Russia in Revolution 1881-1924: From Autocracy to Dictatorship
How accurate is it to say that the growth of reformist groups in the years 1881 was the main cause of the 1905 revolution?
The 1905 revolution simply began as what was intended to be, a peaceful protest led by Father Gapon an Orthodox priest. He led workers and their families to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, their intention was to present a loyal petition to the tsar asking him to better Russia's current poor condition. However, this soon grew extreme especially with Nicholas II's lack of interest in the people's wishes as he remained at the front of the Russo-Japanese war. Leading to the tragedy of Bloody Sunday on the 22nd of January where the marchers were fired on and charged by cavalry under the order of tsar Nicholas II. The growth of reformist groups during the years from 1881 were a contribution, but it is important to explore the reasons behind this growth and other contributing factors to the 1905 revolution such as the Tsar's regime, The Russo-Japanese war and the Economic situation of Russia.
When Alexander III became Tsar in 1881 following the assassination of his father he put forward a great extent of change in Russia which included great repression such as his restriction of the press giving it no freedom and banning 14 major newspapers in 1889 and his introduction of the Okhrana (Tsar's secret police) were feared and this in turn kept Russia under a tight reign. This misleading becomes known as a period of stability due to its lack of revolutionary disturbances. When Alexander III's shocking early death in 1894 due to illness his son Nicholas II took over as Tsar he was ill-prepared for this role and tried to continue his father's methods of ‘stability' but revolution had been held back by the repression, but it remained strong under the surface. People were still very much against the Tsar's autocratic government, corrupt bureaucracy, conservative church and oppressive army. The underground reformists only become bigger and bigger because of these institutions, however, due to Nicholas II's poor ability Alexander III's stability of these institutions began to slip.
The first slip was the conservative church Father Gapon led out a peaceful protest still keeping his support for the Tsar though pleading with him to make change to Russia's dire situation. However, as said before this soon escalated into the event of Bloody Sunday. Tsar Nicholas II had made a grand mistake by not only ignoring the strikes within Russia, but then without even witnessing the marches firsthand he ordered an open fire by his cavalry. It became known as a deliberate massacre and the army wanted out causing yet another slip within the Tsar's institutions. A situation which was made much worse by Russia's humiliation in the Russo-Japanese war by Nicholas II making the choice to put himself as the front made him directly responsible for Russia's loss. He had no experience and...