Question from a Dummy: State Duma

May 2018
7
Canada
#1
So I'm writing an story revolving around a man who lived in Russia in 1916. I have done a few research, but I still feel like I need some clarity in a few areas:

- When one is a member of State Duma, how do others address his occupation? Will simply calling him a 'politician' suffice?

- Do members of State Duma wear different uniforms depending on their ranks? If there's any source that shows the difference in their uniforms, please share the link! :persevere:

- What kind of works do members of State Duma do, exactly?
 
Sep 2012
907
Prague, Czech Republic
#2
When one is a member of State Duma, how do others address his occupation? Will simply calling him a 'politician' suffice?

They were called deputies, but being a deputy in the Duma was not an occupation, in the sense that it would be for a modern politician. It was not a full time job, and wasn't really a job at all - you weren't paid to sit in the Duma. About half the members were nobles in 1916, with many of the rest being lawyers and businessmen - you had to have enough money to go to St Petersburg and sit there without getting paid, after all. I think the RSDLP may have paid its own members from party funds.


- Do members of State Duma wear different uniforms depending on their ranks? If there's any source that shows the difference in their uniforms, please share the link! :persevere:
There were no ranks - the Duma was a consultative political body, not a military branch. They wore suits, though some of the nobles who were officers in the military may have worn their uniforms to sessions - not sure on this. Here are some centre-left deputies attending the second Duma (1907), courtesy of wikipedia:




What kind of works do members of State Duma do, exactly?
If you mean what work did they do as deputies to the Duma; they sat around and talked about public policy and voted on proposed laws. If you mean what work did they do when not sitting in the Duma, most were landowners; several were businessmen, some were lawyers and a few from the revolutionary parties were career politicians paid by the party.
 
May 2018
7
Canada
#3
They were called deputies, but being a deputy in the Duma was not an occupation, in the sense that it would be for a modern politician. It was not a full time job, and wasn't really a job at all - you weren't paid to sit in the Duma. About half the members were nobles in 1916, with many of the rest being lawyers and businessmen - you had to have enough money to go to St Petersburg and sit there without getting paid, after all. I think the RSDLP may have paid its own members from party funds.

If you mean what work did they do as deputies to the Duma; they sat around and talked about public policy and voted on proposed laws. If you mean what work did they do when not sitting in the Duma, most were landowners; several were businessmen, some were lawyers and a few from the revolutionary parties were career politicians paid by the party.
This information is all very interesting, thank you very much for clarifying!

Wiki stated however, that "The office as deputy of the State Duma is a full-time and professional position.[11] Thus, deputies to the State Duma may not be employed in the civil service or engage in any activities for remuneration other than teaching, research or other creative activities." Does this mean that it was viewed as an occupation back in the days, but in reality they didn't do much?

This leads to me wondering, was being a member of State Duma something to be proud of back in the days? Or is it something any nobles can do as long as they're at the appropriate age and wishes to?


Can you also elaborate more on the 'a few from the revolutionary parties were career politicians paid by the party.'? Why are they chosen and paid?
 
Sep 2012
907
Prague, Czech Republic
#4
This information is all very interesting, thank you very much for clarifying!

You're welcome.


Wiki stated however, that "The office as deputy of the State Duma is a full-time and professional position.[11] Thus, deputies to the State Duma may not be employed in the civil service or engage in any activities for remuneration other than teaching, research or other creative activities." Does this mean that it was viewed as an occupation back in the days, but in reality they didn't do much?
The quote above from Wikipedia is discussing the rules for deputies in the State Duma today, in the 21st century. A lot has changed in the last century, and back in the days of the Russian Empire there was no universal suffrage, nor any intention on behalf of elites that any old commoner would be able to participate in government. Representatives were not paid, because only people from the wealthier classes who could afford to support themselves were expected to be involved. This is not unique to Russia - members of the British House of Commons were not paid in 1916 either - the first working class socialist MPs like Keir Hardie had to raise money from party comrades to find their living expenses.


This leads to me wondering, was being a member of State Duma something to be proud of back in the days? Or is it something any nobles can do as long as they're at the appropriate age and wishes to?
I don't know, sorry - I'm not an expert on this, so I don't really know how deputies were perceived socially. Hopefully someone else on the board has more insight than me.


Can you also elaborate more on the 'a few from the revolutionary parties were career politicians paid by the party.'? Why are they chosen and paid?
The revolutionary left parties had people who worked full time for the party and were paid from contributions of party members. How they selected their deputies I don't know. A friend of mine recommends Lenin’s Electoral Strategy from 1907 to the October Revolution of 1917 for details on how the RSLDP (the party that would go on to create the Soviet Union) functioned at the time. That friend is an unrepentant Marxist, though, so bear that in mind if you have a look.
 
May 2018
7
Canada
#5
Thank you for sharing the information! Really appreciate it :) I will check out the book as well.

There's one other thing I'm wondering. Can the member of State Duma have a political position at the same time, such as Minister of Court, etc?
 
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