How Effective Was Opposition in Russia Between 1855 and 1964?

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It it over-simplistic to state that opposition was successful or unsuccessful in Russia from 1855 and 1964. The effectiveness of opposition in Russia had to be evaluated according to the regime in power. For example, the opposition to Tsarism under Alexander II was unsuccessful as his assassination led to reactionary Tsarist rule for thirty six more years. However, the opposition under Nicholas II’s rule was highly successful, helping to lead to a communist government. All Russian governments in this period faced strong opposition to their regime with the period as a whole punctuated by riots, disturbances and revolutions. Political change was expected in Russia during this period, particularly during the Tsarist regime where the growth of the revolutionary intelligentsia, ironically an effect of the Great Reforms, led many to question the need for a Tsar or a royal family at all. The first main success of political opposition is widely considered to be the assassination of Alexander II at the hands of the People’s Will in 1881. Although they assassinated their Tsar, it is very likely this did not actually lead to their desired outcome, it being greater political freedom/democracy. Many historians have said Alexander II was considering the formation of a parliament in Russia. Furthermore, the assassination caused Alexander III to rule in reactionary nature in which many counter-reforms were created to limit the impact of the Great Reforms done by his father. This supports the view that the People’s Will were highly unsuccessful, even in the taking out of Alexander II. It can be said that the only example in this period of effective political opposition was the October 1917 revolution, where, unquestionably, the Bolsheviks took power and let their political vision be known. They were extremely successful in both the short term and the long term.
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