Why was there a revolution in Russia 1905?

Causes of the 1905 revolution in Russia.

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  • Created by: Tiula
  • Created on: 17-04-10 10:24

Long Term Reasons

  • ruled by a Tsar, who had complete control over the country. However, he was a weak ruler and failed to rule his people properly
  • he treated opposition with violence and the Okhrana (the secret police)
  • extremes for wealth and poverty
  • huge country; communication was difficult and in winter, virtually impossible
  • population growth - overcrowding, food shortages, poor conditions
  • very backward country, 80% illiterate
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Medium Term Reasons

  • growing population and industrialisation led to massive overcrowding in the towns
  • increasing opposition groups in Russia
  • 1904-5, Russia went to war with Japan to distract people from problems at home and to restore national pride However, the Japanese began defeating the Russians, which was very humiliating.
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1) Bloody Sunday

  • In January 1905, Russian workers, led by Father Gapon, brought a petition to the Tsar asking for freedom for the working classes and an elected parliament
  • They marched to the winter palace. The Tsar was not there, and he ordered his soldiers to contain the crowds. The troops opened fire and many were killed.

2) Assassination of the Tsar's Uncle

  • In February 1905 the Tsar's Uncle, Grand-Duke Sergei, was assassinated by terrorists

3) Loss in War

  • In March 1905, 89,000 Russian soldiers were killed by the Japanese at the battle of Mukden
  • In May 1905, the Russian Baltic Fleet was destroyed by the Japanese at the battle of Tsushima
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Events of 1905

8th May Union of Unions demanded an elected parliament and universal suffrage.
Widespread unrest.

19th Aug The Tsar announced the creation of a Duma, but with restricted franchise. This too was rejected.

20th Oct General Strike began in St Petersburg, which quickly spread to the rest of the country.

26th Oct St Petersburg Soviet was formed.

30th Oct October manifesto was published.

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The October Manifesto

It gave the people

  • civil liberties
  • creation of an elected State Duma
  • universal suffrage


  • Tsar still had the power to dismiss the Duma or restrict the franchise
  • Tsar was still an autocrat and did not have to listen to the Duma
  • he never intended to keep his promises
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Why did the Tsar survive the 1905 revolution?

1) The parties could be split easily

  • different parties wanted different things. Some wanted to get rid of the Tsar altogether, some wanted him to share the power and some wanted to keep him as a constitutional monarch.
  • it would be easy for the Tsar and his supporters to divide them

2) The Tsar made some concessions

  • by creating the October Manifesto, many were happy with that and went home
  • he also agreed to cancel redemption payments (the money that the peasants had to pay to the state to keep their land). The peasants were pleased with this
  • this split the parties, as some were happy and others were not.

3) The war with Japan finished

  • now that the parties were split, and the war with Japan had ended, the Tsar could use the troops to disperse the rest of the protesters.
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Thanks, very informative. Now, i'm off to my exam....wish me luck.... :P

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