The First World War destabilized the Russian Empire, undermined the old order. Numerous contradictions broke out and developed into a full-fledged revolutionary situation. In the autumn of 1916, spontaneous unrest began in many ways in the capital of Russia. And part of the “elite” of the Russian empire (grand dukes, aristocrats, generals, Duma leaders, bankers and industrialists) at the time were making a plot against Emperor Nicholas II and the autocratic regime.
They planned to establish a constitutional monarchy following the example of England or a republic close to them, modeled on France, which would lift the restrictions of the autocratic regime and gain "freedom." The cadre army, which was the backbone of the empire and could easily sweep away the future "fevralist" destroyers, had already fallen on the fields of the First World War. The army itself became a source of distemper, and not the support of autocracy. Thus, the "elite" of Russia itself was preparing to release the genie from the bottle. Although with the active support of our Western "partners" and allies in the Entente, and official opponents from the Central Bloc.
The "fevralists" did not understand that the destruction of the autocracy would open the "Pandora's box", finally remove the brackets that hold back the deep, fundamental contradictions that were breaking the Romanov empire.
- Under the Romanovs, an official Nikonian church was created, which crushed the “living faith”. Orthodoxy turned into a formality, the essence of the lured form, faith - empty rituals. The church became a department of the bureaucratic, state apparatus. The fall of the spirituality of the people began, the fall of the authority of the clergy. Ordinary people begin to despise the priests. The official, Nikonian orthodoxy becomes shallow, loses its connection with God, becomes an appearance. In the final we will see blown up temples and temples turned into warehouses, the destruction of monastic communities. With complete indifference of the masses.
In this case, the most healthy part of the Russian people - the Old Believers, will go into opposition to the Romanov state. ABOUTnor will they become the true heirs of the ideology of Sergius of Radonezh. Old Believers retain purity, sobriety, high morals and spirituality. They had nothing to do with the usual realities of Nikonian Russia — filth, drunkenness, laziness, and ignorance. Moreover, the official authorities long pursued the Old Believers, turned them against the state. Under the conditions when they were persecuted for two centuries, the Old Believers endured, retreated into the remote areas of the country and created their own economic, cultural structure, their own Russia. As a result, the Old Believers will become one of the revolutionary units that will destroy the Russian empire. The capitals of the industrialists and bankers of the Old Believers (who have honestly worked for centuries, accumulating national capital) will work for the revolution. Although the revolution itself will destroy the world of the Old Believers.
- The Romanovs tried to make the peripheral part of the Western world, the European civilization out of Russia, to recode the Russian civilization. It is clear that the tsars most oriented towards the people — Pavel, Nicholas I, Alexander III — tried to resist Westernism and Westernization of the social elite of the Russian Empire. But without much success. Which also became one of the main causes of the 1917 disaster. When the Westernized "elite" of the Russian Empire itself killed "historical Russia. " In 1825, Nicholas was able to suppress the rebellion of the Decembrists-Westerners. In 1917, the Februaryists were able to crush the autocracy, and at the same time they themselves killed the regime under which they flourished.
Petr Alekseevich was not the first Westerner in Russia. The turn of Russia to the West began during the reign of Boris Godunov (there were separate manifestations even during the last Rurikovichs) and the first Romanovs. Under princess Sophia and her favorite Vasily Golitsyn, he was fully formed and the project would have developed without Peter. However, it turned out that it was under Peter that Westernization became irreversible. No wonder the people believed that the king during his trip to the West was replaced.
Peter made a real cultural revolution in Russia. The meaning was not to shave the beards of the boyars, not in western clothes and morals, not in assembly assemblies. And in the planting of European culture. All the people could not recode. Therefore, the Westernized top - the aristocracy and the nobility. For this, self-government was destroyed so that the church could not resist these orders. The church became a department of the state, part of the apparatus of control and punishment. Petersburg with Western architecture, full of hidden symbols, became the capital of the new Russia.
Peter believed that Russia was lagging behind Western Europe, so it was necessary to put it on the “right path”, to modernize it to the west. And for this to become part of the Western world, European civilization. This opinion - about the “backwardness of Russia”, will become the basis of the philosophy of many generations of Westerners and liberals, up to our time. Russian civilization and the people will have to pay for this very expensive price, millions of lives destroyed and distorted.
It is clear that this view was formed by the young tsar, cut off from the traditional education of Russian sovereigns, under the influence of foreign "friends" and specialists. It was they who suggested to Peter the idea of creating a “new Russia”, predetermined his understanding of the Russian state (Muscovy) as a backward country, which must be radically modernized in a Western way, Westernize the elite - the nobility to enter the "club" of the great European powers. Although the Russian kingdom had all the possibilities for independent development, without Westernization and the division of the people into a pro-Western elite and the rest of the people, enslaved peasant world.
