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How and why was Nicholas able to survive the 1905 revolution?

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Introduction

How and why was Nicholas able to survive the 1905 revolution? According to Marxist theory there needs to be a total change of power in order for a revolution to take place, this puts the phrase '1905 revolution' into serious doubt. It is evident that there are many factors that appear to be leading towards revolution however it is debatable weather these factors were strong enough to be called a revolution itself. Survival of this period was attained certainly in the short term, however we must ask how influential the '1905 revolution' was in the eventual downfall of the tsar in 1917. Before we can fully understand how and why Nicholas survived 1095 it is important to recognise the conditions of Russia leading up to this period and how they were caused. Unrest had been evident in Russia for a long period of time; it can be dated as far back as to the assassination of Alexander 2nd in 1979 or even further. At a time where Russia needed to move forward in order to 'keep up' with the world powers, Russia focused on a scheme of reaction and russificatioin beginning in 1881, which was maintained by Nicholas when he came into power in 1894. Opposition groups such as the Liberals had been forming due to the unrest within the country. ...read more.

Middle

The Tsar issued the 'October Manifesto', which proved probably the best decision of his reign. In doing this he granted the Liberals their Duma (representative government with proposed influence upon laws), he also issued a range of civil rights including freedom of speech, assembly and worship. He also legalised trade unions. This was going against Nicholas's own beliefs about autocracy, however he realised that this was needed in order to attempt to regain his authority over the country. Due to the Liberals only wanting reforms, this manifesto satisfied their wants sufficiently. This meant that they, being the main threat to Nicholas now moved towards stopping the riots and crass movements that were taking place at the time because their needs had been satisfied. This meant that the Union of Unions was split and therefore the peasants and Soviets were now left to fight their own battle with the government. It became apparent that the 'Union of Unions' formation had actually helped the Tsar in some way. After the Liberals accepted the manifesto it became clear that the Liberals disliked the 'common people' and therefore the majority of people in Russia. Peter Struve said "Thank God for the Tsar, who has saved us from the people". The Intelligentsia's experience with the 'people' had made them see what type of people they were and they disliked it, so therefore the Tsar gained sympathy from the Liberals after the manifesto which helped the Tsar to regain his authority. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Tsar lived an insecure and dangerous life, which is why any person who posed the slightest hint of political opposition was put into exile and why he lived a sheltered and ignorant lifestyle away from the Russian people. Nicholas was only able to survive 1905 because not enough pressure was applied to his authority, as no group was able to provide sufficient pressure. 1905 lacked the key individuals and organisation that were so evident in the successful revolution in 1917. I argue that 1905 was not a revolution, but more a culmination of long and short-term unrest that triggered the proceedings which took place. Nicholas was able to survive 1905 due to a long awaited purposeful and well directed plan of action, however there was a certain amount of luck involved, had certain occurrences been different Nicholas may not have remained with such control as he did. Nicholas could have prevented the actions that took place in 1905 long before they took place had he not been such an incompetent and ignorant ruler. "The events of 1905 were a prologue to the two revolutions of 1917" (Trotsky). This tells me that although Nicholas survived the revolution in the short term, the events which took place played a vital part in the 1917 revolutions, therefore it is arguable that Nicholas did not survive the 1905 revolution because of the influences it had upon his eventual downfall in 1917. ...read more.

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