Extended Response 1 At the turn of the year 1905 Russia was in a state of social, political and economic turmoil. The entire system, political, social and economic was manufactured by the ruling classes to support their own privileges. Russia’s economy was imbalanced to the extent that the majority of the country lived in poverty while the Romanov’s and the Orthodox church controlled a vast fortune. In Russian society, human rights and personal freedoms for citizens didn’t exist. Instead, the Romanov’s had created a police state where capital punishment and discrimination were tolerated and even encouraged by the government so, not surprisingly, many Russians feared the absolute power of the Romanov dynasty.
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.
Russia was still an autocratic state (the Tsar held completed political power). The reformist groups wanted to amend this so the Tsar had less power. The reformist groups also known as the radical parties all had various different ideas as to how they were going to go about reforming the country. They grew in numbers from 1881 and gained a lot of support from various different social groups. The Socialist Revolutionary Party wanted to completely abolish the Tsar’s power and give the peasants power to advance Russia.
- Forward looking to golden age of socialism - Inefficient bureaucracy e.g Crimean war and Japanese wars - Soviet bureaucracy highly politicised and more efficient - Repression and terror common under all Tsars but not personalised - Repression more personalised, more directly involved - Agriculture and industry: Tsars aimed to preserve traditional authority - Collective farms and nationalised industries: more forward looking with requisition at times = taking poverty - Pipe`s views: Tsars never so involved in detail - Pipe`s views: Lenin`s grasp of detail - Cult of Tsar? No! there was no successor - Cult of Lenin? A hero of the
Lenin, like the Tsars, was incredibly effective at appeasing the people politically while giving them very little or any political influence or representation. The Tsars used the Duma, Nicholas 2nd, and the Zemstva, Alexander 2nd, to ‘give’ the people the people what they desired politically. However these organisations were in reality still controlled by the Tsar and were very restricted in their abilities to create any change. Lenin used an election, the façade of Soviet power and a pyramidal structure of Government to, like the Tsars, give an illusion of democracy. Lenin like the Tsars had absolute power in Russia to the extent that he could ignore advice from his party and single handily dictate changes.
The final advantage the reds had was superior military man power. This was because under wartime communism Lenin said that all food should go to soldiers first and what was left should go to the people in the cities. This encouraged thousands of men to join the red army not because they supported them but because they would get fed and not starve. This amount of man power led to the reds being able to use overwhelming force against the whites. In conclusion the reds ability to communicate and raise thousands of troops enabled them to beat the whites and win the civil
When the Bolsheviks gained power in 1917, Lenin played a large part in their success, however there are many other factors which also played a large part in their success, for example the weaknesses in the Provisional Government, their lack of opposition, the strength and appeal of the Bolsheviks themselves, and many other factors. To begin with, The Provisional Government itself was a weak leadership, and had many problems which meant that when the Bolsheviks came to take power in October 1917, nobody opposed. To start with their large list of problems, the Provisional Government was not an elected body- this mean that they did not have the support of their people and because of the lack of loyalty, it meant that when the Bolsheviks came to seize power in 1917, it was infinitely more easier as the people were not prepared to defend it. The Provisional Government did not have control of the army due to Order Number 1 which gave control of the army to the Soviets, who therefore held all the power, as the Provisional Government had no army to uphold their regime. However one of the Provisional Government’s greatest faults was that they did not pull Russia out of the war, which was the cause of many of the country’s problems, the Bolsheviks however used this as leverage in gaining support and promised people that they would pull Russia out of war if they were in power, this gained them obvious support.
This made the government not original so the country could not benefit from it. Also political parties were banned so the government had little incentive to work to their potential as there is no competition. This relatively useless government made Russia unproductive and inefficient as there was little reform from their government. Following this most important point is the second most important factor of the 1905 Revolution which is the depression between 1899 and1903. The depression damaged Russia’s economy quite badly.
it was seen as the government’s fault that the British had no reinforcements for the men who were dying, because back in Britain over 30% of the population was malnourished, ill and weak as they were living in abject poverty. This indicates that the Conservatives were poor in office as it ties back to them failing to conquer poverty because had the people in Britain been healthy and able to fight the Boer war may well have been over faster. The Conservatives also angered trade
Having a war caused inflation, government spending rose from 4-30 million, taxation increased, and money became practically worthless and the price of food and fuel quadrupled. This made people angry as they could not afford supplies for themselves and their families, which made them, turn to the Tsar for help but he wasn’t seen to be doing much about the effects of war on the people at home. Furthermore, as well as not being able to