Koo Asakura

Imperial Russia

3 reasons for imperialism
- To take that country’s natural resources and human resources: cheap labor/slaves
- New market:
  • The colonies would buy the mother country’s goods
- Navy bases
  • Boats need to refuel. So you need ports.

Focus sheet:

5 Imperial Russia, revolutions, emergence of Soviet State 1853-1924

2 essays questions on IB exam on this topic!

This section deals with the decline of imperial power in Tsarist Russia and the emergence of the Soviet
State. It requires examination and consideration of the social, economic and political factors that inaugurated and accelerated the process of decline. Attempts at domestic reform and the extent to which these hastened or hindered decline should be studied, together with the impact of war and foreign entanglements.

• Alexander II (1855-81): emancipation of the serfs; military, legal, educational, local government
reforms; later reaction
• Policies of Alexander III (1881-94) and Nicholas II (1895-1917): backwardness and attempts at
modernization; nature of tsardom; growth of opposition movements
• Significance of the Russo-Japanese War; 1905 Revolution; Stolypin and the Duma; the impact of the
First World War (1914-18) on Russia
• 1917 Revolutions: February/March Revolution; Provisional Government and Dual Power (Soviets);
October/November Bolshevik Revolution; Lenin and Trotsky
• Lenin’s Russia (1917-24): consolidation of new Soviet state; Civil War; War Communism; NEP; terror
and coercion; foreign relations
  • Parameters- only answer the questions specifically during the specified time period
  • 1853- effects of the Crimean war, Russian loss spurred them to advance and catch up with the West
  • Imperial Russia- all nations under the Tsar (Emperor), less than 50% than people under Tsar spoke Russian
  • Tsars- Alexander II, Alexander III, Nicolas II
  • Nationalism- the desire to have an independent nation-state
  • Revolutions (Bottom-up, top-down):
    • 1905 revolution
    • 1917 revolutions: February/March Revolution (Soviets) and October/November Revolution (Bolshevik)
  • Domestic reform- changes within the nation-state (at home)
  • Autocracy- Tsar
  • Impact of war-
  • Ruso Japanese War (1904-1905)
  • Entanglements- Alliances, deals, (major cause of WWI)
  • Soviet Union- 1922
  • 1914-1922 Russia is at War (WWI, Revolutions, Civil war)
  • 1924- the year Lenin died
  • Long term causes of the Russian Revolutions-
    • Emancipation of the serfs

Russian Social Class:
  1. Autocrat (Tsar)
  2. Land owning mobility and clergy
  3. Intelligentsia- western education, earned living with intellect
  4. Serfs/Peasants (75%)
  • Russia’s size
  • Is Russia European (Slavophile vs. Westerner)?
  • Nationalism (ethnic minorities)
  • Backwards and agrarian?
  • Modernization was necessary but the people in power were Slavophile's (paradox?)- how to modernize?
  • Top down- from the top of the social classes (leaders make change)
  • Bottom up- lower classes make the changes

History Vocabulary

  • Historiography-
    • The study of history writing
    • Studying different schools of thought on a historical subject
    • How the circumstances in which history was written affect what historians say about a subject
      • A historical source about Hitler gives as much or more information about the time it was written than about Hitler
      • American-Islamic world relationship written before and after 9/11
      • Nation- a group of people with a common culture and language
      • State- a government
      • Nation state- the political borders coincide with those of the nation
      • Nationalism- the desire for nations to have their own states
      • Origin (IBE)- where did it come from, who published, how and when was it published
      • Purpose (IBE)- why?
      • Contemporary source- something made at the time (primary source)
      • Hearsay- recording what other people say
      • Purpose- it was created to inform or to persuade people and who is the intended audience
      • Hindsight- looking back on things
      • Archives- where records are kept,
      • Reasons for Imperialism- take the natural resources, human resources (slave/cheap labor), results in a new market (colonies can only buy from “Mother country”) and new navy bases (ports).
      • Assess- to estimate the value of, to examine critically and estimate the merit, significance, or value
      • Industrialization- change from agriculture to production of goods and services
      • Urbanization- changing from rural to cities (goes hand in hand with industrialization)
      • Social Mobility- changing of social class
      • Suffrage- the right to vote
      • Agrarian- economic system is agricultural; socially life revolves around the farm (religious), politically less emphasis on the individual
      • Feudalism-
      • Social Darwinism- human survival of the fittest
      • Secularism- separation of church and state
      • Nationalism- pride in your nation, feeling of superiority
      • Nation state when national and political boundaries coincide
      • Imperialism- colonialism, conquering other nations
      • Liberalism- Politically: the rights of the individual above the state, people vote for government and make up the government (individual is sovereign), Economically: free market (capitalism), Socially: individual freedoms (life, liberty property, speech, religion, etc.)
      • Schools of thought- point of view, opinion (ex. Great men make history)
      • Geopolitical- the relationship between politics and geography
      • St. Petersburg- former Russian capital, European like city
      • Moscow- current capital, more Slavic and Asian, further away from invaders
      • Yalta- Crimean peninsula, Russian naval base located there
      • Archangel- port city bordering the white sea (north, by Finland)
      • Port Arthur- port on the Pacific
      • Ural Mountains- divides Europe and Asia (not official)
      • Vladivostok- easternmost Russian city, Asian and European city
      • Siberia- exile, uninhabitable, a place of exile
      • Steppes- flat agrarian area
      • River Volga- connects Baltic sea to Caspian sea (very important for trade)
      • Baku- capital of Azerbaijan, lots of oil and geopolitically important
      • Lena River- the easternmost river of Russia, leads to Artic, is where Lenin got his alias
      • Lake Baikal- the world’s deepest and largest lake, southern Siberia
      • Georgia- southern state in the Caucus region, formerly part on the Russian Empire,
      • Caucus region- mountain chain between Caspian and Black sea, access to shipping routes and navy bases, 3 Caucus states: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
      • Baltic region- area by Baltic Sea, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
      • Balkan region- former Yugoslavia, Slavic people
      • USSR- 15 republics
  1. Russia- biggest Republic (its independence was the end of the USSR)
  2. Ukraine- best agriculture area (bread basket), crossroad to Europe
  3. Belarus- white Russia
  4. Latvia- a Baltic state
  5. Estonia- a Baltic state
  6. Lithuania- a Baltic state
  7. Georgia- southern state in the Caucus region, formerly part on the Russian Empire
  8. Armenia_- STAN
  9. Azerbaijan- STAN
10.Moldova- STAN
11.Kazakhstan- STAN
12.Turkmenistan- STAN
13.Uzbekistan- STAN
14.Kirgizstan- STAN
15.Tajikistan- STAN