In this way, the Russian Empire had a congenital flaw - the division of the people into two parts: the artificially derived German-French-English "elite", the nobles- "Europeans", divorced from their native culture, language and people as a whole; on a huge, mostly bonded mass, which continued to live in a communal way and preserved the foundations of Russian culture. We can distinguish the third part - the world of the Old Believers.
In the XVIII century, this division reached a higher stage, when a huge peasant mass (the overwhelming majority of the population of the Romanov empire) completely enslaved, fastened. In fact, the "Europeans" - the nobles created an internal colony, they began to parasitize on the people. At the same time, they received freedom from their head of duty - to serve and defend the country. Previously, the existence of the nobility was justified by the need to protect the homeland. They were the military-elite class, which served until death or disability. Now they were freed from this duty, they could live all their lives on the estate and laze around, hunt, ride balls, spoil the girls, etc.
The people responded to this universal injustice with the peasant war (the revolt of E. Pugachev), which almost turned into a new turmoil. Petersburg was so frightened that he threw against the insurgents the best commander, a man who retained Russianness - A. V. Suvorov. True, they managed without it. After the suppression of the peasant war, the situation stabilized. In addition, in the first half of the XIX century, the serf noose was greatly weakened. However, the peasants remembered this injustice, including the land problem. Which ultimately ended the 1917 disaster of the year. After February 1917, a new peasant war began, estates were flushed, and a “black repartition” of land began. Peasants revenged for the age-old humiliation and injustice. The peasant movement in the rear was one of the reasons for the defeat of the White movement. And the Reds with great difficulty extinguished this fire, which could destroy Russia.
- "Cannon fodder". The foreign policy of the Russian empire, thanks to the "Europeans" -the Westerners like Foreign Minister Carl Nesselrode (served as Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire longer than anyone else, from 1816 to 1856 year), had a controversial, pro-Western character, sometimes even anti-national. Thus, Russia often fought not for its own interests, but for the interests of its Western "partners", regularly providing Russian "cannon fodder" to its allies.
We all know about the brilliant military past of the Russian Empire. We are proud of the victories of the Russian army and fleet over the Swedes, Turks, Prussians and French. The battles of Poltava, near Larga and Cahul, Fokshany and Rymnik, the battles of Zorndorf and Kunersdorf, Borodino, the assault of Izmail, the heroic defense of Sevastopol and Petropavlovsk, the campaigns of Russian troops in the Caucasus, the Balkans, Italy, Germany and France - all this is our memory and pride. Like the victories of the Russian fleet under Gangut, Chesme, Navarino, Athos, Sinope, the capture of Corfu.
However, despite the brilliant feats of Russian commanders, naval commanders, soldiers and sailors, the foreign policy of the Russian Empire was in many ways not independent and other powers used Russia to their advantage. Russia carried out the most independent policy under Catherine the Great, Pavel, Nicholas and Alexander III. In other periods, Vienna, Berlin, London and Paris successfully used Russian bayonets to their advantage.
In particular, Russia's participation in the Seven Years' War (tens of thousands of dead and wounded soldiers, time and material resources) ended in nothing. The brilliant fruits of the victories of the Russian army, including Königsberg, already attached to the Russian Empire, were wasted.
In general, it is worth noting that Russia focused all its attention and resources on European affairs. (a consequence of the westernization of Russia). With minimal results, but huge costs, often aimless and meaningless. So, after the annexation of Western Russian lands during the division of the Commonwealth, Russia did not have major national tasks in Europe. It was necessary to focus on the Caucasus, Turkestan (Central Asia) with the release of Russian influence in Persia and India, in the East. It was necessary to develop their own territories - the North, Siberia, the Far East and Russian America.
In the East, Russia could have a decisive influence on the Chinese, Korean and Japanese civilizations, taking dominant positions there. Russia bordered on these great civilizations, that is, it had an advantage over the West in the Greater Far East. There was an opportunity to start the “Russian globalization”, to build its world order. However, time and opportunity were lost. Moreover, thanks to the pro-Western party in St. Petersburg, Russia lost Russian America and the potential for further development of the northern part of the Pacific region with the Hawaiian Islands and California (Fort Ross).
In the West, Russia got involved in a meaningless and extremely costly confrontation with France. But it is extremely beneficial for Vienna, Berlin and London. Pavel I realized that Russia was being dragged into a trap and tried to get out of it. They reconciled with France, it became possible to create an anti-British alliance that constrains the global ambitions of the Anglo-Saxons. However, the great sovereign was killed. Alexander I and his pro-Western environment, with the full support of England and Austria, pulled Russia into a long confrontation with France (participating in four wars with France), which ended with the death of many thousands of Russian people and the burning of Moscow. Then, instead of leaving weakened France, Russia, as a counterbalance to England, Austria and Prussia, freed Europe and France from Napoleon.
