Main themes in Russian History Change from above • Russian politics not democratic for much of its existence… power in hands of rulers War • Change as a result of war eg Russian defeat in Crimean war (1856).. Led to Alex II’s reforms in 1860s…. Eg 1905 rev, PG Revolution • 1905 led to Dumas, Feb 1917 – no Tsar, Oct 1917 – creation of first communist state, great changes to social, econ, pol structure of Russia
• Serfdom – obstacle to modernisation • 1861 – Emancipation of the Serfs • Still not completely free, former serfs had to pay ‘redemption payments’ for 49 years, forced to live in ‘mirs’, had to get permission from elders to leave. • 1864 – intro first form of elective gov (although electorate limited) • 1870 – modernised Russian Judicial system, introduced trial by jury.
• Tsar Alex II assassinated by ‘People’s Will’ (on way to sign law for first national assembly in Russia) • Alex III – the repressor (not like his dad!) Problems facing Alex III • Keeping large multi ethnic empire together • Needed to maintain own supreme political power (hard as his dad had raised expectations of major change!) • Pressure to become more like west
Repression and reaction • Widespread support from upper levels of society (fear of ‘dark masses’!) • Moderates left office… replaced with more conservative • Pobedonostsev – Tsar’s chief minister • April 1881 – Alex III’s manifesto – declared absolute political power resided in the Tsar • Aimed to destroy terror organisations like People’s Will – gov could now arrest and put on trial political opponents, without jury.
Repression • Press freedom severely restricted (14 newspapers banned 1882-1889) • Foreign books censored • University fees increased to exclude all but the wealthy • 1884 – uni’s came under gov control (extremist groups not destroyed, continued underground, 1887 – tried to assassinate Alex III)
• Many changes made by Alex II reversed by Alex III and Pobe • Wide ranging police powers to deal with all those who criticised tsarist authority • From 1890 – gov exercised the right to choose juries • By the time Alex III died – Pobedonostsev had turned the clock back in terms of social and political reform!
Russification • Policy of ‘Russification’ – insisting on use of Russian language • All documents in Russian, all other languages forbidden in schools • Jews suffered most – organised attacks increased during Alex III’s reign (thousands fled)
Financial reform • Finance minister Bunge – important economic and financial reforms • 1882 – introduced laws which reduced the tax burden on peasants, peasant land bank offered loans to peasants • 1889 – financial incentives to migrate to Siberia (pressure off demand for land) • Important: began to finance long term econ dev from foreign loans
Summary • Whole system underpinned by Okhrana – infiltrated extremist groups, ran its own prisons etc. • Tsar re-established control but at a cost, political freedom brutally suppressed, rights undermined • Many opponents arrested/exiled • Land issue still a time bomb…. Famines 1891, 1892 and 1893
Summary 1881 – On the eve of Alex III’s rule
1894 – On Alex III’s death
Autocratic rule by Tsar
Autocratic rule by Tsar
Moderate political reform
Repression of political opponents
Financial and econ reform but economy still far behind great powers
Violence by extremist groups
Political repression and secret police tackle extremist groups, but attacks still occur
Linguistic diversity across empire
Policy of Russification – minorities suppressed
Witte – economic/social change • •
Russia still economically backward 1890s – ambitious programme of econ modernisation • Aim to industrialise but Russia lacked 3 main factors required to industrialise; 1. Russia had a small business class 2. Peasants did not have complete freedom 3. Economy did not have enough funds to invest in Industry
Witte’s plan (‘Witte system’) 1. Economic development sponsored and directed by the government (emphasis on goods like steel etc) 2. Much of econ development was financed from abroad (eg France, Britain etc) 3. Extra taxes levied on already over taxed peasantry 4. Vast construction – Trans Siberian railway to run 7000km across empire
Impact of the system • • • •
Impact was dramatic Coal, Iron and Oil production all rose By 1903, much of railway was completed By 1900 – over ½ of ind workforce employed in factories of more than 1000 workers…. Eg pop of St Petersburg doubled from 1890 to 1914 • Russia could exploit vast resources in Siberia • Rapid growth in towns/cities – led to poor living and working conditions • Russia still lagged behind other Great Powers
Radical parties 1860s
Appearance of the populist movement
Creation of the Social Democrat party (SD) Creation of the Social Revolutionary party (SR) Split in the SD party between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks
1901 1903 1905
Revolution and October Manifesto Division of the liberals into two major groups – the Octobrists and the Kadets
• SR Party – Russia’s future lay with the peasantry (important role in 1905 Rev) • SD Party – looked west to the radical ideas of marxism… industrial development was essential for Russia to succeed
• Mensheviks – wanted the party to have a broad membership, admitting anyone who was in sympathy with party aims. • Bolsheviks – (led by Lenin) – wanted to limit membership to those dedicated revolutionaries who could lead a worker rev
Marx’s view of political/economic development Feudal Phase • This will change when society industrialises and the business classes gain more power Capitalist Phase • This will change when industrial workers are treated so badly under capitalism that they will start a rev and take control of production Socialist Phase • In this phase, equality and harmony will develop under the political guidance of the industrial working class Communism
The liberals • Octobrists - believed that the Oct Manifesto provided the best settlement for Russia’s constitutional development • Kadets – more radical liberal group, saw Oct Manifesto as beginning, not end of political reform. Hoped a truly parliamentary system of gov, based on democratic franchise would eb the best way to deal with Russia’s problems
• Jan 1905, 150,000 workers demonstrated outside Tsar’s winter palace (petitions for reform, expanded suffrage, 8 hr working day, higher pay etc) • Troops used to disperse demonstration… 1000 demonstrators killed!.... Known as ‘BLOODY SUNDAY’; • Sparked a revolution across Russia that lasted a year • ‘The 1905 revolution did more than anything else during Nicholas II’s reign to undermine support for the regime’ – Historian Richard Charques
Causes of 1905 Revolution • 1905 Rev was spontaneous, not planned • Long term resentment… both in Ind and Agr, Russian peasants faced poverty and poor living conditions • Demand for political reform – wanted Tsar to share power with a parliament • Russo-Japanese war – humiliating defeat undermined support • Bloody Sunday – damaged ‘Little Father’s popularity!!!
