The intimidating confrontation of tsarism and revolution in early twentieth-century Russia briefly created a parliamentary no-man’s land where the political moderates learned to contrive a precarious existence. Menaced by the Red revolution of the country and the Black revolution of the Tsar, the moderate course depended ultimately on the range and quality of its national support. Despite understandable moderate diffidence on the subject, the Okhrana provides irrefutable testimony of the numerical and organisational weakness of the moderate parties. The Progressists were more a parliamentary pressure-group than a genuine national movement. The Octobrists, shocked by their schism of late 1913, abandoned politics en masse for service in the war effort. Every party congress or conference provided more evidence of the persistent debilitating decline in the moderates’ provincial membership and public role. Even the Kadet party, relatively the most healthy of the moderates, could at best survive only in the cities and towns, compromising a ‘Kadet Archipelago’ within the Russian Empire; at worst, the party was effectively reduced to the confines of Petrograd and Moscow. Although precise figures about party membership are impossible to acquire, it seems reasonable to hazard that active support for the moderate parties was down to a few thousand by the eve of the February Revolution.1


Moderate Party Party Membership Left Moderate Party Congress Moderate Camp 
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© Raymond Pearson 1977

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  • Raymond Pearson

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