Radical Parties in Russia

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Radical Parties
Growth of Opposition
Seeds of opposition sown well before reign of Alexander III
Despite the reaction revolutionary activities continued- June 1888 332 mass disturbances
Repression and especially Russification drove many into opposition either in Russia or
Turn of the century revolutionaries contained many Jews forced into opposition (e.g.
Trotsky, Zinoviev)
Four main opposition groups opposed to tsardom can be identified: The Populists, Social
Revolutionaries, Social Democrats, the Liberals.
The Populists
Leadership drawn from the upper middle classes, Russian intelligentsia
1870s attempted to educate the peasantry through "Going to the people"- campaign failed
Split movement- Passive vs Violent- People's will assassinated Alex II turned to terrorism
Revolution based on peasantry unrealistic.
Populist leaders killed after assassination, but sowed the seeds of other revolutionary groups.
What was the importance of The Populists?
-They assassinated Alexander II in 1881. This weakened rather than strengthened them as the
murder of a tsar who favoured reform seemed to be counterproductive.
-Importance lay in methods. 'Going to the people' this Influenced further revolutionary groups which
would be important e.g.: the SRs.
The Social Revolutionary Party
Grew out of the populists
Interest in social- economic issues
Peasant orientated programme- lead by "Victor Chernov" 1901
Wished to widen the concept of the people in order to attempt to overthrow the Tsarist regime
with the works- this was appealing
Attracted revolutionary youth similar to populists divided by anarchist vs. peaceful
Killed 2,000 (inc. G Duke Sergei + Plehve)
However terrorism dominated, dint encourage uprising and didn't overthrow the system
Describe the intentions and actions of the Social Revolutionaries (SRs).
They intended to attract the rapidly growing urban workforce. Wanted to widen the concept of 'the
people' so it encompassed everyone who wanted the destruction of tsarism.
-Split between the 'anarchists' (who wanted to carry on the populist way of terrorist acts) and the
'revolutionaries' (who wanted an immediate improvement to the conditions of workers and
peasants, whilst holding a main aim of revolution).
-1901-5 terrorism prevailed. 2,000 political assassinations, including Plehve.

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After 1905, most popular party with peasants. Largest popular party in Russia until outlawed by the
Bolsheviks.…read more

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A Group who dated from the issuing of the tsar's manifesto in October 1905.
-Moderates who were basically loyal to the tsar. They regarded the October manifesto and
creation of the Duma as major constitutional advances.
-Led by Guchkov and Rodzianko. Factory owner and land owner.
-Limited aims, rejected revolution. Believed with 'constructive legislative work' peace could
be brought to Russia.…read more


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