downfall of the Romanovs, 1906-1917

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  • Created by: Ellie
  • Created on: 11-04-14 12:01

Peter Stolypin - Tsar's chief minister

  • after 1905 rev = ruthless political oppression - lots of executions - 'stolypins neckties'
  • gov supported creation of 'Union of the Russian People' - political party that supported Tsarist regime - had links to the Black Hundreds
  • Stolypin became Minister of the Interior and then chaiman of the Council of Ministers in 1906 - equivalent to prime minister
  • 1200 gov officials killed by extremist groups 1907- Stolypin met terror with terror - 1144 death sentences between oct 1906 to may 1907
  • he attacked bases of rev activity - such as newspapers (1000 newspapers ceased publication 1906-1912) and trade unions (600 closed)
  • in 1908 - there were only 365 gov officials killed - shows impact of Stolypin

reforms: - more indepentent peasantry but little done for industrial workers

  • law - freed peasants from the control of the commune - peasant land bank gave loans to peasants who wanted to leave
  • 1st jan 1907 - redemption payments abolished
  • june 1910 - communes dissolved
  • encouraged peasants to move to underdeveloped agricultural areas e.g. Siberia by incentive of cheap land
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Dumas 1906-1914

1st Duma - 'Duma of Public Anger'

- made up of mostly Trudoviks, followed by Kadets and Progressivists, all wanted to use Duma to introduce further reforms inc land reforms and release of political prisoners - requests were refused - Duma lost confidence in PM Goremykin - Duma dissolved after 72 days - only 2 reforms, one against capital punishment and the other in favour of famine relief

The Vyborg Manifesto

- angry Duma deputies went to Vyborg and issues Vyborg Manifesto - asking Russian people to resist Tsar's actions through not paying taxes - this backfired and 200 deputies who made the manifesto were banned from standing for the next Duma

2nd Duma

- no. of Kadets halved (many banned) and SR's and SD's gained seats - this passed important land reforms under Stolypin but only lasted 3 monthhs - Tsar angry due to Duma administrating the army - police framed Duma members for trying to encourage mutinies and Duma was dissolved

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Dumas continued

3rd Duma - 'Duma of Lords and Lackeys' and 4th Duma

- election to next Duma restricted to the wealthy (richest 30% of male pop could vote) - excluded most of reformers supporters - pro-gov supporters won majority of seats - Stolypin pushed further land reforms - Stolypin assassinated by Okhrana worker - Kokovstov repaced him - 4th Duma was as conservative as 3rd

Successes and Failures

  • Land Captains introduced in 1892 were replaced by justices of the peace
  • the gov introduced a plan to have universal primary education within ten years
  • health and accident insurance programmes were introduced for industrial workers
  • improvements were made to the army and navy
  • Duma did not always influence the Tsar 
  • establishment of dumas were a step closer to democracy - however tsar still dominated
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The First World War

  • initially the country was patriotic and the population was rallying behind the Tsar
  • this changed - 30,000 troops killed or wounded, 95,000 captured, only 10,000, managed to escape
  • Samsonov shot himself rather than report losses to the Tsar
  • however they did capture the town of Przemsyl and 110,000 prisoners
  • these developments had a mixed effect on the popularity of the war at home
  • after more defeats, Tsar Nicholas II decided to take control of the army himself - MISTAKE
  • Brusilov Offensive - initially went well but then ran out of momentum - Nicholas was a very poor commander-in-chief - associated with desertions - end of 1916 the army faced shortages of war material (poor railway communications) and a fall in morale

Home Front - gov printed more money to pay for war - led to inflation (prices rose over 200% between 1914-1916) - loss of agricultural workers and horses to army & takeover of railways for army led to food shortages in towns and cities - major economic crisis WINTER 1916-17

political impact - successful organisations that helped to provide war material - gov didn't use them to full potential:

