Alexander II tours Russia

1858 - 1859

Gives pro emancipation speeches, landlords prepare inventories of peasant holdings.

Emancipation of Russian Serfs

3rd March 1861

Reasons for Emancipation:
1) The Crimean War - Russia was economically backward and soldiers equipment was inadequate. The army could not be reorganised until the question of serfdom was addressed
2) Personal Reasons - Alex was a humane man and had studies the problem of serfdom
3) Moral - There was a growing criticism of the immorality of the system
4) Peasant Unrest - This was growing
5) Economic - Stopped developing private enterprise, growing small amount of private emancipation, increasing famine, railway was needed

Key Provisions:
-Land - all non state land belonged to nobles, serfs had to buy land they worked on. Peasants lost rights to woods and commons, domestic serfs not given land.
-Personal - Peasants no longer owened by lords. Free to marry, trade, work as pleased. No longer forced to work or give money to lords
-MIR (village commune) - power strenghened. Took over lords roles ie tax collection. Collectivly owned peasant land and collection of redemption payment. Had to agree if peasants wanted to leave.
-Compensation and Finance - Lords compensated for land losses and peasants had to pay redemption payments.

Effects of Emancipation:
The peasants were diappointed over the terms of emancipation.
647 riots in the first four months
Peasants still had special courts and no full citizen rights
Gentry lost a third of their land
Massive population rose put pressure on the land
Series of military reforms trained peasant reserve army was now possible
Key step to a capitalist economy encouraged the growth of railway, banking, industry and cities
Mir restriced the flow to the town
Agricultural production was not revolutionised
No natural surplus, quarter of farms not self sufficient
Political :
Gentry resisted change and they lost power over serfs so demanded political power.

Reform on education


Universities had greater autonomy. Liberal professors. Poor students= no frees. Primary school attendance increased. "powder keg"- radicalism grew as students were more worldly.

Reform of judiciary


Introduction of a modern Westernized- style system, Equal to all subjects, introduction of juries with well paid judges to prevent bribery. The courts were open to the public. Allowed considerable freedom of expression- only place this was present in society.. Political cases were rmoved and secret police could still arrest at will.

Secondary Education Statute Passed


Censorship lessened


In 1865 edicts were issued easing rigid censorship regulations for a significant number of books and periodicals with the exception of newspapers of mass circulation. As a result, progressive journalism flourished presenting the Russian educated public with a truthful and critical picture of the country’s social and political problems

Elementy Education Statute passed



1880 - 1889

Censorship was increased, as the government attempted to limit the circulation of 'harmful' ideas in newspapers, books and libraries, and education came under closer government control in the attempt to further limit opposition and revolutionary ideas. Universities lost some of the independence granted to them under Alexander II, while the raising of school fees was a deliberate ploy to keep lower-class children out of primary and secondary education. Podenostsev believed firmly that education for peasant children was both a waste of time and resources, depriving their parents of help at home while failing to prepare them for their future lives in agriculture.



Under Podonostsev's influence and position as the Procurator of the Holy Synod (state head of Orthodox Church), a strict policy of Russification was followed towards the non-Russian groups of the empire. This policy of suppressing local cultures and promoting Russian characteristics was not invented by Alexander III, but it was appllied with new determination in his reign. Worse affected by this cultural nationalism was the Jewish population, who faced anti-semitic prejudice and oppression. Anti-semitic legislation banned Jews from the civil service, limited their education opportunities and where they could live, while the government was happy to encourage violence and pogroms against Jewish communities as a means of diverting popular discontent.

Manifesto of Unshakable Autocracy

April 1881

The conservative nature of Alexander's rule shown in his early actions as Tsar was confirmed and given formal shape in his "Manifesto of Unshakeable Autocracy" issued to the nation in April 1881. This document clearly showed the influence of Pobedonostsev in its rejection of democracy and further reform, and the intent to have "full faith in the justice and strength of the autocracy" that he believed God had bestowed upon him. This manifesto (and possibly also the fact that he took his motto as that of Nicholas 1's: 'Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality') made Alexander III extremely unpopular with Russia's educated Westernized population, and liberal government ministers of his father's reign resigned in protest (including Loris-Melikov).

