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The Collapse of the Autocracy

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The Collapse of the Autocracy The collapse of the autocracy in February 1917 signified the end

product of the interaction of multiple factors relating to both

domestic and foreign issues. The traditional historiographical view of

a rapid insurrection catching the autocracy by surprise is

increasingly called into question - Hasegawa sees the abdication of

Nicholas II as the product of disillusionment with the war being

translated into popular protest[1]. The experience of 1905 left

workers and soldiers more prepared for rebellion and the long - term

factor of war accentuated the domestic problems in Russia. The

pressure created by the war rendered the autocracy vulnerable, hence

the unrest from the 23rd of February onwards had such an impact. It

was ultimately however the loss of military discipline and loyalty in

Petrograd, coupled with liberals' decisions and autocratic choice,

which caused the regime to fall, not as a result of previous unrest,

but a fear of what rebellion may be still to come. This fear was what

dictated the nature of the revolution. It was this combination of long

and short - term factors that caused the Russian autocracy to fall. It

is pertinent to tackle this issue in a chronological form, beginning

in 1915 / '16. One must however bear in mind that unrest in Petrograd,

almost irrespective of the rest of Russia, was enough to cause the

collapse of autocracy. One cannot see the unrest in the capital as

symptomatic of a wider national movement. The movement was of a unique

scale and extremism in Petrograd.

By the end of 1915 popular fervour f...

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1992, 4th ed., 1993, Oxford, p.226 - 227

[7] Burzhalov, Russia's Second Revolution, p.72 - 73

[8] Read, C, From Tsar to Soviets, the Russian People and Their

Revolution, 1996, London, p.35

[9] Diakin, VS, 'The Leadership Crisis in Russia on the Eve of the

February Revolution', in Soviet Studies in History, 1984;23, (1), p.13

10 ibid., p.12

[11] Hasegawa, p.613

[12] Smith, SA, 'Petersburg in 1917: The View from Below, in Kaiser,

DH (ed.), revolution in russia, 1917 The View from Below, 1987,

Cambridge p.62

13Longley, DA, 'The Mezhraionka, The Bolsheviks and International

Women's Day. In Response to Michael Melancon', in Soviet Studies 1989;

41 p.632 - 633

14Hasegawa, p.613

[15] Kerensky, A, 'Why the Russian Monarchy Fell', in Slavonic and

East European Review, 1930; 8 (24) p.497
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