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Russia, History, WWI Steps Towards the Russian Revolution

Russia, History, WWI Steps Towards the Russian Revolution

The quotation, "'I shall maintain the principle of autocracy just as firmly and unflinchingly as it was preserved by my unforgettable dead father.' (Nicholas II) In spite of the Czar's decrees and declarations, Russia, by the beginning of the 20th century, was overripe for revolution," is supported by political and socioeconomic conditions late monarchial Russia.

Nicholas II was the Czar of Russia from 1896-1917, and his rule was the brute of political disarray. An autocrat, Nicholas II had continued the divine-right monarchy held by the Romanovs for many generations. From the day Russia coronated Nicholas II as Emperor, problems arose with the people. As was tradition at coronations, the Emperor would leave presents for the peasants outside Moscow. The people madly rushed to grab the gifts, and they trampled thousands in the bedlam.

As an autocrat, no other monarch in Europe claimed such large powers or stood so high above his subjects as Nicholas II. Autocracy was traditionally impatient and short- tempered. He wielded his power through his bureaucracy, which contained the most knowledgeable and skilled members of Russian high society. Like the Czar, the bureaucracy, or chinovniki, stood above the people and were always in danger of being poisoned by their own power.

When Sergei Witte acted as Russia's Minister of Finance from 1892 to 1903, attempted to solve Russia's "riddle of backwardness" in its governmental system. He is considered more of a forerunner of Stalin rather than a contemporary of Nicholas II. In 1900, Witte wrote a memorandum to Nicholas II, underscoring the necessity of industrialization in Russia. After the government implemented Witte's plan, Russia had an industrial upsurge. All of Russia, however, shared a deep-seated resentment of the sudden jump into an uncongenial way of life. Witte realized that Nicholas II was not meant to carry the burden of leading Russia to an industrial nation as a Great Power. Nicholas II's weakness was even obvious to himself, when he said, "I always give in and in the end am made the fool, without will, without character." At this time, the Czar did not lead, his ministers bickered amongst themselves, and cliques and special-interest groups interfered with the conduct of government. Nicholas II never took interest in public opinion, and seemed oblivious to what was happening around him. He was still convinced he could handle Russia himself.

By 1902, the peasants had...

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