Autocracy and Revolution in Russia

Autocracy and Revolution in Russia

Autocracy and Revolution in Russia

Autocracy and Revolution in Russia

Excerpt

It was with much hesitation that I accepted the honor to deliver the Harris lectures during the present month, because I felt that it would be extremely difficult to give in the space of six lectures an adequate picture of the complex processes of the Russian Revolution. Much of the scientific and historical material still remains untouched, neither analyzed nor systematized. However, we know enough at present to discern at least the main lines of development of the social forces that brought about the Revolution.

I suppose that most educated people realize that the Revolution did not come suddenly and quite unexpectedly, but that it was the necessary outcome of the social readjustment that was taking place in Russia during the three last decades. Thus, in order to make the picture of the events of 1917 more comprehensible, I had to start my narrative with the preceding period, when autocracy was gradually falling to pieces, when the old régime was no longer able to satisfy the needs and requirements of social life and when the political system of Tsarism began rapidly to degenerate, becoming demoralized and utterly inefficient.

There were many warnings of the coming social storm, but none were stronger and more vital than the disturbances of 1905, that followed the defeat of the Japanese war. Alas! that sad lesson was not learned . . .

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