Russian History AS - 1894 - 1917

Covers from Nicholas I to the end of the Bolsheviks - very extensive notes.

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  • Created on: 21-11-10 18:10
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History revision notes ­ Russia
How successful was the tsar in dealing with the problems Russia faced 1894 to 1905?
Agricultural although some industry such as wool, linen, silk, leather, iron.
Largely serf based, inefficient and primitive methods and communications, only 40
years previous introduced first railways and steam boats
Long hard winters encouraged small handicrafts so major expansion hindered
84.9% of population was peasants, the rest were nobility and elite
Vast existence of different national groups ­ many didn't speak the language so left
uneducated in St Petersburg or rural areas ­ introduced Russification so policy
ensured all non-Russians adopted the lifestyle and the language
Was the tsar capable of running Russia?
The abrupt death of his father meant he was unprepared for the role
He didn't want the role and the responsibility
Didn't have a politic mind and was indecisive
Dominated by Alexandria
Opposed lots of change ­ believed wholly in autocracy
Chief minister in the Russian government ­ deep distaste for democracy and
encouraged pogroms (vicious attacks on Jews)
Nicholas' policies: Russification designed to restrict the influence of minority groups
by emphasising the superiority of Russia and Anti Semitism designed to impose
heavy social, political and economical restrictions for Jews
Necessary to be a great power ­ needed a strong industrial base which would provide
weapons and munitions in modern warfare
Agriculture was inefficient ­ used traditional methods such as strip farming and
minimal use of machinery ­ large population growth (50% in 39 years) so poor
harvests left them starving so uprisings followed causing instability in tsarist regime ­
this would increase general wealth and shift surplus labour to towns
Witte wanted to modernise Russia to keep the tsar safe and maintain autocracy
Contradictions to modernisation
Would be difficult to maintain institutions of tsarist autocracy as many countries had
democracy with a prominent middle class and limited power for monarch
Industrialisation meant millions fled to the city ­ created cramped and poor living
conditions ­ discontent in close proximity meant easier to take action
An educated workforce would allow the government to be judged easily

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Middle class growth would pressure political changes in favour of an representative
Witte's economic policy (wanted to use state power to enact radical economic change)
The idea was as industry grew there would be a higher demand for other products so
further growth would ensue
Foreign investment ­ he negotiated huge loans from the French particularly but
repayments had to be regular
Peasants ­ he increased state taxes on daily items and surplus grain sold to pay off
loans and buy more industrial equipment…read more

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Social democrats (split in 1903) ­ industrial workers and proletariat peasantry support ­
wanted to overthrow tsarism and introduce socialism but differences emerged over tactics
and strategy ­ used striking methods
Bolsheviks ­ believed in small, tightly disciplined party of professional revolutionaries ­
argued a large group could be infiltrated by police spies ­ power could be claimed at the right
Mensheviks ­ believed in a mass organisation in which workers could join, power could be
claimed when the large was large enough ­…read more

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New revolutionary ideas and propaganda increase especially among soldiers
Witte became known as the Hangman due to repressive regime ­ called on army to stifle
strikes and protests
Declared martial law ­ could arrest people with limited evidence with on the spot
execution and `in field' trials
1905 revolution
Reasons for the revolution
Russia was living under emergency legislation and without lawful guarantee
Growing armies of secret police so prisons and penal colonies overcrowded
Frequent religious persecutions
Widespread famine
Weakened tsarism due to…read more

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Showed the army would remain loyal
Raised questions about to what extent liberals were prepared to go
Protestors were disunited and inexperienced so it failed ­ Trotsky said
Revolutionaries played a minor part in the revolution
Only a few revolutionaries in St Petersburg and Moscow
Wasn't due to them, it was to spite them
Only Trotsky from the SDs actually made an impact
Stardom emerged stronger rather than weaker
Non ­ Russian minorities to assert themselves
The Potemkin mutiny ­
Many of the…read more

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Industrial workers faced suppression as they wanted to crush the soviets
Troops returning from war proved loyal
Peasants and liberals clearly not ready for revolution as readily accepted political
Debates over whether there really was a revolution.…read more

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How did the tsar survive the 1905 revolution?
The disorganisation and weakness of the opposition
Unrest was spontaneous and took revolutionaries by surprise
No group channelled or co-ordinated the unrest
No clear or capable leadership ­ Lenin was abroad and Trotsky was too Marxist for
Large sections of the peasant population remained passive and uninvolved despite
All the different groups had different aims so they were not united
Use of brutal force
Military sent to key areas and striking workers were shot
Moscow…read more

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Tsar signed October manifesto
Witte hoped to create a government which included all views including the tsar and
his critics and thus keep tsarism safe
Outcome of 1905
October manifesto ­ overall a giant step towards a constitutional government although it
promised a lot but delivered very little
Offered civil liberties such as rights to free citizenship, freedom of speech, person and
conscience, assembly and union ­ introduced the assembly of the Duma which would have
legislative powers that included social groups that had no…read more

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Voting was carried out by class so landed gentry and propertied townspeople had
more influence and their votes were more heavily weighted i.e. 1 gentry vote equal
to 45 worker vote
The state council (the high body of the Duma) comprised of half appointed by the
tsar and the other half by the local council which included clergy, nobility etc
The Dumas
1st Duma ­ 1906
Dominated by reformist parties, bi cameral, huge loan from France.…read more

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Peasant's response
Started to rise up when they misinterpreted as the right to seize land that they
thought was their own
Peaked in 06 with burning houses but declined after Stolypin's reforms took effect,
appeased by ending the redemption payments
Army and navy response
Saw it as permission to ignore authority and indulge in expression
Many violent uprisings and presentations of petition
Kept loyalty to the tsar ­ helped to fight the Bolshevik uprisings in Moscow although
some soldiers were mutineers only days before so…read more


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