On December 11–12, the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg hosted the annual Tauride Readings, an international academic conference on parliamentary history. Among the presenters at the forum was IMR senior advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza.

 

Members of the 2014 Tauride Readings at the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg.

 

The Tauride Readings, a conference on Russian and international parliamentary history, have been held annually since 2007 under the auspices of Russia’s Center for the History of Parliamentarianism. As in previous years, the 2014 Tauride Readings were held at the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg—the seat of the Russian State Duma between 1906 and 1917, and the site of the first and only meeting of the Russian Constituent Assembly in January 1918. Since 1992, the Tauride Palace has served as the headquarters of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

This year, more than sixty historians participated in the Tauride Readings. Among them were leading experts in the field of Russian parliamentary history, including Professor Andrei Nikolayev (Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg), Professor Igor Kiryanov (Perm State National Research University), Professor Fyodor Seleznyov (Nizhny Novgorod State University), Professor Rustem Tsiunchuk (Kazan Federal University), Dr. Sergei Kulikov (St. Petersburg Institute of History at the Russian Academy of Sciences), Dr. Kirill Solovyov (Institute of Russian History at the Russian Academy of Sciences), and Professor Vadim Demin (Moscow State Industrial University). Former State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov was a special guest at the conference, which was chaired by Lidia Krokhina, director of the Center for the History of Parliamentarianism.

The reception organized for Milyukov in Washington, D.C., and attended by fifty-seven members of Congress, including House Speaker Joseph Cannon, was a milestone in U.S.-Russia parliamentary relations.

The two-day forum featured roundtables and seminars devoted to various aspects of parliamentary history, including the functioning of the State Duma during the First World War, relations between the Czarist government and parliament, and the organization of parliamentary elections in Russia in the early twentieth century. An exhibition dedicated to the portrayal of the third and fourth State Dumas in the Russian press between 1907 and 1914 was presented in the atrium of the Tauride Palace.

Among the participants of the 2014 Tauride Readings was IMR senior advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza, who presented a paper on the visit of Pavel Milyukov, member of the State Duma for St. Petersburg and leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party, to the United States in January 1908. The reception organized for Milyukov in Washington, D.C., and attended by fifty-seven members of Congress, including House Speaker Joseph Cannon, was a milestone in U.S.-Russia parliamentary relations. Yet upon his return to St. Petersburg, Milyukov was chastised in the Duma and in the conservative press for his “treasonous” behavior and for “urging foreign interference in Russia’s internal affairs.” “The scandal created by the rightwing press and the conservative wing of the Duma prompted discussions on the very nature of patriotism, and on whether criticism of the government should be equated with criticism of the country,” noted Kara-Murza.

Following the 2014 Tauride Readings, the Center for the History of Parliamentarianism will publish an anthology on parliamentary history, which will include Kara-Murza’s article “P.N. Milyukov’s visit to the U.S. in January 1908 and the reaction in Russia.”

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