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Summary - History for the IB Diploma: Imperial Russia, Revolutions and the Emergence of the Soviet State 1853-1924
1.1.1 Geographical weaknesses
What were the racial extremes inherited by Alexander II which could make creating a unified and strong Russia difficult?
- Less than 50% were Russian by birth
- Instead there was a melange of religions, races and languages; when Nationalism starts to take more of hold at the end of the 19th Century these are going to become more difficult to reconcile
- Examples of Russian diversity are: Lutheran Finns, Baltic Germans, Estonians and some Latvians, Roman Catholic Lithuansians, Poles, Ortohodoxs and other Belorussians and Ukrainians, Muslim peoples along southern border, Ortodoxn Greeks and Georgians, members of Armenians Apostolic church
1.1.3 Economic Weaknesses
What economic problems existed within Russian government prior to Alexander II?
- ever-widening dichotomy between state income and expenditure
- Eg. Russia's huge army and smaller navy absorbed around 45% of annual government spending
What export difficulties did Alexander II inherit?Russia couldn't dominate European markets any longer with traditional exports of:
- Raw materials
In way did the Serf-based class structure not allow Russia industrialise as other European powers were doing?90% of the population were Serfs; this meant that there wasn't 'Western' massive private investment into:
- coal pits
Because there was no bourgeoisie whose drive to better themselves and make a profit forced industrial change in Western European countries, Russia just stagnated because instead there was just total reliance on the free labour of the Serfs
What are two examples of the effects of a Serf-based class structure not allowing for industrialisation in Russia?1833: Russian total urban population only 2 million
Moreover, soviet historian P. A. Chroma estimated in 1830 in Russia:
- 67,000 people worked in textile manufacture
- 20,000 in iron and steel industires
What was the level of industrialisation in Russia compared to other European powers?1943: France had x10 as many mechanised spindles than Russia, and Britain had more than thirty times the number of mechanised spindles
What is an example of the backwardness of Russian infrastructure before Alexander II?Only 1851: First train ran between St. Petersburg and Moscow
How much railway did Britain and Germany have the year before the first train ran between St. Petersburg and Moscow?
- Britain: 6.6 thousand stature miles
- Germany 3.6 stature miles
1.1.4 Tradition of autocracy
What was the position of Nicholas I as an autocrat (and the position inherited by Alexander II)?
- Tsar was 'divinely appointed'
- Tsar's title "emperor and autocrat of all Russia was associated with Ruthless authoritarianism
- Tsar's ukases (decrees) were law
What 'guiding principles' to the Tsarist system were introduced by Sergei Uvarov in 1833?"Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality'
These demanded that Russians should show unswerving loyality to:
- Unlimited authority of the Tsar
- Russian Orthodox Church
- Russian nation
What repressive force did Nicholas I introduce in 1826?re-established the secret police (or Third Section)
What was the state of liberalism prior to Alexander II's rule?None:
- Minorites repressed
- censorship enforced
- no freedom to travel abroad
- any hint of rebellion was crushed
Under Nicholas I what did the 'Imperial Majesty's Private Chancery' perform?Censorship:
- limitation of any reporting of events i Western Europe
- banned criticism of social conditions in Russia
- control of dangerous literature
Under Nicholas I what did the 'Third Section of the Chancery' perform?Surveillance and control:
- shadowed 2000 persons during Nicholas I's reign
- dealt with around 15,000 'security cases' annually
1.1.6 Failure of earlier regimes to reduce or remove serfdom
Nicholas I had appointed several commissions to investigate serfdom; but to was only after Russia's surrender at the Crimean War and Alexander II came into power was any actual serious policy making took place. (Is this evidence that it was the individual, Alexander II, and his kindness that caused the emancipation of the Serfs, or another reason caused by the Crimean War (systemic)?)
What were Nicholas I attempts to reduce or abolish serfdom?
- convened 10 secret committees to investigate serfdom
- 1842: minor decree allowing landlords to abandon the master/serf relationship in favour of fixed contracts creating 'obligated serfs'
- 1847: allowed serfs to purchase their freedom (helping owners; to repay their debts when an estate was sold at auction)
However, from these decrees little had been achieved
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According to A.J. Halpern what were the differences between the 1905 revolution and the 1917 revolutions?
- In 1905 the Government was able when the war had finished to recover lost ground; whereas in 1917 the continuation of war meant that all the problems caused by war prevailed (this was also a crucial cause of the October 1917 revolution)
- Gentry and the Liberal groups who played such an important role in 1905 (in the splitting of opposition) had lost whatever influence they once possessed; especially in the lead-up to October between them and the common people the rift was steadily growing
- Although perhaps Lenin didn't have many more followers than in 1905 the lack of alternatives meant that more people were likely to go along with his dogma that "we must yet more definitely and defiantly take to arms, and explain to the masses the futility of purely peaceful strikes and necessity of a fearless and fiercely armed struggle."
- the Military who had quelled the Moscow revolt and the mutinies of the fleet were on the front; and those in the military in cities sided with the revolutionaries
What quote from A.J. Halpern introduces the idea was just the final step in a breakdown of the state that had been caused and accelerated by Nicholas II?
"In 1917 the disorganisation created by war completed the destruction of the state machine - a process inevitably accelerated by Nicholas II's policy during the last twelve years." - 1954 A.J. Halpern
Why did revolution break out in February 1917 according to A.J.Halpern?
In reality although Nicholas had given some implication of reform with the October Manifesto in reality he had clawed back any reforms he had made. As such all of the factors which caused the 1905 revolution were present again, except now moderates and the nobility were unwilling to accept Nicholas' feeble promises. (PRINCIPLE IDEA IN 1917 ESSAYS - YOUR CONCLUSION)
According to A.J. Halpern what were the similarities between the 1905 revolution and the February 1917 revolution?
- An unsuccessful war disorganised the country and revealed the utter incompetence of the Government
- Economic structure of the country collapsed in both cases
- Revolution was neither organised or prepared; it merely exploded when the situation became untenable
- Mass movement was sparked by food shortages in both cases
- IN 1905 a temporary paralysis of the Government's authority had brought into being the Soviet of workmen deputies; and this memory was resurrected by teh Soviets of 1917
In what way did foreign aid help the Tsar to retain control of Russia?
French Loan of 2250 million francs helped to strengthen the Tsarist government
How did the Tsar end the naval mutinies?
Concessions: Promised soldiers better conditions
What was the impact of the end of the Russo-Japanese war on the Tsar's ability to keep control?
early 1906: Returning tsarist troops from Manchuria meant the Tsar was in a stronger position to stop any opposition
What did Nicholas II do to rid his regime of Opposition?
- Arrested all 260 members of the St. Petersburg Soviet
- Trotsky was exiled to Siberia (although he did escape to London)
- Lenin, who had been in exile since 1900, although he returned in November 1905 he was forced flee in 1906 by Tsarist repression
What is an example of the Army working with the Tsar to regain control of Russia?
- 3rd December: Troops sent to crush the St. Petersburg Soviet; stormed the building and arrested all 260 members present
- December: Bolshevik-led rising in Moscow suppressed by troops
What was the impact of moderate support on Tsarist reaction to radicals?
Moderate support gave the Tsar the confidence he needed to act against the radical parties (see ARMY section)