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Flashcards in Russia: Tsar Deck (19):
1

What was Russia like at the beginning of the 20th century?

Huge and diverse - many different cultures and nationalities, 22m km2
Contrasting classes and a backwards economy - 84% peasants who were unhappy, poor, hungry and didn't own the land they worked on, 1.5% nobility, workers in cities with poor quality working and living conditions
Autocracy and Tsarist rule - no parliament or democracy, absolute power
Religion - Russian orthodox christianity

2

What were the long term causes of the 1905 revolution?

Diversity, poverty, economy, contrasting classes

3

What were the short term causes of the 1905 revolution?

Enforced industrialisation
- this was to try and change backwards economy, spent lots of money
- the money spent on improving the industry was sourced from the Russian people - taxes on grain, alcohol and salt and workers wages were low
- 1902: people lost their jobs so there were strikes
Bad Harvests
- poor harvest in 1900 and 1902
- peasants already had barely enough money to survive and now they were starving
- lead to violence, landlord's houses were burnt
Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905
- caused prices to rise in cities and there was a shortage of food and goods
- less industrial materials led to factories closing and people losing their jobs
- Russia lost, humiliating the Tsar e.g. in 1905 Port Arthur fell to the Japanese

4

What was the trigger for the 1905 revolution?

Bloody Sunday 22 January 1905
- it was a demonstration led by Father Gapon in St Petersburg where 200,000 people marched to the Tsar's palace, wanting them to agree to his requests
- they were demanding an 8-hour working day, a minimum wage of 1 rouble/day, fewer taxes and a voice
- they thought that the Tsar was their 'little father' and that they would be greeted with refreshments
- the Tsar was not there, soldiers fired on the crowd, 100s died, 1000s wounded

5

How was the Tsar able to maintain control after the 1905 revolution?

1) In September a peace treaty was signed between Russia and Japan - 1000s of troops were now able to put down the unrest (workers strikes and peasant riots) and he had their support as he gave them good pay and promised better conditions
2) October Manifesto - promised a Duma, freedom of speech + press and the right to form political parties
- liberals and middle classes believed they had won a democratic government so stopped protests and supported the government
3) Land redemption payments were stopped, winning over the peasants

6

What was the role of Stolypin / why was he important?

He was appointed as Prime Minister by the Tsar in 1906
1) He set up a peasants bank which provided loans to allow wealthier peasants (kulaks) to buy strips of land
- led to better and more efficient farms and harvests improved as a result
- however, poorer peasants were forced to sell land and become labourers wandering around the countryside seeking work
2) Stolypin's hard line tactics killed off opposition in the countryside and in Stolypin's courts, 1000s were executed on "Stolypin's necktie" where they could be hung on the spot for violence without trial

7

How did life change for the peasants from 1906-1914?

1) Stolypin set up a peasants bank which provided loans to allow wealthier peasants (kulaks) to buy strips of land
- led to better and more efficient farms and harvests improved as a result
- however, poorer peasants were forced to sell land and become labourers wandering around the countryside seeking work
2) The government encouraged over 4m peasants to settle on new lands on the Trans-Siberian railway - but when they got there, after long journeys, they found the best land had been taken by rich landowners and they were angry

8

How did life change for the workers from 1906-1914?

1) Industry boomed - the Baku oil fields were rivalled only by Texas
- by 1914 Russia was the world's 4th largest producer of coal and steel
2) Wages for factory workers stayed low but the cost of food and living was very high - most workers could only afford enough bread to eat
3) There were very low standard living and working conditions
4) 1912: Strike in the Lena goldfields in Siberia about low wages and the 14-hour working days - troops killed 170 workers and injured 373
5) 10,000s of strikes from 1905-1914 - the army and police dealt with all these strikes firmly
- 20,000 strikers, protesters and revolutionaries were exiled by Stolypin

9

How did the government and autocratic rule change from 1906-1914?

1) The First Duma April 1916 - it could not pass laws, appoint ministers or control finance in important areas like defence and the Tsar could dissolve it whenever he wanted
- there was 1 representative for every 2000 nobles but 1 for every 90,000 workers
2) Second Duma 1907 - demanded more power and rights for the people e.g. land for the peasants and the right to free education
- was dissolved by Tsar after a few weeks
3) Third Duma 1907 - passed good measures for the army + navy
- accident insurance for workers
- but Stolypin changed the way members were elected to favour the rich
- was again dissolved by the Tsar very quickly
4) Fourth Duma 1912-1914 - achieved little before the war but the Tsar did work with it

10

How did the governments actions change from 1906-1914?

1) Although freedom of press had been granted in the October Manifesto of 1905, newspapers were still censored or fined for articles
2) The Okhrana (secret police) was still very active with 1000s of informers
3) The Tsar appointed Stolypin as prime minister - Stolypin's hard line tactics killed off opposition in the countryside and in Stolypin's courts, 1000s were executed on "Stolypin's necktie" where they could be hung on the spot for violence without trial

11

What happened during the March 1917 revolution / why was it successful?

