1905 in St. Petersburg: Labor, Society, and Revolution

By Gerald D. Surh | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
The Workers' Movement in February

The response of the government to the events of January provided the framework for the development of the Petersburg labor movement in February and beyond. After January 9, the government remained stalemated by an indecisive yet willful monarch whose moral stamina and intellectual abilities were unequal to the enormous challenges at hand, a situation that was exacerbated by disorderly lines of authority among various government agencies and personalities. Accordingly, in seeking to recover its prestige and authority after Bloody Sunday and to "restore order"--a process in which there was no shortage of wise and informed counsel--the government again adopted a set of policies toward the labor movement that promoted rather than prevented disorder and revolution.

Although the government's disastrous performance on January 9 was the responsibility of a number of officials, and although it resulted from both long-term, systemic incapacities of the autocracy and short-term mistakes and oversights, the government placed the immediate blame at the door of Petersburg City Governor Fullon and Interior Minister Sviatopolk-Mirskii, both of whose resignations were accepted within a week of the massacre. St. Petersburg was made a governor-generalship, increasing the powers of Fullon's successor. For this post, the Tsar chose Dmitrii F. Trepov, the hard-line former Moscow police chief and a member of Nicholas's favored inner circle called the "Horse Guard Party." To aid him in "restoring order" in the capital, Trepov was given extraordinary powers under a martial law

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