CLIO mr brice - page 41

Internationally, Bloody Sunday
became a topic of huge discussion.
The Tsar’s mishandling of the
situation only solidified the
Western European view of Russia
as both socially and economically
backwards. The government faced
extensive criticism from other
nations, for example the cartoon
shown to the right that appeared in
the English magazine, Punch. It was
entitled ‘The tsar of all the Russias’
and is a satirical representation
that condemned Nicholas II and
this treatment of his people. He is
depicted as a skeleton seated above
everyone else to show how he is a
dictatorial figure and the skeleton,
although rather self-explanatory,
the skeleton shows the deaths that
occurred. A man is holding a scroll
up to Nicholas II, which makes
the cartoon specific to the event.
The fact that the 1905 revolution
appeared in international magazines
shows how significant and shocking
it was. Furthermore, Western
influences were crucial to the
progression of Russia as a whole and
by taking note of Bloody Sunday,
and condemning it, England along
with the rest of Europe were able to
actively support the ‘liberalisation’
of Russian society.
Before the Bloody Sunday massacre,
the citizens of Russia still viewed
their Tsar the benevolent father
figure they were told to worship,
and hoped that their misfortunes
were down to the fact he simply
did not know of them. They
believed that once presented with
their petition, Nicholas II would
instantly grant their wishes as he,
of course, had their best interests at
heart. Therefore the events of the
1905 massacre, while tragic, were
a crucial turning point in exposing
the fact that this confidence and
faith in the Tsar was severely
misplaced. In the grand scheme of
things, this event was almost a good
thing. The murderous and selfish
nature of the Tsarist government
was finally revealed and paved the
way for social reform. Although the
communist government to come
was arguably more totalitarian and
oppressive than the autocracy, both
the demonstration of people’s power
and the revelations that came with
the government response to the
marches were huge steps forwards
in overthrowing the Tsar, and,
therefore, establishing Russia as
an emerging global superpower. It
prompted anger and widespread
unrest that was key to the 1917-1
revolutions.
Perhaps this international criticism
and the fear of losing his position
in power prompted Nicholas II to
agree to new concessions. On 18
February (O.S. 5 February – until
1917 Russia followed the Julian
calendar, which was extremely
old fashioned and was around 13
days behind the modern Georgian
calendar we use today) 1905 he
published the Bulygin Rescript,
which promised the formation of
a consultative assembly, religious
tolerance, freedom of speech
and a reduction in the peasants'
redemption payments. Russia was
taking slow steps forwards in social
reform, but it was still significantly
old-fashioned. The anger at Nicholas
II for allowing his guards to kill
harmless and peaceful civilians,
coupled with the external pressure
from the western world and the
growing wave of social unrest meant
that these reforms were nowhere
near adequate compensation for the
300 years of oppression, famine, and
deprivation. Therefore this event
was an extremely important turning
point in the Russian revolution and
was vital in assisting the eventual
rise of communism. The revolution
of 1905, also known as Bloody
Sunday, opened the Russian’s eyes
to their leader’s true nature and
kick-started the Russian revolution,
taking the nation one step closer to
their eventual freedom from tyranny
that, disgracefully, they were only
granted in 1991.
By Jessica Matthew
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