Russia 1856-1860

Decent Essays
From 1856 to 1964 Russia transformed from a backward, agriculturally based country, governed by an autocratic ruler and divided by the feudal system to a global superpower that had nuclear capabilities. These profound changes are attributed to many factors, however through closer examination it can be determined the extent to whether individuals, events such as wars or other circumstances, for example, the geography of Russia played the most significant role in Russia’s social, political and economic modernisation from 1856-1964.
Individuals played a role in the social modernisation of Russia, in particular, Alexander II and Khrushchev. According to Hosking, Alexander II’s emancipation of 23 million serfs , ‘went a long way towards erecting the framework of a civil society’ . Peasants were no longer owned by landlords, but rather free to marry and trade, and allowing for growth in the Russian coal production and industrial output. However, the terms of emancipation didn’t go far enough, as the lack of land (peasant farmers now farmed 20% less), the 49 years redemption payments and the
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Witte’s construction of the railways is seen as the ‘main lever (to a) rapid industrial policy’ by Gerschenkron, supplying Russia, by 1900, with 53,234 km of railway, including the 5,400-mile Trans-Siberian railway. These railways in the long-term enabled Nicholas to embark on the Russo-Japanese War and Stalin’s Five Year Plans to begin immediately , whilst in the short term opening up the eastern empire through advancing the growth of new towns, and linking oil refineries of Baku to the Black sea port of Batu, increasing oil output tenfold between 1883 and 1900. In addition, similiarly to Witte, Lenin aided in enabling Stalin’s Five Year Plans through the New Economic Policy and War Communism, creating a model which aided Stalin’s crash
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