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Autocratic mythology

The autocratic mythology of the 1613 assembly (Zemskii sovet) developed during the early years of the Romanov dynasty. The Romanov Tsars returned to the 1613

“election” in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The mythologization of the zemskii sobor as a monarchical institution, in which the Tsar was primary to the people, was reinforced by the Slavophiles in the 1830s—1850s and became especially popular among the monarchist nationalists in the early twentieth century, during the crisis of the Russian Empire. The autocratic mythology was reinvigorated during the Russian Civil War and culminated in the attempted Romanov restoration at the Priamur Zemskii Sobor in Vladivostok in 1922.

The supporters of the Romanovs, the family of Anastasiia Romanovna Zakhar’ina-Iur’eva, Ivan IV’s first wife and Fedor I’s mother, attempted to sway the anticipated 1613 assembly in their favor. Avraamii Palitsyn, a religious and political figure, wrote during the preparations to the assembly that the Time of Troubles was the divine retribution for the sins of the Russians. According to Palitsyn, the Russian people could not comprehend God’s will and committed a number of errors, bringing the unworthy, Boris Fedorovich Godunov, False Dmitry, and Vasilii Ivanovich Shuiskii, to the Russian throne. Palitsyn argued that the person who had the qualities of a perfect Orthodox Tsar - piety, reason in governance, and military valor-was Fedor Nikitich Romanov, and God wanted to see him on the throne. After the Russian people elected Boris Fedorovich Godunov, they were punished. Palitsyn also tried to convey the similarity between Fedor I, the last Tsar of the Rurik dynasty, and Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov, Fedor-Romanov’s son, in their piety, and suggested that if the pious relative of the late Tsar Fedor I was enthroned, God would grant Russia peace. This narrative had some effect but did not guarantee the victory of Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov, and the Romanovs’ supporters opted for popularizing the earlier legend of Tsar Fedor I bequeathing the authority to Fedor Nikitich Romanov.45

The notion of following God’s will at the 1613 assembly reflected in its main document, Utverzhdennaia gramota (“the Approved Charter”). According to the document, during the 1613 Zemskii sovet (or simply sobor), which convened for “electing” a Tsar, God sent “His Holy Spirit to the hearts of all Orthodox Christians of the whole great Russian Tsardom.” Electing Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov the new Tsar, the people followed God’s will. The assembly was accompanied by a general prayer which was supposed to reveal it. The document also mentioned rational arguments in support of the decision, noting the relation of Fedor Nikitich Romanov and the late Tsar Fedor I and even the alleged opinion of the Swedish King, whose forces occupied parts of the Russian state, that a Russian had to sit on the Russian throne. God's will was nevertheless presented as the main source of the unanimous “election” of Mikhail Fedorovich, who was called “elected by God” in the text.46 The primacy of God’s will and mercy in the “election” of the Tsar was reaffirmed in later chronicles47 and Palitsyn’s Skazanie (“Tale”), which stressed that God heard the collective prayer and granted Russia the new Tsar.48 The manuscript Kniga ob izbraniina tsarstvo Velikogo Gosudaria, Tsaria i Velikogo Kniazia Mikhaila Fedorovicha (“The Book on the Election of Mikhail Fedorovich to the Throne of the Great Master, Tsar and Grand Duke”), which was written under the supervision of the boyar Artamon Sergeevich Matveev, who is occasionally called “one of the first Westernizers,”49 in the 1670s, mentioned

The assembly of the land (zemskii sobor) 111 deliberation about candidates and presented the “election” as a multistage process, even though it also foregrounded God’s will.50

The autocratic mythology was revived in the nineteenth century. Karamzin’s approach to Russia’s early modern assemblies as an institution included the participation of the people and hence contributed to democratic ideas, but the author himself foregrounded autocracy. He was critical of the limited autocracy during Tsar Fedor I’s rule with the Boyar Duma. According to Karamzin, after the election of Boris Fedorovich Godunov Tsar in 1598, the Patriarch proclaimed to the sobor that “the voice of the people” was “the voice of God,” and hence the new Tsar was elected according to God’s will.51 Discussing the 1611 Sovet vsei zemsli (which he called duma zemskaia), Karamzin deemed the reestablished Russian government a “shadow” of one, since without an autocrat a govermnent in an autocracy was “soulless.”52

