Russian Decline


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Billy Restivo, Brian O'Connell, Dean Boodakian, Mark Steinbach, Nadia Eshraghi

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Russian Decline

  1. 1. Russian Empire Decline Billy Brian Dean Mark Nadia
  2. 2. Major Problems● The Major Problems were:● Serfdom● Military Defeat● Political and Social Imbalance
  3. 3. Serfdom● Arose because landowners could reap the benefits of cheap labor without labeling the labor as slavery● Serfdom was considered a socially stable form of labor● Problems among serfdom began because:● people were morally opposed● many believed it was economically insufficient● peasant revolts caused chaos● These issues arose in the nineteenth century
  4. 4. Military Defeat● Russia looked to expand the realm in three directions at the same time● When it looked southwest to the Mediterranean, they sparked tensions among the Ottomans● Getting very involved with the Ottoman Empire meant upsetting the balance of power in Europe● To stop this, British, French, Sardinian, and Ottoman forces joined and defeated Russia in the Crimean War (1853-1856)● This defeat showed Russias military weakness and the of the Russian economy based on unfree labor
  5. 5. Political and Social Imbalance● Social imbalance arose because landowners had much more power in society than the peasants● Even after the emancipation of the serfs, the government gave landowners compensation, which did not do much to balance the roles● Political imbalance arose because the wealthy landowners had more power in government than peasants● Government established zemstvos, giving peasants a role in politics, but they were still inferior to the nobility and tsarist autocracy● These problems arose in the nineteenth century with the growing imbalance of power among the landowners and peasants
  6. 6. The Reforms● There are really two parts to the reforms that arise with the problems, social and political/legal.● The main part of the social reform was the act of getting rid of the class of serfs.● Some people didnt like the idea of the serf class because it was immoral and unfair, while others were more worried that it affected their economy too much.● Serfs were the main cause of rebellions and rural instability, so they were actually a cause of economic insufficiency.● Although the emancipation of the serfs helped the serfs and the landowners who owned them got reimbursed for their lost labor and land, it hurt the peasant class.
  7. 7. The Reforms continued...● There were also reforms on the political/legal side of things.● zemostvos (elected district assemblies) were created to deal with health, education, and welfare issues.● They instituted a system of law courts filled with independent judges and a system of appellate courts.● Also, they instituted a trial by jury for criminal offences and elected justices of peace to deal with minor offences.● These reforms brought the rise of legal experts, which also helped to decline the corrupt judiciary system.
  8. 8. The Major Players For and Against Reform For Reform: Tsar Alexander II Count Sergei Witte intelligentsia Land and Freedom Party Against Reform: Nicholas II
  9. 9. Tsar Alexander II ● Signed Treaty of Paris in 1856, ending Crimean War ● Abolished serfdom in Russia in 1861 ● Emancipated serfs as a way to strengthen labor force for the industrialization hes implementing in Russia
  10. 10. Count Sergei Witte ● minister of finance from 1892-1903 ● hoped to "kindle a healthy spirit of enterprise" by fostering industrialization ● centerpiece of his policies was a massive railway project that linked empire ● to raise funds, he remodeled the state bank and sought major loans from Western Europe
  11. 11. The Intelligentsia● university students and class of intellectuals who sought substantial political reform and social change● many were in favor of socialism and some were even anarchists
  12. 12. Land and Freedom Party● group of reformers who promoted the idea of assassinating prominent officials to bring on political reform● a faction of the party, the Peoples Will, took down Tsar Alexander II in 1881
  13. 13. Nicholas II ● ignored domestic issues and looked to expand ● Sergei Witte convinced him to set up the Duma, a parliamentary institution that did not end Russia unrest
  14. 14. Military Defeat and Social Reform : REFORMS FAILED● Russia tried to establish protectorate over the Ottoman empire, which was gradually weakening - This effort ended up upsetting the balance of power in Europe - military conflict between Russia and a coalition including Britian, France, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Ottoman Empire● The Crimean War (1852-1856) exposed the weakness of the Russian Empire, which could not withstand the western European army● When the allied forces attacked against Sevastopol, the Russian army was unable to mobilize, equip, and transport troops to defeat the European forces (and they were not under amazing command either) - humiliating defeat on homeland● Russian economy was not stable enough to support the tsars’ expansion ideas - agrarian economy based on unfree labor
  15. 15. Continued...● Emancipation of the serfs - rural instability, peasant revolts, and a number of insurrections because it was morally wrong and was economically inefficient● Government tried to balance interests of lords and serfs – BUT the emancipation was not beneficial to most of the peasants - left peasants in debt for the majority of their lives AND led to alienation and radicalization à little increase in agricultural production● Tried to deal with this issue by creating district assemblies, zemstvos, to deal with local issues like welfare and education - ended up staying inferior to tsarist autocracy
  16. 16. Legal Reform: REFORMS WERE MORE SUCESSFUL● Revision of the judiciary system 1864 - created a system of law courts based on western European models (independent judges, appellate courts)● Developed trial by jury for criminal offenses, elected justices of peace who dealt with minor offenses● Encouraged the appearance of attorneys and legal experts - decline in judicial corruption
  17. 17. Short Term Outcome● Industrialization● Russian industrialization was set up differently then western industrialization because because the driving force was political and military gain rather than entrepreneurial initiative. This set up discontent of the working class.● Trans Siberian railway is created and opened up Siberia to large scale settlement● developed large steel and coal industries
  18. 18. Long Term Outcome● Industrial discontent● peasant rebellions and strikes took place due to the low standard of living that Wittes policy entailed.● in 1897 the working conditions got so bad in the cities (St. Petersburg and Moscow) that the government limited the work day to 11.5 hours● due to large scale rebellion, trade unions and strikes were outlawed (but to no prevail)
  19. 19. More Long Term● Protest● the last three decades of the nineteenth century brought about antigovernment protest and more revolutionary activity● many of the revolutionaries were anarchists who wanted all forms of government abolished● Tsars ordered the imprisonment and banishment of the radicals trying to spread their ideals
  20. 20. Repression● Tsarist authorities felt threatened enough to censor all publications and have a secret police organization to break up radical organizations● Repression only further angered these radicals and encouraged them to conspire even more● the radicals soon turned to a new group called the Land and Freedom Party which turned to terrorist schemes and assassination of high ranking officials to pressure political reform
  21. 21. Revolution● Russian military shot down 130 petitioners● revolutionaries rioted and paralyzed the major Russian cities, forcing the government to make concessions
  22. 22. Short Term After Revolution● Duma (Russias first parliamentary institution) was established● ethnic tensions added to revolutionary sentiments, and conspiracy continued due to Dumas lack of power● government eventually regained their power
  23. 23. Longer Term After the Revolution● clearly the government gained too much power as they eventually became the soviet union!
  24. 24. Billy: 1. What the problems are, when they ariseand why they arise;Brian: 2. What the proposed reforms are whenthey ariseMark: 3. Who the players are on both sides--forand against reform;Dean: 4. What the outcome is both short termand long term:Nadia: 5. If the reforms fail, why do they fail? Ifthey succeed, why do they succeed?