Alexander II (1855-1881)
Alexander II was finally defeated in the Crimean War. He attributed the defeat to the backwardness of Russia and carried out numerous “great reforms “. His most important work was the abolition of serfdom in 1861. But he had many opponents who finally killed him in an assassination attempt in 1881.
Alexander III (1881-1894)
Alexander III (1845-1894) ruled from 1881 to 1894. He founded the Okhrana secret police, which tracked down political opponents and imprisoned them in labor camps in Siberia. The fear of a revolution was great and Alexander responded by drawing sole power upon himself (autocratic rule). He promoted the centralization of administration and Russification, that is, he ensured that the Russian language and culture had priority over other cultures and languages (this was particularly true in Poland and the Baltic States). If his father had bet on modernization and liberalization, Alexander III went. take a step back. Again and again resistance flared up in the country against his policies.
Nicholas II (1894-1917)
Russia was still a backward country with little industry. There was no constitution and no parliament. Ministers were responsible only to the Tsar. Nicholas ruled like his father autocratically. Necessary reforms did not take place. The tensions in the country grew.
Russian Revolution 1905
In 1905 the workers revolted against the poor conditions and high prices. They demanded representation of the people and the right to vote. Soldiers stopped the demonstrators and shot into the crowd. There were several hundred fatalities and injuries. There were strikes and mutinies. For the first time workers formed “councils” (Russian: soviets) to represent their interests. On October 30, 1905, the tsar gave in and made concessions (October Manifesto).
First World War
Russia saw itself as the protective power of the Slavic peoples of the Balkans, which led to conflicts with Austria-Hungary. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne, Russia sided with Serbia – the First World War began.
February Revolution 1917
In 1917 there was a revolution that ended the rule of the tsars. The situation of the population was dire. According to COUNTRYAAH, Europe has a population density of 70 residents per km2. . There were more and more large demonstrations and strikes. Workers’ councils (soviets) were elected in the factories and factories. You and the Duma (the Russian parliament) took power. Finally the tsar abdicated.
Provisional Government (February to October 1917)
A temporary (provisional) government was set up, but there was disagreement on many things. The members of the new government came from the upper bourgeoisie, the only socialist in the government was Justice Minister Alexander Kerensky.
The workers’ councils did not want to participate in this government, but they had the people behind them. So it came to a dual rule of bourgeois government and socialist councils. The Mensheviks (moderate socialists, in the minority) could not prevail and so finally in October 1917 the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, took power.
October Revolution 1917
The Bolsheviks calmly and smoothly took control. Russia was thus a communist state. In the Peace of Brest-Litovsk – concluded between Russia and the Central Powers – Russia gave Poland and Lithuania independence in March 1918. The entire royal family was murdered on the night of July 17, 1918 on the orders of the Bolsheviks. A bloody civil war raged until 1922. The opponents of the Bolsheviks tried to regain power. But the Bolsheviks were victorious in the end, they carried out bloody terror.
History of Russia: Soviet Union
Soviet Union (1922-1990)
The Soviet Union was founded in December 1922. In it, the Russian Soviet Republic joined forces with surrounding Soviet republics that had been proclaimed in Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasus. Further Soviet republics were added by 1940, and then there were a total of 15 Union republics. Moscow became the capital.
In the picture on the left you can see the Union Republics: 1 Armenian SSR, 2 Azerbaijani SSR, 3 Belarusian SSR, 4 Estonian SSR, 5 Georgian SSR, 6 Kazakh SSR, 7 Kyrgyz SSR, 8 Latvian SSR, 9 Lithuanian SSR, 10 Moldovan SSR, 11 Russian SFSR, 12 Tajik SSR, 13 Turkmen SSR, 14 Ukrainian SSR, 15 Uzbek SSR.
After Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin asserted himself as the new general secretary. Agriculture was collectivized, that is, individual farms became cooperatives, the state farms and collective farms. The independent farmers (kulaks) were arrested, expropriated, taken to labor camps (deported) or shot. From 1935 the terror became even worse, one also speaks of the Great Terror. An extensive system of forced labor and penal camps (gulag) was set up.
When Germany invaded Russia on June 22, 1941, the Soviet Union entered World War II on the side of the Allies. After the end of the war, however, the country became increasingly alienated from the western allies. The Cold War began. He divided the world into a Soviet and an American zone of influence and dominated world politics until 1989.
Thaw under Khrushchev (1953-1964)
After Stalin’s death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became First Secretary, and in 1958 head of government of the Soviet Union. Under him there was a time of loosening up and greater freedom. That is why one speaks of a “thaw period” for this time.
The “de-Stalinization” began. In the economy, society, culture and education Khrushchev implemented numerous reforms. Domestic and foreign policy eased. The conservatives in the Soviet leadership did not like that. On October 14, 1964, Khrushchev was overthrown. His successor was Leonid Brezhnev.