The Fall of Tsarist Russia

Topics: Russian Empire, Soviet Union, World War I Pages: 7 (2278 words) Published: May 10, 2011
The Fall of Tsarist Russia, The Rise of the Soviet Union.

“To the very end, through its inflexibility and ineptness, the autocracy had been the principal architect of its own downfall. -Christopher Read

Russia, prior to the rise of the Communist powers, was a simple country, with the Romanov bloodline at its helm. The country, with its sprawling landmass and spread out population, was perhaps one of the least developed countries in Europe. (Bruner) While the rest of the world changed and adapted post industrial revolution, Russia failed to play catch up, relying on its conservative leader, who preferred the old world rather than the developing. The modernization of Russia, with its vast territories simply could not be supported by an autocracy successfully. Though the seeds for industrial development were placed in heavy industry, the lack of social rights and liberties, as denied by the Tsars, kept the working class in an unacceptable level of poverty. (Ramage) The sudden outbreak of World War One provided a catalyst to effectively bring down the Tsarist rule of Russia, inspiring the rise of the Soviet Union .It is argued that had Russia retained from fighting in the First World War, the Bolsheviks would never been able to rise above and form the U.S.S.R. Tsarist Russia, already riddled with social and developmental problems had no capacity to take part in a global affair such as the First World War. Tsarist Russia, already in a frail state, was not prepared for fighting in the First World War. The Tsar, who relied on a superficial relationship with the people, managed to isolate himself further from the people then they were willing to follow. The war ravaged through Russia’s economy and resources causing constant unrest for the people. The originally strong spirited war effort had fallen into shambles, under incompetent leadership, causing loss of hope and trust in the government.

Nicholas II, the ruler of Russia during the dawn of the 20th century, saw the end of autocratic rule and gave way to the spread of communism. The only thing keeping the country together was the superficial relationship the people had with the tsar. Nicholas the II failed to realize this, his first mistake being his isolation from the people. “By the end of 1916 the Court was virtually isolated from all educated society, from all the power elites in military, commercial, political and even governmental circles.” (Stavrou 37) “Nicholas II and Alexandra disliked St. Petersburg. Considering it too modern, they moved the family residence in 1895 from Anichkov Palace to Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, where they lived in seclusion.” (Bruner) Removing himself and his family from one of the few developing cities in the country closed his mind, secluded him from the people, and provided a even larger gap between the working class and the ruling party. The Tsar often did not see what was happening on the streets of his cities, as he had secluded himself from them. “The conservative philosophy of the Tsar underlay all his actions, public or private; he continued to be unreceptive to any suggestion of changes that might limit his authority.” (Stavrou 8) “The first meeting of the Duma took place in May 1906. Several changes in the composition of the Duma had been changed since the publication of the October Manifesto. Nicholas II had also created a State Council, an upper chamber, of which he would nominate half its members. He also retained for himself the right to declare war, to control the Orthodox Church and to dissolve the Duma. The Tsar also had the power to appoint and dismiss ministers.At their first meeting, members of the Duma put forward a series of demands including the release of political prisoners, trade union rights and land reform. Nicholas II rejected all these proposals and dissolved the Duma.”(Bruner) Nicholas was not willing to break years of tradition, and though superficially he provided the illusion...
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