Crisis of Confidence
After the prorogation of September 1915, the reactionary revanche gathered momentum. Even before prorogation, the Duma Nationalists and Rights responded to the challenge of what they called the ‘Yellow Bloc’ by planning their own ‘Black Bloc’. Outside the Duma, the United Nobility agitated vigorously against any suggestion of official concession and a series of monarchist congresses (the only large public gatherings now permitted by the MVD) flaunted the victory of the Right in the faces of the crushed moderates and kept the general public well aware of the primacy of reaction. Goremykin had already ensured that the position of the Duma was weaker than ever before. Since the Duma’s greatest authority stemmed from its perusal of the Budget, Goremykin reasoned that to remove (or even only threaten to remove) this prerogative would render the Duma harmless. In June 1915, Goremykin persuaded the Council of Ministers to consider the principle of taxation by decree. If the government could raise taxes without recourse to the Duma, the national assembly would survive merely as a luxury which could be dispensed with whenever circumstances dictated. On 27 June, encouraged by guarded cabinet agreement to his ballon d’essai, Goremykin conceded the Duma summer session; but a mere five days before the Duma convened, it was brazenly announced that under the terms of Clause 87 of the Fundamental Laws, taxation might be raised by decree for the next two-and-a-half years.
KeywordsState Council Public Organisation Central Committee Party Congress Official Line
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