Wither Russian Liberalism?
The chapter takes the case of the formation of the Constitutional Democratic party (the Kadets) in the context of emerging mass politics, 1905 revolution, and political reforms. Going against the genealogical approach, the author stresses the contingency and novelty of party liberalism in the early twentieth century. In particular, the chapter explores heterogeneity within the Kadet ranks, the concept of rupture and pluralism in self-representation of the nascent liberal party, and techniques of compromise and negotiation in the pluralist political setting that allowed the party and its platform to cohere. The author also argues that the pluralism of the political and ideological context of Kadet party formation was also matched by pluralism of mobilized space of imperial diversity, which included national, regionalist, and autonomist voices. The context of mobilized imperial diversity is shown to be not only inhibiting but aiding the liberal politics in the Russian Empire.