Edexcel A level History option 2C.2 Russia in Revolution 1894-1924 Unit 1

  • Created by: AmyS11
  • Created on: 15-06-18 11:18

The Rule of Nicholas II, 1894-1905

How and How Oppressively was Russia Governed before 1905?

·         Nicholas II was incredibly committed to maintaining an autocratic regime. He believed in divine right, and that he therefore could not be challenged.  Late 19th century Russia was the most autocratic state in Europe- there was no constitution enforces rules upon the Tsar, there was no parliament, no safeguards protecting individual rights, and Russia was governed on a day to day basis by ministers who were accountable only to the Tsar.

·         The Russian Orthodox Church was essentially a spiritual wing of the Tsarist regime, and was firmly under state control, and even preached the need for obedience to the Tsar. By the end of the 19th century the role of the church was in decline- its priests were corrupt, giving them a bad reputation, and it was struggling to make an impact on fast growing towns and cities.

·         Nationality was a doctrine about Russia’s place in the Tsar’s empire. It said that the domination by the empire of Russia was the right thing, because the Russians had built the empire, and so they were entitled to control it.

·         The oppression of nationalities at this time took the form of Russification. This was an attempt to impose Russia’s language, culture and religion upon the rest of the empire. In Poland and the Baltic states, Russian was used in all court proceedings, and in schools all lessons were also taught in Russian. The Orthodox Church was given money by the state to fund its efforts to convert non-Russians to Orthodoxy.  In the Baltic states, no new protestant church could be built without permission from the government. In Armenia a new decree was issued in 1903 which allowed for the confiscation of all properties of the Armenian church.  In response to this, demonstrations were carried out- troops opened fire on a crown at Gandzak, killing 10 and wounding 70. This policy was counter-productive- instead of encouraging conformism it generated greater feelings of nationalism.

·         By 1900, there were almost five million Jews in Russia, and almost all of them were forced to live in a demarcated zone that stretched along Russia’s western border.

·         Tsarism had a number of instruments of repression at its disposal, perhaps the most notable being the Okhrana. Its role was to infiltrate and destroy revolutionary and terrorist networks. It was mostly effective, although it was relatively small- in 1900, there were only 2500 agents in the empire, and 1/3 of them were stationed in St Petersburg.

How Much Organised Opposition did the Tsarist Regime Face Before 1905, and how did the Aims of the Main Opposition Groups Differ?

·         Outbreaks of peasant unrest in the 19th century were frequent but localised, and they usually targeted local landowners. The underlying cause of peasant unrest was poverty. Environmental factors were one reason behind rural poverty; in the North


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