By 1912 even ‘Loyal’ Duma critical Had no power to change Tsar’s policies Criticism alone was no threat to Tsar The Duma • Tsar Nicholas II needed to reform Russia to prevent another revolution • 1906: First Duma meeting held hope • Duma had no power to override Tsar veto • N2 ignored legislative body • 1907 N2 changed voting rules to remove opponents (only aristocrats and wealthy citizens could vote) from Duma & held elections • 1907-1912 ‘Loyal’ Duma held
In 1906 Tsar N2 fired Witte as Prime Minister and promoted Peter Stolypin Stolypin • Stolypin used ‘stick & carrot’ approach to the problems of Russia • Stick: • Oppressed strikers, protestors, revolutionaries • 20,000+ exiled, 1,000+ hanged (‘Stolypin’s necktie’) • Successfully reduced opposition through 1914
The carrot Allowed kulaks to opt out of mirs, which increased production (still, 90% of peasants did not benefit) Increased production in factories (yet profits flowed to CAPITALISTS or banks in (F) to pay back loans for building the factories) Planned to offer basic education for peasants & workers Planned to create work-safety codes for factory workers Stolypin • Assassinated by revolutionary in 1911 • Tsar, influenced by landlords and his court, planned on firing him anyway, because he was changing Russia too much for the Tsar’s tastes • Tsar ordered investigation into Stolypin’s assassination halted … hmm
Agricultural & Industrial Production: 1890-1913 Million tons These figures were compiled by the Tsar’s Ministry of Trade and Industry
Year Strikes Strikers 1905 13,995 2,863,173 1906 6,114 1,108,406 1907 3,573 740,074 1908 892 176,101 1909 340 64,166 1910 222 46,623 1911 466 105,110 1912 2,032 725,491 1913 2,404 887,096 1914 3,534 1,337,458 What does the above table suggest about working peoples’ attitudes of the Tsar’s regime?
1912: Economy turned down Unemployment & hunger After Stolypin • Gov’t tried to measures to quell unrest • Practiced discrimination against Jews, Muslims, other minorities (popular move) • 1913: Brief pause in unrest due to tri-centennial celebrations • Afterward, unrest increased, especially among workers • Lena gold field strikes saw troops shooting workers • Let those in power make no mistake about the mood of the people .. Never were the Russian people … so profoundly revolutionized by the actions of the government, for day to day, faith in the government is steadily waning …” • Guchkov, conservative Duma member, 1913
Worst evidence of Tsar’s incompetence was promotion of dangerous figure to power Gregory Yefimovich, aka Rasputin Gained influence by stopping Tsar’s son’s hemophilia through hypnosis Freely gave advise on running Russia Drunkard & womanizer Rasputin means ‘disreputable’ Tsar’s opponents seized on Rasputin as example of Tsar’s unfitness to rule Tsar’s ignoring of the growing calls for Rasputin’s removal demonstrates how Tsar either didn’t know or didn’t care about people’s concerns Rasputin
Russian cartoon showing how Rasputin influenced the Tsar’s court. A Russian cartoon. The caption reads: ‘The Russian Tsars at home.’
Here are five characteristics you might expect of a good government: Trying to improve the lives of its people Building up its agriculture and industry Listening to and responding to its population Running the country efficiently Defending the country from enemies On a scale from 1 to 5, say how well you think the Tsarist government did on each one up to 1914. Explain your reason for that score. Now make a list of the successes and failures of the Tsarist government up to 1914. Which of the following assessments do you most agree with? By 1913 the government was: In crisis Strong but with some serious weaknesses Secure with only minor weaknesses Focus Task: How well was Russia governed in 1914? A Cossack soldier
The two hostile sides stood confronting each other. The old and gray court dignitaries, keepers of etiquette and tradition, looked across in a haughty manner, though not without fear and confusion, at ‘the people of the street’, whom the revolution had swept into the palace, and quietly whispered to one another. The other side looked across at them with no less disdain or contempt. • The court side of the hall resounded with orchestrated cheers as the Tsar approached the throne. But the Duma deputies remained completely silent. It was a natural expression of our feelings towards the monarch, who in the twelve years of his reign had managed to destroy all the prestige of his predecessors. The feeling was mutual: not once did the Tsar glance towards the Duma side of the hall. Sitting on the throne he delivered a short, perfunctory speech in which he promised to uphold the principles of autocracy ‘with unwavering firmness’ and, in a tone of obvious insincerity, greeted the Duma deputies as ‘the best people, of his Empire. With that he got up to leave. • As the royal procession filed out of the hall, tears could be seen on the face of the Tsar’s mother, the Dowager Empress. It had been a ‘ terrible ceremony’ she later confided to the Minister of Finance. For several days she had been unable to calm herself from the shock of seeing so many commoners inside the palace. • Memoirs of Duma deputy Obolensky, describing first the session of the Duma, April 1906 What does the PSD suggest about the attitude of the Tsar & members of his court to the idea of the ‘people’ running the country?