The survival of the tsars regime in Russia between 1906 and 1914 was due to the weaknesses of its opponents. How far would you agree with this?

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The survival of the tsar’s regime in Russia between 1906 and 1914 was due to the weaknesses of its opponents. How far would you agree with this?

On the advice of Stolypin, the Tsar grudgingly introduced some reforms in industry, agriculture and education. This strengthened his position because it appeased the masses, causing opposition parties to lose popularity and decreasing calls for revolution.

He had previously introduced the October Manifesto, dividing the opposition and giving the illusion of reform, yet used the Fundamental Laws of 1906 to maintain his autocracy. The Fundamental Laws declared “Supreme Autocratic Power” belonged to the tsar which simultaneously weakened the opposition and strengthened the tsarist regime.

The tsar did allow the creation of a Duma but placed so many limitations upon it. The structure of the Duma was carefully considered, so as to weaken the power of the parties in it. It was bi-cameral with an elected lower house and a state council mostly appointed by the tsar. The 2nd chamber could veto so deprived the elected duma of any real power. The duma gained a reputation with the revolutionaries as being a rubber stamp for the tsar and was seen as weak, whilst the tsar retained his position of authority.

The Duma demanded their powers be increased. The Chief Minister refused. Therefore 200 Kadet and Labourist deputies assembled at Vyborg in 1906 to draw up an “appeal” urging the people to defy the government by refusing to pay taxes and disobeying conscription orders.

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Yet there was no widespread passive disobedience but scattered violence. This highlighted the weakness of the opposition and allowed the tsar to assert his power and arrest and bar the deputies from re-election. The Liberal cause discredited itself, meaning the tsar came out of the incident stronger than before.

The tsarist regime strengthened its position by weakening that of the opposition. By doctoring the electoral system, the 3rd Duma in 1907 had more deputies from moderate parties. This meant the tsar would have a more cooperative Duma which allowed him to secure his power.

Stolypin was appointed President of ...

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