The State Duma of pre-revolutionary Russia (1906–1917) and its attitude to agrarian question in the Steppes and Turkestan region

The activity of the first Russian parliament and consideration in its walls of agrarian crisis in Steppes is considered in the scientific article. Political and public forces of Russia and their relation to questions of resettlement policy of tsarism are shown. The most interesting speeches of deputies of region offering various ways of overcoming of crisis are lit. Support by revolutionary and democratic forces of Russia of interests of aboriginals of the Steppe region is shown. In article it is noted that the Duma couldn't solve in the conditions of tsarism of the tasks set for it, but it became a place of criticism of the autocratic mode. The historical value of the Duma concluded that thanks to it political life of region became more active and starts of parliamentary ideas were put.

It is known that the agrarian issue was the cause of the Russian revolution I in 1905–1907. Noble tenure in agriculture and developed capitalist relations in the industry came into conflict, slowing down normal development not only for economy of the country, but for all its entire political system.

For national regions, one of which was the Steppes, sharpness of the land relations reached the highest limit. The trouble was that the Imperial government to ease tensions in the Central densely populated regions began to practice resettlement of hundreds of thousands of landless peasants in Kazakhstan and Siberia. This event became large-scaled with the construction of Trans-Siberian railway line. For these purposes, in the government of Nicholas II the Resettlement administration was created on the rights of the state Committee. The Fund Committee was enriched by the state budget, and with the coming to power of P.A.Stolypin in 1906, the budget of this department has become one of the most significant.

According to the plans of the Prime Minister P.A.Stolypin, solution of the land crisis in Russia consisted of two parts. The first is the division and capitalization of the rural community and establishing principles of private property by separating peasants in the villages and cuts. The second part of the reform was the strengthening of the migration movement in the Asian part of Russia and Siberia due to the active support of the state. According to Stolypin, resettlement issue worked out not only agrarian problems but increased outskirts of the Russian population, strengthened the positions of tsarism in these poorly developed regions. On these occasion, academician S.Z.Zimanov wrote that the Fund resettlement department was created at the price of the destruction of nomads who were expelled in arid and semi-arid regions, because of this the land issue in Kazakhstan was the most urgent [1; 33–34].

Not occasionally, that the establishment of the State Duma, in accordance with Manifest of October 17, 1905 with the legislative functions with the great hope was apprehended by the people of Kazakhstan. Agrarian requirements formed the basis of all requests made to Duma and activities of the deputies.

It was natural that the land problem which has become a key problem, has obliged the State Duma of the first convocation, and it is known it starts to work in the spring of 2006, to devote almost all of their meetings. For the basis of the discussion on the agrarian question in the State Duma I passed two bills: the project of 42 proposed by cadets, and 104 complied by the labor groups. There was one project of 33-s which has been nominated by the part of labor group and had with the previous project much in common in the field of landownership but was not accepted by the Duma I.

Project of 42-nd provided the solution of land crisis at the expenses of landowners’ lands through their forced exclusion in favor of the peasants. However, the exclusion was subject to large tracts of land at fair assessment of their value at the expense of the state. Moreover, the number of notes created conditions for their preservation in those cases, if they had a useful value, due to employment under orchards, vineyards, gardens, industrial agricultural enterprises, etc. Without restrictions subject to the disposal of land, built back in the lease until January 1, 1906 or processed peasant inventory [2; 27]. In addition, cadet variant was identified as a means of exit from the crisis, the strengthening of the migration movement in Siberia and the Asian part of Russia. If to speak about project in general, the cadets proposed elimination of feudal forms of landownership, which was a brake on social and economic development of Russia.

In comparison with cadets, labor workers proposed more radical measures. Their project involved the exclusion of all forms of private ownership of land, increasing labor norm, i.e. the elimination of large and medium ownership. It was also assumed the creation of a National Fund where the land committees, elected on the basis of a popular vote, distributed it among the population, distinguishing to all persons who wish to handle it on a labor norm. On the question of how to dispose gratuitously or at the expense of the state, there was no consensus among the labor group.

