Why was Russia difficult to govern?
There are many reasons why Russia was difficult to govern, such as the size and diversity of the country and many differences in opinions contributed to the resentment of the government which in turn made the country very difficult to govern. One reason Russia was difficult to govern was because of the size and diversity of it. As the country was so large, and covered almost 23 million square kilometres in 1900, this made it very difficult to govern as it made it difficult for the Tsar to have complete control of a place that was more than 20 square kilometres away. The empire stretched across two continents which meant that millions of the emperor’s subjects had to travel very far to get the other side of Russia. The size of the country also meant that there were many different nationalities and languages within the empire, hundreds in fact. This also made it hard to govern Russia as the people had different opinions on what the empire should be like and so Many resented being dominated by the Russians as they did not agree with the Russian way of ruling. It also meant that an emperor living on the western side of Russia had to ensure he was being obeyed 3,000 miles away which was very difficult. The size of the emperor was one of the main contributions to the difficulty of governing Russia because it also caused a huge difficulty with transport and communication. The terrain was almost impossible to travel across as in the north there was the tundra, with is permanently frozen subsoil which made communication very difficult and almost impossible in winter. There was also the deep woods and forests which meant that very little of the land was suitable for cultivation or transport which made it difficult for the emperor to make sure he was being obeyed on the other side of the country. There were then the deserts which were even more difficult to travel across meaning it was more difficult to govern the wide diversity of the Russian empire, to make it easier to rule Russia, policies such as Russification were introduced. Another reason Russia was difficult to govern was because of policies the government had put in place such as the Russification of the Russian empire. This policy was introduced to help the emperor to govern more efficiently as it was difficult to govern Russia with the hundreds of different nationalities. However this policy was very unpopular as local languages were discouraged or even forbidden and so the non-Russian peoples resented the Russian empire as they did not have the freedom to speak in their own language. As the people resented the way Russia was ruled it made it more difficult to govern. The Russian empire was ruled by the Tsar and was an autocracy. The rulers of Russia were all hereditary too, meaning they were born into leadership and held all the power in the state. This was very important in the difficulty of governing Russia because the emperor may not be prepared to rule the empire or even know what to do, yet they were forced to take on leadership. They had to choose ten members of their ministerial council to run the government and could choose people who would not threaten their authority meaning they could introduce whatever policies they wanted and did not have to consult with anyone else. For example Nicholas ll’s style of government was described by one of the members of the council as ‘nothing consistent or firmly directed’ showing that the emperor did not have to be good at his job to become emperor in the first place which meant that sometimes Russia was poorly governed. Even in the late 1900’s the aristocrats resented the government as the council was replaced with great ministries which were not controlled by nobles. The people couldn’t even change their name or get married without permission. As the government was quite unpopular during some autocracies the Okhrana were introduced. The Okhrana were also important in making Russia...
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