Is Tsarist Russia doomed unless they win WWI?

I think they are doomed either way.
^ This, Honestly at this point it's pretty much clear that there are few in the Romanov family who is interested in any meaningful reform, and those that do is likely too low in the totem pole to do anything. While I won't go as far as to say that the fall of the Russian Empire was inevitable from the get go (though no state lasts forever, the grim reaper comes for us all, including nation-states) I think by the time of Nicky II it was only a matter of time.
 
But is unlikely in 1914 for Him and his entire family to be perforated by 7.62mm bullets, but an exile to a 'Hellhole' like Monaco or French Riviera, where he can whine for the rest of his long life that his Family was robbed of ther Imperial Birthright.
IIRC that's where a lot of the Russian nobility wound up, those who didn't get perforated by Mosin-Nagants at least :) sort of an irony to be taking refuge in one of those dreadful liberal republics like France!
 
I think they are doomed either way.
^ This, Honestly at this point it's pretty much clear that there are few in the Romanov family who is interested in any meaningful reform, and those that do is likely too low in the totem pole to do anything. While I won't go as far as to say that the fall of the Russian Empire was inevitable from the get go (though no state lasts forever, the grim reaper comes for us all, including nation-states) I think by the time of Nicky II it was only a matter of time.
Absultist system and probably whole monarchy was doomed already since Russo-Japanese War. Without WW1 or Russian Empire winning that would give only just some years more time. People are just going rise against Nicholas II. He was unable and unwillingful make any real reforms what Russia would had needed. Probably there wouldn't be Communist regime but it is almost sure that monarchy will be abolished one way or another.
The Imperial Russian leadership had been authoritarian and reactionary for decades. The sustained growth of the Imperial Russian economy/ industry and infrastructure over the same period all outpaced other significant European powers. The plight of the typical peasant was pretty shit, but incrementally less shit for each succeeding generation - an outcome that would ordinarily be greeted with fist pumps by capitalists/ neoliberals as proof of a trickle down effect.

Many reforms were being slow walked, but gradual progress in many areas was noticeable. The weakest link in the Imperial Russian empire was education/ literacy, which seriously lagged its significant European peers. Before the war Russia had committed to a system of universal education, which was expected to be fully implemented by 1918. The removal of this impediment to Russian progress would also eventually exacerbate reform pressures on the Tsar. Without war, I don't think there would be any overt threats to the Imperial Russian regime, but a smooth succession could be a sticky wicket.
A more competent Tzar wouldn't have backed the Serbians to the point of full mobilization, an act that sets off everyone elses mobilization plans to a World War.
Yes, for all Nicky's purported flaws, it was entanglements in foreign wars that sealed his fate.
But is unlikely in 1914 for Him and his entire family to be perforated by 7.62mm bullets, but an exile to a 'Hellhole' like Monaco or French Riviera, where he can whine for the rest of his long life that his Family was robbed of ther Imperial Birthright.
Nicky's grandfather (a progressive) was assassinated by a domestic terrorist, Nicky's father died early, purportedly from belated complications of an assassination attempt by a domestic terrorist. Assuming Nicky and family would survive unscathed from the unrest forcing their exile, may be presumptuous. The safest place for Nicky, if war is averted, is on the throne - in my opinion.
 
In my opinion, Nicky would be very challenging to displace without outside intervention. Okhrana was formidable and Russian army large and loyal -the vast majority of the Russian population were not politically motivated and had seen tangible improvements in their lot - be it from an especially low base. The above gives Nicky considerable latitude too muddle through most challenges.
But Russia isn’t China. A large % of the population aren’t going to stay in the countryside permanently. If Russia industrializes quickly with French investments and govt programs without making concessions to labor, the very politically oriented industrial proletariat are going to have a swelling of their ranks. I wouldn’t take it for granted that the Russian Empire could bend before it breaks. Even when everything had gone to shit, Nicky’s last “conciliatory” move was to abdicate in favor of his brother, not even to grant any concessions.
 
But Russia isn’t China. A large % of the population aren’t going to stay in the countryside permanently. If Russia industrializes quickly with French investments and govt programs without making concessions to labor, the very politically oriented industrial proletariat are going to have a swelling of their ranks. I wouldn’t take it for granted that the Russian Empire could bend before it breaks. Even when everything had gone to shit, Nicky’s last “conciliatory” move was to abdicate in favor of his brother, not even to grant any concessions.
Indeed, Russia has a lower population density and a higher proportion of rural population - its literate urban population lagged behind Germany at the start of the war - after decades of growth and industrialisation.
 
