Early Russia: Russia in Revolution (5)

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 13-02-13 09:31

Tsar Nicholas II

  • Born 1868, crowned as Tsar in 1896. Married to Alexandra of Hesse (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria), and she had a great influence on the Tsar, determined that he shouldn't share power with people, and keep all his autocratic powers.
  • Committed to the idea of himself as autocrat - absolute ruler of Russia, he was supposedly chosen by God, 'the Little Father of Russia'.
  • Not effective as ruler, unable to concentrate on the business that came with being Tsar.
  • Kind, loving family man, but did not understand the changes Russia was going through as he was never taught to be a Tsar, took to thrown at a young age.
  • Knew little about his people, very religious but can be cruel and merciless.
  • By 1917, he lost control of Russia and abdicated.
  • In 1918, he and his family were shot by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War.

Russia was difficult to govern, as it was a large empire, but lacked proper roads, and had limited areas of railway. It had a bad climate (various changes from sheer cold to desert, to dense forest, and from infertile land to rich fertile land). Communication was also difficult, and keeping up to date also posed a problem.


Some of the national groups did not like the Russian control, and particuarly disliked the policy of Russification. This was when they made non-Russians speak Russian, wear Russian clothes and follow their customs. Only 40% of the Tsars subjects spoke Russian, and Poles, Finns hated the Russian Rule, and Jews often suffered racial predjudice.

Russia had multiple social classes:

Peasants: 80% of Russias population were peasants who lived in communes, and who worked with agriculture. There were more prosperous peasants called kulaks, but living and working conditions for most were horrific and terrible. Peasants still used ancient farming techniques (strip method) on infertile lands, divided sections of fields allotcated to families and the subdivisions of fields were organised by the peasant councils called mir. There was no basic education, and very few could read or write and the lack of sanitation was common. However many remained loyal to the Tsar.

Factory Workers: Lived in cheap wooden lodging houses or large tenant buildings, 30 workers or so in each room. Full of illness, smells, arguments and sex. They used to be peasants who moved to cities, and were employed by factories.Low pay, 12 to 15 hour days, unguarded machinery and brutal discpline.

Middle Class: (Capitalists) Somewhat wealthy, women didn't work but men did. Typically landowners, industrialists, traders, businessmen or bankers. More educated, better quality housing and lived in cities or towns.

Nobilities/Aristocracy: 1.5% of society, owned about 25% of the land. Close and loyal to the royal family, had more privileges and a more luxurious lifestyle. Didn't work but remained very rich, had multiple homes and were in positions of power, such as local officials.

Despite the Tsar not being involved as much as he should have in the government, as…


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