Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 5.1 (2004) 117-136
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The Kadet Party and the Elusive Ideal of Internal Democracy
Dept. of History
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-4444 USA
Protokoly Tsentral'nogo komiteta i zagranichnykh grupp Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, 1905-seredina 1930-kh gg. [Protocols of the Central Committee and Émigré Groups of the Constitutional Democratic Party, 1905-mid-1930s]. 6 vols. Compiled, with introduction and notes, by Dmitrii Borisovich Pavlov. Vol. 1: 1905-1911 gg. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo "Progress-Akademiia," 1994. 526 pp. ISBN 5-85864-032-X. Vol. 2: 1912-1914 gg. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 1997. 519 pp. ISBN 5-86004-043-1, 5-86004-060-1. Part of the series Politicheskie partii Rossii: Konets XIX-pervaia tret ' XX veka. Dokumental'noe nasledie [Political Parties in Russia: The End of the 19th and First Third of the 20th Century. The Documentary Inheritance], under the general editorship of Valentin Valentinovich Shelokhaev.
S''ezdy i konferentsii Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, 1905-1920 [Congresses and Conferences of the Constitutional Democratic Party, 1905-1920]. 3 vols. Vol. 1: 1905-1907 gg. Compiled, edited, and prepared by O. N. Lezhneva, with notes by N. I. Kanishcheva, O. N. Lezhneva, and K. G. Liashenko. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 1997. 743 pp. ISBN 5-86004-062-8. Vol. 2: 1908-1914 gg. Compiled, with introduction and notes, by N. I. Kanishcheva. Prepared by L. G. Annokhova and K. G. Liashenko. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2000. 655 pp. ISBN 5-86004-062-8. Part of the series Politicheskie partii Rossii: Konets XIX-pervaia tret' XX veka. Dokumental'noe nasledie [Political Parties in Russia: The End of the 19th and First Third of the 20th Century. The Documentary Inheritance], under the general editorship of Valentin Valentinovich Shelokhaev.
Most of us encounter stenographic reports, protocols, and minutes of political parties or institutions in connection with specific topics. Efficient researchers do not simply sit and read such documents in their entirety for extended periods of time; rather, we focus our efforts on a specific incident, time period, or person. Moreover, because these documents were often handwritten, [End Page 117] occasionally typed, sporadically available in published periodical literature, and almost always stored in archives, until now it was nearly impossible to conceive of reading through a decade's worth of such documentation for its own sake. Consequently, reading through the recently published materials of the Constitutional Democratic (Kadet) Party's Central Committee and party congresses and conferences from 1905 to 1914 for the purposes of this review was a remarkable experience in and of itself. Readers are transformed from outside observers to party insiders and in the process become more sympathetic to the dilemmas faced by a liberal party committed to internal party democracy even while stymied in constructing it in the Russian political arena.
First and foremost, every historian interested in the politics of late imperial Russia must extend thanks to the editors, compilers, and archivists who have made this collection possible. Although most of these materials came from the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), the vast majority of the transcripts of the party congresses in the 1997 volume (third on the list above) were compiled from newspaper reports and Kadet party publications. In short, the publication of these volumes as well as the others in the series expands primary research about the Constitutional Democratic Party from an archive-bound activity to one that does not require visits to Russia. They make primary sources available to Russian historians who are not necessarily specialists on the Kadets but want to learn more about how the party governed itself during the Duma period.
Constitutional Democratic Party Protocols and Congresses, 1905-7
The protocols of the Central Committee discussed in this review constitute the first two volumes of six that follow the Kadets from 1905 until 1930. The editors begin with a brief examination of what they call the "riddle" of Russian liberalism, arguing that the time has come to unite Russian and foreign researchers...