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Lecture 20

HIST 245 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Tsarist Autocracy, Mensheviks, Pyotr Stolypin

Course Code
HIST 245
Ana Siljak

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Lecture 20: The Failed Experiment, 1905-1914
A. War with Japan
a. Liberalism in Russian context could of, and should of, been moderate middle
between extremes of Russian society – reactionary of autocracy, and radical
revolutionary aims of Russian socialists and Marxists. Hoped to engage both
sides, offer radicals progressive change radicals seeking but offer regime some
form of stability in reform. Were liberals to try and actively engage and get into
dialogue with people from left, and little bit of right, to get on side, to get try and
get Russian political middle.
i. Fatal pitfalls: in this middle, preferred the left. Lenin will use that.
b. 1904-1905, change to prove themselves, should have been the opportunity to
usher into new era of liberal Russia. Years when Russia was in transition, in
turmoil, but looked like liberal ideas, right and law based society, representative
government, constitution, all going to be fulfilled.
c. 1905 – Russia’s last chance for compromise. Have to have revolution first, and
get to why revolution of 1905 happened.
i. Lots of causes, major causes though that tip Russia into instability – give
Russia rights and government. How get Nicholas to do that, have an
embarrassing war.

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1. February 8th 1804 – Japan attacks Russian naval base of Port
Arthur, before it declares war, surprise attack. Because surprise,
manages to successful sink several Russian war ship, destroying
part of fleet. Why: long standing conflict with Russia and China,
deals with imperialism, over alliance formed between China and
Russia to allow Russia to build trans-siberian railroad, in order to
get to vladistov. Signal of Russian’s encroaching interest in East,
proactively act to dimish Russia in power.
2. Contentious of Japanese right, went to war thinking handily win,
but underestimated, series of procracted battles that defeated
a. Lost Port Arthur in January 1905, after long siege, Russian
troops get humiliated in biggest battle – Seige of Mukden,
90k troops gone.
b. But biggest defeat is in straits of Battle of Tsushima, 5k
lost and all but 3 Russian naval vessels destroyed. May
1905. By September 1905, cede defeat to Japan= Both
sides agreed, whatever loses side faced that Russians lost,
and Japanese won (major bloodshed).
i. How could Russia lose? Russian imperialism –
argue Russian eastern power, understood Asian
mind, had natural right to take Asia, and yet it
could not even take on one of major powers.

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Ideologically crisis, what was leading to Russia to
military weakness, what intenral thing needed to
get solve.
d. Ideological crisis with war.
e. But also practically – Revolt of professionals.
B. The Revolt of the Professionals
a. Mostly concentrated among zemsktoff, among legal class and other among
higher degrees. War with japan was opportunity to show what professional
classes could do if mobilized properly. Zemstyoff professionals – wanted to get
several congresses reconginzed, including a general one – bring together all who
work in zemsftoff to discuss issues and problems. Create over arching institution
to coordinate efforts of them from how do you tax local pop, to what schools
build, curriciulum and create civil, social set of institutions.
b. 1904 – series of zemstoff congresses held illegally, contradicatory to regimes
orders. Zemstyoff activists arrested for doing illegal institutional congresses, but
war with Japan changed, why:
i. Zemstoff activists convinced regime they were an asset in Russian
society, esp. in times of crisis, when war burst on seams, regime allowed
zemstyoff activists to meet and organize, coordinat eacitites during the
war effort. Especially the treatment of sick and wounded during battle.
1. Zemstyoff medical experts burst onto scene to help transport of
wounded and supply lines.
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