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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Psychedelic Sou

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Living The Liberal Dream - A RussiAAR



Hello! This is my first serious attempt at playing the Grand Campaign in Victoria: Revolutions. I have been reading through the manual of Victoria and the VickyWiki, and I think I have finally understood the Victorian economy system of the game. After a pretty successful Prussia game on single player, I felt like trying something that seemed more challenging: transforming Russia into a Great Power through industrialization, education and innovation. I hope that I will succeed in this. I have no idea If this is an easy or hard task, as I haven't really played the vanilla Victoria Revolutions before (my previous games as Belgium and Italy were only partially successful, and on the Victoria Improvement Project).

I have set several goals for myself:
Expansion to the Pacific Ocean
Becoming the world's leading industrial power
Liberating the Balkans from Turkish oppression
Establishing a social healthcare system, preventing a Bolshevik revolution from breaking out
(however, I wouldn't mind to establish a Socialist state through peaceful means)


Your thoughts, suggestions and ideas are always welcome. And I hope this will be a good read for you.

 
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Psychedelic Sou

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Chapter I - The Assassination of Tsar Nicolas I

Chapter I - The Assassination of Tsar Nicolas I

During the dark, cold winter of months of January 1836, famine was once more stalking the lands of Imperial Russia. It had been 10 years since Tsar Nicolas I ascended the throne, and his reign hadn't been a happy period for the Russian people. Over 1 million people had perished during the terrible winter of '36-'37, and the year had only just begun! Although Nicolas was against serfdom, he didn't abolish it out of fear for Russian landowners to turn against him. Nicolas saw it as his duty to be a paternal autocrat for Russia, and after the "Decembrist Revolt" he had installed an extensive network of spies all over the country to ensure his authority. On the night of the 15th of January, however, these wouldn't be able to protect him. As Nicolas was travelling from Moscow to St. Petersburg, his convoy was ambushed by liberal-minded officers rebelling against Nicolas. Nicolas was executed on the spot.



The aristocracy was outraged with what had happened to Nicolas I. Many thought this as an opportunity for the next Emperor to extend his power over the Russian people. However, the crown prince thought different off this. For the crown prince served with the exact same Officer Corps that produced the officers executing Nicolas I. His name was Alexander Romanov, only 18 years of age. Alexander had been taught by the great liberal poet Vasily Zhukovskyn, who taught him the importance of ideas such as liberty and equality. Alexander II was crowned "Emperor of All the Russias" on the 25th of March 1836 in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow. Notably absent from his title was the word "Autocrat", which had been used by his predecessors. Alexander refused to carry the word in his title, for he believed he wasn't to tell the people what they should do. He believed that he should instead guide the people of Russia and take care of them. The dispute over the title of "Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias" caused bitter argument between the upper nobility and the crown prince, who insisted on leaving the Autocrat title. The nobility, afraid they would lose influence once Alexander rose to power, even attempted to assassinate Alexander during the same trip Nicolas I had taken from Moscow to St. Petersburg. But in Alexander's case, the military was behind him. The rebelling nobles were captured and executed by the Army for treason. Alexander II could be crowned in peace, with the acceptance of the nobility. The coup attempt, known as the "February Uprising of Dormition", made Alexander realize that any reforms he wished to undertake would have to be done graduately. He would have to proceed with great caution.



On the 2nd of April, Alexander II took office. Although he promised himself to reform gradually, he decided to take once very important decision: he decided to allow voting rights to the Russian people for the first time in history. Constituencies were drawn up and elections were called to take place on the 1st of October 1836. These new voting rights were anything from democratic though: anyone wanting to vote had to pay a fee of atleast 20 rubles, depending on which constituency they lived in. In some constituencies on country side, which were thought less important, people had to pay as much as 60 rubles to vote! But this was a major improvement in Russian political life. For the first time ever, a monarch of Russia had given the people of Russia an opportunity to govern with him.



There currently is no real ruling party. Ministers are chosen by the Tsar, and usually come from the nobility. But several of these ministers have founded a political party, the Slavophile Party following a conservative policy. There is no constitution, and the Tsar governs by decree. The state is very oppressive. Literacy is as low as 15% of the Russian population. It is Alexander's dream to change all this; to make Russia an open, multicultural, well educated and democratic country. Alexander was already making plans to draft up a constitution, the first ever for the Russian Empire. But he decided to wait until the elections were done. He realised that giving voting rights to the people was already a very big step for Russia to take; some would argue a step too far. But this was only the beginning of a new era for Russia, to transform it into the true guardian of liberty.
 
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Psychedelic Sou

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Victoria 2 is out in a month, and all of a sudden some really cool looking AAR's come out.