After that, Russia supported the Holy Alliance and anti-revolutionary policies in Europe, using its resources to support decaying regimes. In particular, with the support of Russia, Greece gained its freedom, where England immediately occupied the dominant positions. Russia saved the Austrian Habsburg Empire from the Hungarian revolution. All this ended in a disaster of the Eastern (Crimean) War. When our “partner and ally” —Austria — played a decisive role in defeating Russia, threatening with war, if Petersburg continues to resist.
It is also worth noting that for two centuries Western “partners” have incited Turkey to Russia. Paris, London and Vienna regularly used the “Turkish club” to restrain Russia in the southern strategic direction, in the Balkans and the Caucasus, so that the Russians would not reach the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Russia gave freedom to Serbia. Belgrade thanked him by dragging Russia into a confrontation with Austria and Germany. The Russians liberated Bulgaria. The Bulgarians planted a German dynasty around their necks and, during World War I, took the side of our enemies.
In 1904, the pro-Western party in the Russian Empire itself and the masters of the West sowed Russians and Japanese. What led to the heavy defeat of Russia and the weakening position in the Far East. In addition, Russia's attention was again focused on Europe. In the interests of London, Paris and Washington, the Russians were set against the Germans. Britain and France fought to the last Russian soldier, solving their strategic tasks and weakening their competitors — Germany and Russia.
- Resource and raw materials appendage of the West. In the global economy, Russia was a raw material periphery. Petersburg Romanovs achieved Russia's embedding in the emerging world system, but as a cultural and raw material, technically backward peripheral power, although it is a military giant. Russia was a supplier of cheap raw materials and food to the West.
Russia of the XVIII century was for the West the largest supplier of agricultural products, raw materials and semi-finished products. In the first place in the export was hemp (a strategic commodity for the British fleet), in the second place - flax. The main exports went to England and Holland. At the same time, under the conditions when the British lost the American colonies, the flow of Russian raw materials was vital for England. No wonder that when Nicholas I began a policy of protectionism, this was one of the reasons why the British launched the Eastern (Crimean) war with the idea of dismembering the Russian Empire. And after the defeat, Russia immediately softened the customs barriers for England.
Russia drove raw materials to the West, and the landlords, aristocrats and merchants spent the money not on the development of domestic industry, but on overconsumption, the purchase of Western goods, luxury and foreign entertainment (the “new Russians” of the 1990-2000 model repeated this). The British were taken and loans. Not surprisingly, the Russians became the “cannon fodder” of England in the struggle against Prussia in the Seven Years' War and Napoleon’s empire for world domination (a fight within the Western project). Then the most important principle of British politics was born: "To fight for the interests of Britain to the last Russian." It lasted until the entry into the First World War, when the Russians fought with the Germans for the good of England and France.
In the first half of the XIX century, Russia exported wood, flax, hemp, hemp, lard, wool, stubble. About a third of Russian imports and about half of exports came to Britain in the middle of the century. Until the middle of the XIX century, Russia was the main supplier of grain to Europe. Thus, the economy of the Russian Empire was a resource and raw materials appendage of a booming industrial Europe (first of all, England). Russia was a supplier of cheap resources and a consumer of expensive European products, especially luxury goods.
The situation did not change much in the second half of the XIX - early XX centuries. England pushed Germany and France. Under Alexander III and Nicholas II, Russia somewhat strengthened its economy, industry and finances, but on the whole, it remained a dependency, it was overcome only during the Stalin five-year plans. Russia "hooked" on French loans and fully worked them out during the First World War, saving the French over and over again.
The proceeds from the sale of raw materials did not go on development. Russian "Europeans" were engaged in overconsumption. St. Petersburg high society eclipsed all European courts. Russian aristocrats and merchants lived in Paris, Baden-Baden, Nice, Rome, Berlin and London more than in Russia. They considered themselves Europeans. The main language for them was French, and then English. It is worth saying that in 1991-1993. this vicious system has been restored.
The problem of chronic industrial and technical backwardness was one of the prerequisites for defeat in the Crimean War. We know the final industrial, technical backwardness: the crisis of military supplies in 1915-1916, the lack of heavy guns, “shell hunger”, the purchase of equipment, weapons and ammunition abroad. According to the documents of those years, the Russian army lacked almost everything that was needed in a war, and first of all, rifles and cartridges.
