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Bloody Sunday. Fatal mistake of the Russian monarchy

Кровавое воскресенье. Роковая ошибка российской монархии

The Insider continues to publish a series of historical materials, based on new documentary series “Russia in blood” (first episode — “suicide bombers” see here). The theme of this series — Bloody Sunday, the crackdown on the peaceful procession of St. Petersburg workers to the Winter Palace on 9 January 1905.

Especially for The Insider, this episode of Russian history, commented Vladimir Vedernikov, the chief editor of “Historical expertise”, a member of the Free historical society.

9 (22) January started mass popular movement, known in history as the first Russian revolution. The event that shocked his contemporaries. For the first time after the Decembrist revolt in the streets of the city was turned into real fighting. The revolution was the result of deep systemic crisis gripping the country. The cause of the crisis was not solved by the reform of 1861 the agrarian problem, there was no full guarantee of the rights and freedoms of citizens, in serious turmoil threatened the Empire, the national question. Destroying the old institutions, the reformers had not built a solid base for the development of civil society. The transition period is dangerously long. By the beginning of XX century, sensitive observers foresaw the coming turmoil.

All is quiet in the nation?

— No. The Emperor was dead.

Someone about the new freedom

Squares said.

— All ready to climb?

— No. Tense and waiting.

Someone told me to wait:

Wander and sing songs.

(A. Block, March 3, 1903)

The acuteness of the problem were aware of not only the liberals and the revolutionaries, but also representatives of the conservative camp. I will give only one entry from the diary of the most interesting theorist of Russian statehood monarchist Lev Tikhomirov. “unbelievable. Russia is spreading at the seams. Than to grow wiser — it decomposes. Rotted through everything, just touched the hand of the government, and if there are people for the Tsar, only those that have been humiliated, oppressed and insulted. (…) A wonderful thing. Perhaps the monarchy will perish. (…) I still can’t believe that it was possible to manage to ruin such a power as kings, but, apparently, managed. They have no “human rights” is not! It is necessary to have the art to achieve such results! Ten years — the disappointment, the systematic loosening. Finally, the war of dokonala. Yes really — I start to fear for existence.” (October 1904)

But still what are the causes of the January disaster? The consequences of the event were so great and unpredictable that both contemporaries and historians have succumbed to the temptation to find an explanation in the activities of some mysterious forces that invisibly governed the course of historical destinies. So there was a version of the “Japanese money”, on the other hand, “a Short course history of the VKP(b)” the blame for the tragedy entirely pinned on the Royal authority, under the direct instruction which “father Gapon” “undertook to assist the tsarist Okhrana: call the shooting of workers and in the blood to drown the labour movement”.

The explanation is simple, unambiguous, and therefore incorrect. The causes of the tragedy is much deeper. After the abolition of serfdom accelerated the process of industrialization of Russia and the growth of the strike and the strike movement represented the emergence of the agenda of another problem – working question. Initially, the problem did not seem serious. The reformers who prepared the emancipation of serfs, it seemed that they firmly defended the country from “the plague of prolekarstva”. In fact, unlike Western Europe, Russian peasants, or rather, the peasant community was obtained by force, quite a big plot of land. This land remained collective property and was not subject to alienation. And if so, where in the country you may receive a work issue? Working in the city is the peasant migrant workers with allotments. They can always go back to the earth, which is a kind of insurance Fund. Followers of Chernyshevsky and Herzen, the revolutionary populists were hoping for a collapse of the existing system. But in their view, the basis for the construction of socialism in Russia is the peasant community, based on self-government, collective ownership and mutual aid. You only need artisanal peasant orders to move and on the organization of industrial production in the city, destroying the landowner-bourgeois state. But the regicide of 1 March 1881 was not a signal to start the people’s revolution. Moreover, a major peasant uprisings in the country after 1863 was not, but the labour movement was becoming more noticeable. And in 1889, Georgy Plekhanov, first the populists and then the first Russian Marxist, decisively broke with the theories of original development of Russia, stated that the Russian revolution was victorious only as the revolution is working or not win at all.

Кровавое воскресенье. Роковая ошибка российской монархииAnd not accidentally, the Russian Marxists were constantly looking for ways to approach the movement of workers trying to use the proletariat as a powerful force in the political struggle. And although at first these attempts were not successful, the ruling circles they alarmed not a joke. At the end of 1890-ies, the Head of Moscow security Department Sergei Zubatov, he was young who gave a tribute to the radical theories, put forward the idea of the organization of legal workers ‘ organizations, which will lead to a purely economic struggle with employers. According to Zubatov, the government, occupying the position of arbitrator, could, in certain cases, to assist in the implementation of the legitimate demands of the workers: as the autocratic power is to care first and foremost about the interests of the people! This policy, in turn, will strengthen the loyalty of the working of Imperial power. The idea of the master detective does not look like a utopia. February 19, 1902 in Moscow, a mass workers ‘ demonstration with the participation of 30 thousand people. This success did not dream figures of the revolutionary movement! But the protesters did not claim to be a revolutionary slogans, not carrying red banners. They laid on the red square, a wreath at the monument of the Tsar – Liberator.

Кровавое воскресенье. Роковая ошибка российской монархииThe success of Sergey Zubatov inspired the authorities of St. Petersburg to repeat a social experiment in the form of the creation in February of 1904 “Assembly of Russian factory and plant workers”, which is aimed primarily spiritual and moral impact on workers, the fight against alcoholism, the organization of leisure. At the head of the organization was popular in business circles, the priest Georgy Apollonovich Gapon. His figure deserves a separate story. Born from a peasant family, a talented self-taught, was a man who combined the incompatible: and tolstoyism Orthodoxy, empathy humiliated and offended with inordinate ambition and lust for power. Gapon was not so much a leader, much as a tuning fork, responded to the psychology of the masses. He made a revolution. The revolutionary wave briefly lifted the figure of the priest to the level of national leader.

