How far did Romanov imperial power decline in 19C Tsarist Russia from 1855 to 1917?
What were the social, economic and political challenges facing the Tsars?
How successful were the attempts to change and reform Russia, and why were changes being made?
What impact did war and foreign entanglements have upon Russia up to 1917?
- Alexander II (1855-1881): emancipation of the serfs; military, legal, educational, local government reforms; later reaction
Click on the map next door
Read the information and prepare answers for....
How did Russia's geography affect its politics and history'
What type of Russian society existed in the 19C?
What type of Russian economy existed in the 19C?
What political system existed in 19C Russia?
Russia in the Nineteenth Century....
Click on the box above and look at the sources.
What else do they tell you about 19thC Russia and what life was like..?
Click on the eagle icons below to start watching the documentaries
Click on box above for worksheet
Key ideas and themes of Russian history 1855-1924
Change from above - Russia had a strong tradition of political, social and economic change from above, i.e. brought about by the rulers. Clear examples of this are both Alexander II's series of reforms in the 1860's and 70's and Lenin's attempt to establish a Communist state between 1917 and 1924. This 'change from above' reflects the autocratic nature of political power in Russia and the absence of democracy, both under Tsarist autocracy and Communist dictatorship.
War as the "locomotive of history" (Trotsky) - War was also a key catalyst for change in Russia, with various wars between 1855 and 1924 leading to major social, political and economic changes. Key examples here include the Crimean War (1854 -56, with defeat leading to Alexander II's reforms), the Russo-Japanese War (1904- 05, with defeat contributing to the revolutionary year of 1905) and the First World War (1914 - 17, with defeats undermining the Tsar's authority and, combined with the economic distress caused by involvement in the warm, helped bring the Tsar down in the February Revolution of 1917). The Provisional Government's decision to keep fighting the war undermined its authority and assisted the Bolsheviks in seizing power in October. Finally, the Civil War (1918 - 21) led to major political and economic changes under the Bolsheviks, most notably 'War Communism' and then the NEP.
Revolution also functioned as a key force for political change in Russia. The 1905 Revolution led to the October Manifesto, and the creation of the Duma, Russia's first elected parliament. The February Revolution in 1917 led to the end of 300 years of autocratic rule by the Romanov dynasty, and a brief period of liberal democratic government under the Provisional Government. The October Revolution then ended the Provisional government and saw the creation of the world's first Communist state, leading to a transformation of Russia's social, political and economic structure.
Russia Timeline 1855-1917
1855 Alexander II becomes Tsar
1861 Edict for the Emancipation of the Serfs
1881 Alexander II assassinated by the 'People's Will'.
His successor, Alexander III, begins a period of repression
1892 Count Sergei Witte becomes Finance Minister.
The 'Great Spurt' of industrial growth begins
1894 Nicholas II becomes Tsar
1898 Social Democratic Party founded
1901 Social Revolutionary Party founded
1904 Outbreak of Russo-Japanese War
1905 Year of Revolution, following Bloody Sunday
1906 Pyotr Stolypin becomes Prime Minister
1911 Stolypin assassinated
1914 Outbreak of the First World War
1917 February: Revolution - the Tsar abdicates
Provisional Government is established
Alexander II - Tsar Liberator ?
Alexander II Overview - click left-hand picture for podcast
Who was Alexander II?
What did he reform, or change, in Russia? Why?
Why did he start to repress Russia in his later years?
What were the resulst of his reign?
1861 Emancipation of the Serfs - click left for full text
Alexander II's landmark piece of legislation resulted in his title of Tsar Liberator...but was that title really justified?
What did the Emancipation Doctrine achieve?
What did it not achieve?
Do you think AII deserves his title as a result?
Read the History Today article by Michael Lynch on Emancipation - what is his view and argument? Do you agree? Why/why not?
For autocratic Russia under the Romanov dynasty, this was unprecedented reform. Even more striking were the additional reforms that continued until Alexander's death--the so-called Great Reforms. They can be divided into the following categories:
1. Local government reform: Since vast numbers of new citizens, i.e. former serfs, now populated the countryside, a system of elected local governments, or zemstvos, arose to replace the old institutions of landlord rule. These assemblies, with separate seats for peasants, townspeople, and private landowners, were responsible for maintaining the local infrastructure and industrial development. Through taxation of all classes, the zemstvo built bridges, roads, hospitals, and prisons and provided essential services such as healthcare and poverty relief.
