The Russian Revolution


During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the Russian people began to build up the aggression for revolution. These feelings were developed upon the social and economic trends that began to build under several rulers. Tsars’ Alexander I, Alexander II and Nicholas II had many influences upon the revolutionary feeling among their people. Their choices were the building ground for Russian revolution.


Alexander began his reign with many high hopes. His largest goal was to establish reform from above. After a military disaster, Alexander and his ministers were forced to quickly begin the reforms. While he did begin to adjust the society and attempt to modernize Russia, many of his attempts were only half successful. His first reform was the freeing of the serfs. Once slaves were liberated, they received approximately half of the land. Despite this claim, land was priced very highly making it very difficult for former slaves to purchase the land. Hence while they were technically “free” they were still bound to the land. The angered the general population. It was frustrating for the former serfs to be liberated and yet still restricted in many ways. This feeling continued to build through the years before erupting. Another halfhearted attempt at reform made by Alexander II was the creation of the zemstvo. The zemstvo was an addition to the local government. The assembly was to be elected by a three-class system of towns, peasant villages and noble landowners. Such an idea seemed to be a promising step toward popular participation. However, the Russian people were soon disappointed. The zemstvo stayed under the bureaucracy and the local nobility. The Russian people were once again excluded from the electoral process in their towns. The people were desperate for a chance to have a voice in their government. Continued denial of this request would further aggravate the population. Not all of Alexander’s reforms were social. Many reforms were economic as well. One of the greatest economic reforms came with the development of railroads. The establishment of railroads allowed greater power the agricultural Russia. Now it was more possible for Russia to export more grain and thus earn money for further modernization. This gave way to development and strengthening the Russian military and greatly pleased the nationalists and super patriots. However this mass modernization soon caused trouble for many of the typical farmers. Eventually some would be replaced with larger more powerful corporations’ and mechanical equipment, thus wiping out the traditional family owned and operated farms. Once again the common people suffered due to Alexander’s reforms. This was especially frustrating for the Russian people because such reforms were intended to better Russia and her people. These same people began to wonder if their needs would ever be acknowledged. This question would remain silent until revolution exploded.


When Nicholas II began his reign, his people embraced him as a god. However, as his reign continued the people would begin to disagree and outright revolt against his choices. One of Nicholas’s primary goals was to maintain the inheritance of royal power. To him this was the key to Russia’s greatness. Unfortunately he focused more on his family than on being the tsar that his people wanted. Nicholas failed to form a close relationship with the Russian citizens’ in order to fight the war more effectively. This failure proved to be a very large one. Without this unification the people began to loose the desire to fight for their country and tsar. Instead they wanted to fight against it. Nicholas also depended on the old bureaucracy and distrusted the moderate Duma thus rejecting popular involvement. This was also a large mistake. With such rejection of the educated middle class, they become largely critical of the tsars leadership. As the people began to doubt their leader they acknowledged the consideration that someone else could possibly be more effective. Such attitudes towards the tsar added to the building revolutionary feelings. As Russian soldiers continued to fight in the continuing World War, their morale began a steady decline. Artillery barrages used Russian supplies of shells and ammunition. When compared to the German armies, the Russians were far from well off. The better-prepared Germans caused the Russians terrible losses. Despite the shock of defeat with a loss of over