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How Far Had Russia Changed in the Periods 1881 to 1924? sample essay

Russia changed a lot between the periods 1881 to 1924. The population increased significantly, there was new structure of government with new rules and regulations and the economy was healthier. On the other hand however there were still the some aspects even in the later years that stayed the same, didn’t change for the better or complete disregard for, such as the absence of democracy. There was minor improvement in the serfs living conditions however peasants still made up the majority of the population. One of the most significant changes in these years was the overall structure of the government. Under the Tsar was the Court who included high up landowners and members of the government. This group of people was supported by the Orthodox Church which was the most powerful religion at the time and had significant social and political power over the people. Below the Court were the working class people these included people such as businessmen, industrial workers and peasants.

The Tsar’s rules and laws had to follow by every other social class in Russia. From 1917 -1924 there was no longer the absolute rule of the Tsar; this rule has been going for over 300 years. There was a new ruler and new structural government under the rule of Vladimir Lenin. At the top was The Council of People’s Commissars (formed shortly after the October Revolution of 1917) with Lenin as chairman. Below that was the village, and city representatives from the Soviets. Under both systems political power was firmly in the hands of the ruler. This meant that there was never really existence of democracy from 1881 to 1924. This can be seen in the fact that Lenin controlled the media; he used the media to decrease opposition against him. No other paper than the communist newspaper was allowed to be published. He also introduced the gulag system which was a labour camp for any who opposed the absence of democracy.

This was an important factor that didn’t change over the period of 1881-1924. However one major change for the better during the period 1881-1924 was the increase in industrial development that continued. In 1892 Russia had poor industry condition, Russia had a very small business class, the majority of the Russian population were peasants who did not have complete freedom of movement, and the Russian economy did not have sufficient funds to invest in industrial development. As a result the finance minister Sergei Witte introduced new economic development. Witte focused more on the production of capital goods such as steel, coal and machinery. The economic development came about because of finances from aboard with massive import investments.

The greatest project of the period was the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway linking Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It was started in 1891 and was completed in 1905 and ran for 9,289 km. This helped in the industrial development of Russian and its influence in the Far East and by 1900 over half of the industrial workforce was employed in factories. However this rapid population growth in towns and cities did lead to poor living and working conditions. These also caused the peasant uprisings becoming common. Both governments were facing an economical and industrial crisis during their rule. In 1881 Russia’s main economy income source was agriculture. It had to feed its massive population and so the Provisional Government, set up immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, focused more on keeping power and control over Russia rather than improving the stability of the economy of the country.

There were many people who opposed the Provisional Government and who wanted economic power for the peasants to own the serfs they worked on. There were also major changes in the economy under Lenin’s rule. When Lenin came into power Russia had serious economic problems. To solve these problems Lenin introduced the NEP (New Economic Policy). This meant that peasants only had to give part of their produce to government, the rest they used how they wanted, most of whom sold their produce on the open market. Private trading was now also allowed in order to increase the availability of goods. As a result of this a new group of people formed, Nepmen. These were private traders who were able to buy and sell goods and who took advantage of the opportunities for private trade and small-scale manufacturing.

Furthermore a new currency was introduced in 1922 which helped to bring an end to the high levels inflation, the famine of 1921 was eradicated and textile and coal production doubled. Overall I think that Russia had changed a lot in the periods 1881 to 1924 for good and for bad. There were many significant changes such as the structure of the government which had effect all over Russia. There was also the end to Tsarist Rule which created the world’s first communist state and led to a transformation in the social, economic and political structure of Russia. However the majority of the Russian population were still peasants and there was still lack of democracy under both of the rulers.

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