2. Education reform: At the call of the Elementary School Statute of 1864, a litany of elementary schools sprang up across the country, though funding was remanded to the local government, to overcome the massive illiteracy that plagued the former serfs. The 1863 University Statute reorganized colleges and universities into effective self-governing corporations, with considerable freedom for both faculty and students.
3. Judicial reform: The Judiciary Statute of 1864 overhauled the Russian court system based on these liberal principles--equality of all before the law, an independent judiciary, jury trial by propertied peers, public legal proceedings, and the establishment of an educated legal profession.
4. Military reform: The Universal Military Training Act of 1874 established all-class conscription and called for technological improvement, elite reorganization, and new military schools.
5. Expression reform: Alexander's Temporary Regulations of 1865 abandoned pre- censorship, or censorship of journals or groups before publication, in favor of punitive measures after the fact.
Teased by these halfhearted reforms from above, dissatisfied peasants, intellectuals, professionals, and even some liberal gentry sought greater freedom through recourse to violent revolutionary movements to overthrow the Tsarist government. Widely labeled as populist movements whose aims focused on giving all Russian land back to the peasants, these groups used clandestine terrorism in the late 1870s to kill Alexander II, finally succeeding on March 1, 1881. An era of modest reform in Russia was over.
Icon above - History Today article on AII's reforms - how effective were they, and di they justify his label as Liberator?
Icon below - Populism powerpoint detailing how political ideological opposition evolved and developed over the rule of AII and onwards
Alexander III - Tsar Repressor?
Alexander III was crowned Tsar in the immediate aftermath of his father's assassination by the extremist terrorist group People's Will which he witnessed.
His determination to keep power and ensure Romanov rule survived can be seen both as a direct result of the events at the start of his reign, and as a continuation of his father's reign.
The reaction against the reforms of AII had created a political backlash as typified by the rise of mainstream Populism alongside the more sinister extremists of the People's Will - the world's first modern terrorist group.
AIII was determined to keep these forces in check with social + political repression dovetailed with economic reform.
Your task is to use the podcasts on the left alongside the HistoryToday article + powerpoint below in order to plan out a balanced argument assessing TWE was AIII a Tsar Repressor?
For decades Russia had been suffering from a permanent harvest problem that varied in degree, and hunger was part of reality in the countryside. In 1891, however, the country was struck by a disaster of unprecedented proportions: some 15 provinces in European Russia, mainly in the Volga and black soil provinces, faced a 30% to 50% crop failure as a result of insufficient harvest in both the winter and the summer.
These regions were considered Russia's granary, and in 1891 comprised an area one-third larger than Germany, and almost double the size of France. As a direct consequence of the crop failure, millions of peasants and their families had to endure a famine that lasted well into the summer of 1892, and which cost some 400,000 lives.
As a result, the government's incompetence and inability to avert tragedy refocused attention on reform of russia's power structure and provided fresh impetus to opposition groups whose influence under AIII + NII post-Populism had been waning
Causes of famine
Climate: Russia's long, cold winters and short, hot summers made transportation difficult and limited foreign trade as a majority of Russia’s ports were often iced over.
Poor soil: With the exception of the black earth belt, Russia has fairly poor soil, a short growing season, low precipitation, and large arid steppe regions unfit for agriculture except with extensive irrigation. These factors limited agricultural production and caused frequent of crop failures and famine.
Backwards farming techniques: The peasants used medieval technology like wooden ploughs and sickles. They rarely had modern fertilizers or machinery (the Petrovsky academy in Moscow was Russia's only agricultural school).
Russia's size: Its sheer size caused major difficulties as Russia's primitive railways were not up to redistributing grain
Lack of incentive: Russian farmers did not produce to make a profit - instead they produced enough for themselves and their families to eat which gave them no incentive to improve efficiency of their land of mechanize, but every incentive to produce as many children as possible
Censorship: the government discredited the famine and banned the word famine (golod) they called it a poor harvest (neurozhai) and stopped the papers reporting on it.
Grain exports: were not banned till mid-August and merchants had a month's warning so they could quickly export their reserves. Even the Minister of Finance Ivan Vyshnegradsky opposed not banning it earlier.
Minister of Finance: Ivan Vyshnegradsky was seen as the main cause of the disaster as it was his policy to raise consumer taxes to force peasants to sell more grain. Even Russia's capitalists realized the industrialization drive had been too hard on the peasants.
Conscription: This reduced farm labor as the peasant sons could no longer work the land.
