starter activity Who are the characters in this cartoon? What message is the artist trying to convey? Clue – focus on the eyes.
Who was Rasputin? • Grigory Efimovitch aka Rasputin (name means ‘disreputable one’) • Starets (holy man) & suspected member of Kylysty sect (religious fulfilment through sexual experiences) Rasputin. Why did so many people have such respect for Rasputin?
What was he like? • Eyewitness reports refer to transfixing gaze • Lack of hygiene • Insatiable sexual appetite (involving actresses & prostitutes) Why are historians sceptical about some of the comments on Rasputin’s character & appearance?
Why was he so popular? Alexis • Healing powers • Tsarina thought Rasputin could cure Alexis of haemophilia • 1907 Rasputin first helped Alexis to recover from bout of illness • 1912 ‘cured’ Alexis via telegram from outside St Petersburg
Why was he so unpopular? • Immorality shocked conservatives • Professional jealousy amongst senior ministers, e.g. Stolypin • Resentment over his influence over Tsarina, especially during WWI • Tsar censored critical reports in the Press Chief Minister, Stolypin. Why was he among Rasputin’s harshest critics?
Why was the Tsar overthrown in February 1917? Aims To identify the reasons for growing hostility to Tsarist government To examine the role of Rasputin in the Tsar’s downfall
Your task • Read Oxley, p.80-1 and list reasons why opposition to Tsar intensified in this period.
Growing opposition • Russian military defeats (e.g. Tannenburg, Masurian Lakes) • Poor organisation, e.g. shortages of munitions • Growing criticism from political groups & leaders, e.g. Guchkov, Octobrist leader of Central War Industries Committee, as well as All Russian Unions of Towns and Zemstva • Miliukov & Progressive Bloc – 2/3 of members of Duma
Economic problems • Inflation: govt. increased circulation of money, wages increased at half pace of inflation • Food shortages: food not reaching cities, grain hoarding, poor infrastructure • Fuel shortages: coal rationed, factories closed, winter 1916-17 v. harsh, no fuel for bakeries in Petrograd, 1917
Your task • Read Oxley, p.81 and list reasons why Tsar Nicholas & Tsarina Alexandra were unpopular What clues does this cartoon provide?
Unpopularity of Nicholas & Alexandra • Supported Tsar’s divine right to govern as an autocrat • Remote – lived at Tsarskoye Selo • German background • Influenced by ministers, esp. Rasputin whilst Nicholas was at front
Source investigation • In pairs, study the sources on p.82-3 and complete questions 1-5