There is a widespread notion that Russia is forever fated to be an authoritarian country where liberalism and democracy can never make real progress. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century there was an extremely influential “liberationist” movement which culminated in the formation of a modern, Western-style liberal party, the Constitutional Democrats or “Kadets”. The book provides a comprehensive history of the rise of the Kadets, focusing, in particular, on the revolutionary years 1905-06. It outlines how they dominated the first Duma elected by the people and analyses their policies, social composition and political tactics. The book challenges the view (shared by many historians) that the Kadets were inherently extreme, doctrinaire or unwilling to compromise, and argues that their eventual failure was primarily due to the intransigence of the old régime. The Russian Liberals and the Revolution of 1905 illustrates, in detail, that the Kadets offered a moderate alternative to reaction on the one hand and revolution on the other.
Preface Foreword 1. Prelude 2. Reform or Revolution 3. The Birth of the Kadet Party 4. The Run-Up to the First Duma 5. The First Duma (27 April – 9 July 1906) 6. Kadet Party Policy 7. Who were the Kadets? 8. Some Conclusions