The tsar dissolves the second State Duma (1907)

In June 1907, Tsar Nicholas II dissolved the second State Duma, which had only gathered for the first time some three months earlier. These excerpts are taken from an explanatory decree ordering the dissolution:

We proclaim to all Our faithful subjects:

“Since the time of the dissolution of the first State Duma, the government has, in accord with Our orders and instructions, undertaken a consistent series of measures to bring peace to the country and establish a proper course for affairs of state. The Second State Duma, which we convened, was called upon to facilitate, in accord with Our Sovereign will, the restoration of peace to Russia: first of all, by legislative work, without which it is impossible for the state to live or for its structure to be perfected; to ensure that the economic activities of the state are being conducted correctly; and finally, by rationally exercising the right of interrogating government officials, with a view to strengthening truth and justice everywhere.

These obligations, which We entrusted to elected deputies from the population… Such was Our thought and will in granting the population new foundations for the life of the state. To Our dismay, a substantial part of the membership of the Second State Duma did not justify our expectations. Many sent by the population did not undertake their work with a pure heart and with a desire to strengthen Russia and improve its institutions, but rather with a flagrant intention of increasing turmoil and encouraging the disintegration of the state…

A significant part of the Duma perverted the right of interrogating the government into a means of struggle with the government and of arousing mistrust for it among wide segments of the population… The judicial authorities discovered that a whole section of the State Duma was involved in a conspiracy against the state and the authority of the tsar. When Our government demanded that the 55 of the Duma who were accused of this crime be suspended, pending the outcome of the trial, and that the most implicated of them be confined under custody, the State Duma did not immediately carry out this lawful demand of the authorities, which did not admit of any delay.

All of this moved Us to dissolve the Second State Duma by an ukaz [executive order] to the Senate of June 3rd; the new Duma is to be convened on November 1st of this year… Since it was created to strengthen the Russian state, the State Duma should also be Russian in spirit. The other nationalities of which the population of Our realm is composed should have their spokesmen in the State Duma, but they should not and will not be there in such number as to give them the possibility of decisive influence on purely Russian questions…

All these changes in the election system cannot be enacted through the ordinary legislative route, that is, through the very State Duma whose composition We have pronounced unsatisfactory. Only the authority that granted the first electoral law, the historical authority of the Russian tsar, is adequate to abolish that law and replace it with a new one…

We expect our faithful subjects to follow the path We have indicated and render unanimous and ardent service to the motherland, whose sons have in all times been a solid support to her strength, grandeur and glory.”