The Darkest hour of the Russian Empire 2
Chapter Zero: Introduction
Part I: After the Great War
Founders of the new Europe
...The Great War was won by the Entente. Central Powers were totally crushed and had no chances to bring back their previous might and glory. Germany lost all her colonies, Lorraine (to France), Schleswig (to Denmark), Western Poland and Danzig (to Russia), Sudetenland (to Czechoslovakia). German Empire was no more, only weak German republic, that was completely abased by Versailles treaty - without the army, the navy and any national proud. Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and was separated into Austria, Hungary and Czechslovakia. Large parts of former Habsburg territories were given to Yugoslavia (Croatia and Bosnia), Italy (Dalmatia and Northern Italy), Russia (Galizia and Krakow). Ottoman Empire lost Southern Caucasus to Russia and all Middle-Eastern territories to France and Britain in 1917. In 1918 under hard diplomatic pressure (Black Sea fleet entered the Sea of Marmara and was ready to shoot at Sultan's palace) Istanbul was given to Russia and renamed into Constantinople. The Great War finished, but didn't solve all the problems of Europe. It only added more of them...
Russia after the Great War
Nicholas II at the age of 55
Russia won the war, but payed extremely high price for that - losing 2,500,000 soldiers killed and wounded was terrible even for such a big nation. Russian navy lost 70% of its strength in bloody naval battles like the Battle of Danzig bay or a disastrous battle versus the Austrians in Black Sea. Nicholas II realized that the country never was so close to death. Emperor knew that the triumph of his empire was based on millions of dead soldiers. Revolutionary threat didn't disappear - autocratic regime was still too unpopular. There was a lot of work to do. Geo-political situation leaved much to be desired - relations with former allies (France and England) worsened after the Treaty of Constantinople - this unexpected step of the Russian government that gave the Tsar an opportunity to enter the Mediterranean Sea shocked Entente's governments. Germany was very dangerous too -trying to make her peaceful forever, authors of the Versailles treaty destroyed German national proud, and revanchists started becoming more and more popular. Russian foreign minister Sazonov was one of the treaty authors, and his idea about tiny 100,000 Reichswehr was a dangerous decision. So, with so much problems, the Tsar had no another way. On 1 of May in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg (in 1918 he became St. Petersburg once again) the Constitution of the Russian Empire was announced. The Tsar became a constitutional monarch with about 50% of political power, while other 50% were in Parliament's hands. It wasn't a crowned republic like United Kingdom, but not Autocratic Russia of Alexander III. The new era had begun....
New Russian government of constitutional monarchy
Winter Palace - a place where the Constitution was born
This unexpected act of the Imperial Government suddenly changed the political situation. Ultra-revolutionary parties like Bolsheviks lost influence in Russian society, because all attention came to more conservative Mensheviks, Social-Democrats and SRs, who had an opportunity to have a place in Imperial Senate and State Duma. First free elections of Duma since 1914 began, and the results were quite interesting. They didn't change the cabinet much, because all ministers according to the Constitution were appointed directly by the Emperor (except the Prime Minister, who was a leader of majority party), while Parliament's duty was to create laws and vote for it. This regime suited Russia well, because it legalized all banned parties except Bolsheviks and made the elections free, while the Tsar had enough power to rule.
IMPERIAL ELECTIONS OF 1918
Political parties of the Russian Empire at 1918 elections:
Union of the Russian people (SRN) - National-Socialists & Fascists coalition
Conservative Monarchists (KM) - Paternal Autocrats
Octobrists (SO) - Social Conservatives
Constitutional Democrats (KD) - Market Liberals
Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) - Social-Liberals
Social-Democratic Party (SD) - Social-Democrats
Socialist-Revolutionary Party (SR) - Left-Wing Radicals
Mensheviks (MN) - Socialists
Imperial Senate (Upper House) was responsible for co-operation with different ministers and the Tsar himself. Members of the Senate were elected from their home provinces directly. For example, if Conservative-Monarchist party won the majority on elections in Warsaw governorate, it would send their man to Senate. Senate consisted of 16 seats (from Moscow governorate, St. Petersburg governorate, Tsardom of Poland - Warsaw and Krakow governorates, Grand Duchy of Finland, Constantinople governorate, Lwow governorate, Bessarabia governorate, Kiev governorate, Minsk governorate, Caucasus governorate Nizhny Novgorod governorate, Orenburg governorate, Omsk governorate, Irkutsk governorate and Vladivostok governorate) and each party or coalition had to own 9 or more seats for the majority. The head of Imperial Senate was elected by the Senate and had direct contact with the Emperor.
Results of the elections:
Ruling Octobrist party won the elections and took 8 seats and chairman positions. More conservative KM party won the majority in Kiev, Minsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Vladivostok and Constantinople (5 seats), which helped to create a strong conservative coalition. Opposition parties like Kadets (KD) won elections in St. Petersburg and Grand Duchy of Finland taking two seats, while the most "radical" party of this list - Liberal Democrats - won the elections in Krakow governorate.
Octobrists - 8/16
Conservative Monarchists - 5/16
Constitutional Democrats - 2/16
Liberal-Democratic Party - 1/16
State Duma (Lower House) was responsible for creating, discussing and accepting Imperial laws. It was elected by all the population, and the winning party appointed their leader as Prime minister. In 1918 right conservative and reactionary parties were the strongest ones, because they gained popularity after the war successes and were considered to be right guys to restore the country economy and infrastructure after the war. So, Octobrist party together with Ivan Goremykin as prime ministerial candidate had the biggest chances to win. Imperial State Duma consisted of 600 seats with 301 seat needed for majority.
Results of the elections:
Ruling party (Octobrists) won the elections, taking 290 places. Making coalition with Conservative Monarchists, Goremykin's party owned 59,9% of the Parliament.
Octobrists - 290 (48.3%)
Constitutional Democrats - 116 (19.3%)
Conservative Monarchists - 70 (11.6%)
Liberal-Democratic Party - 64 (10.6%)
Social-Democratic Party - 22 (3.6%)
Union of the Russian people - 20 (3.3%)
Socialist-Revolutionary Party - 13 (2.1%)
Mensheviks - 5 (0.2%)
Ivan Goremykin continued his prime minister career for five more years
To be continued
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Next update: December, 17