Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964 (Nature of Government)

Covers the Nature of Government part of the themed course for OCR.

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Alexander II (1)

  • The opposition in 1855 were underground groups who deplored Russia's backwardness.
  • They consisted of nationalist and like minded idealists.
  • Nationalist led the Polish Revolts of 1863 against Russian rule.
  • General opposition came from Populists or Narodniks (revolutionary movement handing power to the peasants).
  • Narodniks had the idea of 'going to the people' in 1876 in an attempt to convert them to socialism, however this failed and they became persecuted from 1877. They became part of the SR's in 1901.
  • Reform of serfdom, law, education and government after Crimea provoked thought of fundamental ruling reform.
  • Opposition emerged from liberal nobles and the intelligensia for change.
  • Pressure was on the Tsar to keep wiht change despite no intension of handing over power, yet realxed censorship and intelligensia talks provoked these ideas.
  • Land and Liberty formed in 1877 as a revolutionary movement, relying on terrorism. Formed from the People's Will and assassinated Alex II in 1881. 
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Alexander II (2)

  • Opposition 1855-1881 was a mixture of liberalist pressure groups, parliamentary democracy movements and extreme terrorism.
  • There was an assassination attempt of Alex II in 1866.
  • Opposition was small in numbers, relied on secrecy and therefore could not campaign for mass support.
  • The Polish Revolt was led by the ruling classes of Poland and their demand for more self government. They had a potential military force, yet were divided into 'Reds' and 'Whites', so the revolution failed.
  • Disturbances of peasants increased before and after 1861, as the land question was never solved. They gathered but lacked focus politically.
  • The 'going to the people' campaign failed as some peasants were feeling benefits of reforms and the Narodniks were seen as too complicated and radical.
  • 'Land and Freedom' was launched in St. Petersburg by demonstration in 1878, but letters were intercepted and the leaders were exiled.
  • The group 'Black Partition', the terrorists of the 'People's Will', shot the Governor of St. Petersburg in 1878, and had a membership as low as 50.
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