The late Russian Empire was characterized the State Duma, which was the Lower House and part of the legislative assembly tasked with the role of holding a series of meetings (Levin, 1940). Duma was initially considered as an advisory body established after the Russian Revolution of 1905. The Second Duma lasted for about 130 days which ran from 20th February 1907 to 2nd of June 1907 after the dissolution of the First Duma.
The Second Duma was opened on 20th February 1907 where many socialist representatives represented it. After being appointed the premier in July 1906, Peter Stolypin had no intention of power-sharing deals because the Duma was considered a useful way of getting the necessary information (Strakhovsky, 1959). The Premier used the Duma to influence the outcome where he used the police to arrest the known opponents utilizing the anti-terror laws. Another significant development during the Second Duma is that the kadets who issued the Vyborg Manifesto were denied the right to stand in any elections within the country. On the other hand, both the Social Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats entered the Second Duma in large numbers. In fact, the Social Democrats numbers rose to 65 while the Social Revolutionaries numbers rose to 135.
Noteworthy, after the elections, the results of the Second Duma led to a decrease in the number of kadets and the Liberal in the Duma something which impressed the premier, Stolypin. The enactment of new election law was seen to be the most significant achievement of the Second Duma in Russia. It is quite evident that it led to a new structural outlook which in turn favored the dominance of the rural rich that effectively ruled in their localities and the existing local governments.
The main problem encountered came from the leader of the Rights, Purishchvitz who was considered a brilliant public speaker. It is important to note that the leader mainly discredited the work of the Second Duma with the aim of getting it to dissolution or abolishing the Duma in totality. What is even more interesting about the leader is when he spoke for 16 hours on May 30th, 1907, where he remained with his hard-core supporters by the time he finished the speech (Haimson, 1965). In fact, after realizing that he was only left with his followers, he directed his speech to significant issues that related to the failure of Duma in totality and giving reasons as to why the movement should be abolished within the country (Levin, 1940).
Effect of the Second Duma
First, the Dema Deputy of the Kadet party Iollos is killed by the Union of Russia people that sparked a number of protests. Second, after the elections of the Second Duma, the results indicated that the country was polarizing at a political level. As a result, the number of those elected as members championing for people’s rights drastically rose to 63 from a mere 15 in the First Duma. On the other hand, it led to changes in the electoral law where the new laws took away the rights of towns within the country to be individually represented in the Duma (Tokmakoff, 1972). As a result, the cities were to be represented as part of a province, which in turn led to the mixing of the urban and rural votes. Conclusively, the Second Duma was deemed too radical thus was closed on 3rd June 1907 by Nicholas 2 after several weeks of inflammatory speeches and criticism. However, Stolypin, the premier had managed to alter the Duma voting system which mainly favored the wealthy people in the country.
- Haimson, L. (1965). The Problem of Social Stability in Urban Russia, 1905-1917 (Part Two). Slavic Review, 24(1), 1-22.
- Levin, A. (1940). The Second Duma: a study of the Social-Democratic Party and the Russian constitutional experiment(Vol. 36). Archon Books.
- Strakhovsky, L. I. (1959). The Statesmanship of Peter Stolypin: A Reappraisal. The Slavonic and East European Review, 37(89), 348-370.
- Tokmakoff, G. (1972). PA Stolypin and the Second Duma. The Slavonic and East European Review, 50(118), 49-62.