You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Russia: The Revolution of 1905

4. Political Opposition to the Regime

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the political opposite to the Tsarist regime, focusing in particular on two strands of opposition – the liberals and the socialists. First, we consider the two strands of the liberal opposition: (i) the so-called 'zemstva men', and (ii) the urban professionals who made up the Constitutional Democratic Party (also known as the Kadets). After that, we turn to the various strands of the socialist opposition: (i) the social democrats, influenced by Marx, who were divided between the more moderate Mensheviks and the more radical Bolsheviks; (ii) the Narodniki, influenced by the writings of Alexander Herzen; and (iii) the Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries (SRs).


In this course, Dr Jonathan Smele (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the (so-called) Revolution of 1905. We begin in the first module by considering whether this was a revolution at all and – if so – whether we should see events as being confined to 1905. After that, we consider the immediate background to the events of 1905, focusing in particular on the Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, as well as its immediate consequences. In the second module, we consider the extent to which dissatisfaction among the peasantry contributed to the events of the period, before turning in the third module to the impact of Russia's rapid industrialisation – especially in the last decade of the nineteenth century In the fourth module, we think about the political opposition to the regime – especially that of the liberals and the socialists (and the various 'parties' within each of these groups), before turning in the fifth and final module to the longer-term consequences of the events of 1905. Were the reforms made in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution doomed to failure, or was there potential for Russia's development into a modern, industrial, democratic state?


Dr Jonathan Smele is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at Queen Mary University of London. He is a specialist in the history of Russian revolutions and civil wars. His recent publications include (as editor) The Russian Revolution of 1905: Centenary Perspectives (2005) and The Russian Civil Wars, 1916-26: Ten Years that Shook the World (2016).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Smele, J. (2019, January 16). Russia: The Revolution of 1905 - Political Opposition to the Regime [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Smele, J. "Russia: The Revolution of 1905 – Political Opposition to the Regime." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Jan 2019,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 6,900 lectures