• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the strengths & weakness of Russia around 1855

Extracts from this document...


Assess the strengths & weakness of Russia around 1855 Russia was once described by Winston Churchill as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". Russia had its own alphabet, calendar and is completely unique with entirely different strengths and weakness compared to the west. From 1825 - 1855 Tzar Nicholas I was in power of this puzzle of a country, he represented the highest development in autocratic monarchy in the country. In 1855 Tzar Alexander II assuming the throne was in absolute power of the entire Russian empire. He solely controlled the country stretching across 6000 miles and through 9 different time zones. With over 100 different cultures many with their own individual language; Of course these consist of both strengths and weaknesses as does the other elements of the Russian Empire which will be evaluated in this essay. The large population of Russia was a strength because it enabled them to have the largest army in Europe nicknamed the Steamroller. However it was also a huge weakness because it meant that it was hard for the Tzar to unite the population because it was so large in fact greater than that of France and Britain combined. In addition to this there were countless different religions with 15-20% being Muslim who had diverse values and individual needs required by the Tzar far different to the majority of Russians who were Christians. ...read more.


The name Tzar is from Tzarder former emperors of Europe. Tzars believe in 'Divine rights of kings' this means that they are a gift from god so every decision they make that is questioned is questioning God. Also any lessening of power would be virtual blasphemy. The problem and weaknesses of this system is that unsuitable leaders inherit power; a prime example of this is Nicholas II. This again enforces the backwardness of Russia because this resembles France in 18th century. This kind of old fashioned system leads to revolution with new ideas to satisfy the peasant majority. Another weakness is the Tzar having complete economic control, with very limited knowledge of economics, this is not maximising the economic potential of the country. Under Alexander II the industrial workforce expanded from 860,000 - 1,320,000 people by 1887 this is tiny compared to the population of Russia. Some economic strengths of Russia include some oil success and new industrial areas such as Ukraine & Urals not to mention textile industries around Moscow expanding. The main strength of the Russian empire was the abolishment of the serfdom system. A Serf was basically a slave. There were more the 22 million serfs compared to 4 million slaves in the United States. ...read more.


On the whole these vitally important reforms where a colossal strength to Russia, they were modernizing the whole country. Alexander was simply copying western ideas which he discovered on visits there. However there still remained weakness involved with these new reforms in the form of opposition. The new openness encouraged by the reforms provoked expectations that the Tzar could not satisfy. This made the political stability of the Tzarist system questionable and looking forward a few years ahead of the question this does escalate into an assassination of Alexander II. In conclusion, when Alexander II came to the throne in 1855 he faced many problems, the most drastic I think was the existing serfdom system. Alexander decided to resolve these problems b introducing new reforms, the most famous and most needed in my opinion is the abolishment of serfdom. But as actual abolishment was after 1855, Russia's serfdom community was still very much alive consequently was still a huge weakness, and illustrated their backwardness in 1855. So overall after weighing up the strengths and weakness of Russia at that time, I would definitely consider there to be more weakness in the Russian empire. I do acknowledge that Alexander II employed some key reforms; however Russia remained 50 - 100 years behind the west in sheer development of the country in 1855. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nick Williams ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays

  1. Why and with what results did Alexander II abolish serfdom in Russia?

    This is where Alexander's conservative side becomes important and must be considered. His famous, striking statement "it is better to abolish serfdom from above rather than await the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below" shows that Alexander knew serfdom posed a threat to his government.

  2. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian monarchy in 1894?

    The other men were always very intimidating. Nicholas however, was a mere 5' 6 tall. To make up for his lack of height, Nicholas worked out with weights and other athletic equipment. Important economic developments were taking place, notable the industrialisation of parts of the country.

  1. History - Russia

    However, Source C comes from 1924, six years later than Sources A and B. As a consequence of this, the Sergeyev's findings could potentially have been distorted in the fullness of time. Conversely, there are also a few similarities - for instance, Sources A and B both agree that the

  2. Why were the opponents of the Tzars from 1855 ultimately more successful than those ...

    Khrushchev's succession can also be argued as opposition. With Khrushchev's de-Stalinisation obviously illustrated his opposition to Stalin. Khrushchev's argument that he was never openly opposed to Stalin was that he would have been "physically annihilated". This opposition was not a threat to Stalin as it happened after his death, and the nature of Stalin would have meant if

  1. 'Only Alexander II's policies made significant progress in avoiding revolution in Russia.' How valid ...

    These measures were successful, as one historian puts it, in the History Review 2000: 'This reformed autocratic model was surprisingly successful if judged in such terms as economic growth, educational expansion and public health improvements.' However in doing so Alexander rather unwittingly began to concede some of his political power, as his zemstvo reforms indicate.

  2. The blance sheet for russia.

    The Soviet regime is passing through a preparatory stage, importing, borrowing and appropriating the technical and cultural conquests of the West." (Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, p. 20.) Since that time, the Soviet economy advanced with seven league boots. In the 50 years from 1913 (the height of prewar production)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work