How accurate is it to say that the growth of reformist groups in the years from 1881 was the main cause of the 1905 Revolution? The 1905 Revolution was the start of political change in Russia, unlike other major European powers of the time, Russia was being ruled by an autocratic government and any effective reforms would have had to been by ‘change from above’. However, the Tsar Alexander III and his son, Nicholas II were firm conservatives and this ideal route would not have happened. Resentment to the lack of change created the growth of reformist governments and caused a Revolution which catalysed the much needed change in Russia. There were many factors that created a base for the reformist groups to flourish at that time in Russia which in turn created a Revolution.
In many respects, there is no doubt that Alexander III was the most effective Tsar in such the short reign that he had. He was referred to as a reactionary, unlike his father Alexander II who was known as a reformer. He managed to please the people with his Russian figure and attitude, he changed their attitude and he made tsarism look all the better, all in a short period of time. Despite their different policies, they had the same ambitions inside their head in the long run, and that was to strengthen autocracy in the Russian empire but Alexander III did this by reversing what his father had done as he felt he knew better ways of dealing with the situation and strengthening the Tsarist position. The first thing that Alexander III did when he came into power to contradict his fathers’ reforms was to recall the decision of creating the constitution.
One of the reasons why this didn’t work was the downfall of communication, and disagreements within the group due to the extent of different opinions was so great causing splits and creating smaller less powerful sub divisions. The liberals wanted to keep the tsar but reduce his power and used calm no violent tactics such a discussions and meetings, but this group split; the octobrists and the kadets. The octobrists set up the duma (government) and the kadets wanted full equality and were a first major opposition voice in the duma, both groups came into being at the time of the October manifesto 1905. The social democrats wanted an empire with no rich or poor people, they wanted communism and also like the liberals didn’t use violent tactics. The Bolshevik and Menshevik split and both parties were very distinct opposing Marxist parties.
The Liberals were not very big supporters of the Monarch and wanted the Monarchy out of the political area and it just to be solely the government. The Liberals wanted reform, especially the Radicals. If you compare this to the beliefs of the Conservative party who generally believed in One-nation Conservatism/Toryism. This phrase came to light by the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, His conservatism had proposed a society with the social classes intact but with the working class receiving support from the government. Disraeli emphasised the importance of social obligation rather than
The 1905 revolution was extremely different from the 1917 March revolution in both what was demanded from the Tsar and also due to the size and support the Tsar had. Although there was a revolution in October 1917, the March 1917 revolution in Russia was the one resulting in the Tsar’s abdication and ultimately the end of Tsarism. The reason for the Tsar surviving the 1905 revolution is because of a number of reasons. Firstly, he issued an ‘October Manifesto’ which granted the peoples wishes as it gave them more power. The manifesto offered free speech, the right to form political parties and it created a “democratic” elected house of parliament – called a Duma.
Therefore Liberals wanted constitutional reform and more power to be given to the Reichstag. Whereas socialists demanded social reform and power to the workers and trade unions. However conservatives, such as Bismarck wanted to conserve to the Junkers – the elite class. To do this he proposed the Anti-Socialist Law in 1879 and also passed the Tariff Law, which appeased the liberals. The years leading up to the war the German people were dreading it, there were protests in Berlin in July 1914.
This may suggest that the revolution was a massive success, while the truth of the matter is that any of these results that were actually carried forward for a long period of time were severely altered to fit the government’s and the Tsar’s desires. Some historians suggest that the major cause for the failure of the revolution was solely the dissolution of the revolutionaries. I however, do accept that this was a major factor but do not believe that it is the sole cause. On the one hand, one could argue that the reason for the failure of the revolution was clearly the dissolution of the revolutionaries. At no point in 1905 was the government threatened by wholesale, coordinated revolutionary activity.
His reform included different aspect; such as political, social and economic. He also appointed Peter Stolypin as the prime minister to stabilize the country. Nicholas II had tried his best to regain people’s support and stop the revolution tide through the reforms however resentment of his wife and her involvement with the mystical Rasputin was widespread and did little to regain the peoples trust. Also the state of the country during World War One left a lot to be desired and created a lot of dissatisfaction amongst the Russian people. The personality of Nicholas II contributed to his downfall in 1917.
Since the Enlightenment liberalism had flourished. This resulted in the conservative right nurturing fascism as a literal antithesis to democracy. Fascism was more of an ethos than a political ideology and incorporated concepts from contemporary genius such as Charles Darwin and Friedrich Nietzsche to validate the expansionist mindset. (See Appendices 1 & 2) Imperial Russia under the Tsars had always been synonymous with oppression, and the rise of both Lenin and Stalin was less accountable to charisma than to ruthlessness, with one hard-liner simply replacing another. At the beginning of the 1900’s, Russian society was suffering while Western Europeans were seeing increasing civic powers.
By October 1905 the most united opposition in Romanov history faced the Tsar. Concession was unavoidable, but by giving ground the government intended to divide the opposition forces, which confronted it. As well as this other factors helped to contribute to the survival of Tsarism. These include the army and elite staying loyal to Tsar Nicholas II and the nature of the revolution, One of the main attributes one could argue to the survival of Nicholas the second is the unorganised nature of the opposition to the tsar. This is shown by one main foe to the tsar the social democrats being split between the Bolsheviks led by the Lenin and the Mensheviks.