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Imperial Russia - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Imperial Russia

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  1. Imperial Russia • Russian Empire in last half of nineteenth century - vast expanse of land; Siberia rich in natural resources • 1891 Trans Siberian Railway • 1891 widespread famine - “Golodnyi Khleb” Peasant conditions extreme - high taxes; speculators export grain • little organized rebellion

  2. Alexander III • Tsar - autocratic regime; Alexander - rejected any form of constitutionalism; • “Father to all the Russians” • anti-semitic • his father assassinated by the People’s Will, March 1881 • supported new military alliance with France in 1883

  3. Russian Peasants • Russia in 1890’s - 80% of peasants lived in tiny villages • short lifespan • peasants - “Narod” - dark people • intermarriage - genetic disorders • “izby” - cottage - dark, filthy • ikons, vermin, “cockroaches”?

  4. Peasants • village communes - insufficient land to support families • low technology; inefficient farming • bad diet - high mortality rate; vodka • incessant labor • superstitious, fatalistic, ignorant, and illiterate • Tsar viewed as “little Father”

  5. Peasants and Intelligentsia • educated Russians ignorant of realities of peasant life • Turgenev - revealed grim lives of peasants • 1874 - young radicals go into the countryside; many believe village commune would be the basis for a new socialist society • 1891 - experts carry out research on peasant life and suggest solutions

  6. Industrialization • by early twentieth century Russia had expanded its heavy industry • Sergei Witte - 1892 finance minister • proletariat lived and worked in dire conditions • workers - long hours, low wages, child labor • emergence of intelligentsia among the working class - adopted puritan lifestyle

  7. Russian Marxism • 1883 - Plekhanov establishes first Marxist group • Plekhanov criticizes terrorist approach of “People’s Will” - need to educate the masses • workers viewed as source of revolution, not peasants • Plekhanov helped prepare the way for Lenin • Plekhanov in exile in Switzerland

  8. Lenin • Lenin - expelled from university; later studied law; convinced Marxist; his brother executed • 1895 - arrested for political activities and exiled to Siberia. Wrote “Development of Capitalism in Russia” • 1896 - widespread strike action • 1898 - Russian Social Democratic and Labor Party founded in Minsk

  9. Lenin’s Political Philosophy • newspaper founded “Iskra” - The Spark; Lenin and Plekhanov disagree on political strategy • 1902 - Lenin writes “What is to be Done?” • Lenin believed party must consist of professional revolutionaries, an elite conspiratorial group

  10. the party would guide the working class to victory • 1903 Brussels Congress - party split between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks • Lenin authoritarian approach to party discipline

  11. Russo-Japanese War • changes in nineteenth century warfare - repeating rifles, long- range artillery, railroads and costs - placed Russia at a disadvantage • building of the TSR increased Russia’s involvement in the affairs of the Far East - China, Korea and Japan

  12. Russian involvement in Manchuria and Korea led to conflict with Japan • Japan in the late nineteenth century had modernized her economy and military

  13. Japan short of natural resources - oil, iron • Japan had already defeated China in 1894 • minister Witte had warned against a war with Japan • Nicholas II decides on war - “ little short-tailed monkeys” • Japanese fleet attack Port Arthur - January 1904

  14. patriotic outpouring in support of the war • Russian navy - ships and tactics lead to catastrophe • Japanese lay siege to Port Arthur - Russians finally surrendered • war continued until August 1905, when peace terms were finally agreed • Nicholas II humiliated by defeat