chapter  22
Russia, 1894–1914
Pages 17

June ‘Potemkin’ mutiny 17 Oct. Tsar’s Manifesto promises liber-

ties and an elected Duma Nov.–Dec. St Petersburg and Moscow so-

viets suppressed 1906 23 April Fundamental State Laws define

Tsar’s powers April-June First Duma Aug. Stolypin appointed chief minis-

ter; agrarian reforms and repression

1907 Feb.–June Second Duma; dissolved; new franchise favours wealthy

1907-12 Third Duma 1911 Sept. Stolypin assassinated 1912 Disturbances at Lena goldfields

Nov.–1914 Fourth Duma 1914 July Bolsheviks organise strike in St

Petersburg 1 Aug. Germany declares war on Russia

1915 July-Sept. Duma reconvened; ‘Progressive Bloc’ formed

Aug. Tsar takes command of army at the front

1916 Nov. Duma reconvened Dec. Rasputin murdered

1917 18 Feb. February Revolution begins; Putilov workers strike

27 Feb. Committee of the Duma meets; Petrograd Soviet meets

2 March Nicholas II, prevented from returning to Petrograd, abdicates

The last Tsar, Nicholas II, reigned from 1894 until his abdication on 2 March 1917. At the age of 13 he had watched his grandfather, Alexander II, die from the injuries caused by the assassin’s bomb, and he had no illusions about the burden God had laid upon him. His reign began well enough, the famine was receding, the alliance with France provided a source of optimism, and Witte continued as Finance Minister (1893-1903) and helped to modernise the economy with some success. But could an autocracy tolerate modernisation if it produced a turbulent proletariat, peasant demands for land which sometimes seemed eager to seize the property of others, and a set of liberal demands of the sort which zemstva leaders were making?