Russian Politics, 1861-1916


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A slideshow for my History 12 students that looks at the political background leading up to and following Bloody Sunday, in 1905.

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  • Unlike Marxists, The People’s Will continued to believe that Russia could achieve socialism through a peasant revolution, bypassing the stage of capitalism.2. The first hand-sized bomb was thrown at the carriage – it stopped and the Tsar exited – urged not to inspect the damage – a second bomb was thrown – Police Chief Dvorzhitskyreported “I was deafened by the new explosion, burned, wounded and thrown to the ground. Suddenly, amid the smoke and snowy fog, I heard His Majesty's weak voice cry, 'Help!' Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the tsar. His Majesty was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm. Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but the czar's legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them. Twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them. Through the snow, debris, and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabers, and bloody chunks of human flesh.”
  • Nephritis is inflammation of the nephrons in the kidneys. The word "nephritis" was imported from Latin, which took it from Greek: νεφρίτιδα.[1] The word comes from the Greek νεφρός - nephro- meaning "of the kidney" and -itis meaning "inflammation". Nephritis is often caused by infections, toxins, and auto-immune diseases.
  • Teddy Roosevelt: Portsmouth Maine, at the Naval Yard (but named for Portsmouth, NH. Signed 5 Sept, 1905. Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize
  • The Russia of Rand's birth was a troubled place. In the year she was born, 1905, the government of Czar Nicholas II was faced with a possible revolution. Although the actual revolution would not occur until over a decade later, the Czar was forced to make concessions, including the creation of Russia's first democratically elected legislature. The photo above shows student demonstrators marching down the streets of Rand's hometown of St. Petersburg in 1905.
  • Despite some continuing political unrest, between 1905 and 1917, St. Petersburg was relatively ordinary place to be. The major thoroughfare Nevsky Prospect, later a scene of violence during the revolutionary year of 1917, was peaceful and bustling on the day in 1906 shown above.
  • The government claimed fewer than 100 were killed, the Social Revolutionaries claimed there were thousands and that the soldiers removed the bodies in the night so the truth would be hidden. The real amount is likely 100s.
  • Top Left – Bolshevik “propaganda” reenactment film. Bottom Right – note the sailors killed 7 of 18 officers including Captain (3 thrown overboard either before or after they were shot – 1 sailor killed by an officer))A pre-Dreadnaught battleship In the Black Sea fleet – Odessa. The sailors mutiny on 14 June, 1905 (13 days before Gregorian calendar) After some officers are shot, the crew takes over. Two other ships are sent to put down the mutiny, but crew on one foil attempts to ram and shoot Potemkin. Eventually, Potemkin escapes to Romania and is half sunk when sea cocks are opened. Eventually the ship is re-floated and returned. It stayed in service under various names until 1918 when sunk by the interventionists so it wouldn’t fall into the Bolsheviks’ hands. Mutineers escaped mostly to merge into Romanian population but some to Argentina, but also to Ireland. Together with four colleagues Matushenko returned to Russia under promise of an amnesty in 1907. He was however arrested and hanged.SO WHAT? LENIN SAW THIS AS THE FIRST REAL STEP TOWARDS THE 1917 REVOLUTION!
  • The October Manifesto ends the era of UNLIMITED autocratic power in Russia.
  • Duma means “deliberation”: The Tavrichesky palace - erected for Catherine II and then it was given to the Earl G.A. Potyomkin-Tavrichesky. From 1906 until revolution it was occupied by Duma. After the revolution it's been occupied by the Council of worker's and soldier's deputies, higher party school worked here, conferences were held. At the present time it's the Inter-parliamentary assembly of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). 
  • Tsar Nicholas II's opening speech before the two chambers in the Throne Room of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg (1906).
On April 23, 1906 (O.S.), the Tsar issued the Fundamental Laws, which gave him the title of "supreme autocrat".
  • As far as Article 87 is concerned, the Duma had to approve such lawsw/i two months of returning to session.
  • Nicholas II, as sovereign emperor presides over a meeting of the State Council in the MariinskyPalace
Painting by IlyaRepin, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
  • Because of the attack doctrine that pervaded European military thought, the idea of the "spirit of the offensive” was put first so that most Russian fortress units were deactivated. The age-old Russian strategy of defense-in-depth supported by counteroffensives was cast aside in favor of the latest trends. This was to exact a brutal toll in Russian lives, which in turn helped to spur later unrest. Russian artillery was good – still used in WW2 – some used by reserves into 1980s.The Battle of Tannenberg ended by August 30 when Samsonov's entire command disintegrated at a cost of 92,000 captured and tens of thousands of other casualties. Within a week, German forces under General August Mackensen defeated Rennenkampf at the Battle of Masurian Lakes, where the Russians lost another 100,000 casualties (also marked 3). As in previous wars, inadequate logistic support hampered Russian movement and supply. Now, against an industrialized opponent, these shortcomings quickly assumed catastrophic proportions.
  • Russian Imperial Guard troops – well trained and equipped contrary to popular belief. – TRANSPORTATION INFRUSTRUCTURE WEAKNESSES WAS THE ACHILLES HEAL.
  • Half of Russia’s losses were POWs.
  • Russian Politics, 1861-1916