Taxmen: they were sent to seize livestock when grain ran out c as well as seizing grain and live stock to pay off redemption payments, this caused the peasants to stop/reduce production or kill off/hide their livestock.
Government failure - why were they so slow to react?
The official end of the famine was declared on July 1st 1892. The state had succeeded in averting the very real threat of mass starvation and had prevented total economic collapse in the stricken regions. Yet shortcomings at many levels, institutional, political, and infrastructural, had hampered the government in responding to the crisis quickly and efficiently.
The core problem was insufficient coordination between the ministries due to the absence of a cabinet capable of formulating a policy and monitoring its execution. Other defects in the state machinery were also obvious. These included a lack of gathering information by the command chain from the center to the countryside, the defiant attitude of both governors and zemstva, the lack of confidence and so cooperation with local authorities, the absence of any coordination of private efforts, and an completely inadequate transport network.
Tragically, there had been sufficient supplies of grain within the borders of the Empire to feed the people, but these food reserves were located at considerable distance from the starving black soil areas. The government also did not remedy the absence of an organisational institution at the most local level of the volost or village, which could have ensured proper distribution of food to the peasants' families. These shortcomings were to provide a political springboard.....
Famine of 1891
Using the information above, construct a mindmap detailing the causes and effects of the 1891-2 Famine.
Next, what can the map next to us on the left tell us about Russia in 1891? (P1 - q1b - 2mks)
Now, click on the map to access a source written by Lenin.
What relevance does the 1891-2 famine have for Lenin writing in 1912? Why is this the case? what does this tell you about what the effects of the Famine meant for poliotical opponents of the Romanovs?
Finally, with refernence to origin, purpose and content assess the value and limitations of Lenin's work to the historian researching abot the effects of the 1891-2 Famine. (P1 - q2 - 4 mks)
Nicholas II - The Last Tsar....
Impact of World War One
Orlando Figes - 'Revolutionary Russia' - WWI
Figes is one of the leading Western historians to have emerged since 1991
His archive based research has allowed him to answer qs concerning the USSR unanswered at the time because of the limites access westerners had to information
This chapter on the left deals with WWI
Research how WWI affected Russia using:
- Patriotic Hopes; Russia's Military Weakness
- War as a Rev Force; The Great Retreat
- The Patriotic Revolution; War to Social Rev
Why did the Tsar abdicate in 1917?
To what extent was the Provisional Government doomed to failure?
Why was the Bolshevik seizure of power successful?
How important a role did Lenin and Trotsky have during the Bolshevik seizure and consolidation of power?
Why did The Bolsheviks win the Civil War? Why did the Whites lose?
How successful was Lenin in establishing a Marxist state by 1924?
1917 Revolutions: February/March Revolution; provisional government and dual power (Soviets); October/November Bolshevik Revolution; roles of Lenin and Trotsky
Lenin’s Russia/Soviet Union; consolidation of new Soviet state; Civil War; War Communism; New Economic Policy (NEP); terror and coercion; foreign relations as the USSR
Click on the video on the right - what do they say about why there was a revolution in Russia in 1917?
What is their opinion about events in your opinion?
Next click on the icon above and research where this video was made and by whom.
How does this impact on your previous conclusions?
Click on this video on the right next - what do they say about the leaders of the Bolshevik Party?
What is their opinion on these two individuals?
Again, click on the icon above and see if you can deduce whether this video was made by the same people who produced the first video above.
If you think they have been made by the same people, then explain...if not, then explain why not.
What does this tell us about the purpose and value of historical sources?
February Revolution + Dual Power
Revolutionary Russia - Orlando Figes
Figes' argument is that Russia 1891-1991 was consistent in its desire for change that favoured the masses. His view of the events of 1917 are that it was a popular revolution that wanted to change the world, but that it was one of many.
The section accessed by clicking the above image explains what the people wanted and how they tried to get it. Start reading about what the Provisional Government was and what they tried to do and continue to examine the rest of the sections (July Days detail in Figes' 'People's Tragedy' handout pp421-433)
Your job is to complete the powerpoint started below using both the information available above, and the handout given (Figes 421-33)
February 1917 sees the discontent and unhappiness which has increased dramatically over the war years explode into action. What starts off as a series of unrelated marches and strikes and demonstrations eventually combine into a popular street-led revolution which ultimately persuades the Tsar that he should leave the throne and abdicate.
Once it becomes clear that there are no other Romanovs willing or able to take up the sceptre and rule as Tsar, absolute monarchy ends. The Government of Russia now passes into the hands of two rival institutions - the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet of Soldiers and Workers.
