James W. Meng

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Units: Foreword 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5


The Russian Revolution of 1905-1907 and unrest through 1916.
9.1. First Russian Revolution of 1905-07.

The vast majority of preconditions for the first Russian revolution had formed by the end of the 19th century. Primary among them were the contradictions evolving as the country's private sector developed while the various institutions of the autocracy remained - the class system, the various problems in agriculture, and the lack of democratic institutions and practices.

Events at the Putilov factory in Saint Petersburg particularly foreshadowed the beginning of the revolution. On the 3rd of January 1905, a strike broke out at the Putilov fatory which was joined by workers from other enterprises. On the morning of Sunday, 9th Janaury, a peaceful march of workers along with their wives and children to the Winter Palace took place. Roughly 140,000 people participated. The police did not let the people in to see the Tsar, and when the crowds refused to disperse, the demonstrators were shelled and 130 people were killed. The day entered the history of the revolution as a "bloody Sunday".

In response, revolutionary actions by workers, peasants and intellectuals began throughout the country, supported by students, employees, small entrepreneurs, and intellectuals. From January through March, 810,000 industrial workers took part in strikes. Peasant uprisings began in the central regions; their main requirement was the breakup of landed estates.

The strike movement launched anew in the spring and summer, after which a second wave of revolution took place. Over 740,000 people took part in strikes between April and August 1905. In May through July, a large strike of textile workers took place in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, and the workers formed the country's first Council of Elected Deputies in the city, effectively taking power. They then succeeded in having a number of economic demands met, including higher wages.

A similar movement began almost simultaneously in the army and navy. One strike action that had particularly great resonance among high levels of government was the rebellion of sailors on the Black Sea battleship Prince Potemkin-Tavrichesky, then located off the port of Odessa. The uprising was not supported by most of the ships of the Black Sea fleet, and so the crew decided to go to the Romanian coast and surrender to the Romanian authorities.

Intimidated by the wave of revolutionary activity, the government made additional concessions. On the 17th of April 1905, the "Manifesto on Tolerance" was adopted, which proclaimed freedom of worship for the entirety of the non-Orthodox population. All denominations were permitted to build houses of worship, publish spiritual literature, and create spiritual brotherhoods.

Another major concession from the monarchy during the period of revolution was a decree of the 6th of August 1905 on the establishment of the State Duma (parliament) and the "Conditions of elections to the State Duma". But, as the latter decree set out, the circle of voters able to partake in elections to the duma was greatly limited. This in turn resulted in a general protest and boycott of the elections, forcing the government to slow the process.

The process of sales of state land to peasants on installment plans through the Peasant Bank also began in August 1905 as another form of concessions from the authorities.

The third wave of the revolution fell during the autumn of 1905, when the workers' movement reached a peak level of activity, and continued through the spring of 1906. The largest mass action of this period was the All-Russian October political strike (6-25th October), attended by 2 million people. Participants demanded an 8-hour workday, democratic freedoms, and convocation of a Constituent Assembly that would review the state structure of Russia. Working bodies of power - the Soviets of Workers' Deputies - were also formed.

Political parties (Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social Democrats) actively organized anti-governments in cities, villages, and in the military.

Liberal organizations also supported the striking workers of Saint Petersburg and of other cities. In October 1905 they actively supported the All-Russian strike. They felt their task was to unite all left-wing and democratic forces.

In December 1905 in Moscow, a strike of 100,000 workers spontaneously burst out into the December armed uprising, which was quickly suppressed. Afterward, peasant uprisings broke out all over the country. Throughout the spring and summer, peasants burned many landed estates. Uprisings also broke out in other nations of the Russian Empire - Georgia, Latvia, and Ukraine.

Following the October strike and other mass actions by the peasants, there were uprisings and general unrest in the army - in Kharkov, Kiev, Tashkent, and Warsaw. Sailors of Kronstadt also launched an armed protest. Perhaps the largest military action was an uprising in Sevastopol under the leadership of Lieutenant P.P. Schmidt. The movement in the army in 1906 continued with revolts in Kronstadt and Sveaborg.

