many areas of life. The source of future collisions was put in the device of the Russian constitution which granted to the State Council the identical legislative rights with the State Duma. It is known that a half of the reformed State Council elective members made, a half — members "on the highest appointment", the chairman and the vice-chairman were annually appointed the emperor. It represented the conservative body which is constantly constraining the liberal aspirations of the State Duma.

The conflict between the Duma and the government at discussion of an agrarian question was the sharpest. The government proved that projects of cadets and tinder funguses give to peasants only a small priveska of the earth, but inevitable at the same time destruction of landowner farms will create big problems for national economy. Here it should be noted that deputies of the State Duma from party of cadets also made many mistakes and miscalculations. In this plan reasonings and arguments of the famous political figure, influential representative of cadets are of interest

V.A. Maklakova. Concerning a question of the reasons of dissolution of the II State Duma, he recognized that the initiative "did not go from Stolypin this time, but it is rather against it". Maklakov came to a paradoxical, at first sight, conclusion: "... the electoral law was considered on November 11 as the reason of failure of two Thoughts as all, and it was predetermined it to change. It could not be made, without having violated the constitution, i.e. without having resorted to "coup"". Stolypin went for dissolution

II The State Duma, justifying this act with the state need and "impossibility" in the legal way to find a way out. He "made it only for the idea of national representation, at least at the price of such obvious derogation from the law". As claimed

Jobbers, "in Stolypin we dealt with the person exclusively large" and "there can be nothing poverkhnostny his definitions as "reactionary". It was the most firm defender of national representation" 1.

Recognitions P.N. Milyukova are rather interesting. Estimating practical activities of cadets in the Duma, he noted that in overlapping of the conflicts inside and outside the Duma and the reasons of the Duma tragedy were. At the same time he recognized: "There were, of course, demagogical kinks proceeding and from our cadet environment" 2. As the head of Constitutional democratic party claimed, "Russia very much was late with parliament, and the cadet party was the youngest of all European liberal parties. Perhaps, because, or perhaps thanks to some features of Russian intelligentsia, it resembled the peculiar knightly award which was jealously full time this oath. For

12 years of the existence it made many mistakes, misses" 3.

Tracing the history of liberalism in pre-revolutionary Russia, the Russian scientist-emigrant V.V. Leontovich saw the main trouble of this movement that at a boundary of HEH — XX of centuries when there were real opportunities to influence liberalization of the country, it could not develop the uniform platform. Outstanding statesmen of Russia of that time

S.Yu. Witte and P.A. Stolypin set during this period the task to make Russia the European state in the economic and socio-political relations. However their policy did not get support from the liberal movements and parties existing at that time, in particular zemets and constitutional demokratov4.

And, not least, cadets at any given stages of activity of the State Duma and beyond its limits the discrepancy, inconsistency and koleba1 V.A. Maklakov were inherent in policy of liberals. From memoirs. — New York, 1954.

2 P.N. Milyukov. Memoirs. — M, 1990, page 369.
3 In the same place, page 389.
4 V.P. Filatov. Features of liberalization and modernization of Russia in the second half of XIX — the beginning of the 20th centuries in the context of the European development//

a niya depending on a political environment. These qualities, in particular, were expressed that they as V.A. Maklakov noted later, "sought to combine both ways — constitutional and revolutionary" 1. The party standing on bases of peace legislative constitutional process, apparently, had to adhere to a law letter, however cadets in collisions with the power quite often were beyond the existing legislation and made demands, unreal during that concrete period.

In October, 1905 only just the created party of cadets got the first chance to turn from oppositional into governmental. Along with publication of the Manifesto on October 17 in the highest spheres of the power there were changes. S.Yu. Witte who considered useful to attract in the structure of the government of public figures was appointed the chairman of the board of ministers. Witte asked to send from Moscow delegation for "mutual exchange of thoughts". The prime minister said to one of heads of cadets I.V. Gessen that he is ready to support Constitutional democratic party, "but under one indispensable condition that it cut off a revolutionary tail". Meanwhile liberals were not going to refuse allies at the left. A preliminary condition of the participation in the government delegates called convocation of the Constituent assembly on the basis of general, equal, direct and a ballot. Witte did not accept categorical requirements. To the Winter Palace for a private conversation also Milyukov was invited. The leader of cadets advised to give as soon as possible on behalf of the tsar the constitution. Objection followed: "The people do not want the constitution!" Milyukov only shrugged shoulders: "Then to us it is useless to talk. I cannot give you any practical advice".

