The Reforms and Repression of Stolypin, 1906-11

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  • The Reforms and Repression of Stolypin, 1906-11
    • Stolypin's Aims
      • July 1906- he was appointed President of the Council of Ministers
      • To strengthen Tsardom by reforming agriculture in order to de-revolutionize the peasantry
      • A wealthy class of peasants "Kulaks" would be created who would be supporters of the Tsar
      • Use repression against revolutionary remnants from the 1905 revolution
        • Serious violence and killing- "Stolypin's necktie"
        • Cooperation with any amenable Duma but manipulation of the Duma system if necessary
    • Russian Peasantry and Agrarian Conditions Before Stolypin
      • Land shortage- Western Russia was severely over-populated
      • Use of backward ***** farming system led to land being wasted
      • Inefficient farming methods and lack of mechanisation due to neglect of agriculture by Vyshnegradsky and Witte
      • Much land was shared and farmed by the mir, which also put restrictions on movement of peasants- they had to have a passport to travel more than 25 miles outside of their peasant commune
    • Stolypin's Reforms
      • August 1906- a Land Bank was created- 6 million hectares of land was made available for peasants to buy
      • October 1906- restrictions on peasant movement were removed
        • BUT many peasants were reluctant to leave their commune for economic and social reasons- many felt that a private farm would not be viable and many feared the hostility of those who remained in the commune
      • November 1906- land law meant that peasants could apply to own the land they possessed
      • RESULTS
        • A small Kulak class was established who employed more modern and efficient farming methods.
          • Kulaks were loyal to the Tsar
        • Between 1909-12, agricultural production increased which helped support growth in population
          • BUT it's difficult to determine how far this was down to the reforms or the unusually favourable weather conditions during this time
        • In 1914 the ***** system was still widespread and by 1916 only 10% of land was consolidated into private farms
        • Stolypin thought his reforms would take 20 years to complete but they only operated for 9 years, declining after his assassination in 1911
    • Repression
      • Stolypin used martial law to establish a network of military courts with sweeping powers
        • Got rid of anybody who thought there shouldn't be a Tsar
      • 1906-11, there were around 3,000 executions earning the hangman's noose the name "Stolypin's necktie"
    • Evaluation of Stolypin
      • Michael Lynch- "Had the Tsarist government and bureaucracy been  willing to support Witte and Stolypin in their efforts to modernise Russian industry and agriculture, this might have prevented the build up of the social and political tensions which culminated in the 1917 revolution"
      • "Witte and Stolypin represented the last hope that Tsardom could save itself by its own efforts"- Michael Lynch
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    • Other Reforms: through a policy of cooperation with the Duma he hoped to:
      • Extend primary education
      • Introduce greater discipline into the bureaucracy (administrative work)
      • Introduce religious toleration
      • Increase political participation in the Zemstva
      • BUT
        • Stolypin was greatly mistrusted by the very regime he was trying to save. His policies were radically altered by the Dumas whilst he received only lukewarm support from those at court and the Tsar himself. Stolypin was therefore unable to enact most of his proposed legislation which could have modernised Russia's Tsarist system.


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