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The Tsar Reacts

EXTRACT FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 (Pimlico, 1997), pp. 186-187.

...With the Russian Empire teetering on the brink of collapse, the tsarist regime responded to the crisis with its usual incompetence and obstinacy... [FULL TEXT 820 words]

On 18 February Nicholas issued an Imperial Manifesto calling on the people to unite behind the throne and send in ideas for 'improvements in the government'. Bulygin was instructed to draw up proposals for a national assembly.

Reform petitions were sent in to the tsar from all over the empire. Many demanded a national parliament. This was too much for Nicholas, who on 6 August granted a purely consultative parliament. Six months earlier his proposal would have been welcomed. But now it was too little too late. The socialist parties chose to boycott it and support the already growing movement of mass civil disobedience to pressure the government into making further concessions.

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