Russia in XIX-XX centuries. First World War.
Coming to the Power of Nikolay II
At the beginning of the IX and XX centuries the absolute power belonged to the Monarch without limits. In 1894 Nicolay II came to the power .
The eldest son of the imperator Alexander III Nikolay was born in 1868 and received his education at home. The future ministry of defense A.F. Rediger was teaching him the academy military courses; and the famous V.O. Kluchevsky was teaching him history. But his Master K.P. Pobedonostsev, the former professor of the Moscow University, more influenced his opinion and point of view on the world and politics. He convinced Nikolay that the monarchy was the only political system that could exist in Russia.
Most of the contemporaries thought that Nikolay was not very clever. He was not enthusiastic, and didn't have any great aims. He was not opened to other people. In spite of the fact that ruling the country was not interesting to him much, he couldn't abandon the idea of the unlimited power.
The only thing he really loved was his family. In 1894 Nikolay got married to Alexandra Fyodorovna (Alice the princess of Gessen and Rein). Being a good head of family, Nikolay II liked to spend a lot of time with children. He had four girls already when in 1904 his successor was born.
He was sincerely convinced that the power was a family matter and that he must give it completely to his son after his death. In January 1895 while addressing to the deputies of towns and courts, the young imperator said that idea of liberal power going on in the country was without sense, showing that the idea of absolute monarchy is the only political system.
He was so indifferent to everything, that was beyond the court's life and family life. It was so evident to notice his indifference during the Khodynskaya's tragedy. On the day of his coming to the power in Moscow on May 18, 1896 in Khodynskoye field almost 1500 people died. Nikolay II even didn't postponed the feast, but even took part in the court's ceremonies on same day and in the end of the feast he even thanked the people in charge of the organization for their good work, especially his uncle the great Sergey Alexandrovich.
Here we must notice that Nikolay II liked to put the members of his family to the greatest posts (it concerns the family of Romanov). He did it independently of their personal qualities. As results during the most critical period of the country (during the crisis and war), on the most important posts were people without experience, and therefore they couldn't solve those problems. At the head of marine army was the uncle of the tsar Aleksey Alexandrovich, who broke down the marine during the war with Japan. The post of General-inspector of the artillery was in the hands of Peter Nikolaevich.
All this nominations were following the traditions of the politics of Alexander III. For instance from
1881 to 1905 the head of State Council was great Mikhail Nikolaevich, a limited man. Among the members of his family were also clever people but Nikolay II didn't take care of their opinion; we can take the example of Alexander Mikhailovich. Already in 1895 he showed a letter to Nikolay II in which he designed Japan as the potential opponent of Russia in the sea and even announced the time of the beginning of the war (1903-1904). During the war he was against the fact that to the extreme east were sent the first and the second divisions of the Pacific ocean. Alexander Mikhailovich got the plan of construction of new boats and the reconstruction of the marine army. Finally, while taking decisions he was influenced by the opinion of
the elder members of his family.
The worst influence on the authority of the monarch was the multitude clever and opened-minded people from the provinces. But the most destructive was the influence of the 'Saint elder' Grigory Rasputin , who became the symbol of the destruction and the division of the absolute power at the last year of the ruling of Nikolay II. He came for the first time to the court in 1905; the former horse-thief became the most important person in the tsar's house. Due to the fact that he was doing hypnosis, he could help the son of the tsar Alexey who was almost about to die. The wife of the imperator, being sure that the "man of god" was having a wonderful power started to support and defend him when the last was accused of having an immoral life.
"The old", in spite of his bad past and his bad way of life became one of the centers of power, especially during the First World War, when he directly influenced the state decisions.
There were no important changes during the reign of Nikolay II; the first structure of the government and the administrative structure were saved.
From the end of the 90's the tsar's government started elaborating the autonomy of the great Finland's principality. In 1898 the nominated General-governor N.I. Bobrinsky showed to the imperator the letter containing program of the rights, the use of the Russian language in the country, the ruling of the customs by Finland. He started the execution of that program.
The acts of Bobrinsky allowed the beginning of the revolution movement in Finland.
The Revolution Movement and the Creation of Parties
The revolution movement and the creation of parties.
The industrial crisis (1900-1903), and the critical situation of the Russian villages, the degradation of the central power leaded to the degradation of the socio-political situation in the country at the beginning of XX century and then to the revolution of 1905-1907.
The worker's movement gradually became more and more powerful and there were many economical troubles; in 1895, strike in the town Yaroslavl in the factory of Korzinkin; summer 1896 strike of the textile workers of the region of Petersburg. Becoming more and more massive, organized, the worker's movement changed at the same time its character: under the influence of the Social democracy they started claiming political rights.
The farmer's movement at the beginning of the XX century really increased, due to the influence of the agricultural crisis, which made farmers become more and more poor. The greatest role played the famine that came in 1901 in the central and south provinces of Russia. In March an April 1902 the movement really started acting in the Poltava and Kharkov provinces. On the demonstrations were almost 150000 farmers; there were captures of animals, earth spaces etc. From 1900 to 1904 670 demonstrations were taken place.
The liberal movement.
The opposition mood covered different classes of intellectual people and increased also student movement (1899,1901, 1902). The liberal movement was activating and the influence of the constitutionalists was increasing. If in 90's the liberal movement was limited to the intercessions and wills to Nikolay II, in 1900 other ways of action appeared.
The creation of Socialist-Revolutionary Party.
At the beginning of the 90's were created many organizations unifying all the emigrants: the Union of Russian Socialist-revolutionaries (Bern), the fund of the Russian mass media, the circle of old members of "Narodnaya Volya" (Paris), which was taking care of the political propaganda. The program of the S.R had lot of common things with the program of the revolutionary people.
The S.R were trying to make Russia become a democratic republic constitutionally, through the Constituent Assembly. As Narodniki, S.R were thinking that individual terror is the main way of the revolution.
The creation of the social-democratic party.
The creation and the activity of the social democratic union leaded to the creation of the all Russian Party. In Minsk took place the first meeting of the social-democratic organizations, in which they decided to create the Social-democratic party (SDP). The official organ of the party was journal 'Worker's newspaper' and the manifest of RSDP.
The new temptation of creation of the social-democratic party was linked with the publication of the illegal political newspaper (ISKRA), based on the initiative of Lenin.
Constitutional-democratic party was having a special place in the system of political parties in the country. In it were very intelligent people of the beginning of the century dreaming of the transformation of Russia through the parliamentary way. The greatest meeting of the party took place in October 1905 in Moscow under the initiative of The Union of the liberation of constitutionalists.
The main idea of the Cadet program was the development of Russia through liberal parliamentary reforms. The program of The Cadets supposed the reconstruction of the organs of power, justice reform, cultural ideology of the nation, democratic freedom and permission of selling of part of the spaces. In the central committee of the Cadet's party were dominating people representing the intellectuals who usually chose the strategy course. The most important among them was Pavel Nikolaevich Milyukov.
The Union of the 17th of October as a political movement started by the end of October and the beginning of November 1905. The main program status of that party was the conservation of the unity and the indivisibility of the Russian empire, powerful monarchy and interdiction to purchase any land, equality of rights between farmers and people of the other classes. The president of the C.C of the Union was one of the oldest farmers D.N. Chipov, and from October 1906, the only leader became A.I. Guchkov.
Black-hundred organizations in the middle age of Russia were garden population. At the beginning of the XX century they started destroying the owners of agro-spaces, people participating to the demonstrations and, half year later they were for the abolition of some political parties. The first Black-hundred party appeared in 1900 and declared that its aim was to defend the Slavonic-Russian culture. In that organization were taking part the representatives of high classes and intellectuals.
The revolution of 1905 gave another impulse to the black-hundred movement. In Moscow in 1905 was created the Russian Monarchist Party, and in November in Petersburg was created the biggest of the black-hundred party (The Union of Russian nation).
Anarchic organizations in Russia.