Looks cool, good luck.
Thanks :)

I wanted to give Victoria 1 another try, since Victoria 2 looks awesome :D Figured it would be a good training ground for it :) But I plan on continuing this AAR far past the release date of Victoria 2 :)
 

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Chapter II - The Budget

Chapter II - The Budget

After passing the legislation that legalized elections, Alexander turned his attention to the country's economy. Under Nicolas I some industrialization had been undertaken, but this was limited to the large cities, such as St. Petersburg and Moscow, only. The economy had completely stagnated. Alexander realized that he had to completely reform the country's economical system If it were to survive the turbulent times ahead. A stable and flourishing economy would be the key to the democratization of Russia, and Alexander believed that the way to achieve this was to bring the Russian system more in line with the dominant, British system of the day. These reforms were first met with heavy opposition from the nobility at first, but eventually Alexander got his way. From now on Russian rubles would be exchanged for British pounds, which enabled Russian capitalists to buy and sell over the world market. These reforms, Alexander was certain, were necessary to compete in a capitalist world, but the people of Russia weren't so confident of this. After only a few weeks, a steep deficit of over 33 pounds per day had been accumulated. Alexander appointed the brilliant, liberal intellectual Mikhail Speransky, previously advisor to both Alexander I and Nicolas I, to overlook the financial situation until the elections of October.


Mikhail Speransky, the Russian financial minister until the elections of October 1836.



When Speransky saw the current budget (as shown above) he directly realized he had to drastically cut the Navy's spending. Over 27 pounds per day were just way too much for something that seemed quiet obsolete now that Sweden was no longer considered a real threat in the Baltic. A decision was made to almost completely cut the naval spending, leaving it at only 10% of the original budget. The army was far more important than the navy, but it was decided that during peacetime it could do with less money, so the army's budget was decreased by 15%. This freed up money for increases in the crime fighting and education budget. The crime fighting budget was doubled, while the education budget received a 33% increase. But by doing this, another deficit was created. To stop this deficit, the decision was made to drastically increase the taxes levied from the Russian population. Taxes were increased to an incredible 49% for both the lower and the middle classes. The higher classes were taxed less, because Speransky hoped this tax-free environment would attract businesses from elsewhere. The taxes for the other population groups would be decreased once the economy was doing better, but right now it was absolutely necessary for Russia that every single ruble should be spent correctly.



After all these changes however, Speransky was left with another deficit of 5 pounds per day, so he made the daring decision of drastically cutting the army's budget again. Now a gain was made of 1 pound per day. It wasn't much, but it was a gain. And hopefully this tax-free environment for capitalists would attract Russian and foreign capitalists to establish businesses and build railroads in Russia. The first steps into expanding the Industry of Russia had begun.

However, Speransky noticed one big flaw in Alexander's plan: there simply were no capitalists in Russia.
 
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Chapter III - The 1836 General Election, Census and Constitution

Chapter III - The 1836 General Election, Census and Constitution



After a week of counting the elections results were in and announced all over the country: the Slavophile Party of Russia was now in power! They had won an overwhelming majority of 86,2% of all votes, and therefore had a two-third majority in the Russian Duma. The Russian Duma had been created in an attempt to democratize the country by Alexander in April 1836, but before the elections only Tsar-appointed representatives seated in it. It counted 350 seats, with representatives from all over the Russian Empire, including Congress Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. The Slavophile Party have formed a majority government, having gained 302 seats in the Duma, with the only opposition party being the liberal Westernizer Party. The Westernizer Party of Russia wants to bring Russian culture more in line with western culture, and refuse to speak Russian in public. Instead, their members speak French or English, languages that are deemed more fashionable by them. They have the support of alot of Russian intelligentsia and some of the Officer Corps, but alot of landowners despise them. During the last elections they only received 13,8% of the votes, granting them 48 seats in the Duma.


The current seat allocation in the newly established Russian State Duma.

Now that a (fairly) representative government had been elected by the Russian people, Alexander made his next move. He proposed the Constitutional Act he had been working on in the past few months to the Russian Duma. The Constitution proposed by Alexander was studied closely by the Russian parliament, and several amendments were made to preserve some of the power of the aristocracy. On the 12th of December 1836 the Constitutional Act of Russia 1836 was passed, with 298 votes against 52. The entire Westernizer Party voted against the Constitution, stating it was "undemocratic" and "preserved the rights of a class made obsolete long before". The Constitution of 1836 was a major improvement in Russian liberty though. The power of the Tsar wasn't absolute anymore. Russia had ceased to be an Absolute Monarchy, and was now on its way to become a more democratic nation in the form a Constitutional Monarchy.


