Tsarist Russia


 Russification was designed to take the sting out of those who wanted to reform Russia and to bind all the Russian people around one person – the tsar. Alexander III believed that all cultures and nationalities within the empire should be wiped out (though not physically) and that all the people within the empire should become ‘Great Russians’. Russification had no time for small ethnic groups that were more concerned about their culture at the expense of Russia’s as a whole. To be loyal to Russia and therefore the tsar, you had to be a Russian first rather than, for example, a Kazak or Cossack

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Sergei Witte

Count Sergei Witte was a highly influential Russian policy-maker. He was a witness of the abolition of serfdom and the first Russian revolution. A supporter of Tsar Alexander III, he was highly influential during the reign of Nicholas II.  Minister of finance (1893-1903) , he was a devoted adherer of the absolute monarchy. Witte was as a man with a wide range of vision and outstanding moral qualities.

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''The Great Spurt''

Modernisation and industrialisation in Russia. Modernisation was driven by one man, Sergei Witte, the minister of finance from 1893 to 1903. An increase in the production of coal in the Ukraine and oil in the Caucasus promoted massive economic growth. Iron, chemical, engineering, petroleum and steel industries were established within ten years. tran-siberian rail way etc

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Socialist Revolutionairies (SR's)

Formed in 1901 by Viktor Chernov. He was a university student, and led the party from exile in Switzerland until the Tsar legalised political parties in 1905.The SRs believed that the future lay with “the people”. This was mainly the peasants, although he did try to attract industrial workers as well to The key belief of the SRs was that peasants should be given their own piece of land, without compensating the former owners. In the 1905 Revolution, they played a major role in organising revolutionary action. They formed the “All-Russian Union of Peasants”during the revolution and this was the most supported union until 1917.  What type of party were the SRs?Although they had one aim, peasant land ownership, the SRs were a collection of factions (separate groups). Some SRs were anarchists, who wanted to smash central government and form local peasant communes (independent communities) that ran themselves. Others had Marxist ideas which were similar to the SDP, and were more willing to work with them.Why were the SRs so popular?Because they focussed upon the peasants, the largest population group in Russia, and also encouraged industrial workers to join, the SRs became the most widely supported political group in Russia between 1902 and 1917.

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social democrats (SD's)

Founded in 1898 in Minsk, the Social-Democratic Party held that Russia could achieve socialism only after developing a bourgeois society with an urban proletariat. It rejected the populist idea that the peasant commune, could be the basis of a socialist society that could bypass the capitalist stage.

Most of the leaders elected at the founding congress were soon arrested. The second congress, in Brussels and London in July–August 1903, was dominated by the argument between the Bolshevik wing of the party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the Menshevik wing, led by L. Martov, over Lenin’s proposals for a party composed of disciplined professional revolutionaries. Georgy Plekhanov, one of the founders of Russian Marxism, took a generally middle position. This argument dominated the internal life of the party. Party members played a major role in the unsuccessful Russian Revolution of 1905, in which one Social-Democratic leader, Leon Trotsky, was elected president of the St. Petersburg Soviet. In the turmoil of 1917 the Bolsheviks broke definitively with their Menshevik rivals and, after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, changed their name to the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik). Their rivals, the Mensheviks, were finally suppressed after the end of the Russian Civil War.

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July Day's

July Days, (July 16–20 [July 3–7, old style], 1917), a period in the Russian Revolution during which workers and soldiers of Petrograd staged armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government that resulted in a temporary decline of Bolshevik influence and in the formation of a new Provisional Government, headed by Aleksandr Kerensky. In June dissatisfied Petrograd workers and soldiers, using Bolshevik slogans, staged a demonstration and adopted resolutions against the government. On July 3 protestors, motivated in part by the resignation of the government’s Kadet (Constitutional Democratic) ministers, marched through Petrograd to the Tauride Palace to demand that the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies assume formal power. The Bolsheviks, initially reluctant, attempted to prevent the demonstration but subsequently decided to support it.On July 4 the Bolsheviks planned a peaceful demonstration; but confused armed clashes broke out, injuring about 400 persons. Neither the Provisional Government nor the Soviet could control the situation. But the Soviet refused to take power, and the Bolshevik Party refrained from actually staging an insurrection. Thus, the demonstration was deprived of its political goal, and by nightfall the crowds had dispersed.To undermine Bolshevik popularity and reduce the threat of a coup d’etat, the government produced evidence that the Bolshevik leader Lenin had close political and financial ties with the German government. A public reaction set in against the Bolsheviks; they were beaten and arrested, their property destroyed, their leaders persecuted. Lenin fled to Finland; but others, including Trotsky, were jailed. The Provisional Government was reorganized, with Kerensky as prime minister. The new government, though largely Socialistic, proved to be only a short-lived concession to the demonstrators’ demands for a revolutionary Soviet

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April Thesis

April: the German government helps the Bolshevik leader Lenin return to Russia. He publishes the 'April Theses', offering people: 'Peace, bread, land', and proclaims: All power to the Soviets'.

