Russian Revolution of 1905

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(a) Why was there a revolution in Russia in 1905? The origins of the revolution in 1905 could be divided in long-term and short-term causes. Since the end of 19th century, Russian economy had been backward compared to other European countries, which had already gone through the industrial revolution, while Russian population were constantly growing, and the majority of that was peasantry. In 1892, Witte was appointed by Alexander III as the minister of finance and embarked on a program of industrial expansion trying to improve the economic situation. This industrialization was too rapid to succeed, since the foundation of economy, the agriculture of the country, had not been modernized yet. The failure of the Witte’s system caused the increasing taxes, which were needed to pay for the overseas debts, and produced widespread famine in rural areas within the country. Plus the poor harvests in the period of 1900-1905, unemployment increased, food riots became commonplace, and the living standards of Russian people were becoming lower, the consciousness of a revolution started to develop. Then the Russo-Japanese War came in February of 1904. The war was basically concerning trading and naval rights in Korea and Manchuria, and Nicholas II finally decided to start a war against Japan, because he believed the victory would invert attention from growing internal problems and he underestimated Japanese troops. The war caused the great economic strains, disrupted transport and food shortages, making the problems even more severe. People were dissatisfied with the tsarist regime. The immediate cause of the revolution was the event called Bloody Sunday. In January 1905, there was a peaceful demonstration, numbering 200,000 people, marching to the Winter Palace to present a petition to the tsar. Later the guard opened fire to the demonstrators causing 130 dead, 300 injured.
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