The Slavophiles, who idealized ancient Russia and rejected Russia's alleged inferiority to the West, became especially influential in creating a coherent autocratic mythology of the zemskii sobors. Although it was A. S. Khomiakov who introduced the term to the nineteenth-century discussions, he did not use it when considering the nature of the supposed institution in 1839. According to A. S. Khomiakov, the “friendship of the government [the Tsar] and the people” manifested itself in the “old custom” of “assembling deputies of all estates for the discussion of the most important state issues,” which survived under Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich.53 The Slavophile K. S. Aksakov combined Khomiakov’s term and understanding of the alleged institution in his early-1850s manuscript and located the origins of the zemskii sobor in the Slavic traditional community (obshchina), which was based on giving up self-interest in favor of absolute consensus (edi-noglasie) or love - the central idea of the romantic nationalism of the Slavophiles. He argued that the assemblies, such as veche (“assembly” or “council”), sobor, and duma, were the embodiment of the community’s moral activity and could not conclude before reaching a consensus. The first zemskii sobor, according to K. S. Aksakov, embodied the unification of the Russian land in one state under Tsar Ivan IV. After the unification, the land (zemlia) acquired the right to opinion and speech, while the state enjoyed the unlimited right to action and legislation.54 The land was hence the new manifestation of the community. According to the Slavophiles, Russia's increasing closeness to the West corrupted its popular order, resulting in the crisis of the institutions of the land and the emergence of the German bureaucracy around the Tsar, but a revival was deemed possible.55

K. S. Aksakov was also the first one to bring the concept of zemskii sobor into politics by including it into his 1855 memorandum to Alexander II. He stressed the connection between the government and the people in his understanding of the alleged institution. Applauding the “wisdom” of the Tsars, he claimed that they convened the zemskii sobors of those elected from all estates of Russia and offered them different issues for discussion. K. S. Aksakov argued, however, that the govermnent was aware that it did not concede any rights to the zemskii sobors, while the people knew that the assemblies did not acquire any, asserting that the relations between the assemblies and the government were “friendly” and “full of trust.” K. S. Aksakov maintained that such assemblies were radically different from parliaments but nevertheless stressed their role in surveying public opinion. This conformed to his main suggestion of gradually introducing full freedom of speech and press, when it would become clear that it was “inseparably connected to unrestrained monarchy.” Although K. S. Aksakov suggested convening a zemskii sobor when the government desired to ask for the country's opinion, he opposed its immediate convocation. He deemed an immediate zemskii sobor pointless due to the remoteness of the nobles from the "popular foundations” and the fascination of both the nobles and the merchants with the West, which allegedly made it impossible to gather “the voice of the whole Russian land” at such an assembly. According to K. S. Aksakov, before a zemskii sobor could be convened, the freely expressed public opinion could perform its role. He also proposed convening assemblies of individual estates but emphasized that such assemblies and the future zemskii sobors were to be irregular and that their convocation was not supposed to be the government’s obligation.56

Although Tsar Alexander II did not implement K. S. Aksakov’s suggestions on the freedom of speech and press and the irregular estate assemblies, the government returned to the mythology of the “election” of the first Romanovs at the 1613 Zemskii sovet. The introduction to Kniga ob izbranii na tsarstvo Velikogo Gosudaria, Tsaria i Velikogo Kniazia Mikhaila Fedorovicha, which was published by an official commission on Royal decree in 1856, maintained that “the whole people” or “the people of the land” (zemskie liudi) decided that it was not possible to be “without a master,”57 reaffirming thereby the autocratic mythology of the assembly.

Some Slavophiles continued to use alternative terms when speaking of the premodern assemblies. Aleksandr Ivanovich Koshelev published a pamphlet in Leipzig in 1862 in which he called for a general zemskaia duma. Although it was supposed to be a consultative body, tasked with informing the Tsar about the needs of the country, Koshelev also expected it to form the cabinet, which connected it to the democratic slogans. He published another pamphlet on the zemskaia duma the same year.58 Later Slavophiles popularized K. S. Aksakov’s term and understanding of the zemskii sobor. Il’ia Vasil’evich Beliaev reaffirmed the connection of the zemskii sobor to the ancient Slavic veche in his 1866 popular history book. He also noted that after the unification of Russia under one Tsar, Ivan IV, “the first Russian Tsar convened the first veche of the whole Russian land or the zemskii sobor.” Citing the Tsar’s criticism of the boyar rule, I. V. Beliaev interpreted the assembly as the symbolic start of autocracy, since the Tsar took full authority himself. According to I. V. Beliaev, the assembly was highly emotional. “The Tsar and the people burst into tears. This was the opening of the first zemskii sobor.”59 In his 1867 speech, the Slavophile I. D. Beliaev also argued that the zemskii sobor finished the unification of Russia and strengthened autocracy but noted that it was not similar to the previous veches, since it was convened by the will of the Tsar and included representatives and not the whole political communities of towns, which were present at the veches.69

