Imperial Russia (1855-1917)

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Imperial Russia (1855-1917) Door Mind Map: Imperial Russia (1855-1917)

1. Alexander II (1855-1881)

1.1. Reforms

1.1.1. Emancipation Edict of 1861: Freed 40 million serfs, "greatest liberating measure of the 19th Century". Flawed because of the 49 years of Redemption dues that serfs had to pay.

1.1.2. Educational Reforms 1862: Relaxed censorship, 3 million men learnt how to read, women were allowed an education and universities became autonomous from the government.

1.1.3. Legal Reforms 1862: Merged French + British legal practices, incorporated a judge and jury, 500,000 trials occurred under his reign

1.1.4. Military Reforms 1863: Modernized weaponry, army medical services were improved, reduced the military service term from 25 years to 6, conscription for all classes, abolished capital punishment.

1.1.5. Local Government Reforms 1864: Established the Zemstva in 1864, undermined the government and freedom of speech was only to be found in these buildings.

1.1.6. Poland 1863: Gave Poland agricultural societies, allowed them to have a Catholic Arch-Bishop and removed Russian from the standard Polish educational curriculum.

1.1.7. Abolition of Black Sea Clauses in 1871, which forbade Russia from going through the Dardanelles.

1.2. Repression

1.2.1. Polish Repression: Following the January Uprising of 1863, harshly repressed Poles, re-russified as a consequence of their insatiable appetite.

1.2.2. Backlash: From 1866, after his assassination attempt, he appointed Dmitri Tolstoy, conservative who removed many educational privileges.

1.2.3. Establishment of the Third Section, which was responsible for surveillance of the Empire.

1.3. Opposition

1.3.1. Nihilists (Early 1860's): Believed the only change that could occur would have to follow from the death of the Tsar.

1.3.2. Populists (Narodniks): In the 1860-1870's. They wanted to spread socialism to the villages and get the peasants to revolt. FAILURE. Peasants were not educated enough and turned the populists in to the authorities. Tsar was nearly assassinated in 1866 by Russian revolutionary figure, Dmitri Karakozov.

1.3.3. Land and Liberty Black Partition: Peacefully spreading a message of revolt towards the Tsar. People's Will: Violent yet very privileged terrorist organisation which would eventually kill the Tsar in 1881. Alexander II was appeasing their demands (a national assembly) and was killed before he could ratify the contracts.

1.4. Historiography

1.4.1. Sympathetic: Boris Chicherin: "Considering the difficulties he inherited, Alexander II should be praised and not criticised." Edvard Radzinski: "Alexander was hostage to his achievements."

1.4.2. Compromising: Edvard Radzinski: "It is dangerous to start reforms, but it is even more dangerous to stop them." Hugh-Seton Watson: "Tsars never reformed unless there was pressure from a war."

1.4.3. Critical: Richard Pipes: "Too little, too cautious, too late." George Mosse: "Alexander proved himself a disappointing liberal and an inefficient autocrat."

1.5. Aims

1.5.1. To preserve autocracy.

1.5.2. Simultaneously being a Slavophile and a Westerniser. Modernising Russia always came at a cost.

1.6. Inherited Problems

1.6.1. Poorly-equipped serf army.

1.6.2. Mass illiteracy.

1.6.3. Rising serf revolts every year.

1.6.4. Underdeveloped economy based on forced labor.

2. Alexander III (1881-1894)

2.1. Reforms

2.1.1. Reforms: Government income increased by 50%, accepted large loans from France to jumpstart industrialization, exported massive amounts of grain (2 million Russians died) Instituted both a Peasant Land Bank and a Noble's Land Bank, improved working conditions slightly (not enough oversight).

2.2. Repression

2.2.1. Judicial System: Jury needed more property, establishment of 'Land Captains' who tampered local government elections, Decree of 1885 which allowed the firing of judges who made 'unfavorable' rulings. There were only 120,000 trials under Alexander III.

2.2.2. Education: Raised fees to keep inferior classes out of education in 1887, removed autonomy of universities in 1884, professors were chosen on the basis of their patriotism, less than 21% of the population could read in 1897, 450,000 schools were put under the control of the Church, heavy discrimination against the Jews.

2.2.3. Local Government: Removed Zemstva powers to centralize government, installation of Land Captains, Jews were forbidden from local government in 1890.

2.2.4. Russification: Scapegoated the Jews for his father's assassination, pogroms launched at Jews, Finns had their constitution removed, 60% of Jews were now unemployed, Jews no longer allowed to acquire property, establishment of first concentration camps.

