russia's geography and peoples
- 1894 - russia covered 8 million square miles (two and a half times USA)
- size of russia gave an impression of great strength - misleading
- population contained a wide variety of peoples of different race, language, religion and culture
- controlling such a variety of peoples over a vast terrirory had long been a problem for russian governments
- people of russia governed by one person, the tsar
- since 1613m the tsars had been members of the romanov dynasty
- by law and tradition, the tsar was an ABSOLUTE RULER (no restrictions on his power. the people owed him total obedience)
- 'fundamental laws of the empire' - issued by nicholas I in 1932.
- the imperial council - a group of honorary advisers directly responsible for the tsar
-cabinet of ministers - ran government departments
- senate - supervised operation of the law (role merely to give advice)
- by the beginning of the twentieth century, all the major western-europen countries had democratic governments
- russia had been involved in european diplomatic and political affairs, it was outside the mainstream of european political thought
- reforming tsars (peter I, Catherine II, Alexander II) tired to modernise country - rebuilding moscow and st petersburg, improving transport system, making army more efficient. they had not included the extension of political rights
- russia - 1881- still a political offence to oppose the tsar - no parliament - political parties had been formed but they had no right to exist - no free press - government censorship imposed on published books and journals
- suporters of reform or change had to go underground
- in 19th century - wide variety of secret societies dedicated to political reform or revolution
- groups infultrated by members of the okhrana
- raids, arrests, imprisonments, general harrasment were regular occurences
- denial of free speech drove political activists towards extremism
- 1881 - tsar alexander II blown up by a bomb thrown by 'the peoples will'
- in a society which strate oppression was met with revolutionary terrorism, no moderate middle ground on which a tradition of ordered political debate could develop.
- imperial russia slow at developing economically
- low number of urban workers - russia had not grown as much as usa,uk,germany
-russia found it hard to raise capital on a large scale. not yet mastered the art of successful borrowing and investment.