Discontent Among The Working Classes Was The Main Reason For The Downfall Of The Tsar In March 1917

1403 words - 6 pages

Discontent among the working classes was the main reason for the downfall of the Tsar in March 1917
• How far do you agree with this statement?

I disagree with this statement because ultimately the people of Russia believed he lacked the qualities of a leader, and as many of the people were poor, hungry, discriminated against, living and working in bad conditions the Tsar was blamed. The turmoil of the country was on Nicholas's shoulders and it was his fault that he had to abdicate in 1917 after his poor work in his role.
Russia entering into World War One in 1914 was, I believe, a key reason why the Tsar was forced to abdicate three years later in 1917. At firstly, ...view middle of the document...

The Tsar could not rule such a vast empire, with so many different nationalities by autocracy. This resulted in him soon losing authority so he enforced a secret police to help control the country. Their methods were brutal; they killed any who opposed the Tsar and his government, dissidents were taken from their families to be jailed or exiled. This made Tsar Nicholas unpopular and he lost the favour of his people with his policy of Russification.
Tsar Nicolas did not handle opposition well, he was violent and threatened by opposing parties including the Kadets wanting a democratic parliament, Social Revolutionaries demanding the land of the nobles be given to the peasants and Communists who were the followers of Karl Marx and divided into the moderate Mensheviks and the more extreme Bolsheviks who wanted a violent proletarian revolution. After 1900 there were many assassinations and protests by these parties, including Bloody Sunday in 1905 and Stolypin in 1911, but the Tsar would always respond with force or only reform his government as little as possible such as the formation of the Duma given next to no power.
The Orthodox Church had always supported the Tsar and his power with the divine right to rule and the Startsy had preached to workers to think of the Tsar as their ‘Little Father’ who as God’s representative on earth was to be a trusted head of the country and church. However when the Tsar allowed Rasputin, the possible member of the Kylysty sect, to have such great presence in parliament, preach false doctrine to the people and even have improper relations with women of the upper classes, their support faltered as they began to question the Tsar’s suitability for ruling and encouraged the workers to do so also.
Nicholas’ reluctance to reform Russia was one of the main reasons he was forced to abdicate in 1917. There remained to be a largely out-dated farming economy but towns in Russia were beginning to industrialise, for example the development of the trans- Siberian railway in 1904. However there was extreme worker poverty and poor living conditions which created a large workforce, disaffected and concentrated in Petrograd which wanted more reasonable working hours and conditions but did not receive them despite their constant strikes. There was also the wealthier middle class, including the factory workers, who were beginning to want a say in the government from 1913. However both of these classes found that the Duma although elected by the people, saw few workers represented but instead a parliament with a majority being of the nobility and who in 1905, if they acted too radically, would instantly be dissolved by Nicholas.
The working classes of Russia had revolted before to no avail in the earlier revolutions of 1905 where they were faced with the extreme brute force and weapons of the Army and the Cossacks. This shows that proletariat revolution had no real effect on the power of the Tsar whilst he still had command...

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