• The Democratic Conference and the Pre-Parliament in Russia, 1917: Class, Nationality, and the Building of a Postimperial Community

    Ivan Sablin (see profile)
    Soviet and Russian history and culture
    History, Eastern Europe, Russia, Nationalism--Study and teaching, Nationalism
    Item Type:
    Empire, Russian Revolution, Nationality, Russia, Russia and East Europe, Russian history, Nationalism studies
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    The article offers a detailed analysis of the debates at the All-Russian Democratic Conference and in the Provisional Council of the Russian Republic (the Pre-Parliament), which followed the proclamation of the republic on September 1, 1917, and predated the Bolshevik-led insurgency on October 25. The two assemblies were supposed to help resolve the multilayered political, economic, and military crises of the First World War and the Revolution by consolidating a Russian postimperial political community and establishing a solid government. The debates demonstrated that grievances and antagonism, which were articulated in terms of class and nationality, made the idea of a broad nationalist coalition unpopular, since it would halt agrarian and other reforms and continue the negligence of non-Russian groups. Furthermore, those who still called for all-Russian national or civic unity split on the issue of community-building. The top-down, homogenizing and bottom-up, composite approaches proved irreconcilable and precluded a compromise between non-socialist and moderate socialist groups. The two assemblies hence failed to ensure a peaceful continuation of the postimperial transformation and did not lead to a broad coalition against right and left radicalism. The divisions, which were articulated in the two assemblies, translated into the main rifts of the Russian Civil War.
    The research for this article was done as part of the project “ENTPAR: Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China and Mongolia, 1905–2005,” which received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 755504).
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


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