the social, economic and political conditions in Russia, before 1905 was quite backward.
Social inequality was very prominent among the working class. Workers were divided on the basis of their occupation. Workers whose jobs needed skill and training considered themselves on a higher plane than the untrained worker. Workers had strong links to the villages they came from and this also caused a social divide among workers.
Economically Russia was going through a very difficult period. The population had doubled and the economic conditions turned from bad to worse. The government introduced new programmes of industrialization which created employment . This Industrialization did not help the workers who were exploited and their living condition only worsened.
Compared to other European nations, Russia was politically backward, during the thirteenth century. All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914. The Russian peasants formed the Socialist Revolutionary Party in 1900, but as they were not a united group they were not considered to be part of a socialist movement.
There is no doubt that India by and large remained a rich country throughout this period.
Foreign travellers who visited India during this period have observed that the people used gold, silver, diamonds, pearls and other precious stones profusely in the form of ornaments.
It was India’s fabulous wealth which tempted Mahmud of Ghazni to invade India so many times.
Timur also got unimaginable wealth from only one of India’s corners. We find several prosperous cities and parts during this period. The Sultans of Delhi, nobles, governors, merchants and elites of the society possessed vast wealth and enjoyed all comforts of material life.
Several beautiful mosques, monuments, palaces, forts and temples were builtduring this period. All this indicates that there was general economic prosperity in the country. Despite constant warfare of the Sultans of Delhi, affluent agricultural and industrial production and foreign trade had enriched India and maintained its prosperity.
Achievements in various fields of Indian economy were mostly on account of private enterprise. Very little was done by the Sultans and provincial governors towards the direct development of trade and industry. Food in general was not a problem for the common man. The problem of shelter did not worry the people.
At the beginning of the 20th century about 85% of the Russia’s population was agriculturists. Russia was a major exporter of grains. Industry was found in pockets only. Most industries were run by the private industrialists. Because of wide spread corruption and exploitations, sometimes workers did not get even the minimum wages and also there was no limit of working hours. Russia was an autocracy and was ruled by the Tsar. The Tsar, especially Tsar Nicholas II was a self-willed, corrupt, oppressive ruler. He ignored public welfare as a result of which the conditions of the peasants and workers had also become very deplorable. The workers and peasants both were divided. Peasants frequently refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords. Being influenced by the democratic experiments by the Western European countries, the Russians also demanded a responsible government but all their demands were turned down. Consequently, even the moderate reformers began to talk of revolutions.
During the rule of Tsar Nicholas II the privileged had got special rights while the general public including the workers and farmers had no say in the government. The situation had become so explosive that even the liberals campaigned to end this state of affairs. The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party was founded in 1898 by socialists who respected Marx’s ideas. In 1903, this party was divided into two groups - Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks, who were in majority, were led by Lenin who is regarded as the greatest thinker on socialism after Marx.
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