Leader of Duma moderates, albeit viewed by the Tsarist faction as a dangerous radical, Pavel Milyukov twice stated in Duma speeches (1915 and 1916):
In his 1916 speech, he also quoted from a declaration of provincial zemstvo boards (emerging local political institutions):
Painful, terrible suspicions, sinister rumors of treachery and treason, of occult forces fighting for the benefit of Germany and striving, through the destruction of national unity and the sowing of dissention, to prepare the ground for a disgraceful peace, have reached a point where it is generally felt that an enemy hand is secretly influencing the course of our State affairs. It is but natural that from such foundation there should arise the rumor that our governing circles have admitted the uselessness of further struggle, the timeliness for ending the war, and the necessity of a separate peace.
Milyukov flatly states his perspective as of November 1916, three months before the first Russian Revolution “suddenly” broke out:
Today we see and understand with this Government we cannot legislate, any more than we can with this Government, lead Russia to victory….
does it matter, gentlemen, as a practical question, whether we are, in the present case, dealing with stupidity or treason? When the Duma keeps everlastingly insisting that the rear must be organized for a successful struggle, the Government persists in claiming that organizing the country means organizing a revolution, and deliberately prefers chaos and disorganization. What is it, stupidity or treason?