The Growth of Opposition to Tsardom

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The Duma Recalled

-In 1916 all sections of the nation agreed that the Tsar was incapable of providing the inspiration that the union needed. It is significant that the first moves in the February revolution were not made by political parties. 

-In August 1914 the duma had shown its total support for the tsar by voting for its own suspension for the duration of the war. Within a year Russia's poor military showing led to the duma demanding its own recall. 

-Nicholas II bowed before the pressure and allowed the duma to reassemble in July 1915. One major political mistake of the Tsar and its ministers was their refusal to cooperate fully with non-governmental organisations such as the Union of Zemstvos, and Union of Municipal Councils. These councils formed a joint organisation which highlighted the failures of the government and suggested there might be a workable alternative to Tsardom. 

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Formation of a 'Progressive Bloc'

-The progressive bloc was formed in August 1915 composed of the bourgeouis and landlord factions of the fourth state duma.

-The Tsar dismissed the the proposal from the duma of replacing the Tsar's appointed cabinet with 'a ministry of national confidence' whose members could be drawn from the Duma. Nicholas rejected this proposal, and in doing so destroyed the last opportunity to retain the support of the politically progressive parties. 

-Duma members were denied a voice in national policy and 236 of the 422 duma deputies formed the progressive bloc, composed of mainly liberals. SR's did not join the bloc however voted with it in all duma resolutions that criticised the governments handling of the war. 

-Bloc didn't challenge Tsar's authority, but tried to persuade him to make concessions. Nicholas would not listen to the bloc. 

-As the government proved they were incapable of running the war, the Tsar viewed the bloc as an enemy rather than friends who was trying to prevent revolution. 

-The Progressive Bloc was another of Tsardom's lost opportunities. 

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The Role of Rasputin

-Rasputin was an individual on whom much of the tsarist system came to be focused on. He was a self-ordained holy man who was notorious for his sexual depravity- this made him fascinating to women. The empress Alexandra was desperate to cure her son, Alexei, from heamophilia. Hearing that Rasputin had extraudinary gifts of healing, she invited him to court. Rasputin proved to help Alexei. 

-Rasputin spoke calmy to the boy which seemed to calm his fever. He won an introduction to the tsar and tsarina. Scandal soon followed as the Tsarina made Rasputin her 'confidant'.

-Alexandra's German nationality had made her upopular since the breakout of war. Since the tsar was at the Front in 1915, Rasputin and the tsarina effectively became the government of Russia. Her enemies portrayed her as a German agent, and even the greatest supporters of tsardom found it diffuclut to defend a nation under the control of 'a German woman'.

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Death of Rasputin

-In December 1916, a group of aristocratic conspirators murdered Rasputin in an attempt to save the monarchy. 

-He was poisened with arsenic, shot, battered with a steal bar, thrown into the river Neva trussed in a heavy curtain. His death was when he drowned. 

-The very fact of Rasputin becoming so prominent within the tsarist system convinced many that the system was not worth saving. 

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-The most significant oppostition comes from those who had been the tsar's keenest supporters in 1914.

-Duma recalled in 1915 but the tsar was not willing to cooperate.

-Government declines to work with patriotic non-government organisations.

-Tsar's ministers very incompetent. 

-Tsar rejects notion of working with a 'progressive bloc'

-Rasputin gained hatred for the tsarist system, as did Alexandra.

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