Radical Parties 1860-1905

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 11-04-13 16:59

Populist Movements 1860-1970's

Populists disliked the autocratic rule of Tsars and wanted to replace it with a system of government based on independent peasant communes,.

  • leading thinkers were the educated middle class
  • Peter Lavrov and friends uni students                                                                  


  • wanted to win support for their ideas amongst peasantry
  • Went out to the countryside = attempts failed (arrested) 


  • In 1879 some radical Populists formed the 'People's Will'
  • Assassinated Tsar Alexander II in 1881

Populism important = led to the founding of Social Democratic Party 1898

                                                               Social Revoultionary Party 1901

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The Social Revolutionary Party

Believed Russia's future lay with the 'people', a combination of peasants and workers.

Led by Victor Chernov (from educated middle class)

  • Attempted to broaden appeal of his party by winning support from industrial workers
  • Tried to gain support from the discontented elements of Russian society

The SR's promised that all peasants would be given their own land, without compensating the previos owners.

The party was never strongly knit group = lots of factions:

  • Anarchists that disliked central political authority
  • Also contained terrorist wing = assassinated the Tsar's uncle Grand Duke Sergei during the early months of the 1905 revoultion 
  • In Oct. 1917 the 'Left SR's' joined the Bolsheviks 
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The Social Democrat Party

Created in Minsk in 1898 
The Social Democrats looked west - to the radical ideas of Marxism 

  • For Marxism to succeed in Russia, industrial development was essential
  • During Witte's 'Great Spurt' Russia was becoming an industrial state (still vast population of peasants)


  •  Lenin demanded that the Social Democrats should limit their membership to those dedicated revoultionaries that would lead a workers' revoultion
  • The Menshiviks opposed this idea wanting a broad membership, admitting anyone who was in sympathy with the party's aims
  • Lenin's ideas were initially defeated by 28 votes to 22
  • When Lenin's ideas were raised again he won by 17 to 15
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The Liberals

Western European Liberalism was an idea which was associated with the educated middle class. Liberalism comprised of different groups at different times in Russia.

  • Administrative officials
  • University-educated professionals (doctors, lawyers and teachers)

Zemstva = beginnings of liberalism in Russia during the reign of Alexander II. This was the first political organisation in Russian history that contained elected officials

Union of Liberation = in 1901 some Russian liberal exiles in Germany established a newspapers Liberation supporting the idea of a constitutional monarchy (similar to Britain)


  • When the Tsar issued the October Manifesto (first time in Russian history the Tsar was willing to share power in national government) created split
  • The 'Octobrists' (union of oct. 17) believed that the October Manifesto provided the best settlement
  • The 'Kadets' (constitutional democratic party)  saw the Ocotber Manifesto as the beginning not the end 
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