Suppressing the 1905 Revolution

Methods of suppression

The army had stayed loyal to the Tsar and was used to crush opposition in the cities. In December, Tsarist forces moved against workers who had formed Soviets (committees made up of workers and soldiers) in St Petersburg and Moscow.

Fighting broke out between the army and strikers in Moscow. By the middle of the month, the army had suppressed the strike and killed over 1,000.

The Union of Russian People was established to fight against the revolutionary groups. It had the power to arrest, sentence and execute those who committed crimes against the state.

Terrorist groups such as the Black Hundreds were used to intimidate and attack those opposed to the Tsar.

During the second Duma, the Okhrana arrested Bolshevik and Menshevik representatives who were attempting to develop opposition to the Tsarist state within the army. An uprising would have been potentially threatening for the Tsar - control of the army was essential in suppressing the revolution.

Impact on revolutionary groups

The Okhrana’s exposure of Bolshevik revolutionary plans forced Lenin into exile in 1907. He would not return for 10 years.

Show trials and summary executions had reduced membership of revolutionary groups from 100,000 to 10,000 by 1910. ‘Stolypin’s Neckties’, the nickname for the hangman's noose, became infamous as a method of fear and oppression.

However, revolutionary groups survived underground and continued to attract support. Revolutionaries managed to assassinate Stolypin in 1911.