Posted at 11.14.2018
The Constituent Assemblage in Russia of 1917: Why achieved it fail?
The history of Rus, or Russia, as it known nowadays, is completely different from the European one. The end of tsarism in Russia was seen as a vast reforms which were followed by instability. 'People's Will' was upgrading old interpretation of power. One of the important features that was very important and occurred in Russia was a constituent assembly of 1917. This set up had only 1 1 day of existing, but still left a lot of unresolved questions about its character. Elected in November of 1917 and convened only one time in January of 1918 it likely to change the whole composition of Russia. However, it was dispersed by All - Russian Congress of Soviets, it failed to deliver the seeks of provisional authorities. Still, many individuals were pinned their expectations on constituent assembly, and the fact which it lasted such a brief time period and in the end failed, increases a lot of questions.
The governmental body that is defined here has its roots laid down in DARK AGES, and later, in times of enlightenment. At these stages of history, population developed to the level, when intellectual elite wanted to choose political system by themselves. Such legal bodies, which were deciding on different legislative questions, were recognized to Russia even before, for example through the elections of tsars Boris Godunov or Michael Romanov. However they were different entities, and the word, which is more modern and suits the definition of constituent assembly of 1917, was coined during French Revolution. In those days, constituent assemblage was as an indicator of law, sign of people's protection under the law and freedoms. Used in east, the idea of such body must have been modernized, or mixed, gathering both Western politics culture and Russian historical thought.
Autocracy in Russia in the latest many years of tsarism had a tendency to give promises, but never to realize them. Constituent assembly was associated with constitutional reforms first, as it was designed to build constitution. Such assemblage was a hope in the eye of people - e. g. it might be the representative of modern culture, thus resulting in independence, at least partial. This idea was widely reinforced by all revolutionists - beginning with Octobrists and ending up with Mensheviks. However, as constitutional assembly is rather a crisis - founded entity, and not long term, like parliament, it was awarded a huge amount of electric power, though on an extremely short period of time. As was mentioned before, idea of constituent power goes back to French Trend, when social agreement became an essential part of individuals - government string, and legislative, constituent and astonishing functions were put in constituent assemblage.
In Russia, establishment of democratic institutions will always be problems. This fact is a no think about, as it is unimaginable - to generate democratic mechanisms in autocratic engine motor. Because of this, there was lack of such establishments. Only in 16th - 17th c. the so - called 'Assemblies of the Land' or 'Zemskie Sobory' were founded. Notwithstanding, their guideline was often deceptive, as they did not have real ability, and were only an illusion of real assemblies. In addition to that, Russia was poor in monetary and social terms, signed up with industrialization very later. Overall, Western ideas which were constantly removed after Peter the fantastic, didn't find response in Russia, and the cheapest layer of society, which should have been the main democratic house, was unable to fit that role.
In such atmosphere of continuous tyranny of autocracy, failure to change anything, the bottom for radicalism and revolutionary thoughts was created. Moreover, the outcomes of French Revolution have changed intellects of Russian intelligentsia, and they became the key force of approaching changes. The first people who have been wanting to change something were Decembrists, as they were the first to proclaim the thought of constituent set up. However, their ideas didn't found recall, and after this movement was in the end defeated, desires for constituent set up vanished from the horizon. Intelligentsia halted to struggle for ideals of rights and people's will, relying only on contemporary society, as a primary force of ground-breaking thought.
It must be said, though, that people did not waited long, and in the long run of 19th century the so - called 'Narodnaya Volya' became the driving a vehicle factor of trend. Narodnaya Volya believed that it was ultimately constitutional federal government, which must be entitled with ability. Moreover, masses that must definitely be engaged in revolution, to be able to cause the overthrow, became alert to these ideas by this specific institution. This idea strongly influenced people's thoughts, which affection was only deepened by the first Russian Revolution. Narodnaya Volya became very popular among nation. Despite the fact that among Russian politics parties was very different, and some of them very critical about it, the lowest coating of society still hoped to achieve glory through constituent set up. Due to new widespread notion of constituent assembly, a lot of new still left - wing functions were established. Oddly enough, Mensheviks were quite skeptical about the thought of constituent assembly, boasting that it can be a at the mercy of lobbying, while Bolsheviks were placing their hopes on it, as they found constituent assemblage as essential - have prerequisite of revolution. SRs were also aiding the assembly initially of 20th century.
