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How far was the personality of Nicholas II responsible for the instability in Russia in 1904? (24 marks)

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How far was the personality of Nicholas II responsible for the instability in Russia in 1904? (24 marks) Nicholas II's personality was responsible for the instability in Russia in 1904 as he was unfit to rule as Tsar. Nicholas was unprepared to rule when Alexander III became unexpectedly ill at a young age in 1893. Nicholas was still in the army and he was still unmarried. Nicholas therefore only had a mere year of preparation before becoming Tsar on Alexander's death in 1894. Nicholas himself even expressed concern at his lack of preparation. Nicholas was also poorly educated and his main interests were hunting and military ceremony. In addition, Nicholas was unintelligent, possessed poor judgement and indecisive. Being indecisive is a serious failing in an autocrat; for the indecisive implementation of policies and actions serves to weaken the Tsar's power and his ability to control events. As a result of this Nicholas was only able to apply his father's repressive policies in a feeble matter. ...read more.


Also, changes in Russia created a new class of opponents against the Tsar's autocracy. During Nicholas's reign, Russia was rapidly industrialising. This rapid industrialisation created a new class in Russia which was the urban workers. The emergence of urban workers undermined the Tsarist rule. This was because the urban workers lives in squalid conditions in the quickly-built city slums which made then develop grievances that motivated then to become discontent with Tsarist rule. Moreover, the urban workers had greater opportunity than previous generations of Russians to reorganise themselves in common action against the Tsarist government. This was because they were concentrated together in factories and housing estates from which they could much more easily mobilise strikes and protests. These strikes and protests of the urban workers also had a greater impact on the Tsarist government because the workforce lived in cities like, for example, Moscow, where the Tsarist government was physically situated. The peasantry was also unhappy about the rule of the "Mirs." The Mirs were councils of elders set up in some parts of Russia which decided at a local level how land and the common land should be allocated to the peasants. ...read more.


Therefore, increases in population were greater than increases in the food supply leading to famines, starvation and poverty. Repayments of debts for the peasantry's freedom from serfdom also crippled the peasantry and made them angry. It was this poverty which breeds revolutionary activity which caused problems for the Tsarist political system. In conclusion, there were many contributing problems for the Tsarist political system in 1904 which led to the instability of Russia. Long term economic problems were causing problems, and the stories of working class wealth and social welfare systems which told from the west only showed the Russian people what they were missing. The Tsarist political system itself was collapsing and falling apart due to its inefficiencies and due to crime and terrorism. All this as well as the Tsar himself caused the instability of Russia. However, I think that the factor that contributed the most was the fact the Europe was becoming modern and more democratic with more people gaining political rights and the Russians political system remaining the same as the gave people a motive as to be unhappy with their government. ...read more.

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