The first anarchic groups in Russia appeared in 1903, and by the end of 1903 were already working almost 12 organizations in 11 towns of Russia. Very soon appeared 3 centers of the anarchic movement (Belovostok, Ekaterinoslav and Odessa). The greatest help to the Russian anarchism came from the anarchist-emigrants that created in 1904 big publication centers printing newspapers about the anarchist groups in Russia and in foreign land.
The main branches of the anarchism in Russia at the beginning of the Russian revolution were: anarcho-communism, anarcho-individualism. Each branch got its publication organs, and the regions in which it acted. Within every branch were many small fractions. The aim of the anarchists-communists is the social revolution which is the complete destruction of the capitalism and the government; at their place must stand the anarchism-communism. The main methods of the war were revolt and terrorism.
The social contradictions, created by the tsar's power by violence in the XX century came to the critical point. For most of the 'prophets' of the power it was evident that the union based on the negation of the worker's movement claiming justice is very dangerous. Trying to stand at the middle of these two powerful organizations, the absolute power passed through the way of the negation of the workers' rights by collaborating with the police-socialism. The idea of creating legal worker organizations under the policy belonged to the 'gendarme' - Colonel Sergey Vasilievich.
Socio-Economical Development of Russia
By the beginning of the XX century Russia was an agro-industrial country, and was even among the five most industrialized countries of the world. The most important areas of the economy were the alimentary and textile (almost the half of the industrial production). Due to the economic measures of the tsar's government (protective customs duties, gift of commands to factories) the heavy industry started developing also (machine building, building of railway stations, metallurgy, and low metallurgy).
Starting in 1893, the powerful industrial development continued till the end of the 90's, and played a great role in the consolidation of the Russian industry. The industrial production increased up to three times (especially the heavy industry). That increasing was due to the construction of railways, the state help, and by 1892 the length of the railways was almost 31000 km, and from 1893 to 1902 were built 27000 km.
By the beginning of the XX century the areas 'A' (the production of means of production) were giving a cost equaled to 40 per cent of the production. The development of different regions was not equally done. The mountain region of the south of Russia developed very quickly. From 1890 to 1899 the part of the extraction of iron increased from 21,6% to 57,2% and steel - from 24,3% to 51,8%. The production of iron and steel from 17,8% to 44%. The industry of Ural looked different - its part in the production of metallurgy reduced to 675 in the 70's to 28% in 1900.
The main characteristics of the Russian industry were the high concentration of the production. The use of forms of organization and technologies of massive production, foreign investments, state orders and subsidies allowed the creation of large enterprises. The great level of the concentration of the production is one of the reasons of the beginning in 80-90's of monopolization; by that time there were created many linked companies acting like consortiums (the union of fabricants, the railways union etc.)
By the second half of the 90's the linking of Russian banks with the industry started.
The high temps of 90's were essentially due to the economical policy of the minister of finances S.U. Vitte. The talented financial minister S.U. Vitte who was at the head of the ministry of finances promised Alexander III that he could make the Russia become a great industrial country without political reforms. In 1894 was created the wine monopole which increased the government incomes. The most important decision in the financial area was the financial reform of 1897.
In 1900 was the world economic crisis, which even touched the Russia, but its effects here were stronger than in any other country. In 1909 the crisis was so deep that till 1909 the industry had almost stopped in spite of the fact that the crisis was officially stopped in 1903.
During the period of the crisis 1900-1903 were closed more than 3000 societies in which were working 112000 people.
The death of small and medium enterprises boosted the process of unification of diverse enterprises.
The 1900-1903 crisis was a transition period and the beginning of association of banks with the industry. The government decided to help those banks which mostly suffered during the crisis and started the 'financial reorganization' to help enterprises.
At the beginning of the XX century the main area of the economy was agriculture, which was giving almost half of the national incomes and almost 78% of the population were engaged there (notes of 1897).
The biggest bread producer was a peasant's farm which gave almost 88% of the national brut product, 50% of goods; 1/6 of all well-to-do peasant farms were giving 38% of gross revenue and 34% of bread.
Among all the world leading countries only Russia and the USA were able to do intensive agriculture and animal husbandry due to having free spaces; therefore the particularity of the historical development of Russia was its agriculture; the gap between the agriculture and the industry was increasing and the development was stopped by the manifestation of the rights of the lower classes.
The First Russian Revolution 1905-1907
The political crisis due to the internal contradictions and the critical situation in Russia which was in war with Japan was the reason of the problems, which reflected in 'the bloody Sunday' on January 9, 1905 in Petersburg, when the tsar's army killed the workers participated in a pacific demonstration organized by the priest of the prison of Petersburg Gregory Gapon (1870-1906).
The provocative activities of Gapon leaded to the beginning of the revolution (111 000 people were participating). Gapon proposed to go as a pacific demonstration to the Winter Palace to tell the tsar about the needs of workers. Gapon warned Nikolay II and the Minister of internal affairs about the demonstration; but the government immediately prepared for it. Nikolay II went to Petersburg and at that time 30000 soldiers were brought to the capital. On January 9 when the workers, their wives and children arrived at the Palace the police started shooting them. During the 'bloody Sunday' there were killed more than 1000 and injured 2000 people.
The news about these events in the capital expanded immediately to all the other parts of the country, and people started strikes. In strikes were involved 440000 people. In May 1905 started the bunt of Ivano-Boznesensky textile workers; there was created a council of 151 people. The development of the peasants movement was followed by the creation on the 31st of July and the 1st of August 1905 of the Peasants Union. Distempers and opened oppositions were taking place in the marine army. The biggest event of the first Russian revolution was armed revolt at "Potemkin Tavrichesky" ship.
The 14th of October 1905 marine soldiers brought the boat to Odessa where was taking place a general strike. But the marine soldiers didn't dare to stop the workers. After that unsuccessful attempt to get the soldiers to their side, 'Potemkin' went to Rumania and gave in to the government.
The greatest moment of the revolutionary movement came in the end of 1905. Beginning in Moscow in October the strike expanded all over the country: on the 12th and the18th of October almost 2000000 people were striking in several areas of the industry. During the October revolution Councils of workers appeared, sometimes - Councils of farmer deputies (55), which became parallel organ of power. The most important was Petersburg (president G.S.Khrustalev-Nosar, and then L.D.Trotsky) and Moscow Councils. The Moscow Council called to the beginning of military strike on the 7th of December 1905. The fights (December armored revolt) continued till the 19th of December.
The wideness of the workers movement in 1905 leaded to the strengthening of the revolution movement in the army and fleet. In October-November of 1905 the distempers of soldiers were taking place in Kharkov, Kiev, Tashkent, Warsaw and in many other cities. Revolts among the seamen of Kronstadt and Black sea fleet. The main basis of the revolution was 'Ochakov" cruiser with the raised red flag. 12 armed ships and 4 000 soldiers were participating in the armed opposition with the regular forces but their actions were just to defend themselves. The 15th and the 16th of November the opposition was stopped and at the beginning of 1906 its leaders (P.P.Smidt, A.I.Gladkov, I.G.Antonenko and C.P.Chastnik) were assassinated.
The tsar's government was obliged to do many concessions. Nikolay II on the 18th of February 1905 designed A.G.Bulygin to be the ministry of internal affairs, who was supposed to prepare the beginning of reforms. Then started the activation of the 'Bulygin's Duma'; but the elections didn't take place.
In the middle of October the situation in the country was so explosive that the government was loosing the control on the situation. Everywhere were meetings and demonstrations asking for constitution. The government had no forces to overcome the revolutionary movement.
The end of the monarchy was close, when S.U.Vitte and Nikolay Nikolaevich convinced the tsar to make concessions. The 17th of October 1905 was published the basis of the civil freedom: the immunity of the personality, freedom of conscience, word, publication, meetings and the parliament.
The manifest caused dissension in the revolution movement. The manifest gave to people a constitutional illusion; as results the revolutionary movement started loosing its activity and importance.
At the same time were acting monarch reaction forces. The 18th of October and the following days in more than 100 towns took place the massacre of the revolution movement and Jews. During the first month of the constitutional liberties more than 4 000 of people were killed and 10 000 who were using the support of the government.
