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Discuss the Effects of the Decembrist Revolt of 1825 in Russia Up to 1917.

  • Date Submitted: 03/04/2011 04:04 AM
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The Decembrists, most of them nobles and young officers, imbued with the French liberal ideas of the revolutionary tradition of 1789, attempted in December 1825 to secure a constitutional government under the Duke of Constantine. Its failure resulted in an ever deepening process of social disintegration. Although the insurgents were but lightly punished. Nicholas I applied a series of repressive measures to prevent the spread of liberalism. A strict censorship was imposed upon the press in 1826. The darkest aspect of Nicholas reaction was cultural. Nicholas I was particularly opposed to education of the poor because, as he put it, they became accustomed to a way of thinking and ideas which were not compatible with their position. Uvarev, his minister of education, proposed in   1832 the triple formula of orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality. It meant all the subjects in Russia were to believe in one religion, to be faithful to the Czar and to be Russianized in their way of life.

The memory of the Decembrist incident weighed heavily on Nicholas' reign like a nightmare. The reactionary nature of his regime was made more pronounce in that he took the lead in an international policy of counter-revolution and this policy was followed by the three eastern powers in 1825-55.

Nicholas I, a severe and conscientious ruler, had learnt lessons from the Decembrist revolt. In the grip of fear for peasant uprisings, he carried reforms from the above. From 1833 onwards, the state peasants received better retreatment in tenure, taxation and local government and their free status was affirmed. Between 1840-48 edicts were issued to encourage emancipation of serfs with land, to foster emancipation of domestic serfs and to endow the peasants the right to buy lands when their master sold their estates. However, these concessions did not create a class of free peasants. Moreover, coupled with other changes in law and administration, Nicholas I's rule not only strengthened the...

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