How stable was Russia on the eve of World War 1?
There are several arguments concerning Russia’s stability on the eve of World War 1 and many of these arguments have counter arguments which show a different side concerning the same events.
The first argument which supports the idea that Russia was indeed stable on the eve of World War 1 is that Tsarism managed to get through the crisis of the 1905 revolution without being overthrown. This was due to the fact that various groups were bought off by the Tsar, including the Liberals and Peasants. The Liberals were the first group to be appeased as the tsar issued the October Manifesto, on Witte’s advice, in which he accepted the creation of the legislative Duma. The Liberals were excited by this as they would finally be granted civil rights, freedom of speech, assembly and worship and trade unions would be legalised. To an extent, the Liberals were satisfied. Stolypin also aimed to be supported by the peasants. He therefore introduced measures in 1906-7 which would help restore the peasants’ sense of security. Stolypin’s main aim was to create a class of rich land owning peasants who would support the Tsar. Therefore, the Peasant Land Bank was set up in which All State and Crown lands were made available for purchase. Funds were introduced such as ‘Wager and the Strong’ which particularly appealed to the Kulaks (the richer peasants). Peasants were also allowed to withdraw from their commune and redemption payments were ended. Moreover, Stolypin stopped the redistribution of land to every member of the family and made all the land hereditary property of the head of the family. The peasants were temporarily content
The second argument which supports the idea that Russia was stable on the eve of World War 1 is the one which agrees that the Tsar continued to have the loyalty of the army. The event which came to be known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ supports this. The marchers who were protesting outside the Winter Palace were shot down by the Tsar’s troops. This shows that they were prepared to guard the Tsar and that in effect the Tsar still had complete power and loyalty from his army. Although there were several military strikes, the army’s support of the Tsar was barely hindered, and they still looked up to him.
Therefore it is apparent that Russia was fairly stable at this time, seeing as the Tsar definitely depended on the support from his Army to have any complete power.
Another very important factor which shows that the Tsar ultimately had complete power and that his autocracy was powerful was due to the fact that the powers of the Duma were actually very limited.
Two points show that The Tsar was not going to let the people have much control and that he was planning on keeping his autocratic role.
The Fundamental Laws were issued in 1906 and these suggested that in fact the autocracy was still in the ascendency. The Laws stated that no laws could be enforced without the Tsar’s approval, so that in effect, the Tsar was making the decisions. The Duma had little power to initiate or enact legislation.
The second thing which was announced was that there would be a Bi-cameral chamber in which there would be a State Council alongside the Duma. The legislations would be proposed by the Commons, would then have to pass the Nobles and finally be decided by the Tsar. It was very unlikely that anything the Commons proposed would get passed the Tsar. The new Duma was a concession on the face of it but actually meaningless. The Tsar continued to have complete Power. This further agrees with the proposal that Russia was stable. This is because the Tsar had control over his people no laws were passed by the people themselves, everything was ultimately controlled by the autocrat himself.
However, there is a counter argument which exists for this idea. There was significant antagonism on the part of the Kadets, The Constitutional Democrats. Alongside the...
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