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Kadets (kədyĕtsˈ) [key], members of the Russian Constitutional Democratic party. Founded in 1905, the Kadets sought a constitutional government that would guarantee universal suffrage, freedom of speech, a popularly elected legislature, an independent judiciary, and a system of social welfare. They formed the majority party in the first duma and dominated the cabinet of the provisional government established in Mar., 1917. They were increasingly overshadowed by other groups, especially the Bolsheviks (see under Bolshevism and Menshevism) and the Socialist Revolutionaries, so that the Kadets received less than 5% of the vote in elections to the Constituent Assembly. Before the Assembly met, however, the Bolsheviks seized power and declared (Dec., 1918) the Constitutional Democratic party to be illegal and arrested some of the Kadets.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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