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Russian Revolution Essay, Research Paper

??????????? Problems

in Russia in the early nineteenth century were growing, many factors

contributed to them. The first was in 1904 when Russia went to war with Japan

over control of Korea and Manchuria. Nicholas II thought that winning a war

would win him popularity and stop criticism of his government, however quite

the opposite happened. Russia suffered a terrible defeat and the conditions for

working people worsened with, food shortages, unemployment and general poverty.

This caused low morale for the people of Russia and weakened Russia?s position.

Other incidents which added to the problems were ?Bloody Sunday?, a massacre of

workers and families. General strikes took place in September 1905 and Workers

Soviets were set up. These only added to the growing discontentment and hatred

towards the Tsar, and contributed to the many causes of the Russian Revolution

in 1905.??????????? By

1906 the Revolution may have ended but the disputes and problems were far from

solved. Whilst the Revolution was still occurring Nicholas had to give way a

little to show he wanted to put an end to the differences. He issued the

October Manifesto, which stated that Russia could have a Duma, and elected

parliament. This would give the Russian people general rights such as, freedom

of speech, formation of political parties and would help to run the country.

Despite this people did not trust his word, and they were right as in December

the police arrested the members of the St Petersburg Soviet and sent fifteen of

them into exile in Serbia. Then in Moscow an army was sent to eliminate the

Soviet and more then a thousand people died in the street fighting between the

soldiers and revolutionaries. Nicholas crushed all other areas of the

revolution in the early months of 1906, however The Black Hundreds, a group of

thugs got involved, they organised massacres of revolutionaries in over one

hundred cities. They were all put to death in huge blood baths, and the police

and army did nothing to stop them though they knew what was going on.??????????? ?Though the Revolution had ended, Russia was

still to face huge problems. The Tsar still believed he was an autocrat and

that he had complete control over Russia and her people. Despite this he had

accepted a constitution, parliament and prime minister. This gave the people

the chance to speak out against his strategies, policies and even block his

laws. However the Russia that the revolution had left behind was one of

distrust and disbelief between the Tsar and his people. Nicholas accepted a

Duma but in May, after the first elections for it which were held in march,

when the Duma met for the first time Nicholas issued a set of Fundamental Laws.

The first law said ?To the emperor of all the Russians belongs supreme

autocratic power?. This instantly proved Nicholas had changed nothing and the

Russians where still none the better, as Russia was still an autocracy. The

Fundamental laws made a point of saying that Russia?s new government did not

have any real power and The Tsar still ruled. When the Duma demanded a share in

government and control of taxes Nicholas surrounded the meeting place with

troops and broke it up. That was Russia?s first Duma, it lasted precisely

seventy-five days and the Russian people gained nothing from it.??????????? The

Second Duma was even less successful then the first. It was elected in 1907,

but would prove to be less to Nicholas?s liking then the first. It gave

landowners all the power as the voting system established was unfair, the vote

of one landlord equalled nearly that of three-hundred peasants or six-hundred

workers. It consisted of Social Democrats, Liberals and also Socialist

Revolutionaries, all of which had an aim to destroy autocracy. So after three

months Nicholas broke up the second Duma.??????????? The

third and fourth Dumas which met also in 1907, proved to be slightly more

dominant then their last predecessors. This was due to the fact that Nicholas

changed the voting laws which made it impossible for? revolutionaries to be elected. These Dumas were made up of

conservative politicians who obeyed Nicholas?s orders and did what he wanted.

The third Duma lasted a full five years as did the fourth. Despite this it was

powerless and unable to make any good changes in Russia unless Nicholas agreed,

so it did not really effect the people or their way of life all it did was

provide a show of Democracy. The situation of the people had not improved and

there was still discontent among the proletariat and the peasants. The idea of

a Duma was to help the population as a whole and not just the upper class, at

the time this was not the situation due to the lack of representation of the

working class and accountability of those ?elected?. The third Duma provided a

much needed show of democracy, subduing the populace, and allowing? Nicholas to continue as the autocratic

leader he had previously been. In 1906 Nicholas appointed

a new, tough Prime Minister called Peter Stolypin Nicholas wanted a strict

government run and that is exactly what Stolypin believed in. Despite this

Stolypin was actually good for the people. His first move as Prime Minister was

to stop terrorism as it proved to be a threat to the autocracy. So in 1906 1008

terrorists were arrested, tried, and executed and 21,000 people were exiled to

Siberia. He may have come down hard on strikers and revolutionaries, but he

gave the peasants what they wanted: land. He did this because he knew that

there could be further outbreaks of violence in the countryside if the peasants

remained poor. He helped the poor by abolishing redemption payments which the

peasants had been paying since 1861 as well as the law which said that the

village communes, the mirs, controlled the land. He hoped that the peasants

would leave the communes and set up their own farms, which would be greater and

far more efficient, The peasants which did this became known as Kulaks. Due to

Stolypin?s methods the farming industry began to prosper and the conditions

became more favourable for the industry to grow as shown by the increase in ,

grain, coal, and oil production between 1910 and 1913. Although Stolypin?s

Reforms benefited the peasants, they did not improve the conditions for the

workers in the cities as the money still went straight to the factory owners.

Regardless of this, in 1911 one of Stolypin?s police agents who had been

investigating terrorist groups shot Stolypin dead, for he actually turned out

to be a terrorist himself ??????????? While Stolypin had been Prime Minister Nicholas and his

wife Alexandra had been introduced to a man called Gregory Efimovitch, a

Siberian peasant. He was a very mysterious man said to have special healing

powers. Nicholas?s son Alexis had haemophilia, however Gregory managed to

successfully cure Alexis in one night. Nicholas and Alexandra believed this and

were amazed by it, so from then on Gregory became a most trusted member in

their court and had won the confidence of the Russian royal family. However

years before in Serbia he was given the nickname Rasputin meaning, the

disreputable one because he drank heavily and had many affairs. He proved at

court in St Petersburg that he had not changed as he spent much of his time

drunk and had many more affairs. He managed to disgrace the court and get

expelled, only to be recalled at the insistence of Alexandra, she was under his

spell. Rasputin?s power in Russia grew with time, as did Alexandra?s trust for

him. No matter what anyone said about Rasputin?s behaviour Alexandra and

Nicholas refused to listen. After the death of Stolypin in 1911 Rasputin?s

power and influence over the Royal family increased. He began to give political

advice to Alexandra which she would then pass on to Nicholas. Ambitious

politicians found it easier if they were friendly with Rasputin to get a

promotions as well as entertaining him. However as his power began to grow so

did the hatred for him. People began to gossip and in 1915 when Nicholas lead

his troops, and Alexandra was left to run International affairs she made

Rasputin her personal advisor. People believed they were having an affair, he was

discussed by the Duma, and newspapers were full of gossip about him. Rasputin?s

scandalous actions did much to harm to the reputation of the Tsar?s court and

his bad influence on Nicholas and Alexandra helped to cut them off from the

government and the Russian people. They all lost trust and faith in Nicholas

and were disgraced that he allowed Rasputin to make such vital changes and

manipulate him for so long. However Rasputin was only a short term problem for

Russia and her people as Rasputin was assassinated soon after by supporters of

the monarchy. He was lured to one of the plotters homes where he was fed

poisoned food, but he did not die. In a panic the assassin shot Rasputin yet he

still did not die. Finally they tied him up and threw him through a hole in the

ice on the river Neva.???????????


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