Modern History oral task.

The word at the beginning of the 20th century – Russian Revolutions.

Tsar Nicholas II
 Nicholas inherited the role of Tsar off his father in 1855, when his father Nicholas I passed away.
 Tsar Nicholas did not have the abilities to be a natural autocrat. He considered it his duty to act as autocrat.
 Nicholas tried to keep power. This produced a highly inefficient form of government and the First World War threw these weaknesses into sharp relict. By the end the Tsar had managed to ensure his isolation from virtually all sections of Russia’s society.
 Nicholas had the backing of a large and inefficient bureaucracy, but remained supreme. The state police and the army enforced his will, and his officials controlled education and censored the press.
 A duma, or parliament, was set up but the Tsar was able to appoint and dismis ministers at will.
 After the attempted revolution in 1905, in which there was many assassinations of ministers and members of the royal family Tsar Nicholas showed no indication to carry out reforms.
 Tsar Nicholas was an unintelligent family man who was completely unsuited to being the autocratic ruler of 140 million people.
 Nicholas was easily influenced by others and he lacked the determination to carry out serious changes in Russia.
 Tsar Nicholas believed that it was his duty to pass on the power he had inherited to his son.
 Nicholas married Alexandra, who was a Granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She was believed to be a German spy. She was also believed to have had an affair with Gregory Rasputin.
 The Tsar was under great influence of the Tsarina.
 Tsar Nicholas was killed, with his family, on the 2nd of March 1917.
 Nicholas II inherited from his ancestors not only a giant empire but also a revolution. And they did not bequeath him one quality, which would have made him capable of governing an empire or even a province or a country.

Gregory Rasputin
 Gregory Rasputin was believed to be a holly man sent down by god. The Tsarina Alexandra believed that he was sent there to cure their son Alexander of Haemophilia.
 Rasputin was a siberian peasant with a bald scar on his head, the result of a beating for horse stealing.

Conditions in Russia
 In 1917 the soldiers at the front were fed up with defeat after defeat, they were leaving in groups.
 1917 the economy was collapsing under the strain of war and food was short in the cities and even in rural areas.
 The food supply decreased the industrial and agricultural production was disrupted, and the transportation system became disorganised.
 In the trenches the soldiers went hungry and frequently lacked shoes or munitions, sometimes even weapons.
 Prices skyrocketed and goods became scarce.
 In 1917 famine threatened the larger cities.
 Throughout the winter of 1916-1917 St Petersburg’s workers grew furious at this state of affairs. The women textile workers were the angriest. The Tsar had forced them off farms to work 60 hours a week in St Petersburg’s factories. Just as their fathers, sons, and brothers had been forced to go to war.
 Russia in 1917 was a land where the First World War had taken a desperate toll. At the front the soldiers were deserting in droves after many defeats.
 A duma or parliament was set up in 1906 but it had little or no influence.
 Russia was a country where the rich were very rich and the poor were very poor. Many Russians were living in appalling poverty.
 From March to October 1917, the Provisional Government ruled Russia. This had no legal standing but was intended to govern until a general election could be held. The Provisional Government became more and more unpopular partly because it decided to continue the war against Germany, but also because food shortages and inflation grew even worse.
 Nicholas controlled the state police, and the army. His officials controlled education and censored the press.
 Increasing numbers of people migrated to the cities as Russia began to industrialise rapidly.
 Housing and conditions in the factories were poor, providing fertile ground for the growth of radical and revolutionary political parties.
 Russia’s industrialisation was hampered by the country’s vast size, poor communications and even more so by the backwards of a society still run