To What Extent Did Russia Undergo Polit Essay

Submitted By jilett97
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To what extent did Russia undergo political and economic reform in the years between 1906-1914? Bibliography
Michael Lynch (1992) Reaction & Revolutions: Russia 1881-1924
Lionel Kochan (1963) The Making of Modern Russia
John Simkin (2013)

Betweem 1906 and 1914 Russia underwent both political and economic reform. Economic reform championed by Stolypin was aiming to take peasants away from the Mir (village commune) which they belonged and to establish them as prosperous farm owners. Political reform had the target of sedating the opposition and was layed out in the October Manifesto of 1905. Its main aims were to give the people more civil liberties and a constituent assembly; the Dumas. While economic reform was mildly successful in this period there were many limits on political reform. Stolypin introduced a number of reforms in order to modernise agriculture in Russia in the hope that it would catch up with the agriculral productivity in Western Europe. He did this by, on the first of January 1906, completely cutting redemption payments owed by peasants to the mir, who he saw as a negetive effect as they encouraged old fashion techniques and were against modernisation. This gave peasants free ownership of their own land and cut their connection to the mir, allowing them to freely leave the mir and become individual land holders. This was an important reform as it layed the foundations to allow Russian peasants to modernise and become more prosporous. Peasants could now demand that their land be consolidated; instead of seperated according to the archaic method of strip farming. The consolodation of land meant that peasants would be able to use more modern methods such as reapers and fertilisers to increase productivity of their land. This would, in turn, encourage competition between farmers whom consolidated their land and would allow wealthier farmers to buy land of those less wealthy or those looking to move. Another reform was introduced to help with this transfer in land. The Land Bank was given more resources to give cheap loans to help capitalist farmers (kulaks) buy new land and better equipment. The peasants who sold their land would then be able to move to cities to become industrial workers or move into Siberia and set up new farms on previously uncultivated land. These reforms saw limited success: between 1907 and 1914 only around two million households became independent from the mir which is about a fith of Russia's peasant households and as well as this only 10% peasants managed to consolidate their land inot larger farms by 1914. These statistics reveal that amongst peasants there was a certain degree of unwillingness to leave the mir due to tradition and social stigma surrounding those who left. Stolypin's reforms however did help to increase the output of Russia's farms; in 1913 Russia produced 90 million tons of grain compared with just 40 million tons produced in 1890. Overall Stolypin did lots to try and reform Russia's agriculture but his 'wager on the strong' was ultimately unsuccessful due to the unwillingness of the peasants to leave the mir, his untimely death in 1911 and the outbreak of war in 1914. Russia's industry grew despite the lack of reform from 1906-1914. This is mainly due to the fact that Witte, Stolypin's predecessor, had very actively reformed Russia's industry and his reforms were still benefitting Russia from 1906-1914. For instance one of his policies was to encourage lots of foreign investment, for example Russia received a loan from France in 1906. Also foreign investment increased from 26% in 1890 to 41% in 1915. This growth in investment manifests itself in the growth of Russia's industrial output between 1900 and 1913 where