The system of tsarism was based on the idea of absolute authority, where the Tsar - God’s chosen leader, possessed “unlimited executive, legislative and judicial power” (Perfect, Ryan and Sweeney, Reinventing Russia, A Study in Revolution). This system though had its flaws, for example allowing such an immense authority to the Tsar, caused their words to be law and were not to be questioned. The Tsar though was also to blame for the collapse of the autocratic system as Russia was a very large nation with “many nationalities, many languages” (Sergei Witte) that had been governed this way since Ivan the Terrible’s rule in 1547. It was both the outdated system and Tsar of the time that had caused the collapse of the autocratic regime.
Tsarism up until Nicholas I’s rule had been active for about 349 years proving its ability to govern Russia despite its geographical complications, but by this time it had become an outdated system of government amongst the rest of Europe. The Tsar’s power enabled him to appoint his personal advisors and members of the State Council of Imperial Russia, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Senate. These advisors and members could not “restrict the power of the tsar; it was simply their role to enact his commands” (Perfect, Ryan and Sweeney, Reinventing Russia, A Study in Revolution). Unlike the rest of Europe who were moving away from autocracy and adopting a representative or democratic government, tsarism banned any political parties, did not have any democratically elected officials and the tsar had all the say; “a word of the Tsar was sufficient to alter, override or abolish any existing legislation or institution” (Alan Wood). Tsarism can also be described as an “imperial rights regime” (Jane Burbank) as only certain groups (usually the ruling and upper class who only made up 12.5 percent of the population) were given rights and freedom and in turn were given the power to control other (lower class) groups. The system of tsarism...
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