Prior to the “five year plans”, Russia had mostly a peasant farming economy. The 1750 to 1914 period in Russia was met by a large increase in the available labor force. Coupled with an increase in population, Russia's emancipation of the serfs freed many of Russia's serfdom from perpetual slavery. However, the emancipation process was planned so as to put the freed serfs deeply in debt to the original owners of the land. In fact, many of the serfs were so deeply indebted that they relocated to Russia's cities in search of better work opportunities.
A lot of workers went on strike for better working conditions, in February 1905, there were 400,000 people striking, however, by the end of 1905, 2.7 million were striking. From 30th September to 20th October, there was a general strike which included the public sector of Russia. This is showing that the February Revolution was inevitable. These strikes may have also occurred because of Bloody Sunday, which could have led to the Revolution. Another contributory factor to the February Revolution could have been the Russo Japanese War, this important event undermined the Tsar’s power; Firstly, Russia suffered a great of humiliation when the Japanese forces defeated the Russian army is Manchuria, followed by Russia being defeated at the Battle of Tsushima; these were two big humiliating wars that Russia lost.
The Social Democrats were split into two groups: the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The Bolshevik’s was more radical and was led by Lenin. The Menshevik’s agreed to wait for the workers to gain power overtime. Lastly the Liberals believed that to develop Russia you had to work with the middle-class. The growth of the reformists groups led to the 1905 revolution as they all wanted change; they wanted the Tsar to agree with them.
The Tsar was then visited by members of the State Duma and asked to abdicate, which he did, and which he did on behalf of his hemophiliac son, Alexei. The First World War was without a doubt an important factor that contributed to this decision. The First World War was responsible for the downfall of the Romanovs in four main ways. Firstly, the loss of agricultural workers and horses to the army, combined with the takeover of railway lines by the army, led to food shortages in towns and cities due to poor internal communications. Moscow, for example, had been receiving 2,200 railway wagons of grain per month in 1914, but by Christmas 1916, this figure was down to around 300 wagons.
Loyal army has been replaced with around 15 million peasants, the army had sympathised with workers and themselves along with the navy began mutiny against a government they had no wish to fight and die for with the Bolsheviks rioting. In addition, the peasants could not plough, sow or bring harvest as the young men were of fighting in the war. And they were still heavily in debt after the freeing of the serfs – they had to buy their freedom over Fifty years, and many were still serfs. The situation in the countryside caused problems in the cities, because of lack of harvest they were starving, and in the army the peasants in uniform wanted to go back to
Strikes by workers crippled some parts of the nation when the grain and livestock couldn’t reach the market place. Factories shut down due to lack of coal to power them. Unions that went on strike used violence as their way of protest, and federal troops had to be called in to quite the violence. At this time in history, the citizens were supporting the unions even if they were young in their infancy. However with all the riots and violence, they lost the support of the public In 1890, law after law was passed in the Republican Congress, massive spending towards grants and appropriations.
Moscow, for example, had been receiving 2,200 railway wagons of grain per month in 1914, but by Christmas 1916, this figure was down to around 300 wagons. Therefore, there was not enough food to feed the people of Russia – and to make matters worse, rationing was in place, under which each person was entitled to a mere 50g of bread per day. This resulted in the people of Russia becoming agitated and taking part in the strikes and demonstrations in Petrograd, which led to the abdication of the Tsar. Secondly, the First World War crippled the Russian economy. The country mobilised 5.3 million men (9% of the population) in 1914, and, by Christmas 1916, 15.3 million men had experienced military service.
The Tsar had continued to make mistakes during WWI. There were shortages of food because all of the supplies were going towards the army, therefore making the prices of supplies high and causing those in the lower classes to starve. This lead to discontent and revolution in the cities. The revolutions were several protests against the Tsar over a twelve year span. They ended with the October Revolution of 1917.
Despite actions to slow unions down they slowly grew. Having common goals was often a problem among unions. They couldn’t agree on issues like admitting women and immigrants, the length of the work day and wages. Because of the work unions did during the Gilded Age workers today enjoy higher wages, better hours, safer working conditions, medical coverage and vacation time (http://www.ushistory.org). Workers not only looked to unions for help but they often felt that politicians should step in and change the wrongs that existed among laborers.
“BLOODY SUNDAY WAS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CAUSES OF THE 1905 REVOLUTION” To what extent do you agree? Although Bloody Sunday marked the breakdown of the Tsar and autocratic government, there were many other long and short term causes that provided the build up of tension and ultimately led to the revolution of 1905; Bloody Sunday was the final straw for the peasants and the other groups in Russian life, rather than a key cause. The most significant causes were mostly long term. Firstly, there was the terrible work and living conditions of the peasants, alongside the low wages they received. The lack of usable land in Russia and the subdivison of land between families both resulted in an incredibly low income, especially for larger families.