Bulygin Duma

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bulygin Duma


the historically accepted name for the plan of a representative body of legislative consultation in Russia, the formation of which was announced in the tsar’s manifesto of Aug. 6, 1905, in accordance with the Statute on the Election to the State Duma (published the same day). The plan of the Bulygin Duma was a maneuver aimed at splitting the forces of the revolution, creating a basis for an agreement with the bourgeoisie, who wanted a representative institution with narrow voting qualifications, and attracting the peasantry in the hope of exploiting their monarchist and constitutional illusions. The Bulygin Duma plan was drawn up in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (from Jan. 22 to Oct. 22, 1905, A. G. Bulygin [1851-1919] was the minister; hence its name), discussed by the Council of Ministers, and finally approved at conferences in Novyi Peterhof on July 19, 21, and 26, 1905. The conferences were held under the chairmanship of the tsar and were attended by grand princes, members of the State Council, and ministers. The Bulygin Duma was to be convoked no later than the middle of January 1906. According to the plan, the majority of the population (workers, women, servicemen, students, and others) had no voting rights. Peasants were to vote in four stages, landowners and the bourgeoisie in two stages; 42 percent of the electors were to be elected by congresses of representatives from volosts (small rural districts), 34 percent by congresses of district landowners (voting qualification, from 100 to 800 desiatinas), and 24 percent by congresses of city electors (voting qualification, real estate valued at 1, 500 rubles, in the capitals 3, 000 rubles). Representation from the peasant body of electors was planned to be relatively large, because the ruling circles placed hopes in the conservatism of the peasantry, which turned out to be erroneous. The liberal bourgeoisie agreed to participate in the elections. The Mensheviks advanced the slogan of “organizing revolutionary self-government” in conditions in which the autocracy would be continued. V. I. Lenin appraised the Bulygin Duma as “the most barefaced mockery of ‘popular representation’ ” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 11, p. 182). The Bolsheviks called on the workers and peasants to actively boycott the Bulygin Duma and utilized their entire agitational campaign for the preparation of an armed uprising. The Bulygin Duma was never convoked. It was swept away by the October all-Russian political strike of 1905, which compelled the tsar to issue the Manifesto of Oct. 17, 1905, promising a legislative duma.


Lenin, V. I. “Boikot bulyginskoi Dumy i vosstanie.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 11.
Lenin, V. I. “Edinenie tsaria s narodom i naroda s tsarem.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Igra v parlamentarizm.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Pervye itogi politicheskoi gruppirovki.” Ibid., vol. 12.
Gosudarstvennaia duma v Rossii: Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Moscow, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.