This turned into great violence across the empire, with peasants even attacking officials. Fights between strikers and troops of the army were common, and students would also protest and partake in demonstrations throughout Russia. The violence caused Russia to lose 500,000 in the Russian-Japanese, which had a major consequence. Russia was in a civil war. Not only was it the population of the Russian empire that turned against the Tsars, but the Army too.
However after Karakazov attempts to assassinate the Tsar in 1866, he becomes much more autocratic, revealing that he had no intention of significantly developing politics, his use of the Zemstvas were in fact to help sustain autocracy, through making local administration more efficient. It can be suggested from this that Alexander II had put the Zemstva Act in place to appease the nobles angered by the Emancipation Act. Alexander III was much more of a successful autocrat. His reactionary attitude led to the reversal of many of his father’s liberal reforms, and was in some cases angered by them. Alexander III re-implements Tsarist form, through the use of repression and terror.
This was terribly inconsiderate of the military as the other 82% of the nation was left to starve as the military was the government’s top priority. This led to extreme cases of hunger across Russia which soon became famine. Food shortages were at their worst in the towns and cities, Petrograd suffered particularly badly due to the remoteness from the food-producing regions. Secondly, transportation was a key pre- existing war condition; it was the disruption of the transport system rather than the decline in food production that was the major cause Russia’s wartime shortages. The attempt to transport millions of troops and masses of supplies to the war fronts created unbearable pressure on the Russian transport system, and it bucked under the pressure.
Tsarina Alexandra was influenced by Gregori Rasputin, an unpopular and scruffy “holy” man, who was supposedly controlling her son’s haemophilia condition. Nicholas’s decisions at the Eastern Front caused the country's military failures; by 1917 over 1,300,000 men had been killed in battle, 4,200,000 wounded and 2,417,000 had been captured by the enemy. First World War had a disastrous impact on the Russian economy; food was in short supply and this led to rising prices. By January 1917 the price of commodities in Petrograd had increased by six times. In an attempt to increase their wages, industrial workers went on strike.
How far does the reign of Alexander III deserve to be called reactionary? When Alexander III became Tsar in March 1884, Russia was in crises, following the assassination of Alexander II at the hands of The People’s Will. There was a huge amount of pressure on Alexander III, not only to govern the world’s largest country, but also to be a good leader in an autocratic empire and restore the approach in which the slavophiles were demanding for. Reactionaries believed that the reforms of Alexander II disestablished the country by encouraging demand for further reforms; Alexander III transformed this opinion brining back harsher rulings to regain power and to deserve the title of a reactionary. The generally chaotic nature of the Empire following Alexander II’s death was suggestive of the need for strong leadership to stabilise the country.
Poor harvests, famine, a lack of freedom and repressive policies meant that Russia was a country that was teetering on the brink of revolution long before dissatisfied factory workers marched on the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Some of the causes of the 1905 revolution were due to poor working and living conditions. For instance, up to 15 people would share one room to live in, because of this demonstrations such as the one outside the Winter Palace commonly known as Bloody Sunday took place. 100’s were killed due to horrific misunderstanding by the Russian army. In many ways this helped fuel Russian Revolt.
The reactionary reign of Alexander III led to a tightening of government control and the persecution of minority groups, such as Jews, within the Empire. Another long-term cause of the 1905 Revolution was the worsening conditions of both peasants and urban workers. The famines in 1897, 1898 and 1901 had led to shortage and distress in the countryside. Living and working conditions in Russia’s industrial towns were no better. Workers worked in poorly ventilated factories for long hours and little pay.
He did not realise that, following Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in 1861, he could not return to a state of rigid autocracy when the serfs had already had some freedom. The reformist groups formed as a result of his errors, he fuelled the creation of them. He aggravated them by taking away many of their rights for example fees quadrupled to restrict entry to secondary and higher education and their previous ability to vote was made more difficult. The fact that they had been given a taste of liberalism by Alexander II was what made the Russian people more aware of the inconveniences of the Tsarist Regime; they began to lose their respect for him and one of the main problems he had on his name was
The Russo-Japanese was an important factor which lead up to the outbreak of the 1905 revolution as it was a catalyst which highlighted the fundamental weaknesses in the leadership of the Tsar. Though it was an was important factor, ultimately the outbreak of the 1905 revolution was due to a number of factors such as the long term issues such as the lack of modernisation; socially, economically and politically. The most significant cause of the 1905 revolution was the lack of modernisation. Due to the failure of modernisation in the countryside led to increase in social tension. Agriculture in Russia was far behind other great powers and peasants were suffering greatly through the repeated famines in 1902 and 1905.
Why was Nicolas II’s regime able to overcome the revolution of 1905 but unsuccessful in the revolution of 1917? Discontent was part of the Russian lifestyle in the twentieth century-the reactionary tsarist regime, the policy of Russification targeting the minorities, the exorbitant price of land for the peasants, the overall repression of freedom, the humiliating defeat at the hands of Japan and the economic strain of the first world war all contributed towards the growth of resistance to the imperial government. General dissatisfaction sparked both the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. However, one ended in concession and later suppression while the other culminated in abdication of the Tsar Nicolas II and later full-blown revolution and execution. Perhaps the foremost factor contributing towards the failure of the 1905 revolution was the apparent readiness of both the peasants and the liberals to accept the concessions offered by the government.