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Chapter 1: Russia before the First World War

Why was Russia so difficult to govern?

The size of the Russian Empire made it difficult to govern.
There were also many different peoples and ethnic groups within Russia
Many of these peoples resented being part of the Empire, especially as the…

Page 2

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85 % of Russia´s population lived in the countryside but Russian agriculture
was poor. Only 5% of the land could be used for farming because of desert,
tundra and forests.
Old fashioned farming methods resulted in low food production and frequent
famines. The farming system also encouraged sustenance farming (enough…

Page 3

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Many peasants felt bitter towards the aristocracy. The nobles had kept most of
the land when serfdom had ended in 1861 and peasants resented having to
work on noble´s estates to earn money.
Population growth of 50% between 1860 and 1897 brought greater
competition for land and even smaller peasant…

Page 4

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Chapter 2: Opposition to Tsarist Rule

Why was there a revolution in 1905?

Poor harvests in 1900 and 1902 along with industrial depression meant that by
1904 Russia was experiencing terrible problems.
There were also frequent strikes, demonstrations and attacks on landlord´s

The RussoJapanese War of 1904 to 1905…

Page 5

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Strikes, riots, and disturbances in nonRussian parts of the empire, mutiny in
the navy and an unreliable army in Moscow and St. Petersburg clearly showed
Nicholas and his ministers that something had to been done to restore order.
In September, a general strike began and a soviet was established in…

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Social Democratic Labour Party ­ Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Julius Martov
o This party followed the teachings of Karl Marx and believed that the
workers would one day stage a revolution and remove the tsar. The
revolution would lead to the setting up of a communist state.
Marxism dictated that…

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The Duma argued constantly with Nicholas so he dissolved it. It lasted 2

The Second Duma (February ­ June 1907)

Elections saw a move to the left. Mensheviks won 9% and SRs won 7%
Duma criticised the running of the army, and was unwilling to work with
Stolypin over…

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After 1907 the Tsar and the Tsarina relied on the help and guidance of the
holy man Rasputin. Rasputin had the ability to control the life threatening
illness of their son Alexei
His power at court grew so much that he eventually helped to choose
government ministers.
There were many…

Page 9

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Chapter 3: The impact of the First World War on Russia

What was Russia´s involvement in the First World War?

After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1915,
Austria, supported by Germany declared war of Serbia. Russia was the
protector of Serbia so to help them Russia…

Page 10

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o The peasants, who provided most of the army´s recruits, had their image of
a wise and caring tsar shattered by the experience of war.

Poor leadership from generals and officers
Poor communication
Outdated tactics
Lazy, incompetent, overconfident officers
Generals did not work as a team
o In 1914, they…


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