General A.N. Kuropatkin, who became the personification of the defeat in the Russian-Japanese war 1904-1905, can be blamed, probably, for many sins, but not in the absence of intelligence, observation and pedantry in the diary entries. 27 December 1914, during the Lodz operation, he wrote the following entry in his diary: “A.I. Guchkov arrived from the leading positions. Told a lot. With food can not cope in the army. People are starving. Many have no boots. Feet wrapped panels. The loss in the infantry, in the officers is huge. There are shelves where several officers. The state of artillery stocks is especially alarming. I read the order of the corps commander not to spend more than 3-5 shells per gun per day. Our artillery does not help the infantry being showered by enemy shells. One rifle brigade did not receive the 3 staffing of the month. During the fighting, when the Germans broke out of the bag [during the Lodz operation], a man without guns sent a man to 14 000 on the right flank. This column almost went into the battle line and greatly constrained the troops. ”
It is worth noting that chronologically, this record refers to the end of the fifth month since Russia's entry into the Great War and is still far from the tragedy of the “Great Retreat”. Thus, in almost six months of the fighting, the Russian General Headquarters of the Supreme Command, headed by Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, not only failed to organize the proper functioning of the army’s rear, but also found itself in an acute crisis of supplies of ammunition and weapons - shells, rifles, cartridges.
“The spring of 1915 of the year will remain in my memory forever,” later recalled General A.I. Denikin. - The great tragedy of the Russian army - a retreat from Galicia. No ammo, no shells. Day-to-day bloody battles, day-to-day heavy transitions, endless fatigue ... I remember the battle of Peremyshl in mid-May. The eleven days of the brutal battle of the 4 th rifle division are eleven days of the terrible rumble of German heavy artillery, literally tearing down entire rows of trenches along with their defenders. We almost did not answer - nothing. The regiments, exhausted to the last degree, fought off one attack after another - with bayonets or shooting at close range; blood flowed, our ranks thinned, grave mounds grew - two regiments were almost destroyed by German artillery fire ... ”.
In early July, 1915, when the catastrophe of the Russian army had already become an accomplished fact, and the Great Retreat took place on all fronts with Germany and Austria-Hungary, the commander of the North-Western Front, General MV Alekseev, presented his report on the reasons for the never-ending lesions. Among the factors of "a detrimental effect on operational considerations and the morale of the troops" are noted: 1) lack of artillery shells - "the most important, most alarming flaw, with a disastrous effect"; 2) lack of heavy artillery; 3) lack of rifles and cartridges for them, - “chilling the initiative in operational issues and leading to the collapse in the matter of new formations, etc.
In fairness, we note that the crisis in the First World War in combat supplies experienced all, without exception, the army of the warring powers. However, it was not only in Russia that this led to temporary supply difficulties, but to a full-scale crisis, in fact, to the disruption of the military supply of the front, which was overcome by a terrible method - burning in the fire of battles of hundreds of thousands of human lives. All these are the consequences of the lack of government attention to the industrialization of the Russian Empire and the raw material nature of the economy.
As a result, in fact, the cadre imperial army burned down in the fire of war, hundreds of thousands of fighters died due to technical backwardness and Russia's dependence on the West, weak industry. The empire has lost an army that could save her from confusion. The new army was no longer a pillar of the empire and autocracy, it itself became the carrier of the virus of revolution. The peasant soldiers dreamed of returning home and resolving the land issue, intellectual officers (teachers, doctors, students, etc.) cursed the authorities and were involved in the work of the revolutionary parties.
- The national question. Petersburg was not able to establish the normal Russification of the national suburbs. Moreover, some territories (the Kingdom of Poland, Finland) received privileges and rights that the Russian people did not have a state-forming, bearing the burden of the empire. As a result, the Poles revolted twice (1830 and 1863), became one of the revolutionary units in the empire. During the First World War, Austria-Hungary and Germany, who created the Russophobic Kingdom of Poland, began to use the Poles, then England and France picked up the baton, who supported the Second Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against Soviet Russia.
Due to the absence of a reasonable policy in the national area, Finland has become the base and springboard of revolutionaries. And after the collapse of the empire Russophobic, Nazi state, which was going to create a "Great Finland at the expense of the Russian lands. And the most ardent Finnish Nazis planned to occupy the northern Russian lands up to the Urals and beyond.
Petersburg could not at the right time destroy the Polish influence in the Western Russian lands. He did not russify Little Russia, destroying traces of Polish rule, the germs of the ideology of Ukrainians. Also, the mistakes of the national policy can be seen in the Caucasus, in Turkestan, in the Jewish question, etc. All this was vehemently manifested during the Revolution and the Civil War.
To be continued ...