Discussion of the agrarian question in the Duma I took place, in general, in the democratic situation. Duma of the first convocation expressed its attitude to the agrarian question initially in the return address to the king. The reply address to the king was a program document of the parliamentary institution in which the MPs have set out a program of their activities on the key issues of the state. At the first place it aims to solve land crisis through compulsory expropriation of the landowners’ estates. Certainly, the government could not arrange such program of legislative activity in the Duma, and therefore at the first and quite big speech to the Duma Prime Minister P.A.Stolypin in May,13 1906 stated that «the resolution of this question, proposed by the Duma, the reason, certainly, is unacceptable» [3; 322]. The Prime Minister announced the availability of its plan to resolve the land issue, based on the stratification of the community and the resettlement of peasants in Siberia and Kazakhstan. The speech of P.A.Stolypin clear gave to understand to the deputies that tsarism could not agree even with this moderate cadet project.

The representatives of the right-wing and monarchist parties, being in the minority, did everything to protect the landlord’s property and support the line of the government. In speeches deputies tried to prove that with the elimination of the landlords’ estates which the majority of the Duma I achieves, the country will inevitably comprehended by hunger, the cause of which, in their opinion will be incorporated in the peasants laziness and sloth. In addition, the lack of the basic skills in agriculture, technology in total will not allow them to reach level of production of large-scale landowner enterprises.

In the ranks of opposition forces to the government of the Duma I other radical demands were demanded. So, social-democratic fraction proposed its approaches for solving problems. In the Declaration, read out at the public meeting of the Duma in June 16, 1906, stated that the elimination of private land should be carried out without any repurchase in favor of the peasants. Deputies of the fraction from the tribune of the Duma proved by means of layering communities and resettlement of the peasants not to solve agrarian question, they called for revolutionary changes in the agrarian sector of economy, and through it in all political system of the state.

It should be emphasized that for activity of the Duma I was characterized that by the fact that the protection of the interests of the indigenous population of the Borderlands of Russia were often made by the representatives of the Russian democratic intellectuals, indicating that the democracy of the majority of the Duma and the desire to help national outskirts suffering from colonial and resettlement policy of tsarism.

The democratic part of the Duma I supported initiative of deputies of the regions in the request to the Government from July 4, 1906 on irregular formations of the resettlement areas in the Kyrgyz steppes [4, 1]. It condemned the resettlement policy of the government in the province, and demanded immediate land of the Kazakh population and the enactment of a law guaranteeing the rights of the indigenous population endowed it on the ground.

Kazakh population in their Mandates and requirements to the deputies of the Duma I pointed that the Duma developed the law on the lands of nomads. It should be noted that they did not want to tolerate tyranny, chaos in the desert. The report and the reports of government officials involved in cutting sites in the region indicate the reaction of the local population, interfering to survey the territory, not giving carts, tents, food, and so on [5; 142]. They, therefore, still expressed the peace protest to the government.

The Agrarian Commission, formed in the Duma I on the request of deputies in connection with importance of the question, was determined in the amount of 101 members, 10 of them were left MPs from Kazakhstan and Siberia, some of which have not yet arrived in the Duma. The Chairman of the Commission was a member of cadet party A.A.Mukhanov, for preparation of the bill three subcommittees on 15 deputies each were formed, who were engaged in study of specific questions [6; 1]. For 9 meeting the main part of agrarian project, going in line with cadet version of the solution of land crisis, was prepared.

In this situation, the imperial government, seeing democratically adjusted majority of the Duma I on permission of the land question, takes drastic measures, having published on June 20, 1906 the   Stolypinsky agrarian project. This publication was nothing else, as an ignoring of legislative rights of the Duma as Parliament, having caused indignation in democrats and the public.

The Duma II from the beginning of its activity, from February 1907 began to consideration of agrarian question, which owing to democratic structure, was raised more considerably. Speeches of deputies and projects of parties and groups became more concrete and accurate.

It is proposed in the Duma I was added project of 105 and compiled by the socialist party, whose ultimate goal was the socialization of the land. Unlike projects of labor groups, it represented something between the project of the 33rd and the 104th.

