How the cadets destroyed the Russian empire

How the cadets destroyed the Russian empire

Dogmatics, devoid of public instinct

Of all the founding fathers of the constitutional-democratic (cadet) party, Pavel Nikolaevich Milyukov was the most eligible for this title and was the most consistent party leader. In 1904, he achieved the continuation of opposition activities, when too many believed that it was impossible during the outbreak of the Russian-Japanese war. And this has already played a huge role in the preparation of the first Russian revolution. In September, 1904 in Paris Milyukov participated in a meeting of opposition forces (socialists and radical liberals), where he outlined the principles of a joint struggle against power. In October 1905, Pavel Nikolaevich became the head of the constituent congress of cadets. At the negotiations with Count S.Yu. Witte, after the October 17 Manifesto was released, Milyukov refused the prime minister to create a coalition cabinet and demanded the preparation of Duma legislation, before which the government had to resign.

Milyukov never got to the First State Duma (his electoral qualification was not recognized), but he wrote the draft of the famous Vyborg Manifesto, which called for the country to "peaceful resistance" after the dissolution of parliament. The deputies who signed the appeal (the Cadets and the Trudoviks) were deprived of the right to vote, and the initiator of the document quietly ran for the next elections and became a deputy of the II, III and IV convocations.

The Milyukov faction was the most organized. However, the competence of the Cadet leader was in doubt. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance V.N. Kokovtsov noted that Miliukov could not help but criticize him in the Duma when discussing budget estimates as the leader of the opposition, but he had little understanding of the issue. Even professorial integrity did not help Milyukov. According to Kokovtsov, it was easy for Milyukov to respond - “so stencil were all his thoughts and so academic were all his complaints” 1.

The Cadets could more effectively attack power through the Duma rostrum than through bills. As a result, the faction gained independent weight even in relation to the party Central Committee. Party dogmas, according to the testimony of people who knew him, were more important for Milyukov than the needs of the state of 2. "A cabinet man, a theorist, deprived of general state and national instinct", as described by Miliukov Prince Pavel Dolgorukov, familiar with him from childhood3. At the same time, Miliukov had an excellent tactical sense, which is so necessary for a rapid parliamentary struggle. This ability endowed him with almost indisputable authority in the eyes of the party members, "disputes were immediately interrupted when Milyukov appeared, no one dared to enter into a debate with him" 4. About half of the members of the Central Committee usually supported the proposals of Pavel Nikolaevich.

With 1906, Mr. Milyukov became the unofficial head of the main cadet newspaper Rech. The newspaper did not have a formal party status, since the party was not legalized. In the spring of 1907, Mr. P.A. Stolypin proposed Milyukov legalization in exchange for condemnation of political terrorism by the Cadets, but, on the advice of I.I. Petrunkevich, Pavel Nikolaevich rejected the deal. Relations with the socialists were more important than relations with the state. Member of the Central Committee A.S. The outcasts (the publicist of the Russian Thought magazine competing with Rech) acknowledged that the Milyukovskaya newspaper "is an independent press organ, and not an official of the party." At the same time, he noted that "she is the only one left from the party of the Cadets." 5.

Pn Milyukov in the family circle. Photo: RIA News

Raise the opposition flag higher

After the June 3 coup in 1907, the Stolypin's "pacification" band began. The Cadet Party withdrew from the revolution, and without it, like all the other radical parties, it did not feel good. V.A. Maklakov recalled that the party was originally created to fight "against autocracy" and "revolutionary ideology did not exclude" 6. Milyukov himself, according to the results of 1905, explained that the fetish from the revolution does not do7. The Cadets were not averse to participating in the country's peaceful political transformation, but trusting the authorities and entering into agreements with them was not in their rules. At the November 1909 conference, Mr. Milyukov predicted a coming revolution.