At the advantage of trend in 1905, everything was aimed at constituent assembly, the idea that has gradually harvested into a popular hope for people. By beginning of trend it became the top priority for land. Nevertheless, revolution modified the view of celebrations onto constituent set up. Pathways, or rather the ways, which gatherings were wanted to choose while building such set up, were completely different. Cadets and liberals wanted to exclude unwanted violence; SRs and Bolsheviks, as ground-breaking parties, saw the likelihood of establishment of constituent assembly only through armed uprising; while Mensheviks were acknowledging constituent set up as a by - product of self - government entities, which were not created, and down the road Duma, that was soon dissolved and Mensheviks refused to support the constituent assembly.
Even though it was a wide-spread idea, autocracy did not want to surrender. Additionally, the support of constituent assemblage idea among people' members had not been the same among region. It had been said that people were hoping for establishment of constituent set up, they didn't all realize the need than it, and, considering that almost all of the individuals were illiterate, didn't share the view on it with people, that mostly consisted of intellectuals. Each one of these factors did not let constituent assemblage to be created in 1905 - 1907.
Constituent assembly was made right after autocracy was overthrown - in 1917. The time of anarchy, non permanent gap between your overthrow of the old routine and adjustment of a new one, was a perfect situation for building the institution that was so long needed. The necessity for such establishment was obvious for anyone. That is why in the legal status of constituent set up, that was created by the efforts of The Petrograd Soviet of Staff' and Troops' Deputies and Interim Committee of their state Duma. It contains three details - elections of by popular vote, claim that it is constitutional set up that determines on main questions of open public life and this the proper execution of federal, e. g. politics system is decided only by the set up.
Finally, everything was prepared, and socialist get-togethers started focus on the plan for the first conference of constituent set up. Regarding to Cadets and Mensheviks, constituent set up should have experienced influence on politics system, land reforms, international relationships, military reforms etc. Bolsheviks were also interested and shown eagerness to of constituent assemblage. However, as soon as Lenin has come, Bolsheviks instantly changed their position. Lenin was quite skeptical about constituent assemblage, but did not refuse it. Somewhat, from now on Bolsheviks stopped to understand constituent assembly as a high - priority concern.
Here the issues start to show up on the landscape. Bolsheviks represented one part of democratic area, which refused democracy of bourgeois; these were somewhat the co - siders of democracy of proletariat. Their ideal was the pure democracy, the energy of people over people. On the other hand, Mensheviks and SRs were in - between, searching for some kind of parliamentary rule linked with the guideline of people; section of power. Because of this, democratic powers were divided. In addition, SRs and Mensheviks were having alternatively a long term union. In addition to that, it must be pointed out that Russia was having a plentitude of get-togethers, but do not require was linked with electorate sufficiently. As was discussed earlier, world was politically weakened and had not been developed in conditions of politics life.
As time was transferring by, provisional federal government experienced created a so - called 'Osoboye Soveshanie' which stands for 'special reaching'. This institution had to get ready ground for upcoming constituent assemblage and to answer many questions. Included in this were number of participants, decide on whether majoritarian or proportional representation principle must be applied during assemblage etc. Initially of September special meeting has ended up his work. The outcomes were made, and the plan was created, however the exact time of constituent assembly creation was still not verbalized in provisional administration. Finally, it was determined that constituent assembly must elected on November 12th, 1917.
Suddenly, when the period of tense atmosphere started occurring, the chaotic activities initiated. Bolsheviks became very difficult about constituent assemblage at exactly the same time as provisional federal was dropping its power. It was about time - Russia either would belong to oblivion, or would prosper in the new democratic world. However, as it often happens, in times of serious decisions country becomes very fragile. Bolsheviks had considered good thing about that situation. They made a decision to make an uprising, under the slogan of 'All Capacity to the Soviets!' (Vsya Vlast Sovyetam!). Lenin, the top of Bolsheviks, started to declare that only under the energy and direct guidance of Bolsheviks get together, constituent set up will be successful. Additionally, he was proclaiming that Soviets and set up must combine.
