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Russian Revolution 1905 At the turn of the twentieth century Russia was a curious society still stratified into nobility and peasantry The Russian people seemed to be as immovable as the dark ground which they farmed welded to the ground by centuries of struggle While the Europeans fought political battles the Russians wrestled against the cold and starvation Four decades earlier Czar Alexander II signed the Emancipation Manifesto which freed the serfs from ownership by the nobles1 He had hoped to finally bring Russia out of the dark ages His bureaucracy continued to elevate the peasants by making all classes of society equal under the law and increasing the availability of education2 Nevertheless the Dark People of Russia remained in their darkness understanding little besides their own existence in the context of their communes The commune oriented nature of the Russian peasants made Russia a prime target for Marxist revolutionaries The uniquely backward culture of Russia spawned a singularly Russian form of Marxism Narodnichestvo Russian intellectuals of the 19th century felt that the socialist revolution must come from the uprising of the rural peasant masses rather than through the proletariat of the cities The peasants were remarkably unreceptive to revolutionary agitators They were blind to events outside of their own commune More often than not the agitators were run out of town by suspicious peasants 3 By 1900 the remnants of the Narodonik philosophy had melted into the Social Republican party 4 The Emancipation Manifesto had marked the beginning of the end for the nobility Deprived of their serfs and unable to gain any power in the government the Nobles were forced to sell off their land little by little to support their lifestyle For a government supported by nothing more than the momentum of history and tradition the decline of the nobility foreshadowed the destruction of the autocracy At the turn of the century the Czar had very little support outside his
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