In the process of deliberations and discussions of projects the democratic majority of the Duma II, clearly unsatisfied cadet project moved on to more drastic measures to settle the land question, suggesting the procedure of elimination of estates without any ransom. The representatives of right-wing parties and the black hundreds parties are still fiercely repulsed attacks on government reform. In their speech they defending government policy, advocated benefits, promising the peasants, released in hamlets and cuts. Very positive feedback about the resettlement of peasants in Siberia and Kazakhstan, defining it as an event of national importance in the decision of land hunger in Russia. And, on the contrary, revolutionary parties and fractions subjected to the destroying criticism of the government resettlement policy. So, the deputy of St. Petersburg Aleksinsky in the speech about it described how the enticement of trustful peasants is carried out to Steppes and Siberia. To protect landowners’ estates, Deputy says, by Government «...printed in the largest font, printed so bold to man froze, quivered and trembled from greed to this free land». Deputy Aleksinsky pointed that resettlement of peasants not to solve a land problem in Russia, that the only way is elimination of landowners' estates in favor of peasants [7; 1630].

Deputy of Urals region Kosmodemyansky, acting on May 16, 1907 in debate, depicted that real picture to which peasants immigrants get. A lot of place in the speech of the Deputy was given to the position of the Kazakh population, which the government resettlement refers cruelly, taking away his land, ignoring with the economic conditions, nor life, nor with the psychology of the nomads. The Government, according to the deputy, spreads culture alien to it and such withdrawal pains of the relations of internal tenor of life of nomads can lead to serious consequences [8; 628–631].

Democratic Russian intelligence of the Steppe region, realizing consequences of resettlement policy and considering the vital interests of the nomadic population, sought to help them. Some deputies understanding the futility of access to the government, tried to discover the meaning of resettlement before by Russian peasants, deceived by the government in the press, in the article «Danger to persons in the Steppe region» (there is reason to believe that it was written by Deputy N.Konshin), author of on the actual data proves inability to raise farm in harvested areas where there is no water, forests, roads, etc. The policy of the government, he reveals: «Let aimlessly bankrupt Kyrgyz, let carelessly run then immigrants from selected among the nomads of the earth — it's not important, if only to put somewhere now many thousands of peasants (those who are worried in Russia due to the lack of the earth» [9; 1–8]. The deputy urged peasants to think before moving to the Steppes which isn't promising anything kind, and to solve a problem in Russia at the expense of the landowners who are terribly interested in their resettlement.

Active protection of the interests of the people of Kazakhstan and of the peoples of Siberia in the Duma II made the Siberian group of MPs. The first request of Siberian group filed in April 2007 to the government regarding the increase of resettlement in Siberia, a similar request they intended to file on the Steppe region. Deputies of the Kazakh population, speaking for the urgency of the request, pointed out that although this request extended across Siberia, it has a lot in common for the region and its support by the deputies of the Steppe territory is an act of solidarity. Later in the III and IV the black-hundred Duma deputies of Siberian group showed its reciprocal solidarity with the peoples of Kazakhstan.

It should be mentioned that deputies of Kazakh population participated in the Duma II from the first day as elections passed in the region timely, then, as in the Duma I deputies arrived late — almost to the point of dissolution. To the Agrarian Commission, formed in the Duma II, deputies from Kazakhstan were composed — Karatayev B.B., Laptev I.P., Golovanov I.F., from Turkestan — Aframovich K.M.The Commission started its work from May 12, 1907. As we concerned above, except the projects which remained from the Duma I were brought the project of 105, and after 6 bills from the government representing the Stolypinsky agrarian program [10; 5].

Deputies of the Kazakh population in the Duma II, entering to the Muslim fraction, took active part in the protection of the interests of the region. So, deputy Karatayev B.B. in his speech on agrarian question at the meeting of May 16, 1907 expressed simmering pain of nomadic people called by the government's resettlement and colonization policy. Resettlement, the deputy points, is initiative of government and the rightwing party of the state Duma for the protection of landowners’ estates. It is carried out at the price of ruin of the Kazakh population expelled not only from lands, but also dwellings. Karatayev emphasized that such agrarian policy of the government is unfair. He finished his speech with words that that Kazakhs sympathize with the opposition to the government, parties, and factions «...we hope that the Russian working masses and the Russian intelligence will be able to respond where these Kyrgyz-Kaisaks are offended» [8; 675]. The speech of Karatayev is the unmasking of the colonial policy of tsarism, with the support of the democratic forces of the Duma II, demanding real reforms in the agrarian question.