The idea of constituent assemblage was utilized by Lenin to attract those Bolsheviks and people that still acquired the constitutional illusions. Inside the upcoming struggle, the positioning of Bolsheviks and Lenin was very good. Armed uprising and seizure of power by Bolsheviks had completely reversed the discrepancy among contemporary society. From now on, constituent assembly was not uniting, but dividing parties. The slogan 'All Power to Soviets' was certainly non - democratic in its root base, and opposition openly admitted it, preventing with Lenin's party. SRs and Mensheviks, even having loose interconnection between them, were sitting on one side, being the fiercest opponents of Bolsheviks.
Bolsheviks immediately took actions - all liberal newspapers were sealed on the eve of 1917's October, changing them independently agitation campaigns. This era was anarchic, celebrations accused each other in inability of 1 to pass on Russian Idea, in schism of Russian Revolution that must occur and so forth. Being a refute, Bolsheviks' statements were they are the new traveling force and the only real authorities Russia needs, and other functions act as a counterrevolutionaries, which is undesirable. Parties were essentially ruining each and every brick they may have built up to now. People were a long way away from these concerns - these were more considering what would happen later on, and low politics culture combined with small amount of educated people were leaving no room for discourse.
In the end of October, all electoral process was under the direct effect of Soviets. Bolsheviks removed every single oppositional material from the general public access, and were immediately agitating independently Soviet advertising campaign. Elections in constituent assemblage were very complex. Economic weakness after the WWI combined with anarchic situation of the politics industry made atmosphere around these elections very complicated. Despite the fact that population was politically poor, appearance index was quite high. Interesting simple truth is that on these elections, the get together of SRs received. Bolsheviks were very amazed of such results. They were sure, that their huge campaign combined with prohibition of all other agitating materials was enough to make their party into assembly. The top losers, however, were the Mensheviks, who get the tiniest ratio of votes, and the get together to any extent further literally stopped existing.
Bolsheviks, of course, explained their inability by the SRs effect of electorates, accusing them of different abuses. The situation of September was repeating - people were blaming each other. However, in reality Bolsheviks' plan failed due to the inner composition of the regions that acquired the most effect on elections, such as Orenburg Province. Finally, when so anticipated even happened - e. g. when constituent assemblage gathered, regardless of the complete Bolshevik's propaganda, it immediately became to speak about election of assembly's innovator, who was the top of SRs - Victor Chernov, a Lenin's immediate opponent. Additionally, SRs were wanting to weaken Bolsheviks' influence, and Lenin cannot let that happen, and used the same approach to power reaching as before - put armed guards, and closed Tauride Palace one as well as for all. Later, he said his famous words: 'There is not a middle course all over the world, not can there be. There is either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat. ' (Hanna, 1972) Lenin picked second item.
In summary it must be said that innovations of 1917 in Russia show that political have difficulties is unavoidable, when society is to be altered via different means - e. g. when one part seeks revolution by using equipped uprising, and the other, which is more democratic and needs to attain change by the will of society. They cannot can be found at one time. Within the years 1917 - 1918 equipped uprising of radicals has became more effective, as Soviets finally won. Moreover, the taking of peaceful demonstration on 5th of January, 1918 (the day of constituent set up beginning) was putting Russia in the danger of civil conflict. Liberal - democratic community has completely broken up. Despite the fact that in 1917 record of constituent assemblage had several hundred years, since Great French Revolution approved, Russia cannot sustain the same issues as revolution through the prism of Western european nation. During an effort to develop democracy, Russia has skipped as soon as, when a group of people with the being hungry for power started to increase their influence. Proletariat was weakly enthusiastic about the politics, which even worsened the problem. As a result, low politics culture of the modern culture combined with adopted Western european practice and inappropriate grounds for democracy to be occur, constituent set up in the critical moment was struggling to package with Bolsheviks. Forearms and radicalism got over ambitions and hope for better life, and from that moment in time Russia probably hast lost this desire forever.