The assembly of the land (zemskii sobor) 113

In 1874, Konstantin Dmitrievich Kavelin, a former Westernizer and a former Slavophile, provided a different explanation for the possibility of representative institutions in autocracies. He generalized veches and zemskii sobors as a form of elected state representation, comparing them to the Estates General and assemblies in Germany, but argued that they predated absolutism. He concluded that the supposed limitation of state power (monarchy) through representation was hence invented in response to European history since the late eighteenth century (implying the French Revolution), but this did not mean that representation could not exist in other contexts.61 In his unpublished 1880 article, Kavelin translated his historical observations into the idea of a general zemskii sobor under the autocratic Tsar, which was similar to the Slavophile designs but was based on comparative argumentation rather than on Russia’s exclusivity.62

The zemskii sobor was discussed in the top tier of Russia’s ruling elite as well. After the assassination of Alexander II, his brother Konstantin Nikolaevich Romanov was allegedly convinced that only the convocation of a zemskii sobor could save Russia.63 The Slavophiles nevertheless did not find support for a possible political reform among the new conservative ruling circles. Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolai Pavlovich Ignat’ev, who supported Slavophile ideas, proposed to the new Tsar Alexander III to convene a consultative zemskii sobor of some 3,000 people simultaneously with his coronation in 1882. Ivan Sergeevich Aksakov, K. S. Aksakov’s brother, and Pavel Dmitrievich Golokhvastov, who were the main authors of Ignat’ev’s proposal, reinforced the autocratic mythology in their publications, but Alexander III rejected it and made Ignat’ev resign.64

The zemskii sobor as a monarchist slogan, however, survived. In 1889, Aleksandr Alekseevich Kireev, a writer and a general, summed up the Slavophile suggestions of reintroducing the consultative zemskii sobors - the councils of the Tsar with the land - not for limiting the power of the ruler but for helping him with local information. The Tsar, according to Kireev, represented the single will, while the sovet zemli (“the council of the land”) represented the many minds. He argued that the Russian people needed a strong yet understanding government for the people’s self-improvement but rejected politicking. Kireev also stressed the unity of the state and the Orthodox Church as the ultimate ideal of the society.65

The idea of a revived zemskii sobor loomed large in response to the demands of a “popular representation,” an expression used for a parliament, by liberal and moderate socialist intellectuals. The socialist turned conservative Lev Aleksandrovich Tikhomirov argued in 1902 that the direct communication between the supreme authority and the people was possible only in an organized nation, while in a disorganized one, the bureaucracy was a “mediastinum” which isolated the authority from the people. A parliament, according to Tikhomirov, could not reestablish the communication, since the deputies only expressed the will of the “politicking estate,” and in fact even increased the separation between the state and the nation. He asserted that only the creative and conservative (pkhranitel’nyi) stratum could enable the government’s [the Tsar’s] communication with the “spirit of the people.” According to Tikhomirov, such communication could take place in a zemskii sobor but could also occur directly through individuals.66

The Slavophile interpretation of the premodern and pre-Petrine Russian state in general and the zemskii sobor in particular contributed greatly to the debates of a political reform shortly before and during the Revolution of 1905-1907.67 In the fall of 1904, Petr Sergeevich Porokhovshchikov, a jurist and a right-wing author, proposed a “revival” of the zemskii sobor. In January 1905, a meeting of Saint Petersburg editors composed an address to Minister of Internal Affairs Petr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii, suggesting to convene a zemskii sobor of representatives from all estates and classes with “the unlimited freedom of opinions.” The same month the idea was reaffirmed in a newspaper article by the publisher Aleksei Sergeevich Suvorin. Apart from establishing the communication between the Tsar and the “whole Russian land” and ensuring a strong government, Suvorin expected the zemskii sobor to raise the international prestige of Russian monarchy, especially among the Slavic peoples. In another article, published in February, Suvorin specified that the sobor was to consist of some thousand deputies, while the elections were to be almost universal, including women and the ethnic non-Russians who knew the Russian language. The idea of the zemskii sobor was supported by several other Slavophile and right-wing authors at the time. Some monarchists seemed to agree on an irregular sobor, which would meet on the Tsar’s orders and be primarily used for channeling the needs of the people to the Tsar. Its decisions would not be binding for the government.68 Nikolai Nikolaevich Mazurenko’s pamphlet, published in 1905, backed the program with historical arguments. Mazurenko claimed that Russian monarchs frequently convened sobors for listening to the opinion of the people and interpreted Catherine H's Legislative Commission of estate representatives as a zemskii sobor.69