The job they face is to ensure that the country does not dissolve into anarchy and confusion, whilst at the same time trying to ensure that the multitude of demands and pressures it faces are dealt with effectively. Most notably, the y have to decide what to do about Russian participation in World War One; and how to feed the people whilst be seen to be examining how to introduce fundamental land reform.
Using the clip above, research why the Kornilov Affair in August was the deathknell of the Provisional Government, and how it enabled Lenin to start his preparations for another attempt to seize power.
TWE was the PG doomed from the outset?
The October Revolution and Brest-Litovsk
Trotsky, Revolution and the USSR
Ian Thatcher podcasts:
- who was Leon Trotsky?
- what was his relationship to Lenin?
- what were his strengths?
- what did he achieve?
- why was he successful?
- what were his weaknesses?
- why did he ultimately fail?
Assess Trotsky's role in the Russian Revolution + creation of the USSR
Trotsky - rise + fall of a revolutionary
Trotsky: Rise + Fall of a Revolutionary
Chomsky on Lenin, Trotsky, socialism + USSR
Civil War + the birth of the USSR
Ian Thatcher podcasts:
How did the Bolshevik State emerge over the years 1917-1924?
What were the key reasons they were able to both organise a revolution, but then go on to survive and claim control ?
What role did the Civil War play in this process?
30 December 1922 - USSR is officially born
Asses the extent to which Lenin's USSR lived up to the expectations of 1917
Access the googledoc by clicking the icon on the left
Using your Waller notes and Figes handout build up a picture of the political, economic and sobial goals of 1917, and the extent to which they had been realised 5 years later
Cult of personality
New Soviet Man
Art + Silver Age
Religion up to 1921
Religion after 1921
Figes 630-1; 642; 645-7
Figes 738-40; 742
- civil war
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00546pv - In Our Time - Radio 4 - Lenin
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003k9b2 - In Our Time - Radio 4 - Assassination of AII
Russia : Land of the Tsars (ep 4 most relevant; 1-3 b/ground & context)
A History of Russia (Tsars & Revolution)
History of the Russian Empire
"Russian Imperial History" - US History Channel documentary (20 parter - only really need latter episodes!)
"Battleship Potemkin" - Soviet produced 1925 silent classic about 1905 naval mutiny which accompanied the Rebellion that year
"Rasputin" 1996 US film about Siberian holy man and the Tsarina (Hollywood nonsense but still...)
Russian Revolution - BBC documentary in 2 parts - Freedom & Hope / Fear & Paranoia
"Animal Farm" 1954 French cartoon - animated version of George Orwell`s account of the Russian Revolution and its results
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmES3bh06ws&feature=related(2/3 - Roads to Revolution)
(3/3 - Smashing the Mould)
"The Art of Russia" - BBC documentary on how art served the state before helping to destroy it amidst the Revolution and establishment of the USSR
Who was Alexander II and what shaped the man he was?
What was he most famous for?
How did it impact upon Russia?
Brief introductory notes - 3 segments - bullet points please
Reforms of Alexander II
- Local Govt
- Legal system and judiciary
Russia of AII
Assassination of Alexander II
- AII becomes increasingly reactionary
- "Peoples Will"
Historiography of Alexander II - Lynch
- Revisionist view
- AIII Overview
- AIII Source Analysis
- End of AIIIs reign
Death of AIII
- AIII death and summary sheet
Assessment of AIII - Haffendale
- What was AIIIs influence on Russian history?
AII & AIII - contrasts and comparisons
- To what extent are the reformer v reactionary labels justified?
Nicholas II and Russia at the turn of the 20th century
Was NII domed to fail from the start? How much impact did his handling of affairs have?
To what extent were factors outside of his control responsible for the demise of the Romanovs?
- link to activehistory (champittet - champittet)
- simulation of imperial Russia at the start of NIIs reign. Work through and use information to fill in worksheet
Russo - Japanese War & the 1905 Revolution
How did these 2 events play vital roles in the 1917 Revolutions?
- summary worksheet about events
- test yourself on the events of 1904-05
Industrialisation and Land Reform
How successful were Stolypin`s reforms?
- powerpoint summing up industrialisation under NII - links with other subject PPs at end
- social conditions in Russian c/side
First World War and Russia
How important was the war in ending Tsardom in Russia?
How did 100s of years of Russian autocracy come to an end?
Was the PG doomed from the start of its tenure?
How did the Bolsheviks get into power?
Historiography of Russian Revolution
here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.