• Rebels lack direction – The uprising was spontaneous and therefore lacked:
    • Unity: The peasants, workers and the liberal politicians all wanted very different – and in some ways contradictory – things. The Liberals in particular were shook to the core by the forces they had helped to unleash (“Thank God for the Tsar, who has saved us from the people” said Struve!). In fact, very few people wanted a real revolution, merely concessions from the Tsar.
    • Leadership: Lenin was in London and Stalin in Siberia, whilst Trotsky alienated many of the rebels with his desire to overthrow not just the Tsar but the entire political infrastructure. The workers hadn’t so much rejected them as outpaced them – “The Great Dress Rehearsal” was never Lenin’s show.
  • Tsar makes concessions to Liberals and the Peasantry – The lack of unity amonf his opponents made it easy for the Tsar to divide them. The October Manifesto served to split the moderates from the revolutionaries.
    • The Peasant were satisfied with the Tsar’s promise of land reform and agricultural disturbances fell off dramatically
    • The Liberals, who “feared anarchy more than monarchy” (McAuley) were satisfied with the Tsar’s promise of a legislative Duma and a relaxtion of censorship laws.
  • Tsar uses Army and Black Hundred to crush the Proletariat – Crucially for the survival of the regime, the autocracy never lost control of the instruments of oppression
    • The police arrested the leaders of the St. Petersburg, Soviet, including Trotsky
    • The army brutally crushed a strike in Moscow with 1000 deaths – Lenin arrived too late to play a role;
    • The Black Hundreds (the government’s official strikebreakers) crushed other riots in the Baltic and Georgia and murdered 500 Jews in Odessa.
      • The workers lacked the will to resist further – the General Strikes called in St. Petersburg and Moscow had petered out as the workers felt compelled to go back to work to feed their families
  • What was the significance of the 1905 Revolution?
    • The Duma had been established whether it would fulfil its potential was another matter.
    • St. Petersburg Soviet had been established – this was an impressive display of working class solidarity and could be useful in a later revolution
      • The SR’s got a hold over the peasantry (maintained until after the Bolshevik takeover)
      • The SD’s had been caught unawares and lost a lot of credibility (membership declines by 90% 1906 – 14)
  • October Manifesto
    • Faced with this opposition and a lack of control in town and countryside, the Tsar had a choice: to put down the uprisings and strike movement with bloodshed or to make concessions.
    • He made concessions in the form of the October Manifesto which he issued on 30 October 1905. This promised
      • A Duma or parliament that would be elected by the people and represent their views and interests
      • Civil rights – freedom of speech and conscience (think what you please)
      • The right to form political parties
      • An end to press censorship
    • After this, the middle classes, worried by the growing unrest and violence, swung back to the side of the Tsar. The October Manifesto had given them what they wanted and they now wanted to see the restoration of law and order.
    • By this time the Tsar also had at his disposal the soldiers returning from the Russo-Japanese War which had ended in September. He made sure that they received all their back pay and improved their conditions of service so that they stayed loyal.
    • Nicholas now felt he was in a position to reassert control. He used force to crush the St. Petersburg Soviet and the soviet movement in other cities; there was a particularly nasty struggle in Moscow where the soviet was suppressed violently. Then he turned his forces on the peasants and brought the countryside under control, although it took most of 1906 to do this.
  • Long Term Discontent
    • Alienated intelligentsia
      • Middle- class liberals wanted to participate in government; wanted some form of elected national assembly
      • Students protested against repressive government controls
    • Revolutionaries
      • Socialist Revolutionaries – wanted peasant revolution to create socialism based around peasant communes
      • Social Democrats (Marxists) – wanted urban working classes to stage revolution to create a socialist state, then Communism
    • National Minorities – eg. Finns, Poles, Jews
      • Wanted more autonomy and independence
      • Wanted an end to the policy of russification
    • Peasants (aka. The Dark Masses)
      • Grievances included: poverty, need for more land, high taxes, redemption payments on land
      • Suffered periodic famines
      • Increasing peasant population was putting more pressure on land
    • Workers (aka. Proletariats)
      • Grievances included: long hours, low pay, terrible working and living conditions
      • Wanted more political pwer
  • Government Policy
    • Tsarist regime
      • Weak, indecisive tsar
      • Repressive government
      • No moves towards constitutional government
      • Denied basic freedoms eg. Free press, freedoms to form political parties
      • No concessions to nationalities – any protests repressed
      • Reactionary – against liberal reforms
    • Witte’s economic policy
      • Under Witte’s industrialization policy, urban workers and peasants were heavy pressed by high indirect taxes and low wages
      • Economic slump after 1902 led to high unemployment and social tensions in towns
      • Poor harvests in 1900 and 1902 led to starvation and violence in countryside
      • Rapid and forceful industrialization – against privatization, against liberal ideas (aka. Slavophile), supported a command economy under the Tsar
  • Outbreak of Russo-Japanese War, February 1904
    • Defeats on land and at sea shocked Russian public
    • January 1905 – lost Port Arthur
    • War caused shortages of food and fuel, high prices and unemployment
    • Huge upsurge of discontent as Tsar’s government perceived to be incompetent
  • Bloody Sunday
    • Sunday 22 January 1905 - Tsar’s troops fired on peaceful, working class demonstrators (wanted more pay, 8 hour work day, basic needs)

Tsar ‘at war with his own people’ for most f 1905 – strikes, peasant uprisings, petitions, riots, demonstrators.
Any time in modern European history, people forget about their internal differences and come together to fight a national enemy.



Notes by Jorden Olton