Many right-wing intellectuals and activists agreed to a one-time sobor if the monarch deemed it necessary, but some of the monarchists, who opposed any changes which could threaten the autocracy, saw the very idea as a compromise and rejected it. Vladimir Andreevich Gringmut, a far-right author and a politician, for instance accused the Slavophiles of a “mystical or aesthetical” policy.70 Andrei Sergeevich Viazigin, a historian and later a member of the Third State Duma, also dismissed the idea completely. In 1905, he argued that the zemskii sobor existed when the “tops and bottoms” of the society had the same worldview. According to Viazigin, in the situation when the Russians were fragmented into numerous social strata, including classes, its revival was not possible. He also argued that the function of gathering local information could be easily performed by press, telegraph, and telephone and did not require a zemskii sobor.71

Officials also discussed a possible zemskii sobor since January 1905 in the context of the revolution and the disastrous Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). In February 1905, the Council of Ministers under Nicholas H’s presidency considered a possible consultative and irregular zemskii sobor, elected from the estates, but there was no unity in the cabinet on the matter. In March 1905, Minister of Agriculture and State Property Aleksei Sergeevich Ermolov suggested in a letter, which was passed to Nicholas II, to establish a people’s zemskaia duma, freely elected from all classes and estates, for direct communication between the Tsar and the people on the most pressing issues. Anatolii Ivanovich Kulomzin, a

The assembly of the land (zemskii sobor) 115 member of the State Council, proposed a bureaucratic sobor of the existing government bodies and four representatives from each province (from the clergy, the landowners, the merchants, and the peasants, respectively).72

The far right continued to oppose the idea of a sobor, but the zemskii sobor in Kireev's interpretation became a popular idea among the broader right. Kireev criticized “bureaucratic autocracy’’ and deemed the zemskii sobor an alternative to revolution. His plan was to transform autocracy from bureaucratic into “consultative” through a sobor. In March 1905, the idea of combining autocracy with popular representation, put forward by Nikolai Alekseevich Khomiakov, A. S. Khomiakov’s son, was backed by a meeting of several leaders of provincial nobility, but there were also provincial noble assemblies which rejected it. Interestingly, Fedor Dmitrievich Samarin, the son of another early Slavophile Dmitrii Fedorovich Samarin, rejected the idea of a sobor, claiming that it would inevitably him into a parliament and stimulate the revolution. The same month, a group of right-wing politicians under Aleksei Aleksandrovich Bobrinskii united into a party, the Patriotic Union (Otechestvennyi soiuz), and discussed their own project of a zemskii sobor. Vladimir Iosifovich Gurko drafted the electoral regulations, according to which the sobor was to include 612 deputies, elected from different groups of the population based on property or land qualifications, expecting that the peasants and the landowners would form the largest groups. The sobor was to convene for a short period to resolve the most urgent matters of state life, but it was also to form a standing body, the zemskaia duma of 128 members, which would participate in drafting legislation. The Patriotic Union debated on how not to prevent the intelligentsia from being elected to the sobor and resolved to raise the qualifications.73

