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Timeline

Terms

Note: All dates given are "Old Style" unless otherwise marked, that is, that they follow the Julian Calendar that was in force in Russia until 1918 (when Russia adopted the "New Style" Gregorian calendar used in Western Europe, which was 13 days ahead).

Financial Manifesto The declaration published by the St. Petersburg Soviet on December 2, 1905, that declared that after the revolution the Romanovs’ debts would not be honored. This was proclaimed right after the arrests of many members of the Soviet, including its chair Georgii Khrustalev-Kosar, as the remaining delegates (soon to be arrested themselves) declared their readiness for armed revolution.

Days of Freedom Late October through early December, 1905 – the so-called 'Days of Freedom' (meaning Freedom of the Press) was marked by the lessening of censorship, as the government regrouped from the October Manifesto and struggled to find new means to restrict the press by juridical means, through the court system. Some historians date the end of the “Days of Freedom” with the closure of the St. Petersburg Soviet in December. Others date them to the period when preliminary censorship was cancelled (between the regulations of November 24, 1905, and March 18, 1906). Nonetheless, government actions against the press were extremely active during this period, although many of its strictures and repressive efforts were ignored. This period also saw the creation of a large number of satirical journals; one commentator lists 84 in St. Petersburg alone.

The Fundamental Laws The 'Fundamental Laws' of February 20, 1906, defined the new constitutional system proclaimed by the October Manifesto and functioned as a de facto constitution. The new laws created a parliament consisting of an upper and lower chamber, the Duma and State Council. Its new powers included the discussion and proposal of new laws and the power over the state budget. All laws had to pass both chambers and be confirmed by the emperor, who had the right to dissolve the parliament at any time and to announce new elections. Half of the members of the State Council were to be elected by established institutions (the zemstvos, Orthodox Church, municipalities, aristocratic societies, Academy of Sciences, etc.) and half appointed by the tsar. The Duma was an elected body, although the election law, which gave the vote to most adult males, was complex and liable to manipulation.

Union of Russian People A pro-monarchist and anti-Semitic political party founded by Aleksander Dubrovin (1855-1918 or -1921), and supported in part by the government. The group hated Witte both for his part in creating the new constitutional order and for his role in negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth. The Union of Russian People was associated with the “Black Hundreds,” an anti-Semitic association that carried out anti-Jewish pogroms and propaganda.

Socialist Revolutionary Party Founded in 1901, the S-R’s (or 'Esery') were revolutionary socialists, and principle rival to the Marxist Social-Democratic Party (the S-D’s). They advocated the socialization of the land and thus appealed primarily to the peasants, rather than to the workers-proletariat, like the S-Ds. Heir to the nineteenth-century Populist movement, the Socialist Revolutionary Party used political terror as a political weapon, and carried out hundreds of assassinations.

Kadet ('K-D,' Constitutional Democratic) Party The Kadet Party was liberal and often oppositionist, supporting parliamentary government in Russia. It included lawyers, professors and other professionals, as well as members of the zemstvos and some industrialists. It was founded in October, 1905, after the October Manifesto, led by Pavel Milikov (1859-1943), organizer of the Union of Unions and the zemstvo Union of Liberation. Its early demands were for universal suffrage and the summoning of a constitutional assembly to determine the country’s political future. Kadets dominated the first Duma, but their influence was successively weakened by new election restrictions.

Bulygin Constitution (Bulygin Duma) Developed by Minister of Internal Affairs Alexander Bulygin (1851-1919) as part of a committee for press reform, the “Bulygin Constitution” proposed on August 6, 1905, recommended that a new consultative body be created to advise the tsar. This proposal (officially entitled “Proposal for Elections to a State Duma”) was opposed by those who desired a fully representative body with legislative powers, and did not halt the growing unrest in the country.

Social-Democratic Workers' Party Revolutionary Marxist party, founded in 1898. At its second congress in 1903, the part split into “Menshevik” and “Bolshevik” factions, the latter led by Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), who argued for a party consisting of professional revolutionaries. Menshevik leaders Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) and G.S. Khrustalev-Nosar (1877-1918) played a major role in the St. Petersburg Soviet in 1905 before its forcible closure and their arrest in December, 1905. After Lenin led the Bolsheviks to power in the October Revolution of 1917, the S-D Party was renamed the Russian Communist Party.