Jewish Pogram

August 1881

The term "pogrom" in the meaning of large-scale, targeted, and repeated anti-Jewish rioting,

Statute on Police Surveillance

March 1882

Educational decree Passed


Land Captains Introduced

12 July 1889

Land captains were representatives of the administrative and judicial authority in Russian villages from 1889 to 1917. Radical plans to destroy the zemstva completely were dropped, but the introduction of Land Captains and changes in the voting system served to strengthen autocracy and the position of the nobility in the countryside and reduce peasant self-government. The Land Captains were introduced in 1889, and as they were drawn solely from the nobility, had total authority in local administration and could thus override the authority of the zemstva they contradicted Alexander II's earlier local government reforms. Similarly, given the conservative dislike of democracy and elected assemblies, new laws were introduced in 1890 and 1892 to alter the electorate and reduce the popular vote in rural and urban elections - for example, in St Petersburg the electorate was reduced by 2/3 from 21,000 to 7,000 following these reforms. the peasants experienced the Land Captains and other aspects of Alexander's rule as so repressive that some feared that he planned to re-instate the institution of serfdom.

Great Famine

1891 - 1892

The Russian famine of 1891–2 began along the Volga River, then spread as far as the Urals and Black Sea. The reawakening of Russian Marxism and populism is often traced to the public's anger at the Tsarist government's poor handling of the disaster.

Peasants banned from leaving the mir


A clear example of this repression, that shows Alexander's fear and attempt to control them, was his move in 1893 to ban peasants from leaving the Mir, placing a complete restriction on their freedom to move and strengthening the control the Mir exerted over individual peasants.

ALexander III dies

Oct 1894

Nicholas II crowned May 1894

Stolypin's decree on agriculture

November 1906

Stolypin was aware that beyond violent repression, reform was essential if the tsardom was to be maintained, and where Witte had looked to industry Stolypin attempted to get to grips with the deep-rooted problems of Russian agriculture.
The idea underlying Stolypin’s reforms was that the best way to strengthen support for the regime was to create a class of prosperous peasants. The key problems that he needed to address were: i) negative effect of the mir on economic development, ii) ineffective land usage in the village leading to inefficient agriculture and iii) the ever-present ‘land hunger’ among peasants.

300 years of Rominov rule


Germany declares war on Russia

Aug 1914

Nicholas II abdicted

March 1, 1917

What led to the downfall of the Tsar?

1 Tsarist Russia was a huge country with a diverse population, making it a very different country to govern.

2 In 1900, an overwhelming majority of the population were peasants.

3 Russia was an autocracy, ruled by a tsar who was at the head of a vast, unresponsive and inefficient bureaucracy.

4 The tsars used repressive measures to keep control but despite this a number of opposition parties developed.

5 The last tsar, Nicholas II, was an ineffective and weak leader, unable to cope with the pressures of modernising Russia whilst trying to retain autocratic institutions.

6 The task of modernising Russia was one that even the most able leader would have found difficult.

7 Nicholas received a warning in 1905 when revolution broke out all over Russia. He survived the 1905 Revolution by making concessions but was unwilling to make the move to a more democratic, representative form of government.

8 The First World War put the Tsar and his regime under tremendous pressure and in February 1917 it collapsed.

April Thesis

April 1917

Lenin made the announcement of the April Thesis on the 3rd of April and released them in the Bolshevik Newspaper, the Pravda, on the 7th of April.
The slogans were extremely memorable and highlighted Bolshevik policies well.
As 80% of the population were peasants, the policies were well suited to them and would have obviously gained them a lot of power.
The April Thesis lead to the July Days, a failure of the Bolsheviks as they were all imprisoned (apart from Lenin who escaped) for Industrial workers chanting these Bolshevik Slogans.
Peasants were in desperate need of peace bread and land, they had wanted an end to war due to inflation and deaths, this inflation caused less food to be affordable and as they were peasants this caused deaths. Land was still extremely expensive and they needed land for crops.
It was Simple and strongly affective.