Source-based questions Europe book Emancipation of serfs

a. Redemption taxes were the sums of money, which peasants paid every year to the government to purchase the land they had been granted in 1861 as a result of the emancipation of the serfs. There were many results to the emancipation both short term and long term. To begin with one of the long-term social results was the change from serf to peasant of an overwhelming majority of the Russian population. Economically the peasants were free to buy anything they wanted including their own land. Politically they did not belong to their landowners and could no longer be bought, sold and rented. The short-term implications were not as positive. Although they did not politically or socially belong to landowners many peasants found them bound to the Mir, a village commune of peasant farmers, instead. Economically they were free, however they did have to pay the ridiculously high redemption taxes for the land they believed was rightfully theirs. In light of these results of the emancipation and the reading of a passage in The Memoirs of Prince Kropotkin it seems as if the recently emancipated peasants found it worthwhile to pay all they had to keep their freedom and hoped that in the long term it would be worthwhile.

b. As source d statistically implies the redemption payments was far too high. Source c explained, the peasants knew it would be difficult to pay; however they accepted it as necessary to keep their newly received freedom. As we see in source d the percentage of the sums due that was not paid was quite large. It is possible that some people believed that the peasants might have been capable of paying everything but pretended that they could not, however it is strongly implied in source c that the peasants would do anything not to go back to their personal enslavement. The average arrear of the sum due in all the provinces was 22.4%, meaning that more than one fifth of the redemption payments was not paid. This strongly suggests that the peasants did indeed have a very hard time paying these taxes.

c. It could indeed be argued that the Russian peasantry lost more than it gained with the emancipation of the serfs. As we now know the serfs gained political and economic liberty. Socially they were also a new class, free peasants instead of the property of landowners. However, with the emancipation of the serfs came also a few disadvantages. The serfs could no longer receive free goods such as fire wood from their lords or anyone, they were now forced to pay the market price for everything, which is not as simple as it sounds since they have been working for free their whole lives. They could no longer depend on their lords and were burdened with a new sense of responsibility. Before their emancipation they would receive everything they needed no matter how hard they worked. Suddenly it became necessary to work extremely hard to survive and manage to pay the redemption taxes which as displayed in source d was a serious challenge with 22.4% of the sums due not paid. It can be argued that it is all worth it for freedom, however how free were the peasants? Instead of answering to their lords they now answered to their Mir. However, the reforms did not end with the emancipation of the serfs, they continued as a result of it with the zemstva and other legal, military and educational reforms. So even though the serfs who were emancipated did not profit very much, it seems that the country as a whole and the future generations of peasants were better off not being enslaved to landowners.

1. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century.(M08)
2. “Considering the difficulties he inherited, Alexander II of Russia should be praised not criticised for his reforms.” To what extent do you agree with this judgment?(M06)
3. Compare and contrast the policies of Alexander II (1855-81) and Alexander III
(1881-94) of Russia.(M05)
4. “The emancipation of the serfs in Russia was the only genuine reform introduced by Alexander II.” To what extent do you agree with this assertion? (M04)
5. “Alexander II had no one to blame but himself for his assassination in 1881.” How far do you agree with this statement? (N03)
6. How consistent were the domestic policies of Alexander II?(N04)
7. “Despite his apparently liberal policies, Alexander II was just as conservative as Alexander III.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? (N07)
8. To what extent did Alexander II’s reforms cause more problems than they solved? (N06)
9. Analyse the reasons for, and the nature of, opposition to tsardom in Russia between 1855 and 1894. (N05)
10. “His measures of reform did not disguise his belief in the need to maintain autocratic rule.” To what extent do you agree with this view of Alexander II? (M10)
11. To what extent did Alexander II’s policies succeed in fulfilling his aims? (N09)