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How far were the difficulties in governing Russia likely to cause problems for the Tsarist government in the first decades of the twentieth century

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Introduction

´╗┐How far were the difficulties in governing Russia likely to cause problems for the Tsarist government in the first decades of the twentieth century? According to a Russian proverb ?Russia is not a state but a world? and this is exactly why to a certain extent the Tsar and Tsarina had such a difficult and complex task in governing Russia. Many factors contributed in making this task seem at times both impossible and improbable; the Tsar an autocratic leader believed he was directly appointed from God and so any decisions he made were final, yet many things stood in his way of a supposedly simple ruling system. Firstly, imperial Russia spread over two continents; it engulfed smaller nations such as Poland over various centuries until it spanned from the tundra of the Arctic Circle to the deserts of the far south, spreading from East to West across the Siberian wasteland and 1000km of taiga. The sheer size of the empire acted as a catalyst for the other factors in the difficulty of governing Russia; it was due to the enormity of Russia that its reputation of a ?riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma?- Winston Churchill was upheld, no other nation or indeed empire could fathom how difficult it was to rule this mass of land as an autocratic ...read more.

Middle

Russian officials were appointed by the Tsar to be put in charge of governments of non-Russian countries such as: Poland and Finland this meant that schools were taught in Russian and the countries were made to adopt the Russian legal system. Individuality between ethnicities was supressed and although Russification was immensely unpopular and viewed as a fundamental attack on centuries of lifestyle many people chose to accept it simply out of fear of the Tsar who enforced his autocratic system of rule through a fearsome scheme of secret police and terror. Freedom of opinion by mouth or word was suppressed and any opposition to the Tsar or indeed his policies was rooted out by the Okhrana and dealt with through: torture, imprisonment, exile and the death penalty. Any show of public outrage was violently suppressed by the Cossacks who made up 2.5% of the population; this meant that the people?s opposition was contained as long as the Okhrana and Cossacks were loyal to the Tsar. Communications proved a major difficulty for the Tsar, shipping was the main form of transport and travel, for this reason major cities were built up along river routes. Unfortunately many rivers and canals were frozen over for the majority of the year making transport virtually impossible, the railway system only had about the same amount of ...read more.

Conclusion

Additionally, due to the fact Russia was unable to capitalise on its size any extra surplus could not be exported to other countries. Workers in cities were paid by piece rate and so worked long hours to gain higher wages In conclusion, these problems were to a great extent the reasons behind the difficulties of governing Russia. Although the Tsar did protect himself through censorship and military action he was resented by some people and many opposing groups such as the ?Social Democrat Party? whose policies were similar to Marxism and Liberals who were made up of law abiding Russian citizens who wanted a system of democracy put in place. To an extent they achieved this as a government called a Duma was elected however, the fundamental laws made by the Tsar himself meant that he got the last say in any major decisions and even if strongly advised he could still ignore decisions that could have potentially catapulted Russia into being a society that enriched all its inhabitants spreading wealth and helping the peasants and working class. The Tsar was single handily ruling ?a world? which propelled the Russian people to revolt unsuccessfully in 1905 and successfully in 1907 in which the once extremely loyal army would commit mutiny and turn against him. ...read more.

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