He probably could have stayed in power if he had - as promised - become a constitutional monarch after the 1905 Revolution. This could have been implemented gradually but by 1914, if it was pretty far along, he might have had a shot at surviving even if Russia accepted a peace involving losing some territory. He could blame it on the elected officials.
 
I don't think it would make much difference if Russia becomes entangled in a war with Germany. If Nicky (for some unfathomable reason) ever attempts such rapid and radical reforms, he is almost certain to lose control of the process and turfed out before 1914.
I think that if he does land reform and just does an even split of large landholders land with the peasants who work their, that 10s of million will love him for it for at least a whole generation, and about 250,000 will not. These 250,000 have no way to exercise their power so they will have to accept it, they can not go to the courts and they can not influence the military to overthrow the Tzar especially since almost all the soldiers will have a relative who now owns land when before they did not.

A land reform can be done anytime, and if done during peace time then it might take a year if not less depending on how long it takes to measure each peace of land and split it evenly where each person gets the same amount.

Having a constitutional democracy where the representatives can vote and enact laws and where the Tzar can veto it unless 2/3 agree means in practice that he still has almost complete power because 2/3 of elective representatives will not agree on anything and if they do then most likely the Tzar is objectively wrong on that specific issue.

The earlier the land reform is done, perhaps in the year 1900, the faster the Russian economy will grow, because now you have independent farmers working for themselves and not having a mostly lazy landowning class who just live comfortable lives. And those who actually are talented and productive will have the opportunity to expand, and the rest will at least improve their own lives and the total production of food, which means more can move into the cities and thus increasing industrialization.

This all translates into a faster growing Russian economy and because of the democracy a better run nation which means even faster growing economy.
 
The earlier the land reform is done, perhaps in the year 1900, the faster the Russian economy will grow, because now you have independent farmers working for themselves and not having a mostly lazy landowning class who just live comfortable lives. And
As soon as mechanization hits farming, the smallholder will not be in good shape. It's hard to raise a family on 40 acres with animals, and with the price drop from others in the same market that have went to tractors, you will get what happens all over the globe, those farmers leave the land for other work.
That's what happened in the Midwest after WWI. You needed bigger farms,to make a living at it, and that was with many belonging cooperatives that lowered costs
 
I think that if he does land reform and just does an even split of large landholders land with the peasants who work their, that 10s of million will love him for it for at least a whole generation, and about 250,000 will not. These 250,000 have no way to exercise their power so they will have to accept it, they can not go to the courts and they can not influence the military to overthrow the Tzar especially since almost all the soldiers will have a relative who now owns land when before they did not.

A land reform can be done anytime, and if done during peace time then it might take a year if not less depending on how long it takes to measure each peace of land and split it evenly where each person gets the same amount.
Land reform was telegraphed by Witte and later being gradually implemented by Stolypin from 1906. There was no peacetime inclination for the Russian military or rural populations to overthrow the regime, being among the most conservative and reliable elements in the Russian empire. I daresay the first efforts of land reform were not perfect, which is another reason why such efforts are best done in a gradual manner.

Having a constitutional democracy where the representatives can vote and enact laws and where the Tzar can veto it unless 2/3 agree means in practice that he still has almost complete power because 2/3 of elective representatives will not agree on anything and if they do then most likely the Tzar is objectively wrong on that specific issue.
I understand the literacy rate of Imperial Russia was circa 30% around 1900 so calls for rapid democratisation of Imperial Russia are premature and verging on ASB given the leadership (not just Nicky).

The earlier the land reform is done, perhaps in the year 1900, the faster the Russian economy will grow, because now you have independent farmers working for themselves and not having a mostly lazy landowning class who just live comfortable lives. And those who actually are talented and productive will have the opportunity to expand, and the rest will at least improve their own lives and the total production of food, which means more can move into the cities and thus increasing industrialization.

This all translates into a faster growing Russian economy and because of the democracy a better run nation which means even faster growing economy.
Russia was already the most rapidly growing industry/economy/infrastructure in the world for decades. Imperial Russia had initiated land reforms and agricultural productivity reforms from 1906, so I don't see much of a difference from OTL. Russian industrialisation does not need more farmhands, but instead needed a more educated population. Nicky had it covered for plans for universal education, which were being implemented before the war.
 
