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.
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.
I’m interested to see what this party goes on to do after the Revolution of 1905.
- Russia A History by Gregory L. Freeze
This post earned a “comrades’ corner” award from the editorial team!