2.2.5. Censorship: Banned many forms of literature, inspected 65, 237 newspapers for sedition, 150,000 spies in new Okhrana, 'Statute on Reinforced and Extraordinary Security' enabled Alexander III to; arrest, interrogate, imprison and exile suspects.

2.3. Aims

2.3.1. To preserve autocracy, industrialize Russia and undo his father's reforms.

2.4. Opposition

2.4.1. Alexander III met with relatively little opposition. One failed assassination attempt. Alexander III immediately executed his father's murderers and converted Russia into an Imperial Police State.

2.5. Historiography

2.5.1. Sympathetic: Hugh-Seton Watson: “Alexander III was respected for his sincerity, strength of character and devotion to duty.”

2.5.2. Critical: Paul Dukes: “The difference between the domestic policies of Alexander II and III is that, while the father had some notions which were at least partly liberal, the son had none.” Scott Malsom: "Russia's hopes for a constitution died that day too." Simon Dixon: "Heavy of limb and brain." Warren Walsh: "Nothing much happened in that time except reaction."

2.6. Inherited Problems

2.6.1. Opposition which was swiftly executed. Had far fewer problems than his father.

3. Nicholas II (1894-1917)

3.1. Reforms

3.1.1. Witte Reforms: Encouraged foreign loans from France, imposed heavy taxes and domestic interest rates. Imposed tariffs on imported goods and put the Gold standard on the Ruble. Modernized the railway and seriously industrialized Russia. Successful in improving domestic growth but failed in making Russia too dependent on foreign aid.

3.1.2. Stolypin Reforms Education: Built 50,000 schools, literacy went up enormously. Land: Wanted to redistribute land to the peasants, this made them rich peasants or Kulaks who would have no reason to be displeased with the Tsar. By 1915, 50% of peasants owned their own land. Redemption dues were abolished (there were only 5 years left). Social Security: Workers were allowed to put aside their wages to build up a pension. This did not work as wages were too low.

3.1.3. October Manifesto Led to the creation of the First National Assembly, following the Bloody Russian "Revolution" of 1905. The National Assembly was highly limited because the Tsar had the power to veto any decisions.

3.2. Repression & Opposition

3.2.1. Bloody Sunday: 150,000 peaceful protesters led by Father Gapon, ask for better living conditions. They are shot at. This starts the Russian "Revolution"of 1905.

3.2.2. Russian "Revolution" of 1905: A series of disorganised uprisings, mutinies, worker revolts which had unrealistic and ambiguous expectations of an autocratic ruler. First Soviet was established.

3.2.3. February Revolution of 1917: Tsar is forced to abdicate, establishment of the Provisional Government.

3.2.4. October/Bolshevik Revolution of 1917: Highly organised revolt against the Provisional Government led by Lenin and Trotsky. Provisional Government are successfully overthrown. Nicholas II and entire family are murdered, Romanov dynasty is over.

3.2.5. Increasing peasant revolts, 1000 each year.

3.2.6. July Days 1917: Spontaneous armed demonstrations by workers, Lenin was called on to lead, but avoided getting involved. Prov. Gov. Head Alexander Kerensky scapegoated Lenin and Lenin went into hiding to return in October.

3.2.7. Kornilov Affair 1917: General Kornilov, who had been fighting the Germans in World War I revolted against the Provisional Government. Unsuccessful power ploy.

3.2.8. April Theses 1917: Lenin's Peace, Bread and Land speech was instrumental in instigating the creation of Soviets and inspiring Bolsheviks.

3.3. Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905

3.3.1. Diplomatic failure succeeding in humiliating Russia after being defeated by a far smaller Japan. Soldiers were used to quell the revolutions occurring in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

3.4. World War I

3.4.1. Russian involvement in World War I began because of its alliance with Serbia after Germany's declaration of war. Nearly 10 million casualties, Lenin would pull Russia out of the war in 1917 after signing the humiliating Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

3.4.2. World War I brought on famines and shortages as Russia became a War Economy.

3.5. Historiography

3.5.1. Critical: Chris Reed: "Nicholas II was a political idiot." Kaiser Wilhelm II: "Weakness is not treachery, but it fulfils the same functions." Nicholas II: "I know nothing of the business of ruling." Leon Trotsky: "Nicholas inherited from his ancestors not only a giant empire, but also a revolution. And they did not bequeath him one quality which would have made him capable of governing an empire. Or even a country."

3.6. Aim

3.6.1. To preserve autocracy.