How stable was the tsarist regime in Russia on the eve of the First World War in 1914?

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How stable

was the tsarist regime in Russia

on the eve of the First World War in 1914?

On the eve of the First World War, the Tsarist regime, headed by Czar Nicholas II was more unstable than it had ever been. In the decade before 1914 Russia was in a troubled state. The Czar insistently ruled as an autocrat, ignoring such constraints as parliaments, but failed to deal with many problems. There were numerous virulent discontented groups which presented a great challenge to the Russian autocrat, some of which resorted to terrorism to stimulate social and political revolution. Never had so many political organizations existed at once. Unrest and criticism of the government had reached a climax with the Russian defeats in the war with Japan from 1904 to 1905, and in 1905 burst into a revolution forcing him to make concessions in the October Manifesto, including the granting of the Duma, an elected parliament. When it became clear that the Duma was ineffective, unrest increased. The recent 1905 revolution had whipped up a will to effect change particularly among the peasants. The fact that some of the autocrat’s reforms following the revolution of 1905 improved living standards, may have faded chances for revolution had it not been for World War I. However, given that these reforms were too piecemeal, as well as the Czar’s deliberate flouting of his promises, the situation deteriorated at a rate at which it would soon bring revolution. The dynasty was also weakened by political decadence.

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The Czar retained considerable support among the masses due to some of the reforms of 1905. Kulaks, a class of comfortably–off peasants emerged as a result of the abolition of redemption payments. Several peasants were able to buy their own land. This was as a result of Stolypin’s determination to win over the peasants. There was still support, though extremely limited, from industrial workers because labour conditions had improved, profits increased due to significant coal and oil production, and in 1912 a workers’ sickness and accident insurance scheme was introduced.

It is certain, though ...

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