Opposition and repression in 1881-1904

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  • Created on: 01-03-15 22:42

The Social Revolutionaries

Had leaders Victor Chernov, who was a large member of the intelligentsia and became leader in 1901, Alexander Keeney, who becomes important in the Petrograd Soviet, and Yevno Alex, who was a police agent in the Okhrana.

They wanted a federal republic and free elections, with private estates becoming public. They got their support from the peasantry, who, in 1906, split like the Social Democrats. They didn't take part in the Duma election of 1906, but won 36 seats in the following election. In 1906, the SRs first congress meeting saw the party committing itself to "revolutionary socialism". However, the 1906 congress meeting revealed the true divides in the party rather than the unity, because the left wing SRs argued that they were forgetting to protect the interests of the workers while the right wing SRs argued that the congress policy was impossible given Russia's economic and industrial state.

They were the most influential group because they were the only ones who appealed to the Peasantry, they were popular and their 2000 political assassinations were successful from 1901 to 1905. They were popular until the Bolsheviks outlawed them in 1917.

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The Social Democrats

The Social Democratic party was formed in 1898, and their ideas were to create a revolution under the ideals of Karl Marx (1818-83). Marx was a German revolutionary that created social sciences, and ultimately concluded that human behaviour, at that time, was a result of class struggle, and referred to this as the "dialectic". The Social Democratic party was formed of people who admired the exciting prospect that human victory was about to reach culmination and overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the upbringing of the proletariat. The "great spurt" of Witte's in the 1890s created hope in the working class to revolutionise.

A leader of the Bolsheviks from 1903, Lenin was a member of the Social Democratic party from 1900. "Iskra" was a newspaper set up by Lenin and, his collegue, Julius Martov. Lenin often criticised Plekhanov for being interested in "economism" rather than revolution, because Lenin had the idea of making workers' living conditions worse to increase bitterness for the revolution. His biggest insult to Plekhanov was when Lenin wrote a book called "What Is To Be Done?" in 1902. Lenin believed that trained revolutionaries should run the revolution and not Plekhanov as he wasn't following the beliefs of of Marx.

The second congress of the SD party was rather telling. Lenin and Plekhanov fought for the votes of the party for who they would rather follow.

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The Mensheviks and Bolsheviks (1)

The Mensheviks broke from the Social Democratic party after the 1903 conference. With leaders Plekhanov, the father of Russian Marxism, Martov, who wrote you newspaper "Iskra" with Lenin, and Trotsky, the Mensheviks believed that Russia wasn't ready for a proletarian revolution.

The Bolsheviks, named "majority" in Russian, had a theory of societal evolution, which means that the revolution will begin after a surge of resentment. They believed in a one stage revolution, which involved the proletarian and bourgeois together at once. Lenin was the leader of this party.

The differences they split over are as follows:

  • Mensheviks believed in a two stage revolution and that the bourgeois stage would have to occur before the proletarian revolution, while the Bolsheviks believed that both stages could be telescoped into one.
  • Plekhanov and Lenin fought over the composition of the party. The Mensheviks believed that the membership should be open to everyone, while the Bolsheviks wanted a tight-knit party by professional revolutionaries.
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The Mensheviks and Bolsheviks (2)

  • The Mensheviks believed that all decisions made by the party should be democratic and voted for by the members. The Bolsheviks, however, had an elected "Central Committee" that made all of the main decisions, which was described as "democratic centralism".
  • The Mensheviks wanted to align with the revolutionary and liberal parties, while the Bolsheviks didn't want to align with trade unions and support economism as it would be playing someone else's game.

By 1912, the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks became two completely separate parties. Lenin resigned from the paper, Iskra, and started his own journal, named Vyperod (Forward) to attack the Mensheviks.

