Russia's Autocracy In Russia

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At the turn of the twentieth century, Russia remained one of the few countries in the world under autocratic rule. This meant that the Tsar held almost unlimited authority over the country, and “granted the population no voice in government and severely punished any expressions of discontentment with the status quo” (Pipes, 18). In order to rule such a system effectively, it would require an autocrat not only in name but in personality, “someone who enjoyed the prerogatives of power and knew how to use them” (Pipes, 27). Ironically, Russia in 1900 would be governed by a man who “lacked every quality required of an effective autocrat except the sense of duty” (Pipes, 27). Nicholas II is described by Pipes to have “limited intelligence and a…show more content…
One such poor decision that would, in due course, result in revolution, was to retain an autocratic regime in Russia. At the time, Russia was, in fact, one of the few remaining autocracies in the world, which only demonstrated the country’s failure to reform and move with the times. Democracy was becoming more apparent in other countries throughout the world, but Russia’s autocratic regime “granted the population no voice in government and strictly punished any expressions against the status quo” (Pipes, 18). The result of continued autocratic rule was contempt for the Tsar and Russian monarchy. Suppression and failure to reform particularly frustrated the liberal intelligentsia. Pipes wrote that “in countries with democratic institutions and guarantees of free speech, members of the intelligentsia pursue their objective by influencing public opinion and, through it, legislation. Where such institutions and guarantees are missing, they coalesce into a caste that tirelessly assails the existing order in order to discredit it and pave the way for revolutionary change” (Pipes, 38). The latter situation would prove to reign in tsarist Russia until 1905, when the intelligentsia would eventually successfully coerce a revolution against the autocracy, which supports that the Tsar’s decision to maintain autocracy in Russia would be a significant…show more content…
This meant that a majority of the Russian population had very few rights. Even at the height of absolutism in Europe, Western kings often respected their subjects’ private properties as their own, as violations of property rights were regarded as tyrannical. Contrastingly in Russia, the Tsar claimed all the “land and natural resources”. He “monopolized wholesale and foreign trade”, and “laid claim to the lifelong services of his subjects” (Pipes, 26). The upper class served the tsar directly, either in the bureaucracy or the army, while peasants “tilled his land or that of his servitors” (Pipes, 26). Furthermore, the government officials were treated like the tsar’s private servants, and the state officialdom as well as the armed forces “owed him personal loyalty” where officers and civil servants “swore allegiance to the tsar rather than to the state or the nation” (Pipes, 26). Therefore, Nicholas II’s decision to keep Russia under autocratic rule despite Russia’s current political and social problems seemed only to add fuel to the fire that would eventually lead into a revolution. However, it must be noted that this decision may be partly to blame on his wife Alexandra Fedorovna, who, aware of her husband’s weakness, constantly badgered him to act the true autocrat. Without her influence, Nicholas might have yielded to public pressures and agreed to play the role of a ceremonial monarch, which
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