Pyotr Stolypin was a key figure in the early 1900’s revolutions of Russia. Stolypin held multiple positions in the Russian government, ranging from an advisor all the way up to Prime Minister of Russia. However, he may be best known for a set of reforms, which are appropriately known as the “Stolypin Reforms”.
In 1905, the conservative Stolypin realized that land hunger was a growing concern, as saw it not only as an opportunity to implement some of his ideas but also as an opportunity to capitalize on the conservative roots of the peasants of Russia. He used an idea similar to that first voiced by Sergei Witte in that he decided not to divide the gentry’s land up amongst the peasants, but he gave previously communal lands to the peasants. Stolypin believed that this would create a class of strong, individualistic workers who would then buy into his system.
However, there was a problem. Even though Stolypin worked his was up to “Prime Minister” of Russia and more or less lead the “Third Duma“, he would have to get the government of Russia to buy in handing Russia’s communal land over to the peasants. Unfortunately for Stolypin, this would never happen. In 1911, Stolypin would be assassinated on a visit to Kiev, essentially ending any chance at passing his reforms.
The case of Pyotr Stolypin is interesting because it is a case of many “what-ifs”. What if Stolypin would have been able to pass his reforms? Would unrest have subsided and at least held the revolution off for longer, or would there have been very little impact? Nevertheless, the Stolypin reforms were just another attempt at quelling unrest which were ultimately unable to do so.
Information about Pyotr Stolypin: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/peter_stolypin.htm
NY Times reporting on Stolypin: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/hnpnewyorktimes/doc view/96639797/1406514EC477BE91620/3?accountid=14826
Original source for Stolypin photo: http://valdaiclub.com/history/31841.html
Textbook: Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 209-222. Print