Why Nicholas II Survived the Revolution of 1905 but Not that of 1917

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Why Nicholas II Survived the Revolution of 1905 but Not that of 1917

When Father Gapon and his followers marched peacefully on the Winter

Palace on 22nd January in what came to be known as Bloody Sunday due

to the extreme reaction leading to the massacre of the protestors, it

sparked the revolution of 1905, consisting of workers' strikes and

protests in addition to terrorising the wealthy and important upper

classes. As well as being a response to Bloody Sunday, the 1905

revolution was a result of pent up dissatisfaction with the autocracy

in Russia and with the vast social inequality. However, in spite of

the unrest within the country, the tsar managed to retain power after

this revolution. In 1917, when the people revolted again, he was not

so lucky, and the autocracy fell.

There are many reasons why the Tsar was able to survive the 1905

revolution, not least of which was the benefit of good ministers to

advise him well. Stolypin tried to have a moderating influence on the

Tsar and to help him make concessions to the people which would

promise to improve their lives enough that the revolution would die

down. However, by 1917 both Stolypin and Witte were dead, and the

Tsarina Alexandra was in charge of the running of the country due to

the Tsar's absence to the front to fight with the army. During the

time in which he was away, Alexandra replaced many of Nicholas'

ministers with her own personal favourites, most of whom were poorly

equipped to hold such influential positions at such an unstable time.

Due to this, the Tsar had few capable ministers to advise him through

the crisis when revolution broke out and help him emerge unsca...

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...es stipulated therein played a large part

in his downfall in 1917. The emergence of the free press after 1905

granted the right to express opinions by publication meant that the

Tsar was widely criticised to the public for the first time, whereas

previously none of his wrong-doings had ever been made known, and he

was viewed as ordained by god. Now however the Russians began to see

him as fallible and to question his actions, leading to further


Similarly, and perhaps most importantly, the Duma in 1917 provided a

viable alternative to the autocracy which had not been present in

1905. Ironically, just as freeing the serfs had led to them wanting

more and assassinating Tsar Alexander II, Nicholas' grandfather, so

granting the people their Duma in 1905 in part led to the eventual

downfall of the Tsar in 1917.

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