It is interesting that some democratically-minded specialists with extensive experience in the agrarian question, particularly in the resettlement fact, offered their services to the Duma. Among them A. arising in the process of approval of the annual estimates of some offices and departments of the government, in particular, of the Main Department of land management and agriculture, resettlement administration, and other annual appropriations for certain activities of States in the region [11; 9]. Рrojects and plans came to the commissions.

Acceleration of the Duma II was inevitable. After the implementation of June 3, 1907 coup, government elected the State Duma III. The Duma III in its composition was bourgeois-landlord, i.e. is composed of those segments of the population who defended the existing system. Another innovation of the Duma was that the national regions were deprived of voting rights, including the Steppes and Turkestan region.

The land question, as in the first Dumas, was one of the most important in the activity of the Duma III because in the real life it was no less acute than before.

It should be mentioned that the Duma III (1907–1912), unlike the Duma IV (1912–1917) related in composition and character, was that its share has fallen to the implementation of the Stolypin agrarian reform.

The land question in the Steppe region again was the cause of discussions, there were a few: in most cases, disputes arising in the process of approval of the annual estimates of some offices and departments of the government, in particular, of the Main Department of land management and agriculture, resettlement administration, and other annual appropriations for certain activities of States in the region.

The imperial government by means of the black hundreds Duma intended to realize economic transformations in Russia in the spirit of Stolypinsky reform and by that to transfer autocracy to a way of a bourgeois monarchy. In particular, in 1908, they were made all previously rejected in the previous Dumas bills aimed at stratification of the community. The Decree on November 9, 1906 and others, concerning land management of peasants was discussed. Introduction of these bills caused a wide wave of criticism and condemnation of the democratic part of the Duma. In debate on this occasion acted practically all representatives of democratic and revolutionary forces in the person of cadets, Social Revolutionaries, democrat socialists, labor groups, Muslim fraction, etc. So, Muslim fraction, including other opposition forces boycotted the discussion of the bill passed right through most of the Duma III on June 14, 1910. Muslim fraction declared that the law was issued in political goals and works in interests of a small class of land owners [12; 1307].

The right-wing of the Duma III satisfied annual requests of the Government in multimillion sums for resettlement. One of the deputy of left-wing forces from the tribune of the Duma announced mission of the annual sums demanded by the Government. «Issue of loans to immigrants, — the deputy reads the reference of the government to the estimate for 1907, — tempted with promises of the current law special promotion of the resettlement movement, is necessary» [13; 1252].

Peasants, thanks to activity of the Duma III and government, in a mass order left native places. Record transition to the Urals was in 1908 and made 758 812, and in 1912 — 259 585 people. Came back in the same 1912 of 98 388 peasants [14, 7]. Every year the estimation of Resettlement Administration grew. In 1906, it amounted to 5.6 million rubles, 1907 — 13, 000000, 1908 — 19 000 000, and in  1912 already 27.955 million rubles [15; 133]. These figures, however, do not indicate a tangible assistance to the  peasants

— immigrants. They reflect the increased migration movement and coverage of the deeper regions of the metropolis. It should be noted that process of migration and conditions for resettlement were difficult and exhausting for the peasants. Disorder and largely spontaneous movement of peasants, have resulted in a number of regions of Kazakhstan to the indiscriminate use of land and plowing of topsoil, increased soil erosion, deforestation of valuable forests and drying of small lakes and rivers.

Bodies of local resettlement management «closed eyes» to occupation of the best lands by immigrants at the Kazakh population that caused disorders and disorders on places.Discussion of estimates of resettlement management turned into hot debate which the oppositional part of the Duma used for criticism of an agrarian policy of tsarism in Kazakhstan.

