Throughout the period 1855 to 1954, opposition to Russian governments was a common occurrence due to dissatisfaction of many civilians’ lives and the lack of development seen throughout Russia. However, as much as there were some successful movements throughout 1905 such as the Bolsheviks gaining support and eventually gaining power, there were also several failed attempts due to intense use of violence, terror and censorship by the state. It is arguable that whether opposition was successful, merely came down to the strength of the opposition group or the weakness of the government in power.
All state leaders across the whole period held qualities that didn’t please the whole of the population in Russia. During the reign of Alex II, the government showed some strength with controlling opposition from the peasantry through the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. It was thought that to prevent revolt from below, this was a key movement that had to be made, and therefore prevented future unrest and opposition. However, the new liberated serfs had to deal with more laws concerning land ownership with led to further unrest and repression in the peasantry by the state. The state moreover, appeased the most vocal critics but in such a way that allowed dissenters to express themselves in the knowledge that Tsar’s decision would be final. Compared to Nicholas II’s reign, this showed a decisive leading technique, as Nicholas’s style was more conservative, and showed weakness, relying on others’ advice to fuel his decisions. A key failure throughout his period was the mixed rule attempt with the Duma introduced from 1906 to 1917, it is arguable that Nicholas II made concessions only to keep opposition temporarily at bay and that his aim was to uphold the principle of autocracy. Alex III quickly saw to a more repressive form of autocracy with his reign seeing the state not