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Interfractional parliamentary blocs as sign of organizational crisis: observations from the beginning of the 20th Century.

ptvchestvvnny experience



Article offers a non-standard view of the possible reasons and mechanisms of interfractional rapprochement in strongly fragmented parliaments. As an example the formation of "The progressive block" in the State Duma of the IV convocation (19150 g) is used.

This article offers a non-standard view at possible reasons and mechanisms of interactional association in parliaments with high fragmentation, ^s an example the formation of the Progressive Bloc in the Russian State Duma of IV convocation (1915) is used.

fraction, block, parliament, interfractional processes; faction, alliance, parliament, inter-factional processes.

Formation of interfractional blocks in parliament can be considered as the phenomenon especially political, but at the same time often is issued from a look that fractions submit to laws of organizational development and these laws can play a key role in the happening processes. Let's consider this statement on a well-known example.

"The progressive block" in the Duma of the IV convocation is considered the phenomenon studied and does not cause heated scientific debates. The Soviet, foreign and modern Russian historians in general meet in estimates of emergence of the block.

The essence of the settled point of view comes down to the fact that in a condition of military defeats of 1915 in the country the wave of discontent with the central power, and both in society, and in the Duma rose. These moods were used by the party of cadets which made parliamentary bloc of the fractions and groups which got up in opposition to the government.

So, the Soviet classic A.Ya. Avrekh considered that in the years of world war the cadets remained the only leading force of "the pomeshchi-whose-bourgeois camp" 1 since other bourgeois parties came to naught. Our contemporary of the RG. Pushing also considers "The progressive block" "the tool of radical opposition" 2, but not oppositions in general.

The similar point of view was put forward by the American specialist in Russian philology Thomas of Rich. According to him, cadets were "the disciplined and homogeneous group pursuing consistent policy" 3 that allowed them to oppose itself to the shattered right wing of the Duma.

The argument of adherents of this point of view is based on the fact that the August consultations in the Duma which led to formation of the block happened under the leadership of P.N. Milyukov, and

1 A.Ya. Avrekh. Russian bourgeois liberalism: features of the historical phenomenon//history Questions, 1989, No. 2, page 24.
2 Pushing R.G. Historical value and lessons of the February revolution of 1917 in Russia//the February revolution of 1917 in Russia: history and present. — Yekaterinburg, 2007, page 5.
3 Riha T. Miliukov and the Progressive Bloc in 1915: A Study in Last-Chance Politics//The Journal of Modern History, 1960, vol. 32, No. 1, p. 16-24.



Vladimirovich —

graduate student Perm



also on the fact that cadets occupied the leading role in the block. But this point of view loses sight of two important circumstances.

1. Process of rapprochement of the Duma center was not initiated by cadets. At an initial stage much more efforts for it were made by fraction progressis-tov1. Signs of interfractional rapprochement were observed since the beginning of work of the Duma of the IV convocation (since 1912). Cadets appeared only at the final stage of this process.
2. By 1915 the cadets did not represent the consolidated fraction. The long time in association went confrontation left radical and right moderated currents between which the cadet center led by P.N. Milyukov maneuvred. Internal tension in fraction was huge. In April, 1914 the Octobrists considered obvious "disintegration of cadet fraction on two wings" 2.

There is a natural question. If formation of "The progressive block" was not a child of cadet fraction, then what mechanism of this phenomenon was?

The only existing alternative point of view is based on the provision on "a Masonic plot", owing to the fact that key faces of this block consisted in Duma lozhe3. This fact could promote merging of the parliamentary center, but it was not the prime cause, the box existed by then long enough.

In our opinion, researchers focus only on external conditions of formation of the block and underestimate a domestic situation in fractions as a possible source of processes. At the beginning of 1914 the worker of the ministerial pavilion L.K. Kumanin personally observing and analyzing parliamentary processes wrote that the interfractional relations submit to the law of centripetal force, and intra fractional — to the law of force

1 The first meetings of opposition took place under the leadership of A.I. Konovalov. The idea of creation of Committee of defense also belongs to progressionists.
2 Union on October 17 party. Minutes of congresses, conferences and meetings of the Central Committee. T.2. — M, 2000, page 463.
3 State Duma of the Russian Empire: 1906-1917: encyclopedia. - M, 2008, page 500.

centrobezhnoy4. In this case the official caught essence of the general trend. These two processes were interconnected, disintegration of fractions brought creation of parliamentary bloc to life.

Among features of "The progressive block" we will note that it united not all center. The block officially did not include the groups formed by the ethnic, regional or religious principle, which were in ideological proximity with the coalition. But these groups had essential difference from those that made parliamentary majority. Feature of six fractions which entered the block was the aspiration to active political work in the Duma, the width of the considered problems.

It is natural that claims of the management of fractions for the leading political role could face internal disagreements or friability of associations. Further development of these problems threatened with complete collapse of fractions and inevitable loss of political impact in the Duma. For justification of a thesis we will try to consider a domestic situation in fractions more fixedly.

In cadet fraction it was told about fragmentation and a difficult situation above. Let's add only that the main contradictions arose on the block with more right elements of the Duma. For example, at a conference of cadet party in 1913 the opinion was expressed that they "received other Octobrists, the best, more independent" 5, however this position did not meet support of most fraction. Up to the middle of 1915 left-centrist most of cadets denied a possibility of long-term agreements even with closer progressionists.