1)Very large demonstrations from the 7-10 March and the Tsar ignored the leader of the Duma who told him that the situation was at breaking point
2) 12 March - The Duma took control and set up a Provisional Committee to take over the government demanding that it be in charge of Russia
- the Tsar ordered them to disband and for the army to break the strikes - the soldiers refused and instead joined the demonstrations, they had had enough of the war and the way they were treated
3) 15 March - the Tsar attempted to return to Petrograd but the railway workers refused to let his train into the city
- he then issued a statement announcing his abdication and when his brother didn't take over, Tsarism was over

12

Why did Russia do so badly in WW1?

1) Russian equipment and tactics were very outdated - Germans had over 10x as many heavy machine guns
2) The Russian army was made up of conscripts with very little training - within 6 months of war starting there was widespread desertion from the Russian soldiers
3) The officer corps was not meritocratic - all officers were nobles and over 1/2 had no military training
4) Russian transport could not cope with the demands of the army - during WW1, over 75% of the army transports were delayed by a week or more
5) Sep 1915: the Tsar took personal command of the army and went to the front - he had no military experience and the situation continued to deteriorate

13

Why would you have expected Russia to do well in WW1?

The Russian army was at least equal to the German army in manpower and material
Improvements to the Russian railway - mobilisation of 1.2m men was possible
The whole country (except the Tsarina) was united against Germany

14

Who was Rasputin?

Rasputin became very close with the Tsarina and Tsar as he was seen to be a holy man who claimed supernatural powers to treat the Tsar's son for haemophilia
He seduced many women and became very powerful in government - he was feared and disliked by many

15

Why did Tsarism fall in March 1917 (1) ?

Economy was gradually getting worse - Industry's input to the economy was low, as supplies were being made to be sent off to the war
- this caused many workers to lose their jobs (as factories closed) or go on strike (if they weren't already fighting) and when these problems weren't solved, the Tsar was to blame - there were over 700 peasant risings and over 1300 workers strikes in the first 2 months of 1917
- there was inflation of the prices of basic goods and even though wages also increased, this was not enough (an average daily wage could only buy a 1/5 of what it could in 1914) - so some of the peasants who were already hungry due to bad harvests, could afford even less to eat and were now starving

16

Why did Tsarism fall in March 1917 (2) ?

WW1 exacerbated some of the already existing issues for the working class - Russia was not doing well in the war and many Russian people wanted to get out of it
- taxes were higher and wages lower during the war, yet the Tsar decided to stay in the war - this was an unpopular decision and therefore increased the discontent among the working classes towards the Tsar
- 1000s of soldiers deserted during the war meaning that the Tsar was losing the support of the army, who would eventually turn against him during the revolution
- in Sep 1915 the Tsar took personal command of the army and went to the front - he had no military experience and the situation continued to deteriorate, further damaging his reputation

17

Why did Tsarism fall in March 1917 (3) ?

Tsarist rule was ineffective in dealing with the problems Russia faced - even though the Duma was set up in 1906, the Tsar pulled rank several times, against the democratic views, showing the people how he still believed in his autocratic power
- in April 1915 the Tsar permanently dismissed the Duma - this alienated the majority of the middle class and made him even more unpopular
- in 1915, the Tsarina was left in charge when the Tsar went off to war - many people didn't like her and believed that she was a German spy and with her in power, this gave more power to Rasputin who was widely disliked and feared and also caused problems with food supplies to the working classes - this caused discontent towards the tsar as it was his fault for leaving her in charge

18

Why did Tsarism fall in March 1917 (4) ?

Political opposition was growing in the years up to 1917
- the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks were getting increasing support from the people (by July 1917 the Bolsheviks had 200,000 members, up from 40,000 in January) - these parties were radical and wanted an end to Tsarism, posing a major threat
- The Petrograd Soviet was also getting increasing support, and whilst not as radical as the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, they had large numbers of workers and soldiers on their side (two important groups of people that the Tsar needed the support of)
- he did not have the support of the workers as on the 7 March 1917, right before the revolution, there was a strike in Petrograd with 40,000 workers demanding higher wages and during the revolution he also lost the support of the army

19

Why was Rasputin a problem for the Tsar?

1) he was very close with the Tsar and Tsarina and this affected their reputation - it shocked the highest levels of government and society
2) he soured the Tsar's relationship with Stolypin
3) brought the Tsar into conflict with the Duma and the press - articles about Rasputin were censored, seen as an attack on the freedom of the press
4) Rasputin had lots of power to influence the most powerful man in Russia (Tsar) and as he was not trusted, this scared a lot of Russian people
5) his strange, mystical powers with women and healing scared people
6) during WW1, when the Tsarina was left in charge, Rasputin became more influential and made the food supply system more chaotic