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Reaction to “Bloody Sunday” (and the other problems to an extent). October Manifesto (October 1905).
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Through all these horrible days, I constantly met Witte. We very often met in the early morning to part only in the evening when night fell. There were only two ways open; to find an energetic soldier and crush the rebellion by sheer force. That would mean rivers of blood, and in the end we would be where had started.
The other way out would be to give to the people their civil rights, freedom of speech and press, also to have laws conformed by a State Duma - that of course would be a constitution. Witte defends this very energetically.
Almost everybody I had an opportunity of consulting, is of the same opinion. Witte put it quite clearly to me that he would accept the Presidency of the Council of Ministers only on the condition that his programme was agreed to, and his actions not interfered with. We discussed it for two days and in the end, invoking God's help I signed.
This terrible decision which nevertheless I took quite consciously. I had no one to rely on except honest Trepov. There was no other way out but to cross oneself and give what everyone was asking for. –Nicholas II diary entry on October 19, 1905
The disturbances and unrest in St Petersburg, Moscow and in many other parts of our Empire have filled
Our heart with great and profound sorrow. The welfare of the Russian Sovereign and His people is
inseparable and national sorrow is His too. The present disturbances could give rise to national instability
and present a threat to the unity of Our State. The oath which We took as Tsar compels Us to use all Our
strength, intelligence and power to put a speedy end to this unrest which is so dangerous for the State.
The relevant authorities have been ordered to take measures to deal with direct outbreaks of disorder and
violence and to protect people who only want to go about their daily business in peace. However, in view
of the need to speedily implement earlier measures to pacify the country, we have decided that the work
of the government must be unified. We have therefore ordered the government to take the following
measures in fulfillment of our unbending will: