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Russian Revolution (society 1861-1917)

Uploaded by edwho on May 15, 2001

Between 1861 and 1917, Russian society had undergone many changes. It is safe to say that every aspect of that society had been some how modified. These changes led up to the Bolshevik revolution in November of 1917. Given the nature of Russian society, was the Bolshevik revolution unavoidable?

Among the changes Russian society had undergone, one starts off the whole chain of events. This was the emancipation of the serfs, in 1861, by Czar Alexander. The emancipation freed 44 million peasants. The Czar knew that the only way to end the discontent of the serfs and to show that Russia too was a modern society would be to let them free. The Edict of Emancipation caused many problems these uneducated peasants. The land now assigned to them was smaller then the plots they were using as serfs. This was an average of 8 acres. There was also a forty-nine year period over which installments could be paid before the peasants were given full ownership of the land. In fact many peasants were still working for their landlords after the edict. Because of his efforts Alexander was nicknamed “the liberator”. Despite giving the serfs their freedom, Alexander’s actions cause more problems then they solved.

After the unification of Germany between 1861 and 1891, which accelerated it’s military and political power, Russia too felt it should industrialize. A man named Sergei Witte, who was Minister of Finance from 1892-1903, almost single-handedly pushed Russia into its industrialization. He knew that Russia needed something to start her on the road to industrialization. Witte’s efforts made industrial advances from 1892 to 1910. Between 1880 and 1914, Russia had a growth rate of 3.5%. This would have surely brought Russian higher in the rank of industrial and economical world powers. It was said that all Russia needs is 20 years of peace, without war and she will not be in risk of revolution. Unfortunately, the statement was ignored and in 1904, Russia commenced a yearlong war with Japan. The Czar’s ministers had assured him that the war with Japan would be an easy victory. In fact Russia suffered a devastating defeat. This leads to the revolution of 1905.

Along with industrialization, Russia needed to educate the population. A large majority of the population was illiterate, and factories were looking for more skilled workers. The education of the people led to the growing popularity of several anti-Czarist groups. The...

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Uploaded by:   edwho

Date:   05/15/2001

Category:   Russian History

Length:   5 pages (1,095 words)

Views:   2611

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