Bloody Sunday: Massacre to Manifesto
20th century Russia was full of bloodshed. Between the World Wars, revolutions, and purges brought on by Stalin, millions of Russian lives were lost. Though civil unrest in Russia had been simmering for hundreds of years, the grievances of the working class came to a boiling point at the turn of the 20th Century. Enter the year 1905, and the infamous Bloody Sunday.
Czar Nicholas II lead an oppressive regime, turning most working citizens to find solace in labor unions. More information on the tumultuous rule of Czar Nicholas before the year 1905 can be found here. Peaceful protesters took to the street outside Czar Nicholas II winter palace in St. Petersburg to discuss their grievances. The Russian working class felt under-represented, but largely still entrusted their Czar to look out for their best interest. When they tried to approach the palace, the police opened fire on the crowd killing over 100 protestors.
Not surprisingly, subsequent protests erupted throughout the major cities of Russia, leading Nicholas to issue the October Manifesto. The Manifesto was a precursor to the Russian Constitution that would follow in later years. The manifesto stated three main points:
- “Fundamental civil freedoms will be granted to the population, including real personal inviolability, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association.
- Participation in the Duma will be granted to those classes of the population which are at present deprived of voting powers, insofar as is possible in the short period before the convocation of the Duma, and this will lead to the development of a universal franchise. There will be no delay to the Duma elect already been organised.
- It is established as an unshakeable rule that no law can come into force without its approval by the State Duma and representatives of the people will be given the opportunity to take a real part in the supervision of the legality of government bodies.
We call on all true sons of Russia to remember the homeland, to help put a stop to this unprecedented unrest and, together with this, to devote all their strength to the restoration of peace to their native land” (Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii).
A copy of the October Manifesto, Image Source
The Octoctober Manifesto could be viewed by people looking back at Russian History as too little of an effort, too late by Nicholas II to soothe the unrest in his country, because, as we know, 1918 did not end well for him and his family.