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The Liberals

The liberal party had, as leaders, Peter Strive, Pavel Miliukov and Alexander Guchkov. The liberals wanted to loosen censorship and ***** down law to its bare necessities to protect civil liberties. The Liberals split over the October manifesto, which we'll look at in the future, into the Octobrists and the Kadets. Their main source of support came from national minorities, the Intelligentsia and the middle class. They often used extreme methods to spread their ideas and contributed to the increase of momentum building up amongst the workers.

Overall, the liberals aren't that important, because their only support was from the middle class and the intelligentsia, which was the smallest group of people you want to revolt, and only lasted 15 years. Their work was minor, when compared to the Social Revolutionaries, because the Social Revolutionaries had support from the peasantry, who made up 80% of the population.

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The Extraordinary Laws (1)

On the day he was killed, Alexander II was on his way to sign the Loris-Melikov bill which would form a constitution. When Alexander III came to be Tsar, he wanted to revoke this decree. When Loris-Melikov resigned under duress, Tolstoy became the Minister of the Interior. Alexander III, Pobedonostev, and Tolstoy formed the Extraordinary Laws on 14th August 1881. The Extraordinary Laws were argued  to be "emergency procedures" as they would keep order.

The Minister of the Interior was given the right to place provinces under Reinforced Safeguard (10 provinces in 1881), and the Tsar could place an area under Extraordinary Safeguard. Under Reinforced Safeguard, Provincial Governors of that area were given the powers to arrest and fine, ban and close meetings, and the police of that area had the power to detain people for two weeks without trial for people "inspiring substantial suspicion". A Commander-in-Chief was appointed by the Tsar, who had the rights of Reinforced Safeguard and Extraordinary Safeguard, which allowed them to dismiss Zemstvo members on the grounds of "untrustworthyness", close down Zemstva and dismiss civil servants.

Overall, censorship was reimposed, passports were introduced, church attendance was monitored, forced labour was stepped-up, and exile in Siberia was increased (the end of the century saw 300,000 exiles in Siberia).

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The Extraordinary Laws (2)

These laws were supposedly "temporary" and would last only 3 years each time exercised. However, they were renewed each time until 1917. After the 1905 revolution, the provisions of the decree were extended over the whole Empire

Offences that existed before were worsened, and new offences were created, leading to some of the old offences being more punishable than the new offences. An American tourist, George Kennan, found that one would be punished more for caricaturing the Tsar than to **** a teenage girl.

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Okhrana (Secret Police)

In 1880, Alexander II closed down the Third Section and it was brought forth to the Department of Police. Alexander III passed a bill making the Department of Police the only prosecution for political cases, and, in 1881, Protective Sections were formed to investigate revolutionaries. Then in 1898, a "special section" was formed, known as the OKHRANA, to attack terrorism.

After 20 years of active pursuit by the state for terrorists, in 1901, only 4113 "politicals" were exiled, because all other revolutionaries were rounded up after the assassination of Alexander II.

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Other repression (1)

  • In 1882, the Ministry of Interior had power over newspapers and journals. It was harder to sell or make publications that were critical of the government.
  • A law in 1864 was set that universities could run themselves. This was reversed in 1884, and ministers were to supervise the curriculum, enforce uniform and revive student discipline.
  • Land Captains were first introduced in 1889. They replaced elected magistrates and were noblemen who were appointed by Provincial Governors. Land Captains had administrative, police and judicial authority over the peasantry.
  • Alexander III fought to make schools under the power of the Orthodox Church, but the Zemstva put up strong resistance and succeeded. However, Alexander III did encourage the Orthodox Church to open more parish schools. Fees increased in all schools, making it difficult for lower classes to get an education.
  • A statute of 1890 limited the numbers of people who could vote for a Zemstva and extended the representation of the nobility. Zemstvo presidents also were to be approved by the Ministry of the Interior.
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Other repression (2)

  • In 1885, Alexander III sought for the nobility to play a larger role in politics, the army, the government, the Zemstva, in the economy and in education.
  • Members of different Orthodox sets, such as the Stundists and the Dukhobors, were imprisoned if they didn't change their religion.
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