The national movement continued actively, taking various forms - from armed insurrection to boycotts of activities in the Duma.

In response to pressure from the October strike and other fall uprisings, Tsar Nikolai II signed the Manifesto of the 17th of October 1905. It proclaimed freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and - perhaps most importantly - the creation of a legislative Duma. However, the decree on holding elections to the Duma was signed only on the 11th of December, after the December uprising had begun. Other concessions were also offered to the peasants, notably, the abolishment of a major land use tax.

Relative to the elected Duma and the people's movement, the executive branch continued to strengthen itself. In October 1905 the Council of Ministers became a permanent government headed by the Prine Minister, S.Yu. Witte. In 1906, the State Council was established as the upper house of the Russian parliament along with the State Duma, its lower house. Half of the members of the State Council were appointed by the Tsar himself, and the remaining half were chosen from various organizations.

After the Manifesto of the 17th of October proclaimed the legal right to political assembly and associations, all-Russian liberal and right-monarchist parties were organized in the country. The largest liberal parties were the Constitutional Democratic Party (Cadets), headed by P.N. Milyukov; and the Union of the 17th of October (Octoberists), led by A.I. Guchkov.

The Manifesto of the 17th of October was welcomed by liberals, as it offered many of the same legal protections that were proposed under the prototype of the Russian Constitution. Both parties therefore agreed to implement the provisions of the document and, over time, establish a parliamentary monarchy. They also agreed on the need for major reforms in agriculture, namely, the dissolution of communal farming and also the partial confiscation of landed estates. For workers, defense of unions and the right to strike were agreed upon. But even the liberals advocated mainly for legal, mostly parliamentary, means of struggle, and rejected the idea of revolution.

By the spring of 1906, the liberal parties' numbers were still relatively limited - the Cadets at 70,000 people, and the Octoberists at 60,000. The Cadets bitterly criticized the government, protesting both police repressions and against the methods of the revolutionary parties. By contrast, the Octoberists actively supported repression of revolutionary forces.

In many of the peripheral regions of the Russian Empire, particularly in Finland, the Baltics, Poland, the Caucasus, and the Volga region, liberal organizations emerged and gradually morphed into nationalist movements, e.g., the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party, the Polish People's Party, and others.

Right-wing and/or monarchist parties and organizations were considerably active during this period. In the spring of 1905, the Russian monarchist party appeared under the leadership of V.A. Gringmut. Following the Manifesto of the 17th of October, many ultra right-wing organizations were registered in cities all across the country, which became known as the Black Hundred. Of these, the largest nationalist organization was that of the Union of the Russian People, headed by A.I. Dubrovin and V.M. Purishkevich, formed in November 1905; it eventually constituted over 350,000 people. In total, the ultra right-wing movement numbered approximately 410,000 people across all unions and parties.

The Black Hundreds defended principles of "time-honored Russian communal spirit", collectivism, and the absolute power of the Tsar. They designated themselves as defenders of the Russian people, culture, and language; demanded to free the country from the evils of foreign capital; and advocated for various privileges and benefits (including free education) for Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.

Throughout the many misfortunes of Russia, rightists frequently accused Jews and socialists, whom they asserted were preparing the revolution with "Jewish money" - and so on that basis they demanded the dissolution of the Duma and the full restoration of the autocracy. To that end, the Black Hundreds used mass and individual terror against their targets, manifested in the organization of anti-Jewish pogroms and murders of revolutionaries and liberals.

By June 1907, the revolutionary movement - and particularly the workers' movement - had begun to subside, though armed insurrections had occurred in several areas. Each new wave of strikes during this period was weaker than its predecessor, and the overall share of major political demands in strikes also decreased. The democratic movement among the broad band of urban society had switched almost entirely to the use of electoral campaigns in the Duma to carry out a legal struggle for reform.

9.2. Development and responsibilities of the State Duma.

In response to the revolution of the 11th of December 1905, an unpopular decree was issued on elections to the State Duma. Elections were unequal among large landowners, the bourgeoisie, peasants and workers. A large property ownership qualification applied, and many segments of the population were not offered electoral rights: women, servicemen, and some national minorities.

