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Political struggle during the election campaign of 1916 at elections to the Petrograd City Council




On elections to the Petrograd City Council in 1916 the fight was started between supporters of reforming of a system of self-government and those who acted under the slogan: "Economy and order". Voters gave the votes that who promised to improve life and a social and economic situation.

Elections to the Petrograd Municipal Duma of 1916 passed in the extreme conditions of wartime. There started a struggle for power between supporters of reforming of the self-management system and those who acted under the slogan of "Economy and the order".

local authorities, elections, City Council; local authorities, elections, municipal duma.

Now the system of local authorities in Russia continues to develop and be improved. Study and use of historical traditions of local public management is of particular importance. At the same time it should be noted that experience of city public managements is investigated insufficiently. So, not quite studied is a question of elections to the Petrograd City Council. Partially features of an election campaign at elections to the Petrograd City Council are considered in works modern avtorov1.

On the established law body of the municipal public government of Petrograd — the City Duma — consisted of 162 vowels chosen for six years. Each three years the structure of vowels was updated half. First, the natural and legal entities owning real estate worth not less than three thousand rubles had the right of participation in elections of vowels; secondly, persons, societies, associations and the companies containing any of the commerce and industry enterprises; thirdly, the faces consisting in the Russian citizenship which paid not less than one year on the city of St. Petersburg the national room tax at a rate of not less than thirty three rubles ezhegodno2. Elections in St. Petersburg were held on a digit system. The first category was made by voters who together paid one third of total amount of collecting; they chose one third of vowels. All other voters were ranked as the second category and chose other two thirds. Women directly did not participate in elections, but could transfer the power of attorney to the right of participation in elections to the immediate family of a male (husband, the father, the son, the son-in-law, the brother, the grandson or the nephew). Co-owners of real estate had one voice transferred to one of them by proxy. Government and spiritual agencies, associations and the companies, the class and public unions participated in elections through the representatives.

1 St. Petersburg City Council. 1846 — 1918. — SPb.: Faces of Russia, 2005, building 288 — 303; R.Sh. Ganelin, V.A. Nardova. World War I and Petrograd opposition//Phenomenon of St. Petersburg. — SPb., 2000, building 189 — 206.
2 M.I. mouse. Situation on June 8th, 1903 St. 17. About public management of St.-Petersburg with the judicial and government explanations relating to it. — SPb., 1904, building 67 — 68.


Nikolaevna is the graduate student of department of history and world politics of SZAGS, the head of department of rare books of the СЗАГС scientific library


Valentina Pavlovna — to. and. N, associate professor of history and world politics of SZAGS

In 1916 in the electoral register it was entered 20,863 natural persons and 965 institutions among which 162 — churches, spiritual establishments and charitable institutions, 7 — scientific institutions, 10 — educational institutions, 29 — the class and public unions, 21 — government agencies and also 736 societies, the associations and the companies containing commerce and industry zavedeniya1. The population of Petrograd, as of November 1

1915 , made 1,910,508 persons. Thus, the number of voters hardly exceeded 1% of the total number of residents.

Feature of a campaign for elections to the Petrograd City Council was the fact that vote on elections was carried out by giving of selective notes with surnames of candidates. Surnames, names, middle names and ranks of the candidates offered in vowels could be not only are entered in a selective note by hand, but also brought in the printing way. Party groups had an opportunity to acquire forms of notes, to press in them surnames of the candidates and to send to voters together with propaganda materials.

Elections of vowels by the first category were made in one day on one polling precinct by all voters of the first category. Elections by the second category took place two weeks later. For production of elections of vowels by the second category the city was subdivided into 12 sites corresponding to police parts.

On the previous next elections, in 1909 and 1912, fight for seats in City Council was conducted between two groups

— old Duma members and Renovationists — group of progressively adjusted voters who acted under the slogan: "Updating of a thought" also criticized the party dominating in the Duma and orders created by it. The election program with which "the group of updating" came for elections of 1912 included two main directions: improvement of work on the solution of the main problems of municipal economy (improvement, water supply and the sewerage, means of communication, on -

1 The general list (final) the Petrograd city voters, made on the basis of Most highly approved on June 8th, 1903. Regulations on public management of Petrograd to elections to vowels of City Council on the sixth anniversary of 1916-1922 - Pg., 1916.

native formation and medical assistance, public contempt and cheapening of life, etc.) and attempts to reform the system of city self-government towards expansion of electoral rights of the population, increase in responsibility of officials and bigger freedom of action in the solution of the questions facing City Council. Renovationists stood together on elections 1912 and gained a convincing victory, having received 66 mandates from 81. However less than in a year in "group of updating" there was a dissonance. In the reference prepared in head department for local economy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in November, 1913 it was noted that "with destruction of party of updating as the predominating party of the Duma also the slogans proclaimed it on pre-election campaigns among city voters" 2 have to be recognized unrealized.

