How the Tsar survived 1906-1914

6 June 2016

“The survival of the tsar regime in Russia between 1906 and 1914 was due to the weaknesses of its opponents” How far would you agree this verdict?

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I agree to a certain extent as I believe that there are many other factors which helped the tsar survive 1906-1914. Russia in 1905 was a nightmare; it was a bubbling pot that the tsar was trying to control which just wasn’t working. Some historians feel that the tsar survived the 1905 revolution because he didn’t face united opposition so it wasn’t really a revolution also with the help of Stolypin he was able to make timely concessions to appease the groups angry towards the tsars rule and those whom he could appease he suppressed.

Like the statement states the weakness of the opposition towards the tsar really impacted the fact he survived. In 1905 the only thing uniting all the groups against the Tsar was the Russo Japanese war so the Tsar ended the war so it broke the common denominator. So this meant in 1906 every group had a different agenda. The alienated intelligentsia wanted a say in Russia, the revolutionaries didn’t work together, socialist wanted removal of the tsar and the liberals wanted to share power with the tsar, because of this in 1906 the only revolutionary against the tsar at this time was Trotsky. The proletariat wanted better working conditions and pay and the peasant wanted rid of mortgage repayments, food and more land. Therefore opposition was not united making it easier for the tsar to appease them.

As the tsar couldn’t appease the revolutionaries he needed another way to stop them and the only way was the suppress them. So he needed to get the army back from Japan, this allowed the remaining opposition to be crushed by violence as the Tsar had no intention to offer any significant reforms that would appease revolutionary groups, especially the only thing that would satisfy them was a revolution. So to get the army back he increased their wages, and paid them what they were owed for the war this brought them back to Russia as they new they would have money, therefore tsar had the loyalty of the army which made him and Russia stronger.

Witte, the new Chief Minister, advised Nicholas II to make concessions so he gained the loyalty of the alienated intelligentsia and the bourgeoisie. He eventually agreed and published the October Manifesto. This granted freedom of conscience, speech, meeting and association. He also promised that in future people would not be imprisoned without trial. Finally he announced that no law would become operative without the approval of the State Duma which is what the alienated intelligentsia wanted most, a government. However the October manifesto also meant the liberals split as the party disagreed on how far the reform changed Russia.

Stolypin became a minister of tsar in April of 1906. He believed that the tsar should reform and then repress and this is what he did. Russia at this time was going through a rural crisis. Stolypin thought that the tsar should reform the land to appease the peasantry and proletariat as the majority of the Russian population was peasants. So under the advice of Stolypin the tsar made more timely concession, the first of these was that he de-revolutionised the peasantry by cancelling the mortgages payments which meant farmers would begin to farm more efficiently meaning more food would be brought into the cities so it would therefore help solve starvation in Russia.

This meant the peasants had more loyalty towards the tsar because they didn’t have mortgage repayments to worry over. Next Stolypin decided to “wager on the strong” this was to restore the peasant’s sense of security. He intended to create a layer of prosperous and productive peasants whom would become inspirations for the other peasants and would support the tsar. Also in 1906 the hate land captains were abolished and the peasant passport system was ended so peasant could now move around freely like any other Russian. Stolypin also got rid of strip farming and replaced it with fences which meant each farmer had their own land and this made farming more efficient.

A special and bank was also setup under the advice of Stolypin it was set up to provide funds for independent peasants to buy their own land. In addition to these land reforms Stolypin introduced other progressive pieces of legislations. He gave people in rural areas more freedom to select who would represent them in land assemblies. Meanwhile health insurance act 1907 was set up to improve conditions for Russians industrial workers. Stolypin necktie also helped the tsar survive because it created fear amongst the cities `because if you turned on the tsar you were hung.

“Stolypin necktie” became famous as a national fear. In conclusion I think the tsar survived1906-14 for multiple reasons however I feel Stolypin and the army were the most vital for the survival of the tsar because without Stolypin the majority of Russia would be against the tsar i.e. the peasants. Also I feel that the army was extremely important because they suppressed any opposition the tsar couldn’t appease which wouldn’t have be possible without the army.

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