Political Views in Russia
Russia from 1850 to 1917 was littered with numerous political views that ranged across the whole political spectrum. The vast bulk of Russians in the 19th century were extremely poor; a few were extremely rich. The educated middle class were small in number and invariably outside of politics. Though small in number, the middle class did have one great advantage it was an educated class and many in the middle class saw that Russia could not carry on as it was before Alexander III. Revolutionaries such as Lenin came from the middle class. It was in fact the middle class that caused most of the changes in Russia's political views. The majority was split into two groups. Those on the right of politics wanted reform but reform that strengthened the monarchy. They believed that any reforms that aided the lives of the poor could be interpreted as a sign of weakness. They included the aristocrats, the military and church hierarchy and the nation's senior civil servants on its side. Any one of these groups was small in number, but with vast power at their disposal. The left included the Social Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats. They wanted the wholesale shake-up of Russia's society to advance the cause of the poor at the expense of the rich and those in government and although, they had none of the advantages of the right side it had the potential support of the vast majority of Russia's population, as long as their power could be harnessed. However in a country the size of Russia, this was a very difficult problem. Was Russia pre-1917 split between the right and left? In fact, a solid political centre existed in Russia that represented a middle way in politics. They believed that fundamental reforms were needed to secure the most basic of freedoms but they did not want a parliamentary monarchy.
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