The Science Work
Site is for sale:
Category: History

Formation of the Russian parliamentarism, its present stage and prospects of development

 - FC to the 100 ANNIVERSARY of the STATE Duma

B.V. Gryzlov *


ITS present stage and the prospects of development

Theses of the report at the academic and research conference "To the 100 Anniversary of the Manifesto on Establishment of the State Duma". St. Petersburg — Peterhof, October 6, 2005

Russia is in the run-up to the outstanding anniversary in its history: 100 anniversaries of the Russian parliamentarism. On October 17, 1905 — date, fatal for Russia. This day the emperor Nicholas II signed the Manifesto "About Improvement of the State Order". It is necessary to imagine clearly what responsibility it assumed and what choice was faced by Russia.

the Sovereign made up the mind to this step to the heat of the All-Russian political strike when from Vistula to the Pacific Ocean about two million people when there was all Russia — banks, the railroads, the plants, educational institutions striked. Very many declined Nicholas II to the opposite decision — introduction of an absolute power of military dictatorship, but he chose a way of radical reorganization of the country.

the Manifesto announced

"inflexible will" of the monarch "to grant to the population firm bases of civil liberty on bases of the valid integrity of human beings, freedom of conscience, a word, meetings and unions". The manifesto proclaimed that "no law could apprehend force without approval of the State Duma". "supervision of regularity of actions" of executive power was assigned to the Duma, besides. The manifesto which cannot be read without nervousness today came to the end with an appeal "to faithful sons of Russia to help

* the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

To the 100 anniversary of the State Duma

to the termination of an unprecedented distemper & lt;...> to strain all forces to recovery of silence and the world on the home ground".

These words updated life of the huge empire. In the next days amnesty by the political prisoner was announced, the government is transformed and the Council of ministers under the chairmanship of Sergey Yulyevich Witte is created. Censorship was soon cancelled, the new electoral law is approved, political parties were one by one created. In four months after the well-known October manifesto carrying out the first All-Russian elections to the first State Duma became possible.

April, 1906 Came on April 23 "The set of the basic state laws" is published, and on April 27 in Tauride Palace of St. Petersburg the first meeting of the State Duma of the first convocation took place. In five April days the autocratic country turned into constitutional monarchy with two-chamber representative body. The State Council which existed nearly 100 years by then became the upper house.

the Main part of the Russian society apprehended the Manifesto on October 17 as the victory. Many saw in it the end of absolutism and the beginning of an era of legal political and parliamentary activity. "The union on October 17" became one of the main Russian political parties, up to 1917. But present date has to be celebrated in the political calendar of new Russia for one reason. Leaders of the left-wing parties and groups regarded the manifesto as manifestation of weakness of autocracy, dreaming to inflate the revolutionary fire. The manifesto caused on October 17 consolidation of all healthy forces of society, ensured their victory at historical stage 1905 — 1907, having kept then the country on the edge of an abyss.

In Peterhof in the summer of 1905 Nicholas II held a meeting on establishment in Russia of electoral legislature. The great historian Vasily Klyuchevsky participated in these meetings. To him was what to tell about the Russian tradition of the representative authority — about a veche, about the Seigniorial thought which existed eight centuries, about territorial Cathedrals on which the most important issues of life of the state were resolved and tsars were elected. Interesting detail: it was worth dissuading considerable work Nicholas II from the name "Monarchic Duma" and to agree to another on sense the name — State Duma.

activity of the State Duma of 1906 — 1917 was lit with

In the Soviet history from so-called class positions, and the role of the first Russian parliament was in every possible way belittled. And only presently, in the conditions of new Russia, we had an opportunity to objectively estimate a contribution of the first State Duma to development of domestic democracy.

Most parliaments of the leading western countries arose in the middle

XIX century, and the history of the English parliament contains many centuries. Class representative bodies in our history existed on all its extent. The exception makes only 18th century. But at the very beginning of the 19th century the outstanding Russian reformer Mikhail Speransky put forward the idea ros-FB. V. Gryzlov

- Fsiysky parliamentarism. Its "Plan of the state transformations" written according to the order of the emperor Alexander I provided the two-chamber representative body consisting of the State Council and the State Duma. This plan was carried out only half: in 1810 it was approved only osudarstvenny Council. Creation of the Duma was postponed more than for 90 years. What prevented then? The approaching war with Napoleon? Desire to resolve at first a country issue? Scientists argue still. In what there are no doubts, so it that Russia missed then unique historical chance.

the First State Duma as, however, and all European parliaments, arose in the conditions of public shocks and fierce political struggle. In ruling circles there was a heated debate about that, powers of the Duma and to what degree it is possible to concede to pressure from below can be how big.

Deputies of the first, second, third and fourth convocations of the pre-revolutionary State Duma managed to make by

a lot of things as for development of the Russian legislation of the beginning of the 20th century, and for formation of parliamentary practice in our country. I will give only some examples. Thanks to the State Duma in the Russian Empire, progressive, for those times, laws on development of national education were adopted. Further development was gained by the labor, or working legislation. In anticipation of World War I the State Duma actively participated in increase in the state allocations for modernization of the Russian army and the fleet. Besides, the Duma had powers to consider and approve the annual government budget.