As soon as mechanization hits farming, the smallholder will not be in good shape. It's hard to raise a family on 40 acres with animals, and with the price drop from others in the same market that have went to tractors, you will get what happens all over the globe, those farmers leave the land for other work.
That's what happened in the Midwest after WWI. You needed bigger farms,to make a living at it, and that was with many belonging cooperatives that lowered costs
You are jumping ahead several steps and missing what is happening. By doing land reform, loyalty is gained from 10s of millions = less chance of revolt AND a higher growth rate in comparison to OTL.

There will be higher production rates by doing land reform in comparison to the original timeline, mechanization may give even higher rates but is not required to get higher than the original timeline.

Land reform was telegraphed by Witte and later being gradually implemented by Stolypin from 1906. There was no peacetime inclination for the Russian military or rural populations to overthrow the regime, being among the most conservative and reliable elements in the Russian empire. I daresay the first efforts of land reform were not perfect, which is another reason why such efforts are best done in a gradual manner.
No it wasent, he was giving away land where no one lived which requirers people to move away and eastablish new lives far away from everyone they knew and also futher away from potential markets to sell their products. He was not doing true land reform and the unproductive lazy land owners were still occupying the best land.


I understand the literacy rate of Imperial Russia was circa 30% around 1900 so calls for rapid democratisation of Imperial Russia are premature and verging on ASB given the leadership (not just Nicky).
My text which you replied to answers your statement

"Having a constitutional democracy where the representatives can vote and enact laws and where the Tzar can veto it unless 2/3 agree means in practice that he still has almost complete power because 2/3 of elective representatives will not agree on anything and if they do then most likely the Tzar is objectively wrong on that specific issue. "

The Tzar has practically the same power because 2/3 will rarely agree and now you have elected people actually fixing the most acute and real problems of the people, and this whole thread is if Tzarist Russia doomed, and the answer is no, if they do this and other things

Russia was already the most rapidly growing industry/economy/infrastructure in the world for decades. Imperial Russia had initiated land reforms and agricultural productivity reforms from 1906, so I don't see much of a difference from OTL. Russian industrialisation does not need more farmhands, but instead needed a more educated population. Nicky had it covered for plans for universal education, which were being implemented before the war.

Russia had an average growth rate of 3,5% per year, that does not mean that Russia can not grow more. By doing land reform and having a constitutional democracy will make Russia grow more.

The peasants who now work for themselves will be able to afford more things creating demand which will create more industrialization to meet this increased demand. The peasants will also be able to afford private schools, the Russian governments plan was full primary education in 1922, not 1918 like you seem to think, however the earlier one does land reform and constitutional democracy the faster the literacy rate grows because the now new farmers will be able to afford it and some will send their children to private schools, private schools where you pay some fee will arise by itself because some farmers will want to send their kids to school, and in addition to that those who are elected will push for education faster than the original time line.
 
You are jumping ahead several steps and missing what is happening. By doing land reform, loyalty is gained from 10s of millions = less chance of revolt AND a higher growth rate in comparison to OTL.
OTL Imperial was conducting land reform, the rural populations were already loyal and unlikely to revolt and the growth rate was already high.

There will be higher production rates by doing land reform in comparison to the original timeline, mechanization may give even higher rates but is not required to get higher than the original timeline.
Rural populations were renowned for being resistant to change and education. Early mechanisation is a bit aspirational for a substantially illiterate population and the resulting premature unemployment would scarcely be a vote winner.

No it wasent, he was giving away land where no one lived which requirers people to move away and eastablish new lives far away from everyone they knew and also futher away from potential markets to sell their products. He was not doing true land reform and the unproductive lazy land owners were still occupying the best land.
Who is "he"? The Stolypin land reforms were not inconsistent (from what I remember) from similar proposals by Witte and included a number of initiative including 'colonisation' of land in the Russian interior (accessible to markets due to the miracle of rail), agricultural education and rationalising land ownership-control. The landed nobility (the ones you cite as "lazy") were very influential and had already been alienated by Witte's focus on industrialisation.

You plan is to appease the sheep and poke the wolves with sticks - genius!

My text which you replied to answers your statement

"Having a constitutional democracy where the representatives can vote and enact laws and where the Tzar can veto it unless 2/3 agree means in practice that he still has almost complete power because 2/3 of elective representatives will not agree on anything and if they do then most likely the Tzar is objectively wrong on that specific issue. "

The Tzar has practically the same power because 2/3 will rarely agree and now you have elected people actually fixing the most acute and real problems of the people, and this whole thread is if Tzarist Russia doomed, and the answer is no, if they do this and other things
There was next to no demand for such wide sweeping reforms - far exceeding those available in western Europe or North America at that time. How much better do you think decisions from illiterate peasants would be?

