After the 1905 revolution in Russia, a number of reforms were introduced from 1906: four Dumas were established from 1906-1914 as proposed in the October Manifesto of October 1905, and Peter Stolypin initiated agrarian reforms targeted at the farming peasants of the countryside. However, despite these reforms, Tsar Nicholas II's regime in Russia fell during the 1917 February Revolution. Indeed, it may appear bizarre that the Tsarist regime collapsed even though these attempts were made to appease sections of the Russian populace; however, upon analysis, one will understand that the reforms were no certain prevention against the regime's collapse against the backdrop of other developments, both long-term and short-term. For example, the Fundamental Laws of 1906 gave Nicholas II the final say in all matters, thus circumscribing the powers of the Dumas; The First World War was also crucial to the final outcome of events.
In fact, it is even arguable that the introduction of the reforms from 1906 played a decisive role in causing the debacle of the Romanovs' rule: some view them to be counter-productive, while others assert that the underlying issues were never really resolved despite them. Perhaps more importantly, the reforms that 1905 brought about also gave rise to the irreversible politicisation of the Russian peoples. The following discussion will be carried out with respect to events from 1905 (the year in which the October Manifesto was issued) up till February 1917, when the regime fell during revolution.
[...] Hence, although the Duma was an “elected representative assembly or parliament” supposedly meant to check the Tsar's influence, in reality Nicholas II still wielded the powers of an absolute autocrat. This assertion can be further supported by the subsequent formations and dissolutions of the four Dumas during the years of 1906-1914. For instance, when the first Duma clamoured for more power, and demanded more concessions (such as universal suffrage and direct voting), it was dissolved after two months of tension with the Tsarist government. Similarly, when the second Duma criticised the government's administration of the army, it met with the same fate. [...]
[...] When news of this massacre reached St Petersburg, there was a burst of protests in factories. The protests soon spread throughout the country, and not long after the number 11 Wood, Alan, “Russia 1905: Dress Rehearsal for Revolution.” History Today (August 1981), page Fitzpatrick, Sheila, The Russian Revolution, 2nd edition, Great Britain: Oxford University Press page 38- Morison, John, Russia's First Revolution, Morison, John, “Russia's First Revolution.” History Review (December 2000), page 31. of strikers reached half a million, a sum reminiscent of the turmoil in 1905. [...]
[...] Why did the Tsarist regime in Russia fall in 1917 in spite of the reforms introduced from 1906? After the 1905 revolution in Russia, a number of reforms were introduced from 1906: four Dumas were established from 1906-1914 as proposed in the October Manifesto of October 1905, and Peter Stolypin initiated agrarian reforms targeted at the farming peasants of the countryside. However, despite these reforms, Tsar Nicholas II's regime in Russia fell during the 1917 February Revolution. Indeed, it may appear bizarre that the Tsarist regime collapsed even though these attempts were made to appease sections of the Russian populace; however, upon analysis, one will understand that the reforms were no certain prevention against the regime's collapse against the backdrop of other developments, both long-term and short-term. [...]
[...] In analysing why the Tsarist regime fell in spite of the reforms, one must look at the bigger picture, and view the reforms in relation to the development of events in its entirety. The reforms had a long-term significance and had a bearing on the 1917 February Revolution, during which the regime collapsed. First of all, despite the reforms, the fact remains that the underlying problems that plagued the Russian people were never really solved. “Peasants felt that they were being left to fend for themselves, and the Land Bank established for them in 1882 merely scratched the surface of their problems.” 7 (Service) Like previous attempts at reform (such as the Land Bank), Stolypin's agrarian reforms were hardly satisfactory to the peasants, because they were reforms that were unsuitable to the Russian situation (land, climate, as explained above) and hence failed to be an effective solution. [...]
[...] However, this is inconsequential to the understanding of why the Tsarist regime fell, despite the reforms introduced. The fact is that the regime did fall, in part because of the problems that surfaced due to war, such as breakdown in infrastructure and further food shortages. Even the circumstance of the war itself undermined the Tsarist government, because of rumours of the German-blooded Tsarina's betrayal (since their enemy at war was Germany). The gravity of the situation due to the war can be viewed as such: “When defeats occurred, the society did not rally behind its government but instead turned sharply against it, denouncing its incompetence and backwardness in tones of contempt and moral superiority.”12 (Fitzpatrick) Against the larger backdrop of the global situation, then, one realises that besides internal pressures, external forces matter just as much in the explanation of the regime's fall. [...]
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