Russian Revolution

  • Created by: Olivia46
  • Created on: 10-01-17 08:37

Historical Context

Class system - Mid 19th Century - Serfs

Majority of Russian population and bottom of the class system

Owned by autocracy.

Few serfs were educated often denied education.

Agriculture was undeveloped and not modern due to isolation.

Stripfarming - Serfs given *****s of land which when on roughly a 2 to 3 year basis the land was redistributed - at some point Serfs got a good quality piece of land. This was done by the Mir (Peasant Commune)

Disadvantages of ***** farming - No proper development as they had to move - did not see the purpose in building infrastructure, did not have enough to time to find the perfect crop. Serfs were conservative, so would have been reluctant to develop their farming.

Machinery not used as it would use land which could be used to grow crops. The land may also not be big enough. Also would be too expensive for serfs. Nobles did not invest in farming tech, as the serfs would gain more control and become more educated.

1 of 67

Historical Context

Intelligentsia - Nobles questioning Russia compared to the development in other parts of Europe (Britain).
Populists - group of intelligentsia campaigned to improve the life of serfs. Serfs rejected them as they were isolated, so did not know of a better life and populists were considered unusual, and were sometimes attacked.
Problems with breaking serfdom
Aristocrats unwilling to pay.
No immediate improvement - need to be educated - Conservative.
Landowners would no longer have free workers, they would be paid.
The land would have have to be given to the serfs
Alexander II - Tsar Liberator or Tsar Emancipator or The Reforming Tsar.
Freed serfs in act - Emancipation of the serfs (1861).

2 of 67

Emancipation of the Serfs

1861 - Emancipation of the serfs Alexander II

Gave landowners government bonds ('loan' paid back with interest). Tsar taxes serfs - tax called redemption dues every year. Takes serfs 49 years to pay back, and the life expectancy of 34 years. Peasants cannot leave land where they serfs without passports. Meyer given a set amount of money needed from redemption dues to collect, did not accept late/no payment as the meter and the people would have to pay the remaining funds.

3 of 67

Reactions to Emancipation

Aristocracy: Full amount of money won't be received until 49 years and had no free workers on farms. In their interest to not go against the tsar or they will not receive
money. Lesser landowners cannot hire workers.

Church: Agrees with the tsar as they believe he was chosen by God.

Working Class: Does not have a large effect and most come from peasant families.

Peasants: Not really free due to the taxation, need of passports, still working on land owned by upper classes, living in poor conditions. Did not aspire to be free, given aspiration which was never met.

Middle Class: Pleased that the serfs were free, unhappy about the not really being free (e.g. taxation). Middle class want more change.

Tsar: Most concerned by the middle class who are educated, so more likely than peasants to push for change.

4 of 67

Other Classes


1 in 4 peasants died as babies.
Movement saying that rich could learn from morals poor.
Peasants - religious superstition.
No real police force only the meer (themselves).
Inbreeding - genetic problems.
If a crime was committed the accused were publicly humiliated and/or tortured.
Domestic abuse was common - Illegal for a woman and legal for a man.

The Russian Army

Army soldier had very low status.
General inherited rank or were nobility.
Generals allowed to use corporal punishment on soldiers.

5 of 67

The slogan of Imperial Russia

The slogan of Imperial Russia - Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality.

Power of the church used to influence people (mostly peasants).
Tzar's divine right.

Tsar uses the slogan as 'propaganda' to show he is right in his actions.
Tsar's absolute power.
Class system - Believed God put people in a certain class.

Used to justify Russification.

6 of 67

Problems with revolutionary movements

Hunting of revolutionary groups.
Secret Police.
Hold of religion over people.
Alexander III determination to make autocracy stronger.
Difficult to educate peasants.
Scale of the campaign makes it difficult to organise.

7 of 67

The effects of Witte's reforms

Growth In National Product 1898 - 1913
Russia - 96.8%

Russian society 1897 Census
1890's - population of St. Petersburg and Moscow increased by 25%

Industrial working class increased

Peasants have aspirations as they want more, however cities did not meet this aspirations, so coped poorly.

Led to over population in cities and diseases, caused problems involving sewage.
Witte did not build churches which would have angered the deeply religious and superstitious peasants who moved to the cities. This was also important to the tsar to reinforce his divine right, which allowed him to control the peasantry.

8 of 67

The effects of Witte's reforms

No social legislation to protect the rights of the increasing amount of peasants migration to cities. As they do not have churches their faith is then tested and start to question it. This could have led them to question the tsar's divine right, even when eventually churches are built. This would lead to a very disgruntled working class and an angry peasantry who feel they are being push aside because of the focus on working class and industry.

This made it easier for social reform groups due to the railways, a growing working class meant they could reach them in their factories. As the literacy rates increased they could publish propaganda.

Ratio of literates to illiterates
Great decrease
1860's 1:15
Age group 10 - 39 in 1897 1:4

9 of 67

Revolutionary Activity

In 1900, Lenin and Plekhanov set up a revolutionary Russian Marxist Newspaper called Iskra (the spark).It was aimed to combat the Economists, a new branch of marxists , led by Eduardo Bernstein.

They were joined by Axelrod, Zazulich and Leon Bronstein. Bronstein set up a London office and Iskra was smuggled into Russia.

10 of 67

The foundations of revolution

What is to be done?' - leaflet by Vladimir Lenin (1902). Wanted small marxist elite, who would plan the future. Anyone who wanted to be a marxist had to devote their loyalty to the cause to be part of the decision making process. However Marx believed that communism was inevitable and natural in every society, therefore you should not rush it. The idea of the 'elite' is contradictory to communism which focuses on the equality of the people. Yuli Martov opposed this.

