Rise and Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

Topics: Russian Empire, Soviet Union, Russia Pages: 7 (2229 words) Published: May 27, 2013
The Romanov Dynasty held the Russian Empire as one of the most powerful European states for over three centuries. In 1917, during Nicholas II’s contradictory reign, a revolution began that transformed the empire into the first ever communist nation, replacing the infamous autocratic rule and introducing the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Russian people were ruled by an autocratic government since 1613 when the Romanov Dynasty began. The government was run by the Tsar who had unlimited power over the rest of Russia. The Tsar set up a system of government involving an imperial council, a small cabinet of ministers and a senate; all of which were implemented as personal advisers and delegates. The Tsar had control over who was appointed and dismissed, and no one challenged the power of the governmental system. To ensure the country operated effectively, a bureaucracy, merely consisting of the noble and upper classes put official policies into place. Many believed the bureaucrats were corrupt collecting bribes along with their wages. Practical measures were also needed to be taken in order to enforce Russian autocracy. While the police maintained law and order, the Tsars organised secret police called the Okhrana, for the surveillance of revolutionaries and anarchists while also censoring certain information and activities. The Russian Orthodox Church was a major influence in instigating the tsar’s autocratic powers. As the primary religion of Russia, the church claimed that it was the Tsar’s ‘divine right’ to rule and that his autocratic powers were derived from God. The church taught the Russian people to embrace autocracy and to love and obey the Tsar’s supreme power. The Tsar was described as being a dictatorial emperor and that 'neither a constitution nor other institutions limited the Tsar’s authority. The sudden outbreak of World War One was a great reflection of Nicholas II and his inefficiency commanding Russia. Before the war even began, hundreds of thousands of people had started to grow restless with the government. Many strikes and public demonstrations began to occur within the Russian borders constantly protesting for better working and living conditions. Many started to revolt and the citizens had their sights set on a change of government. Strong socialist and liberal encounters occurred for the Tsar and when he consistently brought disappoint and humiliation to the nation, much of the state grew sick of the tsarist rule. A major strike movement largely influenced by the humiliating defeat by the Japanese instigated the revolution of 1905. This day on January 9th was given the name ‘bloody Sunday’ as thousands of protestors marched on the Tsar’s palace and were massacred by members of the Russian military. This hint of a revolution resulted in the Tsar introducing an elected legislative assembly called a Duma in the parliament. However, even with a more efficient parliament, the uprisings continued throughout the year and for years to come with growing political discontent sending Russia on the verge of a national crisis. Then war broke out in 1914 saving the government from a large revolutionary movement and the country suddenly became fixated on an external enemy. This war deeply reflected the inadequacy of Russia’s military and economy. Almost a quarter of the army had not been issued with rifles and shortages of ammunitions, food and supplies became an epidemic. After endless defeats on the battlefield, many knew that 'the Russian army was fighting a 20th century war with 19th century training and inadequate equipment.' As a result, the government strained to withstand the economic pressures, with the war costing 5 times the annual budget. Then in 1915, Nicholas II went to the battlefront as commander in chief leaving Alexandra in control of the government back in Russia. The Tsarina frequently took advice from Gregory Rasputin also referred to as the ‘mad monk’, who many believed became so...
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