The Fall of Tsarism in Russia
Some sources suggest that autocracy is outdated and the reason for the
collapse of Tsarist Russia. However, other sources suggest that
without the complications of war, Russia may have prospered. Tolstoy
and Kokovstov both have conflicting views. Tolstoy the pessimist,
believed that autocracy was an outdated form of government not suited
to 20th Century Russia. However Kokovstov the optimist thought that
Russia would have prospered if it wasn't for the Great War.
Source C uses an extract taken from Tolstoy's letter to Tsar Nicholas
II, three years before the revolution of 1905.
There was a significant growth in the army of secret police, which
indicates that the Tsar is not strong enough and needs a personal army
to enforce his authority. This is proved in events such as Bloody
Sunday whereby police open fire on innocent workers in a peaceful
protest for requesting descent pay and conditions. Russia had now
become a police state. As people are attacked for open thought and
speech, this furthermore proves Tolstoy's argument, "autocracy is
"The policy of censorship continued to produce meaningless bans"
indicates that the government was out of touch with the Russian
citizens. This situation could be compared with Nazi Germany because
Russia appears to be a police state. Religious persecution was at its
worst, which shows that the Tsar was very dependant on Orthodox
Christians because they believed he was ordained by God. The situation
was getting worse because the government's policy of increasing taxes
had failed and now peasants were starving. This highlights the
government's incompetence. 'As a result, all classes are openly
hostile to the Tsarist government'. This indicates that the Tsar could
not control all the classes, he had only got the secret army and
police state on his side.
In this extract, Tolstoy states that the prisons are overcrowded
meaning that people are willing to go to prison for their beliefs. A
majority of the Russian people are not afraid of what the Tsar could
do to them if they commit crimes. This shows how outdated Tsarist
Russia is and how out of touch the Tsar Nicholas II is because so many
Russian citizens are willing to go to prison for their beliefs.
At this time it is no secret that the lower classes such as the
working class oppose autocracy and the Tsarist government. Tolstoy
(the writer of this source) used the fact that he was a part of the
upper class to his advantage. He was able to speak openly because he
himself was an aristocrat.
Source C is biased because it was written by Tolstoy, the man who
states the first argument. "Autocracy is an outdated form ofâ€¦"
Tsar Nicholas II's October Manifesto opens with 'Our unchangeable...