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Evaluation Of Stolypin's Reforms Essay

2281 words - 10 pages

Topic – Russia : Assignment
Question – Evaluate Petr Stolypin’s Reforms

P.A. Stolypin was a pivotal political figure in the 1906-11 period. He became Minister of Internal Affairs in Russia from the spring of 1906, after the revolution of 1905. He combined this position with Russian Premier (Prime Minister) from 23rd July 1906 until his assassination in September 1911. Peter Waldron claims that after the "near downfall of the tsarist regime in 1905" Stolypin's reforms could "have changed the face of politics and society, yet they left the unreformed autocracy to face the onslaught of the First World War and it's attendant social and economic strains". Despite the latter, it seems ...view middle of the document...

Historian Michael Lynch, (Reaction and Revolution Russia 1894-1924) states that “He was dedicated to strengthening Tsardom in time of crisis” and that Historian Michael Lynch Stolypin used repression to defend the Tsar and the reforms were acts of violence to re-gain control of Russia and prevent another revolution. Stolypin used harsh reforms to suppress radicals and revolting classes; 1906-09 Stolypin hung 3000 revolutionaries and the gallows were nicknamed “Stolypin necktie” because of his murderous acts towards the revolutionaries. This historical knowledge agrees with Lynch’s interpretation of Stolypin and his reforms towards stamping out radicalism. Stolypin believed in suppression first and then, reform. Historian Robert Service also agrees with Lynch’s interpretation “Stolypin’snecktie, as it became known, reduced the countryside to quiescence. Order returned to town and villages”. This supports the fact that to some extent Stolypin’s reforms were successful as

they did stamp out a lot of radicalism and both historians Robert Service and Michael Lynch agree that peace was restored to Russia’s lower classes

Between 1905 to 1917, there was the introduction and dissolving of four Dumas, all of which failed. The leftist majority in the First Duma caused chaos as they were in favor of extensive appropriation of the land. The demands made by Duma representatives would surely have led to the overthrow of the Tsar, thus Nicholas II ended it in July 1906.

Following the collapse of the first Duma, Stolypin was appointed Prime Minister. He presented the second Duma with a series of reforms intended to remove major areas of social discontent judging from the lessons learnt from the peasant revolts of 1902 and risings of 1905 and 1906. He was convinced that any negative response by the Tsar to the failure of the first Duma and to the terrorism which aggravated the empire would be fatal to the Tsar's power. Stolypin planned to present reforms which would gain the support of peasants, who made up the majority of the Russian population in order to ensure the safety of the Tsar's rule.

Stolypin’s most famous and to some extent most successful reforms were in agriculture. Witte's policy of agrarian reform in 1905 had failed and Stolypin's new administration in 1906 moved towards a policy of peasant land reform. His attempt was to get Russia on a modern path of agriculture and industrialise Russia at the expense of the Russian workers with his reforms. There was a rapid change in the Russian Countryside between 1906 and 1917 which went from communal to personal tenure and from interstripped fields to consolidated farms. He reorganised landholdings allowing peasant communes the right to dissolve themselves. His main goal in the agrarian reforms was to make the peasant the owner of land instead of a temporary holder This reform also aimed at making the peasant a law-abiding citizen . If the peasant became owner of his own property it was...

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