Municipal Duma

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Municipal Duma


an administrative organ of city government in Russia. Municipal dumas were first established in 1785 by the government of Catherine II under the Charter on Rights and Privileges of the Cities of the Russian Empire. The townspeople were divided into six estates, depending on property status and occupation. The townspeople elected a general duma, which was headed by the town mayor. The general duma elected the so-called six-member duma, which consisted of one councilman from each of the six estates. The general duma was responsible for the management of the municipal economy, but in fact these duties were discharged by the six-member duma. Both the general and the six-member dumas were subordinate to the governor.

The great number of government offices and committees relegated the dumas to an insignificant position. The general dumas soon ceased to convene, but the nobility had its own organization. Attempts to revive municipal dumas composed of representatives of all estates in St. Petersburg in 1846 and in Moscow, Odessa, and Tbilisi between 1862 and 1863 were unsuccessful, because the estate basis of the duma’s structure did not correspond to the needs of developing capitalist society. The Municipal Reform of 1870 abolished the estate as the basis of representation and based representation on the bourgeois principle of property qualification. The municipal dumas existed until the Great October Revolution of 1917.


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