Why did opposition to the Tsar increase in the years 1881-1914 During the period of 1881- 1914 opposition towards the Tsar in Russia increased. The main reasons as to why opposition towards the Tsar arose in Russia can be seen to be as a result of the discontentment growing between the Russian people. A strong sense of discontent spread throughout Russia, this because Russia had suffered from extreme domestic and economic troubles in this period.
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The most significant troubles which Russian citizens experienced -eventually leading to the opposition of the Tsar , was their ant for political change, strictcensorship, oppression of the Okrana, their want for political change , their poor standard of living , lack of trust of Tsarist government following the Russo-Japanese war and finally the 1905 revolution . The first cause as to why opposition to the Tsar increased in the years 1881-1914 is the Russian peoples want for political change. Their want for political change is due to the strict, oppressive and censored regime of state they lived in.
Following the assassination of his father Alexander II, Alexander Ill undid the reforms previously made by his father nd introduced his own reforms during his reign of 1881-1894. One major reform introduced by Alexander was the Russification of Russia. This restricted the language in Russia to Russian only; it also openly started attacks on Jews. Despite the Jews being a minority group within Russia, the Jewish population was vast and a majority of Russians were Jewish, therefore the Russification of the Jews meant that the Tsar lost the support of a lot of the Russian population which led to further opposition.
Alexander also launched a campaign of repression to all those supporting political eform, he also restricted press freedom as well as ensuring foreign books & newspapers were rigorously censored. This led to unrest in Russia as many felt their freedom was taken away and were against the form of control they now were under. This was worsened as the Okhrana (the secret police) was established. The Okhrana worked undercover, infiltrating organisations and groups which might present a danger to the Tsar; the Okhrana was highly unpopular within Russia with the people as its tactics of control were severe and violent.
This therefore increased opposition o the Tsar as a wide amount of Russians were angry at their lack ofcivil rights, which had been infringed under the Tsars reforms. The second cause as to why opposition to the Tsar increased in the years 1881-1914 was the poor standard of living the majority of the working class experienced . This is because despite the Russian industry and unemployment levels improving during the 1890s as a result of the ‘great spurt’, the working condition for the working class in factories and in industrial towns was very poor.
Russia’s industrial towns could not cope with its ever rowing population and consequently the working class had to cope with poor working conditions and lower pay. This meant their standard of living declined and they could now only afford the minimum necessities the required to stay alive, despite working long hours in a poor workingenvironment. As a response to this workers attempted to encourage a reform to better their working conditions.
However they received no response torm the Tsarist ernment, this theretore led to the opposition of the Tsar as many felt neglected by the Tsar and Government. The third cause as to why opposition to the Tsar increased in the years 1881-1914 was the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. The defeat was a major blow to Russia who had been over confident about being victorious. The defeat led to a mutual feeling of humiliation across Russia, the Russian people would have been embarrassed that they a large country lost to what were a much smaller inferior country.
The Russians blamed the government for the loss of the war and therefore resentment towards the government built up, not Just from the citizens but lso from the army and naw who were angry that they were under prepared for the war. The defeat also changed the Russian’s attitudes towards the Tsar Nicholas. The image of the Tsar being all powerful and the protector of his empire was severely affected, and people’s ideas about the Tsar changed, they thought he was powerful enough to bring them victory against Japan , especially as they believed the Tsar was chosen by God.
However incidents such as the defeat in Tsushima showed that the Tsar was in fact weak as he did not lead Russia to victory. The defeat andfailureof he Tsar led to people turning against him as their belief in him was lost, this therefore led to an increase in opposition towards the Tsar. The fourth cause as to why opposition to the Tsar increased in the years 1881-1914 was the uproar of the revolution in 1905. The Russian people were already marginally against the Tsar and government, but by 1905 the opposition increased dramatically leading to a revolution.
The revolution began after five men were sacked from a factory in St Petersburg, the workers from the same factory felt the dismissal was unjust and herefore went on strike in protest in an attempt to get the workers reinstated. The word spread of the protest and by Friday 7th January 105, 000 workers went on strike in disgust. Not only did many feel disgusted at the workers dismissal, the events further reminded them of the troubles they were facing under their state control, one of the most recent troubles being that their 1905 petition for political change was refused.
Furthermore this led to large demonstrations being organised. However the Tsar and Government banned the demonstrations and placed thousands of troops round St Petersburg on bridges to stop the marches, in an attempt to keep public unrest under control to avoid further opposition spreading. Despite the protests being banned the marchers continued with their demonstrations and headed to the Winter Palace. However once they reached the Palace the demonstrators were shot down. The shootings at the demonstrators led to 800 participants being wounded and 200 killed. This led to greater opposition of the Tsar.
This is because the shooting of the demonstrators , which became known as ‘bloody Sunday, proved to the Russian itizens that the Tsar was unwilling to listen to their pleas and was prepared to go to the extremes ofviolence, killing their friends orfamily, all in attempt to stop them from protesting for what they believed in. This therefore made them feel angry.