Chapter II

In 1904 Russia rather unwisely went to war with Japan. This con­flict had a profound impact on Russian society. After a number of crushing and humiliating defeats, citizens from all walks of life began to voice their discontent over the country's political structure and called for reform. This exacerbated the economic crisis that the country had been heading towards since four years. The failure of the land reforms of the early 1900s had led to increasing peasant disturbances and revolts, with the goal of securing owner­ship of their land. The rapid industrialization of Russia also resulted in urban overcrowding and poor conditions for urban industrial workers. Between 1890 and 1910, the population of the capital of St. Petersburg rose and almost doubled, with Moscow experiencing similar growth. Strikes and demonstrations erupted in many parts; Russia was heading towards an outright collapse.

On 9th January, 1905, a group of unarmed workers including women and children, in St. Petersburg peacefully took their concerns directly to the city's palace to submit a petition to Emperor Nicholas II for the granting of civil rights. They were met by security forces, who ordered them to disperse, and when they did not heed, fired on the group. A great number of innocent demonstrators were killed and wounded. This massacre outside the Winter Palace, transformed the situation and the consequence of "Bloody Sunday" as it came to be called, was irrevocable. Violence and disorder swept through the

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