a government commission formed in accordance with a ukase issued by Nicholas II on Jan. 29, 1905. The commission was established as a result of the events of January 9 (Bloody Sunday) and the ensuing growth of the revolutionary and strike movement. Its purpose was to “clarify without delay the causes of discontent among the workers of St. Petersburg and its suburbs and eliminate such causes in the future.”
Senator N. V. Shidlovskii was appointed to head the commission; its members were to be civil servants, factory owners, and deputies chosen from among the workers of St. Petersburg. Election of the deputies was to be a two-step process. First, electors would be chosen at the enterprises; then they, having formed nine production groups, would elect 50 deputies. On February 2 the St. Petersburg committee of the RSDLP adopted a resolution to strive for the selection of electors who supported the Bolsheviks. The electors would present detailed demands to the leaders of the commission setting forth the conditions for their participation in the commission; if the demands were not met, the electors would refuse to take part in the second stage of the elections and would thereby subvert the work of the commission. Candidates were also run by the Mensheviks, by remnants of G. A. Gapon’s Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg, and by the left wing of the Union of Liberation.
At a meeting of the electors on February 16 and 17, a decision was made under the influence of the Bolsheviks to demand that the government make public the sessions of the commission, grant freedom of speech, restore the 11 branches of Gapon’s assembly that had been disbanded, and free arrested comrades. On February 18, Shidlovskii rejected the demands as being outside the competence of the commission. In response, the electors of seven of the production groups refused to send deputies to the Shidlovskii Commission and called on the workers to strike.
On February 20, Shidlovskii submitted to Nicholas II a report acknowledging the failure of the commission. On the same day the Shidlovskii Commission was disbanded by a tsarist ukase.