Why did the Tsarist regime collapse in 1917?
‘By the beginning of 1917, tsarism was rotting from within.’(1) Romanov’s had ruled Russia since 1613 but people were unhappy and the Tsarist regime was due to collapse for and it was inevitable that it would happen soon, it finally did under Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. There were many factors as to why the Tsarist regime collapsed some of the most important were Tsar’s personality, political opposition ,peasants and workers and The World War I. One of the factors that lead the tsarist regime to collapse was Tsar’s personality. Nicholas II was coronated in 1894 but he wasn’t ready to be a Tsar because just in 1881 he witnessed his granddads, Alexander II’s assassination when his carriage was blown up. Nicholas was not a strong character and he didn’t want to be a Tsar but he was religious and both he and his wife Alexandra believed they were chosen by God and couldn’t challenge his decision. ‘He had intelligence...faith and courage but he was...ignorant about governmental matters. Nicky had been trained as a soldier. He had not been taught statesmanship and...was not a statesman.’ (2) Also he was more of a family man rather than a ruler and was a devoted husband and father who looked good in the eyes of his people but he didn’t really bother about what happened to Russia and didn’t really do what he was meant to do; rule the country, which weakened him significantly. Although he was a good father he was unhappy as his only son Alexis suffered from haemophilia and it was likely to die young which again out the Tsar away from ruling the country. He was ignorant and refused to share power. ‘He mistrusted most of his ministers and yet was incapable of carrying out the task of ruling the vast Russian empire alone.’ (7) At first peasants were loyal to him and believed he’d carry on what his granddad did, free servants, relax censorship of the press, improve conditions of the army, change education and bring in Zemstva; locally elected councils, however he made the government weaker, he was almost the ‘invisible’ Tsar as he never travelled so his people didn’t know him and he couldn’t see what was best for them. People were poor, the communication and travel were awful as Russia was such a massive country, there were all sorts of nationalities and religions in the country so people couldn’t communicate well, the society was ‘backward’ as there were too many workers and peasants (82% of population) and they were poor and had no laws, the nobles had everything. As the tsar didn’t travel he couldn’t stop any revolutions and so he weakened himself. People began to question him and his ability to rule Russia; they were unhappy and started to plot on how to overthrow him. ‘The present ruler has lost absolutely the affection of Russian people, and whatever the future may have in store for the dynasty, the present Tsar will never again be safe in the midst of his people.’ (9) This showed people he was careless and weakened him. Another factor that lead the tsarist regime to collapse was the political opposition. ‘The key question is this-is the peaceful renovation of the country possible? Or is it possible only by internal revolution?’(6) There were many people who wanted the Tsar to collapse. Some like Octobrists or Kadets were more peaceful. Kadets were middle-class liberals who wanted elected parliament. They had the support of well educated wealthy people in towns, but that wasn’t enough people and they didn’t attract peasants and workers which was bad as they were the majority. The Social Revolutionaries and Social Democrats wanted revolution. ’Both groups were prepared to work with the liberals, providing the latter continued to push the tsarist regime towards greater democracy and parliamentary power.’(5) Social Revolutionaries were supported be peasants and they wanted to give peasants land to make their life better and make them happy, however because of the size of the country and...
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