First page of the Constitutional Act of 1836.

Alexander had taken the opportunity of the elections of 1836 to also conduct a population consensus. A large survey was taken under the population of Russia, and these are the results:



Currently there are 59 million people living within the borders of the Empire of Russia. Our Empire is mainly an agricultural country: over 61% of our population are farmers, many of who were still serfs until Alexander abolished serfdom during the summer of 1836. Another 30% of the Russian population work in mines or make a living out of woodcutting; only 2% of our population live and work in the big cities as labourers in factories. Because of our cuts in the defense spendings, the amount of our population serving in the army has been halved from 4% to 1.9%, but this is still a very small part of our population. The majority of all the wealth in Russia is controlled by only 0,7% of it's population: the aristocrats. An overwhelming amount of our population are of conservative mind, so even though not everyone got to vote, the government is pretty representative for the people. 67% of all people living within our borders considering them Russian, with substantial Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Tartar, Circassian and Uralic minorities. Orthodox is the main religion in our nation, with small Muslim and Pagan minorities in the south and Siberia. The dominant issue of our people is their Orthodox faith, which they completely believe in, while alot of our people do not seem to believe in the military.

The new cabinet will be presented to the Tsar on the 2nd of January 1837, when the new Second Duma is inaugurated by the Tsar.

 
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Don't rlly trust that election, if all votes in the 19th century in FUDGING HUGE RUSSIA can be counted in 1 week ;P
 

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Chapter IV - Rails For Rubles

Chapter IV - Rails For Rubles



On the 2nd of January 1837, the First and Second State Duma of the Russian Empire were officially inaugurated at the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg. On the same day, the first cabinet was presented to Tsar Alexander II. The cabinet was almost completely composed from members of the Slavophile Party, with one notable exception: Mikhail Speransky, previously appointed by Alexander II as Minister of Finance, was to keep his post as Minister of Finance as an independent minister. The new Prime Minister was Pyotr Vassilevsky, a Russian intellectual who had previously worked at the Mathematical Faculty of the University of St. Petersburg and Oxford University. Vassilevsky was a sincere man, who always managed to keep his head cool when the time required it the most. He was respected by both friends and enemies alike, but he sometimes failed to grasp the human side of an undertaking. He was a man of numbers, not a man of the people. He was ably assisted by Paul Pavlovich as his foreign minister, Ivan Smirnosky as his Minister of Infrastructure, General Alexander Vasilchikov as his War Minister and Admiral Pavel Nakhimov as Naval Minister. Vassilevsky, besides being Prime Minister, was also Minister of Internal Affairs.

The Second State Duma of the Empire of Russia also took their seats in the room next to the First State Duma, and had a meeting for the very first time in Russian History. The Second State Duma counted 300 seats, 50 less than the First State Duma, and didn't compromise any political party (yet). All the members in the Second State Duma were aristocracy, wealthy Russians or appointed by the Tsar himself.

The Tsar opened the First and Second State Duma in a large ceremony, and attended both sessions. The very first discussion in the First State Duma was on a proposition from the new Minister of Infrastructure, Ivan Smirnosky. Smirnosky had plans for a large investment in the Russian railroad system. Currently, Russia counted virtually no railroads, but Smirnosky believed that railroads were essential in strengthening the nation's economy, making the Empire more cohesive by cutting travel times drastically and in making the defense of the Empire easier. Smirnosky proposed an ambitious plan to build a railroad to connect St. Petersburg to Moscow, connecting the cities of Novgorod, Belozersk and Vyazma along the way.



This plan would take a major investment though. The Duma debated whether or not it was worth taking the risk and If it was worth to take a loan to finance this ambitious project, but Smirnosky argued this plan would give a jump start to Russian businesses and make the country more attractive for foreign investors. Despite heavy arguments, Smirnosky got his way. The First State Duma passed the Russian Railroad Corporation Act, creating a state-owned railroad company (called the "Imperial Russain Railroad Corporation") to administer the new railroads. This "Rails For Rubles" program, as Smirnosky called it, brought a smile to Alexander II's face. The new Imperial Russian Railroad Corporation would be instrumental in the creation of a new class of Russian capitalists.
 
