Russian Revolution Essay, Research Paper
Power. To most people, being in complete and total control is not a vital necessity in their everyday lives. Having some influence is gladly welcomed, but having absolute power over millions and millions of people is not the top priority on their “to do” list.
Sadly enough, there are those who believe that having authority is as essential to their lives as oxygen is to the human body. These power-crazed maniacs often rule nations and command armies, unlike your everyday Joe. Plans to take over the world are accompanied with undying persistence and determination to do anything it takes to put them into domination.
The 19th century Russian Tsars would be considered the type of person that loves to have power. During what was the beginning of the Russian Revolution, nearly any measure was taken to maintain authority over the people of Russia. Alexander III became Tsar in 1881 and upheld the principles of autocracy, a government in which he ruled with absolute power. His main goal was to strengthen the “autocracy, orthodoxy and nationality” in Russia. To make sure his policy was enforced, any person that didn’t give Alexander III total control, didn’t go to the Russian Orthodox church or spoke of any country that wasn’t Russia, was considered a threat to the Tsar’s rule.
Several actions were taken to insure every man, woman, and child in Russia would follow Alexander III’s objective of “autocracy, orthodoxy and nationality.” Censorship codes were placed on any published material and secret police kept careful watch on every educational facility in Russia to make sure instructors weren’t teaching material that was against Alexander III’s goal. Russian became the official language of his empire and the use of any foreign tongue was forbidden. Alexander III created laws that encouraged prejudice among all minorities, especially Jews.
Nicholas II, who proceeded Alexander III, also believed in the principle of autocracy but maintained control in a different way. During his rule the number of factories in Russia doubled along with the new development of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The economy grew and in the 1900s Russia became the world’s fourth-ranking producer of steel, putting power into Tsar Nicholas II’s hands.
Another of the power-obsessed was a man by the name of Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin. Claiming to be a faith healer and a holy man he slithered his way into the Russian royal family hoping to gain political power. In 1915, Nicholas II had moved his World War I headquarters to the war front in Europe, and left his wife, Tsarina Alexandra in charge of governing Russia. Little did he know she was presently under the strong influence of her advisor Rasputin, the self proclaimed “holy man.”
Alexandra’s son, Alexis suffered from hemophilia. Seeing his chance to gain control, Rasputin offered his healing powers to the boy, gradually easing his suffering. Believing Rasputin was a man of God, Alexandra allowed him the power to designate ministers of the government and even the head of the church. During this time, reform ideas were opposed and very powerful positions were occupied by many of Rasputin’s friends.
Involvement in the World War I showed signs of weak Tsarist rule and lack of military leadership. Soldiers needs weren’t met and food, fuel, and housing was desperately lacking. These poor condition spread discontent throughout Russia. The army was tired of war, and food shortages worsened. Violent riots and strikes over insufficient supplies of bread and coal filled the streets. All the blame was placed on Nicholas II. Accusations of crippling the war effort by removing many capable executives from high government offices and replacing them with weak, unpopular leaders spread like wildfire. Most that blamed him were wrong. He wasn’t the one in charge of appointing officials, Rasputin was. The image of Nicholas II was destroyed by his wife’s trusted advisor and having no power left, gave up his throne on March 15.
Power hungry leaders always lose. Autocratic governments don’t encourage creativity of the masses but rather reflect only one man’s ideas and quest for power, as shown in the Russian Revolution of 1905.