Russia had an average growth rate of 3,5% per year, that does not mean that Russia can not grow more. By doing land reform and having a constitutional democracy will make Russia grow more.
Imagine Russia as a vehicle with no brakes, driven along a narrow mountain path - why the f**k would you put your foot on the gas?

The peasants who now work for themselves will be able to afford more things creating demand which will create more industrialization to meet this increased demand. The peasants will also be able to afford private schools, the Russian governments plan was full primary education in 1922, not 1918 like you seem to think, however the earlier one does land reform and constitutional democracy the faster the literacy rate grows because the now new farmers will be able to afford it and some will send their children to private schools, private schools where you pay some fee will arise by itself because some farmers will want to send their kids to school, and in addition to that those who are elected will push for education faster than the original time line.
No you are confusing Imperial Russia with the Soviet Union (they are different). Imperial Russia had planned to substantially fully implement universal education* by 1918, but those plans were interrupted by this thing called world war one. Similarly, the Stolypin land reforms included increased elements of capitalism, but you again seem to be confusing Imperial Russia with the Soviet Union.
*I cannot recall if that included girls.

The significant majority of the Russian population were rural and ordinarily rural populations do not value education to the same extent - your suggestions farmers would push education is simply not grounded in reality. I'm also not sure how slightly less dirt poor peasants can afford private educations for their large families.
 
You are jumping ahead several steps and missing what is happening. By doing land reform, loyalty is gained from 10s of millions = less chance of revolt AND a higher growth rate in comparison to OTL.

There will be higher production rates by doing land reform in comparison to the original timeline, mechanization may give even higher rates but is not required to get higher than the original timeline.
Higher production by whatever means, ore acres in production, mechanical labor saving or more enthusiasm(or both), will lead to more crop surplus, that will lead to lower prices.
Higher prices are from Wars, Droughts and here in the US, New Deal Ag programs


Even with basic mechanization(better plows and harvesters) US crop Yields really didn't start to rise until the late '30s, with the increase of Fertilizers and Hybrid Seeds and the 2nd wave of more effective tractors

Just like in the US, you need to make up sales by higher volume to keep the standard of living at a comfortable level when prices drop. In the US, bFrom 1850 to 1900 Rural incom dropped below urban income by a large margin

Having your own land means you have to pay taxes on that land, so you get all the headaches not seen when a Tenant rather than owner.
Some farmers will do better, other will do worse, and leave the land, selling to the more successful neighbors, or just abandoning marginal land
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That's where loyalty towards the Government starts to slip, as when failing, you look to deflect the blame. That's just human nature
 
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From what I've read, Russia in 1914 was fast catching up to the rest of the world in terms of industry and economy. However, the onset of the war and the ensuing crises allowed internal unrest to cause the Russian state to capsize.

This makes me wonder: once Tsarist Russia entered the war, were they then forced to win, or be overthrown? Would things as relatively tame as a white peace or a separate peace (despite the Russians being firmly against the latter IOTL) still not be enough to save the Tsar?
That's an interesting question. The Autocracy was allready shaky way before WW1, the 1905 revolution beeing perhaps the best proof of this. Opposition, both socialist and burgeois-democratic, was widespread, and the ongoing industrialization only accelerated this (both the growing burgeoisie and proletariat were largely opposed to the Autocracy).

A quick victory in WW1 (a better prepared offensive into East Prussia, no defeat at Tannenberg, an eventual advance into the german hearthland) by, say, 1915/16 could give the Autocracy a temporary boost in popularity, however in the long term this would only prolong the innevitable. If the state eventually reformed into a burgeois one (in this case a constitutional monarchy), the remainders of the feudal-nobility could safe some of their influence (i.e. retaining a privileged role in the military, having seats in the upper house, using their property to become capitalists themselves, etc., a bit like in Germany and Britain). However in this case the Autocracy would come to an end anyway, though the Tsar could remain the head of state with some actual power.