1903 - Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic party met in Brussels and then was forced out by Belgian police and went to London. Vote held which Lenin won, so many supported his idea marxist revolution. The Bolshevik's who supported Lenin - majority. Mensheik - supported Yuli Martov - miniority.
Power of the statue of state security and state oppression resulted in limited revolutionary action in Alexander the III reign.

11 of 67

Nicholas II

Tutored by Pobedonostsev (same as the Alexander III) had distain for lower classes with very nationalistic views and highly supportive of autocracy. Very conservative upbringing.

Trained in military.

Alexander III thinks Nicholas is unsuitable for the role of the tsar. Kept him away from cabinet meetings.

Assassination attempt in Japan. Nicholas II then hated the Japanese.
In 1894, Alexander III became ill. Took him to Crimea, where it became clear he was going to die. Then, allowed Nicholas II to marry and Alexandra (German).

Many thought the wedding was too close to the death of Alexander III. She seemed to the Russian aristocracy 'stuck up' and too aloof, this is also worsened by the fact she did not originally speak good Russian. She tried hard to improve this, but the Russian's never accepted her.

12 of 67

Nicholas II

The khodynka fields disaster from overcrowding to reach the wedding led to many deaths. Nicholas and Alexandra wanted to cancel the ball, but it had been paid by the French so they could not. This appeared to the Russians that Alexandra had corrupted

Nicholas whom Russians loved.
The son of Nicholas - Alexei was a haemophiliac. Alexandra had to take care of him, so was not attending events which made the Russian public hate her more.

13 of 67

Reactionary measures under Alexander III

Alexander III - was bigoted, authoritarian, chauvinistic, suspicious off intellectuals and anti-Semitic .

Immediate action - On succeeding his father in 1881 he issued a manifesto and scrapped the document, prepared on his father's instruction by Count Loris-Melikov who he later dismissed, discussing possible arrrangments for establishing a consultative assembly.

The Statute of State Security - issued by the new Interior Minister on 14th August 1881. The secret police (Okhrana) were given extensive powers of surveillance, arrest and administrative exile. It was supposed tho be a temporary measure to strengthen autocratic rule after the comparatively liberal measures of Alexander II's reign, but in practice it was renewed every 3yrs until 1917.

The Courts - set up by Alexander II after the Emancipation had their jurdistiction reduced as cases were taken from them and given to special tribunals. Officals who had liberal ideas were removed from office. In 1889, a new group of officals was created, called the 'Land Captains', to replace locally elected justices of the peace. They were appointed from the landed classes by the Interiro Minister.

14 of 67

Reactionary measures under Alexander III

Zemstva Controls - New legislation cut back the responsibilities of the zemstva still further, e.g. 1890 - the Land Captains were given wide-ranging admistrative powers over zemstva activities. The franchise for the zemstva was restricted even further, to favour the landed classes, and schoolteachers and doctors were forbidden to stand for election.

Censorship - was stricter. Journals, newspaper and foreign literature were muzzled.

Education - The lower classes were deliberately denied proper educational opportunities.

University Statue of 1887 - gave government tighter control of the universities and fess were increased. In 1889, they were closed for a while in response to student demonstrations.

Russification - Laws were passed to eradicate signs of non-Russian nationality. There were laws against the cultures of Jews, Catholics, Poles, Baltic Protestants, central Asian Muslims and non-Orthodox Russians. Russian made the official language.

15 of 67

Reform Movements - Social Revolutionaries

History before 1894 - Heirs of an ill-fated populist movement of the 1860's and 1870's

Socialism - but Russia's uniqueness meant it had to take a different path to socalism
Socalism which was based around peasant institutions rather than work-based as suggested by MArx.
Communities would own the land they farmed collectively.
Did not want politics/gov. Or to be controlled by the powerful - anarchism

Used violence as a legitimate political weapon
There were divisions within SR's ranks on the Combat Organisation's assassination campaign.
Leader of CO was Okhrana spy - assassination campaign was suspended but still used violence.

16 of 67

Reform Movements - Social Democrats

Karl Marx was a philosopher and economist - ideas attracted a significant following in Europe.
Organised Russian Marxism first appeared with the establishment of the Liberation of Labour Group in 1883 by a group of political exiles. - 1895 merged with another exile group, the Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class with the aim of radicalising the city's industrial workers.
Leaders - V.I Lenin and Yuili Martov
1898 - representatives of separate Marxist groups came together to form the Russian Social Democrat party.
Lenin became active in the groups affairs after his return from a period of exile in 1900, and along with Martov, quickly took charge.
1900 - started an underground newspaper, Iskra ('The Spark'), to disseminate their views.
The infant RSDLP disputed about political strategy. Some took the view that proletarian revolution in Russia was a long way off as they had not entered the capitalist stage, so the party should focus on improvements in working-class conditions. Lenin took a different view. The outcome was the spilt off 1903

17 of 67

Reform Movements - Social Democtas

Bolshevik and Mensheviks

Lenin believed that Russia was no longer a feudal country but a capitalist one. Said there was a realistic prospect of a proletarian revolution in Russia in the near future (said 1903). He said the RSDLP had to concentrate on making itself ready to seine the revolutionary movement. Jet wanted a group of professional revolutionaries operating under centralised leadership.

Lenin's opponents favoured a short-term RSDLP focus on development of trade unions in Russia. They were open to the idea of co-operating with non-Marxists. They wanted a more inclusive and less highly centralised RSDLP, which Lenin could not accept.

After 1903, the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks Developed as separate parties. The Mensheviks (Martov) interpreted Marx's ideas in rigid, orthodox fashion. Bolsheviks (Lenin), were more flexible, adapting Marx's ideas to suit their own purpose.

18 of 67

The Russian Economy at the turn of the Century


State Capitalism. Witte judged that Russia's greatest need was to quire capital for investment industry. He negotiated large loans and investments from abroad, and imposed heavy taxes and interest rates in Russia. Encourage the import of foreign capital, and limited the import of foreign goods. Set up Protective tariffs to protect Russia's developing domestic industries.

How it might avert revolution

More people in the working class, so less likely to complain about severe poverty. The change may also convince that Russia is developing and there is no need for revolution. The Autocracy having more money could increase their power and reach.

How it might bring revolution closer

Taxes may increase the oppression felt by the Russian people, further increasing tensions. As more people join the working class, they are more accessible to revolutionary groups.

19 of 67

The Russian Economy at the turn of the Century


Russian currency put on the gold standard (The system in which the rouble, had a fixed gold content, thus giving it strength when exchanged with other countries). In an aim to increase financial stability and so encourage investment in Russia. Aim was largely successful but it penalised as prices increased with the value of rouble increased. Prices tended to rise as a result of tariffs making goods scarcer

How it might avert revolution

More financial stability means the autocracy still has enough money, to seize power over the people.

How it might bring revolution closer

Increased prices along with taxes turn bitter towards the idea of capitalism and revolutionaries could encourage them to follow the idea of communism.

20 of 67

The Russian Economy at the turn of the Century

Much of the foreign capital raised by Witte was directly invested in railways. To encourage the migration of workers to the areas where they were most needed. Sections of it were incomplete for many years and did not greatly improve east-west migration. Army alos pressured Tsar to move equipment + men. Better communication.

How it might avert revolution
Showed that the Russian enterprise was a project of real economic work. This may convince some people there does not need to be a revolution as this is a sign of positive change. As it did not really increase migration that means that revolutionaries were still unable to fully spread their message across the whole of Russia. Peasants still had passports.

How it might bring revolution closer
People may be angered there was no real benefit for the working class and peasantry. They may see this as useless expenditure which could have been used to improve working-class conditions. Large parts of it remained single track - problematic at wartime.

21 of 67

Reform Groups

What is your view on personal liberties, such as freedom of speech?

Liberals - In favour of freedoms, everybody entitled to them. Equality of opportunity.

Social Revolutionaries - bourgeoisie (middle class) to have less rights than before force them to become peasants, equality and freedom especially for the peasants. Wanted to dismantle to tsarist autocracy.

Marxists - Everyone is equal and has equal freedoms. Have to have repression (e.g. Freedom of speech stopped for those it speak against it) to reach that state.

22 of 67

Reform Groups

How do you see the tsar in twentieth century Russia - will he continue to rule in his present capacity?

Marxists - Cannot have a tsar in marxist society, prepared to use violence if necessary but not adamant on it.
Social Revolutionaries - Abolish tsar through violence.
Liberals - Constitutional monarchy, similar to English governmennt. Tsar has a lot less power.

What reforms do you propose to benefit the industrial workers?

Marxists - Liberate working class, reward people for their work. Better working and living conditions (social legislation). All workers have the same kind of pay.
Social workers - Liberate the peasants, want a agricultural revolution. Secondary consideration, make machinery for peasants, poorer than peasants.
Liberals - Social legislation passed due to constitutional monarchy and elections in government to workers will be able to give themselves more rights through their representatives in government.

23 of 67

Reform Groups

What reforms do you propose to benefit rural workers (peasants)?
Social Revolutionaries - Equal land among peasants, all workers will be more productive as social revolutionaries focus on the agricultural revolution.
Marxists - Peasants become middle class to industrialise Russia and build machinery so less labour is need for agriculture. In equal conditions as the middle class.
Liberals - Social legislation passed due to constitutional monarchy and elections in government to peasants will be able to give themselves more rights through their representatives in government.

Differences between the Marxists and Social Revolutionaries
Social revolutionaries more focused on peasants and more open about their use of violence to dismantle the tsarist autocracy. Marxists focus more on the middle class and are less prepared to use violence

24 of 67

Russia's Foreign Policy: The Far East

Background: 19th century expansionist policies won Russia the island of Sakhalin and from 1861 a city was being built in Vladivostok.

Aims after 1870's:
To take Manchuria from China in order to establish a border from Irkstuk to Vladivostok.
To gain an ice-free port in the Far East.

Sino-Japanese 1895 - Japan made extensive gains in land. Russia claimed this threatened their interests and demanded compensation. Germany agreed to this and Japan had agreeded to the leave the Liaotung peninsula to China. The next 3yrs saw Russia increase their influence in China. Russia bribed Chinese negotiators to allow her to build railway from Harbin to Darien. Japan thought their interests were being damaged by the intereference of European powers.

25 of 67

The Russo-Japanese War 1904-5


Japan's frustration at her loss influence since 1895 due to the intervention of European powers.

Russia's repeated refusal to recognise Japan's interests in Korea in return for Japan's recognition of her interests in Manchuria.

Russia looked to prestige abroad to distract attention from domestic affairs. Interior Minister Plehve said "to stem the tide of revolution, we need a successful little war"


8th February 1904 - Aware that Russia was unprepared, the Japanese fleet attacked port Arthur without formal declaration of war. By May, Port Arthur was cut off, which led to:

26 of 67

The Russo-Japanese War 1904-5

Land campaigns to relieve Port Arthur - January 1905 - after a 156 siege, involving 17,200 Russian and 110,000 Japanese casualties, the Russians surrendered Port Arthur. As store and ammunition were still in supply, this resulted in the charge of treason against the commander, General Stossel.

April 1904 - Russia's most popular and able commander, Makarov. Morale fell and Russian fleet ventured out of harbour only twice more before the fall of Port Arthur.

27th May 1905 - Battle of Tsushima Straits - the Baltic fleet lost 25 of its 35 ships, trying to reach Vladivostok.

The Treaty of Portsmouth, August 1905
Witte was brought back to negotiate the treaty.
Russia had to pay no indemnity and maintained dominance of Manchuria and half the island of Sakhalin. However, she lost Port Arthur and the Liaotung Peninsula.
Russia's interests in the Far East were now limited, the country's foreign prestige then would depend on events in Europe.

27 of 67

The 1905 Revolution

Father Gapon - Russian orthodox. Sets up 'Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St Petersburg'. Illegal under the Statute of State Security not many trade union leaders were charged or taken by the police. Mainly just observed by the secret police. He did not want a large revolution, he wanted to allow people to speak about what they were unhappy with. He wanted to bring change through democratic means. 22nd January 1905 he organised a march for everyone in St Petersburg who wanted change, they would march to the Tsar's Winter Palace with a petition for change. This was illegal the police knew it was happening. Tsar says he does not want the march to happen to Zubatov the head of the police, the police then put up posters banning the march. People prepare to go on the march anyway.

On the 22nd January the Tsar was not at the winter palace as he knew of the march. When the demonstrators converged at the Winter Palace. The order went out to open fire and attack the crowd. The march was almost religious and many types on people came to the march, including children.This was known as 'Bloody Sunday'. This was reported globally ruining their Tsar's reputation.

28 of 67

Main causes of the 1905 Revolution

Alienated Intelligentsia
Middle-class liberals wanted to participate in government; wanted some form of elected assembly.
Students protested against repressive government controls.

Socialist Revolutionaries - wanted peasant revolution to create socialism based around peasant communities.
Social Democrats (Marxists) - wanted urban working classes to stage revolution to create a socialist state, then Communism.

National Minorities
E.g. Finns, Poles, Jews
Wanted more autonomy and independence.
Wanted an end to the policy of Russification

29 of 67

Main causes of the 1905 Revolution


Grievances included: poverty, need for more land, high taxes, redemption payments on land.

Suffered periodic famines.

Increasing peasant population was putting more pressure on land.


Grievances included: long hours, low pay, terrible working and living conditions.

Wanted more political power.

Tsarist regime

Weak, indecisive Tsar.

Repressive government.

No moves towards constitutional government.

Denied basic freedoms, e.g. Free press, freedom to form political parties.

No concessions to nationalities - any protests repressed.

30 of 67

Main causes of the 1905 Revolution

Witte's Economic Policy
Under Witte's industrialisation policy, urban workers and peasants squeezed very hard by high indirect taxes and low wages.
Economic slump after 1902 led to high unemployment and social tension in towns.
Poor harvests in 1900 and 1902 led to starvation and violence in countryside.

Outbreak of Russo-Japanese War, February 1904
Defeats on land and at sea shocked Russian public.
January 1905 - lost Port Arthur
War caused shortages of food and fuel, high prices and unemployment.
Huge upsurge of discontent as Tsar's government perceived to be incompetent.

31 of 67

Events of the 1905 Revolution

The early stages of the Russo-Japanese War encouraged Liberal groups to press for representative government.
The main act of violence in 1904 was the Assam action of Phelve (Interior Minister) by the Social Revolutionaries.
January - a wave of strikes started by strikes started by a strike at the Putilov engineering works in St.Petersburg. By 22nd Jan, 105,000 workers were on strike.
Famines in 1897, 1898 and 1901 had worsened the plight of the peasantry.
Father Gapon drew up petition with zemstvo leaders and SRs to present the Tsar. It asked for:
a reduction in the working day from 11 to 8 hours
the ending of the war
Bloody Sunday
Result - outrage in Russia and the rest of the world. All sectors of Russian society - felt aggrieved by the government's action. Tsar was blamed as the perpetrator of the massacre.
Immediately, a General Strike broke out in St.Petersburg and this quickly spread to other cities. Almost half a million workers were on strike. Protests and violence spread the country, with buildings and officals being attacked.

32 of 67

Events of the 1905 Revolution

4th February - the Tsar's uncle, Grand Duke Sergei, was assassinated by the SRs.
18th Feb - the Tsar promised:
A consultative assembly
Religious toleration
Language rights for the Polish minority
Cancellation of part of the peasants' redemption dues
These limited promises encouraged the Liberalks and revolutionaries to raise their demands to: a constituent assembly with:
Full legislative powers
Universal suffrage
Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties

Unrest spread to the countryside. Some peasants began to set up unions.
This was intensified by events in the Russo-Japanese War, spread to the army and navy. There were a umber of mutinies e.g. Potemkin
Unions were set up by new groups e.g. Engineers and teachers.

33 of 67

Events of the 1905 Revolution

Unions were co-ordinated into a 'Unions of Unions' by a moderate, Paula Milyukov, who led a congress of municipal council representatives top draw up a more wide-reaching constitution.
August 1905 - The Tsar's government issued a manifesto containing the details of the consultative (Duma) promised in February. It was to have a property franchise.
August 1905 - The Treaty of Portsmouth ended the war with Japan. Though Russia's humiliation was limited by the negation of Witte, their loss of land and influence in China led to more dissatisfaction with the government.
September 1905 - A new surge of unrest and strikes, e.g. Printers in St. Petersburg.
A strike by Moscow rail workers spread, paralysing communications and bringing government administration to an stop. Peasants burnt crops and landlords' homes. Odessa and Kharkov were out of control.
October - the St.Petersburg Soviet (council) of workers deputies was formed. It was democratically elected and represented the industrial workers in the city. It's purpose was to organise supplies, emergency measures and strikes. (Moderate in 1905). NIts newspaper was called 'Izvestiya'
Count Witte was appointed chief minister. He had been considered too reformist previously. He advised concession with repression.

