Vyborg Manifesto

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Former Deputies of disbanded State Duma arrive from Saint Petersburg to Vyborg to sign the Manifesto

The Vyborg Appeal (also known as the Vyborg Manifesto; Russian: Выборгское Воззвание) was a declaration issued by Kadets and Trudoviks politicians, former deputies of the disbanded Russian First State Duma on 22 July 1906 (9 July by the Russian calendar then in use).

The Constitutional Democratic Party was formed in Moscow on 12–18 October 1905 at the height of the Russian Revolution of 1905 when Tsar Nicholas II was forced to sign the October Manifesto granting basic civil liberties. The Kadets were to the immediate Left of the Octobrists, another liberal party organized at the same time. Unlike the Octobrists, who were committed to constitutional monarchy from the start, the Kadets were at first ambiguous on the subject, demanding universal suffrage (even for women) and a Constituent Assembly that would determine the country's form of government. The Kadets were one of the parties invited by the reform-minded prime minister Sergei Witte to join his cabinet in October and November 1905, but the negotiations broke down over the Kadets' radical demands and Witte's refusal to drop notorious reactionaries like Petr Nikolayevich Durnovo from the cabinet.

With some socialist and revolutionary parties boycotting the election to the First State Duma in February 1906, the Kadets received 37% of the urban vote and won over 30% of the seats in the Duma. They interpreted their electoral win as a mandate and allied with the left-leaning peasant Trudovik faction, forming a majority in the Duma. When their declaration of legislative intent was rejected by the government at the start of the parliamentary session in April, they adopted a radical opposition position, denouncing the government at every opportunity. On 9 July the government announced that the Duma was dysfunctional and dissolved it. In response, 120 Kadet and 80 Trudovik and Social Democrat deputies went to Vyborg (then a part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and thus beyond the reach of Russian police) and responded with the Vyborg Manifesto (or the "Vyborg Appeal"), written by Pavel Milyukov. In the manifesto, they called for passive resistance, non-payment of taxes and draft avoidance. The appeal failed to have an effect on the population at large and proved both ineffective and counterproductive, leading to a ban on its authors', including the entire Kadet leadership, participation in future Dumas.

Only by 1906, with the revolution in retreat, the Kadets abandoned revolutionary and republican aspirations and declared their support for a constitutional monarchy. The government, however, remained suspicious of the Kadets until the fall of the monarchy in 1917.

Sources[edit]

  • Gross, David (ed.) We Won’t Pay!: A Tax Resistance Reader ISBN 1-4348-9825-3 pp. 307–312
  • Lee, Stephen J. Lenin and Revolutionary Russia, Routledge, 2003
  • Phillips, Steve Lenin and the Russian Revolution, Heinemann, 2000

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