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Stabilization of the Regime

 

The crisis of 1905 revealed the extreme vulnerability of the autocratic government. It had survived because of the cultural and economic gulf between Russias educated elites and the mass of rural and urban working people. However, as long as Russias upper classes remained discontented with the existing political system, there remained the possibility that, in a moment of crisis, they might reluctantly support a working-class insurrection.  

 
Peter Stolypin

The defeat of the Revolution of 1905-7 led to some stabilization of the autocratic regime. The turbulent upheavals of the revolutionary years were now giving place to apathy, pessimism, withdrawal into private life. The workers were  exhausted after years of strikes. A large part of the intelligentsia was subdued by a penitent mood, repenting the part it played in inciting the workers to ill-prepared and violent protests. All political parties were in crisis. The revolutionary mood was further dissipated by factors such as the drawn-out economic slump of 1904-1909, the launching of the governments agrarian reform and sterner police measures against violations of public order.

Despite all its casualties and excesses, the First Russian Revolution signaled a new phase in the process of modernization and democratization of the countrys social and political structures. As a result of the revolution, Russian society had become more open, dynamic and independent from the authorities. It was characterized by a more mature civic consciousness and greater ideological pluralism. Yielding to the pressure of the powerful mass movements of 1905-7, the government had to concede new reforms associated with the names of its ministers Witte and Stolypin. Yet, they were not bold or far-reaching enough to effect the kind of socio-economic and political change which was needed to forestall a repetition of the unrest of 1905 and all the unpredictable consequences this could bring to society.

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The Revolution of 1905-7

 

Tsarist Russia

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