After the end of the armed opposition in Moscow the revolution wave started to reduce. In 1906-1907 were continuing demonstrations, strikes of the peasants and the marine soldiers. But the government, using cruel repressions took the control over the country again .
The State Parliament and its Functions
The 19th of October 1905 the decree 'About measures of the consolidation of the role of ministries and main departments' was approved. According to it the Council of ministers became a permanent government organ.
The council of Ministers couldn't give projects of law to the parliament without the preliminary discussion by the Council of Ministers. The relative independence received war and marine ministers and the minister of foreign affairs. But the reports of the ministries to the tsar were not suspended.
The first president of the reformed Ministers Council became S.U.Vitte (till the 22nd of April 1906). From April to July the Ministers Council chose I.L.Goremykin) who didn't have great authority and could not get the confidence of the Ministers. He was replaced at that post by the ministry of internal affairs P.A.Stolypin (till September 1911).
The 11th of December 1905 the electoral law was confirmed, which increased the rights through the formation of the 4th work kuriya. Elections were not general nor equal for all.
The 20th of February were confirmed the laws concerning the role of the parliament and the reconstruction of the 'State Council'. The first law was defining the mandate of the parliament (5 years); it means that the tsar couldn't dissolve the parliament and announce anticipated elections. He was defining the day and the time of the session and the pauses in their work.
The formation of the parliament leaded to the reform of the State Council. It became a constitutional organ, having the same rights with the parliament. It could reject any project of law taken by the majority in the parliament.
In 1906 Nikolay II prepared and confirmed the 'Basis of the State Laws'. According to the 4th article, the supreme power belongs to the Emperor. From the fundamental law was deleted the definition of the tsar's power as unlimited.
Article 86 consolidated the power of the Parliament and the State Council. 'No new law can be approved without the acceptation of the parliament and the State Council, and can't be in force without the confirmation of the Emperor." 'Basic laws' defined the cooperation between the parliament and the State Council and also these 'chambers' with the Council of ministers and the central apparatus. Projects of law, which were not approved by the Parliament and the Council, were considered as rejected; projects rejected by one of the chambers could be inserted again for analysis, but with the approbation of the tsar. Almost after the publication in 1906 the tsar lost two prerogatives: the absolute power as initiator of the constitution and the control over the state budget.
The black-hundred parties did not get places in the parliament. The serious defeat of the Octobrists at the elections was evident; they got only 13 places in the parliament. The greatest place among the deputies was occupied by the peasants group (107 places). By the end of the existence of the 1st Duma, the social democrats formed an independent group of 17 people. 63 deputies were representing the autonomists (Polish, Lithuanian, Lets, Muslims). The president of the parliament was the 'constitutional democrat' S.A.Muromtsev. The Duma started working on the 27 of April 1906.
There were changes in the government due to the dissolution of the parliament. The 8th of 1906 the president of the Council of Ministers was P.A.Stolypin, exercising commutatively the post of Ministry of internal affairs. He played a great role in the dissolution of the parliament and showed himself as a politician full of energy.
The activity of the State parliament generally leaded to the destruction of the 'constitutional illusions' of the democratic intelligence and couldn't realize the hope of peasants concerning the agricultural problem.
The 17th of 1906 started the revolt of soldiers in the fortress of Sveaburgh; the 19th of July they were being helped by the soldiers of Kronstadt and Revil. Only after 3 days of tension the government could repress the rebels. After it the tsar's government finally chose the opened terror against the revolution's movement which gradually decreased.
In this total confusion were taking place elections in the 2nd State parliament. Through direct repressions the government was trying to form a parliament of its choice. In the 2nd Parliament were elected 518 deputies. Cadets lost 55 places; popular parties got 157 places, and social democrats 65 places. There was in total 222 mandates of the left parties, or 43% of the voices of the parliament. The significant right wing of the parliament increased in number: black-hundred and the Octobers got 54 mandates (10%)together.
The inauguration of the State Parliament took place the 29th of February 1907. The president of the Parliament became the Cadet F.A.Golovin. The main question was the agricultural one, and each group presented its law project; the Parliament was actively discussing the question the State budget of the year 1907, the question of the military service and the abolition of the military courts.
The 3rd of June 1907 was published the tsar's manifest about the dissolution of the State parliament and changes in the electoral system. The publication of the new law about the electoral system was almost a push, as it was completely changing the 'basic laws' which say that no law could be taken without the acceptation of the parliament. The state parliament was just looking as a Law organ. In 72 days of activity of the State government Nikolay II confirmed 222 law acts and only one of them was discussed in the State Parliament and was approved by the State Council. In 102 days the State parliament confirmed 390 laws and only one of them passed through the State government and the State Council.
The 3rd State parliament was elected: the rights-51, the Octobers-136, the progressists-28, the Cadets-53, the nationalists-90 and the workers-13, the social-democrats-19. The presidents of the State parliament were the Octobers: N.A.Khomyakov, in 1910 A.I.Guchkov, and from 1911 M.V.Rodzyanko. During 5 years of work (from the 9th of July 1912) there were 611 sessions, discussed 2572 law projects in which 205 were rejected by the same State parliament. The main place in the State debates was the agricultural reform and the national one.
In June 1912 the mandate of the deputies was accomplished and in autumn of the same year were organized elections of the 4th State Parliament. The sessions opened the 15 of November 1912. The president became the October M.V.Rodzyanko. The main groups were: the Right-nationalists (157), the progressists (48), the Cadets (59), the Workers (10) and the social democrats (14).
The world war which began in 1914 temporally damped the opposition movement in the Russian society. In August 1915 at the meeting of the members of the State parliament and The State Council was created the Progressive bloc, in which were Cadets, Octobers, progressists, and part of the nationalists (236 and 422) members of the State Council.
The president of the Progressive Bloc became the October S.I.Chidlovsky and the chief was P.I.Milyukov. The declaration of the bloc was published in the journal 'Rech' in August 1915 and had a compromise character including the 'social confidence' (composed of the tsar dignitaries and members of the parliament.)
P.A. Stolypin and the Attempts of Reforms
The first Russian revolution aborted and the period of reactions started. The 3rd of June 1907 the State revolution was accomplished, the government came to the active attacks against the democratic conquest of the revolution. The installation of the 3rd May system was due to the activities of the last great minister of Russia during the tsar's period Peter Arkadievich Stolypin (1892-1911).
P.A.Stolypin had noble origins; in 1884 he graduated the Petersburg's university and started working in the ministry of internal affairs. And in 1903 he was nominated governor of the province of Saratov, which was in the center of the peasants petitions and social revolutioners terror. The activity of the governor of Saratov brought him a great celebrity, and in April of 1906 he was already at the head of the Ministry of internal affairs; in July 1906 he was at the head of the Council of ministers, commutatively with the post of minister of internal affairs.
He became the absolute leader of those who were fighting against the revolution movement, from the Octobers to the Extreme rights. The prestige of Stolypin grew up after the attempt of the S.R-maximalists on the 12th of August 1906 in his villa situated on the Aptecarsky Island (27 people died and 32 were injured, including his son and daughter).
The 24th of August 1906 was published the state program realizing the idea of Stolypin. 'First the peace, and then reforms'. Military courts in charge of the terror and armed thefts were created to simplify the work of the justice. These cases were judged in 2 days in opened doors and the sentence was executed immediately (in 24 hours). In many regions was introduced the state of emergency, the number of arrests without judgment increased. In 1907 and 1909 almost 26 000 people were condemned to death for their revolutionary activities. In 1906-1911 almost 500 syndicates were closed, and the rest of them reduced their numbers up to 13 000. 978 journals and newspapers were forbidden.
At the same moment was proclaimed the reform program, in which they tried to consolidate the peasants as the foundation of the power, without abolishing their rights to buy or sell lands, changing the agricultural policy of the government. The reforms were preceding the manifest of the 3rd of November 1905 concerning the dissolution of the payments from the 1st of January 1906 in half, an entirely (at the point of view of reforms), in 1861. From that moment the land became the property of farmers). The 9th of November 1863, without waiting for the decision of the Parliament Stolypin signed a decree concerning the abolition of the immunity of the community.