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The October Manifesto

The Manifesto was issued by Emperor Nicholas II, under the influence of Count Sergei Witte, .Manifesto and the Duma

In October 1905, the Tsar proclaimed the October Manifesto in response to the revolution that had become wildly out of hand. This appeased many of the protestors, mainly the middle classes, and it was enough to break the unity of the revolution so that government troops could put an end to the disturbances. But before long, the Fundamental Laws had been passed and these clearly showed that the Duma was not to be the force for democracy that the people of Russia had expected. In time, the Duma became a key factor in the 1917 Revolution in which the Tsar was forced to abdicate

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Bloody Sunday

22nd January 1905. The last straw;

the massacre of innocent protestors proved that the Tsar did not care for his people.

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Russo-Japenese War

A humiliating defeat for the Tsar. It seemed to  prove hat the Tsar was incompetent and it exaggerated the problems people already felt.

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The Potemkin Mutiny

In June, 1905, sailors on the Potemkin battleship, protested against the serving of rotten meat. The captain ordered that the ringleaders to be shot. The firing-squad refused to carry out the order and joined with the rest of the crew in throwing the officers overboard.

The sailors sailed into Odessa harbour but were unable to land. Fearing that the Potemkin would be attacked by other ships of the Russian fleet, the mutineers decided to leave Odessa. The crew sailed the Potemkin to Romania where they surrendered to the local authorities.

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Causes of 1905 revolution

Witte’s economic reforms

w's reforms industrialised to a degree but they also created cities with poor conditions this led to a concentration of people open to reformist political ideas.

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causes of 1905 revolution

The growth of left wing ideas in Russia since the 1870s growing poverty encouraged revolutionary ideas, at the same time, growing urban populations allowed easy spread of ideas.


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Causes of 1905 Revolution

Alexander III’s reactionary policies had repressed the people. This had caused discontent. This encouraged revolutionary ideas.


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Causes of 1905 Revolution

Problems in the countryside, growing population reduced land available. This increased poverty and unhappiness. In turn this encouraged revolutionary ideas.

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Causes of 1905 Revolution

Nicholas II’s lack of reform. People had expected nicholas to introduce more reform than his father. When he had not, this led to dissatisfaction.

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Causes of 1905 Revolution

Problems in the towns, as a result of industrialisation, towns grew. Urban populations, living in poverty, were open to revolutionary ideas. These ideas spread quickly amongst the masses.


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SD's Split

the SD's was run by Lenin in 1898. In 1903 the party split into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. this happened at the 2nd party congress in London. Lenin the leader believed one way that the party should be run however some of the party thought it should be run another way. He held two votes at the congress on whether to follow his ideas. he lost  his first vote 28-22 but then he waited until some people left and the held the vote again, he won 15-17. The party split into two his part was the bolsheviks (majority) and the other the mensheviks (minority). Yuli Martov ran the Mensheviks, they temporarily reformed in 1905 but split by 1907.

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What did the SD's believe?

What did the SDP believe?

Marxist, so they believed that history proceeds in predictable cycles.They believed that after industrialisation happened, the workers (proletariat) would have a revolution against the factory owners (bourgeois).This would lead to socialism, where everyone will work in harmony with a working class government, and eventually Communism, where everyone would be equal.

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They believed that the revolution should be slow; they had to let history take its time until Russia was ready for a full revolution. They believed that they Party membership should be open to as many people as wanted to join. They also believed that class struggle should be limited to industrial workers, and that they had to wait until enough of Russia was industrialised.

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They believed that the revolution could be sped up by violent, aggressive revolutionary activity and propaganda. They believed that they Party membership should be limited to a small number of professional revolutionaries.They also believed that class struggle could be extended beyond industrial workers, to include peasants as well.

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The Octobrists were formed in 1905, as a result of the October Manifesto; their proper name was the “Union of October 17”. Essentially, they believed that the October Manifesto was the ideal settlement of political demands. As a result, they were a centre party with liberal ideas, but they firmly supported the Tsar. They wanted some change but no revolution. They wanted to use the Duma to pass legislation that would help the people and stabilise the country.

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constitutional democrats (Kadets)

The Constitutional Democrats, or Kadets, were a more radical centre liberal group. They were formed in 1905 as a result of the October Manifeso. They believed that the Manifesto was helpful, and that the Duma was a good step. But they believed that it was only a start on the road to democracy and that more developments were needed. Ultimately, they wanted a reduction (but not removal) in the Tsar’s power and an increase in democratic power in Russia.

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New Economic Policy (NEP)

In 1921, the Kronstadt sailors - who had been the Bolsheviks fiercest supporters - mutinied, demanding an end to War Communism. Trotsky put down the rebellion, but Lenin was worried - if the Kronstadt sailors had been pushed too far, how long would it be before the rest of the country rose up and threw out the Bolsheviks? The civil war was won. It was time to pull back.

Lenin brought in what he called the New Economic Policy. Peasants who had been forced to hand over all their produce to the war effort - were allowed to keep some to sell for profit - some (the kulaks) became quite rich. Small traders called Nepmen were allowed to set up businesses. At the same time, local nationalities who had been forced to follow a strict Communist line were allowed to bring back their own language and customs. Churches, mosques and bazaars were re-opened.

The economy picked up, and people were much happier. But many old Bolsheviks said Lenin had sold out to capitalism, and left the party

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