Octobrist Party The Octobrist Party—formally, 'the Union of October 17.' As the name suggests, this party was solidly behind the new constitutional order created by the Manifesto of October 17, and more centrist politically, drawing support from liberal gentry, businessmen, and some bureaucrats.

Zubatovshchina The phenomenon of government sponsored labor unions, named after Moscow Police Chief S. V. Zubatov (1864-1917). Also known as 'police socialism,' the idea behind these unions was to let the state keep close track and a measure of control over the workers’ movement. See also 'gaponovshchina'.

Soviet (Sovet) The Russian term for council or committee. During the general strike in October, 1905, workers established 'soviets' (councils) which consisted of elected representatives of factories and workshops. They directed the strike, negotiated with employers and local authorities, and in some cases, kept basic municipal services going during the strike. One Russian scholar has counted more than eighty soviets formed in Russia in 1905-06; this includes those in Moscow, Petersburg, Odessa and their regional soviets as well as those created in factories and large industrial concerns. The soviets became a basic revolutionary structure—hence after the revolution of 1917 the term was incorporated into the new country’s name.

Duma The Russian term for parliament, also used in a loose sense to refer to various consultative bodies. Under the terms of the new constitutional order established by the “Fundamental Law” of February 20, 1906, the Duma and State Council were the names for the parliament’s upper and lower chambers (hence “Duma” could refer to the lower chamber or loosely speaking to the parliament as a whole). The parliament’s new powers included the discussion and proposal of new laws and the power over the state budget. All laws had to pass both chambers and be confirmed by the emperor, who had the right to dissolve the parliament at any time and to announce new elections. The Duma was an elected body, although the election law, which gave the vote to most adult males, was complex, and was manipulated to create successively less oppositional dumas in the elections of 1906 and 1907.

Gaponovshchina The series of labor disturbances in St. Petersburg in late December 1904 – early January 1905 that culminated in Bloody Sunday. The 'gaponovshchina' was named after Father Grigorii Gapon (1870-1906), the Russian Orthodox priest who headed the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers, an officially sanctioned labor organization that functioned in the place of a trade union..

Council of Ministers The cabinet created by the new constitutional order established by the October Manifesto and Fundamental Laws.

Union of Liberation A spin-off of liberals within the zemstvo movement, the Union of Liberation was founded secretly in St. Petersburg in October, 1904, to work for Russia’s change into a constitutional monarchy. After the October Manifesto, many of its leaders, including Pavel Milikov (1859-1943), helped organize the Constitutional Democratic (or Kadet) Party.

State Council The upper chamber of parliament created by the 'Fundamental Law' of February 20, 1906, that put the promises of the October Manifesto into practice. Half of the members of the State Council were to be elected by established institutions (the zemstvos, Orthodox Church, municipalities, aristocratic societies, Academy of Sciences, etc.) and half appointed by the tsar.

Zemstvo The Zemstvos were organs of local self-government that were instituted in 1861. From 1901 their congresses began to play an increasing role in national politics. The zemstvo movement was thus a forerunner and breeding ground for many of the political parties and groups that came into being after the October Manifesto.

The October Manifesto (the Manifesto of October 17) Officially entitled 'Manifesto Concerning the Improvement of the State Order,' the manifesto of 1905 granted civil liberties (freedoms of religion, speech, and association; freedom of religion) and created a constitutional monarchy, ending Russia’s centuries’ long autocracy. The October Manifesto granted broad-scale male suffrage and established a parliament (the Duma). It came at the height of the 1905 Revolution, in the midst of the general strike that had paralyzed St. Petersburg and much of the country. The law of February 20, 1906, laid out the structure of the new constitutional system, and functioned as its working constitution.

Pogrom Violent mob action, generally associated with attacks on Jews, but also occasionally directed against Armenians, Moslems, and other minority groups in the Russian empire.

Bloody Sunday A peaceful but illegal protest march by Putilov plant workers and their families to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg led by Father Grigorii Gapon was fired upon by Russian army troops. By official estimate some 130 people were killed and 300 wounded here and in other confrontations throughout St. Petersburg. This was the inaugural event of the 1905 Revolution.

Black Hundreds A general term for the anti-Semitic, pro-government conservative movement between about 1900 and 1917. A number of Black Hundreds organizations came into being in 1905, including the Union of the Russian People, the Union of Russians, the Russian Monarchist Party, the Society for Active Struggle Against Revolution, and others.

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