Lenin arrives in Petrograd

April 3,1917

Kerensky escapes

Oct 1917

Provisional Government shut down Bolshevik newspapers

Oct 1917

Gregorian Calendar Introduced

Feb 1918

Capital transferred form Petrograd to Moscow

March 1918

Murder of Tsar and his family

July 1918

USSR formed

December 1922

In post-revolutionary Russia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, comprising a confederation of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation (divided in 1936 into the Georgian, Azerbaijan, and Armenian republics). Also known as the Soviet Union, the new communist state was the successor to the Russian Empire and the first country in the world to be based on Marxist socialism.

Death of Lenin

Jan 1924


Zemstva established

1 January 1864

With the abolition of serfdom removing the legal basis of gentry’s control of the peasantry, Alexander saw the need for changes in the governmental system. In 1864 local government assemblies calledzemstvawere set up, followed by urban assemblies calleddumasin 1870.
These zemstva were potentially a radical liberal measure towards a system with a degree of local self-government - a radical measure in a centralist autocracy. However, Alexander intended them to support the traditional system of government rather than to move away from this. In effect, Alexander was appeasing local nobility by giving them some local political power in response to their perceived loss of status with the serfs' emancipation.
+ The zemstvas and dumas had local power over public health, prisons, roads, agriculture, and education, which provided new opportunities for local political participation in ways they had not previously been possible. These local officials therefore had the chance to engage in Russia's real social problems.
- On the other hand, and revealing the clear limitations of this new form of 'local power', the police remained under central control, the provisional governor could overrule all zemstva decisions, the zemstva were permanently short of money, which limited their practical options, and the voting system was heavily weighted towards local landowners (they were far from democratic institutions!), which made it easy for the conservative nobility to and their interests to dominate assemblies.

Establishment of Russian Social and Democratic Party


SDP splits


The Social and Democratic Party splits between Bolsheviks (under Lenin) and Mensheviks (under Martov)

Formation of St Petersburg Soviet

Oct 1905

Nicholas signs the October Manifesto

Oct 1905

A document promising political reforms, issued by Tsar Nicholas II at the height of the 1905 Revolution.


1906 - 1917

The elected legislative body that, along with the State Council, constituted the imperial Russian legislature from 1906 until its dissolution at the time of the March 1917 Revolution.

First state Duma called

April 1906

State Duma dissolved

July 1906

The Triple Entente formed


Russia, Britain and France

Provisional Committee of Duma formed

Feb 1917

Provisional Government Formed

March 1917

Milyukov resigns from Government

April 1917

First All-Russian Congress of Soviets opens in Petrograd

June 1917

Prince Lvov resigns

july 1917

Kerensky becomes prime minister

July 1917

Bolsheviks achieve majority in Petrograd soviet

Sep 1917

Second Congress of Soviets meets

Oct 1917

Second All Russian Congress of Soviets creates government

Oct 1917

Remaining member of provisional Government Areested

Oct 1917

Russian Civil War

November 1917 - October 1922

Constitute Assembly meets and is Dispersed

Jan 1918

7th Bolshevik Party Conference

March 1918

Communist Party name adopted

Party Secretariat and politburo Founded

March 1919

Comintern founded

March 1919

Treaty of Rapallo

April 1922


State Bank esablished


Peasant land bank set up

Apr 1883

Nobles bank Established


Poll tax abolished

Jun 1886


Crimean war

1854 - 1856

Humiliating defeat highlighted that Russia was miles behind modern European powers
Russia had not changed much since 1812
Difficulty in ending the war and clear threat of future attack
Real changes was needed
Russian communications were woeful
Munitions industries inadequate
Administration was corrupt and ineffective
Discontent had spread in all classes

Treaty of Paris

March 1856

Military Reforms

1874 - 1875

Balkan Crisis

Aug 1875 - 1878

Eastern Crisis brings war with Turkey

Russo - Japanese War

8 February 1904 - 5 September 1905

Treaty of Portsmouth


Brings Russo-Japanese war to the an end

Battle of Tsushima

27th of May 1905 - 28th of May 1905

Mutiny on Battleship Potemkin

14th June 1905

World War I

28 July 1914 - 11 November 1918

Nicholas assumes active command of military Opperations


Brusilov Offensive

4 June 1916 - 20 September 1916

June offence

June 1917

June offensive:
In June PG launched an all out offensive on Germany to put the country in a better position in the war (WW1). The offensive (called June offensive) ended in disaster and PG was deeply discredited. As a result, the Bolsheviks and other political parties got increased support.

Armistice negotiated with Germans

Dec 1917

Cheka Established

Dec 1917

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

March 1918

Opposition and Protest

"Young Russia" published


A group of students published ‘Young Russia’ which argued that reform was essential and that revolution was the medium necessary to effect change.

Second Polish rebellion

1863 - May 1864

January Uprising

Jan 1863

Polish rebellion against Russian rule in Poland; the Uprising was unsuccessful and resulted in the imposition of tighter Russian control over Poland.

Polish Autonomy abolished

Jan 1864

Assassination attempt of Alexander II


Land and Liberty founded


Land and Liberty was a Russian clandestine revolutionary organization of Narodniki (middle- or upper-class revolutionaries attempting to spread socialism in rural areas) in the 1870s. Land and Liberty received its name in the late 1878 with the creation of the printing shop with the same name.

Trial of the 50


Vera Zasulich shoots military governor of St Petersburg

Jan 1878

She is not convicted, government steps up its exile of people accepted of supporting terrorism.

People's will set up


Assasination of Alexander II

March 1881

Assassinated by the people's will

Assassination attempt of Alexander III

March 1887

Bloody Sunday

Jan 1905

Father Gapon's marchers fired on by troops.About 200 people died and 800 were wounded.

Assassination of Stolypin


Lena Goldfield Massacre


Assassination of Rasputin


Nicholas II orders military to stop riots

feb 1917

Troops fire on crowds , mass mutiny begins in local army regiments.

International women's demonstration

Feb 1917


Massive strikes and demonstrations

Feb 1917


Petrograd Soviet Formed

March 1917

July Days

July 3, 1917 - July 7, 1917

In July a spontaneous uprising occured, which consisted of 500 000 soldiers, workers and sailors rebelled in Kronstadt. They later marched to petrograd to demand overthrow of PG. However, the rebellion was dismantled as PG still retained control of some loyal Russian troops. Even though this affair hurt the reputation of the PG, it also damaged the Bolshevik reputation as the PG blamed them for the whole incident.
Fitzpatrick argues that "the whole affair damged Bolshevik morale and Lenin's credibility as a revolutionary leader"

Kornilov Affair

Aug 1917

In August 1917, general Kornilov took his army and marched to Petrograd to overthrow PG. He was discontent with the way PG handled politics and WW1. Alexander Kerensky, leader of PG, panicked and since he was unable to put up an adequate defence by using loyal forces, he armed the Bolsheviks so they could help him. However, Kornilov's army did not reach Petrograd as some of his soldiers mutinied and railway workers sabotaged the railways. Now the PG reputation was shattered and the government started to disintergrate. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks got more support because they were percieved as the defenders of Petrograd, and they were also armed now compared to other political parties.

