An End to a Year of Tumultousness

1905 and 1917 stand as two years that were the worst in the downfall of the Russian Empire and the Romanov Regime. 1905 was crucial to the causation of the 1917 Revolution because it planted the seed for rebellion. Bloody Sunday ( January 9, 1905) is hailed as the day which kicked off the rebellion, but the end was a little less definitive. Certainly, the beginning of the end can be pinned on December 29, 1905 though. This was the day which put an end to the week of uprisings in Moscow. Prior to this there had been a week of rioting and protesting around Moscow, even interrupting electrical service for the city. The demonstrators stated that a lack of arms was the reason for the voluntary abandonment of the cause. The Russian army was primarily responsible for restoring order and the brutality that was used was incredible. The New York Times article specifically noted a case where a boy had been beheaded for possibly carrying weapons and another situation where two surgeons were shot for assisting rebels.

Dramatized protestors in Moscow.

Even after the protests were put down in Moscow it took about a year and a half to get the Empire back totally under control of the Czar. However, this was only possible with severe methods by the army and martial law instituted in many places. The continued shock waves were mostly due to the ripples from ethnic minorities in further reaching provinces.

Change is often dramatic and in the case of the 1905 Russian Revolution it was too little change and late. The protests and riots in Moscow in the week of December 29 were due to the October Manifesto which was just tantalizing enough to the people to get their hopes up and then dash them away with no action. It was divisive to the rebels because the moderates thought it an appropriate stop gap, but the radicals demanded an end to the oppressive autocratic regime which was not granted in the October Manifesto. These moderates even formed into the “Octoberists” who promised to cooperate with the government as long as they held to the Manifesto. This was also in part because the moderates feared the violent masses that had been unleashed by the radicals.

Protestors in Moscow.

Perhaps the saddest thing of all though is that this revolution could have been the end of the struggle in Russia if the October Manifesto had not been left by the wayside by the government. People could have met a common ground and the 1917 Revolution may not have even happened and Tsar Nikolas and his family could have survived with limited autocratic powers. Alas this was not to be and bloodshed would continue and would eventually be much, much worse by the time of the 1917 Revolution.


Freeze, Gregory. Russia: A History. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

LONDON TIMES — NEW,YORK TIMES. (1905, Dec 30). MOSCOW REVOLT ENDED; RISINGS IN MANY CITIES. New York Times (1857-1922). Retrieved from



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1 Response to An End to a Year of Tumultousness

  1. A. Nelson says:

    I like that you chose an article from the end of 1905 to look back on the promise and dashed hopes occasioned by the October Manifesto. You contextualize the “Octoberists” well also.

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