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Russian Revolution - Bloody Sunday

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Introduction

Bloody Sunday Background At the beginning of the 20th century, the average Russian peasant worked around 10 hours a day. Famine was a constant threat, and farmers were completely unrepresented in any sort of parliament. Conditions in factories for industrial workers were extremely harsh, and little concern was shown for workers health and safety. The tsarist government's policy of political repression brought misery to the working class. Freedom of religious and political expression was denied, and the peasant class were taxed more they could afford by a government incapable of providing adequate leadership. The Russian government engineered a war against the Japanese in order to distract the Russian people from the increasing lack of government control. It was believed that by encouraging the nation to rally together in patriotic support of their country, the Tsar would be able to restore the people's faith in himself and his government. ...read more.

Middle

The purpose of the march was to present the petition to Tsar Nicholas II at his Winter Palace. There are several different accounts as to what occurred in the square outside the gates of the winter palace. The description given by Father Gapon in his autobiography "The Story of My Life", stated that the crowd moved as one, "singing in one mighty solemn voice the Tsar's hymn, "God Save thy People." The crowd, which was made up of men, women, children, and according to Gapon, several police officers, approached the gates of the palace when rows of infantry barred the road. Without any warning, the mounted officers rode upon the unarmed crowd. According to Gapon, "men, women and children dropped to the earth like logs of wood, while moans and curses filled the air." The crowd continued to move forward, and when they were around 30 metres from the gates of the palace, the soldiers opened fire on the crowd. ...read more.

Conclusion

The October Manifesto was the Tsar's response to the suffering of his people, but it did little to ease the problems affecting them. The Manifesto granted to the people; - Civic freedom of conscience, speech, assemblies and associations. - The election of a people's government, or Duma, voted for by the working class, for the working class. - To establish an unbreakable law stating that no law can be passed by any government without first being approved by the peoples Duma. Trotsky believed that the October Manifesto was not worth the paper it was written on. He claimed that the Manifesto held no real meaning, and though the Tsar may have given in and issued it, "Tomorrow [He] will take it away and tear it into pieces". Four days before the people's Duma took power, the Tsar passed another rule which effectively restored his ultimate power. These were called the Fundamental State Laws, and removed any trace of power that was given to the people in the October Manifesto. ...read more.

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