How did the Revolution develop? Took many forms; • Strikes by industrial workers (by end of 1905, 2.7 million workers had been on strike) • Peasant uprisings (poor harvests, high taxes!) • Mutinies (in some army/navy units) • St Petersburg Soviet (creation of an assembly of workers – leading figure, SD Trotsky).. Although closed down, its existence = significance = showed workers could organise themselves!!
• Oct 1905 – Tsar issued October Manifesto – proposed freedom of speech, civil rights etc…. Liberals happy with it, more radical groups – wanted major social and econ reform……. Result = Oct Manifesto split the revolutionaries • Oct Manifesto – major turning point – Tsar regained control
Why did the Revolution end? • Loyalty of the armed forces – some mutinies, but stayed loyal to Tsar
• Lack of unity among revolutionaries – lack of central co-ordination, spontaneity meant armed forces, police and Black Hundreds could suppress them. Revolutionaries had very different aims – fought among themselves • Splitting of the opposition – October manifesto split the opposition to the government OCTOBER MANIFESTO – turning point
Consequences of 1905 Revolution; • Fundamental Law 1906 – created a national parliament, with the lower house (duma being elected), upper house – partly elected – partly nominated by the Tsar. • Article 87 – gave Tsar right to govern by decree – ignoring parliament • Dumas – First one elected 1906
Stolypin (Tsar’s chief minister) – repression and reform • Severe and ruthless political repression • Creation of ‘Union of the Russian People’ – political party designed to defend Tsarist regime • Nov 1905 – St Petersburg Soviet closed down • 1907 – 1200 gov officials murdered in terrorist attacks by revs…. Stolypin met terror with terror – 1144 death sentences handed out • 1906-1912 – 1000 newspapers ceased publication, 600 trade unions, • 1908-1909 – convicted 16,500 people of political crimes (3600 sentenced to death)
Stolypin the reformer? Wanted to modernise agriculture • Nov 1906 – freed peasants from control of commune • Nov 1906 – land bank to give loans to peasants • 1907 – redemption payments abolished • Encouraged peasants to move to areas of siberia, incentive… cheap land! • Impact of reforms was considerable…. Agr production rose from 1906 – 45.9 mill tonnes…. 1913 – 61.7mill tonnes • World War One disrupted these developments! • Little done to improve living and working conditions
First Duma – broad franchise, Duma dissolved after 72 days – wanted further reforms • Second Duma – no. of kadets halfed (many banned), only lasted 3 months, criticised army which angered Tsar • Third and Fourth Duma – elections to duma restricted to the wealthy – more conservative Duma (Third served full term, fourth lasted till outbreak of WW1)… did bring in some successful reforms… example… 1. Gov introduced a plan to have universal primary education within ten years
The First World War • Began well, strong sense of patriotism • Successes short lived, lower popularity for war • 1915 proved to be the turning point in the fighting on the eastern • Defeats in 1915 led to Nicholas’ disastrous decision…. To make himself COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the army.
The First World War • Aug 1916 – Brusilov Offensive failed, poor command, poor communications, shortage of equipment • By Christmas 1916, 1.6 million Russian soldiers were dead, 3.9 million were wounded, 2.4 million had been taken prisoner
Impact of World War One on Russia • • • • •
Enormous impact Great strains on economy National budget 1913-1916 – X8 Gov printed money – led to inflation Loss of life, military humiliations – undermined domestic support for the war • 1917 – Russian government in crisis! • Progressive Bloc created from Duma – wanted more control, denied by Tsar
Rasputin • • • •
1915 – Tsarina in charge! Big mistake! Only ultra conservative tsarists were appointed Rasputin – monk and mystic Alexei – heir to tsarist dynasty, haemophilia.. Called in to heal • Regular member of court, confidant of Tsarina • Constant ministerial changes – influenced by Rasputin… Royalists wanted to preserve Tsarist regime through removal of Rasputin • 1916 – murdered.
The February Revolution • Fall of Tsarism was due to a combination of factors, all associated with Russia’s involvement in the First World War • Jan 1917 – 140,000 workers on strike • Gov made matters worse saying bread rationing would start again 1st March… leading to panic buying • 23 Feb – key event – International Women’s day – tens of thousands of women took to the streets plus strikers = 100,000+ • 24 Feb – strikes and dems over food shortages • Gov shut down all newspapers and public transport ceased
The February Revolution • Defection of armed forces Turning point – 25 Feb – Cossack troops refused to fire on the demonstrators 28 Feb – Tsar calls Duma offering to share power – they refuse! • Tsar abdicates – 2 March! His brother refused the throne… end of Romanov Dynasty! • In 2 weeks – unplanned demonstration had resulted in political revolution