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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 creating a wider base of support?

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Introduction

To what extent in the period 1906-1914 did the Russian monarchy succeed in removing the primary causes of internal tension and creating a wider base of support? Throughout the period 1906-1914, Russia went through many changes. The 1905 revolution, which had threatened autocracy, revealed its tensions in agriculture and industry. The Tsar implemented many changes, which resulted in progress for Russia to some extent, but it also caused peasant discontent amongst other national grievances such as the huge hunger and land problems as well as the policy of Russification. The government attempted to calm the rising tension and to secure Tsar's autocratic rule, but whether it was successful or not is a controversial issue. Could the Tsar's fall in 1917 be attributed to his failure during these years, to address these vital issues? The first example of internal tension in Russia was the shortage of fertile land for the peasants, this lack of 'black soil' led to food shortages, increasing peasant discontent. Russia's agriculture was very behind compared to the western countries, for example England and America, who had experienced their agricultural revolution hundreds of years before Russia. The peasants were angry about the redemption payments resulting from the emancipation of the serfs, these payments meant that the peasants had no money to set up their own farms and prevent their families from dying of starvation. ...read more.

Middle

The second factor that created internal tension in Russia was the lack of political and social reforms along with the threat of opposition groups. The Russian people (especially the middle classes-liberals) wanted a zemstva; they wanted more individual freedom and a way to express their grievances to the government. The Tsar had passed these requests off as 'senseless dreams'. But due to the riots and potential revolution in 1905, Tsar knew that if he didn't take some action now in order to reduce the discontent amongst the Russian people then there would be a successful revolution. In October 1905, almost immediately after the 1905 revolution, the Duma was set up with legislative powers, this major concession helped split the opposition and stem the tide of revolution. The Duma might have appeared a positive reform for the people, but it was really only a way to secure the Tsar's autocratic rule, he never had any intentions to increase the people's freedom or to improve their rights, he just wanted to prevent his government being overthrown. Because the first Dumas were radical and challenged Tsar's ruling, he felt threatened and in April 1906 during the calmer atmosphere, he issued the fundamental Principles that limited the powers of the new Duma. With these new principles, the Duma still had the right to question ministers, but it had no real control over them as they were responsible solely to the Tsar; producing a great gulf between the government and the Duma. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final factor that helped cause internal tension was the attempted Russification of the national minorities in Russia. The last years of tsarism saw a growth of aggressive nationalist feelings, both amongst large sections of the population and within government circles as well. The Tsar wanted to try and unite the Russian population in an attempted to improve the growing internal tension. However, Russification resulted in the Russians believing themselves to be superior to the national minorities. The Jews, Finns, Poles, Armenians, Baltic Germans and Georgians all became victims of Russian chauvinism. This aggressive national feeling helped the opposition to the Tsar because they gained support from the national minorities. Helping them become stronger in order to overthrow the Tsar in 1917. In conclusion, although the government did try to set up many reforms in order to stem the increasing internal tension, many of the reforms were not set up to help the people, but to strengthen Tsar's autocratic rule. This meant that the short-term effects were positive because the people believed the Tsar's promises of more freedom and a better way of life. But in the long term the Tsar was not creating a wider base of support for him but for the opposition; paving the way for them to overthrow the government in 1917. Instead of helping to improve internal tension, Tsar increased discontent within the people because he took away the promises he had made, making the people loose all faith in their ruler. 1 ...read more.

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