The decree said that the farmers got the right to go out of the community with the consolidation of the personal property coming from the communal land. To encourage the coming out of the community, he promised many advantages: the surplus over the norm was sold at the initial price of 1861 if in that society transformations were not happening every 24 years, or free. The farmer got the right to demand theseparation of the all the possessions in one place as farm or butt. To get out of the community they needed the acceptation of the rural tailings; if in 30 days the tailing didn't give his acceptation, then separation the land's chief did the share of the lot.
The realization of the decree was introduced in especial committees of land constructions in the provinces. The decree of the 9th of November 1906 had two aims: the creation of solid houses in their own lands, which could become the support against the tsar's policy, and the development of the rural agriculture. That decree was discussed in the 3rd parliament and was approved by the majority of the Octobrists, and became a law in June1910.
In 1906-1907 by the decree of the tsar a part of the State lands was given to the Peasants' bank for sale in order to weaken the need in land. Also the peasants bank recovered lands from the landlords and sold it to farmers, encouraging the creation of the farms and rural houses through advantages (credits in the period of 55 years and little percentage).
The massive immigration of the peasants to the eastern part of the country was one of the components of the new agricultural policy. The law of the 6th of July 1904 gave to the peasants the opportunity to immigrate. The 9th of March 1906 Nicolay II confirmed the situation of the Council of ministries 'the application of the law of 1904', authorizing the liberty of immigration.
The agricultural reforms were supposed to last 20 years, 'give the government 20 years of internal and external peace", said P.A.Stolypin "and you will no more recognize Russia."
In 1905, the European part of Russia had 12,3 millions of farmers houses and 130 000 country houses. Almost 43% of the peasants became free owners.
By the end of the year 1916 the people having country-houses lost almost 10 millions ha of land which went to the hands of prosperous farmers.
After 1906 the number of immigrants increased, and most of them were the poorest ones. The number of farmers who emigrated in 1906-1914 from the central regions of the country after the Ural was 3,1 million people; 0,5 million of them came back. The new comers controlled in the Siberia and Turkestan over 30 millions ha of land, almost ? of those immigrants could not have private lots. Generally because of the immigration they couldn't solve the land's problem in the central parts of the country. In Siberia 300 000 immigrants stayed every year, and the augmentation of the population of farmers in the European part of Russia was almost 2 million people per year.
The reform of Stolypin allowed the continuation of the specialization of the agriculture and the role of the intensification; it showed the augmentation of the demand of cars and weapons (3,4 time in the period from 1906 to 1909); we also notice the increasing of the marketability of the rural production.
However the tension in the villages still existed. Many farmers, principally the poorest were ruined. Because of the bad organization of the immigration, many immigrants came back to their original places. Being at home they could not get back their former lands. Apart of it farmers were thinking that the reform was justified because it didn't touch the question of possession of the land.Surely, the attempt of solving the agricultural problem the same way all over the country, as noticed S.I.Vitte couldn't get a big success.
The Internal Political Crisis during World War l.
Military set-backs increased existing internal political problems in the Russian society. There appeared antigovernmental actions and antiwar movement.By the end of May 1915 the political crisis in the country became evident.Criticizing actions of the government, bourgeoisie in opposition launched the idea of mobilizing of the industry for the war.
At the beginning of the war the patriotic ideas gave birth to the creation of the All-Russian national union for help to wounded men and the All-Russian union of cities. Later these organizations united in 'Zemgor', the main subsistence committee that took control of mobilization of the small-scale and medium industry for provision of the army with munitions and weapons. In May 1915 the session of the representatives of the industry and commerce made a decision to create military-industrial committees all over the country in order to mobilize the private industry for performance of military orders.
The military-industrial committees, which included outstanding industrialists, bankers and representatives of the industrial intelligentsia, founded almost 120 private plants and workshops for needs of the front.The government trying to keep the initiative of economical mobilization created in August 17, 1915 the Special defence council and some other subordinate councils (for supply of fuel, food, etc.) under the presidency of Ministers and accountable only to Tsar. They included government dignitaries, representatives of the military-industrial committees and intelligentsia.
The increasing political crisis generated the need to include representatives of the opposition bourgeoisie into the government and to discharge most discredited ministers. In June 1915 Nicolay II was forced to dismiss the minister of internal affairs N.A Maklakov, the minister of Justice I.N.Cheglovitch and the minister of defense V.A. Sukhomlinov.But at the head of the Council of ministers still was 75-year-old Goremykin appointed in January 1914.
The 4th session of the State Duma took place on the 19th of July during which Octobrists and Labourists put a question on creation of a responsible to Duma government, and at the beginning of August Constitutional Democrats actively worked to create an inter-party bloc. The progressive bloc was registered in August 12 as a legal parliamentary and opposition group, the principal aim of which was formation of a government of 'public credit'. Representatives of the opposition bourgeoisie parties were supposed to take up the most important posts in this government.
However, Nicolay's II joining the high command was considered as the end of instability of the power, refusal to the parliamentary majority to create 'ministry of credit', dismissal of Goremykin and removal of ministers who supported the Progressive bloc, and finally dissolution of the State Duma after its consideration of some war bills. On the 3rd of September, the chairman of the State Duma Rodzyanko received the tsar's decree of dissolution till November 1915.
During this period Gregory Rasputin greatly influenced State affairs as he enjoyed tsarina's confidence.Alexandra Fedorovna from the moment of departure of Nicolay II till February was actively involved in the state affairs following advice of the 'Old man'. Gradually Rasputin's image became the symbol of the total decomposition of the tsarist regime.
Rasputin's assassination on the night of the 17th of December, 1916 by a group of conspirators, which included prince F.F.Yusupov, leader of the Black hundreds V.M. Purishkevich, the great prince Dimitry Pavlovich, Doctor Lazovert, was accepted by the public well. However, it did not change the character of the government's policy. More and more people came to the conclusion that the problem was not in Rasputin's regime but in the Emperor.
Besides, the external sign of the decomposition of the autocracy was so called 'Ministerial reshuffle'. In a short term there changed 4 chairmen of the Council of Ministers ( I.L.Goremykin from the 30th of January 1914, B.V. Sturmer from the 20th of January 1916 , A.F. Trepov from the 10th of November 1916 and N.D.Golitsyn from the 27th of December 1916 till the 27th of February 1917) and none of them didn't show any outstanding abilities. At the same time, 6 ministers changed their post in the ministry of internal affairs, 4 ministers of justice, 4 ministers of defence. So 'Ministerial reshuffle' even more increased disorganization of the power, created growing instability of the political course and boosted the expansion of hearsays concerning conspiracy and treason in the government.
The growth of displeasure in the country was boosted by economical problems still increasing in the course of the everlasting war. The government tried to cover all the war costs through money emission that leaded to the inflation and rapid worsening of the population living standard.
The February Revolution. Dethronement of Autocracy.
The WW I was a great burden to Russia. In 1915 573 industrial enterprises and in 1916 about 74 metallurgical works stopped working. The national economy could no more support the army of many millions, in which were mobilized 11 % of the agricultural population and above 0,5 million of skilled workers. The situation was aggravated by the huge casualties of the Russian army, which exceeded 9 million people in 1917, including 1,7 million killed.
By February 1917 the situation in Petrograd became explosive because of emergency situation with provisions (snowdrifts did not allow to bring to the capital railroad cars with flour). The 26th of February was a push of the revolution. On the night of the 26th of February the authorities carried out arrests and in the afternoon a large demonstration was shot down on the Znamenky Square. Conflicts with the army and police causing victims took place throughout the city. It evoked indignation not only of workers and intelligentsia but also of soldiers. The staff of the 4th company of the reserve battalion of Life Guards of Pavlovsky regiment opened fire on policemen.
