Russia in Revolution: 1881-1924

A set of revision cards that will build up over time on the Russia in Revolution unit of the exam.

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  • Created on: 07-04-14 15:05

The extent of change in Russia 1881 - 1894

Alexander III and His Policies

  • Alexander II introduced important reforms such as the emancipation of the serfs in 1861.
  • Following assaniation in 1881, Alexander III hated many reforms.
  • Alex III influenced by conservative Pobedonostsev.
  • Argued reforms encouraged radicalism and threatened Tsarist system.
  • Policy of repression launched in 1881.
  • This included:
    • Reforming ministers being forced to resign.
    • Manifesto produced emphasising Tsar's power.
    • Government controlled courts.
    • Power of the Okhrana.

Failed Assaniation of Alex III

  • Repression increased after failed assasination in 1887.
  • 1889 'Land Captains' introduced to help rule Russia.
  • 1890 became memebers of Zemstva.
  • Central gov. control over education also introduced.
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The extent of Change in Russia 1881 - 1894 cont.

Extending Power Over The Empire

  • Alex III strengthened Russification.
  • 1885 Russian became language of empire and all other languages were banned in schools.
  • Jews heavily persecuted and experienced viscious programs.

Economic Modernisation of Russia

  • Alexander III new that Russia needed a modern economy to keep up with Britain.
  • Nikolai Bunge = Finance Minister 1881.
  • 1882 reduced tax paid by peasants.
  • 1887 Ivan Vyshnegradsky = Finance Minister.
  • Ecouraged foregin countries to loan to Russia.
  • However, severe famine between 1891-1892, where 1.5 to 2 million people died.
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Witte's Policies, 1892 - 1903

Russian Economy and Society

  • The emancipation of the serfs did not resolve the problems of agricultural production.
  • Some developments occured in 1880s 
  • Tarrifs to encourage domestic buying of Russian goods, 1891.
  • Russia still behind Europe.

Impact of Sergi Witte and the 'Great Spurt', 1892 - 1903

  • Key aim to strengthen economy and maintatin Russian possinion as a Great Power.
  • Russia suffered with lack of foregin investment, large businesses and workers for factories in late 19th Century.
  • Following policies used to modernise economy:
    • Government more active in control of economy.
    • Greater emphasis on coal iron and steel.
    • Loans from foreign countries.
    • The Trans-Siberian Railway was built to exploit Siberia economically.
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Witte's Policies, 1892 - 1903

Successes and Failures of Witte's policies


  • Increased coal and iron production.
  • 144 million roubles in foregin investment between 1897 and 1900
  • 1903 = Trans-Siberian railway almost complete.
  • Cities grew rapidly.


  • Living conditions in cities for working classes were very poor.
  • Strikes became more common in Ruissia cities.
  • Russia was more in debt than any other European country at the time.
  • 1913 = industry contributed only 20% of national income and only 18% of people lived in cities.
  • Increased taxes on peasants created widedspresad anger.
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Nicholas II's Regime and it's effect


  • Came to power in 1894 and had been tutored by Pobedonostsev.
  • He had little knowledge on the poverty and relied on a small number of advisers.

The Tsar's Beleifs

  • Beleived in maintating Tsarist system and did not support political reform.
  • He had the divine right to rule the Russian Empire.

The Tsar's Dictatorship

  • 1894 - 1905 refused to allow parliament to be established.
  • Relied on Okhrana to maintain security in Russia.
  • Willing to use army and elite forces such as Cossaks to supress strikes or protests.
  • Supported the establishment of the 'Black Hundreds'.
  • Encouraged programs and supported censorship.
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Nicholas II's Regime and it's effect cont.

Weaknesses in the Political System

  • The system of Government was not efficient.
  • Decisions were slow and took a longtime to be implemented.
  • The Tsar was indecisive and easily influenced.
  • Widespread bribery and corruption.

Impact of Tsars Rule

  • Reluctancy against reform led to increasing frustration in Russia.
  • Many Russians supported political opposition groups.

Nicholas II and the Tsarina

  • Tsarina could influence Tsar and encouraged him to remain at home instead of gov. affairs.
  • She was disliked as she was German.

Nicholas II and the Russian Orthodox Church

  • The church spread the message in the country that the Tsar was chosen by God to rule.
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