How far were divisions among its opponents responsible for the survival of Tsarist rule in the years 1881-1905?
To a certain extent the divisions among the opponents of the Tsar, such as the Bolshevik and Menshevik split in the Marx party after the 1903 conference, or even the divisions among different revolutionary parties entirely, e.g. Marx and the Social Revolutionaries, was responsible for the survival of Tsarist rule in this period as this led to disorganisation and lack of effectiveness among opposition. However other factors, such as the loyalty of the army, despite mutinies during the 1905, allowed the Tsar to remain in control. Furthermore actions by the Tsar himself, although not that effective, for example the reforms in the October Manifesto and the continuing support of the ruling elite was accredited to securing the Tsarists power.
Throughout this time period the ruling elite, who made up 1.1% of the population despite owning 25% of the land, maintained constant support of the Tsar. This support was based on reliance in the Tsars rule in order to ensure their own aristocracy. The nobles controlled the land Therefore through the nobility’s control of land and as a result the means of production, the Tsar had autocratic power over the majority who worked this land; the peasants, both of state (32.7%) and through the nobility 50.7% as despite the emancipation of serfs in 1861 the lives of these peasants were heavily restricted and reliant on the land owners through the Mir, censorship, tax and redemption payments, of which many could not pay for and so were forced into debt. the peasants themselves, being both restricted in the Mir and due to their traditional attitudes and acceptance of social situation, what Marx would call a lack of revolutionary consciousness, can be attributed to the Tsarist survival.
The peasant society itself is a strong factor in the survival of the Tsar as, despite regular small and ultimately fruitless uprisings which were easily stopped by land owners, the peasants were as a whole loyal to the Tsar due to belief that the Tsar was divinely appointed. Previous to the 1905 revolution, particularly Bloody Sunday, the peasants, and many other workers which made up 86% of the population, believed the Tsar would help if only he knew their suffering and that it was the oppressive land owners, not the Tsar regime, that were to blame. Furthermore the peasants existed in a Mir community. The Mir was a village commune which was ran on a cooperative basis and with a democratic basis led by a committee of elders. Within the community the peasants existed as one body with one opinion, for example whole villages would vote for the same electorate in the Duma after the 1905 revolution, and so the development of any opposition to the Tsar and social revolutionary consciousness was not present. Furthermore the inefficient farming strip method, where land was allotted according to size of the household, meant that farming techniques were not developed and there was a lack of desire to improve their lives and so little desire to overthrow the nobility; the peasants did not care about revolution, they only wanted more land. Finally the Mir heavily influenced the peasants’ mind-set and orchestrated a very controlling environment, peasants could not move freely from place to place without permission and punished those who did not toe the line, this only added to the lack of desire to revolt or attempt any change in lifestyle. However both politicians, such as Stolypin, and reforms under the Tsar’s, for example Peasant Land Bank set up after 1905 revolution offering peasants loans for land and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and development of independent farms from the Mir.
Throughout this period the Tsar’s, both Alexander III and Nicholas II, initiated social, industrial and agricultural reforms to varying extents. These reforms, although often limited and, in the case of Alexander,...
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