1906 - Black Hundred Duma election manifesto

Election manifesto for the elections to the State Duma of the "Russian Assembly", the "Union of the Russian People" and people of like mind.

(second half of 1906)

Our Sovereign Emperor has seen fit, acting on the advice and collaboration of the best Russian people, to remove certain disorders from our life which have become particularly apparent since the time of our ill-fated war with Japan. The Sovereign observed that the chinovnik class was unable to understand all the people's needs correctly and take proper care of the motherland's interests. Therefore, he found it essential to invite the people to take part in the salvation of suffering Russia ... and to call individuals elected by the people into a State Duma, for businesslike work on and discussion of draft legislation, and for businesslike supervision of the activities of the executive authorities.

The members of the "Russian Assembly" and the "Union of the Russian People", along with their sympathisers and people of like mind consider it their duty to cooperate in the election to the State Duma of reliable Russian people, sincerely devoted to our sacred Orthodox faith and autocratic Tsarist power, and in sympathy with the adoption of the proposals outlined below.

1. The Orthodox Church should retain its dominant position within Russia, and its voice should be listened to by the legislative authorities, as in the past, on the most important state matters. The structure and unity of Church and society should continue to be based on freedom for the Church to organise and manage its affairs and for the organisation of the Parish as a legally competent and functioning church and civic community.

2. The Tsarist autocracy, which has developed historically along with the Russian lands, has roots which have penetrated deeply into the Russian national soil. It has even become a second national soil. It must remain inviolable and be conserved as a sacred legacy. The autocracy, based on the permanent unity of Tsar and people, cannot enter into any deals or agreements between the people and the Supreme Authority which aim at limiting the latter.

3. The Russian nation, as the gatherer of the Russian lands, the creator of a great and powerful state, must have first place in state life and state construction. The institutions of the Russian state are united in their constant striving to support unwaveringly the greatness of Russia and the primacy of the rights of the Russian nation. However, the principles of legality and justice must be strictly observed, so that the other nations living in our fatherland consider it an honour and a blessing to belong to the Russian Empire and do not strive for independence.

4. Tribal questions in Russia should be solved in accordance with the degree of preparednes of each individual nationality to serve Russia and the Russian nation in attaining general state tasks. Without pushing local life aside, the administration of the border regions should put general state interests and the support of the legal rights of the Russian people in first place. No attempts to dismember Russia, no matter under what pretext, can be tolerated: Russia is one and indivisible.

5. The Jewish question should be solved by laws and administrative measures separate from other tribal questions, in view of the ongoing spontaneous hostility of Jewry to Christianity and to non-Jewish nationalities, and the Jews' striving for world domination.

6. The Russian language is the state language, and all state institutions, by using only this language, must constantly and staunchly seek to support its unity and obligatory nature in all parts and branches of state life.

7. Education in Russia should grow and consolidate itself on the same principles as Russian statehood itself grew, and therefore state schools should everywhere be Russian schools.

8. The freedoms, granted to us by the Monarch's will in the Manifesto of 17 October for the good of the Russian people, should be constrained by laws to protect the individual, society and the state from abuses by private persons, and from their infringement on the part of official persons or institutions, whether these violations take the form of exceeding authority or official inaction.

9. The press should be strictly accountable before the courts in defence of the basic principles of our state structure, belief and morality, on the basis of specially-devised laws.

10. The property rights of private persons, societies and the state should be strictly protected both in law and in deed against all violent or arbitrary infringements.

11. Economic and financial policy should be based on the view that Russia is a primarily agrarian country. It should be directed towards freeing Russia from dependence on foreign exchanges and markets. But, alongside agriculture, it is vital to protect the emergence and flourishing of Russian industrial enterprises and assist the productive efforts of Russian entrepreneurs in all branches.

12. The prosperity of peasant farmers will be attained by improving their agricultural productivity, and by the extension of primary popular education - general education in a Russian Orthodox spirit and specific agricultural education. Handicraft production should be developed, and where possible the holdings of peasants with little land should be increased. Peasant migration should be assisted, and land holdings should become peasants' personal property on the basis of voluntary agreements. Finally, the tax burden should be relieved and opportunities for getting small loans should be extended.

13. The position of the labouring classes in general needs to be put in order with particular care. In particular, in the factories and plants it is essential to establish more just and humane relations between workers and employers. These must be fixed in law, but with regard to local conditions and the nature of the production.

14. In relation to the chinovnik class, in view of the extreme arbitrariness of its actions at present, it is essential to make the appropriate legal provisions more effective and to ensure that every victimised individual is able more freely and readily to present complaints to the appropriate judicial authorities about abuses in the actions of persons in authority. There should be legal provisions to prevent abuses of this system with strict punishments for malicious complaints and false testimony.

Persons sympathising with this programme are invited without delay to send their addresses, names, patronymics, surnames, electoral district and details of eligibility to vote to:

St. Petersburg, 4th Company, Ismailovsky Regiment, d. 6, kv. 21, or to Troitskaya ul., d. 13, kv. 6

[Original held in GARF, f. 116, op. 1, d. 37, ll. 7 - 8 ob. Translated from Yu. I Kir'yanov, compiler, Pravye partii, dokumenty i materialy 1905 - 1910 gg., Rosspen, Moscow, 1998, pp. 277 - 279.]