Following the first round of elections to the First State Duma (April-July 1906) the largest percentage of seats belonged to the Cadets; the second largest was occupied by the labor group, which had arisen as a faction that combined the leftist parties of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the All-Russian Peasant Union. The Duma also had representatives from Muslim regions, predominantly clergy, who represented their Muslim faction. Meanwhile, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social-Democrats did not partake in the first round of elections to the Duma, having actually boycotted it. The primary issue facing the First Duma was that of agriculture. Cadets and Trudoviks both proposed projects for the compulsory dissolution of landed estates, and so the First Duma was dissolved in early July 1906.

The authorities again attempted to address the agrarian issue in November 1906, having already begun a reform under which the rights of peasants were equalized with those of other classes of society. Also by the end of 1905 a number of other major legislative changes had been made: trade unions, workers' meetings, and economic strikes were all legalized.

The Second State Duma (February-June 1907) was elected at a time when interest in the revolutionary movement had sharply declined. In a bid to retain relevance and power after reforms had been put into practice, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social-Democrats took part in the elections and received 43% of seats; Cadets, Octoberists and other liberals took 45%. Monarchists (The Black Hundreds) were also counted among the deputies to the Duma at 4%. The primary issue at hand remained that of agriculture.

Once the pressure of revolution had weakened further, the autocracy seized upon a chance to recover power, and the new Prime Minister P.A. Stolypin demanded that the deputies of the Social-Democratic Party to the State Duma be arrested for calling for the overthrow of the autocracy. Mass arrests began the night of the 3rd of June 1907, and a decree on changes to the electoral law was adopted the same day. The Second Duma was then dissolved by the Tsar. This became known in literature as the "June Third coup", in which the resulting political became known as the "June Third monarchy".

The following State Duma experienced fundamental changes to its composition as a result of the new electoral law. It reduced peasants' representation two times, workers' by 3 times, and that of Poland and the Caucasus by 3 times. Now the landlords (0.2% of voters) elected 50% of electors, and peasants (90% of voters) 20%. Representatives of non-Slavic nationalities living in Siberia, as well as servicemen, students, men under the age of 25, and women all lacked the right to vote. In aggregate, only 13% of the country's population could vote.

In accordance with the Foundational Laws, the Tsar shared legislative powers with a bicameral parliament. The State Council and State Duma adopted laws, including the budget; without their approval, no new law could be issued. The parliament, however, could not change the Foundational Laws of the Russian Empire. At the same time, the Tsar still maintained the right to the legislative initiative and approved all laws before they came into effect. He could also dissolve the Duma or suspend its activities; and, during the Duma's inactivity, the Tsar could issue decrees that immediately came into force. But after sessions of the Duma resumed, the decrees nevertheless had to be submitted for review by the Deputies.

On the basis of the Provisional Regulations of 1881, which were extended until the February Revolution of 1917, the Tsar could declare a general state of emergency in any province, after which the Foundational Laws were no longer in place, replaced by a dictatorship of the Governor General.

Thus, the executive branch of government remained fully under the Tsar's control. He appointed members of the Council of Ministers, who were independent of the parliament; and half the members of the State Council. The tsar also retained the supreme leadership of foreign policy and of the army, including all questions of war and peace.

The Tsar also exercised judicial power, via his appointments to the highest judicial body - the Senate.

While the Foundational Laws formally ensured the maintenance of freedoms won during the revolution, the Provisional Rules on Alliances were in force, and censorship had been abolished, in a factual sense, freedoms were limited to instructions, circulars, and other legal acts of the government.

And thus ended the First Russian Revolution. A bourgeois-democratic revolution, its goal was the elimination of vestiges of feudalism and the establishment of a bourgeois social system - a movement of the broader masses of the people.

The revolution, in a general sense, had been defeated. Movements of the various proponents of the revolution had been scattered, disbanded. The army remained largely on the side of the monarchy and its autocratic regime. And the liberal movement had ceased to support radical actions against the existing order.

