Opposition and Repression to Russian Govt. 1855-1964 OCR

Opposition and repression under the Tsars and Communist Leaders for OCR A2

  • Created by: Chantelle
  • Created on: 08-06-11 21:00

Narodniks and other oppossition under Alex II


  • Supported a revolutionary movement
  • Mainly intellectuals
  • Believed in giving power to the peasants
  • 1877 - Persecuted by the State
  • Beginnings of the Social revolutionary Party

Crimean War set hopes for change

Oppossition then emerged among intelligensia and liberal nobles


1877 - Land and Liberty, evolved into the Peoples Will - extreme terrorism 

In retrospect ideas were for; Liberalism, Peasant democracy, extreme terrorism

1 of 7

Oppossition under Alex III and Nicholas II

Socialist ideas growing in the West resulted in Socialist revolutionary Party.

Growth of Industry (E.g. Wittes Great Spurt) created urban opposition - more for a change in industrial conditions, not really political.

In theory political parties after creation of the Duma should have allowed political activity but didnt due the Tsars restrictions.

1905 shows division in oppossition which is why it failed to remove the Tsar.

Bolsheviks and Mensheviks formed the Russian Social democrats in 1903. Split not formally made until 1911.

WAR a key element as it showed inefficiencies of the regime.

2 of 7

The Tsars oppossition analysis

Different elements of opposition were divided even among themselves

Led to violence, could not succeed due to military power.

Little structure to their influential ideas

Polish revolt and assassination did not attract peasants

NO middle class base

Nobility had interest for change but were put off by extremists

Democracy slightly established at face value

Lessons had been learnt for future (1917)

3 of 7

Analysis 1905

More similarities than differences between oppossition for all the Tsars

Little mass support

Dependance on smuggled written material from abroad

Bitter divisions

Greater interest on theoretical oppossition.

Terrorism tightened the hold on of the State E.g. assassination of Alex II, counter reforms


  • Context (restless urban working class)
  • Population Growth
  • Russification alienated other nationalities to a degree unparalleled to the days of Alex II.
4 of 7

Successful Oppossition 1917

The Dumas created more division

Violent repression in the countryside by the right wing terrorist groups who were attacking revolutionary supporters and Jews. = Nationalist groups were repressed.

Decline of industrial strike due to War in 1914 = WAR KEY FACTOR AGAIN

Feb opposition was successful because Nicholas went to war and left an unpopular Tsarina therefore his distance from the City led to crisis. - Abdication

Bolsheviks were able to successfully over through the Prov Govt. in Oct 1917. In my opinion they did not did not establish their system quick enough and remained in the War when Russia was at a major crisis.

This was the LAST successful opposition in this time period of study, however the next successful oppostion was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

5 of 7

Oppossition after 1917

Opposition to new rulers was also unsuccessful.

e.g. the Whites (not united)

Under Stalin

  • Repression eliminated most opposition.
  • Opposition met by violence
  • Gulags
  • Great Purges

Under Khrushchev

  • Unrest in Poland as it had been under the Tsars
  • Probelms; divided, power of the state, lack of foreign support
  • Politburo overthrew Krushchev similar to Nicholas 1917
6 of 7

Overview 1855-1964

In 1855 political oppossition lacked unified ideology, this had NOT CHANGED in 1964. - Due to stagnate and corrupt regimes. However Liberal democracy did not seem appealing in 1964 due to Cold War.

In 1855 little possibilty of substantial political change, autocracy was firm with strong ideology (divine right) - repressive system established STILL TRUE in 1964 - Lenin and Stalin if not similar, stronger ideological belief (able to use modern methods e.g. propoganda). Opposition was driven underground.

1855 there were some reforms and relaxing of repression, however, no wish for democracy or to destroy autocracy SIMILAR to Communist Party who did not want free elections.

1855 saw change because of War against foreign powers but NOT a direct influence from foreign powers WHEREAS there was more opposition from abroad (Cold War) than there had been in 1855.

7 of 7




Really good for understanding nature of opposition, however don't forget Krushchev's opposition were also successful, despite it being in a different form the politburo were successful in making him step down, similar to Margret Thatcher. Other than that it's all good.

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Russia - 19th and 20th century resources »