The Government and the Right majority of the Duma III demanded greater expansion of the boundaries of the relocation deep in Turkestan. So, on December 19, 1908, the deputies of the right-wing have made a request to the government, which indicated that the regional administration prevents migration movement in the Semirechye region. The request was nothing more as carefully deliberate action of the government. Turkestan administration obviously didn't suit it as didn't create conditions for resettlement to the region. It more than anyone knew that carries with it the transfer of starving peasants in the region, and to what effect the withdrawal of land from the indigenous population. Reacting to the inquiry, the government changed from the post of General-Governor Grodekov N., his Deputy and also Governor of Semirechensk. At the Head of the region was set reactionary configured General Samsonov, who took resettlement under his auspices. Purishkevich V.M. — the leader of the black hundreds party, protecting extension of colonization and resettlement from tribune of the Duma, instead «... to stop the policy of cheap liberalism and cringe before the suburbs» [16, 3060–3065].At the same time, it was characteristic for defenders of the government reforms acting on an agrarian question in the region the manner of grandiloquent and big words of «compassion» and «pity» to the Russian peasantry which was in a difficult situation in resettlement places. Moreover, in their opinion, the cause of their position were foreigners. They looked at issues of land relations through the prism of the great Russian chauvinism.

The next step of the Duma III was legislated looting of the lands of the Kazakh population in the Turkestan region. Addition to the Article 270 of the Turkestan position in April, 1909 allowed to remove the «excess» of the nomads. Oppositional to the government, forces boycotted this bill, opening from a tribune of the Duma essence of the events held by tsarism. When the right-wings on the performance of the Democrats stopped the debate, one of the deputies of the Siberian group said: «the majority of the Duma clamps mouth to the opposition MPs who want to reveal in front of the Kyrgyz population, that it is going violence, with the blessing of the State Duma of the government is given the opportunity to perpetrate the robbery over the Kirghiz» [16, 2630]. In addition, the Democrats have made request about the illegal actions of the land parties in Kulundzhynskoye parish of Semipalatinsk region, introduced the bills on the establishment of land commissions in Kazakhstan and Turkestan, about restoration from the region in the State Duma.

The right wing, using their numerical advantage, not only didn't give the course to these inquiries, but also in process of toughening of repressions in Russia, strengthened pressure upon the democratic part of the Duma III protecting interests of the Kazakh population from its tribune. It is necessary to tell that such situation concerned not only public meetings of the Duma, but also the activity of the agrarian and resettlement commission which were engaged only in development of government projects.

In suppression of opposition the Duma IV went further away. The black hundreds were openly demanding the criminalization of criticism of the government by the left-wing deputies, trying to restrict the freedom of parliamentary words.

Democrats and revolutionaries, criticizing the government’s agrarian reform in the region, demanded land management of Kazakhs and legislative protection of their rights and interests. Supporting each other in the process of discussion of the bills and requests, however, each party and fraction had its own approach to this issue. So, cadets and similar groups did not reject resettlement and colonization, but offered to see off on more legal grounds, excepting cruel government measures. The existing resettlement policy was condemned  by them. And as one deputy of the party specified, it «doesn't promote russification of the native population, but rather even averts them from acceptance of the Russian customs and from acceptance of the Russian culture» [16; 3021]. The red line of the speech of cadets passed the idea of the right colonization, but not refusal of it.

Social-democrats, especially those who were in the Siberian group, often from a tribune of the Duma spoke out in defense of the rights of nomads and considered a problem from positions of revolutionary, and their extremely radical decision, according to the party program. Therefore, the fraction did not want to detail some measures proposed by other opposition forces, not relying on their implementation in the existing mode. Social-democrats emphasized that only elimination of autocracy will allow to start the cardinal solution of the land question.

The labor groups and Muslim fraction had a close relationship with the region and pointed out some practical steps within the existing system. In general, they did not reject the resettlement of peasants in Asian part of Russia and Siberia, considering it possible only after the land of indigenous people. The land norms proposed by the Government for those who wishing to settle nomads, criticized them as insufficient. So, the deputy of the Siberian region the labor group member Dzyubinsky V.I. in his speech pointed that the land management needs to be carried out with the careful account and studying of the climatic, soil and other conditions of Kazakhstan, sharply fluctuating in the region, and on this basis it is necessary to give nomads on a mixed agricultural-pastoral norm, in his view, the most rational [16; 3095].

