Sedova Ya. A. Liberal trend in the amendments made by the State Duma to Pyotr Stolypin’s ministry bills (.pdf)


The article contains an overview of the most important amendments made by the Third State Duma to government bills for two years (1909-1911). Those bills were offered by the Pyotr Stolypin ministry. The bills were selected according to their political importance and the duration of debates. The bills on the Old Believer communities, the worship change, the local court, the zemstvo of the six provinces of the Western Region, the way of consideration of the Finland laws concerning the Empire, primary schools and volost court are analyzed. The clause-by-clause readings amendments are considered. The government, the committees, the second reading, and the third reading editions are compared. For every bill, the committees and the Duma made important amendments of a liberal kind. The amendments concerned the basic content and some members of the conservative camp declared this frankly. Sometimes it is possible to state that the Duma created a new bill instead of the government one. In the most cases, the amendments were rejected. The Duma aimed to give more authorities to self-government institutes, to abolish obsolete institutes as a volost chief, softened demands for teachers, judges, and Old Believer priests. At the same time, the Duma did not risk in abolishing qualifications and legitimizing atheists. In one case (the Finland bill), the Duma even made the government edition tougher. But, as a whole, one can see a firm liberal trend of the Duma amendments.


Key words: the State Duma of the Russian Empire, Old Believer communities, freedom of conscience, reform of the local court, zemstvo of the Western Region, the autonomy of Finland, primary school, volost court.


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