Why was the duma created?
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The Duma, or Russian Parliament, was created following the Revolution of 1905 in Russia. Russia prior to that time had been a very autocratic state, ruled absolutely by the Czar. Nicholas II, although personally a good man, tended to be woefully ignorant of the suffering of the common people. At a time when most land in Russia was owned by aristocratic families, many peasants were starving, and subject to the tyranny of their landlords. The situation was exacerbated by Russia's loss of the Russo-Japanese War and the realization of many Russian people that the people of western Europe enjoyed freedoms which they themselves did not.
In January, 1905, a group of peasants marched to the Winter Palace to ask the Czar for reforms. Czar Nicholas II was not present, but palace guards fired on the crowd, killing many people. The end result was a general strike which paralyzed the country. Nicholas was forced to meet some of the people's demands, and issued the October Manifesto under which, among other things, he promised to create a Duma.
A Duma is any of various representative assemblies in modern Russia and Russian history. The State Duma in the Russian Empire and Russian Federation corresponds to the lower house of the parliament. Simply 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.
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