The representatives of Muslim fraction, complementing the views of labor reflect the views of the best part of the Kazakh intellectuals, it was determined that the nomadism of Kazakhs is not a fad, and the most acceptable and convenient form in the natural environment of Kazakhstan. «Not for the pleasure Kyrgyz engages in the cattle of breeding… historical and economic necessity forces him to wander through the steppe, for this purpose he sacrifices not only personal rest but his health and life», S.Lapin writes in his project in the Duma III [17; 83]. Muslim fraction from the tribune tried to prove that nomadism is not retarded and outdated form of the production, which Government and its supporting forced of Parliament tried to present. The fraction demanded land management on cattle breeding and settled norm. Its divergence with labor group was only that they demanded to identify land in the form of a shared ancestral property, while some members of the labor group believed that personal property is better as it will reduce the dependence of the simple nomads from large cattle owners. It is impossible not to notice in these proposals a sincere desire to help the Kazakh population.

Kazakh democratic intellectuals concerned about the strengthening of the migration movement in the region didn't remain away from the problems discussed in the Duma. She saw that the majority of the Duma did not intend to suspend the resettlement process and to reckon with the interests of the Kazakh population. The part of intellectuals used the seal, which promoted the advantage of settling among nomads on the regulation, which was agreed to give their government.

Alikhan Bukeykhanov in his articles, for example, «Nomads and settled norm» published in 1914 in

«Kazakh» newspaper and others, convincingly proved that nomadic ways of managing is not accidental and persisting for many years in the territory of Kazakhstan passed a difficult way of self-development,  reaching a high level of perfection. Nomadism formed not only special type of production, but peculiar way of life, culture and psychology. Its sharp change means breaking complex of interrelated threads of the Kazakh nomadic society. The climate of the region, as Bukeykhanov noted, allows lead the Kazakh agriculture in only few oases, where they successfully lead. And on the contrary, in the steppe regions, where the climate is arid, few lakes and rivers, and consequently, weak fertility of soils, is simply unprofitable to be engaged in agriculture, only occupation by cattle breeding is rational. Thus, he proved that the development of agriculture is possible where «...natural historical conditions, and economic conditions were favorable» [18; 22].

Ideas of Bukeykhanov A.N., coming from historical, economic and natural factors of feasibility of nomadic life, cautious approach to it and peculiarity of the spiritual and legal spheres, had actuality not only in the historical period of the development of Kazakhstan but also in later times, in particular, at establishment of the Soviet power in the region. It is known that command and administrative method of leadership, did not take into account conditions and specifics of Kazakh nomadic society, led ethnicity on the brink of existence in the period of forced collectivization and the pale of settlement, liquidation of the kulaks and bays as class, undermining the foundations of nomadic civilization.

It should be noted that decision of the land management in the Kazakh steppe demanded to the Government not only democratic part of the Duma but Kazakh population, but the right majority, their representatives offered to carry out the land-division forcibly, expanding not only rural but industrial colonization of Kazakhstan. Land management gave opportunity, in their opinion, to reveal number of the excessive lands suitable for further resettlement of peasants. They demanded consolidation of the land but on the resettlement standards. They approved the development of the private property which ultimately would lead to the destruction of the foundations of nomadic life.

Opposition parties and fractions of the Duma IV, remaining still in the minority, continued the protection policy of the Kazakh population. However, the political situation towards country forces and the Parliament remained unchanged. Tsarism made everything that some active members of opposition during elections did not pass in the Duma IV. All this, of course, could not affect their activity on the issue, although they continued to perform their duties and their parties ' programs to protect the interests of the region. The government and the right-majority had nothing to do, as by all possible means to support a large agrarian reform which was taken a number of practical measures, for example, for restriction of farmhouse and bran farms and others.

In summary, it should be noted that the State Duma in the conditions of tsarism, of course, could not be parliamentary power of people institution, because the dictatorship and parliamentarism are not compatible phenomenon. However, The activity of the State Duma of pre-revolutionary Russia, and participation of the people of national suburbs, in particular Kazakhstan and Turkestan, put sprouts of parliamentary ideas,  gave a big impulse of political and public life of the region. Parliamentary practice showed that the most difficult and actual land question at that political moment could not be solved in the interests of the indigenous inhabitants. But its statement from a tribune of parliament, which caused support of various public forces of Russia, had far-reaching political value. It was the historical significance of the pre-revolutionary State Duma in the fate of the peoples of the Steppes and Turkestan. 



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Year: 2015
City: Karaganda
Category: Law