Russian Constitution of 1906
The Russian Constitution of 1906 refers to a major revision of the 1832 Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, which transformed the formerly absolutist
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

 state into one in which the emperor agreed for the first time to share his autocratic power with a parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

. It was enacted on April 23, 1906, on the eve of the opening of the first State Duma
State Duma
The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

. This first-ever Russian Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 was a revision of the earlier Fundamental Laws, which had been published as the Set of Laws of the Russian Empire (Свод законов Российской империи) in 1832. It was granted during the Russian Revolution of 1905
Russian Revolution of 1905
The 1905 Russian Revolution was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Some of it was directed against the government, while some was undirected. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies...

, in a last-ditch effort by the imperial government to preserve its own existence and keep the nation from sliding into all-out anarchy.

The new constitution provided for a two-housed Russian parliament, without whose approval no laws were to be enacted in Russia. This legislature was composed of an upper house, known as the State Council, and a lower house, known as the State Duma. Members of the upper house were half appointed by the Tsar, with the other half being elected by various governmental, clerical and commercial interests. Members of the lower house were to be chosen by various classes of the Russian people, through a complex scheme of indirect elections—with the system being weighted to ensure the ultimate preponderance of the propertied classes. While the Duma held the power of legislation and the right to question the Tsar's ministers
Minister (government)
A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet....

, it did not have control over their appointment or dismissal, which was reserved to the monarch alone. Nor could it alter the constitution, save upon the emperor's initiative. The Tsar retained an absolute veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

 over legislation, as well as the right to dismiss the Duma at any time, for any reason he found suitable. The emperor also had the right to issue decrees during the Duma's absence—though these lost their validity if not approved by the new parliament within two months.

This charter had been granted under duress, and Nicholas abhorred its restrictions upon his power, which he had sworn at his coronation
Coronation of the Russian monarch
The Coronation of the Russian monarch was a religious ceremony of the Russian Orthodox Church, the state church of the Russian Empire, in which the Emperor of Russia was crowned and invested with regalia, then anointed with chrism and formally blessed by the church to commence his reign...

 to pass on to his son. He dismissed the First and Second Dumas when they proved "unsatisfactory" to him, and unilaterally altered the election statutes (in violation of the constitution) to ensure that more landed
Landed property
Landed property or landed estates is a real estate term that usually refers to a property that generates income for the owner without the owner having to do the actual work of the estate. In Europe, agrarian landed property typically consisted of a manor, several tenant farms, and some privileged...

 persons would be elected to future Dumas. Although the resulting Third and Fourth Dumas proved more lasting, they still quarreled with the Tsar and his government over the general direction of state policy, and over the fundamental nature of the Russian state. Ultimately, with the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, the Duma took a leading role in bringing about the Tsar's abdication, which led in turn to the abolition of the monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 and the ascent to power of the Communists
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...


Russian government prior to 1906

Prior to April 23, 1906, the Russian Empire had been an absolute monarchy, ruled by an autocratic emperor, who was commonly referred to by his pre-imperial title of "Tsar". The precise regulations by which the Tsar exercised his imperial prerogatives were first codified in 1832, with the issuance of the Set of Laws of the Russian Empire (Свод законов Россыскои имперы), penned by Mikhail Speransky
Mikhail Speransky
Count Mikhail Mikhailovich Speransky was probably the greatest of Russian reformers during the reign of Alexander I of Russia. He was a close advisor to Tsar Alexander I of Russia and later to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, he is sometimes called the father of Russian liberalism.-Early life and...

. These laws could be altered or repealed by the emperor. However, the autocratic Tsars were generally limited by two constraints: they and their spouses must profess the Russian Orthodox faith, and they must obey the laws of succession laid down by Emperor Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

. Beyond that, the power of the Russian emperor was virtually limitless.

Although a Boyar Duma had existed in Russia from Muscovite times until the rule of Peter I
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

, it was an advisory institution, without legislative prerogatives. Peter abolished this organ in 1721, replacing it with the Governing Senate
Governing Senate
The Governing Senate was a legislative, judicial, and executive body of Russian Monarchs, instituted by Peter the Great to replace the Boyar Duma and lasted until the very end of the Russian Empire. It was chaired by the Ober-Procurator...

. This body consisted of nine (later ten) members, and was intended to oversee administration of the empire, under the direction of an Ober-Procurator, appointed (as were all members of this body) by the sovereign. The emperor might submit draft decree proposals to this committee for their deliberation and recommendations, but he was not bound to do so, nor was he required to accept their advice, once tendered. In later years, the Governing Senate took on an important role in administration and law, and by the late nineteenth century it had evolved into the highest judicial organ in Russia, with all officials and legal institutions under its control. Its decisions as to interpretation of the legal code, unless countermanded by the Tsar, were seen as absolutely authoritative. However, the Senate still remained at all times under the monarch's direct control: he named and dismissed its members, could alter its prerogatives, and was free to overrule its actions. As such, the Ruling Senate was never considered to be a "parliament" in the modern sense.

