What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?


Answer to be written

The following were the social, economic, and political conditions in Russia before 1905.

  • Social Condition:
    • The majority religion was Russian Orthodox Christianity – which had grown out of the Greek Orthodox Church – but the empire also included Catholics , Protestants , Muslims and Buddhists.
    • The vast majority of Russia’s population were agriculturists
    • Most industries were the private property of industrialists
    • Workers were a divided social group.
    • Some had strong links with the villages from which they came . Others had settled in cities permanently. 
    • Divisions among workers showed themselves in dress and manners too
    • In the countryside, peasants cultivated most of the land but the nobility , the crown and the Orthodox Church owned large properties.
    • Like workers , peasants too were divided . They were also deeply religious
    • In the Russian empire, nobles got their power and position through their services to the Tsar and not through local popularity .
  • Economic Condition
    • Russia was a major exporter of grain because about 85 per cent of the Russian empire’s population earned their living from agriculture.
    • The industry was found in pockets .
    • Prominent industrial areas were St Petersburg and Moscow
    • There were large factories alongside craft workshops , but most of the production was performed by craftsmen.
    • Many factories were set up in the 1890s when Russia’s railway network was extended , and foreign investment in industry increased.
    • Coal production doubled and iron and steel output quadrupled.
    • Most industries were the private property of industrialists .
    • The year 1904 was a particularly bad one for Russian workers because the prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 per cent.
  • Political Condition
    • Russia was an autocracy.  
    • Before 1914 , all political parties were illegal in Russia.
    • The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party was founded in 1898 by socialists who respected Marx’s ideas .
    • Socialists were active in the countryside through the late nineteenth century.  
    • They formed the Socialist Revolutionary Party in 1900.
    • Even at the beginning of the twentieth century unlike other European rulers, the Tsar was not subject to parliament .
    • Liberals in Russia campaigned to end this state of affairs .
    • Strikes took place all over the country and universities closed down when student bodies staged walkouts , complaining about the lack of civil liberties.
    • During the 1905 Revolution , the Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament or Duma .
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Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.