Attempts to find a common ground with liberals were made also by other representatives of the authorities. In particular, such initiative was shown by the former manager of police of the empire D.F. Trepov who after leaving the Ministry of Internal Affairs was appointed the palace commandant. In June, 1906. Trepov secretly met Milyukov in otde1 V.A. Maklakov. Decree. soch., page 299.

flax office of one of capital restaurants fashionable during this period. The leader of cadets stated requirements of the party: "Revision of basic laws, the new constitution created by the constituent power of the Duma, but from "approval of the sovereign", cancellation of the State Council — all this state casuistry did not bring into sacred horror of the general alien to jurisprudence at all" 2. Even the list of candidates for ministers headed by the prime minister S.A. Muromtsev and the Minister of Internal Affairs Milyukov was made.

The State Duma was included into tough opposition with the government, often without wishing to go with it on any compromises, even when it put forward the drafts of laws which are quite accepted in any given situation or solution of the problems facing the country. About it evident representation can be made on the example of P.A. Stolypin's policy in the II State Duma. Originally in February, 1907 when it began the work, attempts of cooperation of liberals with the government were outlined. Even Social Revolutionaries declared that they for the period of activity of the Duma stop the terrorist activity. The prime minister P.A. Stolypin reported about the measures taken during the period between the first and second thoughts. According to Article 87 of Basic laws the government carried out the law on court-martials in August, 1906 (it was not submitted for approval of the Duma, and its action stopped in the spring of 1907, but on its basis about 700 people were executed), the decree on the equation of peasants in the rights with other estates of October 5, 1906, the decree on the right of peasants to secure their plots, turning into the personal property, of November 9, 1906. The head of the government stated the program of future reforms: country equality and country land management, the classless self-coping volost as small territorial unit, reform of local management and court, transfer of judicial authority to the magistrates elected by the population, legalization of labor unions, punishability of economic strikes, reduction of working hours, school

2 Stepanov S.A. Cadets (Konstitutsionnodemokratichesky party)//Bulletin of Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. It is gray. Political science, 2006, No. 8, page 82.

reform, financial reform, introduction of income tax.

The Duma opposition critically met the program of the government. Bills of the government budget and set of recruits were hardly carried out. The resolution of the right deputies on censure of revolutionary terror was rejected. Carrying out the agrarian law by the government encountered rigid opposition, and it to overcome this resistance and to define a new order of formation of the State Duma, took a step which was estimated as "coup". The thought under a cover-up about a plot of social democrats against the authorities was dismissed, having existed only 102 days.

Especially from the considered point of view the fact that cadets did not manage to ensure that extent of support of a general population which was necessary for implementation of their program was important. Peasants did not trust liberals as they considered them strangers. The considerable part of the nobility disappointed with economic difficulties of reforms took conservative positions. The feature of Russia in comparison with the Western European countries consisted in weakness of the infrastructure necessary for bourgeois transformations.

Historical experience demonstrates what formation and development of political democracy and the constitutional state assumes not only formation of the relevant institutes of the government based on the principle of division of the authorities, but, first of all, the developed civil society — internally differentiated whole, with accurately certain and conscious interests of each social group and a class, with actively operating mechanisms of expression and coordination of these interests and their realization. Unlike the West which history was connected with development of freedom with legal registration of the rights, the status of the person, citizen, with improvement of the personality, in Russia there was no legal definition of the personal right. The personality was kind of leveled by family, community, the state, church. As K.D. Kavelin noted,

"all Russian history, ancient, new, is mainly the state, political, even provincial life grows in a germ to the state" 1.

Owing to these and other related factors the liberal outlook was not implanted in consciousness enough general population of Russia, it could not induce a little considerable part of the Russian society to protection of social and economic freedoms. In this sense as V.P. Filatov noted, the Russian liberalism remained generally theoretical phenomenon. He could not prove convincingly need of the social union and furthermore really to rally various social groups as it happened in England. In addition, the reason of it consisted in weakness of institutes and traditions civil obshchestva2.

At the same time the fate of liberalism in Russia nevertheless does not give the grounds for a conclusion about its congenital incompatibility with political and economic life of the country. In fact, liberalism — the natural satellite of modernization of society. It is possible to claim that the liberalism of a pre-October era as a social and philosophical and ideological and political current could not offer answers to the problems put by revolution and therefore it did not manage to win mass consciousness. At the same time it is important to consider that traditional schemes of interpretation of liberalism and conservatism within oppositions "modernization — tradition", "progress — regress" are conditional and not always correspond to the real situation. Conservatism not always means regress, a liberalism at all not necessarily means progress. Experience of the 20th century with all presentation showed that often in practice the problems of conservative stabilization are best of all solved by the liberal reforms, and the liberal updating is most reliably carried out by conservative methods.

1 K.D. Kavelin. Collected works. In 4 t. — SPb., 1898, t. 1, page 277.
2 V.P. Filatov. Features of liberalization and modernization of Russia in the second half of XIX — the beginning of the 20th centuries in the context of the European development//
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