At the same time, the masses had achieved significant, concrete gains. Agrarian reform had begun; workers' wages grew, the workday was shortened and mandated, and the rights to conduct strikes and form trade unions were now provided for. In a limited sense, civil liberties were also realized and the impact of censorship reduced. But perhaps the greatest victory of the revolution was that of the creation of the parliament, though it had yet to radically change the social order or state structure.

Under the new electoral law, the Third State Duma (November 1907-June 1912) was elected under the new electoral law. Right-nationalist groups received 32% of the vote; Octoberists 30%; Cadets 21%; and Leftists 7%. In the absence of a firm political majority, the vote depended on the largest faction, the Octobrists, who after 1911 withdrew from an alliance with the government under the influence of increasingly contradictory government policy, leading to a conflict between the Duma, the Prime Minister, and the conservative State Council.

The Fourth State Duma (November 1912-February 1917), despite the discriminatory election law, had become even more leftist than its predecessor, and therefore more opposition-oriented. Right-wing liberals were overruled increasingly often by more radical factions, namely, the Progressives and Cadets. This, however, did not seem to build any greater consensus, as in a legislative sense the Russian parliament did not become any more productive.

9.3. Reforms of P.A. Stolypin. Agrarian reform.

Once the revolutionary movement had gone into decline, the government tried to prevent future movements by preventing them from arising in the first place. It also set out to complete socioeconomic and political reforms to address the outstanding agrarian, labor, and other issues that typically served as drivers of revolutionary activity. A reorganization of local self-government, the implementation of judicial reform, and a reform of education along with the introduction of compulsory primary education were all planned. At the same time, the state maintained a general rule to implement only transformations that were considered inevitable. As such, a certain element of maneuvering between interests of different groups of society was required throughout - but all was ultimately intended to preserve the monarchical foundations of the Russian Empire.

Nevertheless, the strengthening of the Russian state was impossible without economic reforms: most importantly, to accelerate the development of industry, transportation, and agriculture.

The new Prime Minister, P.A. Stolypin (1906-11), who simultaneously served as Minister of Internal Affairs, acted as the main conductor of government policy. His personality was consistent with his policies: he was a landowner, and governor of Saratov. Stolypin was a talented administrator, and possessed deep knowledge in the fields of economics and laws. A supporter of strong state power, he understood the need for major transformations that could preserve and strengthen the state and the autocracy.

The main task of the autocracy was to prevent a new revolution, and the government program intended to achieve this first by establishing a general environment of order and tranquility in the country, and by carrying out a series of reforms. But the establishment of order was carried out with the use of emergency measures. Martial law was introduced in some areas. Stolypin himself organized the suppression of peasant demonstrations and uprisings. He was also a major figure in the creation of military courts, which executed revolutionaries by hanging, leading to the expression "the Stolypin tie".

On the subject of reform, Stolypin intended to discuss bills with the State Duma that would contribute to the emergence of civil society in Russia: those on freedom of religion, on civil equality, on reforms of local self-government, on the introduction of universal public eduction, etc.

The agrarian question, as before, remained most important. One of the first steps of the new government was a law of the 6th of November 1906, which initiated agrarian reform. Its goal was to destroy communal farming and transform peasants into private landowners. Peasants were then given rights commensurate with other classes of society. At the same time, Stolypin defended private property and advocated for the preservation of landed estates.

As part of the new package of laws, peasants could leave their communities. At the same time, they received their own private plot of land, consolidated into a single holding. If such a plot was located far from the village, then the house and farm were formed there. Between 1907-1915, the number of landowners in Russia increased to 2.5 million people, that is, 26% of former community peasants in European Russia.

In solving the problems of peasant land shortage and agrarian overcrowding, the resettlement policy in Siberia became more active. All those who wished to move to new places were allocated money; land was sold to peasants in installments through the Peasant Bank, whihc sold 15 million state and landed estates. This, in turn, solved the problem of small farmsteads for the peasants.

Resettlers received benefits: they were exempted from paying taxes for five years, they were granted cash allowances in the amount of 200 rubles per family, and men were exempted from military service. By 1914, over 3 million people had moved to new lands. Most were landless or mostly-landless peasants. Approximately 500,000 people later returned, of which many replenished the population of Siberian cities. Only a small number of peasants became rural masters in their new land. Resettlement ultimately became the least effective component of reform.