  • Union of Zemstva - medical facilities
  • Congress of Representatives of Industry and Trade - war production
  • Central War Industries Committee - weapons and ammunition
  • ZEMGOR - aid care of war casualties
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The Progressive Bloc

  • group in State Duma that wanted greater parliamentary control
  • made up of mainly Kadets, Octobrists and Progressivists
  • called for a 'government of public confidence' - where there would be ministerial responsibility to the Duma
  • Tsar refused requests for change - mostly due to the adamant position of Tsarina and Rasputin
  • as a result, many ministers who had campaigned either resigned or were dismissed
  • when Nic went to Front, Tsarina Alexandra was in charge and she distrusted Progressive Bloc and thought war organisations e.g. Zemgor were disloyal
  • only ultra-conservative Tsarists were appointed to ministerial positions - Tsar and gov became even less popular
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Role of Rasputin - siberian orthadox monk

  • heir to the throne Alexei had haemophilia and Rasputin called in because he was thought to have the power of healing
  • he began to be a regular and significant member of the court
  • as Russian war effort faltered, German-born Alexandra was accused of being in sympathy with the enemy
  • many ministerial changes were influenced by Rasputin
  • royalists wanted to preserve Tsarist regime by removing Rasputin
  • he caused national scandals by being a womaniser and a drunk
  • he was murdered by a group of Nobles
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Feb revolution

9 jan strike to commemorate bloody sunday

14 feb 100,000 workers strike in Pet - State Duma is reconvened

19 feb Pet authorities announce bread rationing from 1st March

23 feb demonstrations for International Womens Day

24 feb strikes continue - small numbers of soviets begin forming

25 feb over 200,000 striking - Cossack troops fight police to protect protestors

26 feb Tsar orders military force - troops open fire - Duma suspended

27 feb pet Garrison mutiny & join protestors - duma refuse to disband

28 feb  tsar tries to return to pet but train diverted

1 march pet soviet issue 'order number 1'

2 march tsar abdicates on behalf of himself and his son to help both war and peace

3 march Michael Romanov, brother, refuses throne because safety is not assured

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Fundamental laws 1906

  • these laws became the new constitution of Russia
  • they created a national parliament, with a lower house known as Duma being elected
  • upper house - 'council of state' - consisted of elected members and those appointed by tsar
  • article 87 of fundamental laws allowed tsar to rule by decree and ignore parliament
  • the new parliament and its limited powers didn't fulfil demand of tsars political opponents
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impact of Stolypins reforms

  • in 1905 20% of peasants owned land, this increased to 50% by 1915
  • agricultural production increased 
  • outbreak of 1st world war prevented further improvements which had been initiated by Stolypin before assassination
  • little done to improve living conditions for workers

successes of reforms:

  • between 1906-1907, 15% of peasants accepted new opportunities presented by Stols reforms
  • between 1906-1914, 25% of peasants left Mirs
  • some peasants who owned land became more loyal to tsar
  • 3rd and 4th dumas didn't threaten tsar
  • lenin saw stolypins reforms as a threat to a chance of gaining peasant support in future revs

failures of reforms:

  • majority of accepting peasants located in prosperous areas e.g. southern russia
  • land reforms had limited impact in the cities
  • stolypin weakened the dumas
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causes of feb rev

background causes:

  • tsar failing to deal with social and economic problems facing russia
  • outbreak of WW1 - losses and military defeats - decline of living standards and food shortages
  • tsars stupid decisions - commander-in-chief - tsarina having political influence

trigger causes:

  • events on timeline


  • cossack troops refused to fire on demonstrators - tsar losing support of army
  • 26th feb - troops from pet garrison mutinied and joined protestors


  • tsar ordered suspension of duma but duma established 12-man committee to take over running of russia - this undermined tsars authority and revealed he was losing control of political influence
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immediate consequences of tsars abdication

  • increased short term political chaos and violence within russia
  • peasants began to seize land by force
  • duma became provision gov - this rivalled the growing power of the petrograd soviet
  • russia still involved in war against germany
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