A Colossus with Feet of Clay
Society's steadily increasing pressure on the government led to the first Russian revolution, in 1905-07. The institutions of local self-government had become the driving force of opposition to the government in the 1860s and the 1870s, and they continued to make a significant contribution. Expansion of the zemstvo's activities and the strengthening of its financial base clashed with the government's attempts to curtail local self-government. The zemstvo opposition traditionally expressed its views in addresses and petitions to the tsar. Professional associations of teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other occupational groups, which had grown in numbers and importance, formed the social base of intelligentsia liberalism. Intelligentsia liberalism also borrowed some of the radicals' tactics, one of the characteristics that distinguished it from the old zemstvo liberalism. In September and October 1904, representatives of the Union of Liberation and members of Russian revolutionary and ethnic parties held a conference in Paris.