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This article is about the councils in tsarist Russia. For the current Russian legislative body, see State Duma. For other uses, see Duma (disambiguation).

The Duma were council assemblies that were created by the Emperor of Russia. It is a form of Russian governmental institution that was formed during the reign of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. It is also the term for a council to early Russian rulers (Boyar Duma), as well as for city councils in Imperial Russia ('Municipal dumas'), and city and regional legislative bodies in the Russian Federation.

In early Russian history[edit]

The term comes from the Russian verb думать (dumat’) meaning "to think" or "to consider". The Boyar Duma was an advisory council to the grand princes and czar of Russia. The Duma was discontinued by Peter the Great, who transferred its functions to the Governing Senate in 1721.

Municipal dumas[edit]

Under the reign of Alexander II, several reforms were enacted during the 1860s and 1870s. These included the creation of local political bodies known as zemstvoes.[1] All owners of houses, tax-paying merchants and workmen are enrolled on lists in a descending order according to their assessed wealth. The total valuation is then divided into three equal parts, representing three groups of electors very unequal in number, each of which elects an equal number of delegates to the municipal duma. The executive is in the hands of an elective mayor and an uprava, which consists of several members elected by the duma. Under Alexander III, however, by laws promulgated in 1892 and 1894, the municipal dumas were subordinated to the governors in the same way as the zemstvos. In 1894 municipal institutions, with still more restricted powers, were granted to several towns in Siberia, and in 1895 to some in Caucasia.

State Duma in Imperial Russia[edit]

Under the pressure of the Russian Revolution of 1905, on 6 August 1905, Sergei Witte issued a manifesto about the convocation of the Duma, initially thought to be an advisory organ. In the subsequent October Manifesto, Nicholas II pledged to introduce basic civil liberties, provide for broad participation in the State Duma, and endow the Duma with legislative and oversight powers.

However, Nicholas II was determined to retain his autocratic power. Just before the creation of the Duma in May 1906, the Tsar issued the Fundamental Laws. It stated in part that Tsar's ministers could not be appointed by, and were not responsible to, the Duma, thus denying responsible government at the executive level. Furthermore, the Tsar had the power to dismiss the Duma and announce new elections whenever he wished.

The imperial State Duma was elected four times: in 1906, twice in 1907, and in 1912.

State Duma in the Russian Federation[edit]

Main article: State Duma

The State Duma (Russian: Государственная дума, Gosudarstvennaya Duma, common abbreviation: Госдума, Gosduma) in Russia is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (parliament), the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. Under Russia's 1993 constitution, there are 450 deputies of the State Duma (Article 95), each elected to a term of four years (Article 96); this was changed to a five-year term in late 2008. In previous elections of 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2003 one half of the deputies were elected by a system of proportional representation and one half were elected by plurality in single member districts. However, the 2007 Duma elections were carried out in a new format: all 450 deputies were elected by a system of proportional representation. Russian citizens at least 27 years old are eligible to run for the Duma (Article 97).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stearns, Peter (2007). World Civilizations the Global Experience. New York: Pearson Education. p. 620. ISBN 0132206994. 

Coordinates: 55°45′29″N 37°36′55″E / 55.75806°N 37.61528°E / 55.75806; 37.61528

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15971 news items

The Moscow Times

Sun, 31 Aug 2014 17:33:45 -0700

A deputy in the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has called for an inspection of the activities of the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) organization. The Russian daily "Izvestia" reported on September 1 that Andrei Krutov from ...


Mon, 01 Sep 2014 03:25:44 -0700

Russian Parliament speaker Sergey Naryshkin has accused the US of influencing the EU into imposing sanctions on his country without knowing “the actual reasons behind the situation in Ukraine” and says Europe “will have to pay the price for this policy.”.


Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:56:15 -0700

MOSCOW, September 1 (RAPSI) – Lawmakers of State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, are seeking to speed up the enactment of a recently-approved law on Russian citizens' personal data storage and processing, RIA Novosti reported on ...
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 00:52:30 -0700

The bill has been submitted to the State Duma, lower house of parliament, for discussion. Currently, Russian nationals who lost their passports abroad can come back home after receiving an ID issued by a diplomatic mission, a Russian consulate or a ...
RIA Novosti
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0700

ANKARA, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin will attend the inauguration of Turkey's newly elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Thursday, the speaker's press secretary said. The Russian delegation will also include ...

Kyiv Post

Kyiv Post
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 05:54:19 -0700

Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin was about to meet with the president of the lower house of the Swiss parliament on Sept. 23. © © Courtesy. SEE ALSO. Reuters: Swiss say widening measures to prevent bypassing of Russia sanctions.
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 06:18:45 -0700

MOSCOW, August 08./ITAR-TASS/. Russian parliament's lower house State Duma plans to consider a bill in autumn session to increase compulsory assortment of Russian food in retail networks to 70%, said member of a Duma committee. Another initiative ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 05:39:18 -0700

MOSCOW, August 21./ITAR-TASS/. Bewilderment sets in as Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian parliament's lower house State Duma, muses on why Ukrainian authorities and the West are silent over the disappearance of Russian reporter Andrei ...

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