Opening of the I All-Russian Congress of the “Union of October 17” party

21 February 1906

February 8 (21), 1906 in Moscow opened the I All-Russia Congress of the Party "Union of October 17”. At the congress, which lasted until 12 (25) February, completed the final design of the structure and organization of the Octobrist party.

Party "Union of October 17," was created in 1905, after the publication of the Manifesto 17 (30) October “On measures to improve public order", which granted to the Russian citizens political rights and freedoms. Among the founding members of the “Union of October 17" were prominent figures of Zemstvo (Earl P. A. Heiden, M. A. Stakhovich, Prince N. S. Volkonsky), capital professors, lawyers, scientists and artists (L. N, Benois, V. I. Guerrier, F. N. Plevako, V. I. Sergeevich), publishers and journalists (N. N. Pertsov, A. A. Stolypin, B. A. Suvorin), representatives of commercial and industrial community and banking circles (N. S. Avdakov, E. L. Nobel, brothers Ryabushinsky). At the head  of the party was of a large Moscow landlord and industrialist A. I. Guchkov.

By the spring of 1906 260 departments of the Party "Union of October 17” operated in the country, most of them were created in the provinces of European Russia with a relatively developed aristocratic land ownership; on the outskirts of Russia the number of Octobrist organizations was low. In Moscow and St. Petersburg there were branches of the Central Party Committee and municipal councils, which guided the activities of regional party organizations. Press organ of the party were the newspaper “Golos Moskvy" (The voice of Moscow), “Slovo” (The Word), etc. In 1906, Octobrists were publishing up to 50 newspapers in Russian, German and Latvian.

Octobrist party represented and protected the interests of landlords. They advocated "a strong monarchical power”, assuming as appropriate all of its regular activities aimed at suppressing the revolutionary situation in the country. In their program Octobrists supported the policy of the Russian government, promoting the unity and indivisibility of the Russian empire, constitutional monarchy, in which the emperor, as the holder of supreme power, was supposed to be limited to resolutions of the Basic Law. Civil rights in the program of Octobrists included freedom of conscience and religion, the inviolability of person and domicile, freedom of speech, assembly, association and movement.

As to the agrarian problem, the "Union of October 17" proposed to solve it by equation of peasants in the civil and property rights with other estates, assistance with resettlement of peasants, facilitation of their withdrawal from the community, recognition of state and appanage lands by the Foundation in order to allocate them to peasants, and promoting the purchase of land by peasants from private owners by means of the Peasant Bank. Octobrists actively supported the agrarian reform of P. A. Stolypin.

Members of the Union recognized the freedom of workers' organizations, associations, assemblies and the right of workers to strike in case of economic, professional and cultural needs. They were supporters of the expansion of public education, declared the need for reform of the court and administration. Octobrists supported the limiting of working hours, the introduction of workers' insurance, and required to reduce taxation of the population.

In November 1913, at a conference of the “Union of October 17" the policy of the Russian government was strongly criticized. The subject of a serious concern of the Union leaders was the growth of the crisis in the country's political life. Already in December 1913 the Duma faction of Octobrists split into three parts. The World War I led to the final disruption of the Union.

In July 1915, the publication of the "Voice of Moscow” discontinued. Soon the activities of the party ceased too. However, until the summer of 1917 several major figures of the “Union of October 17” (A. I. Guchkov, M. V. Rodzianko, I. V. Godnev) continued to play a prominent role in the political life of Russia.


Lit: Павлов Д. Б., Шелохаев В. В. Союз 17 октября // Политические партии России: история и современность. М., 2000; Петрово-Соловово В. М. «Союз 17 октября», его задачи и цели, его положение среди других политических партий. М., 1906; Программы главнейших русских партий. М., 1917; Рохас Пардо М. У. Социальная программа партии «Союз 17 октября» и её реализация в Государственной Думе России, 1906-1914 гг.: дисс. ... канд. ист. наук. Воронеж, 2003; Союз 17 октября [Электронный ресурс] // Хронос. 2000. URL:; Союз 17 октября [Электронный ресурс] // Томское краеведение. Б. д. URL:; Шелохаев В. В. Партия октябристов в период первой российской революции. М., 1987.


Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Сборник программ политических партий в России: в 2-х вып. / Под ред. В. Водовозова. СПб., 1905-1906. Вып. 2. 1906.