What problems did Russia face at the beginning of the 20th century?

Topics: Russia, Politics, Russian Empire Pages: 3 (994 words) Published: November 5, 2014
At the beginning of the 20th century, Russia was one of the Great Powers of Europe, but it was the one socially, economically and politically most underdeveloped. Even though the chances to be the strongest were many, because of the numerous risorces that it had in its disposal, there were too many weaknesses in the system to reach this greatness. At that time Russia was the world's biggest country, covering over eight million square miles and so a quarter of the world's land surface. Since it was extended in a large part of two continents, Europe and Asia, the population, of 165 million people, contained a wide variety of ethnic groups of different race, language, religion and culture. Controlling this large multi-ethnic empire over such a vast territory had long been a major problem to the Russian government, leading many times the tsars to adopt a policy of 'Russification' – insisting on the spread of the Russian culture, especially the use of the Russian language. This type of repression was possible because of the politycal system of this Empire, based on the autocracy of the Tsardom. The tsar was an absolute ruler who had no restriction on his power, was anointed by God and had the total obedience of the people. Even if his rule was excercised through three official bodies (the Imperial Council, the Senate and the Cabinet of Ministers), he still had the last word and their role was merely to give advice. This kind of monarchy wasn't succesful, because if the tsar hadn't a strong character and the skills of a leader, the system wouldn't work. Therefore, Russia had not advanced politically as the other European countries, and it still had a political system typical of the Middle Ages. Indeed, even if many tsars tried to modernise the country, they never included in their achievements the extension of the political rights. Still, Russia did not have any form of democratic or representive government or a parliament. Political parties had no right to exist,...
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