Bolsheviks capture Winter Palace

Oct 1917

Bolsheviks take over government buildings in Petrograd

Oct 1917

Lenin persuades Bolshevik Central Committee to proceed with revolution

Oct 1917

A small party of British troops land at Murmansk

March 1918

British Attack and occupy Arkhangelsk

Aug 1918

Kolchak heads attack from western Siberia, Ukraine and Estonia

April 1919 - October 1919

All whites attacks defeated

Nov 1919

Tambov Rising

1920 - 1921

Polish Attack toward Kiev

April 1920

Soviet counter-attack reaches Warsaw

Polish counter-attack

Oct 1920

Polish Armistice

Nov 1920

Kronstadt Mutiny

1 March 1921


Alexander II

2nd March 1855 - 13th MArch 1881

-Well prepared to be tsar, was committed to retaining tsarist rule, influenced by the defeat in the Crimea, significant peasant unrest and social instability when came to the throne.
-strengthen and consolidate tsarist rule, Make Russia a great power, industrial growth, Modernise the army and the economy

Put forward the emancipation edict, Introduced the western style legal system, introduced the Zemstva and Mir. Made many army, education and economical reforms.
The reforms increased political opposition, could not carry out reforms without undermining autocracy. Growth of radical extremism as there was more knowledge about the western systems. Failure to deal with the opposition led to his assassination in 1881.
Reforms made early in reign but opted against further reform later in reign and in the 1870s he enacted more conservative reforms such as making universities less independent and giving less freedom to the press.

Prepared for the role of Tsar by his father
Well planned education
Widly travelled man
Strict millitary upbringing
Had a depth of knowledge about Russia's problems as he served on committees
Humane and sensitive person - more than his father
Strong belief in autocracy
Patriotic, religious and conservative
Desired real change in Russia
Known as the 'Tsar Liberator' - due to the amount of reforms he introduced

Alexander III

13 March 1881 - 1 November 1894

Background - i.e. personality, upbringing, circumstances in which he came to rule

Alexander III was the second son of Alexander II and thus had not been prepared or educated to take over the throne. When his older brother however died in 1865, he became the heir to Tsardom.
His father had oppointed the conservative Konstantin Pobodonestev as his tutor and shaped the conservative thoughts of Alexander III from early age.
He had a forceful character, conservative and strongly opposed western ideas.
Alexander blamed his father's death on the reforms he had made earlier in his life and strengthened the autocratic element of AIII's reign.
Greatly influenced by his tutor who believed that all opposition should be ruthlessly crushed and freedom of press and constitutions represented a threat to the state.
Russia was still significantly backwards and economically weak when AIII came to the throne and needed to some drastic changes!

Key aims as Tsar:
His "Manifesto of Unshakable Autocracy" issued in April 1881, showed rejection of democracy and further reform and the intent to have "full faith in the justice and strength of the autocracy".
Wanted to strengthen the autocracy and eliminate the opposition that had arisen from his father's reform.
However, also saw the urgent need to modernize and improve economically to become a Great Power.

Methods and policies to achieve these:

-The terrorists responsible for his father's assassination were executed and a further 10,000 suspects were arrested.
-Censorship was re-introduced and his fathers plans for a constituent assembly were immediatly crushed.
-Local Government: Land Captains were introduced in 1889 to strengthen autocracy and position of the nobility on the countryside- taken only from the nobility, had local authority over administration and could overrule all zemstva's decisions! New laws introduced in 1890 1992 to reduce popular vote in rural and urban areas- in St.Petersburg the electorate was reduced by 2/3 following these reforms.
-Peasantry and social policy: Some feared, due to the repressive nature of AIII's reforms, that he was going to re-institute serfdom but instead gave more power to the mir- 1893, banned peasants from leaving the mir and strengthened the power the mir had over the individual.
-Power of the state and repression: The Statute of State Security was issued in 1881 and gave govt. more powers to persue revolutionaries. Gave right to ban public gatherings, close schools and universities and charge individuals for political crimes. Allowed them to imprison suspected opponents of the state without trial and conditions in prisons made more severe.
-Censorship: education came under tighter control of the government and granted most of the --------
-independence gained under AII's rule. The tutition fees were raised to exlude lower-class children from primary and secondary education; believed this was a waste of time!
-Russification and anti-semitism: The policy of suppressing national minorities was harshly put into action and the worst off were the jews who were constantly faced with progroms and oppression. The state encouraged violence against the Jewish population as a way to divert popular discontent.
-Economic: Created the Peasants' Land Bank in 1882 to help the peasants purchase land and was so successful that by 1904 the peasants had bought 1/3 of the nobility's land. Also abolished the Poll Tax which was payed only by the peasants in 1886.
-Offered limited concessions to the workers by introducing laws in 1883 and 85 to improve working conditions for women and children and in 1886-labour legislation payment and dismissal to protect the workers.

