Causes of the Russian Revolution(s)

  • Created by: hollyjr
  • Created on: 10-02-19 15:42
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  • Peasants
    • Causes of the Russian Revolution(s)
      • Workers
        • Russian industrialisation came in the late 19th century, was unevenly distributed geographically and only employed a small percentage of the population
        • St. Petersburg, the capital of the time, was the most densely industrial city - shipbuilding, munition factories - later there was coal, iron, and steel industries in the south (present day Ukraine).
        • Factory workers mostly derived from migrant peasants and usually owed taxes  and liability for military service through their villages - their bond with the countryside was important.
      • The intelligentsia
        • By the beginning of the 20th century, Russia's educated classes were aware that Russia was lagging behind politically and socially behind the West and sense the approach of a profound change.
        • Many young Russians had become fond of the idea of a socialist revolution - most accepting the Marxist teaching that it would occur naturally when the social fabric could no longer withstand the strain caused by capitalism
        • Some believed that history needed a 'shove' - that they could force a revolution - organised illegal groups began to emerge to form an armed uprising.
      • The Tsar
        • Haemophilia
          • The Russian empress (Alexandra) was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England, therefore being a likely carrier of the genetic condition of haemophilia
          • The heir produced by Alexandra was discovered to be suffering from haemophilia, and no cure was available.
          • In 1905, a holy man called Rasputin was introduced into the Royal Family. He supposedly had healing powers offering semi-hypnotic relaxation techniques to stop the boy's bleeding, as well as advising against aspirin (which is now known to be a blood thinner and is harmful to haemophiliac).
        • The Rasputin Controversy
          • The public were not informed the reason why Rasputin was involved in the Royal business, therefore this left room for conspiracy theories to emerge.
          • Rasputin was a drunken lecher who exploited his connections to gain access to society, where he enjoyed the scandalous attention of aristocrat women, as well as supplying  'insider' information to stock market speculators.
          • In April 1912, Alexander Guchkov, the Speaker of the Duma and leader of the conservative Octobrist Party, openly attacked the Royal Couple for harbouring Rasputin.
        • The Press
          • Due to a relaxation on censorship laws, the Tsar's personal image was being damaged by the reports on issues such as the Rasputin Controversy, and the conflict between Guchkov and the Royals.
          • There emerged detailed reportings of speeches in the Duma that attacked the government and the Tsar. This was the first instance of Russians seeing their monarch being openly criticised.
        • Nicholas II himself
          • Nicholas was weak-willed and easily influence. He was ill-prepared for his role as Tsar, his father dying unexpectedly at the age of 49 - Nicholas was unsuited to being Tsar.
          • Alexandra, his English-born wife of German extraction soon withdrew from St Petersburg court life, which suited Nicholas, who was happiest with his loving family at one of their country estates, rather than dealing with ministers and having to face the growing ambitions of the Duma
    • 1861 - emancipation of serfs
    • Majority of serfs unable to withstand rising taxes, increasing debts and inadequate resources - living standards fell considerably
    • Due to the terms of emancipation (insufficient land grants; excessive mortgage payments) there was an increasing sense of grievance to a crisis around 1900 -- widespread riots from the peasants


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