The approach of the Duma elections of 1912 raised before the Cadets the question of blocking with other opposition forces. A significant part of the Central Committee was inclined to agree with the new Progressist Party, behind which stood the Moscow trade and industrialists. However, Milyukov and his supporters opposed it. According to the results of the Duma elections, the Cadets increased the number of the faction by several places. Progressives have also achieved success, claiming to oust the Cadets. Constitutional democrats had to raise the opposition flag higher in order to maintain priority.

Miliukov proposed to introduce a draft law on universal suffrage to the new Duma, which for those times had no chance, but would show the principles of the Cadets. Despite the resistance of the part of the faction that was set up for business work, Miliukov received the support of the Central Committee. The dominance of the demagogic Milyukov in the cadet leadership provoked protest from supporters of the "business" program, who unsuccessfully tried to achieve at least the convening of a party congress (congresses did not gather as much from 1907 to 1916).

Weekday factional struggle

The crisis of the party continued to grow. As part of the party in March 1914 was counted only 730 people8. The plenary session of the October cadet Central Committee 5 of October spoke in favor of an agreement with the Octobrists and Progressists with a view to conducting land and city reforms. Miliukov categorically objected, but was in the minority of 9. The Progressive "Morning of Russia" openly called for the cadets to change the leader: instead of Milyukov, it was suggested that V.A. Maklakov 10. At the March 1914 conference, Pavel Nikolayevich tried to seize the initiative and proposed tactics to “isolate the government”. The proposal was met with skepticism, but since there was no alternative, the conference supported himNUMX. It was not possible to come to an agreement with other liberal factions - Milyukov retained his inner-party positions.

The beginning of the war required a new tactic. Milyukov preached national unity; there was no question of unity with the government. On August 19, the Central Committee, at the suggestion of its leader, decided to appeal to party members with a call to take direct part in the work of the public organizations created at the beginning of the war, since subsequently they had to gain political weight12. At the same time, Pavel Nikolaevich was wary of them: the head of the Zemstvo Union, pr. G.E. Lviv, and the leaders of the Union of Cities M.V. Chelnokov and N.M. Kishkin did not inspire confidence in him13.

The growing importance of public organizations that the party did not actually control, as well as the introduction of military censorship, which impeded the activities of the cadet press, pushed constitutional democrats to the political margin. The Cadet Center, headed by Milyukov, was interested in the early start of the Duma session. However, since the beginning of the summer political crisis of 1915, when a real opportunity arose to realize the most important party slogan of the “responsible ministry,” Pavel Nikolayevich unexpectedly refused it. At the 6-8 conference in June, Milyukov announced a new slogan - the Ministry of Trust. Now the party leader was determined to seek the creation of a government that would be responsible to public opinion, and not to the Duma. “Without demanding a“ responsible ”or“ coalition ”ministry, we thereby set no formal requirements, do not impose certain people, but, on the other hand, we do not assume any obligations,” Miliukov insisted. F.F. Kokoshkin noted that in the case of the creation of a rightist Octo cabinet, "this experience would have compromised for a long time both the slogan and the very principle of ministerial responsibility" 14. A new slogan was carried out by the collective effort of the Central Committee. After the conference, the Central Committee left PB. Struve and the leader of the left cadets N.V. Nekrasov15, which only strengthened the position of Milyukov.

By the beginning of the session, the cadets did not have any seriously prepared 16 draft law, but their task was not legislation, but mastering the tribune. The Cadets joined the resolutions of the Nationalist Progressists and the Octobrist factions on the need to unite the country of 17, which immediately bore fruit. In August, the Progressive Bloc was created in parliament, and the “Ministry of Trust” became the central point of the program. Miliukov personally drafted a bloc declaration in which he demanded "a decisive change ... of management practices based on mistrust of public initiative," which meant "conducting the beginnings of legality in management," eliminating the dual power of the military and civilian authorities, changing the composition of the local administration and internal peace between nationalities and classes. " There were demands for political and religious amnesty, the abolition of national and religious restrictions, the cessation of persecution for party affiliation for workers, freedom of trade unions and the press. Significant were the positive proposals - the implementation of legislation that has a "close relationship" to the defense, supply the army, provide for the wounded and refugees; the equation in the rights of peasants, the reform of urban self-government and zemstvos, the introduction of zemstvos on the outskirts, the introduction of a world court, laws on local and city congresses and unions, cooperatives and a number of others18. Milyukov insisted on publishing the program. “The document is directed to the masses, and not to the government,” he said at a meeting of the 19 factions. \

