So far… So Russia
1. Russia – an introduction
2. The Crimean War
3. Alexander II – Reform
4. Opponents of Alex II and Alex III
5. Alexander III & Industrialisation
6. Russo-Japanese war 1905
7. Revolution of 1905
8. Nicholas II, Stolypin and Russia on the eve of war
9. World War 1
10. Revolutions of 1917
11. The Russian Civil War / Lenin
12. Rise of Stalin
13. Five Year Plans, Collectivisation and the Great Terror
14. World War Two
15. Last Years of Stalin
To what extent did war
provide a catalyst for
change in Russia between
Who are the two people in this cartoon?
What is the message?
Growth in opposition to Tsardom
• By 1916 many shared the view that the Tsar was an inept political and
• Feb Rev initiated by elements of Russian elite, not political
• Tsar did not co-operate with Union of Zemstva and Union of Town
Councils (these created the Zemgor to help war wounded very
successfully). Highlighted weakness of Tsar and hinted at possible
• Kadets, Octobrists, Nationalists and Party of Progressive Industrialists
formed the ‘Progressive Bloc’ within the Duma.
• PB attempted to persuade the Tsar to make autocratic concessions –
became the focal point of political resistance
• 1915-16 – Russia had four prime ministers, three foreign secretaries,
three ministers of defence and six interior ministers. Instability?
• Resentment over Rasputin’s influence at court – murdered in
December 1916 by aristocratic conspirators.
• Rumours of the likelihood of serious
public disturbances abound from the
beginning of 1917.
• 18 Feb - A full-scale strike broke out at
Putilov Steel works in St Petersburg.
• Joined by many other workers over
rumours of another cut to bread supplies
• 23 Feb – International Women's Day –
thousands of women joined protesters,
demanding food and an end to the war
• Growing sympathy amongst police for
• Little direction from above, atmosphere of
• Tsar ordered for General Khabalov to
restore order. Khabalov said this could
not be done without martial law.
• Soldiers mutinied and ordinary life
broke down – martial law could not be
• Vast majority of 150,000
Petrograd garrison had
• Feb 27 - Nicholas
dissolved the Duma again
• 12 members known as
Events of February 1917 continued…
• Alexander Kerensky (SR) called for Tsar to stand down
• Feb 27 – Petrograd Soviet of Soldiers, Sailors and Worker’s
Deputies set up.
• The PC and PS became the de facto government of Russia.
• PC – old elites and the Duma
• PS – the working classes, solidiers.
• Tsars remaining ministers fled the capital
• Rodzyanko, President of the Duma, advised Nicholas II only his
personal abdication would save the Russian monarchy.
• Nicholas intended to return to Petrograd to personally intervene
• March 2 - The royal train was intercepted. A group of generals and
old Duma ministers advised him to abdicate in favour of his brother.
• Grand Duke Michael refused the position of Tsar
• March 3 – The new Provisional Government announced itself to
Was Nicholas II responsible for his own
Write Y or N next to each statement.
We will discuss your opinions as a class in a few
Also – take copy of Feb Rev diagram.
What do these historians have to say
about the downfall of Tsardom?
Norman Stone, The Eastern Front 1914-197 (Penguin,
1998) p. 304
Russia was not advanced enough to stand the strain of war, and
the effort to do so plunged the economy into chaos. But economic
backwardness alone did not make for revolution. The economic
chaos came more from a contest between the old and the new in
the Russian economy.
Richard Pipes, Three Whys of the Russian Revolution
(Pimlico, 1998) p. 30
A power that, however dazzling its external glitter, was
internally weak and quite unable to cope with the strains –
political, economic and psychological – which the war brought in
its wake… the principal causes of the downfall in 1917 were
political, not economic or social.