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Tariffs...
I didn't want to use those first because I wanted to create an environment where my capitalists could gain tons of money.. until I noticed I haven't got any capitalists at all. But I'm going to stick with my current budget until I actually am at war I think ;)

EDIT: I tried the tariffs out and I was suprised with the huge amount of money it gave me, so I'm going to use it sporadically to pay off my loans. Thanks for the advice :D
 
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Psychedelic Sou

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Chapter V - Military and Diplomatic Interests

Chapter V - Military and Diplomatic Interests

The winter breeze was bringing cold to the people of St. Petersburg. Thanks to the partially finished railway line in the region, travelling was much faster for higher ranked officials, but still very cold, for all travel was still in open coaches. In the early morning of the 15th of February 1837 a group of officers of the General Staff arrived at the new St. Petersburg railway station for a meeting with foreign minister Paul Pavlovich. The meeting was held in secret in a house on Nevsky Prospekt.

Pavlovich was already inside the building when the officers arrived. Pavlovich was accompanied by Prime Minister Pyotr Vassilevsky, who gave the officers a warm welcome. The officers consisted of General Alexander Vasilchikov, General Vibrech Stormnivik and Field Marshal Andresko Jonisk, all well respected officers within the Russian Army. The purpose of their meeting eyed simple, but would have huge consequences for the future of the Russian people: they were together to decide upon Russia's military and diplomatic interests for the next decades.



Jonisk: Vibrech, could you hand me over that map please? *Points at a series of maps hanging on the wall.
Stormnivik: *grabs map and hands it over to Jonisk* There you go, Andresko.

Jonisk had chosen the large map of Eastern Europe and laid it out in front of the gathering.



Jonisk: This, gentlemen, is the current map of our beloved Europe. This is an area where we'll need to be the most cautious, but which can also bring us the most. *Grabs pen and starts writing on the map* As well all know, the Ottoman Empire of Turkey isn't doing too well. The past few decades it has sunk away into a state of corruption bordering absolute chaos, it's economy just a mere shadow If what it once was. However, they still control vast tracks of land, some of which could be very important for us to strengthen our hold on Eastern Europe. May I ask you to pay attention to the Balkans. This is an area where anti-Ottoman sentiment is the greatest because the majority of the population is of the Orthodox faith. We, the Russian Empire, have vowed to protect all of the Orthodox faith, so we have the right to intervene in these areas. We would like to annex the states of Moldovia and Wallachia and the territories that border them to the east, between these both states and the Black Sea. We would then set up satellite nations in Bulgaria, assist the Greeks to reconquer and reunite their people and to liberate Serbia and Bosnia and install loyal governments. Any questions yet?

Pavlovich: This might all sound possible to you, Jonisk, but If we were to commit ourselves to such a large intervention in the Ottoman Empire it is very likely that the other powers in Europe would intervene on the behalf of the Ottomans. The British have a large interest in some other Ottoman territory, and the Austrians wouldn't like being squashed between two stronger powers. We cannot attempt this scheme without starting a "Great Continental War".

Jonisk: Well, quiet obviously we do not want to achieve all this in one major war. It would be best to wear the Ottomans down in several wars, and to negotiate with the British to partition former Ottoman territories.

Pavlovich: I'm not sure If we would be able to get the British so far that they would just abandon one of their allies. But we could always try...

Stormnivik: That's the spirit! But lets continue with the map. We would also want to annex the city of Constantinople, because it is a major trading centre and would allow us to escape the Black Sea and to trade with Mediterranean nations. We obviously think of the Ottomans as our enemies. But we should also proceed with caution, because If we go on a rampage it is possible that both Austria and Prussia would declare war upon us together with the British and the French. We should try not to create too much of an impression that we are disturbing the delicate balance of power in Europe.

Jonisk: Vasilchikov, could you please hand me over the next map?

*Vasilchikov hands over Jonisk the map of the Middle East, which Jonisk then spreads out over the table.*



Jonisk: Circassia should be finished and finally incorporated within the Empire. Persia would make a fine addition to the Empire, because it would give us access to the Indian Ocean, which could give us a way to put more pressure on the British to stop them from intervening on the behalf of the Ottoman Empire. Small parts of Eastern Turkey could be annexed within the Empire, while the main part of Anatolia should be made a satellite nation. The rest of the Empire should be disbanded, and this is something we could attempt to negotiate on with the British.

*Jonisk grabbed yet another map, this time of Central Asia*



Vasilchikov: In interests here are very simple: conquer the hordes of Central Asia and connect our future territories in Persia. We want to install a friendly government in Afghanistan as a buffer against British Imperial aggression.

*Vasilchikov pulled out the last map, one of Far East Asia*



Stormnivik: This is where things get might get hot again. We would like to expand and establish a large Pacific border, annexing Manchuria from the old Qing Empire and the uncivilized hordes of Korea. Sachalin and the northern Japanese islands should be colonised by Russians, while we could establish a friendly colonial government on the other Japanese islands, with the ultimate goal to completely assimilate the Japanese islands into the Russian Empire.

