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Word count: Date: 29/11/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History Higher

Essay Question: To what extent was the revolution of March 1917 in Russia, due to the nature of Tsarism and the policies of Nicholas II? (1894-1917). Many of the long term causes contributing to the outbreak of the Russian revolution in March 1917 can be attributed to the Tsarist policies and actions of Nicholas II, while events that happened close to 1917 that helped develop the revolution were encouraged by reasons exterior of the Tsars control. Many of the reasons that attributed the civilians to stage a march towards the Palace during Bloody Sunday of January 1905 still remained despite the Tsars compromise of the October Manifesto. Led by Father Gapon, the demonstrations called for the improvement of working conditions, the increase of wages and the freedom to organize trade unions. Russias defeat against Japan in the naval war negatively impacted the arrival of agricultural supplies that affected the incomes of many peasants. Industrialization, although in the long run lowered production unit costs and increased productivity, imposed a heavy taxation plan on the working classes that reduced their pay. These reasons led workers in factories demanded for the right to assemble a trade union free from government control and the Okhrana. The Okhrana was the secret police agency that repressively eliminated freedom of expression and prohibited working unions other than those managed by the government. Following Bloody Sunday, where hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were shot by soldiers outside the palace and attacked by mounting Cossacks was the October Manifesto crafted by the Tsar. The declaration promised a number of reforms. It introduced an elected parliament to join the government, empowered Russians with the right to free speech, expression, assembly and other civil liberties that one can find in the West. However, these promises were short-lived. Although the Duma had to agree with legislation before they could be introduced, its powers were manipulated by the Tsar who rendered it powerless. It turned out that the Duma could only consider laws the Tsar suggested. He changed the rules of voting so that in the Third Duma, peasants and industrial workers could not vote. This allowed Octoberists, who supported the Tsar but did not want him to restore autocracy, to dominate the Third Duma. The Tsar further made it clear he was still dominating the system, noting, I have created the Duma not to instruct me but to advise me. Civil liberties clearly were not improved due to the continual existence of the secret police. Furthermore, the Tsar was easily influenced by others and often delegated the many responsibilities to others in parliament. He continued to believe an autocracy would stand amid the voices heard for change at Bloody Sunday. The Tsar was also influenced by Rasputin. Although he was not considered part of the Tsars government, he eventually secured a strong connection with the Tsar and his family following his apparent success in treating the Tsars son Alexi from hemophilia B that prevents the clotting of blood when wounded. The widely spread rumor of a sexual relationship between Rasputin and the Tsarina and influence on the Tsar further convinced the public of the Tsars inability to rule. The governments attempts to improve agriculture also failed. Stolypin was the newly chosen minister who failed to successfully implement agricultural policies to increase harvest. Each village was given a number of fields divided into long thin strips of land, where each family was entitled to one strip. Aiming to give peasants a minimum amount of land, the reform wanted Khutor farms that would be 1

Word count: Date: 29/11/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History Higher

Essay Question: To what extent was the revolution of March 1917 in Russia, due to the nature of Tsarism and the policies of Nicholas II? (1894-1917). independent of the Mir. This however failed as crop production remained low due to infertile land and lack of industrialization in the agricultural field. This worsened along with the promised civil liberties, where trade unions again were suppressed. This created peasant and workers unrest that was further fuelled by the Lena Goldfields Massacre in 1912 where workers who petitioned for improved employment conditions were killed. Repression was seen again under the Tsarist government. Known as Stolypins Necktie, hundreds of people were hanged for going against the Tsar. In 1906 alone, over 1000 people were executed for their roles in the 1905 revolution. Military courts were set up and enabled the imprisonments of the accused without trial. There was also repression as national groups were forced into Russification, where everyone must speak Russian and appreciate its culture. The default of the Tsar was also another policy that encouraged the revolution in 1917. He ignored the growing threat of middle class parties, particularly the Liberal Movement. This movement was also affected by the Socialist Revolutionaries. This collected public discontent as the societal classes in Russia are mainly dominated by the middle class with peasants and workers down a hierarchy. This can be said as an outside factor that induced the revolution, which was exemplified by the growing political opposition between the different political groups. By and large, it was primarily the Bolsheviks whose influenced helped run the revolution. Their slogans and appeal to the public was a populist tactic that encouraged greater agreement with their aims. Led by Lenin, their slogans of, Peace, Bread, Land and All power to the Soviets. Its publicity was also expanded by making a newspaper, Pravada that encouraged others to support their goals, along with their private Red Guard army. There were also other factors outside of the Tsars control. This involved the ramifications of World War One and Russian participation in the war. There were heavy losses measured men and financial sense. Soldiers were inadequately equipped with heavy defeats. The Russian economy was also affected, where production sharply declined, wages became lower due to frequent strikes. The industry and the farmland alike also suffered as millions of men were sent to battle, leaving only children and women to work in the fields, which also reduced production levels. However, the Russian failure in the War became personally associated with the Tsar when he decided to fight at the war front, with no significant signs of success seen. In conclusion, although the Tsars actions and policies were the root cause that eventually inflicted a revolution, they were magnified by other short term factors and events close to 1917 that involved acknowledging what the Tsar did wrong.