On this day in 1905 Tsar Nicholas II agreed to create an elected assembly, the Duma.
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 endows 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.