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.
Nicholas II had tried his best to regain people’s support and stop the revolution tide through the reforms after the 1905 Revolution. After the 1905 Revolution, the Tsar still had to face the above problems. In order to prolong his rule, he was forced to reform Russia. At first, he agreed to set up parliament, Duma. It made Russia became a constitution country like Britain.
During the beginning of the 1900s, there were plenty of revolutions and violence that took place. The Chinese revolution in 1911 and Russian Revolution in 1917 shared similar goals, they wanted to end the power of their current leader and establish a new one. For Russia, it was Tsar Nicholas II and for China it was the Qing Dynasty, Russia wanting a functioning communist government and Chinese revolutionaries wanted a democratic government. The first outcome is different in that China relied on agriculture to maintain its economy and Russia relied on industry to fuel its economy. The second outcome of the revolutions was that the countries were dramatically changed, two great powers were stopped and communist leaders eventually took over in the two countries.
A study of Russian governments in the period 1855 – 1964 suggests that Russia simply exchanged one form of autocracy for another after 1917. How far do you agree? When the February revolution brought an end to Tsarist rule, there was a strong belief that the instatement of the Provisional Government would lead to a more democratic Russia. However in deposing the Provisional Government, the October Revolution had removed any such hope. The totalitarian Government of the Communist Party continued and intensified many aspects of the Tsarist regime including use of the secret police and an intolerance for opposition and democracy in general.
Opposition did influence governmental change under every ruler apart from Alexander III who kept the opposition “underground”. Opposition was responsible for two changes in governments; the assassination of Alexander II and the Bolshevik revolution. However, both cases did not result in any governmental development to a more liberal and modern style of government. The assassination of Alexander II only led to his replacement by the far more reactionary Alexander III who actually caused the development of Russian government to regress as he removed several reforms that Alexander II was responsible for. Lenin had a similar effect as ultimately Russia remained an autocratic state, and also resulted in a regression in the development of Russian government initially as the Communist state had even less representation than under Nicholas II by virtue of the removal of the state duma.
During Alexander III rule from 1881-1894 he had made significant changes in Russia like the counter reform, which was literally undoing his fathers Great reforms, which he thought, had weakened Tsarism and left it insecure. In 1881 Alexander III first step as Tsar was throw out Loris-Melikov Plan, which indicated establishment of two new government commissions that were to have an advisory role in relation to proposed new laws. Alexander III saw this as a threat to autocracy in Russia and so he completely rejected this approved plan by his father. Further on in late 1881 Temporary Regulations were introduced, which gave the government special powers to prohibit gathering of more than 12 people, prosecute any individual from political crimes, introduction of Okhrana the secret Police, and the setup of special courts outside the legal system. Then In 1889 the zamstva magistrates were replaced with land captains how were recruited from the nobles and given powers to direct and control peasant affairs in their areas.
From 1856-1964 in Russia there were many reforming leaders who some may suggest significantly changed the nature of Russian government and society, certainly intentionalist historians stress the significance these individuals played in changing Russia. However a structuralist approach evaluates how circumstances such as, the state of the economy, war, famine, revolution and opposition, influenced how Russia developed, from a backward state to a world superpower. This resulted in significant changes to government and society, however despite this we can also see a lot of continuity, for example by 1964 the Russian population was still ruled by autocracy, and all leaders used repression to control the population. The reign of Alexander II reflected a more liberal age as he made numerous reforms, including the emancipation of the serfs which is described by intentionalist historian Tim Chapman as "the single most important law or decree issued by any tsar in nineteenth-century Russia". However it created land ownership problems which with the redemption fee system created bitterness amongst peasants and became known as ‘the great disappointment’ .
In reaction to this, he shut down the assembly in order to keep power for himself. In doing so it was one of the first actions he took which portrayed some similarities to that of the Tsar, but he defended his actions declaring Russia needed to be told what to do in order to live the communist ways, or as it was called ‘dictatorship of proletariat.’ However Lenin did manage to win some of the Russian approval. Another immediate effect of the revolution was on the 8th of November he made a speech in the hopes of gaining the support of masses throughout Russia in order to establish control everywhere. In his speech he promised the land was to be given to the peasants and seized from the rich. This pleased a lot of people as the population had 80% peasants.
Body c. About his life who he proceeded d. What he did for Russia e. serfs f. Wars, policies g. Death h. Who followed him 3. Conclusion i. Restate thesis The last reformer of the Russian royal crown, Alexander was a key factor in the coming years, especially in the events leading up to the October Revolution. He is a man whose history is controversial, whether he is seen as a great liberator of Russia and a great reformer, or of an evil tyrant whose actions sped the October Revolution. Both are true and false in their own right, but the truth is in neither of these statements. Alexander II was a moderate reformer whose assassination ended reform in Russia.
The Dumas were Russia’s first national Parliament consisting of two houses; The Upper House and the Lower House. The first Duma in 1906 proved to be a turning point in the political system of Russia; it was something new where foundations were set for what many hoped to be a better political future for Russia, where political parties such as the Kadets, Labourists would have a political say in the running of the country. However this was hard to achieve with the Tsar still being a strong believer in autocracy, and his influence on the decisions made, thus showing the Dumas not being effective in improving the political system of Russia. On the one hand, it can be seen that the Dumas did improve the political system in Russia during the period of 1906-1914. For a start, the fact that there were such committees and councils called ‘Dumas’ in 1906, such as the First Duma – 27th April 1906, showed that there was significant improvement in the political system in Russia as this had never been done before.