Decembrist uprising on Senate Square in 1825
The uprising of the Decembrists on Senate Square in December 1825 was an attempt at a coup d'état and the transformation of the Russian Empire into a constitutional state. It became one of the most significant events of the 19th century after the Patriotic War of 1812.
Who are the Decembrists?
In what year the Decembrist uprising forever changed the course of the subsequent revolutionary uprisings, everyone knows. But who is called that and why? The Decembrists are members of opposition movements and secret societies that emerged in Russia at the beginning of the 19th century, who took part in an anti-government demonstration in 1825. So named for the month of his uprising. The Decembrists' movement originated in the circle of noble youth, who were deeply impressed by the Great French Revolution. In order to better understand the goals of the participants in the revolutionary movement of that period, you need to have an idea about the reasons for its beginning and the preconditions that pushed the young noble officers to such a radical attempt to change power.The uprising of the Decembrists is brief and concise, difficult, too extensive and interesting this topic.
1812 - influence on minds
The Patriotic War against the Napoleonic army and the liberation company of 1813-1815 played a decisive role in shaping the worldview of future Decembrists. The overwhelming majority of the first Russian revolutionaries were officers, participants in the war of 1812. A long stay in Europe as part of the liberation army was a real revelation for future Decembrists.
Before the time of foreign campaigns, the nobles did not think much about the humiliating situation of the majority of the population. From birth, accustomed to seeing the horrors of serfdom, they did not even think that the slavish position of the same human being is simply unacceptable. Visiting European capitals and resorts also did not give a tangible difference between Russia and the West. Everything changed when, as part of the Russian liberation army, young officers walked across Europe. Then the glaring difference between the position of European and Russian peasants became visible. Decembrist Yakushkin in autobiographical notes described how foreign trips to him and other young officers influenced him.They were shocked by European civilization, which contrasted strongly with serfdom and disrespect for human rights in Russia.
The uprising of the Decembrists of 1825 originates from the foreign campaigns of the Russian army also because here the nobles were in close proximity to the people in the person of the soldiers. If earlier they saw them several hours a week, now they were going to liberate Europe in one line. For the first time in their lives, noble officers saw that the people were not at all clogged and stupid, they were worthy of a different fate.
The situation in the country on the eve of the uprising
In Russia, there has always been a struggle between the liberal and conservative trends in domestic politics. Despite the development of productive forces, the steady growth of cities, the emergence of entire industrial areas, the economic development of the Russian Empire was hampered by serfdom. Everything new came into sharp contradiction with the old order and way of life. Usually this state of affairs usually ends with a revolutionary explosion.
The situation was complicated by the fact that many peasants became militias and were directly involved in the fight against Napoleon's troops.Naturally, the people felt like a liberator and hoped for a speedy improvement in their position. But this did not happen. The king ruled the country individually, serfdom continued to exist, the people still remained powerless.
Creating secret societies
After the war of 1812, officer communities emerged, which later transformed into the first secret societies. At first it was the “Union of salvation” and the “Union of welfare”. They existed for several years until its leaders became aware of the traitors among its members. After this, the secret societies were dissolved. Two new ones appeared in their place: Yuzhnoye, headed by Pavel Pestel, and Severnoye, which were led by Prince Trubetskoy and Nikita Muraviev.
All the time the existence of secret societies of the Decembrists, Pestel did not cease working on the drafting of the Constitution of the future republic. It was to consist of 10 chapters. At the same time, Nikita Muraviev developed his own version of the basic law. But if Pestel was a fierce supporter of the republic and an enemy of autocracy, then the leader of the “Northern” society adhered to the idea of constitutional monarchy.
Goals of movement
The uprising of the Decembrists had its clear goals. With the change in the situation in the country, they gradually changed. Do not forget that most of the revolutionaries were very young people who believe in justice. Initially, the sole purpose of the movement was the abolition of serfdom. Then, participants in secret societies decided to seek the establishment of a constitutional system in Russia and the introduction of civil liberties. But gradually, seeing that the king was increasingly inclined towards a conservative direction in the development of the country, the future Decembrists understood that they would have to act by force. If at the very beginning of the creation of their secret societies, revolutionaries vacillated between the introduction of a constitutional monarchy and a republic in Russia, by 1825 the choice was finally made towards the second option.