A group of professors - members of the cadet party. A photo:

Demagoguery like weapon

27 August 1915, a meeting of representatives of the bloc with the ministers. Milyukov immediately declared that fulfillment of the requirements was directly dependent on the composition of the government. The deputies switched to blatant blackmail of the government - they demanded loud resignations, a change of government and the removal of the dual power of the military and civilian authorities. Discussion of specific issues, despite the desire of ministers, was impossible: it was fraught with the opening of internal contradictions among the 20 factions. In the end, the Duma members stated that it was impossible to collude with the government, although the bloc could not determine its own candidates for the Ministerial posts of the NUMX, but the Cadets, the main force of the bloc, had enough of the desire of the Duma majority to follow their lead.

The progressive bloc turned into a ram, with which it was possible to knock out significant political concessions from power. Not for nothing, speaking of the parliamentary majority, an informed contemporary admitted that "PN Milyukov's conductor's baton" 22. 6 September at a private meeting of public figures Milyukov explained the principles of the new tactics: "Participation in the bloc for moderate elements will be political education ... in the future they will make more drastic changes" 23. The events of August 1915 developed according to the scenario of Milyukov - the “August party” turned out to be the most successful for the entire political career of this genius of tactics. Having headed the Progressive Bloc, the Cadets re-seized the long-lost initiative in the opposition movement. Addressing the declaration directly to the country (not even to the supreme power), they thereby disrupted any negotiations that could not be carried out successfully, and won strong prestige in the eyes of the patriotic public. The Cadets, who are not capable of organizing power, did everything to prevent their competitors from reaching it, first of all, to thwart the Octobrist variant of limited political reform. The old tactic worked: by refusing to negotiate with a compromised government, the Cadets were "clean" before the inevitable revolution, as they thought.

At the beginning of 1916, the government made concessions to the Duma majority, agreeing to resume a long session. At the preliminary meeting of the bloc, Milyukov determined his course: "Not an agreement, but overlap, but without any obligations." According to him, “collusion” with the government was “impossible” 24. Now we had to defend the need for an alliance with the Duma majority in front of our fellow party members. In February, a small VI Cadet Congress took place. In his report, Pavel Nikolaevich noted that the main reason why the bloc should have been maintained was their party’s leadership in it. The goal of the Duma session was to carry out the legislative program of the Duma majority. However, Miliukov concealed from the congress agreements already reached at the negotiations with the right wing of the bloc on the removal of the 25 from the agenda of the national issue. When the Central Committee re-elected, it was significantly expanded, mainly due to the candidates NNUMX nominated by the Central Committee itself, and Milyukov was elected the chairman NNUMX.

Cadet. Postcard from the series Photo:

February Creators

The victory at the congress did not mean an increase in the influence of the cadet leadership in the country. 12 March at a meeting of the Moscow branch of the Central Committee of Milyukov demanded to aggravate relations with the government of 28. There was a conflict, as a result of which the faction and the Central Committee ceased to coordinate their activities. From the summer of 1916 and up until the February Revolution, the Central Committee was in paralysis, everything was decided in the Duma. The status of the Progressive Bloc turned out to be not the best - factions rarely managed to come to an agreement, but it was in no way difficult to criticize the authorities in a belligerent country.