If the state refuses to reform, then the whole thing will be a lot more violent. A revolution would take place earlier or later, wheater the burgeois-democrats or socialists would come out on top is speculative. However it's likely that this outcome wouldn't be too rosy for the remainders of the feudal-nobility, though I can't say for sure wheater they'd end up under the guillotine or would only have their privileges revoked. The Romanovs would loose all pollitical power (and maybe their lives too) in such a scenario, and Russia would become a republic (burgeois or socialist).
 
No. The last POD though was the Russians sending their Army west and Nicholas eventually going with them. The Russian Army, Industry, Logistics, Communication systems etc. were not up for a successful offensive campaign against the Germans.

The key POD would be Russia sticking to a defensive stragety from the word jump. So no thinking they are taking Istanbul lol. Nichalos stays in Moscow with the general staff so that butterflys Rasputin too.

Ok so now we have the Germans going off *their* supply lines and stretching *their* logistics all the while the Western Front is still going and the Russians (besides key city defense like Petersburg) aren't engaging them in costly battles they can't win.

Meanwhile the Russians by 1915 realizing how badly prepared they were for war rush to shore up their industries in systems so all their troops have things like boots and artillery support.

Flash forward and there are still a lot of dead Russians but the countries war wariness and anger at the Czar is nowhere near OTL. The regime holds.
 
If Nicky had had the sense to not go to war, Imperial Russia would likely still be around as a constitutional monarchy. Of course Russia would have a lot of problems in the intervening decades like the Caucasus and Central Asia, but even if they lost these regions Imperial Russia would be a superpower today.
 

RousseauX

Donor
From what I've read, Russia in 1914 was fast catching up to the rest of the world in terms of industry and economy. However, the onset of the war and the ensuing crises allowed internal unrest to cause the Russian state to capsize.

This makes me wonder: once Tsarist Russia entered the war, were they then forced to win, or be overthrown? Would things as relatively tame as a white peace or a separate peace (despite the Russians being firmly against the latter IOTL) still not be enough to save the Tsar?
No, even in OTL 1917 they could have survived. A white peace in 1914-16 would almost certainly have saved the regime. They got overthrown because Nicky is really imcompetent.
 
From what I've read, Russia in 1914 was fast catching up to the rest of the world in terms of industry and economy. However, the onset of the war and the ensuing crises allowed internal unrest to cause the Russian state to capsize.
The onset of the war actually damped down the socio-political unrest, for awhile.

This makes me wonder: once Tsarist Russia entered the war, were they then forced to win, or be overthrown? Would things as relatively tame as a white peace or a separate peace (despite the Russians being firmly against the latter IOTL) still not be enough to save the Tsar?
No, Imperial Russian is doomed even if they won, or rather were on the winning side. Historically Britain in 1919 had revolutionary occurrences, in Russia it would have been far worse.
 
I'd say after 1905 and Bloody Sunday, that Nicky II was doomed... he showed at that point that the Great Father had no love for his children... and then the half-hearted attempts at making the Constitution work, by dissolving the Duma three times, each time changing the franchise to elect members that would be more favorable to the Autocrat of All the Russias...
Indeed.
Nicholas II's incoherent and incompetent mix of liberalising and repressing was the worst option for the situation. Sooner or later there will be a repeat of the factors that triggered the 1905 revolution (because the causes haven't been addressed), and the second revolution (having learned from the Tsar's reneging on his earlier promises) will not be as easily stopped.
The Great War hastened the demise of the Empire, but I feel that the demise would've come, even with a (presumably) Pyrrhic Russian victory...
I'd suggest the war might have bought the Romanovs a couple of years. Patriotism damped down the revolutionary fervour.
In the first seven months of 1914 Russia saw 3,493 strikes involving 1,327,897 participants; these decreased massively with the start of the Great War when additional internal security measure, justified by nationalism and war preparations reduced the potency of the labour movement. Without WW1 beginning "on schedule" the the wave of strikes that began in April 1912 (with the massacre of miners and other workers in the Lena goldfields) would not be damped down by the upsurge in patriotism and nationalism (and of course anti-semitism).
 
The Tzar could have stayed in power if he supported real land reform, and the chances of staying in power increases if he also has a constitutional democracy where the parliament can pass laws however it requires 2/3 majority to overrule the Tzar if he were to veto it.
So if he wasn't an idiot like Nicholas II?
 
A more competent Tzar wouldn't have backed the Serbians to the point of full mobilization, an act that sets off everyone elses mobilization plans to a World War.
Indeed. The only real way to prevent the collapse of Imperial Russia with Nicholas II is replace him. Perhaps a competent Zygon?
 
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