Was Tsar Nicholas II mainly to blame for the 1905 Revolution?
In 1905, the social and economic tensions building up within Russia boiled over into Revolution. It was described by Lenin as the “Great Dress Rehearsal” for the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and may give us clues as to why the 1917 revolution started. The suggestion that Tsar Nicholas II and his actions were to blame for this revolution is debatable and there are many factors such as the repressive Tsarist system, the growth of opposition from the time of Alexander II and the defeat in the war with Japan to consider. These events can be separated into short and long term effects on the revolution. Bloody Sunday and defeat to Japan would be short term effects whereas the Tsarist system of rule and the increasing opposition the Tsar would be long term.
Perhaps the revolution all started with the Tsarist system of rule. Sergei Witte and Konstantin Pobedonostev were important figures in influencing Nicholas. Witte recommended Nicholas to arrange an elected parliament whilst Pobedonestev wanted to preserve an older, almost peasant-ridden Russia. Nicholas did the same as his father and Grandfather and remained conservative by not changing Russia backward ways. This may make it seem as though Nicholas could have had Russia take a course change and throw out autocracy, and so may have to take responsibility regarding Russia’s current system of rule during the revolution. It could be said that Tsar Nicholas II never wanted to take on the responsibilities of being the Tsar as he was never prepared to be Tsar in the first place so may not have had the incentive to make the necessary change.
Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in 1861 turned them into free peasants, meaning they could not be bought and sold. This would have seemed a change for the good of the people and a great move towards modernisation but the debt they fell into because of the required money to pay for the land out-weighed the...
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