Witte as finance minister

1892 - 1903

Sergei Witte, a Russian nobleman of Dutch origin, served as Minister of Finance from 1892 and 1903 and oversaw some impressive changes to the Russian economy.
Witte’s belief was that the key to Russia’s continued ‘Great Power’ status rested on successful and rapid forced industrialization. Developing industry would be a way to avoid dependency on more developed economies and also create a strong modern state in Russia.
Witte’s plan to deliver an industrialized Russia was based on a four-fold plan to fund the programme of capital investment: i) protective tariffs on foreign goods to protect against competition from Europe, ii) attraction of foreign capital in the shape of loans, esp from the French, iii) placing currency on the Gold Standard to encourage further foreign investment, and iv) squeezing resources out of the peasantry and workers - through low wages, high taxes and exporting ‘surplus’ grain.
On the one hand, his policies strengthened Russia leading up to WW1. Huge capital investment led to considerable industrial and railway developments, bringing clear economic and military benefits to Russia. In this sense, successful economic modernization achieved from a very low base - though it should also be noted there were clear limitations to this economic modernization, it should not be over-exaggerated.
On the other hand, the fact there were no political reforms to match this economic modernization created a tension which undermined Russia before 1914. For instance, the growth of a disgruntled industrial working class in the cities created fertile conditions for the growth of radical opposition in the face of poor conditions. Furthermore, his industrial drive failed to address the fundamental agricultural backwardness of Russia.

In 1903, Nicholas II transferred Witte to the Chairman of the Committees - this was arguably largely a symbolic position, and NII was removing Witte from position of influence in the face of conservatives and landed gentry who disliked his modernising policies. Witte, and his somewhat liberal tendencies, would also be of importance to NII in the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese war after 1905.
Historian Hugh Seton-Watson is not alone in claiming Witte as "one of the outstanding statesmen of the 19th century."

Nicholas II

1894 - 1917

Background - i.e. personality, upbringing, circumstances in which he came to rule

"Nicholas had no knowledge of the world or of men, of politics or government to help him make the difficult and weighty decisions that the Tsar alone must make. The only guided stars he recognised were the inherited belief in the moral rightness of autocracy, and a religious faith that he was in God's hands, and his actions were divinely inspired." (Historian, Hans Rogger).
Shy, quiet man, later dominated by his wife, the Tsarina.
Educated, like his father, by arch-conservative Pobedonostsev. Excellent education, but as his father, AIII, expected to reign for another 20-30 years, Nicholas was given little practical experience in how to rule before his father's sudden death in 1894.
Faced with expectations that he might relax his father's oppression, Nicholas II dismissed claims of the zemstva for more political responsibility as "senseless dreams". He would face far greater problems than those encountered by his father, and his failure to deal with them led to the collapse of the Romanov dynasty and the imperial tradition of tsarist rule in 1917.

Key aims as Tsar:

Main aim was to “maintain the principle of autocracy just as firmly and unflinchingly as it was preserved by my unforgettable dead father”, in addition to modernize without revolution!

In terms of foreign policies, Tsar Nicholas the Second aimed to
To gain a warm water port.
To get the Straits of the Dardanelles (the entrance to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean) reopened to its warships. This had been closed to Russian ships after the Crimean War.
To extend her influence in the Balkans, taking advantage of the decline of Turkish power.
To promote a conservative, religious alliance among Slavs in Eastern Europe (Pan-Slavism) as a cover for expanding Russian control.
To expand eastwards into Asia especially in Iran, Tibet and India

Methods and policies to achieve these:
The Fundamental Law of the Empire of 1906 - “the Emperor of All of Russia has supreme autocratic power”
(Methods and policies further explained in failures and success)
Successes (from whose perspective?)

