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The Conditions For Workers And Peasants Under The Bolsheviks And Under The Tsar's Rule

1405 words - 6 pages

The Conditions for Workers and Peasants Under the Bolsheviks and Under the Tsar's Rule

Conditions for workers and peasants were deplorable under the rule of
the Tsars, but not to the extent they were under the Bolsheviks.
Despite the Bolsheviks claiming their policies were entirely in favour
of the proletariat, peasants were forced to face horrific famine and a
vast decline in living standards under rule by Lenin and the

When Alexander II came to power in 1855 he realised that in order to
modernise Russia and improve the weakening economy he needed to make
dramatic reforms. In 1861 Alexander issued his Emancipation Manifesto,
proposing 17 legislative acts that would free the serfs in Russia.
Even though this new-found freedom in some ways seemed to place a
greater burden on the peasants due to heavy redemption payments on
their land and little improvement regarding agricultural methods in
Russia, the act made the now-freed serfs feel that progress was being
made towards a fairer social system in Russia and gave them some hope
for more affirmative reforms in the future. Conditions gradually
improved for the peasants, for example in 1864 judicial reforms were
made in order to make the system fairer and end class privileges, and
in 1882 the Peasant’s land bank was set up enabling enterprising
farmers to acquire more land. Reforms were also made under the rule of
Nicholas II who bettered conditions for workers by introducing a
reduction in the working day to eight hours, an increase in wages and
improvement in working conditions. Also in October 1906, the Tsar’s
Chief Minister, Stolypin introduced legislation that enabled peasants
to have further opportunity to acquire land. Peasants were also given
more freedom in the selection of their representatives to the local
government councils, the Zemstva. Under the rule of Tsars peasants and
workers had fewer reasons to live in fear than under the Bolsheviks.
The proletariat had more liberty and opportunity to express their
views, and protest against iniquitous decisions made by the Tsar, as
was outlined in the October Manifesto in 1905 which granted the
peasants and workers freedom of conscience, speech, meeting and
association. The Tsar’s Okhrana (state police) did successfully stop
considerable worker/peasant protests such as Bloody Sunday and the
October Revolution, but their terror is unparalleled to the fear the
callous Bolshevik secret police force, the Cheka, brought to Russian
peasants and workers, especially during the period of ‘Red Terror’.
The Cheka were known to not only capture rebels, but often their
families and friends as well. It is reported that entire villages were
executed by the Cheka for being even vaguely associated with

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