Various proposals for reform emerged during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 formed a Privy Committee to investigate introducing a parliament and ministerial system; the latter was eventually introduced, but the former foundered due to the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 and opposition from conservative members of the nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. Alexander did establish a State Council
State Council of Imperial Russia
The State Council was the supreme state advisory body to the Tsar in Imperial Russia.-18th century:Early Tsars' Councils were small and dealt primarily with the external politics....

, with 35—later 60—members, whose major duty was the investigation, promulgation and abrogation of laws. Its four departments were:
  • Legislative;
  • Civil and Ecclesiastical Administration;
  • State Economy; and
  • Industry, Science and Commerce.

Each department had its own presiding officer (called a State Secretary) and met separately to discuss matters assigned to it. There were also plenary sessions of the whole Council, called to peruse laws proposed by the Tsar's ministers, who were ex-officio members. While most sessions concerned the budget and state expenditures, the Council would examine anything submitted to it. It had no authority to propose changes to existing laws, nor to investigate anything not initiated by the Tsar. Decision-making authority rested with the emperor, who appointed and dismissed members of the Council.

Alexander's nephew Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 entertained reformist ideas, culminating in a project initiated by Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov, who had been appointed his Minister of Interior in August 1880. One of these proposals would have established two Imperial commissions, to be populated by indirectly-elected members, who would advise the Emperor on further reforms. Alexander's assassination, on the very day he intended to sign this proposal into law, effectively killed all mention of legislative reform in Russia—as the murdered Tsar's son, Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

, insisted upon preserving the autocracy intact. Nicholas II, who succeeded his father in 1894, was also committed to maintain absolute monarchy, even in the face of ever-increasing calls for reform, peasant unrest, and the rise of revolutionary organizations within his empire. When reforms became inevitable, Nicholas would insist upon retaining as much of his previous authority as possible. For instance, faced with demands from municipal and provincial dumas for the establishment of a national legislative assembly, Nicholas offered only a broadening of the local councils' authority, insurance for factory workers, and the abolition of censorship. This was not considered nearly enough for the liberals, who agitated even more for a constitution and far-reaching political reforms.

Adoption of the constitution

Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 of 1905 combined with a rising tide of revolutionary feeling in Russia to produce the Russian Revolution of 1905. This upheaval was initially provoked by Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday (1905)
Bloody Sunday was a massacre on in St. Petersburg, Russia, where unarmed, peaceful demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were gunned down by the Imperial Guard while approaching the city center and the Winter Palace from several gathering points. The shooting did not...

, in which thousands of unarmed protesters (largely urban workers and intellectuals) seeking to present a petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

 to the Tsar were met by imperial troops, who opened fire on them and killed several. As word of this tragedy spread across the empire, it combined with the catestrophic Russian defeat in the Far East to incite a major uprising against the emperor's authority. Although the Tsarist army
Imperial Russian Army
The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 to the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1850s, the Russian army consisted of around 938,731 regular soldiers and 245,850 irregulars . Until the time of military reform of Dmitry Milyutin in...

 largely remained loyal to the emperor, close advisors to the Tsar became convinced that some kind of fundamental change in State administration was inevitable, if the monarchy was to survive.

Count Sergei Witte
Sergei Witte
Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte , also known as Sergius Witte, was a highly influential policy-maker who presided over extensive industrialization within the Russian Empire. He served under the last two emperors of Russia...

, the Tsar's Minister of Finance and recent Russian plenipotentary at the Treaty of Portsmouth
Treaty of Portsmouth
The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. It was signed on September 5, 1905 after negotiations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine in the USA.-Negotiations:...

 negotiations (ending the war with Japan), was named chairman of the Tsar's Council of Ministers
Russian Council of Ministers
The Russian Council of Ministers is an executive governmental body that brings together the principal officers of the Executive Branch of the Russian government.- Committee of Ministers :...

 after returning home from New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

. He proposed introduction of an elected legislature, the granting of basic civil rights, and the formation of a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

. Nicholas strenuously resisted these ideas, but gave in after his first choice to head a military dictatorship, Grand Duke Nicholas, threatened to shoot himself in the head if the Tsar did not accept Witte's suggestion. Nicholas unwillingly agreed, and issued what became known as the October Manifesto
October Manifesto
The October Manifesto was issued on 17 October, 1905 by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia under the influence of Count Sergei Witte as a response to the Russian Revolution of 1905....

, promising basic civil rights and an elected parliament called the Duma, without whose approval no laws were to be enacted in Russia in the future.