A govermnental commission, which was created on the initiative of Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandr Grigor’evich Bulygin and began its meetings in March 1905, nevertheless resolved that a zemskii sobor was not suitable and suggested a permanent assembly of 400-500 people, the State Duma. In May 1905, however, Nicholas II still expressed interest in a zemskii sobor. The idea gained momentum after the defeat in the Battle of Tsushima (May 14-15, 1905), with a possible sobor assembling to discuss the continuation of the war with Japan. The projects prepared at this time suggested the use of parishes (including the territorial divisions of non-Orthodox faiths) as the basic electoral units. The sobor, from 200 to 1,000 deputies, according to different projects, was expected to be convened as soon as possible, for instance, in August 1905. On May 23, however, Nicholas II presented Bulygin commission’s project of a bicameral consultative body, consisting of the State Duma and the State Council, to the Council of Ministers. At the special meeting on May 24, Bulygin cautioned that a possible zemskii sobor would lead to a constitution and mm into a constituent assembly, and the project of his commission prevailed. In June 1905, Nicholas II, however, still spoke of reestablishing the old comiection between the Tsar and All Rus’, repeating the Slavophiles’ slogans, but approved the project of the consultative State Duma later that summer. On October 17, 1905, the Duma was made legislative.74

Right-wing politicians nevertheless did not abandon the idea of a zemskii sobor, presenting it as an alternative to the legislative State Duma. In December 1905, the far-right Union of the Russian People (Soiuz russkikh liudei), headed by Aleksandr Grigor’evich Shcherbatov, appealed to the Tsar, promising to defend autocracy and asking him to convene a “great zemskii sobor" of the Russian people, based on faith and descendance, the people who had “enthroned” Nicolas H's ancestor, in Moscow. The sobor was to be formed from the existing estate bodies.75 In 1906, ahead of the convocation of the First State Duma, a proclamation of the Union of the Russian People defended autocracy but argued that the unity of the Tsar and the people was to be manifested through the consultation with the State Duma and the zemskii sobors. The latter were to be convened for discussing fundamental laws, “extraordinary” events of state life, and the general directions of domestic policy.76 In its 1906 program, the Union of the Russian People specified that the “original Russian Orthodox land-state community [zem-sko-gosudarstvennaia sobornost’]" was to be manifested in the zemskii sobor or the State Duma of Orthodox Russians, based on the estate principle and elected from the Church or administrative units. All non-Orthodox peoples were to be included into the sobor or the Duma as petitioners.77

Sergei Fedorovich Sharapov, a founding member of the Union of the Russian People, was one of the main advocates of a zemskii sobor in the Slavophile understanding and included it into his vision of future Russia. In his political program, he specified that the future zemskii sobor was to be a consultative body and could not have constituent power.78 In his 1907 speech, Sharapov denounced the convocation of the Third State Duma after the alleged complete failure of parliamentarism, which for him manifested in the first two Dumas (1906 and 1907), and proposed to return “to the genuinely Russian foundations and the covenants of history” and to convene “a zemskii sobor" in Moscow instead.79

Tikhomirov was among the minority of right-wing intellectuals, arguing that the introduction of a “popular representation” was the only positive outcome of the 1905-1906 events. He nevertheless advocated a monarchist reform of the legislature. Tikhomirov proposed to create a Legislative Council {Zakonodatel’nyi sovef) which would discuss and draft laws and pass them to the Tsar. The body was to be formed by appointment and through nomination from “organized societal institutions,” such as “zemstvos, municipal, social estate, and professional organizations.” Tikhomirov also suggested forming an elected People’s Duma (Narodnaia duma) which would deal with all matters on which the Tsar wanted “to consult with the people.” The People’s Duma was supposed to convene every three years for three to four months. According to his project, in extraordinary cases, the Tsar could also convene a zemskii sobor, which would consist of the Legislative Council, ministries, the supreme Church authority, the supreme legislative authority, the supreme command, the People’s Duma, and further representatives of social estates, as well as the individuals who performed meritorious service to the Fatherland.80

There is no evidence that the government seriously considered returning to the idea of a zemskii sobor despite its conflict with the oppositional State Duma, but

The assembly of the land (zemskii sobor) 117 in June 1907, the month when the Second Duma was dissolved and the electoral law was replaced by a more restrictive one, marking the end of the Revolution of 1905-1907, Prime Minister Petr Arkad'evich Stolypin mentioned a zemskii sobor (instead of the State Duma) in his notes on the planned dissolution of the parliament.81 In 1907-1917, the discussions of the zemskii sobor shifted to the background but continued. The Archangel Michael Russian People’s Union (Russkii narodnyi soiuz imeni Mikhaila Arkhangela), a far-right organization, campaigned for making the State Duma consultative in 1912. The zemskii sobors were to be a historical example for such a body of communication between the Tsar and the people, which did not limit autocracy. The organization also reaffirmed God’s will in autocratic decision-making, suggesting that the Tsar’s decisions were based on “God’s truth.”82 Shcherbatov returned to the idea of convening a zemskii sobor in extraordinary circumstances in a 1912 publication. He suggested that only “officials” of different social estates could be nominated to the sobors, while the ultimate selection was to be done by lot.83

