Letter: Echoes of the Tsar

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The Independent Online
Sir: Boris Yeltsin plans to name his lower elected house the 'State Duma' (report, 12 October). Admittedly, that was the name of the first elected body of legislating representatives that Russia had seen; however, on 23 April 1906, four days before the State Duma was due to open, the Tsar set up a second house, the State Council, which was dominated by imperialist supporters. It effectively neutralised the powers of the elective body, leaving Nicholas II in full autocratic control of Russia. I hope history will not repeat itself.

Yours faithfully,

BENJAMIN JACOBS

London, NW11

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