The fraction of progressionists, eclectic on structure and the purposes, experienced opposition of the right wing of large owners and the left wing of "bezymushchestvenny democracy" 6. Also there are certificates on large quarrels between the management

4 L.K. Kumanin's reports from the Ministerial pavilion of the State Duma, December, 1911 — February, 1917//history Questions, 1999, No. 11 — 12, page 19.
5 GARF, t. 523, op. 1, 14, l. 30.
6 L.K. Kumanin's reports from the Ministerial pavilion of the State Duma, December, 1911 — February, 1917//history Questions, 1999, No. 11 — 12, page 19.

fraction and the country deputies entering into it on the eve of formation of "The progressive block" 1.

The situation at zemtsev-Octobrists was not better. In 1913 the zemets squeezed out from the list of the most odious right figures, however the right wing (under E.P. Bennigsen's leadership) and left (under the leadership of M.M. Alekseenko) continued protivostoyaniye2.

The internal situation in fraction of the center and in group of progressive nationalists is studied quite poorly therefore we cannot speak about disintegration processes with confidence. Moreover, progressive nationalists were allocated in independent group only during creation of "The progressive block", and therefore the internal conflicts could not become a reason for entry into the block. It is possible that the similar situation in these groups was not observed at all. Rather safe the situation in group left oktyabristov3 is drawn.

Difference of these three associations from cadets, zemets and progressionists is the fact that they did not apply for the leading role in business work of the Duma. The left Octobrists were too small, two right associations suffered from passivity of ordinary structure.

Thus, trends of disintegration were observed in those fractions which tried to head legislative work of the Duma. For them the question of survival and maintaining integrity was put in the forefront. The situation was such is that fractions could not act as independent and solid subjects of parliamentary activity. Any merging of the State Duma could not undertake the leading role. At this conjuncture strongly fragmented parliament was ready to creation extensive and besides poorly centralized block.

"The progressive block" slowed down processes of disintegration of fractions and was favorable, first of all, to acting leadership of parliamentary associations. Let's dare to claim that the fact of creation blo1 Parties of democratic reforms, peaceful updating, progressionists. 1906 — 1916. Documents and materials. — M, 2002, page 336.

2 The fourth State Duma. Report. Fraction of national freedom. — SPb., 1914, page 6.
3 Morning of Russia, January 1914, 17.

was more important than concrete results of its activity for fractional "chiefs".

The right to act on behalf of parliamentary majority looked more tempting, than a duty to direct the polarized fraction. In turn, membership within one big block having rather general program and not imposing narrow directives arranged vnut-rifraktsionny groups. Political activity in the Duma of 1915 — 1916 in other format it was Vestie it is impossible.

However in the Duma of the IV convocation there was one more association applying for a leader role — "The Russian national fraction". In this plan it is interesting that along with "The progressive block" the so-called "black" block which was switching on Right and Russian national fraktsii4 began to be formed. To consider it as reaction to merging of the constitutional center not absolutely correctly as chronologically it preceded creation of "The progressive block".

The "black" block is interesting to us for two reasons. First, it fixes the general tendency to cooperation of the fractions standing on a disorder side. Both right, and nationalists were extremely fragmenti-rovanna and represented more likely association of several deputy groups. Secondly, during creation of this block there was an event contradicting the previous conclusions.

During creation of this informal coalition "The Russian national fraction" broke up. Whether the thesis that creation of blocks promoted maintaining unity of fractions disproves this case? In our opinion, this case concretizes an initial statement.

The block of nationalists and right was the block of system and stand-alone fractions. According to a remark of the sociologist D. Sartori, "An-tisistemnye" of fraction possess zero coalition potentsialom5, i.e. are not capable to enter effective interactions within parliament. Thus, conclusion that interfractional

4 Zemshchina, on August 1915, 13.
5 Sartori G. Parties and party systems: framework for analysis. — Cambridge, 1976, p. 117-118.

consolidation promoted freezing of the intra fractional conflicts, extends only to the constitutional, system parties.

It is worth noticing that the left stand-alone opposition (social democrats) was not a part of "The progressive block" and by that saved it from organizational shocks.

We will record a number of the moments. All four fractions applying for the leading role in legislative work of the Duma (cadets, progressionists, zemtsy-Octobrists, nationalists) were subject to disintegration process, and some were in a final stage of this process. Each of fractions in 1915 was included into any given parliamentary bloc. The "Progressive block" which united the constitutional center stopped process of crushing at cadets, zemets and progressionists and could even increase political impact of these fractions. A rate of nationalists on the union with stand-alone group resulted in boomerang effect and finally split association.

it is visible to

on the example of formation of "The progressive block" that it is impossible to underestimate force of the organizational transformations going on intra fractional

level. The chamber of parliament is a system, and therefore its development is defined not only by force of external influences, but also a condition of the elements forming it. To explain all changes with exclusively internal or exclusively external factors would be notorious simplification.

In case of "The progressive block" we observe an interesting phenomenon when decomposition of fractions promoted unity of chamber in general. This regularity is not universal. The described processes proceeded in the conditions of strong fragmentation of deputy corps and also in a situation when the most part of the Duma was in opposition. These two conditions are emergency for start of the mechanism of formation of the similar block.

From here the natural question follows: whether it is possible to consider such association sign of development of democratic institutes in Russia the beginning of the 20th century or "The progressive block" is a monument to ambitions of the fractional leaders who found a logical way out of an adverse situation in parliament? Perhaps, it is worth leaving this question open, but our point of view is stated in this article.

Van Der Ven Mirthe
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