    1. 1. Russian Revolution Part 1: 1862-1916 From Serfdom to Constitutional Monarchy (sort-of) J. Marshall, 2011
    2. 2. How might this topic relate to the final exam multiple choice section? Pravda News Jan, 1918 BOLSHEVIK GOVERNMENT ENDS CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY Which of the following was a direct result of the event reported? A. the Russian Civil War B. the triumph of Stalin over Trotsky C. Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication from the throne D. Bolshevik victory in the November Revolution
    3. 3. How might this topic relate to the final exam essay section? • August 2006 essay prompt: To what extent was popular discontent a factor in the rise of totalitarian governments during the period 1917 to 1991? • August 2004 essay prompt: To what extent were communist governments a destructive force during the twentieth century?
    4. 4. Alexander II1818-1881 • Emperor of Russia, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland • Started reign at loss of Crimean War – ouch! • Generally autocratic, but liberal-leaning • Emancipation of serfs, 1861 • 1864, Zemstvos local councils (created) = taxation • Universal conscription 1874 (in light of post- Crimean military re-org • Suppression of separatists (Poles, Ukrainians, Finns, Lithuanians, etc • Four attempted assassinations
    5. 5. The 1881 Assassination: Two separate bombers of Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will) terrorist organization attack the Tsar’s bulletproof carriage; a third stood by if needed – he wasn’t.
    6. 6. Alexander III 1845-1894 • Repressive and reactionary (he was a big dude) • Was unrefined: his older sickly bro, Nicholas I, was supposed to be tsar (Nich. went to “king school”) • Limited the little power of the zemstvos • Lenin’s brother hanged 1887 for assassination attempt on Tsar • Promoted the Orthodox Church: May Laws banned Jewish people from rural areas • Died of nephritis (inflammation of kidneys)
    7. 7. Tsar Nicolas II Unsuitability to be tsar: a weak leader (strong love for his family). Autocratic repressive policies (censorship; role of the Okhrana; punishment). Role of the Orthodox Church in maintaining the authority of the Tsar. Impact of a German (and English) wife: Alexandra Choice of ministers and “advisors” (ex. Stolypin and Rasputin). Reaction to the establishment of the Duma (with severe limitations)  + later decision to lead the army during First World War
    8. 8. Defeat: Russo-Japanese WAR
    9. 9. • Portsmouth Treaty of Portsmouth: Russo-Japanese War
    10. 10. St. Petersburg: centre of the Empire
    11. 11. Bloody Sunday: 150,000 people march “Oh Sire, we working men and inhabitants of St. Petersburg, our wives, our children and our parents, helpless and aged women and men, have come to You our ruler, in search of justice and protection. We are beggars, we are oppressed and overburdened with work, we are insulted, we are not looked on as human beings but as slaves. The moment has come for us when death would be better than the prolongation of our intolerable sufferings. We are seeking here our last salvation. Do not refuse to help Your people. Destroy the wall between Yourself and Your people."
    12. 12. The effects: • 400,000 on strike immediately • Peasants attack their landlords • Tsar’s great uncle assassinated in Feb. • Transport system halts • Sailors on Potemkin mutiny in June • Demand for a Duma and political parties • Finns and Poles demand independence
    13. 13. P O T E M K I N
    14. 14. October Manifesto, 17 Oct, 1905 • Civil freedom (conscience, speech, no arbitrary arrest, assembly and association, unions, ) • Universal franchise • Duma (no law passed w/o Duma, supervision of Gov’t bodies and check legality of decisions by the Tsar’s administrators) • Called for an end to the unrest that was cresting 10 months after Bloody Sunday in the form of a general strike – the “victory” of the masses actually prompted more unrest spurred by Trotsky and Petrograd Soviet, but by December, agitators were arrested and quiet resumed, but… • 1906 Fundamental Laws (constitution) limited Duma’s power even before it met!
    15. 15. Tsar Duma Lower House (elected by limited franchise) 478 members State Council Upper House (½ appointed by Tsar) (½ appointed by landowners, church, etc)
    16. 16. Reaction to the October Manifesto • Backlash – Pogroms • Arrests of agitators • Octobrists formed • Reforms soon forgotten
    17. 17. Fundamental Laws, 1906: The Tsar’s Constitution
    18. 18. Fundamental Laws • In spite of the promise of great reform, it reserved extensive POWER for the Tsar: – Bureaucracy – Armed forces – Foreign policy – Succession to throne – Finance and legislation restrictions – Dismiss/appoint officials + dissolve Duma at will (Article 87: Tsar could write laws if Duma dissolved!)
    19. 19. First Duma: 497 members • Monarchist-Constitutionalists • 184 Constitutional Democrats (Cadets) under Pavel Milyukov • Octobrists of Union of Oct 17 • 124 Social Revolutionaries (peasants and intelligensia) • Social Democratic (Bloshevik and Menshevik) • 112 Independent (mostly peasants who oppos’d gov’t and refused party label) Boycottedelection FLAW: (1) inadequate representation of urban poor (2) Indirect election by the peasants
    20. 20. By the people, for the people? Which people? ½ picked by Tsar + ½ by landowners and Church
    21. 21. Stolypin Agrarian Reforms
    22. 22. • Stolypin “necktie” • Rising incidence of terrorism • Bolshevik “expropriations”
    23. 23. Stolypin’s Assassination
    24. 24. Schlieffen Plan • Since 1910, Russian generals had decided to attack immediately in case of war • Russian Imperial troops actually well trained and equipped: equal to Germans, better than A-Hs. • Logistics and especially transport Russia’s weak link • After brief initial victories, the Russians lost big to Hindenburg and Ludendorf at Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes
    25. 25. 1915: the war grinds on… • Costly battles: 2 million Russians; 1 million A-H • Unlike Western Front, sometimes lines moved 200 miles in weeks • Nicholas II takes over in late fall • In 1916 A-H empire is near collapse – Germany is still strong. • Gen Brusilov urged on in spite of huge losses – army now near revolt with mutinies