AQA AS Tsarist Russia, 1855-1917 essay plans

These are just essay plans made from the markschemes of previous years, I don't know how helpful this is but here you go guys :)

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A: Reform and Reaction, 1855 ­ 1881
Explain why Alexander II emancipated the serfs. (12 marks)
Liberal upbringing ­ agree with Western observers that serfdom was morally wrong
Serf revolts ­ serfs dissatisfied with their lot, fear of further revolts
Defeat in the Crimean War ­
Urgent need for change
Back structure and performance of the Russian army (Russian army outdated +
Reforms on basis of conscription, aim for more professional, bettertrained army
Backwardness in relation to other Great Powers
Agricultural backwardness ­ structure of serfdom and lack of incentive for
Industrialisation ­ need mobile labour force
Explain why Alexander II decided on policy of reform in Russia. (12 marks)
Same as above, plus:
Military ­ tied to social reforms, learn lessons from Crimean war
Legal ­ to be seen as fair + free of government
Educational ­ develop better educated ruling + administrative class
Local administrative ­ compensate for decline in nobility influence + importance
Explain why many Russians were dissatisfied with the decree emancipating the serfs
in 1861. (12 marks)
Against the reform to start with ­ social system served them well, reform risky
After in debt, lost free labour + influence in countryside + local government
Terms of emancipation ­ complicated + spread over stages lasting more than 2
Economic situation of peasants ­ didn't change much, land belonged to nobles so
peasants had to buy land they were used to, still had to pay redemption fees
Household serfs ­ freed but landless, had to seek labour
Freedom ­ limited, subject to dictates of mir
Explain why Alexander II slowed the pace of reform from the mid1860s. (12 marks)
Assassination attempts ­ 1866 + 1867, deterred from further reforms
Duty to retain autocracy ­ felt need to resist rise of radical groups like Populists
Public response ­ disappointed that response was not more positive
Intellectual/peaceful criticism ­ more threatening + even violent e.g. 1863 Polish revolt
withdrew from public life ­ influence to more conservative ministers e.g. Tolstoy, the
new Education Minister

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Vera Zasulich ­ acquittal alarmed authorities into repressive measures such as
BUT reform didn't die out completely ­ Tsar was contemplating some limited
constitutional reform at time of assassination
Why did Witte promote industrialisation in Russia? (12 marks)
Still agricultural, peasantbased society, boom in railway, iron + oil industries but most
industry was smallscale, conservatives opposed industrialisation as disruptive
force/not traditionally Russian, peasants still tied to land
Business + railway background, retained links with industry
Maintain power in eyes of other Great Powers, might…read more

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How successful was the tsarist regime in overcoming opposition in the years 1863 to
1894? (24 marks)
1. Intro
2. Successful:
Disappointment with Alex II's reforms e.g. peasant riots after emancipation, but
little serious opposition BUT liberals felt reforms didn't go far enough
Alex II's regime survived several assassination attempts in 1860s + Polish revolt
Although growth of opposition groups e.g. Populists/anarchists/terrorist groups,
didn't stir up much trouble, although Alex II made some concessions e.g.…read more

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Reforms limited in impact e.g. political trials independent of normal courts,
assassination attempts + Polish revolts led to Tsar reversing some reforms, control
over universities tightened + censorship tightened
3. Conclusion: impact of modernisation quite limited, essentials of economy, society +
government still in intact in 1881
How far was Russia a modern industrialised state by 1914? (24 marks)
1. Intro
2.…read more

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Initially welcomed Alex II's reforms but reforms had limitations + didn't reduce power
of autocracy, reforms later dried up or modified
Alex II had no intention of conceding power until assassination, successor v. against
How important was the work of Vyshnegradsky + Witte in the development of the
Russian economy in the years 1881 to 1904? (24 marks)
1. Intro: textiles + sugar industry already developed, railways already expanded through
private enterprise e.g.…read more

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C: Russia in Revolution, 19041906
Explain why the Russian Social Democratic party split into Bolsheviks and
Mensheviks in 1903. (12 marks)
Lenin wanted small, professional and revolutionary party, led by intellectuals but
Martov wanted mass party
Lenin focussed on revolution,not reforms or attempt to get laws passed
Martov thought Lenin wanted to be dictator
Political theory differed
Explain why Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto in 1905.…read more

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Create new class of wealthy peasants ­ prevent recurrence of unrest/revolution
Peasants majority of population, comparatively neglected group
More grain for exports
How successful was Stolypin in strengthening the Tsarist regime? (24 marks)
1. Intro: Stolypin= strong + intelligent, but unpopular
2.…read more

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Activists in exile
Police kept close scrutiny on opposition groups
Manipulation of Dumas ­ Government still in control (first two Dumas dismissed
within months)
Limited reform after 1905
Economic boom 19091913
19061911 peasants allowed to leave mir, consolidate holdings, abolished
redemption payments 1907
3. Unsuccessful:
Upturn in militancy from 1912 ­ Lena Goldfields massacre 1912
Political strikes, general strike in St Petersburg in July 1914
Stolypin's reforms had mixed success ­ only minority took advantage
4.…read more

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Fundamental Laws reestablished Tsar's powers + dismissal of Witte
Dumas manipulated ­ first two dismissed as they were too radical
4. Alternative:
Force used to crush disturbances ­ revolutionaries hunted down
Bulk of population remained loyal
5. Conclusion: combination of concessions + repression which enabled regime to
survive beyond 1905, as well as absence of any coordinated opposition
E: The First World War and the Revolutions of 1917
Explain why Russians were increasingly dissatisfied with Nicholas II's wartime
leadership in the years 1915 to 1917.…read more

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Explain why Lenin issued the April Theses in April 1917. (12 marks)
Lenin didn't agree with the current Bolshevik views (support PG as belief that
proletariat revolution would come)
Lenin wanted Bolsheviks to revolt now, not to cooperate with PG
Establish control over Party (because he'd been in exile)
Outline philosophy + put forward slogans e.g.…read more





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