In the State Duma of that time formed Muslim fraction, the Cossack group, the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian group. In one wing of Tauride Palace there was an Orthodox church, and in another — the mosque. We, the Russian parliamentarians, recognize that this anniversary is important not only for us, but also for our fellow parliamentarians from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.


In the pre-revolutionary State Duma created such attributes of modern parliamentarism as party fractions, inquiries of deputies to the Government, speeches of prime ministers with government declarations, publicity of the Duma plenary sessions. The Duma did not stand still, it constantly sought to expand the rights of the citizen, to expand limits of their freedoms. For example, exactly thanks to the Duma the Provisional government completely balanced women in the rights with men that was then unprecedented achievement of democracy around the world.

Reflecting on a stage of formation of the Russian parliamentarism at the beginning

XX century, it is important to note that contradictions between the tsar and the government, on the one hand, and the State Duma, on the other hand, prevented Russia to develop evolutionary, peacefully. However even short 11 years of

- a fvaniye of the Duma showed a being FC to the 100 anniversary of the State Duma

: formation of culture of a political compromise went in Russia quite successfully.

can Quite often be heard: The State Duma of sample 1906 — 1917. could not prevent death of historical Russia and its values, save the country from revolution and civil war, so, experience of the first Russian parliament was failure. It is incorrect. Just the Duma had very good chance to save Russia from revolution, but the world war which brought down four empires interfered including Russian.

the communistic system Approved in 1917 for 70 years interrupted with

formation in our country of democratic institutes, stopped development of parliamentarism. And still sprouts of political democracy and parliamentarism were not completely eradicated from the Russian soil. They made the way in life during begun at a boundary 80 — the 90th of the XX century of process of democratization of the Soviet state system. At first this process went rather violently, but peacefully, developed within the congresses and the Supreme Councils of the USSR and RSFSR. However in October, 1993 the fight between the Soviet system (which, probably, exhausted by this time the historical value) and democratic forces entered a phase of power opposition. These drama events accelerated process of formation of a new stage of the Russian statehood. Its legal bases the Constitution of the Russian Federation approved on a national referendum on December 12, 1993


Democracy and parliamentarism (as one of its manifestations) are many-sided. All attempts to impose some one, allegedly ideal, democracy model, ignoring vital realities of any given country, are doomed to a failure. Hundred years ago Vasily Klyuchevsky wrote: ". .mozhno to project any systems of national representation whether finding them on an image of ancient Territorial Cathedrals, or on modern Western European templates. But all such constituent experiments are risky and unreliable. Life itself has to create the forms fitted to specific conditions of the place and time".

In modern practice of the relations of of the osudarstvenny Duma with the President and the Government rather high level of consent in the key directions of public policy exists. But it does not exclude possible disagreements under concrete bills. It is the normal phenomenon which is completely corresponding to practice of modern parliamentarism in all countries. However at the same time it is essentially important to emphasize, as the President, both the Government, and parliamentary majority of the State Duma in the relationship remain within the existing constitutional field. Thus, a certain balance of the authorities and their mutual control over activity of each other remains. The president constantly demands that all actions of federal executive power had a reliable legislative basis, constantly considers opinions of both parliamentary majority, and parliamentary opposition.

- fb. V. Gryzlov

- to a fprived a concrete example: during the current autumn session of the State Duma we consider the draft federal law on the federal budget for 2006 introduced by the Government. We considered the draft budget in the first of four readings, but already at this stage deputies and, first of all, fraction of parliamentary majority United Russia achieved important changes. Within so-called zero reading on our initiative the government reconsidered macroindicators of the budget for 2006 and considerably increased its expenses on the solution of essential public tasks. In many respects under the influence of the Duma the Government for the first time formed Investment fund which funds will be allocated for realization (together with private investors) especially important investment and innovative projects. Such corrections of the budgetary policy, certainly, can be qualified as one of significant achievements of the Russian parliamentarism at its present stage.

As for prospects, it is impossible to reduce them only to a question: whether Russia through some time the parliamentary republic will be or will remain presidential? I consider that the strong and effective presidential power is necessary for our country. In any case, in the near future. The parliamentary republic assumes existence of a mature party system. At such system the leading parties possess steady mass support of voters, the deployed political programs and the personnel potential sufficient for formation at any moment of the capable government. In recent years there is purposeful strengthening of a role of parties in political system of our country, but, will tell honestly, to a mature party system to us is still far.

the Characteristic element of foreign experience of parliamentarism is the ability of various parties to reach a political compromise and to create the coalition governments. At us in Russia the creation of the political coalitions between various forces always was difficult business.

as the perspective direction I see development of control functions of the Russian parliament. Recently the President of the Russian Federation introduced to the State Duma the bill creating a thorough legal basis for implementation, in case of need, parliamentary investigations. With the beginning of the next year there will begin the work the Public chamber of the Russian Federation which will carry out, in particular, expertize of the major bills. It will help parliamentarians to consider opinions, positions and expert estimates of institutes of civil society to a large extent.

the Russian parliamentarism is obliged to promote increase in overall performance of all public authorities for development of our country. In it we, parliamentarians, see a main goal of the activity.

Kevin Smith
Other scientific works: