The Collapse of Autocracy 1894-1917

  • Created by: amyclaire
  • Created on: 30-03-17 09:18

Nicholas 2nd & the challenge to autocracy

Nicholas- weakling, reserved, politics bored him, unprepared, tutor Pobedonostev- concessions sign of failure, committed to Orthodoxy, Russification, Black Hundreds (nationalist gangs) support, anti Semitic, 1896 crowds gathered to meet Tsar, crush, 1400 trampled to death, coronation went ahead as if nothing had happened, serious unrest, failure of government to cope with famine (left to zemstva) public mistrust, power of members of society, large support for reformist groups, trouble in Unis met by Okhrana, 1901 mounted Cossacks charged into crowd of St Petersburg students killing 13, 1500 imprisoned, 1902-1907- arson, attacked landlords & officials, Stolypin dealt with disturbances with ferocity, peasants arrested, exiled, shot in thousands, ‘Stolypin’s necktie, 90000 industrial strikes in 1904, chief of Okrhana Zubatov organised police sponsored trade unions, official channel for complaints to prevent joining radical socialists, only lasted until 1903, 1904 Assembly of St Petersburg Factory Workers formed by Gapon, support of Tsar & church, 8000 members

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Nicholas 2nd & the challenge to autocracy

Russo Japanese War- Tsar responds to assault on Russian naval base Port Arthur 1904 (encouraged by Plehve), ‘short swift victorious war’ would detract from unrest, war 6000 miles from capital not easy, defeats turned anti Japanese patriotism into opposition to gov, Plehve assassinated 1904, crowds celebrate on streets, cries for National Assembly, 1904 replacement Mirsky agreed to invite zemstvo to come to St Petersburg for discussions, all Nicholas would concede was expansion of zemstvo rights

1905 Revolution- Bloody Sunday 9 January 1905- 20 December Russian forces surrendered, humiliation added to growing discontent, 3 Jan strike at Putilov Iron Works St Petersburg involved 150000 workers, Father Gapon union, peaceful march on Tsar’s Winter Palace 9th January, Gapon wished to present petition demonstrating loyalty but requesting reform, 120000 troops used to break up demonstration despite Tsar being away, 150000 unarmed workers marched singing hymns, patriotic banners, 40 dead hundreds wounded, then another 150 dead

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Nicholas 2nd & the challenge to autocracy

Only after Tsars uncle assassinated 4th Feb, agreed to meet workers, suggested marchers had been badly advised and should return to work, dismissed moderate Mirsky

Mutiny on Battleship Potemkin- protest on Russian ship, mutiny, 7 officers killed, sailed to Odessa, townsfolk arrived to pay respects & show solidarity with sailors, troops fired, many jumped into sea, more than 2000 killed 3000 wounded

2 October 1904 government ordered Baltic Fleet to sail, seven months travel, battle lasted a day, entire Russian fleet lost at expense of 3 Japanese torpedo boats

October 1905- near to collapse, strikes/ demonstrations, uprisings, Soviet (council of workers) set up to direct a general strike in Moscow, Witte warned country on verge of revolution, Trepov- need for some moderate reform, one of Tsar’s uncles threatened to shoot himself if no reform, 17 October decree promising constitutional reform, to grant civic freedom, establish a state Duma (voice to all classes) who have power to approve laws, General Strike called off, radical workers bulletin ‘We have been granted everything and yet we have been granted nothing’

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Nicholas 2nd & the challenge to autocracy

Trepov merciless in forcing workers back to factories, 1905 Jewish pogroms, 3 Dec Soviet headquarters surrounded leaders arrested & exiled to Siberia, authorities regained control, November 3rd redemption payments halved amidst heightened rural unrest, 14th press censorship ends

New constitution- Lower chamber (state Duma) elected under indirect voting by estates, 31% landowners, 42% peasants- both assumed to be crowns natural allies, 27% town dwellers, Upper Chamber (state council) half elected by Zemstva half appointed by Tsar, from major religious social etc institutions, two chambers had equal power, all legislation approved by Tsar

Government- appointed by Tsar, responsible to crown

Fundamental laws- reasserted autocratic power, right to veto legislation, rule by decree in emergency, appoint government ministers, dissolve dumas, to declare war, overturn sentences in courts, control church

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Political parties

Political parties- Social Democratic Workers Party committed to Marxism split in 1903 into Bolsheviks led by Lenin- discipline, centralisation, role of proletariat, peasant/ proletariat alliance & Mensheviks led by Martov- cooperation with liberals not peasantry, legal channels of opposition

Socialist Revolutionaries- 1901, Chernov, populist ideas nationalisation, left favoured terrorism

Trudoviks- supported by peasants & intelligentsia, democratic, minimum wage, 8 hour working day

Kadets- Milyukov, constitutional monarchy, legal settlement of workers disputes

Octobrists- Guchkov, accepted October Manifesto, opposed further concessions, wealthy landowners

Progressives- businessmen who favoured moderate reform

Rightists- right wing, monarchism, chauvinism, Orthodoxy, anti Semitism. Violent attacks, Black Hundreds

Nationalist and religious grouping- Muslims etc seeking rights & independence

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1st Duma- Duma of National Hopes- mainly national and religious groupings Trudoviks & Kadets, little rightists

Boycotted by Bolsheviks, SRs and Union of Russian People boycotted, radical liberal, critical of Tsar, brought about Witte’s resignation, replaced by Goremykin, old fashioned conservative, requested political amnesty, transfer of ministerial responsibility to Duma, Tsar says demands totally inadmissible, Duma dissolved 10 weeks later, Goremykin replaced as Prime Minister by Stolypin, 200 delegates to Vyborg appeal to citizens to refuse to pay taxes or do military service in protest against heavy handed action, authorities imprisoned leaders

2nd Duma- Duma of National Anger- mainly national and religious groupings Trudoviks & Kadets, little rightists, Stolypin's government tried to influence elections but number of extreme left wing increased because Bolsheviks & Mensheviks & SRs participated, more oppositional, Stolypin struggled to find support for Agrarian reform programme, passed legilslation under Tsar's emergency powers, Duma refused to ratify, spread story of plot to assasinate Tsar dissolved Duma, arresting & exiling radical delegates, introduced illegal emergency law to alter the franchise, representaiton of gentry increased

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3rd Duma- Duma of Lords and Lackeys- mainly Kadets, rightists & Octobrists- more submissive, agreed 2200 of 2500 government proposals, still proved confrontational (sign of how unpopular Tsar's regime was), disputes over naval staff, proposals to extend primary education & local government reform, 1911 Duma suspended twice whilst government forced legislation through under emergency provisions- 1912 clear Duma system not working

4th Duma- mainly Kadets, Rightists & Octobrists- docile body, new PM Kokovstov (Stolypin assassinated 1911) 'thank God we still have no Parliament'- ignored Duma, influence declined, too divided to fight back, direct action & strikes

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Political Developments by 1914

Autocracy recovered from 1905, 1906 court martials to deal with political crimes, all cases to be concluded in 2 days, accused not allowed defence counsel, death sentences within 24 hours, 3000 executed 1906-1909, Stolypin believed in radical agricultural reform to resist revolution, revolutionary groups weakened due to internal quarrels & police activity, revival of patriotism deflected attention, 1912 troubles resurfaced, Rasputin, faith healer, lessened pain of Tsar's haemophiliac son Aleksei, Tsar failed to take action despite Rasputin's misdeeds & damage to Royal Family, damaged reputation with polticians civil servants bishops & army officials who propped up the monarchy, 1905 Revolution failed to change Tsar's outlook

Regime had modernised by 1914 (introduction of Dumas, Witte & Stolypin economic policies) but Tsar had not understood social & political consequences of economic modernisation, people become more urban educated & polticised, but Tsar stuck tryinh to maintain 17th century autocracy of Romanovs

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Economics Developments to 1914

Industrial transformation- from 1894 to 1913 annual growth rate more than 8% pa, Witte (1892-1903)- remarkable progress, railways doubled, coal output from 183 to 671 million puds (1890-1900) foreign investment soared, France 1/3 of all foreign capital, state managed industrial growth, skilled workers from overseas, new rouble backed by value of gold 1897, encourage foreign confidence, 1900s investment declines as Russian businessmen sufficient wealth to expand and found enterprises, capital funded railways, mines, oilfields, state controlled 70% of railways by 1900s, injection of money made good losses of Russo Japanese War, 1903-1913 25% gov income from foreign investments

Railways- impressive growth rate, allowed exploitation of raw materials, linked grain growing areas to Black sea ports reinforcing export drive, stimulated iron & coal industries, lower transport costs, 1908-13 rate of growth slowed, 1913 2nd largest railway in world, Trans Siberian Railwways provided industrial & psychological stimulus, emigration & farming

Heavy Industry- Witte wanted to develop (previously lighter industries used), Donbas region 87% of Russian Coal 1913, 1914 Russia 4th largest producer of coal, pig iron & steel, Caspian Sea Port of Baku grew, oil production trebled 1885-1913, competitive in national market, 2nd place in world oil production, also growth in light industry (40% industrial output 1910) 1914 Russia world's 5th largest industrial power

Statistics- Comparative growth in national income- Russia 50% Britain 70% Italy 121% 1894-1913, Foreign trade 1913 (£ millions) Russia 190, Britain 1223, France 424, 1900-1913 coal production (millions of tonnes) 16.1 to 35.4 

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Developments in Agriculture

Before 1906 farming small scale, hands of former serfs & peasants, average holdings falling, population growth, 1896 government initiative to sponsor emigration to settlements in Siberia, didnt alleviate pressure of population on resources, traditional agricultural practices perpetuated by Mir, grain output from British farmland 4 times greater, some kulaks had bought land and farmed more efficiently, Stolypin sought to produce more, win their loyalty to Tsardom, develop economy by creating internal market for products of industry

Stolypin's land reforms- wanted peasants to become permanent owners of land, in one piece not scattered strips, develop without mir interference, programme of agricultural reform 1903 mir responsibility to pay taxes on behalf of peasants removed, legislation of 1906, more state and crown land available for peasants to buy, subsidies to emigrate increased, peasants equal rights in local admin, right to leave commune, collective ownershup abolished, Peasant's Land Bank, Redemption Payments abolished 1907, 1910 all communes not redistributed land since 1860 dissolved- Stolypin needs 20 years of peace for reforms to have an effect, grain production rose annually from 56 million tons in 1900 to 90 million by 1914, run of good harvests, 3.5 million peasants taken away from over populated rural areas to Siberia, transformed into major agricultural region, not entirely succesful- only 1.3 million of 5 for consolidation of individual farms had been dealt with by 1913, by 1914 only 10% land transferred to private ownership In 1914 90% of peasant holdings still in traditional strips, landowners reluctant to give up land, fewer than 1% achieved kulak status

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Social Developments to 1914

Developments in working & living condiitons in towns- major cities population swelled, 2 million factory workers in Russia by 1900, 6 million 1913, urban population quadrupled between 1867 and 1917 due to peasants looking for work, by 1914 3/4 living in St Petersburg peasants by birth compared to 1/3 50 years earlier, in Moscow peasant atmosphere, livestock roamed streets & outdoor peasant markets, inadequate facilities, overcrowded & unsanitary, in St Petersburg 1900 40% no running water or sewage system, 30000 inhabitants died of cholera 1908-09, high demand for work meant rent was high, many lived rough in the streets, women (1/5 of workforce 1855, 1/3 1914) among lowest paid earning less than half average industrial wage, conditions at worst industrial depression 1900-08, wages failed to keep pace with inflation, wage from 245 to 264 roubles in years down to 1914 inflation 40%, some attempts eg 1912 sickness and accident insurance for workers, by 1914 working hours to 10 (but not for more common workshops), 85% increase in primary school provision 105-14 but less investment than in railways, towns & cities breeding grounds for political discontent, 1912 escalated, 1914 3574 stopages, Lena goldfield massacre 1912, strike for better wages & conditions, troops killed 270 workers 250 injured

Developments in working & living conditions in the countryside- not large improvement, ***** farm persisted 90% of land, widespread poverty, kulaks took advantage of less fortunate and bought out impoverished neighbours, poorest even poorer, forced to leabe farms & join migrant labourers looking for seasonal farming work or industrial employment, only 3.5 million from peasant population of nearly 97 million were able to migrate to agricultural settlements in Siberia using government schemes from 1896 to sponsoor emigration from over populated rural south, growing strain on resources, living standards varied eg prosperous commercial farming in western Siberia, backward farming, nobles landowning, areas of former state peasants better off than privately owned serfs as had been granted more land, improvements  in health care provided through zemstva, large proportion peasantry turned down as unfit for military service, high mortality rate, few doctors & teachers, 1914 60% illiterate, lived in primitive wooden huts, peasantry at bottom of social ladder loyalty to Tsar & Church unblemished

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Social divisions

Huge inequalities remained- The Nobility- had suffered due to emancipation but some thrived on favourable arrangements for land distribution  or industrial enterprises or financial speculation, 1/3 of all land transferred to townsmen or peasants 1861-1905, struggled to meet debts, but no redistributive taxation on landed wealth to diminish incomes or harm ways of life, appointed to provincial governorships, May 1906 first meeting of united nobility- nobles to retain property rights, strength & determination of class, some adjustments but retained previous wealth

Middle classes- structure challenged by emergence of small bit influential middle stratum expanding, some social mobility as nobles sons chose to join the business world, professional positions more in demand, opportunities for enterprising, growth of education & demand for more administrators fuelled growing middle class, found home on councils of zemstva & in dumas exerting an influence beyond their size

Workers & peasantry- most affected, awakening from inertia to political activism underway by 1914, former peasants in urban areas lost something of former identity, associated with others, sharing grievances, easy target for political agitators, government failed to respond to effects of social change, large & discontented urban working class impetus to overthrow regime 1917

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Cultural changes

Appeared little changed, patriarchal, but new opportunities for women, educational, some found independence from factory work, 1908 1st All Russian Congress of Women attended by 1305 delegates, campaigned for female franchise, by 1911 6.5 million children between 8 & 11 receiving education (only 1/3 girls), number of books increased after 1905, 1767 newspapers being published at least weekly by 1914, secondary education remained elitist, 1860-1914 uni students grew from 5000 to 69000, a quarter of students in secondary school in 1911 from peasantry, more serious writers and artists addressed problems in society, relaxation of censorship from 1905 produced 'silver age' of russian culture, dominated by poets, by 1914 culture had broadened to encompass larger group than intelligentsia elites, mirrored many other changes, but some aspects seemed to exhibit little change, 1913 tercentenary year of Romanov dynasty, traditional jubilee rituals, convinced 'my people love me', Orthodox church influenced government & community, traditionalist outpourings of patriotism & support for Tsar when war announced in 1914

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Opposition: idea and ideologies

Growth of liberal opposition- long pressed for changes, increasing numbers favouring more representation and rule of law, strong in zemstva, reputaton ehanced by actions taken in face of government incompetence during Great Famine, resentment galvanised by reduction in zemstva powers under Alexander 3rd, when Shipov tried to set up an All Zemstvo Organisation in 1896 it was immediately banned, more radical liberals established the Beseda Symposium in 1899 and to meet in secret to discuss matters of liberal interest such as judicial reform & universal education, when in 1900 hundreds of liberals were dismissed from the elected boards of the zemstva the Beseda Symposium assumed the leadership of the liberal movement attracting a range of support from public figrues, town leaders, members of the legal and teaching professionas & industrialists, 1903 Union of Liberation founded under inspiration of Struve who had defected from Marxist movement opposing its commitment to violent revolution, had begun a journal to escape censorship, needed a period of 'peaceful evolution' to adapt to new industrialising status, consitutional system so urban workers could campaign legally to improve conditions, 1904 union grand meeting declared this intention, 50 banquets during winter of 1904 attended by members of liberal elite, liberals had limited political influence before 1905, fortunate to escape closer attention of police who were overworked by radicals & urban & rural unrest, but contributed to momentum that was building up within the country for poltical change & were main beneficiaries of revolution when aim of state Duma was established

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Development of socialism & emergence of Social Rev

Slavophile populist idea of new Russia increasingly unlikely- 'agrarian socialism' (taking estates from landowners & dividing land between peasants to be farmed communally) revived after famine, need to reform rural economy, students favoured violent protest, Bogolepov (MInister of Education) assassinated by student in 1901, provoked Moscow demonstrations & attempt on Pobodonestev's life a month later, Socialist Revolutionary Party founded 1901- appeal to peasantry through commitment to land socialisation & decentralised government, Chernov influential theorist, members broadly accepted Marxist teaching combined with populist ideas, put forward idea that interests of peasants & workers were identical, should work together, emphasis on peasantry & land socialisation set them apart from pure Marxists, large peasant membership, 50% supporters from urban working class, tried to stir up discontent in countryside and strikes in towns & performed politcal assasinations, 2000 between 1901-1905, active part in 1905 revolution, assassinated Stolypin in 1911, but Secret Police foiled some activity, 1579 sentenced to death 1905- 1909

Industrial take off made Marxist theories more attractive from 1890s, eg to illegal trade unions, Social Democratic Workers Party emerged in 1898 amalgam of Marxist groups, first congress, working class being exploited by masters future of Russia would be product of class struggle, impetus for change had to come from working men themselves, congress broken up by Okhrana, Lenin came to play prominent part in development, 1903 second congress, Lenin argued in favour of strong disciplined organisation of professional revoltionaries to lead proletariat, not overwhelming support of majority at beginning, only when a number of representatives withdrew that Lenin won the vote in favour of more centralised party structure (Bolsheviks), Martov argued for developing a broad party with a mass working class membership, saw cooperation with other liberal parties, supported by Trotsky (Mensheviks), division hardened, by 1906 2 seperate Social Democratic Workers Parties

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The extent of opposition between 1905 and 1914

Trade unions- after 1905 revolution, legalisation of trade unions, reduction in working class discontent might have been expected, but state continued to fear independent working class activity & potential for revolutionaries to work through trade unions, 497 trade unions closed down, 604 denied registration 1906-1910, 1907 economic depression & rise in unemployment reduced opportunity for union action, Lena goldfields massacre provided new impetus, economic recovery from 1911, skilled labour more bargaining power, new round of strikes, states failure to pacify working class 1905, but only 12% of enterprises experienced a strike

Concessions of 1905-6 did allayed opposition to tsarist rule, loberals appeased by concessions & cooperated with Duma system in hope of further constitutional evolution, no single strong opposition among nationalities after 1905, revolutionary SR and SD parties weakened by exil of leaders after 1905, damaging split within SD Worker's Party and rivalry between SDs and SRs. Ideological divisions compounded by disagreements over appropriate response to 1905 defeat and use of 'legal' opportunities to work in Duma, suffered from activities of Secret Police, industrial depression from 1907, lack of finance & shortage of of secret printing presses made organisation difficult and none of the exiled leaders exercise effective control over their parties, membership declined & neither SDs nor SRs succeeded in establishing national regional or even all city organisations, they maintained underground organisations, revival in Bolshevik fortunes 1912-14 when they succeeded in taking over many labour institutions from Menshevis, gained 6 workers deputies to 4th Duma, their newspaper Pravda (The Truth) launched April 1912, higher circulation than Menshevik newspaper Luch (The Ray), however limited, had been helped in 4th Duma elections by SR boycott, no success with army or navy, nothing came of avowed promise to launch a general political strike, provoke mass street demonstrations & recreate a soviet of workers deputies , before 1914 opposition weakened & demoralised, politically apathetic workers, trade unions failed to supply broad popular base, labour protest contained by repression & minimal concessions, 1914 war encouraged patriotism through all political groupings except the Bolsheviks-Lenin favoured defeat believing it would bring Russia closer to revolution

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