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The Russian Revolution Essay

939 words - 4 pages

Many feel that revolutions happen by some type of revolt or anarchy within a country that overthrows the government. This is completely untrue. Nicholas V. Riaganvosky says it best by stating, "Revolutions occur...when there is growth, advance, and high expectations." These are exactly the conditions in Russia that ripened revolution in 1917. In Russia, there was much hope and expectations given to them to allow the nation to grow. Unfortunately, these were soon dashed away and began revolution.The seeds of revolution extended as far back as 1825 when Tsar Nicholas I was in power. Under his reign, Russia was a backwards nation. While other nations had railroads, scientific farming, and industry, Russia remained agrarian, farming by superstition, and riding on horseback. Nicholas refused to change the nation and make it more Western. This led to Russia being behind the times throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century.After Nicholas, Alexander II came into power and used his force of logic to attempt to advance Russia. His first major reform was to free the Serfs. On the surface, this emancipation appears to be great for Russia and give them hope. But, it would be dashed. The newly released were given very little land as well as had a head tax which was ten percent more than the gentry had to pay. Also, they were required to pay redemption payments for the land. The Serfs made up eighty percent of the population and were given no education, so most did not know how to live. The taxes and no education forced all Serfs into a low class instead of a middle one.Another reform was the Zemstovs. They were local administrative units that carried out small tasks such as famine, snow, and insurance. This seemed to give the people more power, but it was tainted. The gentry, who made up lass than twenty percent of Russia's population, ruled these Zemstovs. Therefore, the units were not a fair representation of the population. Once again, hope is given but taken away. Alexander also reformed the judicial system. He tried to make it more Western by open courts, juries, tenure, and codification. But, the government still removed some cases, and the judicial system never was fixed. The hope for fair trials was dashed by the government's greed. Finally, there were army reforms. Russia had one of the worst armies in the world, so they tried to reform the corporal punishments and years of service plans. Even after this happened, their army was pitiful. In WWI, 25% of the soldiers had no weapons. All reforms seemed to be good, but they were all tainted or failed and therefore dashed the hopes of the people.The social structure of the nation was also unbalanced. The gentry (upper class with most power,) made up less than twenty...

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