1904 – ominous time. Unsuccessful Russo-Japanese war (it says in the diary of Lev Tikhomirov) weakened the authority of the government. In the summer of 1904 revolutionary action Sosonoviy Egor was killed who enjoyed a reputation for reactionary Minister of interior Viacheslav Plehve. Confused, the government has declared its readiness to undertake cosmetic reforms while retaining the autocracy. But educated society (which is what were looking for points of contact, confused power) demanded reforms and reform – the abolition of autocracy. In the autumn of 1904 a petition to the king with the constitutional requirements takes Congress of country leaders in St. Petersburg, the Moscow city Duma, a number of other public organizations. In the autumn of 1904 the liberals, using as a pretext the 40th anniversary of judicial reform, carried out across the country, “Banquet campaign”. Participants indicate the incompleteness of the great reforms of Alexander II and require a “cap” state building in the Constitution.

Against this background, and there was a conflict at the Putilov factory. Several members kapanowski organization at the beginning of January 1905 were dismissed, concessions the administration is not passed, and soon a local conflict resulted in a strike by bringing in the most plants and factories of the capital. Who could act as an arbitrator? Of course, the carrier of the idea of Supreme justice, the defender orphaned and poor is the king. Only now the Czar turned liberal Zemstvo intelligentsia, and workers. Gapon attempting to carry out the idea of a petition from the spring of 1904, uses the experience of liberals. If educated people: Zemstvo activists, lawyers, doctors can turn to the Supreme power, then why would it not do work?

The text of the document bears the seal of a very complex political influences. Undoubtedly, the intonation of the petition, which refers to unacceptable conditions of work and rest of workers, to reflect the aspirations of the common people and was understood by the participants. Much more difficult with radical political demands, like the responsibility of Ministers, and guarantees the legality of the Board. And it is very awkward looks appeal to the autocrat with the requirement to convene a Constituent Assembly, which, in fact, and must abolish the autocracy. Quite difficult to understand how you can trust in the unlimited power of the autocrat, that his sovereign will can enter “normal salary” and at the same time to demand to abolish this power?

It is known that the text of the petition Gapon agreed with representatives of the revolutionary parties, the liberal intelligentsia of the Union of Liberation. I think that the meaning of these demands of the workers, was poorly understood. Perhaps the Constituent Assembly they believed some form of meeting people with the king, bypassing the bureaucracy. One way or another, but as the radicals and left-liberals wanted to use the elements for their own purposes, seeing in it, using the terminology Herzen “meat release”.

Кровавое воскресенье. Роковая ошибка российской монархии

Here they are greatly at odds with the mood of the crowd. The majority of the workers and Gapon, saw the autocrat as their last hope. They hoped for a miracle and were ready to perish in the name of what seemed to them the highest embodiment of justice. January 8, a young worker Ivan Vasiliev, an active participant kapinovskogo movement, wrote his wife: “lady Gaga, don’t you cry, some will live, and then do the factory-to-run, grow Vanunu and say that I died a Martyr’s death, for the freedom and happiness of the people. I was lost, if it be only true, and for your happiness”. The next day, the author of the letter was one of numerous victims of Bloody Sunday.

And the power, what could it do to prevent the disaster? To accept workers ‘ demands (as in the petition contained not only a radical and clearly unenforceable program of broad social reforms, but also the call to hold elections to the Constituent Assembly, is tantamount to abolition of the Imperial power), she could not. And at the same time, the government was not ready to take decisive action, which, though a small price of blood, could have prevented the disaster. Why?

The source of power was the autocrat. The king, and only he obeyed the Ministers, in many respects, not joint and several among themselves. The Minister of internal Affairs knew about his impending resignation and the influence and did not use any decisive action to prevent the disaster not taken, the mayor Ivan Wahl, one of the founders of the organization kapanowski to last naively believed that control of the situation in the capital. He believed word of honor Gapon that no anti-government intentions of the workers. And the nominal head of government, Sergei Witte shrugged and complained of the weakness, hinting that the responsibility for the impending disaster rests solely with the autocrat. And the king? On the eve of terrible events he retired to Tsarskoe Selo, in essence refusing to take any political responsibility.

Кровавое воскресенье. Роковая ошибка российской монархии

Priest Gapon and the mayor Wahl

On the evening of 7 January in the city there were troops, but the military situation in the city is not administered. However, on the morning of 8 January was printed announcement of the mayor, predosteregaet from participation in mass riots. But the workers were not at a political demonstration, and to meet with the monarch. The Declaration was seen as directed against all kinds of revolutionary and opposition demonstrations of the intelligentsia. Yes and the police authority considered lawful and legitimate religious procession that took place a working demonstration. At the head of a column of Narva was the assistant of the bailiff and the police officer Galkevich Shornikov. They were both killed. Thus, the tragedy of January 9 was not the result of someone’s ill will, but is caused by an archaic management system, system of collective irresponsibility. which then, owing to the revolution, was partially reformed. But the success of the reforms largely depends on whether the people trust their government. The peculiarity of the Russian system of governance was reflected in the fact that the people saw in the king the embodiment of truth and justice. January 9 this faith was destroyed.

Кровавое воскресенье. Роковая ошибка российской монархии

The graves of the victims of Bloody Sunday

Eight volleys with Neva

And ninth,

Tired as the glory.

This is

(left and right

Rush already on the lynx.)

This is

(gave a shout:

We will settle for the massacre.)

This break


Dynasty data


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