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The October Manifesto (Russian: Октябрьский манифест, Манифест 17 октября), officially The Manifesto on the Improvement of the State Order (Манифест об усовершенствовании государственного порядка), is a document that served as a precursor to the Russian Empire's first constitution, which would be adopted the next year. The Manifesto was issued by Emperor Nicholas II, under the influence of Count Sergei Witte, on 30 October [O.S. 17 October] 1905 as a response to the Russian Revolution of 1905.
The October Manifesto addressed the unrest application throughout the Russian Empire and pledged to grant basic civil liberties, including personal immunity; and freedom of assembly, association, press, religion, and speech. Other provisions include the allowance of a broad participation in the Duma (parliament), the introduction of universal male suffrage, as well as a decree that no law should come into force without the consent of the Duma.
The Manifesto was a precursor to the Empire's first constitution. Neither document, however, resulted in significant reform, and the tsar continued to exercise absolute veto power over parliamentary legislation. Between 1906–7 the Duma was dissolved and reformed twice.
The October Manifesto divided opposition to the Emperor. The Kadets were appeased by the idea of having freedom of speech and a truly representative government, and the Union of October 17 (informally known as the Octobrists, this party took its name from the October Manifesto). The Marxists, however, maintained that Nicholas had only made small concessions, arguing that the Duma was only a shell of democracy as it could not pass laws without the approval of the monarch, and that freedom of speech was heavily regulated.
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- The Memoirs Of Count Witte New York & Toronto (1921), Armonk, New York (1990). ISBN 0-87332-571-0.
- Fiehn, Terry. (1996). Russia & The USSR 1905-1941. Hodder Headline Group, London. ISBN 0-7195-5255-9.
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