The 1905 Russian Revolution

The 1905 revolution was a series of strikes across Russia and the non-Russian parts of the Russian empire to bring about the transformation of the Russian government. There were varying groups that took part in demonstrations against the Russian government urging for everything from a constitution to a total transformation in government. While the socialists were the headliners in the demonstrations, there were also groups who supported the czar, protesting the demonstrations by the workers and the various socialist participants.

There were many causes for this revolution, like the high level of national embarrassment Russians felt after their recent defeat by the Japanese, the Russian government’s poor handling of the protests that occurred on Bloody Sunday and the revelation through  both of these events that the Russian government was very corrupt and mismanaged. However, I believe the most significant catalyst for the revolution was college students. Students and those with higher levels of education often times played key roles in organizing demonstrations or protests. For example, the leader of the protesters on Bloody Sunday was a priest. Students saw the discontent among the working class and were able to articulate for the workers why things should be different and how they could be different. In fact, students became so active in opposing the government that some colleges were closed for two years. College students also made up a very large percentage of those who were arrested and imprisoned between 1905 and 1907.

When the czar issued the October Manifesto, which created an elected legislature known as the Duma and promised a constitution, he was able to break his opposition. Moderate protesters saw this concession as a victory and chose to carry on with their lives and return to the factories. Radical protesters, like the Soviets, still wanted more but were now lacking the support they needed. Still protests that turned violent continued. By early 1906, the Duma had been established and the Fundamental Laws acted as a type of constitution.