Russia: 1905 under Nicolas II

Russia from Bloody Sunday to the problems surrounding the Tsar and the workers.

  • Created by: juddr12
  • Created on: 25-01-15 20:14


In 1905, Russia had failed to modernise politically and economically. Since 1802, Russia had a ministerial government, but it failed to have a cabinet. The ministers would speak to the Tsar privately. Even when the State Council was introduced in 1810, the Tsar didn't need to follow the voices of his advisers. 

The 1905 revolution was caused by a number of factors: the living conditions of worldwide economic depression after 1900; the bad urban conditions; heavy taxation; high redemption payments; the 1891 famine; the grow of radical revolutionary groups; the corrupt government; the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05); Bloody Sunday.

The Russo-Japanese war was one where the Tsar's incompetence led to Russia's defeat. It began on February 8th 1904. It happened because the Tsar wanted Port Arthur in their possession. The Tsar refered the Japanese as "little monkeys" (makaki), but had poor transportation of arms and weapons because the Trans-Siberian Railroad was slow. Therefore, his incompetence lost Tsar this war. He was humiliated. When the Russians agreed to retreat, the Japanese siezed Port Arthur and cut off the Russians. The Japanese claimed Port Arthur on 2 January 1905.

Bloody Sunday began the 1905 revolution...

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Bloody Sunday

A short-term factor of the 1905 revolution was Bloody Sunday. It happened in January 1905 where Father Gapon led a peaceful march to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to persuade the Tsar to sign a petition towards improved working conditions. The protesters were loyal who, during the march, were holding pictures of the Tsar, singing hyms and regarded the Tsar as their "little father". 

On their way to the Winter Palace, the protesters were met by Cossack troops who tried to stop the march with butts on their weaponry. The protesters continued to move, and were shot at by the military.

Bloody Sunday was very spontaneous, and it caused many other social movemements and revolts against the regime.  Hundreds died in Bloody Sunday, and more were about to die over the coming months.

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  • 9th January - Bloody Sunday march.
  • End of January saw 400,000 on strike and by autumn, this number raised to 2.5 million.
  • Some workers entered illegal trade unions, there were 60 of these.
  • Workers' Councils of Soviet were set up.
  • October - loads of strikes from railway workers, builders and even ballet dancers.
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  • Concerned with unrest.
  • March - called Nicholas II to end this tragic year of unrest.
  • Discussed liberal ideas in universities.
  • May - Liberal Union of Unions was formed by Milyukov and they called for a parliament.
  • September - Zemstva conference called for another parliament.
  • Their initial response was to make a national assembly.
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  • 90,000 soldiers killed by the end of March.
  • May - Kronstadt Mutiny - a mutiny within the navy.
  • June - Mutiny on the battleship, named Potemkin, where 2000 were killed.
  • October - Another mutiny in Kronstadt.
  • November - further mutinies in the army.
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  • Peasants began to destroy huge estates owned by landowners.
  • And, by August, there was a meeting of peasants in Moscow, which called for an "All Russian Union of Peasants" (encouraged by Social Revolutionaries).
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National Minorities

  • Strongly hurt by Russification.
  • Independence calls from the Finnish and the Polish.
  • 400,000 workers on strike in Poland.
  • Anti-semitic attacks in Bessarabia.
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  • 4th February - assassinates Grand Duke Sergei.
  • 11th July - assassinates Shavalov, who was the military governor of Moscow.
  • Encouraged peasant uprising.
  • Strikes amongst the Bolsheviks and the Mencheviks.
  • Trotsky led the St. Petersberg Soviet from October 1905 and worked on a paper named the "Russian Gazette".
  • Lenin retrned to Moscow in November.
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Tsar (1)

  • February - he invited the population to "submit suggestions".
  • August - Government announces that it will consider "consultative national representative bodies".
  • (17th) October (Manifesto) called for duma powers and civil liberties.
  • November (Manifesto) said that it will consider "too better the conditions of the peasant population" and to end Redemption Payments from the first of January 1907.
  • Winter 1905 - made concessions to the troops.
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Tsar (2)

After he made concessions to the troops, he had an army again and used it against the revolutionaries.

  • Trepov in St. Peterberg said to "fire no blanks and spare no bullets".
  • 14th November - Peasant Union leaders arrested.
  • 3rd December - Headquarters of St. Petersburg Soviet surrounded and all the members were arrested, including Trotsky.
  • 16th December - Artillery barrage on working class district of Presnaya in Moscow left 1000 dead.
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October Manifesto

October Manifesto

  • Made on the 17th of October, and this manifesto promised that the Duma would act as a prevention barrier to the tsar on his policies if they disagreed.
  • The Duma could be seem like the House of Lords as they can reject proposals.
  • Some liked this idea, such as tolerate and centre-right liberals.
  • While others thought that this wasn't enough and still wanted more, such as the left-wing liberals and the workers.
  • Because of this, the liberals became the "Kadets" or the "Constitutional Democrats" and demanded more from the Tsar.
  • Trotsky said that all of his ideas regarding the October Manifesto were worthless.
  • There was an increase in peasant uprisings because more peasants believed that they were owed more land.
  • 26 men were killed in an October repeating of the Kronstadt Mutiny.
  • The Liberals broke apart into two groups: the "Kadets", who thought that this wasn't good enough, and the "Octobrists", who liked the idea of the elective Duma.
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November Manifesto

November Manifesto

  • In November, Nicholas announced that he would abolish redemption payments by January of 1907.
  • This meant that everyone, besides the workers who were more likely to start revolution, were given concessions, while workers were repressed with force from the army after Winter concessions.
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Fundamental Laws

Fundamental Laws (April 1906)

  • This practically stripped the Duma of the power they were promised in the October Manifesto.
  • This sparked resentment and hatred and was clumsily done by the Tsar.
  • The law stated that there would be an Upper House to the Duma that was nominated by the Tsar and the Nobility.
  • Although the Duma's rejection right remained, the Duma and the State Council were indirectly voted for, where the wealthy had direct election but workers could only vote for the parties through electoral colleges. The "electoral colleges" worked for the nobility, therefore they were used to "eliminate radicals". The peasants had it even worse, because they voted for a "mir representative" who voted on behalf of the mir through an electoral college.
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