1905 in St. Petersburg: Labor, Society, and Revolution

By Gerald D. Surh | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
The First Revolution in October

THE LIBERALS IN LATE SUMMER

Although the government faced an increasingly numerous and unified opposition from January 9 through October 17, a close examination of the state of affairs within the opposition reveals simultaneous divisions and disagreements on every hand. In the revolutionary camp the well-known cleavages between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks and between Marxists and Populists continued in force. The divisions in the liberal camp that were brought into the open by the petition and deputation to the throne on June 6 became even more pronounced in the second half of the summer.

Among the liberals and democrats, four major groups could be discerned at this time. On the right were those favoring a minimally reformed and modified monarchy, although the group also included cautious constitutionalists. These urban and rural moderates, nominally headed by D. N. Shipov, sought to strike a balance between a reformed autocracy, obtained with a minimum of disturbance to public order, and the careful containment of the chaotic forces of the popular upheaval, whose potential for violence and tyranny these men probably feared more than they did the autocracy's. At midsummer, this group was the strongest supporter of the Bulygin Duma as the appropriate next stage of Russian political development. However, after the liberal deputation to the Tsar, the group dropped from prominent participation in events, emerging again only in September and October, when it formed the nucleus of the Octobrist Party.1

____________________
1
The four positions outlined here have been distilled from the studies listed in notes 4 and 41 of Chapter 6 and from Miliukov, Vospominaniia; V. V. Leontovich, Istoriialiberalizma v Rossii, 1762-1914

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