The Czar turned to advice to Count Witte who urged him to agree to fundamental reform. On 30 October the Czar issued the October Manifesto that promised a constitution and a parliament or Duma elected by the people. The Russians were also promised full civil liberties.
The duma provided an arena in which the various political groups (liberals, SD, SR) could argue and become more divided. This, together with Stolypin’s ruthless suppression of opposition, helped to marginalize the opponents of the regime’s position after 1905.
His main device for resisting revolution was the introduction of land reform. He felt that this could make the better-off peasants loyal supporters of the regime. He introduced reforms in 1906 that allowed peasants to leave the local commune (Mir) where land was held in common and receive their share of land in private property. This would allow them to become permanent owners of their own farms. These reforms had some success and by 1915 about half of the peasants in European Russia owned their farms. He also encouraged smaller farmers to enlarge their holdings with aid from a Peasant Bank that he established. Peasants were encouraged to settle in Siberia in order to alleviate land shortage.

The policies of Nicholas the Second’s Minster of Finance (1892-1903) Witte strengthened Russia leading up to WW1. Huge capital investment led to considerable industrial and railway developments, bringing clear economic and military benefits to Russia. In this sense, successful economic modernization achieved from a very low base - though it should also be noted there were clear limitations to this economic modernization, it should not be over-exaggerated.

Failures (from whose perspective?) and reasons for his downfall and the collapse of the 300 year old Romanov dynasty in February 1917:

"The 1905 revolution did more than anything else during Nicholas II's reign to undermine support for the regime." Historian Richard Charques.
His stubborn personality limited him in his success. Nicholas the Second failed to deal with Russia’s serious political problems. In addition to his failure to consider reform led to the growth of opposition.
The depth of opposition to the Czar was shown by the events of 1905 that was brought on by defeat in the Russo-Japanese War. The conduct of the war exposed the inefficiency and corruption of the Czarist system of government and contributed directly to the revolution of 1905.
The Czar refused to listen to demands for political change. This led to political discontent caused by the absence of political reform, economic discontent caused by poor wages and increasing taxation, in addition to the defeat and poor management of the war against Japan.

Stolypin Prime Minister

july 1906 - April 1911

As prime minister under Nicholas II, Stoylpin attempted to quell the growing tide of unrest in Russia through a combination of land reforms and crackdowns on radical terrorist groups. The radicals won, assassinating Stolypin in 1911. Petr Stolypin was appointed chief minister in 1907, and like Witte is seen as one of the few who could have saved the regime, if Nicholas had been prepared to listen to him more carefully. Stolypin played an important role in restoring order and crushing opposition after 1905, and also in introducing some reform measures that contributed to relative stability in the years leading up to WW1.
Stolypin said that 20 years of peace were needed if Russia was to be stabilized, but his reforms only had 7 years of peace before WW1 broke out. Difficult to say if his reforms could have proved the basis for a prosperous class of independent farmers as a way of solving Russia’s agricultural problems, as the impact of the First World War and the 1917 revolutions meant they were not given the chance to continue!
Some historians - the ‘optimists’, generally Western and non-Marxist - have argued that the Stolypin era was one of hope and possibility: agriculture and industry were making progress, there was some limited political reform, perhaps progress towards a more modern, liberal Russia would have been possible if not for the First World War? Such a view sees Stolypin as a positive reformer who could have saved the Tsarist autocracy.
However, against this view is that of the ‘pessimists’ who argue that little real progress was made either politically or economically. Stolypin’s agricultural reforms still left poverty-stricken peasants and a greater number of industrial workers in the cities, both factors likely to contribute to instability. This position is often taken by Soviet and Marxist historians, who argue that any attempt to rescue Tsarism was doomed to failure, as revolution was the only possible outcome to the social and economic forces at work in early twentieth-century Russia.

Provisional Government

2nd March 1917 - October 1917

Communist Goverment

Oct 1917 - 1924

Led by Lenin