On the 27th of February 70 thousand soldiers of reserve battalions of Volynsky, Priobrazhensky, Litovsky, Moscovsky reserve regiments and other units joined revolutionary masses. The universal political strike developed into the armed revolt. By the end of the day revolutionaries seized railway stations, bridges, the main arsenal, major government establishments, they crushed police stations and prisons, released political prisoners and simultaneously about 4 thousand criminals were set free.
On the 26th of February the chairman of IV State Duma M.V. Rodzyanko wired to Nicolay II about 'necessity to entrust a person enjoying public confidence to constitute a new government" and the next day he headed the Interim committee of the State Duma. This time the government considering the State Duma as the center of opposition and revolutionary movement sent Nikolay's II decree to the chairman of the Duma about recess of Duma till April 1917. In the evening of the 27th of February Nikolay II still not aware of the importance of the events, sent to the capital a special group (about 800 soldiers and officers) under the command of general N.I.Ivanov for suppression of "disorders" in Petrograd.
The Petrograd fortress, Winter Palace and the Admiralty was captured. The ministers of tsarist government were arrested. Troop trains with units to help General Ivanov stuck on railway. Nikolay II left the Headquarters and went to Tsarskoye Selo. In the evening of the first of March two tsar's highball express trains arrived in Pskov and here on the night of the 1st and the 2nd of March Nikolay II signed a manifest of creation of "responsible ministry" and suspended Ivanov's punitive expedition.
Meanwhile, the Petrograd Council of workers - deputies and its Temporary executive committee created in February, 27th brisked up its work. Among its 15 members there were 6 Mensheviks, 2 S.R., 2 Bolsheviks and 5 social democrats. The chairman of the Council became Menshevik N.S.Chkheidze, his assistants were Labourist A.F.Kerensky and Menshevik M.I.Skobelev. The Petrograd Council worked hard on organization of food supply of the population and troops in Petrograd and creation of militia.
On the 1st of March the Council published the well-known "order number 1" concerning the army, according to which many important functions of power passed on from officers to elective soldier's committees, all civil rights were given to soldiers, titles of officers were cancelled, etc. On the 1st of March the Council was transformed into the Council of workers' and soldiers' deputies. In total in March 1917 in Russia arosed about 600 Councils of workers', soldiers' and peasants' deputies, which played an important role in demolition of imperial administration in the country.
On the 2nd of March 1917 General Ruzsky by order of the chief of staff M.V.Alexeyev informed Nikolay II about demand of the Committee to solve "the dynastic question", i.e. about demise. At the same time in Pskov were received telegrams from commanders of the armies (also organized by M.V.Alexeyev). Being formally loyal, they unambiguously forces Nikolay II to demise in favour of his son Alexey. As a result the tsar wired to Rodzyanko about his demise in favour of his son but the telegram was detained and the demise was not announced because of the news about coming to Pskov of A.I.Guchkov and V.V.Shulgin, the representatives of the Interim Committee of the State Duma.
After the information on the situation in the capital (treason of the escort especially struck Nikolay II), on the night of the 2nd and 3rd of March the tsar signed the manifest of demise but already in favour of his brother Mikhail Alexandrovich explaining that he did not want to jeopardize his son. He broke the rules of succession according to which each member of royal family could abdicate only for him/herself, thus giving an opportunity to declare such demise invalid in the future.
After reception of the manifest on Nikolay's II demise in favour of Mikhail instead of Alexey, the majority of members of the Interim Committee, expecting that it could result into explosion of national displeasure and bloodshed, began talking about the impossibility of preservation of monarchy.
In midday of the 3rd of March a meeting between members of the Duma Committee and Provisional Government and grand duke Mikhail took place. After disputes and confrontations Mikhail Romanov, having known that his life cannot be guaranteed in case of his holding the throne, signed an act of demise narrating about his consent to accept the crown only in case of the same decision of the Constituent Assembly. On the 3rd of March the bill on structure and program of the Provisional Government was published. The government included most known and popular public figures and businessmen. Prince G.┼. Lvov, one of the most authoritative heads, became the Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs; the leader of Cadets, popular orator and the most influential figure in the government P.N.Milyukov became the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the leader of Octobrists A.I.Guchkov became the Military and Sea Minister; I.Konovalov, the textile manufacturer, one of heads of the progressive party, became the Minister of Trade and Industry, and M.I.Tereshenko (non-party man), the sugar manufacturer, known as the patron of art, held the post of the Minister of Finance; A.F.Kerensky, the orator and lawyer, became the Minister of Justice.
The February revolution extinguished more than the 300-year dynasty of the RomÓnovs in a week with minimal casualties (in Petrograd almost 300 men were killed and 1100 persons wounded) and in the rest territory the democracy was established amicably basically). The reason was the acuteness of the national crisis in Russia, inveteracy of its roots, traditions of the first Russian revolution and also association of widest layers of the society in struggle against the discredited regime.
The Russian Culture at the close of IX and the beginning of XX century.
The growth of the industry gave birth to demand for educated people but the level of erudition changed a little bit. The census of 1897 registered 21 literate persons per 100 inhabitants of the Empire; in 1917 the same parameter made 30 persons per 100 inhabitants.
Gradually the number of elementary schools grew: 32 thousand in 1894, 92,5 thousand in 1906. Since 1896 due to means of commercial and industrial bourgeoisie appeared commercial schools (1913 - 250 schools). After the revolution of 1905-1907 there was a certain democratization of the higher school: elections of deans and rectors, and student organizations were permitted.
The periodical press had a great influence on the life of the Russian society. If at the close of XIX century there were published 105 daily newspapers, in 1912 already existed 1131 newspapers in 24 languages. The largest publishing houses are ones of I.D.Sytin, A.S.Suvorin, "Znaniye" played a great role in enlightenment of the nation, distribution of works of Russian and foreign authors.
In the Russian science there appeared a constellation of names, first of all in humanitarian disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, where the beginning of XX century was marked by occurrence of some philosophical works, which authors (S.N.Bulgakov, N.A.Berdyayev, E.N.Trubetskoy, V.I.Vernadsky, P.B.Struve, L.I.Shestov, etc.) aspired to comprehend the historical way and the future of Russia. Achievements in the historical science were connected with V.O.Klyuchevsky, P.N.Milyukov (in the beginning of XX century he left the historical science and engaged in the political activity), N.P.Pavlov-Silvansky, A.S.Lappo-Danilevsky, A.E.Presnyakov, A.A.Shakhmatov, S.F.Platonov, etc.
Development of the natural sciences went along with the world science as it was promoted by exchanges of scientists, training in foreign universities, publication of joint works, etc. Among the most known scientists is V.I.Vernadsky (1863-1945), the encyclopedist, one of the founders of geochemistry, the doctrine of biosphere, which subsequently became the basis of his idea of noosphere or the sphere of planetary intellect. In 1903 was published the work of the founder of the theory of rocket movement, the teacher of the Kaluga grammar school K.E.Tsiolkovsky (1875-1935) which was called "Research of world spaces by jet apparatus". Essential value had the works of N.E.Zhukovsky (1847-1921) and I.I.Sikorsky (1883-1972) in aircraft construction, I.P.Pavlov and I.M.Sechenov, etc.
Development of literature in many aspects was conditioned by the traditions of the Russian classical literature of XIX century, the living picture of which was L.N. Tolstoy. The Russian literature of the beginning of XX century is represented by A.Chekhov, M. Gorky, V.Korolenko, A.Kuprin, I.Bunin, etc.
The beginning of XX century was the period of flourish of the Russian poetry, the time of bright creative individualities with various ethical and aesthetic views, belonging to different directions (symbolism, futurism, etc.), - K.Balmont, A. Blok, S.Esenin, I.Severyanin, N.Gumilev, A.Akhmatova, M.Voloshin, A.Bely, etc.
In the fine art there were, on the one hand, currents connected with the traditions of XIX century (the realistic direction - I.Repin, S.Korovin, N.Kasatkin, etc., there was also existed the Association of mobile exhibitions - A.M. and V.M.Vasnetsovs, I.Brodsky, etc.), on the other hand, the avant-garde directions that cultivated new forms. One of the tendencies of Russian painting of that period was addressing to search of the national original beauty - works of M.Nesterov, N.Rerich, etc. Russian impressionism was represented by works of V.Serov, I.Grabar, K.Korovin, etc.
The art tendency "The World of Art " played an appreciable role in the development of the Russian art.
Russian patrons of art contributed to creativity of artists, singers and writers. The most known among them is the family of textile manufacturers Shukins, including S.Shukin. He had a collection of the French avant-garde painting (Picasso, Matiss, Gogen and others), which was exposed in the Gallery of new Western painting that he created himself in Moscow. Other patrons are S. Morozov, N.Rubichinsky, S.Mamontov who founded the Moscow private Russian opera.
A new style called modern proliferated in architecture, with its aspiration to emphasize the functional purpose of inhabited and public buildings. It proposed to use frescos, mosaic, stained-glass windows, ceramics, sculpture, new constructions and materials. Search of new ideas was characteristic of the neo-Russian style directed on the old Russian and folk art. The particularity of this style was the contrast of the external look of the building and its purpose (for example, the Kazan railway station, the architect A.V.Shusev).
The theatrical life was rich too. Leading positions were taken by the Bolchoi (in Moscow) and Mariinsky (St. Petersburg) theatres; opera houses were in number of large cities. In 1898 K.Stanislavsky and V.Nemirovich-Danchenko founded in Moscow the Art Theatre where were staged plays of Chekhov, Gorky, Ibsen, Gamsun, etc., that was a success among the audience. In 1904 V.Komissarzhevskaya founded the Drama theatre in St. Petersburg.
In the beginning of XX century attention of the musical public was directed to the creativity of such talented Russian composers as A.Skryabin, N. Rimsky-Korkasov, A.Glazunov, S.Rakhmaninov, I.Stravinsky.Cinematograph enjoyed especial popularity among various layers of urban population at the beginning of XIX century; the first Russian fiction picture "Stenka Razin" was produced in 1908. By 1914 in the country there were about 30 domestic firms, which produced over 300 pictures.
The Foreign Policy of Russia during the Reign of Nicolay II.
At the close of the XIX century the priorities of the foreign policy of the Russian Empire were still linked to the traditional directions - Balkan Peninsula, the problem of the Black Sea straits, the knot of contradictions in the Far East.
Without resourses for the offensive policy, Russia tried not to sharpen contradictions with the European countries. The agreement with Dual Monarchy eased the contradictions between Russia and its main opponents in the Baltic, thus preserving the status quo.
Escalation of danger of the All-European war due to aggravation in relations between France and Germany, and England and Germany, obliged Russia (not ready for the war) to organize the International conference for preservation of peace and discontinuance of armament. The first conference took place in May-July 1899 in Haag; 26 countries participated at that conference. The conference took the decision of peaceful solution of international problems, laws and habits in the war; but the main question, discontinuance of armament, was not solved.
The second conference in Haag took place in 1907 by the initiative of Russia again. 44 countries took part in it. 13 conventions of laws and habits of war at sea and on land were taken; some of them exist even today. In the 90s of XIX century the activity of the Russian foreign policy was concentrated in the Far East, where great powers struggled to divide China. The interests of Russia in the Far East were confronted to the interests of England that was trying to expand its control over the region; Japan also was trying to influence the Eastern Asia.
In 1891 Russia began to build the Trans-Siberian Railway (almost 7 000 km), which was of great economical and strategic value. The program of construction of the railway provided expansion of the Russian foreign market, development of transit trade between West and East through Russia, development of its eastern frontiers. Successful realization of these projects was possible only in case Russia would keep good relations with China, Korea and Japan.
But in 1894 Japan sent its armies in Korea and declared the war to China. Japan received a big contribution as written in the Simonosesk peace convention, the fortress Port Arthur, many Islands; China gave up its protectorate over Korea. All this endangered the Russian Far East. With support of France and Germany Russia successfully revisied the convention: the Japanese government was obliged to give back to China the Lyaodun peninsula.
In 1895 Russia granted a loan to China of 150 million rubles, the Russian-Chinese bank was founded. In May 1896 in Moscow was signed the contract between Russia and China concerning construction of the railway through Manchuria. The construction took the period of 1897-1901. In May 1896 Russia signed a contract with Japan of common protectorate over Korea and took the control of its finance and army. In December 1897 the Russian squadron entered Port
Arthur, and in May 1897 was signed a contract of rent of Lyaodun Peninsula for 25 years. Russia received the non-freezing ports: the commercial Dalyavan (Dalny) and the military Port Arthur, where construction of a naval base began.
During this period the Far East policy of Nicolay II was influenced by the group of courtiers, convinced that Russia should attack China and Japan. The most important role in that group that included great prince Alexander Mikhailovich, the minister of the court I.I.Vorontsov-Dashkov, prince F.F.Yusupov, M.V.Rodzyanko, chamberlain N.M.Balashev, rear admiral A.M Abaza, was played by A.M. Bezobrazov, thus the group was called "Bezobrazov's clique".
Their plan was to found a joint stock company for construction of railroads and communication lines in North Korea, and then for their protection in Korea Russian military bases were supposed to appear, that later should lead to the annexion of the region by the Russian Empire. In spite of protests of S.U.Vitte, Nicolay II accepted that plan.
In 1900 Russia took part in suppression of the rebellion in China together with other great powers and sent its army in Manchuria using the pretext of protection of the railway. In the course of the separate negotiations with China the tsarist diplomacy, before removing its army, required granting concession to build and exploit the new branch of the railway and removal of the Chinese army in Manchuria. Japan was against; it enlisted the support of friendly neutral ity of Germany and of alliance with England in 1902. As a result, the Russian-Chinese treaty, signed on the 26th of May (7th of April) 1902, mentioned the possibility of removal of the Russian army from Manchuria in 18 months, without any concessions and monopolies. In May 1903 "Bezobrazov's clique" achieved declaration of the "new course" on the Far East: there was established a region ruled by admiral Alexeyev and residence in Port-Arthur; S.U. Vitte was retired, the withdrawal of the Russian forces was stopped.
In July 1903 Japan proposed Russia the project of agreement concerning Korea and Manchuria, in which Japan received exclusive rights on Korea, and the interests of Russia were limited by the railway transport. The fact that Russia was not ready to the war forced the tsarist government to be flexible and propose some compromise solutions, but Japan already stated more and more strict conditions. By the end of December 1903 it demanded from Russia to accept all its terms, and on the 24th of January announced rupture of diplomatic relations with Russia.
The Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905.
Japan started the war being prepared to it earnestly. Japan received a generous economical and military help from the USA, England and Germany. In 1904 Russia was practically in a political isolation. Its ally France (in 1899 a change of letters between the ministry of external affairs of Russia and France confirmed the political agreement of 1891 and the army convention of 1893) announced its neutrality in the Far East conflict. The German government was interested in the provocative contradictions between Russia and Japan to redraw powers of Russia from the frontiers and provide its back in case of the war with France.
The Russian Empire was not ready to the war not only in the diplomatic meaning but also in the military one. In fact of the evident possibility of war with Japan, the concentration of the contingents in the Far East was going very slowly, the program of construction of vessels for the Pacific fleet was not fulfilled, the level of equipment of the army and navy was insufficient (new weapons were not so much). In January 1904 Japanese army was larger that that of Russia three times as many, in artillery (8 times) and in the number of warships (1.3 time). Apart from it the General Staff of the tsarist army was badly prepared to command, and among the high dignitaries flourished corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
The plan of the Japanese command assumed establishment of the domination on the sea to maintain the transport of the armies to the continent. The course on blocking and destruction of the Pacific squadron based in Port-Arthur in this connection was chosen. On the night of January 27 (February 9) 1904 a group of Japanese torpedo btorpedo boats suddenly attacked Russian warships. However Japanese did not manage to destroy and even to block the Russian fleet. Vice-admiral S.O.Makarov, who headed the Pacific squadron on the 24th of February, the talented naval commander; native of sailor's family; he took measures to activate actions of the squadron. In result Japanese could not land on the Lyaodun peninsula. But on the 31st of March the battleship 'Petropavlovsk' was blown up on a mine and sank, Makarov, officers of the staff and 620 sailors died. The new commander of the squadron, V.K.Witheft refused to do offensive actions and escaped in Port-Arthur, and Japanese immediately began to manoeuvre to the continent.
