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  • Father Gapon vs. ‘Our Father’

    Posted on September 8th, 2014 katiewells9 11 comments

    Bloody Sunday began as a call from the people, to their leader to make the changes they saw necessary. It ended in the death of hundreds.

    ?????In 1904, an Orthodox priest named Georgii Gapon mobilized thousands of workers into his ‘Assembly of Factory Workers’. Originally, the purpose of the organization was to provide a safe outlet to discourage people from radical movements in places such as tearooms and public lectures, but they soon spiraled out of control. By 1905 Gapon’s organization led a march on the Winter Palace with a petition for Tsar Nicholas, ‘our father’.

    This petition was written by intellectual advisors, but also included the desires of the workers and the common man.

    petition        Tsar-Nicholas-II

    “We are impoverished and oppressed, we are burdened with work, and insulted. We are treated not like humans [but] like slaves who must suffer a bitter fate and keep silent. And we have suffered, but we only get pushed deeper and deeper into a gulf of misery, ignorance, and lack of rights.” (The ‘Bloody Sunday’ petition to the tsar (1905))

    Their demands included having open communication with their employers, reducing the workday to eight hours, agree on wages, provide medical care, and have acceptable working conditions. These requests seem simple and obvious today, but the Tsar did not see them in that light. He refused to even accept the petition from the people by failing to appear at the palace. He went a step further to show his contempt for the people’s actions by authorizing open fire on any advancing petitioners.

    bloody_sunday_-_russia_-_1905

    These petitioners were unarmed and many of them were women and children. As news spread of the Tsar’s actions, many people turned against him almost immediately. This Bloody Sunday led to the 1905 Revolution and the attempt for reform within Russia.

    1905      newspaper

     

    revolution article

    In a journal article I found called “An American View of Bloody Sunday,” by William Askew, he brings to the attention of the reader some of the many misconceptions that can be had surrounding the events of Bloody Sunday. This article was written in 1952 and published in the Russian Review vol. 11. The article begins by asking questions regarding Gapon’s true motives, whether or not the petitioners made it to the Winter Palace, and if Tsar Nicholas gave the okay for the military to open fire. Askew finds an answer for these questions in a letter from Robert S. McCormick, the United States ambassador at St. Petersburg at the time.

    It was very interesting to find a report so opposite to what other sources report from around that time period.

    The one thing that has continuously gone through my mind while researching more about Bloody Sunday is Tiananmen Square Massacre. Tiananmen Square occurred in 1989 in China when hundreds of college students protested the government and military tanks were brought in to put a stop to them. The rest of the world did not agree with the use of such force to shut down protestors and western governments imposed economic sanctions and arms embargos.

    thetankman    Chinese Army Crushes Tiananmen Square Protest

     

    Sources:

    http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/stable/pdfplus/125922.pdf?acceptTC=true&jpdConfirm=true

    http://alphahistory.com/russianrevolution/bloody-sunday-petition-1905/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

    Freeze, G. L. (2009). Russia a history. United States: Oxford University Press.

     

     

    11 responses to “Father Gapon vs. ‘Our Father’” RSS icon

    • Interesting post. I’m wondering if the tzar’s outright denial to give the workers more rights had the opposite effect: i.e. the tzar now had to give more rights to the workers due to his outright refusal, than if he just gave a few rights right then.
      I’m not a history major, but I believe that is what the English monarchs did: give their subjects a few rights here and there to appease them.

    • It is strange to think about Askew’s article that was published almost half a century later that questions to what was assumed as facts about Bloody Sunday- and if there is any foundation for his doubts.

    • Interesting connection between Bloody Sunday and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Do you think the two events had similar consequences on the two countries?

    • The Tsar was faced with many protests throughout 1905. It wasn’t just this group that were in protest but millions of people all around Russia, Bloody Sunday was just the violent spark that made the strikes and protests so wide-spread. The Tsar was faced with another big strike in October of 1905 called the “Great October Strike”. The way he handled this strike was by reform not military action because he could already could foresaw the outcome of using force.

      • The Tsar was faced with many protests throughout 1905. It wasn’t just this group that were in protest but millions of people all around Russia, Bloody Sunday was just the violent spark that made the strikes and protests so wide-spread. The Tsar was faced with another big strike in October of 1905 called the “Great October Strike”. The way he handled this strike was by reform not military action because he could already could foresaw the outcome of using force.

        https://libcom.org/history/1905-the-russian-revolution

    • I really liked that you related Bloody Sunday to the Tiananmen Square protest in China. I also liked all the images you found and the quote from the pet ion given to Tsar Nicholas II. Good post!

    • Good post! I liked how it flowed much like a book or novel–the pictures helped a lot with this. In addition, the way you tied Bloody Sunday with Tienanmen Square in China was interesting–I did not make that connection, but it definitely works! I agree with kathaskew on her point of the tsar giving workers rights. If the Tsar had given his subjects certain rights and freedoms from the get-go, then he would not have had to make such drastic and devastating decisions.

    • I like this post and your look at Father Gapon and the results of his actions. I also really like the global mindset of comparing this event to Tienanmen Square in China. Your comparison gives a lot to think about and consider with the two cases such as the effects of media coverage, the outcomes of the events, and the long term implications for the countries.

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