Now in the existence of the Romanov dynasty, the Decembrists saw a threat to the future republic. Thus, a decision was made on the possibility of a regicide. If this had happened, the power would have been concentrated in the hands of the Provisional Revolutionary Government. According to one of the leaders of the movement, Pestel, in the country it was necessary to establish a dictatorship that would last 10-15 years. During this time it was supposed to restore order and introduce a new form of government.Thus, the Decembrist uprising prepared for a long time and thoroughly. The plans of its participants underwent major changes as they became frustrated by the authorities' inaction regarding the situation of the peasants.
The main participants of anti-government speeches and their number
The uprising of the Decembrists in the Senate Square in St. Petersburg gathered a large number of people. Of the members of the secret societies, about 30 people took direct part in the rebellion. From the documents it is known that almost 600 alleged rebels were under investigation. 121 of them were convicted.
All participants in the rebellion were nobles, most of them officers. Acting for the people and in his name, they refused to involve the lower class in the performance.
Decembrist uprising - the year of severe shocks for the country
The unexpected death in November 1825 of Emperor Alexander I forced the members of the “Northern” society to act in a hurry. They did not plan their performance so early, much was not yet ready and not thought out. But in this interregnum the Decembrists saw an opportunity to realize their plans.This contributed to the confusion associated with the throne. Konstantin Pavlovich, the brother of the deceased emperor, did not want to rule at all, and Nikolai, who was very disliked among officers, was ruled by the governor of St. Petersburg Miloradovich to literally give up the throne in favor of Constantine. But he, in turn, does not officially accept imperial powers. And then Nikolai appoints the ceremony of bringing the troops to the second oath for December 14, but already to him. Such confusion could not but cause feelings of bewilderment in what is happening among the people and the soldiers. This and decided to take advantage of the Decembrists.
It was decided to persuade the troops commanded by members of secret societies to take the square in front of the Senate, where the oath should be taken to the new ruler, and to prevent this. The Decembrists planned to seize two important state objects: the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Members of the royal family were to be arrested or killed. After that it was supposed to force the Senate to read a manifesto on the change of state power.
The course of events on December 14
By 11 o'clock in the morning, about 30 Decembrists led their troops to the Senate Square, but Nicholas had previously been informed about the conspiracy had time to take the oath at the Senate early in the morning.The prince Trubetskoy, appointed by the leader of the uprising, did not find the strength to come to the square and take responsibility for possible blood. The Decembrists continued to stand on the square where Nicholas I came with his retinue and government troops. Governor Miloradovich, who arrived at the talks, fatally wounded Kakhovsky. After that, the rebels opened fire with grapeshot. The troops commanded by the Decembrists began to retreat. Those who tried to cross the Neva across the ice were greeted with volleys of cannons. By nightfall, the uprising was over.
The reasons for the defeat of the first Russian revolutionaries. Punishment of the participants of the uprising
Why the performance of the Decembrists was defeated, it was found out long ago. They did not trust the people for whose sake they went to a state crime. On the square that day a huge crowd gathered, which sympathized with the rebels. If they had not been afraid to act together, the outcome of the uprising would have been different. As a result, five Decembrists were executed, more than 120 people were sent to penal servitude.
The uprising of the Decembrists had another consequence. Close insurgents suffered from it, first of all - their wives.Some of them turned out to be incredibly courageous and meekly went to Siberia after their husbands.
Rise of the Decembrists and Pushkin
This topic is very interesting and still controversial. It is not known for certain whether the great Russian poet was initiated into the plans of the Decembrists. It is only known that almost all of them were his close friends. Most of the researchers of the poet’s life are sure that he not only knew about the plans of the Decembrists, but was also in one of the secret societies. In any case, when Emperor Nicholas I directly asked Pushkin if he would take part in the uprising, he replied that all his friends were conspirators — and he could not refuse.
The poet was under investigation for some time, although not he, but his brother, participated in a conspiracy against the authorities. The uprising of the Decembrists on Senatskaya Square had the most serious influence on the life of Pushkin - after the speech the emperor became his personal censor, and without his permission not a single poem of the poet could be published.
The uprising of the Decembrists of 1825 in St. Petersburg had a great influence on the development of the revolutionary movement in Russia.It became a serious lesson - the mistakes of participants in the anti-government conspiracy were taken into account by their followers.