Was life improving for the Russian people before 1914? Essay

For The People of Russia, life before 1914 had many ups and many downs. The 1905 revolution began in January as there were over 400,000 workers on strike.

Russia was in turmoil and there was little or no control, throughout the rest of the year troubles such as strikes, demonstrations and assassinations were occurring more frequently. The Tsar had suffered from the revolution and uprising of the peasants and workers, therefore at the end of 1905 when the trouble died down he had decided to make some changes.The Tsar appointed a Prime Minister (Peter Stolypin) to deal with controlling the violence. Stolypin had hundreds of people hanged on the spot by new laws and this caused great fear among Russians and made them think twice before opposing the Tsar and life had thus far deteriorated for the majority of Russians. However, a change in course led to the freedom of press being granted in 1905 and this was considered a massive victory and step towards a better Russia for its people.This didn’t turn out quite as hoped though because newspapers were still censored or fined for offending the government and this can hardly be considered as freedom of press as the “freedom” Is limited. Also in 1905 after much demand the Tsar had reluctantly formed a parliament or Duma that was to be elected by the people and in theory this was excellent as the peasants and workers of Russia would have more of a say in how their country would be run.

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Things did not turn out as planned as the Duma had little if any power; they could not pass laws, could not appoints ministers and could not make any individual decision as the Tsar could make anything the Duma brought forward as void and null and dissolved it. Despite these disadvantages the Duma demanded more power for themselves and rights for the ordinary people of Russia and also more land to be given to Russia. Of course the Tsar Decided he didn’t like their views and had dissolved the Duma.Along the way there were many Dumas and hardly any of them worked out and if anything made life worse for Russian people, but they were a step towards a perfect Duma and were better off with little power than before than with none. Although the Tsar seemed to have made many mistakes and may have brought the terrible crisis of Russia upon himself through the errors he made, he had made one very tactful and successful decision. The Tsar realised that of the two types of people rebelling (the workers and the peasants) they both needed each other to fight against him and stand as a threat.Therefore, he decided to satisfy just one party-the peasants- and thus splitting the rebellion by half as the peasants would be happier and no longer wish to rebel and the workers would be unable to rebel by themselves.

He did this along with Stolypin by setting up a peasants’ bank to provide a loan for peasants so they could buy strips of land which they owned individually. This would increase agricultural production, keep the peasants happy and no longer wishing to rebel and create a new class of prosperous and wealthier peasants which would in turn be loyal to the government.This worked as there was a record increase in the production of grain in 1913. This can also be looked upon as a negative because the outbreak of war in 1914 stopped all the reforms and the reforms caused a lot of poorer peasants to become even poorer and sell their land, being forced to wander around looking for work. There was another good side in the cities where an industrial boom occurred between 1905 and 1914. The industrial production had increased by a total of 100 per cent.This had many consequences to Russia as it became the fourth largest producer of coal, pig iron and steel.

Their oil fields were extremely good and nearly all factories used the most up to date and effective production methods to ensure the best results. Many workers were in factories with over a thousand workers although this made factories more efficient it also made it easier to organise strikes on a large scale. Mistakenly, it might seem that the industrial boom had improved the lives of the Russian people but in actual fact the workers didn’t benefit from the industrial boom.The conditions for living and working improved very little during the industrial boom and not as much as would have been thought for the boom to benefit the people of Russia. On the contrary prices had risen so much then that they were worse off than before the boom had started as although they had slightly more money the prices were much more expensive and the people of Russia could barely afford food to buy. And to sum it all up in 1912 a strike about declining working conditions in Siberia left 170 killed and 373 wounded.This did however open a gate for more workers protests and a step towards getting their own views through and their own needs across.

Overall, some Russians had benefited through the years whereas others had their lives ruin or taken away from them. The situation for most Russians had become worse before it started to get better but if the Russians had not taken those revolutionary steps forward then their situation would have probably declined anyway and at least they opened the doorway for improvements to be made in the future.On the other hand I think that before 1914 the Tsar had dominance over the crisis in Russia and had controlled the riots and the strikes well to suit his needs. And before 1914 life for the average Russia would have been degrading and I think that life wasn’t improving although there were some major improvements in some areas the bad things had outweighed the good changes.


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