OCTOBRISTS, constitutional-monarchist party in czarist Russia founded after the issue of the Manifesto of *Nicholas II of Oct. 30, 1905. The goal of the Octobrists was to attain certain limited freedoms, i.e., the freedom of speech, of assembly, and organization. The party also demanded the right to a legislative assembly (*Duma), elected democratically as had been promised to the Russian people in the Manifesto. In the First Imperial Duma (1906), composed mostly of constitutional-democratic factions, the Octobrists did not occupy a significant place, having only 16 seats out of a total of 500. In the Second Duma (1907) they had 44 representatives. The strength and influence of the party rose in the Third Duma (1907–1910) which was elected after electoral reforms had been introduced, conferring preferential rights on the aristocracy and restricting the electoral rights of the broader levels of the social strata. The Octobrists drew close to the reactionary right wing of the Duma which unreservedly supported the czar and his government; the leader of the faction, A. Guchkov, was elected as chairman of the Duma.
On the Jewish question the Octobrists from the very outset adopted an evasive policy. When compelled to take a clear
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.