At the 22-24 party conference in October of 1916, left-wing cadets criticized Milyukov for not paying attention to the non-military forms of struggle against the power of 29. However, Pavel Nikolaevich himself already had a plan for the transfer of opposition activities to a new phase. In July-September, he traveled to Europe to gather information about the attempts of the Russian government to go to a separate peace with Germany. The collected materials allegedly testified to the steps of the premier B.V. Sturmer in this direction. In fact, there was nothing of the kind, but Pavel Nikolaevich, in his own words, “decided to go further” and bring the charge directly against the sovereign power. Milyukov recalled: “I was aware of the risk I was exposed to, but I considered it necessary to ignore it, because ... 30’s“ decisive hour ”came.” I seemed to be thinking at that moment, he later confessed in a private letter, that once a revolution is inevitable ... then we must try to take it into our own hands "31.

The famous speech 1 in November 1916. "Stupidity or treason?" sharply strengthened Milyukov’s position in the party, the cadets in the Progressive Bloc, and the Dumas in the country. But at what cost? All the words were spoken, and the street had to speak. At a meeting of the Moscow City Committee in January 1917, left-wing cadet M.L. Mandelstam proposed Milyukov to proclaim the Duma a Constituent Assembly. Pavel Nikolaevich replied: "We will do this if we have several regiments at the Tauride Palace" 32. A month later, the regiments who had raised a military rebellion entrusted themselves to the Duma.

As a result of the February Revolution, the Cadet party program was implemented almost entirely. However, in May, the party refused to support Milyukov - he was forced to resign as minister of foreign affairs. As the flywheel of the revolution unleashed, the genius of tactics had to give way to the geniuses of a more radical stock. Already in exile, referring to party principles, Miliukov will write: "Our compass always points in one direction." 33. Pavel Nikolaevich did not sin against the truth. However, this did not prevent the cadet party ship, driven by an experienced helmsman and catching the wind of revolution with a sail, by being thrown on the reefs with the same wind. Together with the whole country.


1. Kokovtsov V.N. From my past. Memories (1903-1919). In 2 pr. M., 1992. Prince 1. C. 255, 257.
2. Tyrkova A.V. That which will no longer be. M., 1998. C. 509.
3. PD Dolgorukov, Vol. Great ruin. Madrid, 1964. C. 19.
4. Hessen I.V. In two centuries. Life Report // Archive of the Russian Revolution. T. 22. M., 1993. C. 328.
5. Protocols of the Central Committee and foreign groups of the constitutional democratic party. The 6 T. T. 2. M., 1997. C. 400, 403.
6. Maklakov V.A. Maklakov V.A. Power and public at sunset of old Russia (memoirs of a contemporary). Paris, 1936. C. 483.
7. Milyukov P.N. Year of struggle. Publicistic chronicle. 1905-1906. SPb., 1907. C. 165, 168.
8. Congresses and conferences of the constitutional democratic party. The 3 T. T. 2. M., 2000. C. 535.
9. GA RF. F. 102. Op. 243. 1913. D. 27. T. 1. L. 60-61.
10. Nothing // Morning Russia. 1 October 1913
11. Protocols of the Central Committee. T. 2. C. 290, 293-294; Congresses and conferences. T. 2. C. 509, 513, 523, 532-533.
12. Protocols of the Central Committee. T. 2. C. 368-370.
13. Ibid. C. 374; Tyrkova A.V. Decree. cit. C. 461; GA RF. F. 63. Op. 46. 1915. D. 79. L. 150-151
14. Congresses and conferences. T. 3. Prince 1. M., 2000. C. 115-125, 167-170.
15. Protocols of the Central Committee. T. 3. M., 1998. C. 99, 118-119.
16. For details, see: Gayda F.A. Liberal opposition on the road to power (1914 - Spring 1917 g.). M., 2003. C. 100-101.
17. The State Duma. Convening IV. Session IV. Stenographic reports. Part I. Pg., 1915. Stb 194-195.
18. Gaida F.A. Decree. cit. C. 120-123.
19. Red archive. 1932. N 1-2 (50-51). C. 133-135.
20. Ibid. C. 145-149.
21. Gaida F.A. Decree. cit. C. 126-127.
22. Protocols of the Central Committee. T. 3. C. 162.
23. GA RF. F. 102. Op. 245. 1915. D. 27. h. xnumx. L. 46.
24. Red archive. 1932. N 3 (52). C. 184-187, 189.
25. Ibid. C. 259-260.
26. Congresses and conferences. T. 3. Prince 1. C. 304, 324.
27. Protocols of the Central Committee. T. 3. C. 208.
28. Ibid. C. 237-238.
29. The bourgeoisie on the eve of the February Revolution. Sat doc and mat. M.-L., 1927. C. 145-147.
30. Milyukov P.N. Memories. M., 1991. C. 439-441, 445.
31. GA RF. F. 5856. Op. 1. D. 184. L. 6.
32. Congresses and conferences. T. 3. Prince 1. C. 465.
33. Milyukov P.N. Old forgery // Latest news. 8 October 1921
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Revolver 4 September 2015 21: 55 New
    • 6
    • 0
    Yes, there was such a party. But now I’m trying to remember what I heard about them in history and in Soviet literature, and the only thing that comes to mind is the phrase by Kisa Vorobyaninov, many times mournfully repeated by him in French, German, and Russian: "Lord! I have not eaten for 6 days. Give something to the former deputy of the State Duma from the cadet faction!"
    1. Inok10 4 September 2015 22: 07 New
      • 7
      • 0
      Quote: Nagan
      "Gentlemen! I have not eaten for 6 days. Submit something to the former deputy of the State Duma from the cadet faction!"

