The Vyborg Manifesto (1906)


The Vyborg Manifesto was drafted and signed by liberals and socialists, following the tsar’s dissolution of the first Duma (June 1906). It called on Russians to resist the government by evading tax payments and conscription:


“To the People from the People’s Representatives,

Citizens of all Russia.

By the tsar’s ukase of July 8th, the State Duma is dissolved. When you elected us as your representatives, you charged us to obtain land and liberty. Fulfilling your commission and our duty, we drew up laws to secure the people’s freedom; we demanded the removal of irresponsible ministers who infringed the laws with impunity and suppressed freedom; but most of all, we wished to issue a law distributing land to the labouring peasantry by using treasury, appanage, cabinet, monastery, and church lands for this purpose, and by means of the compulsory alienation of private lands.

The government refused to accept such a law, and when the Duma once again insistently affirmed its decision on compulsory alienation, the dissolution of the people’s representatives was declared.

Instead of the present Duma, the government promised to call a new Duma in seven months. Russia must remain without popular representatives for seven whole months, while the people are on the verge of ruin and industry and trade are undermined; at a time when the whole country is seized by unrest, and the cabinet has finally shown its inability to satisfy the people’s needs.

For seven whole months the government will act according to its own arbitrary will and will struggle with the people’s movement, in order to achieve an obedient, servile Duma. And if it does not succeed in completely repressing the people’s movement, it will not convene any Duma.

Citizens! Stand firm behind the violated rights of the people’s representation. Stand behind the State Duma! Russia should not remain without the people’s representation for a single day.

You have the means to achieve this. The government does not have the right either to collect taxes from the people or to call the people to military service without the consent of the people’s representation. And so now, when the government has dissolved the State Duma, you have the right to give neither soldiers nor money. If the government, in order to get means for itself, begins to borrow money, these loans, concluded without the consent of the people’s representation, are henceforth not valid, and the Russian people will never recognise them or pay them.

And so, before the people’s representation is convened, don’t give a kopek to the treasury or a soldier to the army. Be firm in your refusal. Stand up for your rights, all as one man. No force can withstand the united and unwavering will of the people.

Citizens! In this forced, but inevitable struggle, your elected people will be with you.”

Signed by 180 members, July 9th 1906