Accordingly, three proposed drafts were prepared for a revision of Speransky's Fundamental Laws. The Tsar chose to accept the draft authored by Peter Kharitonov, Deputy State Secretary of the State Chancellory, as the basis for the new constitution. Other constitutions from Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 were also studied, as was a draft constitution authored by the Union of Liberaton, and published abroad. The State Chancellory prepared a draft, which was discussed during five sessions of the Council of Ministers, where alterations were made to further strengthen the emperor's prerogatives at the expense of the new parliament. Following this, the draft was further discussed and amended under the Tsar's chairmanship, Nicholas chose to officially publish this new constitution on April 23, 1906. With this act, Russia was officially transformed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional one, though the exact extent of just how constitutional quickly became the subject of debate, based upon the emperor's subsequent actions.


The Russian Constitution of 1906 contained an introduction and eleven chapters: comprising a total of 124 articles:
  • The Introduction (Articles 1-3) declared that Russia was "one and indivisible", and mandated the use of Russian in the armed forces and other public institutions. It also acknowledged the Grand Duchy of Finland
    Grand Duchy of Finland
    The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

     as an "inseparable part of the Russian state", while ambiguiously acknowledging its special legislative and political status.
  • Chapter One (Articles 4-24) concerned "the essence of the supreme autocratic power", declaring that the emperor possessed "supreme sovereign power", and that obedience to his commands was mandated by God
    God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

     himself. It provided for the ruler's prerogatives, while making him personally inviolable. The Tsar possessed an absolute veto over all legislation, legislative initiative on all matters, and the sole prerogative to initiate any revison of the constitution itself. The emperor had charge over Russia's administrative and external affairs, and sole power to declare war, make peace and negotiate treaties, as well as the supreme command of the armed forces. The emperor also retained authority over the mint
    Mint (coin)
    A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures coins for currency.The history of mints correlates closely with the history of coins. One difference is that the history of the mint is usually closely tied to the political situation of an era...

    ing of money, as well as the right to grant pardons and quash judicial proceedings. He appointed and dismissed his ministers at will, and decided the nature and scope of their duties.
  • Chapter Two (Articles 25-39) regulated the order of succession to the throne. The thrones of Poland
    Congress Poland
    The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

     and Finland were declared "inseparable" from that of Russia, while precise rules on succession to the throne were spelled out. Females were eligible to succeed, though they were placed last in order behind all male descendants of Romanov emperors. A female ruler was guaranteed all the prerogatives and privileges of the imperial office, though her consort was not to take the title of "emperor". Children born to a marriage between a dynastic Romanov
    The House of Romanov was the second and last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, reigning from 1613 until the February Revolution abolished the crown in 1917...

     and a person "not of corresponding dignity" (defined as "not belonging to any royal or sovereign house") were ineligible for the throne, as was any person who inherited the throne while ruling over another nation whose state religion was not Orthodox, if unwilling to renounce that other throne and faith.
  • Chapter Three (Articles 40-82) concerned issues of regency
    A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

     and guardianship, if the emperor was a minor
    Minor (law)
    In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

    . The age of majority
    Age of majority
    The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized in law. It is the chronological moment when minors cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of...

     was established at sixteen, and instructions were given concerning the appointment of a regent and a mandatory regency council, together with the prerogatives exercised by the same.
  • Chapter Four (Articles 53-56) concerned accession to the throne and the Oath of Allegiance to be sworn by all male citizens of the empire, aged twenty and above, each "according to his faith and law".
  • Chapter Five (Articles 57-58) concerned the coronation and anointing
    Coronation of the Russian monarch
    The Coronation of the Russian monarch was a religious ceremony of the Russian Orthodox Church, the state church of the Russian Empire, in which the Emperor of Russia was crowned and invested with regalia, then anointed with chrism and formally blessed by the church to commence his reign...

     of a new sovereign, which was to take place "according to the rite of the Greco-Russian Orthodox Church." Explanatory Note 1 at the end of this chapter indicated that the emperor was conjointly crowned Emperor of Russia and King of Poland. Explanatory Note 2 required him to recite the Nicene Creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

     according to the Orthodox Christian formula (without the filioque clause), and mandated a specific prayer for him to recite during the ceremony while wearing the Imperial Crown of Russia
    Imperial Crown of Russia
    The Imperial Crown of Russia, also known as the Great Imperial Crown, is the crown that was used by the Emperors of Russia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1917. The Great Imperial Crown was first used in a coronation by Catherine II, and was last used at the coronation of Nicholas II...

     and holding the sceptre
    A sceptre is a symbolic ornamental rod or wand borne in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia.-Antiquity:...

     and orb
    Globus cruciger
    The globus cruciger is an orb topped with a cross , a Christian symbol of authority used throughout the Middle Ages and even today on coins, iconography and royal regalia...

