The dissolution of the Duma undoubtedly marked a grave political crisis in the course of the Russian revolution. Like every crisis, it at once extremely intensified all political antagonisms, revealed the influences underlying many events and definitely set before the people tasks which hitherto had been only looming, but had not yet penetrated the minds of the broad masses. Like every crisis that comes as the climax of a whole period of preceding development, the dissolution of the Duma inevitably served as a touch stone for testing and verifying the various trends of opinion on tactics. On the one hand, this crisis brings to a close a certain cycle of development and thus enables us clearly to determine whether the general appraisal of this development is right or wrong. On the other hand, it compels us to give immediate answers to a number of problems which rapidly become urgent, and these answers are often verified on the spot, so to speak, by the rapid course of events.
The dissolution of the Duma proved to be such a “touchstone” for the “two tactics” which have long been noticeable in the Russian Social-Democratic movement. During the “Duma period” we argued about these two tactics more or less calmly, as the political situation did not call for immediate and important political decisions. The dissolution of the Duma called for such decisions at once. The “two tactics” were put to the test by the political crisis. The results of this test must be closely studied.