Overall, the peasantry in Russia began to make substantial gains as a result of the reforms. The area of cultivated land grew, and agricultural cooperation developed, particularly in Siberia. From Siberia over 90% of Russian oil exports were produced. Grain exports also increased: in 1913, Russia accounted for 25% of grain exports worldwide, bolstered by growth in world market prices for grain, which in turn significantly improved the marketability of the peasant economy. New systems of agriculture and agricultural crops were introduced, and purchases of agricultural machinery and mineral fertilizers by peasants also increased.

The reform was also relatively successful in sociopolitical terms. The number of communal farms decreased from 135,000 to 110,000. Taking into consideration the western provinces and Siberia, where communal farms did not exist, the majority of Russian peasants actually existed outside communal farms by 1917. Even so, in the central regions of Russia, the dissolution of communal farms went almost totally unobserved: communal traditions were strongest in these areas, and the low standard of living did not inspire a desire for change.

At the first stage of the reform in 1907-09, when plots were consolidated into ownership the number of peasant uprisings grew, but after coercion was renounced and some early economic successes began to appear, disturbances rapidly quieted, ceasing almost entirely by 1913. Regardless, the landed estates remained inviolable, and the peasantry still opposed landlords and the political system that came to their defense.

Stolypin mentioned many times in the State Duma the need for new laws on a variety of labor questions, and insisted on their adoption. After his death - Stolypin was killed on the 1st of September 1911 by revolutionary D. Bogrov - the new Prime Minister V.N. Kokovtsev also raised the issue of working legislation. Only in 1912, under conditions of a new upsurge in the social movement, were bills adopted on sickness funds, and on state insurance for workers. By 1917, more than 2200 such funds had been created, insuring more than 1.7 million workers. Over the same period the number of workers' strikes decreased almost twofold (from 1400 in 1907 to 790 in 1909). New workers' unions appeared, and workers gradually mastered new forms of protest: organized appeals to factory inspections and judicial bodies.

By 1914, the stike movement had again intensified and acquired a largely political character. Only after Russia entered the first World War did the acute nature of the day's social tensions begin to subside, if only briefly.

9.4. External politics. Russia's role in World War I.

One key result of Russian foreign policy at the turn of the 19th-20th century was its alliance with France and England. In 1892, a Russo-French agreement was concluded under which Russia pledged its allegiance to France in case of a Franco-German war.

In August 1907, an agreement was signed with England on the delimitation of spheres of influence in Central Asia - in Afghanistan and in Persia. This 1907 Convention brought to an end the century-long Anglo-Russian confrontation, and laid a foundation for the future "threefold alliance" of France, Russia, and England.

In response to the Anglo-Russian agreement, Germany supported the aggressive policy of Austria-Hungary in the Balkans. It also strengthened military cooperation with Turkey, who maintained a distinctly anti-Russian stance.

Under these alliances, two hostile military-political blocs emerged in Europe: the quadruple alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria; and that of the Entente, which united England, Russia, and France. Russia herself signed a final naval convention with England in 1913, completing the formation of the Entente as a military alliance.

The struggle for redistribution of the colonies began shortly thereafter. This ultimately was the driving force that led to the first World War. Germany planned, with the help of a lightning war (blitzkrieg) to defeat France and, with the support of Austria-Hungary, to join forces into a struggle with Russia.

The occasion that ultimately set off the war was the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian emperor, in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on the 15th (28th) of June 1914. Austria, blaming the murder on a Serbian nationalist organization, bombarded the Serbian capital of Belgrade exactly one month later.

On the 17th (30th) of July, Russia announced a general mobilization for war. On the 19th of July (1st of August, by the new style calendar) Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 3rd of August, France began an offensive via Belgium and Luxembourg. On the 4th of August England entered the war. On the 6th of August, Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia, and the war quickly swept across Europe, with the eventual participation of 38 countries.

Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, uncle to Tsar Nikolai II, was appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian army. Following the defeat of Franco-British troops on the French border and the rapid advance of the German troops to Paris, Russia - even before the end of mobilization - launched simultaneous offensives in East Prussia and in Galicia.

At the end of August 1914, the first (commanded by P.K. Rennenkampf) and second (commanded by A.V. Samsonov) Russian armies inflicted a series of defeats on German divisions in East Prussia. Eventually, after the transfer of additional troops, Germany surrounded and defeated the second army under General Samsonov, then forcing the first army into retreat. But despite this defeat, the Russian offensive in East Prussia and Galicia enabled the Allies to win in September in Marne and to stabilize the front in France.

In preparation for an invasion of Germany, the Russian command began transferring troops from Galicia to Poland. In October and November 1914, through bloody, large-scale military operations in Warsaw-Ivangorod and Lodz, both sides suffered heavy losses. Russian losses amounted to approximately 2 million people; the enemy, 950,000. While Russia had stopped the Austro-German offensive, it could not undertake a campaign against Berlin and so retreated to Poland. A positional war then began on the front.

Meanwhile, the Turkish-German navy attacked the Black Sea coast of Russia in October, and Turkish troops launched an offensive in the Caucasus, where the army soundly defeated the superior Turkish forces.

In April and May 1915 the situation began to change. Austro-German troops forced the retreat of the Russian army and captured most of Galicia and Volhynia. In the summer, German troops occupied Poland, part of Belarus and the Baltic states. By October the front had ceased to move, and an extended period of trench warfare began. In August, Tsar Nikolai II took command of the troops, and appointed an experienced strategist, General M.V. Alekseeva, as chief of staff.

As a result of the military campaign of 1915, Russia lost its western territories, but retained its primary industrial, fuel, and agricultural bases. By 1916, Russian industry had completely adapted to military needs and the volume of industrial production had increased by 22% over the years 1914-16.

In 1916, the German command transferred its main military efforts from the East to the Western Front. A battle began for the fortress of Verdun, which sat at the defense of the road to Paris. This forced the Russian armmy and its allies to change the timing and direction of the main line of attack. In May, the 8th army of General A.A. Brusilov broke through the Austrian positions on the South-Western Front, throwing the enemy back by 120km - an operation that was recorded in history as the "Brusilovsky breakthrough". But German reinforcements then allowed the Austro-Hungarian army, which had by that point lost 1.5 million people, to stabilize the front line in Galicia and Bukovina.

As a result of the military operations of 1916, the Anglo-French and Italian armies were saved from defeat. But the Russian army suffered unjustifiably large losses due to a lack of military support and inept strategic and operational command of the troops. This, in addition to the enormous fatigue of a protracted, industrialized war, undermined morale among the troops greatly.

9.5. Cultural development of Russia.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, major changes occurred in the culture of Russia. The number of literate people in the country increased by two times, from 26.5 million people to 53 million people. The number of primary schools, gymnasiums, and real schools increased. A system of professional (mountain, river, railway, and factory) and commercial schools developed.

Other improvements were made to the system of higher education. After 1905, the autonomy of universities and their choices of rectors and deans was restored. New universities, primarily technical institutions, were created. Following the revolution of 1905-07, several private universities were created by entrepreneurs, e.g., the University of A.L. Shanyavsky, and the Pedagogical Institute of P.G. Shelaputin. By 1914, there were 100 higher educational institutions in Russia.

While higher education had expanded, there was no universal, compulsory primary education in the country, and secondary and higher schools were inaccessible to a large part of the population because of high tuition fees. As a result, much of the population remained illiterate.

In response to the increased needs of industry and the army, the natural and technical sciences developed rapidly. Significant developments were made by E.N. Zhukovsky, who discovered and documented aerodynamics; by geochemist and biochemist V.I. Vernadsky, who laid the foundations of modern ecology; by physiologist I.P. Pavlov; by immunologist I.I. Mechnikov, who received the Nobel Prize for his work; and by the "Father" of cosmonautics K.E. Tsiolkovsky and others.