Already in the first battle on the Russian land the Russian forces were defeated: in the middle of April on the river Yalu the 1st Japanese army of 45 thousand soldiers forced the 8th thousand Eastern group of general M.I.Zasulich to retreat in disorder to Lyaoyan. On the 22nd of April on the Lyaodun peninsula began to land the 2nd Japanese army of the general Oku, composed of about 50 thousand soldiers, that jeopardized Port-Arthur. The 4th army of general Nodzu landed at Dagushan.
To the summer of 1904, Port-Arthur was already thoroughly fortified, its garrison made up 42 thousand soldiers, the squadron - 12 thousand sailors. General R.I.Kondratenko played an outstanding role in the defense of Port-Arthur. In August the Japanese command made attempt to seize Port-Arthur, having thrown in the assault its 45th thousand army. From the 6st to the 11th of August defenders of the fortress was beating off attacks of the enemy that had significant advantage in artillery. Having lost almost 25 thousand soldiers Japanese were compelled to proceed to the systematic siege of the fortresses.
The defeat near Port-Arthur forced Japanese commander-in-chief Oyama to attack on the Russian Manchurian army by the 1st, 2nd and 5th armies, trying to surround and destroy Russian armies near Lyaoyan. There were 148 thousand Russian bayonets and 673 pieces of ordnance. Japanese had 110 thousand bayonets and 484 guns. The battle near Lyaoyan began on the 17th of August, and in the evening commanders of the 2nd and the 4th Japanese armies declared the impossibility to continue the attack because of enormous casualties. By the 21st of August the Japanese armies, which lost over 24 thousand soldiers and ran out of shells and foodstuffs, were ready to retreat. But ╩uropatkin, ignorant of the position of the opponent and a little panic-stricken by the events, in the morning of the 21st of August gave the order to retreat to Mukden. Russian casualties near Lyaoyan were almost 17 thousand soldiers.
In September 1904, the number of soldiers of the Russian army in Manchuria reached 210 thousand. Forces of Japanese were held down near Port-Arthur distracting no less than half of the Japanese reserves, artillery and shells. In this conditions ╩uropatkin, at last dared to take the initiative and in September 1904 attacked on the river Shakhe, in a mountainous insufficiently studied district. After several unsuccessful attacks of Russian armies Kuropatkin took on the defensive. Both parties with huge casualties for three months have been at the trench war, which was called 'Shakhe sitting".
After three unsuccessful attacks of Port-Arthur (in August, September and in the middle of October), having huge casualties, Japanese turned to the mine and artillery war, and on the 13th of November more than 100 thousand soldiers started the fourth storm. Having captured Vysokaya Mountain, the enemy began by aimed fire to destroy ships of the Russian squadron. Defenders of the fortress held the line with their last ounce, headed by the talented generals R.I.Kondratenko and general Smirnov.
On the 20th of December 1904 the act of surrender of Port-Arthur was signed. The Russian fleet was destroyed, and 32 thousands soldiers, including ill and wounded, were captured.
In 1905 on the Far East there were two largest battles in the history of wars: the ╠ukden battle on land and Tsusima battle at sea. Actions near Mukden lasted from the 5th till the 24th of February 1905; they involved more than 660 thousand soldiers from both sides. The battle ended by retreat of the Russian army during which they suffered heavy casualty. A part of the army was boxed in. Casualty of Japanese were 70 thousand people, 52 thousand were wounded and 22 thousand soldiers were captured.
In May 1905, in the zone arrived the 2nd and the 3rd Pacific squadrons with the tsarist government's task "to seize the sea of Japan". Against 30 Russian warships Japan put 120 repaired and perfectly equipped ships. At equal number of battleships the Japanese fleet in 6 times surpassed the Russian one in a number of cruisers and torpedo boats. The Pacific squadrons accepted the battle on the 14th and the 15th of May 1905 near the Island of Tsusima. The Japanese ships fired point-blank at the Russian battleships. On the 14th of May 11 Russian ships, including 5 battleships were lost. Rozhdestvensky was contused, admiral Nebogatov actually did not control the battle. Torpedo attacks destroyed 2 more battleships. Some ships were sunk by own crews not to surrender them to the enemy. Only a small group leaded by Nebogatov gave themselves up on the 15th of May being surrendered. In total sank 19 warships, 3 cruisers cut their way to neutral ports, 2 cruisers and 2 torpedo boats reached Vladivostok. Of 14 thousand seamen, 5 thousand were died and the same number were captured. The route of the Russian navy was complete.
Despite of operations favorable for Japan, its exhaustion of material and manpower resources forced the Japanese government to search for the peace with Russia. The peace conference took place on the 27th of July (9th of August) 1905 in Portsmouth (USA). After long diplomatic struggle of the Russian delegation led by Vitte it became possible to reject the requirement of Japan for payment of the huge contribution, extradition of the Russian warships that took cover in neutral ports, restriction of the Russian Navy on the Far East. Japan could not achieve the seizure of Southern Sakhalin occupied in June 1905. Russia rent Japan Lyaodun peninsula with Port-Arthur and Dalny, "ceded" to the Japanese government the southern part of Sakhalin and nearest islands, and also the branch line from Port-Arthur to Changchun.
The Portsmouth peace treaty was signed on the 23rd of August (5th September) 1905.
The Character of the International Relations in 1906-1914.
The character of the international relations in 1906-1914 was determined by the aggravation of economic contradictions between the powers of the world in the struggle for marketing outlets and sources of raw materials, political divergences between them, formation of military and political blocks and arms race. Except for these factors the foreign policy of Russia was influenced by the results of the unsuccessful Russian-Japanese War, the Russian revolution of 1905-1907.
The Chairman of Council of Ministers P.A. Stolypin supported the position of "peace by all means", which became basic in the cautious policy of the Russian diplomacy.
On the 18th of August 1907 in St. Petersburg the English-Russian agreement, delimiting spheres of influence of two powers in Iran, Afghanistan and Tibet was signed. The English-Russian contract of 1907 was accomplished by the creation of the Triple Alliance (Russia, France and Great Britain) - the Entente, which resulted in the division of Europe into two military and political blocks. With the assistance of England and France Russia could normalize its relations with Japan: in 1907 the general political agreement, the fishing convention and the trade treaty were signed, in 1910 Russia and Japan concluded the confidential contract, which fixed the cooperation between the two countries in protection of their interests in Manchuria.
The essential influence on the foreign orientation of Russia were the events on Balkan Peninsula, in particular the Bosnian crisis of 1908-1909, caused by the decision of Austria-Hungary to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina. Germany supported this decision, and after unsuccessful diplomatic struggle Russia was compelled to recognize the annexation, despite the risk "to lose the fruits of century efforts, to lose the role of great power" as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia A.P.Izvolsky (1906-1910) expressed.
In 1910 Izvolsky was replaced in the rank of the Minister for Foreign Affairs by Stolypin's son-in-law S.D. Sazanov (1910-1916). He served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1883, in 1907 he rose to the rank of the councillor in England, and then the ambassador in Vatican. During his ministry service Sazonov got profound effect on tsar, continuing his policy of rapprochement with England and Japan without aggravation of relations with Germany. Attempts of Germany to tear off Russia from its allies were not successful. Russia rejected the German proposal of the general political agreement, having limited to the conclusion on the 6th of August 1911 in St. Petersburg the Russian-German agreement on Iran and construction of the Baghdad railway, which did not touch the main questions.
