The Russian Revolutionary Provisional Government:
From the Second Russian Revolution to the October Soviet Revolution,
Table of Contents
Formation of the Provisional Committee of the Fourth State Duma
1917fe27:Petrograd Taurida Palace| Fourth State Duma delegates of widely different political persuasions
expressed general approval of a proposal
that the Duma create a Provisional Committee with dictatorial powers to carry Russia through the growing crisis.
Delegate Vasilii Shul'gin had been elected to the Second and Third State Dumas and now would be appointed to the new Provisional Committee. He described first-hand the dramatic events that stretched into the wee hours and led to the creation of the Provisional Committee [McC2:9-11 and VSB,3:880-1] =
All members of the Duma were present. [Duma President] Rodzianko and the elders were at the table. The others were crowding around. Disturbed, agitated, as if pressing cordially together ... Even people who had been enemies for years felt that here was something which was equally dangerous, threatening, repulsive to them all... This something was the street, the crowd in the street ... Its breathing, which had come close, could be felt. From the street came That, about which very few were thinking then but many probably sensed it unconsciously. Therefore they were pale with secretly contracting hearts. Death passed along the street, surrounded by a crowd of many thousands. [...]
It appears that someone proposed that the State Duma should declare itself the government. If it did so it would not dissolve, it would not be subject to the ukaz [handed down by Nicholas I ordering the dissolution of the Duma]. Declare itself the Constituent Assembly. This could not get support [from the members gathered]. [...] Miliukov spoke, recommending caution, recommending that too hasty decisions should not be taken, especially when we did not yet know what would happen and, as is said, the old order has fallen, that it existed no more, when we on the whole did not understand the situation and do not know how serious, how resolute the incipient popular movement is....
[...] Kerenskii began to speak at this moment [when the door to the chamber was forced by the agitated commander of the Duma guard who shouted out that soldiers had broken into the building].What has happened confirms that we must not lose any time. I am receiving reports constantly that the army is in revolt. They are going on to the streets. I am going to the regiments! It is necessary to know what I am to say to them. May I tell them that the State Duma is with them, that it is taking on itself responsibility and that it is leading the movement?[Shul'gin continues in his own words,] I don't remember if Kerenskii received an answer or not. It appears not. But he grew into a man of "importance" at that very moment. He spoke decisively, powerfully and cogently. Words and gestures were precise, distinct, his eyes were blazing.
An overwhelming majority elected the following Provisional Committee of the Fourth State Duma =In essence this was a committee of the Progressive Bloc with the addition of Kerenskii and Chkheidze. This was an extension of the bloc toward the Left [...].Chkheidze (SDs)
Efremov (Progressive Bloc)
Rzhevskii (Progressive Bloc)
Shidlovskii,Sergei (Left Octobrist)
Rodzianko (Zemstvo Octobrist)
Shul'gin (Nationalist, Progressive Bloc)
Fear of the street drove Shul'gin [conservative, here referring to himself in the second person] and Chkheidze [socialist] into one "kollegium"...
But the street was advancing and suddenly broke upon them...
This crowd of thirty thousand which had been threatening since morning was no myth, no figment of our fears...
And it came exactly like a landslide, like a flood... They say (I did not see it myself) that Kerenskii tried to take the first bunch of soldiers who crept into the porch of the Taurida Palace and make them into "the first revolutionary guard"...
"Citizen-soldiers, a great honor has fallen to your lot: to protect the State Duma... I declare you to be the first revolutionary guard!...
But this "first revolutionary guard" did not even last the first minute... It was immediately overrun by the crowd...
I don't know how it happened... I can't recall... I do remember that instant when the black-grey mass pressing at the doors inundated the Duma in an unbroken, bursting torrent...
Soldiers, workers, students, intellectuals, just plain people... In a living, viscous, human stream they poured into the bewildered Taurida Palace and filled up hall after hall, room after room...
That which we had feared so much, which we had wished to avoid at any cost, was already a fact. The revolutionary had begun.
From this moment the State Duma, properly speaking, ceased to exist.