      .. as the final article .. Quote:
      Pavel Nikolaevich did not sin against the truth. However, this did not prevent the cadet party ship, driven by an experienced pilot and sailing the wind of revolution, from the same wind to be thrown onto reefs. Together with the whole country.
      .. which confirms a simple truth, rhetoric, though magnificent, will never surpass practice .. well, the Cadet Party was a party of magnificent rhetoric orators .. hi
      1. Aljavad 4 September 2015 23: 41 New
        • 3
        • 0
        The Cadet Party was a party of magnificent rhetoric orators .. hi

        In short - demagogues (talkers)

        Rhetoric is a useful applied skill for a politician. But the trouble is if this is a profession.
  2. Basil50 4 September 2015 22: 12 New
    • 7
    • 0
    Here is the princely cadet and acquired some human features. Earlier, reading about Milyukov, he was at a loss, a man with education and abilities, but something absurd came out on business, but this turns out to be his conviction, and for this you can do anything: destroy the country, sell your fellow citizens. And all for the sake of an idea. That's just ideas are not * good for people *, but building * an ideal * and no one is sorry to achieve. By the way, the cadets embodied their ideas in * komuch *, and shed so much blood for the sake of it that they were quickly removed by accomplices. In general, a democrat is funny * within the framework of the * constitution, and everything is better than within the framework of foreign content.
  3. chunga-changa 4 September 2015 23: 04 New
    • 4
    • 0
    They are the same "cadets" as I am. Ordinary Masons, not very smart, not very lucky, and even directly subordinate to the French, what they were told they did. In general, the third grade, well, the result is appropriate.
  4. iliitchitch 4 September 2015 23: 06 New
    • 4
    • 0
    Not the best option, but it's good that the communists took power. At the cost of huge losses, but the country did not fall apart. And these talkers would have ruined Russia, 100%.
  5. klavyr 4 September 2015 23: 38 New
    • 3
    • 0
    I’m just deja vu some: a constitutional democratic party ... opposition forces ... struggle against power, etc. etc. a hundred years have passed, but nothing changes. means to the knightscrusadersswastikon bearers will soon have to make wills laughing
  6. afdjhbn67 5 September 2015 01: 35 New
    • 3
    • 0
    Quote: klavyr
    I’m just deja vu some: a constitutional democratic party ... opposition forces ... struggle against power, etc. etc. a hundred years have passed, but nothing changes. means to the knightscrusadersswastikon bearers will soon have to make wills laughing

    according to Leninist theory, history develops in a spiral, everything repeats at every turn, his own life experience convinces that Ilyich was right .. hi