The publications, accompanying the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913, foregrounded the monarchist and patriotic meanings of the 1613 events. A popular brochure, for instance, stressed the general popular consensus in the election of the Romanovs.84 The historian Dmitrii Vladimirovich Tsvetaev stressed the connections of the zemskii sobors to local communal councils and celebrated both the unification of Russia around Moscow and monarchy.85 The popular print by Antonina Khristianovna Vestfalen placed Mikhail Fedorovich and his mother Marfa (Kseniia Ivanovna Shestova) at the center of the composition, while religious and lay figures, most likely representing the 1613 Zemskii sovet, bowed before them (see Figure 4.1).

With the Revolution of 1917, and especially the Civil War of 1918-1922, the political discussions of the zemskii sobor were revived. Some left politicians ironically called the Moscow State Conference (Gosudarstvennoe soveshchanie), which united deputies of the four imperial State Dumas and representatives of self-government bodies, soviets, the Army and the Navy, trade unions, cooperative societies, non-Russian national organizations, and other groups on August 12-15, 1917, a “zemskii sobor,” implying its alleged counterrevolutionary character, but the left members of the Provisional Government defended its convocation.86 In contrast with the 1905-1907 events, the zemskii sobor as a monarchist slogan was much less popular than the democratic takes on the institution in 1917-1922.

In the monarchist sense, the idea of a zemskii sobor was evoked by anti-Bolshe-vik politicians in Manchuria and the Russian Far East, with the mythology of the Time of Troubles playing a pivotal role. The monarchist Nikolai Aleksandrovich Andrushkevich, for instance, proposed the idea to the anti-Bolshevik Vladivostok government in 1921 as a way to resolve the crisis in whole Russia. Such an assembly in a modified regional form was convened in Vladivostok on July 23-August 10, 1922, under the name of the Priamur Zemskii Sobor. Although initially it was not clearly aimed at reestablishing monarchy, it marginalized moderate anti-Bolsheviks, foregrounding the ultra-royalists who indeed aspired to find a

A. Kh. Vestfalen. Izbranie na Vserossiiskii Prestol Tsaria i Velikogo Kniazia Mikhaila Fedorovicha [The election of Mikhail Fedorovich to the All-Russian Throne of Tsar and Grand Duke], Sain

Figure 4.1 A. Kh. Vestfalen. Izbranie na Vserossiiskii Prestol Tsaria i Velikogo Kniazia Mikhaila Fedorovicha [The election of Mikhail Fedorovich to the All-Russian Throne of Tsar and Grand Duke], Saint Peterburg: Litografskaia masterskaia Imperatorskogo obshchestva pooshchreniia kliudozhestv, 1913.

new Romanov Tsar.S7 The Priamur Zemskii Sobor became the first institution in Russian history to include the words zemskii sobor into its official name.

The Priamur Zemskii Sobor included delegates from the existing anti-Bolshe-vik authorities, as well as representatives of the clergy, the military, public agencies, nonsocialist organizations, landlords, rural population, trade and industrial class, Orthodox parishes, Old Believer communities, and other organizations. It also included the Main Army Mullah, apparently representing the Tatars and the Bashkirs among the anti-Bolshevik troops. Workers’ representatives were also formally included, but Communists and their supporters, as well as other socialists-internationalists, were not allowed to participate in the Priamur Zemskii Sobor. Uniting some 230 delegates, the assembly became a historical reenactment, a new “Resurrection of Muscovy.” Its Presidium was located in front of an iconostasis-like screen featuring an icon of Jesus Christ and simpler depictions of archangels and Saint George. Although some of its members opposed reestablishing monarchy, the sobor elected Mikhail Konstantinovich Diterikhs provisional dictator and sent a delegation to the members of House Romanov living abroad for finding a candidate for the throne. Ultimately, no candidate was provided by the Romanovs. Diterikhs, nevertheless, extensively used the mythology of the Time of Troubles in his short-lived regime (toppled in October 1922) and convened a

The assembly of the land (zemskii sobor) 119 consultative zemskaia duma. Furthermore, the planned reconstruction of regional government featured making the parishes basic administrative units.88

 
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