chapter  4
23 Pages

The End of Serfdom

A considerable segment of Russian society, hailed the creation of the Duma as an important turning point in the country's history, a landmark on Russia's road to Westernization, and culmination of a century of struggle for popular representation. The conviction was widespread that the changes taking place were irreversible. The Duma's success depended on how broadly it represented the various social strata. The peasants, by virtue of their overwhelming numbers, elected about 40 percent of the Duma deputies. The executive power must be subordinated to the legislative power, demanded the lawyer Vladimir Nabokov, one of the leaders of the Kadets. A free Russia demands the liberation of all those who have suffered for freedom. The elections to the Third Duma in the autumn of 1907 directly reflected the changes in the electoral law. Stolypin proposed to solve the peasants' problems by unleashing then-initiative, giving them a sense of ownership and increased incentives to make more productive use of their land.