Why Did Tsarism Fall In Russia

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The question of why the autocratic tsarist state of Russia fell is complex and has been interpreted in a variety of ways by historians. The fall began with the 1905 Revolution, on January 9th, or “Bloody Sunday” when a group of demonstrating workers with grievances for the Tsar were fired on by troops. Tsar Nicholas II agreed to concessions including the establishment of a State Duma. Despite these concessions, conflict and pressure continued leading to the final collapse of the tsarist system with the Revolution of 1917. Historians have answered the question of why tsarism fell in different ways. Sheila Fitzpatrick’s The Russian Revolution and Richard Pipes’ Three “Whys” of The Russian Revolution are examples demonstrating some of the conflicting …show more content…
He directly states “that there was nothing preordained about [the fall of tsarism.]” Unlike Fitzpatrick he believes that tsarism was not built to fail. He writes, “Historians of the left have been busy arguing that [tsarism’s] fall was inevitable whether or not Russia had been involved in the First World War, but this assertion is apparent only in hindsight.” Pipes explains that hardly anyone in Russia, including Lenin, predicted that a revolution was coming. He explains that there was still heavy foreign investment in Russia, indicating that other powers were also caught off guard by the fall of tsarism. Pipes also downplays strikes as an example of the growing inevitability of the collapse, because, as he points out, there were “an unprecedented number of strikes,” but this was a phenomenon occurring in both the United States and England. The Marxist interpretation of the revolution, he explains, is inherently flawed because it only focuses on one cause, and that there was more to the revolution than social conflict. In particular, he looks at the influence of the intelligentsia on the revolution. He argues that when peasants have grievances they tend to look backwards, toward ancient rights, such as the peasants inherent claim to the land they worked, not “universal grievances” which, he writes only belong to intellectuals. According to Pipes, “it was the radical intellectuals who deliberately channeled the specific dissatisfactions of the population at large into a wholesale rejection of the political and social system.” Pipes also finds faults with the political system. He explains that “all the power was concentrated in the crown” with officials swearing loyalty to the Tsar and not the state. He compares the tsarist system to a set of wires all connected to the Tsar. If the monarch fell, he writes, “these wires snapped and there was nothing left to hold the country

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