The early 20th century, and especially the years of the first World War, was a time of major achievements in the field of technology. The rise of the aircraft and automobile industry began: a four-engine aircraft was invented by I.I. Sikorsky, a submachine gun, and others.

The humanities (philosophy, history, economics) traditionally played a role in domestic science; they determined the nature of secondary and higher education. At that time, the philosophers V.S. Soloviev, N.A. Berdyaev, and S.N. Bulgakov were active. The study of history continued to develop through the work of V.I. Klyuchevsky, S.F. Platonov, P.N. Milyukov, M.N. Pokrovsky, and others.

A new stage in the development of world art culture also arrived. In art, the new goal was often to transform the world using artistic means - to modernity. New directions appeared: impressionism, symbolism, etc. Then in the early 20th century the avant-garde movement arose: cubism, futurism, etc. and its representatives recreated reality by new means of artistic language.

Literary trends developed as well. The development of critical realism in literature continued, with new works by writers L.N. Tolstoy, A.P. Chekhov, V.G. Korolenko, A.I. Kuprin, I.A. Bunin, and M. Gorky.

Various modernist trends also began to arise in philosophy and poetry. Representatives of the Russian symbolist movement included poets V.Ya. Bryusov, A. Bely, A.A. Blok, and others. Another avenue of development in poetry, acmeism, was represented by poets A.A. Akhmatova, O.E. Mandelstam, and M. Tsvetaeva. They returned from the world of symbolism to the earthly man and the world of his feelings. This period became known as the "silver age" of Russian poetry.

Russian classical painting actively developed in the works of M.V. Nesterov, K.A. Korovin, V.A. Serov, and M.A. Vrubel. New, avant-garde directions were also explored in the works of artists V.V. Kandinsky, K. Malevich, M.Z. Chagall, and others.

In the final decade of the 19th century, a new style of modern architecture took shape. New building materials were widely used throughout: reinforced concrete, steel, and glass. The "father" of Russian Art Nouveau was architect F.O. Shekhtel, whose work is most recognizable in the Yaroslavsky train station of Moscow. As rationalist tendencies grew in a number of Shekhtel's buildings, the features of the constructivist style that took shape in the 1920s began to be outlined. At the same time, the Metropol building was also built in Moscow by architect V.F. Valcott.

Music demonstrated many of the same trends: classical traditions continued their development in the works of N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov and A.K. Glazunov, while new composer-innovators S.V. Rakhmaninov, I.F. Stravinsky, and A.N. Scriabin followed avant-garde if somewhat disparate directions.

At the turn of the century, the old traditions were continued by the Maly Theatre in Moscow and the Alexandrinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. In 1898, the new Moscow Art Theater was created by K.S. Stanislavsky and V.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko with the assistance of patron S.V. Morozov, utilizing their own new methods and style of acting. Developments in opera continued both on the stages of the great theaters - the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg - and in provincial and private opera houses. Famous opera singers of the period were F.I. Shalyapin, L.V. Sobinov, and A.V. Nezhdanov.

Russian ballet also began to receive global recognition in the early 20th century. Threads of modernism were reflected in performances staged by M. Fokin, in which V. Nizhinsky, A. Pavlov, and T. Karsavina danced. The art of the new Russian ballet was demonstrated to the whole world during the tours (seasons) of S.P. Diaghilev, the first of which was presented on stage in Paris in 1909.

Growth of literacy and cultural needs in Russia quickly led to the formation of mass culture; and the demand for mass literature with simplified content increased. The book publishing business developed actively in Russia during this period. Following the abolition of censorship in November 1905, the number of periodicals increased tenfold. By 1917, over 1100 newspapers were published in the country. A new kind of mass art - film - arose. By 1914, 4000 cinemas had been built, supported by private film-making companies.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the flowering of Russian culture - on perhaps an even greater level than in Europe - was well documented. The appeal of cultural figures across genres to national historical traditions and to folk art contributed to the development of Russian national identity.

At the same time, this surge in cultural development was accompanied by the appearance of decadent moods in the work of philosophers, poets, and artists, caused by premonitions of social changes that were characteristic of European culture of the period. Russian culture had finally become a part of world culture, developing under its influence, however independently.