34 of 67

Events of the 1905 Revolution

30th October - Nicholas issued the Imperial Manifesto (October Manifesto). It promised:
Individual freedoms
A state Duma based on a wider franchise than that promised earlier
The Duma's approval would be required for all laws.
The president of the Duma would head a committee of ministers.
The Tsar would retain control of the armed forces and the right to raises loans.
November 1905 - another manifesto promised that redemption dues would be gradually phased out.
The reduction of revolutionary favour and the support of the army now the Russo-Japanese War had ended gave Witte and the Tsar the opportunity to repress the opposition.
Strikes were dealt with by lock-outs; the army/police were used to flog peasants into submission; ultra-nationalist gang as of thugs called the 'Black Hundreds' roamed, beating up students, strikers and Jews.
3rd December - Witte had the executive of the Soviet arrested.
A rising in Moscow wasn put down by the Semenovsky Guards.

35 of 67

Mutiny on the Battleship Potemkin

The Potemkin
Black sea - Dardanelles straits - key area, as one of the few accessible ports.
The sailors on boards mutinied when given maggot-ridden meat.
Officers told the soldiers to report to the deck, as the officers were armed and a water-proof mats were put down, the soldiers believed they were going to be shot. The soldiers then attack the officers. Seven officers were killed, and the others were tied up. Sailors took control of the ship.
That evening, the Potemkin arrived at the port of Odessa. The social democrats tried to persuade the sailors to join the workers in Odessa's general strike but they refused.
Military may stage a mutiny, as soldiers in Odessa may be forced to shoot sailors for treason. A popular sailor, also died.
The Potemkin tried to cross the Dardanelles straits, another ship was sent out to stop the ship. The two ships don't fire or stop each other. The Potemkin went to Romania. Some sailors returned Russia, they were imprisoned or executed. Some returned after the tsarist autocracy was toppled.
Lenin called Potemkin an - 'Undefeated territorial of the revolution'

36 of 67

The Fundamental Laws of 1906

The Tsar is Suprme Autocrat
Ministers are to be solely responsible to the tsar
The Duma is to have the right to veto legislation
The sovereign emperor possesses the intative in all legislative matters.
The Sovereign Emperor it to approve laws...without his approval no legalistive measure can become law.
The sovereign emperor...determines the direction of Russia's foreign policy.
The sovereign emperor alone declares war, concludes peace and negotiates treaties with foreign states.
The sovereign emperor has control of the navy and army.
The Duma has no control over raising financial loans or military and naval expenditure.
Russian subjects to enjoy freedom of religion, speech and assembly providing it is peaceful, unarmed and within the law.
Foreigners living in Russia to enjoy rights of Russian subjects, within limitations established by the law.

37 of 67

Short-Term Results of the 1905 Revolution: The Man

Bi-cameral government

Council of State (Imperial Council) - Haldf the representatives to be chosen by the Tsar. Half to be elected by the zemstvo and higher orders.

State Duma
Representatives to be chosen by an electoral college dependent on social class:
1 member of the electoral college for every 2000 landowners.
1 for every 7,000 urban property owners.
1 for every 30,000 peasants.
1 for every 90,000 urban workers.
The 5 largest cities would vote directly.
National minorities also had an electoral college.

38 of 67

4 Dumas

The First Duma - Liberal Reform, April-June 1906

Regime Early 1906, negotiated a substantial loan from France. This lessens the likelihood of the duma's being able to exercise a financial hold over the government.
Limitation of the duma's was the Tsar's promulgation of the Fundamental Laws. Tsar had 'Supreme Autocratic Power' and the Duma was bi-cameral.

The existence of a second chamber with the right of veto deprived the elected duma of any real power. Taken together with the declaration that no law could come into being without the Tsar's approval, these restriction made it clear that the Tsarist regime had no intention of allowing the concessions it had made in 1905 to diminish its absolute authority.

39 of 67

4 Dumas (The Vyborg Appeal)

The Vyborg appeal
Duma met in a mood of bitterness.
Elections had returned an assembly that was dominated by the reformist parties.
Voiced their anger at what they regarded as the government going back on their promises. Demanded that the rights and powers of the Duma be increased. Did not get their demands.
Tsar ordered the Duma to be dissolved
In frustration, 200 Kadet led by Milyukov and Labourist (and Trudovik part of Labourists)deputies reassembled at Vyborg in Finland where they drew up an 'Appeal', urging the people of Russia to defy their government in 2 main ways by:
Refusing to pay taxes
Disobeying conscription orders
Kadets who issued the Appeal had made a serious tactical error. Response was not widespread passive disobedience but scattered violence.
Provided the government with ready excuse for retaliation. Appointed Stolypin as chief minister to act as his strongman. The Vyborg group of deputies was arrested and debarred from re-election to the duma.

40 of 67

4 Dumas (Vyborg Appeal)

Prelude to Stolypin's introduction of a policy of fierce repression, which sustained until his assassination in 1911.
Martial law was proclaimed and a network of military courts, was used to quell disturbances wherever they occurred.
Between 1906 and 1911 there were over 2500 executions.
Kadet Party survived under the leadership of Milyukov, it never really recovered from its humiliation.
The liberal cause had discredited itself, thus allowing both the left and the right to argue from their different standpoints that Russia's salvation could not be gained through moderate policies but only by Revolution or extreme reaction.

41 of 67

4 Dumas

The Second Duma - Radical
Kadets lost half their seats. these were filled by the SDs and SRs, who between them returned over 80 deputies.
Made the new assembly strongly anti-government.
Since the right-wing parties had also increased their numbers, there was considerable disagreement within the Duma, as well as between it and the government.
Stolypin was willing to work with the Duma in introducing necessary reforms, found his land programme strenuously opposed.
Tsar angered when the Duma directed a strong attack on the way the imperial army was organised and deployed.
The SD and SR deputies were accused of engaging in subversion and Nicholas ordered that the assembly be dissolved.
Deputies shouted out in protest as the session was brought to an end.