In 1911 the activity of the Russian diplomacy was concentrated on Balkan Peninsula. Russia promoted the formation of the union of the Balkan states (Serbia, Bulgaria, then Greece) that started on the 27th of September (9th October) 1912 the war against Turkey in response to the slaughter of Albanians and Macedonians. At the end of 1913 relations between Russia and Germany strained because of the sending to Turkey of a group of German officers and generals who took major command posts in the Turkish army. The group was headed by general Liman Von Sanders, who gave the name to this military mission. In conditions of aggravated relations with Germany and Austria-Hungary the ruling circles of Russia were inclined to the opportunity of armed conflict with the German bloc. The big program of strengthening of the defense was accepted. Although with delay, Russia joined the arms race. In the spring of 1914 Russia proposed England to sign the navy convention; in July the English government confirmed its intention to act with Russia against the Austrian-German bloc.
World War I
Casus belly for World War I was the murder of the Austrian successor to the throne archduke Franz Ferdinand and his spouse in Saraevo (Serbia) in June 15th (28th), 1914 by the Serbian student Gavrila Printzip. In July 10th (23th), 1914 Austria-Hungary, supported by Germany, presented to Serbia the ultimatum, containing among others the requirement of admission of the Austrian investigators to the territory of Serbia and introduction of a limited contingent of the Austrian troops.
Serbia expressed willingness to accept the basic requirements of the ultimatum, except for those two items, and to deliver the case on consideration of great powers or the Hague international tribunal. However on the 14th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war to Serbia. Attempts to prevent the European war (England's offer on convocation of conference for resolution of the conflict, Nikolay's II telegrams to German emperor with proposal of intermediary, etc.) weren't successful.
In the evening of the 17th (30th) of July 1914 Russia declared the general mobilization. On the night of the 31st of July - the 1st of August Germany presented to Russia an ultimatum for cancellation of the decision on mobilization within 12 hours. S.D.Sazonov's repsponse was that cancellation of mobilization in such terms was impossible, but Russia was ready to continue negotiations for settlement of the conflict.On the 1 of August 1914 Germany declared war to Russia. On the 2nd-3rd of August France declared the support to Russia, and England - the support to France. In the evening of the 3 of August Germany declared war to France. On the 6 of August Austria- declared war to Russia.
The plan of the German command (after von Shliffen), developed in 1905, at the first stage of war presupposed the flash-like campaign on the Western front against France, and then actions against Russia, which armed forces were supposed to be held down by Austria-Hungary. Thus Germany assumed to avoid the war on two fronts and to finish it in less than 2-3 months.
The Russian General Staff considering the possibility of the Germany's defeat over France planned the simultaneous attacks on Berlin by the Northwest (under command of Y.G. Gilinsky) and Vienna by the Southwest fronts (under command of N.I.Ivanov). In order to rescue its allies Russian army assumed the offensive against Germany before the deployment of all armies and the mobilization were completed. On the 4th (17th) of August the first (under command of P.K.Rennenkampf) and the second (under command of A.V.Samsonov) Russian armies entered East Prussia, distracting German forces from the Western front where Germany, having broken the neutrality of Belgium, attacked Northern France.
In the beginning the onset of Russian armies developed successfully. On the 7th (20th) of August 1914 the 1st army inflicted a serious defeat to the 8-th German army commanded of Pritvits under Gumbinnen. In the meantime the 2nd army headed by general Samsonov advanced deep into East Prussia. Having taken the advantage of criminal inaction of Rennenkampf who hadn't organized the pursuit of hastily receding opponent, the new commander of the 8-th army general Paul von Gindenburg stopped the retreat and directed almost all the forces against Samsonov's army. Two corps of the 2nd army were surrounded and almost entirely destroyed. The rest of the army fell back to the Russian border. After that Gindenburg attacked the armies of Rennenkampf and by the 2nd (15th) of September had superseded them from East Prussia.
The situation in the Southwest front was more successful.During Galicia's offensive started on the 5th (18th) of August, Russian armies invaded Galicia, broke the Austrian-Hungarian army in counter fights, and on the 21st of August (the 3rd of September) the armies of general Brusilov occupied Lvov. Continuing the successful attack, Russian armies besieged the powerful Austrian fortress of Peremyshl and occupied a significant part of Bukovina. The threat of Russian intrusion to Silesia compelled the German command to shift a part of armies to the East front. On the 12th (25th) of September by order of the Russian Headquarters the attack was stopped, and armies were concentrated near Warsaw. From September to November 1914 the two largest battles - the Warsaw-Ivangorod and Lodzi - took place on the territory of Polland. Over 800 thousand soldiers from both sides took part in the battles.
At the end of November 1914 at the conference of the front leaders of the Russian army in Brest the decision to postpone the offensive till January 1915 was taken. One of the major causes of the decision was the lack of arms, shells, artilleries, an exhaustion of regular cadres. The losses of Russian army made 1,2 million of people - killed, wounded and captured. The war on the East front took a trench character. On the 20th of October (the 2nd of November) 1914 Russia declared war to Turkey, and Russian armies crushed the 3d Turkish army in Transcaucasia. The German-Turkish squadron suffered great losses on the Black sea.
Successful actions of Russian armies in the beginning of 1915 compelled Germany to relocate its forces to the Eastern front. The best cases were shifted from the Western front to form the shock army under command of general Makenzen. On the 19th of April (the 2nd of May) 1915 after intensive artillery preparation the German and the Austrian armies stroke a blow to Russian armies in Galicia, near Gorlitsa. Persistent fights lasted out for almost a month and a half. Russian armies slowly retreated. On the 21st of May (the 3rd of June) they left Peremyshl and then on the 9th (22nd) of June - Lvov. Russian armies had left almost all the territory won at the end of 1914, but the general breach of the Russian front in the given area wasn't a success. In July the German command made an attempt to encircle Russian forces near Warsaw. Fights in Poland went on for a month. On the 20th of July (the 2nd of August) Russian armies left Warsaw, then - Novogeorgiyevsk. The army was saved, but Poland was left to the enemy.
Developing its success, in August the German command launched the offensive in the directions of Kovensk, and then Vilno. The opponent had occupied Vilno and the significant part of Lithuania. Due to the actions of the Baltic fleet the breach of the German ships in the gulf of Riga didn't succeed.
By the end of 1915 Russian armies were dislodged from Poland, Lithuania, Galicia, parts of Baltic and Byelorussia; successes of the first months of war were brought to nothing. From the beginning of war the losses of Russian armies made 3,5 million people killed, casualty and captured. Allies did not render Russia any actual help.
Military failures of 1915 caused rearrangements in the supreme command structure of the Russian army: in June 1915 Minister of War V.A.Sukhomlinov, accused in treason, was dismissed. General A.A.Polivanov was appointed to his place. In August 1915 Nikolay II displaced his uncle Nikolay Nikolayevich from the post of the Commander - in - chief despite of his good military reputation and the authority in the army. At the same time the chief of the General Staff general Yanushkevich was also displaced. Nikolay II himself took the post of the Commander - in - chief, and the post of the chief of the General Staff occupied general M.V.Alexey - the son of a common soldier, who had made military career due to his abilities, one of the future heads of white movement. Efficient actions of M.V.Alexeev as the Commander-in-chief of the Northwest front ruined the enemy's plans to surround and annihilate the Russian army in Poland in July - August 1915.
In 1916 the German command made a decision of the defensive strategy on the Eastern front, intending to defeat its opponents in the West. Great success was achieved by Russia in operations against Turkey. On the 6th of February 1916 the armies of the Caucasian front took the possession of Erzerum and in April 1916 seized Trapezund, thus having forwarded 250 kilometres far inland Turkey.As a result of the whole military campaign of 1916 the countries - participants of Entente with the conclusive influence of the armed forces of Russia had grasped the strategic initiative in the struggle against the German-Austrian block.
Birth of the Empire - Peter the Great
Epoch of Palace Revolution
Russia in the second half of XVIII century
Epoch of Alexander I Reign
Epoch of Great Reforms
Alexander III Government
Russia in XIX-XX centuries.First World War