Causes of the Decline of the Russian Empire
For so many years, Russia was a powerful nation led by wealthy czars. In fact, it was a nation that was held on high regards by many European nations. Even though the leadership was comprised of wealthy czars, the majority of the population was peasants. Just like the other empires that existed during that time, the Russian empire finally came to its knees due to various political, social and economic issues.
One of the reasons that led to the decline of the Russian empire was its involvement in World War I. As the war ravaged on, Russia mobilized an estimated 15 million men to form its army. As a result of this, factories and farms were left without workers. Thus, production was grounded and the people soon ran out of food and materials. The few available goods were offered at very high prices and soon the cities were engulfed in famine.
The majority of Russians who worked in factories and farms were angered by how fast the living standards were shooting upwards. To worsen the situation further, the workers’ wages were decreasing and the working conditions became poorer. This resulted into strikes and labor riots across the country. On the farms too, things were not going on so well.
At first when the strikes broke out, most of the actions were witnessed in the cities. However, the situation took another turn when mass riots began in the countryside too. The reason for this is because most of the peasant farmers were dissatisfied with the way in which ownership of land was done. Large tracks of fertile land in Russia were owned by a small group of nobles while the majority was left with only smaller pieces that could not even support their families. This triggered the peasants to take to the streets to protest.
Most of the times, Nicholas II ignored the concerns of the people. His authoritative rule as has been described by many led the people to rise up against him, causing the decline of the empire. During the ‘Bloody Sunday,’ he sent troops to open fire on demonstrating workers and this signaled the beginning of a revolt against him. He lost his popularity and could no longer be able to bring the people together.
Nicholas led Russia to World War I, assuming the role of the commander. This had significant impacts on the stability of the empire. He left his wife to oversee government functions as he was engaged in the war. Due to lack of knowledge in running an empire, she failed prompting the people to suggest the establishment of a constitutional form of government. However, the suggestion was shot down by Nicholas II. This angered the people and encouraged them to continue with the mass actions.
As a result of the dying popularity of Nicholas II, riots and mass actions that swept across the country and the economic impacts of the war, the empire was significantly weakened and could no longer remain united. The fall of the Czarist regime in Russia was finally realized when Nicholas and his family were executed as Lenin came to power.
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