42 of 67

4 Dumas

The Third Duma - Quiet reform - Stolypin
Tsar made no attempt to dispense with the Duma altogether. 2 main reasons:
Foreign Policy - Tsar was keen to project an image of Russia as a democratic nation. Advised by his foreign ministers, who at this time were in trade talks with France and Britain, that Russia's new commercial allies were greatly impressed by his creation of a representative national parliament.
Duma had been rendered docile by the government's doctoring of the electoral system. Stolypin introduced new laws that restricted the vote to the propertied classes. The peasants and industrial workers lost the franchise.
3rd and 4th Duma were heavily dominated the right-wing parties. Any criticisms of tsardom were now much more muted.
Stolypin found the third Duma more co-operative, which enabled him to pursue his land reforms without opposition from the deputies.
Duma exercised its right to question ministers and to discuss state finances.
It also used its Committee system to make important proposals for modernising the armed services. Among the bills it approved were social-reform measures that included setting up schools for the children of the poor and national insurance for industrial workers

43 of 67

4 Dumas

The Fourth Duma - into war

Although the 4th Duma was less openly obstructive than the earlier ones had been, it still voiced criticism of the tsar's government.
Historians also emphasises the progressive work of the Duma in providing state welfare and suggest that it was only the blindness of the tsarist government that prevented the dumas from making a greater contribution to the development of Russia.

44 of 67


Stolypin became Interior Minister and Chairman of the Council of Ministers in 1906.

Harsh repression - Military courts used to try and sentence civilians, held within 24hrs of the alleged crime and tried within to days without a defence. They were secret and death sentences were carried out within 24 hours with no appeals allowed. 1906-7 over 1000 people executed - 'Stolypins Neckties'

Positives for the regime
It took time, but harsh repression did restore the regime's authority.

Negatives for the regime
It demonstrated the brutality of autocracy and seemed to confirm the Tsar's lack of concern for his people.

45 of 67


Redemption payments were ended in 1907

Positives in the regime
This would please peasants

Negatives for the regime
But they only had 3 years to run so it made little impact on peasants' attitudes to the regime.

46 of 67


Peasant obligation to the Mir was ended: they could now own land as individuals. This was intended to:
Make peasants wish to defend private property so be opposed to socialism
Giving peasants vest interest in upholding the regime which brought them private wealth. Encourage peasants to end-***** farming and invest their land, making it more productive. Increase agricultural yield so that surplus could be sold for industrial investment or used to feed workers in towns. The Peasants' Land Bank offered more favourable interest rates to peasnts wanting to buy land. By 1916 about 24% owned their land
Positives for the regime
By 1914, 20% of peasant householders had left the mirs and become owners of their own farms. Agricultural production sharply by 1914. But there other factors such as better fertilisers.
Negatives for the regime
80% did not take advantage. Even within the 20%, half had not ended ***** farming or moved to other areas but remained connected to the mirs so only 10% actually held totally private farms. Many peasants who owned land formed a 'kulak' - resented by other peasants

47 of 67


1908 - He declared his aim of establishing universal compulsory primary education between the ages of 8 and 12 within 10 years.

Positives for the regime
Many landowners' wives set up schools on their estates and many new schools were established.

Negatives for the regime
Opposition from conservative groups such as the Church and Stolypin's early death limited the success of this reform.

Education without significant improvement in living standards can lead to an educated and eloquent discontented group easily targeted by revolutionaries.

48 of 67

Russia on the Eve of World War 1

Lena Goldfields Massacre 1912
Sent in agents provocateurs (people sent in to provoke), make the demonstrators appear violent. Gave regime an excuse to then shoot the demonstrators.
Made people recall Bloody Sunday.
1st Duma began after Bloody Sunday and the 4th Duma ended near the Lena Goldfields Massacre.
Unions began to take action

49 of 67

Russia on the eve of World War 1

How stable was Russia in the years before WW1?
Historian John Gooding
Situation in Russia had three possible outcomes:
That tsarist would survive and receive its fortunes as long as it adapted and sought a wider support base.
That tsarism would be ousted by a revolution led by radical liberals and moderate socialists who sought democratic institutions.
That tsarism would be 'swept away by a radical revolution' led by Marxists and a rebellious peasantry.
In 1905 there were elements of all three of these in Russian politics as rebellion spread across the country. Despite the appearance of stability, Russia was starting its move towards a revolutionary change of government, and thus the events of 1917 had their origins in then early 1900's.

50 of 67

Russia on the eve of World War 1

Historian David Marples
Two events in 1904-5 the Russo-Japenese War and the 1905 Revolution - "seriously undermined the tsarist autocracy'.
War was desired by some government ministers as a way of deflecting away from domestic problems. By the time the war ended in a humiliating defeat for Russia, and the country was embroiled in a revolutionary challenge to tsarism.
After Bloody Sunday the Tsar chose to blame the 'misguided' demonstrators, many of whom were deported to different parts of the empire, thus ensuring that the news of the slaughter was widespread. Decisive moment, the image of Nicholas as the 'little father'
Led to a year-long challenge to tsarism that saw more strikes and demonstrations.

