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THE OCTOBER MANIFESTO 17 October, 1905
HOW DID TSAR NICHOLAS RESPOND TO THE UNREST OF 1905? • Faced with anarchy on all sides, the Tsar accepted Cabinet government and appointed Russia’s first Prime Minister, Count Witte • On 17 October 1905 Nicholas announced his ‘October Manifesto’: • Fundamental civil freedoms will be granted to the population, including real personal inviolability, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association • Participation in the Duma will be granted to those classes of the population which are at present deprived of voting powers • It is established as an unshakeable rule that no law can come into force without its approval by the State Duma and that the elected representatives will be given the opportunity to play a real part in the supervision of the legality of the activities of government bodies.
THE RESULTS OF THE MANIFESTO • The divided the opposition forces • Some liberals immediately accepted the terms • Right-wing supporters of autocracy (the Black Hundreds) began a wave of attacks on Jews and liberal intellectuals, supported by the police authorities • Some socialist groups were very suspicious of the proposed changes
FURTHER UNREST • The St Petersburg Soviet of Workers called a further general strike in November but it was not supported by the middle class unions or many workers • The government responded to this by arresting the Soviet leaders and closing the Soviet itself by military force • The Bolsheviks called on workers in other cities to strike in defence of their St Petersburg colleagues. In Moscow the call was answered • The police tried to prevent the strikes but the workers threw up barricades and the strike turned into a full-scale revolution • Military units were sent and two weeks of fighting followed ending in the defeat of the rebels • Over 1000 workers died. Order was restored but it left a legacy of hatred and mistrust. The events of 1905 shocked the nation. It was at a crossroads – it could bind the nation together or further conflict could take place.