Long-term Cause Of The Russian
In 1812 Czar Alexander the First had sworn an oath that Russia would never make peace as long as an enemy stood on Russian soil. Little did he know that not much more than a century later the enemy was those who were native to the Russian soil-the people. The Russian Revolution was an event that shaped the rest of the 20th century worldwide. The causes of the revolution go back many years before the actual revolution had even showed signs of breaking out. The causes included a weak government, indecisive leaders and, a very backwards way of life for the people. In the mid to late 19th century Russian leaders came to understand that Russia was backwards in it’s ways and that it must strive to modernize itself before the country was left in shambles. Russians and their land could be described in one word, poor. The agrarian societies were weak because the land was only hospitable to trees and ice. The peasants were serfs, attached to the land and their masters. In 1853 war suddenly broke out in the Crimean Peninsula over Christian shrines in the Ottoman Empire. After their defeat in the Crimean War, Russia’s war leaders realized even more that they were behind the whole world in modernizing. In response Alexander II then took the reigns of the empire radically improving the country. Trans-continental railroads were built and then in 1861 the serfs were emancipated. The government then strengthened Russia’s industry by promoting industrialization with the construction of factories. But then as quickly as Alexander II’s reform reign started, it ended. In 1881 a group of terrorists assassinated Alexander causing a cessation of the reforms.
Suddenly economic modernization resurfaced again in the 1890’s under the Finance Minister named Sergei Witte. Witte believed that even though Russia was a backwards country, modernization could still occur. Under his leadership Witte helped the 35,000 mile railway system come to a completion. Yet the Russian leaders were so impressed that this great change that could improve Russia in the next 20 years they were so blind to the poverty and overpopulation that continued making Russia digress further and further. After a loss to the Japanese in the Russian-Japanese war, morale of the common folk was at an all time low. Illegal labor parties were forming and groups of dedicated individuals were begging for revolution. Groups such as the Nihilists, and the Anarchists started to form with the intent to start a revolution. They believed a revolution would not come to them, rather that they had to cause one. Then, on a gloomy January Sunday in 1905 a peaceful crowd of workers and families had gathered outside the palace walls to present a petition to Czar Nicholas II. The petitioners however did not know that Nicholas was not residing in the palace at the time. Then without warning, Russian troops outside the palace opened fire killing hundreds. The cavalry then followed and preceded to flog the remaining survivors. This was a very dark day for Russia. This event, known now as “Bloody Sunday” set the scene for Revolution across Russia. Revolution swept the country. Revolts, strikes, and mutinies culminated to produce the Russian Revolution of 1905 and then later the Revolution of 1917. A faulty government, weak leaders and, a backward country all contributed to the long term causes of the Russian Revolution.