On October 17 (30), 1905 the emperor Nicolai II signed the Imperial Manifesto “On the state order perfection” that granted the freedoms to the Russian citizens. It was the first victory of the revolution of 1905-1907. The text of the manifesto that went down in history under the name of the Manifesto of October 17, 1905 had been prepared by A.D. Obolensky and N.I. Vouitch under the guidance of S.Yu. Vitte.
The Manifesto enunciated “stable basis of civil freedom on the basis of the personal immunity, liberty of conscience, freedom of speech, of assembly, of unions”. Elective franchise of the citizens was expanding, a new representative government body with legislative rights, the State Duma, was being established. The document ended with the appeal “to all faithful sons of Russia to help to stop… an unheard-of revolt” and together with the monarch “strain every nerve in order to reestablish the silence and peace in the motherland”.
As the direct effect of the manifesto issuing on October 17 (30), 1905, the legal political parties began to form, as well as trade unions, other social organizations and legal opposition press.
From the very first day the fact of the Manifesto appearance as well as its content had been evaluated very differently. Some considered the approval of the Manifesto as the beginning of autocracy restraint in Russia, others, on the contrary, believed the fundament of the autocracy was not affected by this fact.
Those who considered the Manifesto as the victory of the revolution had formed two right political parties – the party of liberal-monarchic bourgeoisie (constitutional democrats, or cadets) and the party of the officials, landowners and big bourgeoisie – “The Union of October 17” (also called the Octobers).
However many-millioned mass of peasants and workers continued to conduct revolutionary actions of different intensity up to the middle of 1907.
Lit.: 17 октября 1905 г. Манифест об усовершенствовании государственного порядка. [Электронный ресурс] // Российское законодательство X-XX вв. Т. 9. М., 1994; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://www.hist.msu.ru/ER/Etext/oct1905.htm; Мелешкин И. Манифест 17 октября 1905 г. // Коридоры власти. 2005. 24 нояб. (№ 11).
Based on the Presidential Library’s materials: