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Definition: Duma from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In Russia, before 1917, an elected assembly that met four times following the short-lived 1905 revolution. With progressive demands the government could not accept, the Duma was largely powerless. After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the Duma directed the formation of a provisional government.


Summary Article: duma
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(du'mä), Russian name for a representative body, particularly applied to the Imperial Duma established as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1905. The parliamentary organization of 1906, largely the work of Count Witte, provided for a state council (an upper house, with some members appointed by the czar and others elected by the nobility, the zemstvos, the clergy, trade and industry, and the university faculties) and for the Duma (a lower house elected by a system of suffrage that was neither equal nor direct); no law was to be passed without the consent of the Duma. When Czar Nicholas II found that a majority of opposition candidates had been elected in 1906, he dissolved the Duma after 10 weeks. The second Duma (1907), even more hostile to the government, was also dissolved. The third Duma (1907–12) was the product of an electoral change that made it the tool of the government. It did, however, extend the peasants' rights and enact some labor laws. The fourth Duma (1912–17) had a conservative majority; called at rare and brief intervals, it was in constant conflict with the czar. It was dissolved by Nicholas in Mar., 1917 (Feb., O. S.), but refused to disband. Revolution (see Russian Revolution) broke out, and the Duma, after electing a provisional committee, disintegrated. The committee and the Petrograd soviet appointed the provisional government. The current State Duma (est. 1993) is the popularly elected lower house of the Russia Federation's legislature.

  • See V. A. Maklakov, The First State Duma (tr. 1964);.
  • A. Levin, The Second Duma (2d ed. 1966).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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