Origin of the 1905 Russian Revolution
Russia existed in turmoil at the close of the 19th century. This tumultuous atmosphere spilled over into the new century. This time period is a portrait of a country in a state of constant change. However, this change was far more problematic to Russia that similar progress of western European nations. An examination of the revolutionary period of 1905 presents the inevitability of such a revolution. Russia's rapid industrialization and modernization had inherent problems. Typically, countries, which undergo rapid periods of industrialization, subvert the well being of the common individual in favour of the progress of the nation. This was the case in a rapidly industrializing Russian economy. The rise of capitalism led to an increase of inequality between the classes. In addition, the mistakes of the Russo-Japanese war loomed upon the horizon of the Russian political climate. These factors, in cooperation with the archaic autocratic government, led to civil unrest. Protests and strikes led to the formation of radical political parties. The Russian people were dissatisfied with their government and their way of life; and they were becoming increasingly vocal in their protests. The revolution of 1905 was a product of continued autocratic repression of the Russian people, and the inability of the autocracy to effectively represent and govern the vast nation of Russia.
At the turn of the 20th century there were increasing social divisions in the social and political structure of Russia. The resulting inequalities left peasants and members of the proletariat at an increasing disadvantage. Abraham Ascher quotes P.N. Miliukov in an explanation of representative disorder within the political climate of Russia. He wrote that "There exist two Russias, one quite different from the other, and what pleases one is quite sure to displease the other…" One of these was the Russia of
Leo Tolstoy, the great writer; the other … that of Plehve, the late minister of the interior. The former is the Russia of our 'intellectuals' and of the people; the other is an anachronism, deeply rooted in the past, and defended in the present by an omnipresent bureaucracy. The one spells liberty; the other, despotism.
Throughout the history of Russia, its people have had the increasingly prevalent problem of representation. The peasant commune was essentially the only bastion of representative government in Russia. However, the peasant commune had little influence in any political forum above that of the village or farming community. The divining difficulty of Russia in this period was the power of Tsar Nicholas II. His ideals were rooted in the distant past of autocrats and despots. Though he wished his nation to modernize in its production and industrialization processes, he refused to accept political change. He continued to "impose his will on a vast empire of some 129 million people...