A Reason to Skip Sunday Mass

The 1905 Russian Revolution

In 1905 Russia experienced widespread political and social unrest, which lead to series of reforms. Actions of the revolution included: factory worker strikes, peasant rebellions, and military mutinies. Ultimately the Russian government responded with the establishment of the State Duma, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906.

Causes of the Revolution

Author Sidney Harcave writes in her book Russian Revolution of 1805 that four primary problems led to the 1905 revolution.

  1. The Agrarian problem. The newly emancipated Russian peasants were stuck between a rock and a hard place. While Russian peasants were given their freedom and land to farm, they were not given enough to make ends meet. Further compounding the problem, they were unable to mortgage the land that they were given, which caused them to delve deeper and deeper into debt.
  2. Industrial workers resented the government for ignoring their cries for reform and better working conditions. Russian industrial workers were the lowest paid industrial workers in all of Europe. Furthermore, their working conditions and hours caused more unrest.
  3. Ethnic minorities felt alienated due to Russification. Minorities were unable to vote or, serve in the Russian Military.
  4.  The Educated class in Russia started spreading radical ideals they were learning about while attending  University.

 Opposition Parties Contributing to the Revolution


Bloody Sunday The Highpoint of the Revolution


On January 22, 1905 peaceful protestors took to the streets in St. Petersburg. The leader of the protestors was a priest by the name of Georgy Gapon. The group was largely protesting the treatment, pay, and working conditions of the industrial class in Russia. The workers carried religious icons and petitions, citing their grievances and necessary reforms to quell the civil unrest. Over 100 protestors were killed on January 22, and many more were wounded. The massacre lead to more civil unrest across the Russian Empire, effectively validating the cries for reform from those in St. Petersburg. Bellow is the list of reforms from the Petition Prepared for Presentation to Nicholas II.

The following are necessary:

I. Measures against the ignorance of the Russian people and against its lack of rights

1. Immediate freedom and return home for all those who have suffered for their political and religious convictions, for strike activity, and for peasant disorders.
2. Immediate proclamation of the freedom and inviolability of the person, of freedom of speech and of the press, of freedom of assembly, and of freedom of conscience in matters of religion.
3. Universal and compulsory public education at state expense.
4. Accountability of government ministers to the people and a guarantee of lawful administration.
5. Equality of all before the law without exception.
6. Separation of church and state

II. Measures against the poverty of the people

1. Abolition of indirect taxes and their replacement by a direct, progressive income tax.
2. Abolition of redemption payments, cheap credit, and the gradual transfer of land to the people.
3. Naval Ministry contracts should be filled in Russia, not abroad.
4. Termination of the war according to the will of the people.

III. Measures against the oppression of labor by capital

1. Abolition of the office of factory inspector.
2. Establishment in factories and plants of permanent commissions elected by the workers, which jointly with the administration are to investigate all complaints coming from individual workers. A worker cannot be fired except by a resolution of this commission.
3. Freedom for producer-consumer cooperatives and workers’ trade unions–at once.
4. An eight-hour working day and regulation of overtime work.
5. Freedom for labor to struggle with capital–at once.
6. Wage regulation–at once.
7. Guaranteed participation of representatives of the working classes in drafting a law on state insurance for workers–at once

Authors Perspective

The Russian revolution of 1905 represents the tipping point of decades of oppression and repressive policies. The increased social and political unrest demonstrated a need for change in Russian policies, towards a more progressive future. I believe the reforms that came out of revolution served as more of a bandage than the first step in true social reform.












5 thoughts on “A Reason to Skip Sunday Mass

  1. This was a very thorough analysis! I appreciate your use of numerous sources and a rich amount of detail. Also addressing the Agrarian problem, with an explosion in the population, land hunger struck the peasant population, stressing the “mir” (community of peasants) on top of the economic problems you listed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you did a really good job on this blog. The layout makes it extremely easy to read/understand and it is clear you did a good amount of research for this topic. This blog has a really good overview of the revolution and its causes. I liked that you included a direct source of the demands because it helps put everything into perspective. Awesome job!


  3. I like your clear and concise format which offers an outline of the proposed reforms! I’m glad you included your own perspective at the end after your analysis of general causes of the 1905 Revolution and the subsequent solutions. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ben, I really like the way you laid out the events of the Revolution! It was informative and easy to follow. I certainly agree with your statement that the revolution served more like a bandage than any sort of stepping stone towards social change or reform because it definitely did not fix any issue, but rather cover it up for a time being. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with the other commenters: well done on your concise analysis. 1905 was a complicated year that seems to defy summary as there was just so much going on. I also agree that the October Manifesto ultimately just bought Nicholas II more time- it didn’t truly solve anything.

    Liked by 1 person

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