New city elections in Petrograd were appointed to February 1, 1916. It was specified in the reference prepared on the eve of elections in the Ministry of Internal Affairs that on a payroll 159 vowels, from them the old Duma members-45 osculant to old Duma members are registered

>- 15, Renovationists of merchant group - 20, Renovationists right (is more right than cadets) - 20, Renovationists left (cadets and more to the left) — 613.

The Renovationists who received the majority on the previous elections were forced to justify themselves now that not all election pledges by them were kept. They referred to the fact that before the Duma in connection with the beginning of war there were many questions, absolutely new and unusual to city self-government: the help to wounded, contempt of the refugees, supply of army, etc. who engrossed all attention of vowels. Renovationists reminded that they received "huge municipal economy in the most chaotic state" and for 1.5 years it was difficult to reach visible results in external improvement. In case of a victory the Renovationists promised to continue work on improvement of a transport, food, housing situation in the city, to care for poor, to give support to wounded soldiers and families of mobilized.

The opponents of Renovationists, old Duma members who united in Business party, kri-

2 RGIA, t. 1288, op. 5, 257, l. 106.
3 RGIA, t. 1288, op. 5, 77, l. 35.

their tikoval for cheap politics, mismanagement, indiscipline. They said that Renovationists moved economic activity of city self-government to the political soil, owing to "a game in policy" having forgotten that "in such purely economic organization as city self-government, there is no place to any other motives as soon as one zeal about the interests of the capital inhabitant and about convenience of his life, without analysis of its belonging to any political fraction" 1. Even the Gorodskoye Delo magazine sympathizing Renovationists indicated that "two third anniversaries passed, and still the capital in an awful state, being the most backward of the capitals of all large states of the world" 2.

Concern of Renovationists were caused not only by attacks from old Duma members, but also the split which happened in the most democratic camp. Public N.A. Oppel left the structure of party of updating and declared the organization of independent group of non-party voters of the Moscow part. One more group which broke away from Renovationists — municipal progressive and democratic — in the election platform on the first place raised political affairs, believing that "the main duty of vowels of City Council at the moment is fight for liberation, democratization and sovereignty of city self-government" 3.

On February 1, 1916 elections by the first category took place. From 590 voters 382 persons had the right of a selective voice. 244 voters took part in elections. Full confidence in a victory was not at one group. Nevertheless 156 bulletins contained surnames only of candidates of old Duma members, 58 — only from Renovationists and in 30 bulletins were surnames of representatives of various groups. As a result all 27 places by the first category received hundred-rodumtsy.

1 Before elections to City Duma from "Business" party. — Pg., 1916, p. 2.
2 City business, No. 11 — 12. — Pg., 1915, p. 668.
3 Basic provisions municipal progres-

sivno-democratic group. — Pg., 1916, p. 1.

The number of voters of the second category to elections of 1916 increased in comparison with 1912 almost by four thousand. On February 15, 1916 came to polling precincts 5,622 persons. Renovationists suffered crushing defeat. Only in three sites they managed to spend 6 representatives. Bigger success was achieved by progressionists, but in general old Duma members got a victory. As a result of elections

1916 by the second category to the Duma there went 29 old Duma members, 19 progressionists and 6 Renovationists.

The former mayor I.I. Tolstoy who resigned due to illness in January, 1916 considered that the victory of old Duma members was caused: "1) split of progressive voters on two parties: Renovationists and democrat progressionists, 2) a campaign of newspapers, and besides not some chernosotenny, against City Council to which more sins were attributed than was in fact, 3) the help rendered by administration (police) to the old Duma lists, and 4) high qualification of the voters who are not sympathizing the progressive ideas" 4. A role was played also by deterioration in a social and economic situation in Petrograd. Many voters preferred to excessively politized Renovationists and progressionists of old Duma members whose program consisted of three provisions: economy, legality and order.

In general the elective campaign of 1916 showed that the activity of the Petrograd voters was quite low. The absenteeism was caused by weak interest in activity of City Council and partly disbelief in a possibility of the municipal public government. And the victory of old Duma members showed that the voter gave preference in extraordinary conditions of wartime not to projects of political reforms, but promises to improve an economic situation, to adjust life and to develop municipal economy that it was closer, more clear and more important for the average city citizen.

4 I.I. Tolstoy. Diary, 1906-1916. — SPb.: Fund region. development of St. Petersburg, 1997, XIII, 728, p. 692 — 693.
Edward Hunt
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