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To what extent in the period 1906-1914 did the Russian Monarchy succeed in removing the primary causes of internal tension and create a wider base of support?

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Introduction

October 2004 Joanna Vickers L66 To what extent in the period 1906-1914 did the Russian Monarchy succeed in removing the primary causes of internal tension and create a wider base of support? After the 1905 revolution, Tsar Nicholas was able to maintain his autocratic rule through a variety of schemes for reform and repression. However, in his attempts to remove the primary causes of the internal tension in Russia, and create a wider base of support, he was largely unsuccessful. The underlying problems were the backwardness of agriculture and industry, the unwavering autocratic regime and the resentment harboured by national minorities. These problems were the primary causes of internal tension, which consisted of the agrarian inefficiency and land hunger in the countryside, the bitter and disaffected workers in the towns, and those politicised workers and gentry who wanted greater representation and power in the government. Although there was rapid industrialisation, the introduction of the Duma and various social reforms, Russia only experienced shallow and brief recovery. This became clear in 1910-1914, and demonstrated the Russian monarchy's overall failure in its aims, and WW1 became the final push for a regime that was already on the brink of collapse. The Tsar agreed to the October Manifesto as a token gesture at political appeasement. ...read more.

Middle

However, there is debate over how successful these reforms were. Stolypin made the mistake of assuming that the peasants had a western-style desire for personal property, and that it was the Mir which caused poverty. Unfortunately, the strong communal tradition was ignored, and the conservatism of the peasants meant that the land reforms were not welcomed by all. A Land Bank was set up to provide loans with which to buy land, and there was also mass voluntary relocation to areas such as Siberia in order to put these empty lands into agricultural use. Although there are figures which suggest that these reforms were a success; between 1907-1916, 20% of peasants left the commune and by 1913, 5 million households moved eastwards. However, productivity rose by only 1% per annum, and most land remained in the ancient strip system. Due to these conflicting statistics, it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion about the success of the land reforms. Altogether, it seems that the reforms seemed to be failing before 1914, due to the new problems of jealousy and vicious attacks on those who chose to leave the Mir and the lack of motivation for change amongst the peasant masses. ...read more.

Conclusion

This sent a mixed message to the Russian people, as it was clear that the Tsar and his government were not willing to comply with the 1905 reform ideas, nor were they willing to relax the harsh regime of oppression. This would clearly not have gained the Tsar popularity. Therefore the Tsar was mainly unsuccessful in his social reforms which were designed for appeasement, not the repression that followed. The fact that the Tsar allowed the aggressive nationalism to grow in Russia demonstrates his ineptitude, as the government's apathetic attitude towards the numerous pogroms and, once again, the retraction of the 1905 concessions to minorities such as the Finns meant that the revolutionary parties grew within these groups, increasing opposition to the Tsar and his autocratic regime. From this evidence it can be deduced that the Russian Monarchy was unsuccessful in its attempt to remove the primary causes of internal tension and gain a wider base of support. Although there were attempts to correct Russia's main problems, such as the industrialisation and land reforms, these did not have the required success that was needed to adequately modernize Russia. The attempts to gain support were equally unsuccessful; the Tsar sent contrasting messages in his withdrawal of the concessions made in 1905 which frustrated his people, and the repression of the workers and minority groups fuelled opposition. ...read more.

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