The Kadets

The Kadets

In 1905 during the first Russian revolution, Young revolutionaries founded the Kadets, a political party with the official name of ‘Constitutional Democrats’. Mostly young middle-class, they formed the largest party in the first Duma, representing professionals such as architects, teachers, musicians and artists, and the zemstva (district and provincial councils in the most westerly Russian territories, elected by landsmen, peasants and landlords, the latter with the biggest representation). Quite successful, they provided schools and hospitals; they even received the approval of the royal family.

The Kadets dreamed of equal, universal and direct suffrage and a national government of civil servants directly responsible to the Duma. But they also wanted to take over private land, offering compensation to the landowners. The land would be distributed among the peasants, but no violence or bloodletting was planned. The Kadets were peaceful revolutionaries.

At first they tried to work with the Tsar and a group of deputies from all parties in the Duma, the so-called Progressive Bloc. When the Bolsheviks dethroned the royal family the Kadets played an important part in the Provisional Government in 1917. It seems they made little or no contact, however, with peasants and workers.

In November of that year there were elections to the Constituent Assembly in which the Kadets won only seventeen seats. It was not enough to keep them safe, and during and after the October Revolution they were wiped out by arrest, murder or exile.

By | 2014-04-01T13:27:10+00:00 February 18th, 2014|Russian history|0 Comments

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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