51 of 67

Russia on the eve of World War 1

Historian Robert Service
Russia was 'ungovernable'.
Workers, Industrialists, revolutionary socialists and radical liberals joined together to protest against the tsar. Peasants rebelled in the countryside. Terrorists blew up the government ministers and troops mutinied as the war with Japan went from bad to worse. Uncoordinated yet over-lapping protests severely destabilised the country and it would take a great compromise from Nicholas to restore power.
Argues two things saved the regime in 1905: 'it's unsparing use of the army and its last ditch promise of political concessions in the October Manifesto.'
Had the army not army not back Nicholas, then tsarism could have collapsed there.
Had the political system not have changed, there could have been a social revolution.
Made the October manifesto worth less and less. The 1906 Fundamental Laws made Nicholas' status clear. He was still in charge, and repression would again be used when the regime was threatened

52 of 67

Russia on the ve of World War 1

Historian Christopher Read
Nicholas' fundamental ideas had changed very little and the 'period of supposedly blossoming liberalism in Russia was very short... [lasting] from 1907 until the Lena shootings'. Led to greater worker unrest. Through the Duma period very little change in the Tsar's attitudes.
Nearly a million workers went on strike in the same year, while over a million struck in the first half of 1914.
Historian Dr Jonathan Davis
Despite the appearance of stability, Nicholas' lack of will to change the system ensured that Russia was deeply unstable by the outbreak of WW1.

53 of 67

Russia in the First World War

Used soldiers inefficiently
Russia only used conscripts for secondary or garrison duties. Cf. Germany, who used them in the front line too.
Many non-Slavs, including all muslims, were exempt from conscription.

The Russian soldiers were of a comparatively poor calibre
Illiteracy caused training problems
Russian officers were appointed on the basis of wealth, which meant they were not necessarily the most able and they refused to co-operate with anyone who got promoted through the ranks. There were no reserve officers.

Army was ill prepared and equipped. Russia emphasised its cavalry, failing to come to terms with modern warfare
Russia had a large shortage of machine guns - less than one paper infantry battalion in 1914. Less than 1/8 of MGs needed - 1916
Artillery was out of date.

54 of 67

Russia in the First World War

Supplying was an issue due to Russia's huge geograhpical size and poor communication networks.
Russia had very few north-south railway lines and many were single track.
Germany closed the Baltic ports so Welsh coal could no longer reach her: she therefore, had to get Ukrainian coal to cities/factors by rail. This led to coal shortages within 6 months,

By 1917, Russia had 4 million dead and 3 million wounded
As supplies were running out Rennenkampf chose to wait 2 days for supplies instead of following retreating Germans.
Germans intercepted 2 unfolded radio messages, 1 from Rennnenkampf and 1 from Samsonov. Said that the 1st army was not going to relieve the 2nd, Germans suspected it was a trick, but a German officer knew S. and R. Hated each other and acted on the transmission.

55 of 67

Effects of WW1

Military failures
Heavy defeats and the huge numbers of Russians killed in 1914 and 1915 led to disillusionment and anger about the way the Tsar and the government were conducting the war.
In September 1915, the Tsar wine to the Front to take personal charge; from then on he was held personally responsible for deaths.

Tsar left the Tsarina and Rasputin with a perceived large amount of political influence. The Tsarina dismissed able ministersin favour of friends who performed poorly. Ministers were changed frequently. As a result, the situation in the cities deteriorated rapidly with food and fuel in very short supply.
Tsarina and Rasputin became totally discredited. Army generals became disenchanted with the Tsar's leadership.

56 of 67

Effects of WW1

Supplies for cities: transport problems

Military traffic was given priority, normal movement of trains was disrupted.
Arms shipments from aboard mostly arrived at Vladivostok and were then transported westwards, clogging up the Trans-Siberian railway.
Trains carrying food supplies to the cities were often seriously delayed, their cargo sometimes rotting away before it reached its destination.
One of the main causes of wartime food shortages and rising food prices in Russia's towns and cities.

57 of 67

Effects of WW1


Food prices rose greatly. The causes were;
Grain production fell in wartime, mainly because some important food-producing areas were occupied by the Germans.
Hoarding of grain by the peasantry and speculators. In normal circumstances, peasants sold surplus grain in order to buy consumer goods. In wartime, unwilling to buy over-priced consumer goods, they held on to their grain instead.
Hold-ups on the railway system disrupted food supplies to the towns.
The working class was particularly badly hit by inflation. The wages of industrial workers went up during the war, but prices went up faster. In Petrograd, for example, the wages skilled workers doubled between 1914 and 1917, but during the same period there was a fivefold increase in the cost of a bag of flour and a sevenfold increase in the cost of a bag of potatoes.

58 of 67

Effects of WW1

The War Industries Committee

Important wartime voluntary organisation, founded in July 1915 by a group of Moscow-based business and industrialists in order to mobilise the support of employers and workers behind efforts to overcome the shell shortage.
Members, however, motivated solely by the patriotic desire to improve the flow of weaponry to the army at the front. Self-interest was at work too. Russian businessmen were angered by the fact that, in the early part of the war, most of the Russian firms that won big government contracts to supply munitions were based in Petrograd: the Muscovites wanted a bigger share of these munitions contracts and of the profits that could be made out of them.

59 of 67

Effects of WW1

Prince Lvov (1861-1925)

A landowner and member of one of Russia's oldest noble families, Prince Lvov was hard-working and public-spirited. he rose to prominence through the zemstvo movement and through his involvement in relief work in the famine of the early 1890's and in the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese war.
He was a moderate liberal who wanted Russia to become a constitutional monarchy. Had links with the Kadets, serving as a Kadet representative in the first and second Dumas in 1906-7, but by temperament he was a public servant rather than a party politician. Widely respected across the political spectrum, Lvov became chief minister in the Provisional Government formed after Nicholas II's abdication in early 1917

60 of 67

The Progresisve Bloc and Zemgor

Only one of the political parties opposed to Tsarism was united in its opposition to the war: the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks and SRs were divided on the problem. Middle-class parties supported the war. Guchkov's Octobrists and Milyukov's Kadets were deeply patriotic. They rallied behind the government. They helped the government in the spirit of wartime unity, would make it possible for them to contribute actively to push for victory. Wanted a partnership between the government and the Duma. the government showed little interest in enlisting the support of society at large: soon after the start of the war, the Duma was adjourned.

