What is an Octoberist?

For this week’s blog post, one of the options was to talk about something that interested us about The Revolution of 1905. After reading Chapter 8, I decided to explore into what the October Manifesto is and who the Octoberists are, as well as look into a few things that are associated with those terms like Duma, Alexander Guchkov, and the Union of October 17.

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Demonstration 17 October 1905 by Ilya Repin

According to the textbook, Emperor Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto on The 17th of October. This manifesto was a sort of promise to have an elected legislative body, civil & religious liberties, and (for the first time in Russian history) the right to organize unions and political parties (Page 255). This manifesto served as a forerunner to their first constitution. While this document was a response to the Revolution of 1905, it did not actually put a stop to the revolution according to the textbook.

As mentioned above, one of the terms was to have an elected legislative body. This legislative body was known as the Duma. The whole purpose of this body of government was to limit the power of the Tsar, when in fact the Duma still allowed the Tsar to veto anything he wanted. Nicholas still wanted to maintain power so he simply created laws that would allow him to continue to control everything.

Shortly after the October Manifesto was issued, a new political party was created. The Union of October 17, or the Octoberist Party was a right wing or far-right political party led by Alexander Guchkov (who according to the textbook was at some point a chairman of the Duma). This party, while all for a constitutional monarchy and Tsarist government, would only cooperate with the government as long as they fulfilled the manifesto. This party was also closely tied with Sergei Witte, who influenced Nicholas over the October Manifesto. The Octoberists wanted a stronger parliament and government, as well as quicker reforms.

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Alexander Guchkov

I’m interested to see what this party goes on to do after the Revolution of 1905.

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The Historic Town of Suzdal

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View of Suzdal’ from the Kamenka River
Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. View of Suzdal’ from the Kamenka River, 1912. Digital color rendering. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsc-04449 (58)
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/prk2000002416/

“View of Suzdal’ from the Kamenka River” is a photo of the town of Suzdal taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii in 1912. I was drawn to this photo not only because of it’s coloring, but the town itself looks like a place I would like to visit one day. Funny enough after googling Suzdal I discovered one of their main tourist attractions is the Cathedral of the Nativity, which if I am not mistaken is the cathedral on the cover of our textbook. Seeing this made me wonder more about this town.

Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral, Suzdal, Russia      1         51sBcVm4wdL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Suzdal is east of Moscow and located on the Kamenka River as seen in the photograph. It is one of the oldest towns in Russia (1024) and was actually the capital of the principality in the 12th century, Moscow being one of its subordinates as it was not a very developed city yet. Over the centuries they had a pretty large decline in political importance, a lot of it having to do with the capitol being moved (Vladimir). In the 1860s merchants were attempting to get the Trans-Siberian Railway to be built through Suzdal. Unfortunately their plan failed and the railroad was built in the new capitol 20+ miles away. Today Suzdal is not the politically powerful city it was in the 1100s. It’s now one of the smallest towns in Russia with a population of less than 10,000, with its largest industry being tourism.

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Regardless of how much this town had changed from the beginning, it seems to be an incredibly historic town that I definitely would like to see someday.

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This post earned a “comrades’ corner” award from the editorial team!

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