Why didn’t Russia become a constitutional monarchy in the XIX century?
The article deals with the main problems associated with the possibility of implementing a constitutional alternative in Russia in the XIX century. The authors consider the prerequisites for the development of constitutional projects during this period, including their regularity or randomness, and relationship with previous stages of development of the Russian statehood. They pay particular attention to the subjective factor, i.e. personal views and worldview of the Russian emperors as the main condition for the implementation of the constitutional alternative to the development of the country. The reigns of Alexander I and Alexander II, who were either the initiators of the development of constitutional projects (Alexander I) or did not prevent it (Alexander II), are the focus of attention. The comparative analysis of the main constitutional projects of the XIX century is carried out in this article: of the Letter of Commendation to the Russian people in 1801, the project of M.M. Speransky in 1809, the Charter Diploma of the Russian Empire in 1818-1820, the project of P.A. Valuev in 1863, the grand prince Konstantin Nikolaevich in 1866 and 1880, the P.A. Shuvalov in 1874 and of the M.T. Loris-Melikov in 1880-1881.The projects of the time period of Alexander II are much more moderate than of the epoch of Alexander I and they can be recognized as constitutional ones with a great stretch. It was a step backwards in the development of Russian constitutionalism. This is explained by a subjective factor: much more moderate political views of Alexander II and his greater commitment to the autocratic tradition inherited from his father. In conclusion, there are the reasons for the lack of implementation of the constitutional alternative in Russia in the XIX century in this article, they are the following: peculiarities of the social structure of the Russian society, narrowness of the social base of the constitutional reforms, lack of understanding and disinterestedness of the majority of the population in their implementation and necessity, indecision of the emperors.
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