61 of 67

The Progressive Bloc and Zemgor

Middle-class Russians turned to voluntary action. In 1914, zemstva across Russia formed the Zemstvo Union to undertake war relief work - providing medical care for wounded soldiers, operating field canteens, assisting refugees escaping battle zones and digging war graves. The counterparts of the zemstva in the towns, the municipal corporations, formed a separate organisation, the Union of Towns, which undertook similar work. In 1915, the two unions diversified into the manufacture of war essentials like uniforms, boots, pharmaceuticals and even munitions, joining forces or this purpose in an organisation known as Zemgor. Zemgor's contribution contribution to total wartime production was small - no more than 5% - but the enterprise and initiative it displayed was in sharp contrast to its performance in the economic sphere of government departments. In addition, the head of the Zemstvo Union, Prince Lvov, set an example of dedication and selflessness that few, if any, of the Tsar's wartime ministers could match. The voluntary put the official; apparatus of the state to shame.

62 of 67

The Progressive Bloc and Zemgor

The unity evident in Russia when it went to war in 1914 did not last for long. By mid-1915 it was gone after the 'Great Retreat'. Opposition politicians, angered by the mismanagement of the war effort, no longer felt able to refrain from criticising the government. Under mounting pressure, Nicholas II agreed to recall the Duma. When it met, in summer 1915, around 300 of its 430 members - everyone except the extreme left and the extreme right - formed themselves into the 'Progressive Bloc' in order to press for the introduction of measures felt to be essential if the war was to be won. Members of the PB demanded a 'unified government' - a gov, that is, in which the Duma as well as the tsar confidence. Limited nature of this demand: the PB called for partnership between government and Duma, not for the Tsar to surrender to the Duma his power to appoint and dismiss ministers. Nicholas II nevertheless interpreted what was proposed as a challenge to his authority: he rejected the Progressive Bloc's demands and dismissed those of his ministers who had urged acceptance of them. After this, the Kadets in particular abandoned any thought of compromise with the Tsarist regime and turned instead to a confrontational approach. By late 1916, leading figures in the Progressive Bloc were plotting to force Nicholas II to abdicate.
Members of the Progressive Bloc feared that, in the absence of a government that enjoyed public confidence, the revolutionary parties would grow in strength.

63 of 67

The February Revolution

January 1917 - strikes and protests across Russia. Ongoing war. 4th Duma. Significant opposition to Tsar from the progressive bloc, no power to help in the war.
Bolsheviks told soldiers to stopping or turn on their officers fighting a 'imperialist' war. Have the potential to become disillusioned due to the large loss of life.

February 1917 International women's day.
Women have march through Petrograd to protest for women's rights. People queuing for bread at shops, rumours some people were going to get no food. More women join the march in protest.
Tell their families of this rumour, men then join the march. By the evening was 100,000 protestors.
Troops left in Petrograd were young and inexperienced - sent in to disperse the crowds - not armed and did not want to harm the crowd.
Crowd went home. Next day more people join the march, they begin to arm themselves. 150,000. The crowd becomes more violent.
More people join from the middle class. Tsar is at army HQ, ministers worried but do not worry the Tsar, they reassure him. The interior minister Protopopov was inexperienced.

64 of 67

The February Revolution

The next day general strike in Petrograd, vast majority not working, 200,000 demonstrating. Violence increases. Message of the strike changes to anti-war and then anti-Tsar. Okrahana attacked, chief of police shot dead.
The army is not against the protestors. Ministers do not tell the army to attack as they might refuse - strongly threatened the regime. Cossacks (guards) become more allied with the protestors. They sympathise we each other come from similar backgrounds.
Tsar told army to put down the disorders by tomorrow.
Next morning protestors returned but the army had mobilised. Troops open fires.
Some troops refuse to return and are imprisoned. Increasing amount of soldiers did this.
Popular young soldier in the Volynsky regiment committed mutiny, shot officer.
Some soldiers join the protestors. Soldiers bring organisation and weapons to the demonstration. Revolutionaries capture the arsenal. Workers go to factories and take new guns. (Revolutionary)
Prisoners released, including Bolsheviks and Mensheviks and other revolutionaries.
Revolutionaries set up soviet in Tauride Palace (council of soldiers, workers and deputies) to organise revolution. 6 Mensheviks, 2 Bolsheviks, 2 SR's 5 non-party revolutionaries

65 of 67

The February Revolution

Soldiers sent to winter palace to protect the royal family, not let in due to their dirty clothing.

Council of ministers locates in the Mariinsky Palace, extremely worried that the revolutionaries would kill them. There was a power cut, so they went home and never returned. Interior minister handed himself into the soviet, he was imprisoned.

Rodzyanko head of the Duma writes to the Tsar that the situation is serious and action is needed. Nicholas said "That fat fellow Rodzyanko has again written to me with all kinds of nonsense, which I shan't event bother to answer."

Officers hid their families at the hotel Astoria many killed by revolutionaries.

Soviet held election, but did not have a proper election process. However proper intellectuals and revolutionaries made up the executive with 600 deputies. Chkheidse head of the Soviet Kerensky (SR Vice Chair of the soviet).

Duma rename themselves the temporary committee.

66 of 67

The February Revolution

Soviet issue order No.1
1st March Nicholas begins to return to Petrograd. Alexeev General of the army diverted his train, as he was worried the Tsar would be in the danger. Other generalS send tapes to Alexeev saying they cannot keep Nicholas in power.
2nd March Alexeev tells Nicholas the other generals will not support him. He agreeded to sign the abdication order. Alexei would be made Tsar, however doctor said he would not live long and Alexei would be taken away from him so he could not influence him. Nicholas' brother Grand Duke Micheal refused. The Romanov dynasty ended.

67 of 67


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

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