  • Chapter Six (Articles 59-61) concerned the many formal titles held by the Russian sovereign, together with the precise makeup of the Russian state coat of arms
    Coat of arms
    A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

     and seal.
  • Chapter Seven (Articles 62-68) concerned the relationship of the Russian state to the various religions professed by its subjects. The Orthodox faith was declared the state religion, and both the emperor and his or her consort were required to profess that religion. The Tsar was named as the "supreme defender and guardian" of the Russian Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

    , while those of other confessions were promised full religious liberty, which was also extended to "Jews, Muslims and heathens."

  • Chapter Eight (Articles 69-83) concerned the "rights and obligations" of Russian citizens. Citizens were guaranteed protection from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, the inviolability of their domiciles, protection from illegal search and seizure, the right to travel (subject to restriction), and the right to own private property. Other rights promised in the document included freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, to organize unions and similar organizations, and freedom of religion. Military service was mandatory for all male subjects called to it, regardless of social rank, and payment of taxes and performance of "other duties in accordance with lawful decrees" was required.
  • Chapter Nine (Articles 84-97) concerned the promulgation of laws. Article 86 required the approval of the emperor, Duma and State Council for all laws, while Article 87 permitted the Tsar and his cabinet to issue decrees during times when the Duma was not in session. However, these lost their validity if not introduced to the new Duma within two months of its convocation, or if the new Duma or Council refused to confirm them. This article furthermore prohibited the emperor from using this authority to change the Constitution itself, or to change the laws for election to the Duma or Council. Nicholas' violation of this provision during the so-called Coup of June 1907
    Coup of June 1907
    The Coup of June 1907 is the name commonly given to the dissolution of the Second State Duma, the arrest of some its members and a fundamental change in the Russian electoral law by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia on June 16, 1907 . It is sometimes called coup d'état of June 3, 1907 because it was on...

     would irreparably damage his reputation among Russian liberals, and led many to conclude that the entire Russian Constitution was ultimately a sham. This contributed to more revolutionary agitation, and to the Tsar's eventual overthrow in February 1917.
  • Chapter Ten (Articles 98-119) regulated the modus operandi of the State Council and Duma. Both were required to meet at least once per year, though the duration of their sessions and the length of their recess were the emperor's prerogative. The Tsar was granted the right to appoint up to one-half of the membership of the State Council, while members of the Duma were to be elected for a five-year term according to the state election statutes. Both houses possessed equal rights in legislative matters, while either or both of them could be dissolved at any time by the emperor, though new elections for the Duma must be announced at the same time as its dissolution. Both houses possessed the right of legislative initiative, save in respect to the constitution itself; amendments to the constitution could only be proposed by the monarch. The Imperial Court Ministry was not subject to the Duma's control. Securing of governmental loans was also beyond the legislature's purview, nor was it permitted to refuse or reduce funds to repay such obligations. The Duma was equally prohibited from using its budgetary power to deny manpower requests from the Army or Navy; should the legislature not approve such a petition, the military was allowed to call a new number of draftees equal to the previous year's number.
  • Chapter Eleven (Articles 120-124) concerned the Council of Ministers. It established the office of Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and made all members of this council responsible to the emperor for their actions. "Regulations, instructions or orders" issued by this council, or any member thereof, could not contradict existing law. Ministers could be interrogated by either the State Council or Duma for their actions while in office, but only the Tsar could remove them. The Russian system did not offer any right of impeachment
    Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

     to the legislative branch of government.

Abolition of the 1906 constitution

With the abdication of Tsar Nicholas in February 1917 (Old Style), the government of Russia was initially taken over by a Provisional Government
Russian Provisional Government
The Russian Provisional Government was the short-lived administrative body which sought to govern Russia immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II . On September 14, the State Duma of the Russian Empire was officially dissolved by the newly created Directorate, and the country was...

 established by the Fourth Duma. Alexander Kerensky
Alexander Kerensky
Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky was a major political leader before and during the Russian Revolutions of 1917.Kerensky served as the second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government until Vladimir Lenin was elected by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets following the October Revolution...

, who became the most prominent leader of this government, unilaterally abolished the Russian monarchy on September 15, 1917, thereby formally abrogating the 1906 Constitution. In October Russia was taken over by the Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 party, leading ultimately to the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on December 30, 1922. Prior to that time, the Communists had enacted a new constitution, firmly establishing Russia as a Bolshevik state. This was in turn superseded by the 1924 Soviet Constitution
1924 Soviet Constitution
The 1924 Soviet Constitution legitimated the December 1922 union of the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR, the Belarusian SSR, and the Transcaucasian SFSR to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics....

 and the constitutions of 1937 and 1978, the last of which lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union and the adoption of Russia's current governing document
Constitution of Russia
The current Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted by national referendum on 12 December 1993. Russia's constitution came into force on 25 December 1993, at the moment of its official publication...

in 1993, under which the nation is currently governed.

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