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Russian Revolutions (standard:other, 624 words)
Author: NataliaAdded: Sep 24 2002Views/Reads: 2614/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Russian Revlutions from 1881 to 1917

In 1894, Nicholas II became Tsar of Russia, launching a programme of
building Russia's industry. Russia quickly became a leading producer of 
steel in the world, but at a price. Working conditions were poor, wages 
were low and children were forced to work, prompting opposition from 
what were soon to become revolutionary groups. 

Some followed the ideals put forward by Karl Marx and in 1903 they began
to argue about how to carry out their revolution and they split into 
two groups. One, called the Bolsheviks was led by Vladmir Lenin, who 
fled to Russia a few years later to await a better time to put forward 
his ideas. 

The Russo-Japanese war, which started in 1904, accelerated the rise of
political movements who were against the totalitarianism police state 
that was in place in Russia at the time. In early 1905, Father Georgii 
Gapon, a Russian Orthodox priest who headed a police-sponsored worker's 
association, led a huge, peaceful march in St. Petersburg to present a 
petition to the tsar. Nervous troops responded with gunfire, killing 
several hundred people, and thus the Revolution of 1905 began. 

Known as Bloody Sunday, the 1905 revolution prompted Nicholas II to face
the issue of increasing amounts of Bolshevik-led soviets being created 
in the country, over 50 in just a few weeks. The Chief Minister Witte 
advised the Tsar to make concessions, which he did in his October 
Manifesto. This granted freedom of conscience, speech, meeting and 
association. He also promised that in future people would not be 
imprisoned without trial. Finally he announced that no law would become 
operative without the approval of a new organisation called the Duma. 

In 1864, the previous Tsar, Alexander III allowed each district of
Russia to set up Zemstvos, local councils with the power to provide 
roads, schools and medical services, although the election of 
representatives was restricted only to the wealthy. At first they were 
only responsible for the education of peasants, but after the First 
World War, they gradually took over the feeding and clothing of the 
Russian army. 

However, although Russia had one of the largest armies in the world, the
system could not supply the armies with the equipment they needed to 
fight a modern war. By 1917 over 1 million soldiers had died, 4 million 
wounded and over 2 and a half million captured by the enemy. This also 
acted as an accelerate to the uprising of rebellious movements and in 
January 1917 General Krimov of the army sought an audience with Michael 
Rodzianko, President of the Duma. Krimov told Rodzianko that the 
officers and men no longer had faith in Nicholas II and the army was 
willing to support the Duma if it took control of the government of 
Russia. Rodzianko was unwilling to take action but he did telegraph the 
Tsar warning that Russia was approaching breaking point. 

The 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 six-fold. In an attempt 
to increase their wages, industrial workers went on strike and in 
Petrograd people took to the street demanding food. On 11th February, 
1917, a large crowd marched through the streets of Petrograd breaking 
shop windows and shouting anti-war slogans. 

The situation deteriorated on 22nd February when the owners of the
Putilov Iron Works locked out its workforce after they demanded higher 
wages. Led by Bolshevik agitators, the 20,000 workers took to the 
streets. The army was ordered to disperse the demonstrations but they 
were unwilling to do this and in some cases the soldiers joined the 
protestors in demanding an end to the war.


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