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Life in Russia 1900 by Mind Map: Life in Russia 1900
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Life in Russia 1900

MILITARY

Russia had the largest military at the time, larger than that of Britain and France combined.

The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 - 1917. The Russian army consisted of around 938,731 regular soldiers and 245,850 irregulars.

A group of Russian soldiers from the Imperial Russian Army.

POLITICAL

In 1721, the Russian Orthodox Church became a government department called Holy Synod.

The church played a significant role in many Russification campaigns.

Russia was ruled through autocracy under Tsar Nicholas II.

Tsar Nicholas II, the autocratic ruler of Russia

In 1903, Serbia became Russia's ally.

There was a parliament (Duma) in existence in 1906, and it was a cause of great hope. Even though Duma was actually created by the Tsar himself (stated in the October Manifesto) , he created it only to appease the public (after Bloody Sunday) and to stop the revolution from occurring (or reoccurring). He promised the public that it would be a democratic body and would have law-making powers however, he never let it become anything more than an advisory body which he ignored.

"Bloody Sunday" occurred in 1905, when over 3000 people engaged in a peaceful protest requesting for a change/reform in the government. This group was led by Father Gapon. As they marched towards Winters Palace, the guards fired and it turned into a killing of over 3000 people as reported by anti-government sources.

A painting showing Father Gapon and the protesters walking towards the gates of the Palace.

Russia's relations with Britain were poor, Britain was suspicious of Russia's motives in Asia (especially in India). The Tsar regime was greatly disliked in Britain despite the fact that the Royal families were cousins. However, they did eventually become allies of convenience in 1906, as they shared a common enemy/threat, Germany.

Russia was rivals with Austria-Hungary for the control of the Balkans. Although they were allies in the 1870s, the alliance soon broke when they both set their sights on Bulgaria.

Germany and Russia were good, traditional allies in the 19th Century. However, the neutrality of Germany in the Congress of Berlin put severe strain on the relations between the two countries. Relations deteriorated after 1891 and Russia became afraid of Germany's growing power in Europe.

France and Russia were unlikely allies as the Russians were deeply distrustful of the French's republican government system. However because of mutual fear of Germany, they became allies.

GEOGRAPHIC

The Russian Empire covered nearly 23 square kilometers of land.

A map showing the expansion and the size of the Russian Empire. The coloured regions are the Russian Empire.

The size of the empire made it too difficult to be ruled by the Tsar alone.

The capital and its largest city was St. Petersburg.

Biggest country in the world.

Russia laid between 40 and 80 degrees north making for extreme climatic variations.

There was little annual rainfall.

Long, cold winters and short, hot/warm summers.

A tank buried in snow in the ferocious winter of Russia.

The fierce winters helped prevent Russia from invasion by Napoleon in 1812 and by the Nazis in 1943 but it also prevented the Tsar from sending his own troops to control revolts.

When it did rain, it resulted in enormous amounts of mud as Hitler’s tanks found out on the Russian Steppe in 1942.

Russia had a very diverse geography ranging from mountains to inland seas.

Russia was hemmed in on three sides by cold deserts or mountains and the only easy way in and out is through the Western side through Europe.

ECONOMIC

Living conditions were poor and unhygienic for proletariats.

Houses were cramped and lacked insulation making the peasants extremely vulnerable to diseases such as pneumonia. These diseases were fatal/lethal at the time.

They were impoverished and lived in an endless cycle of poverty.

Agrarian based society which depended on agricultural exports.

Wealth distribution was uneven. The rich were extremely rich and the poor were extremely poor.

Peasants were extremely poor.

While the rich were extremely rich and enjoyed upper-class privlleges.

Russia had the lowest wealth per capita out of the super powers.

Peasants were given an unbearable workload.

In Russia there were many resources: coal mining and great iron and steel plants developed in the Ukraine, oil around Baku (where the Nobel brothers were investors), textiles around Moscow and engineering in the capital St Petersburg.

In 1903, the value of the Russian currency increased due to foreign investments suggested by Sergei Witte.

SOCIAL

The population of Russia was 128 million.

The majority of the population were Slavs (an Indo-European panethnicity) but there over 200 nationalities. These groups wanted regional autonomy and this was the cause of many political conflicts.

The government’s policy of Russification upset and caused resentment.

Around 82-85% of Russian people lived in the countryside and earned their income from agriculture.

There were 5 classes in Russian society: Ruling class - Tsar autocratic ruler. Owned about 25% of all land. Upper class - lesser nobles, church leaders, military officers, top civil servants. Extremely wealthy Commercial class - Bankers, merchants, factory owners and shop-keepers. Becoming very wealthy with the help of government loans and contracts. Working class - Factory workers and street traders. Very poor. Long hours, low wages and terrible working conditions. Mainly lived in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Trade unions were banned. Peasants - Very poor, made living off agriculture.

The population was growing because of an increasing birth rate and a decreasing death rate.

RELIGIOUS

Majority of the population were members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.

There were around 5 million Jews and 23 million Muslims.