Vassilevsky: These are some extremely ambitious plans you have, gentlemen. However, I'm interested in expanding the power of our Empire. This, together with our plans to expand our industries, could make us the most power nation on earth. However, I want it to be known that If your plans fail we have nothing to do with this. I hope you will understand this. I'll do everything in my might to assist you in your plans and to strengthen the military when you feel the need. But remember one thing: this will only be possible If our economy is strong enough. I will not lead our nation into any wars that could selfdestruct us.

Jonisk: Ofcourse, we understand sir Vassilevsky. You're a politician and you have other matters to thing off, obviously. But that's why we are here: to assist you in all matters military. I suggest we hold more meeting like this one, to discuss the military situation of our nation.

Pavlovich: Hmm. Let's just hope the public won't find out too soon...

The next day, Vassilevsky made the decision to increase the defense budget again once the economy had stabilized. Because extremely good news had arrived that morning.
 
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You start of with a rather large amount of useless aristoc-rats, so feel free to tax high strata pops to 100%
 

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Chapter VI - Rails For Rubles: Phase II

Chapter VI - Rails For Rubles: Phase II

It has been almost a year since Alexander II ascended the Russian throne, and in that year he has accomplished some amazing feats. He has established a parliament chosen by the people, averting civil war while doing so, and has also stabilized the Russian economy through radical reform. With the new Vassilevsky government now in charge, they could reap the rewards from Alexander's reforms in the spring of 1836. Alexander's Financial Minister, Mikhail Speransky, had stabilized the country's budget and taken several loans to expand and support local economies. By the spring of 1837 six local economies were expanded to accommodate the growing amount of workers and to make the businesses more efficient.



With the money that was gained through this, the "Rails For Rubles" program was funded. The construction on the St. Petersburg-Moscow railroad began on the 12th of February. After months of hard work, on the 13th of November 1837, the St. Petersburg-Moscow railroad was inaugurated by Alexander II by taken a trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, together with part of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Pyotr Vassilevsky and, notably, several prominent members of the liberal intelligentsia. The trip began on Monday the 11:15 and the train arrived at St. Petersburg at 9:00 the next day, 23 hours and 15 minutes later.



Now that the St. Petersburg-Moscow railway was finished, more funds were raised to work on a Moscow-Kiev railway. On the way, it would also connect the cities of Smolensk, Mogilov, Bobriusk and the Byelorussian capital Minsk. Both Byelorussia and the Ukraine have a large population, which could be drafted into the new industries the government is planning to build.



Starting on the 1st of August 1837, the government started raising tariffs within the borders of the Russian Empire, creating a daily budget surplus of 60 pounds per day. This made it possible to import more machine parts from the United Kingdom, which in turn enabled the government to set up new industries in the Ukraine. The industrial race could begin.
 

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Ambitious, indeed!

PS: You mean Afghanistan, right?
Yeah, thanks for pointing that out. :)

The Russian bear is getting pretty hungry, but he's staying on a diet for awhile :D
 

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Chapter VII - The 1840 General Election

Chapter VII - The 1840 General Election



After four very quiet years of conservative government under Pyotr Vassilevsky, the time has arrived to elect a new State Duma. The last act of the Vassilevsky government before calling elections was to pass a new Tribute Tax Act which lowered the tribute tax for voting to 15 rubles, allowing 2 million more people to vote. Now 5 million people out of 60 million people were allowed to vote. This years election campaign was mainly between current conservative, centre-right Prime Minister Pyotr Vassilevsky and the liberal left Field Marshal Andresko Jonisk.

Left: Pyotr Vassilevsky; Right: Andresko Jonisk

The campaign was fought on two issues: the economy and the nation flag. Jonisk argued that Russia's moderate economical growth could be further accelerated by following a laissez-faire policy, and that further political power for the people of Russia would increase their entrepreneurship. He would like to privatize the Imperial Russain Railroad Corporation to cut government spendings and to increase the efficiency of the railways. Vassilevsky agrees with Jonisk on the laissez-faire aspect, but argues that it has to wait for awhile because Russia lacks the capitalist class that could undertake such large schemes as the industrialization plans he proposed during his previous government. He thinks that Russian industry would collapse If all would be privatized at once, because the country lacks a capitalist class and the lower classes lack the knowledge and the funds to become an entrepreneur. He argues that for a rapid industrialization of the country, State Capitalism would be the best way to go by creating government funded businesses that are run semi-independently that in the long term could become completely independent.

Besides the economic arguments, there was also the national flag that was a source of debate. Up till now, there was no official state flag, and as a result of this there were several amounts of flags that were used by different state companies and the Army. Both the conservatives and the liberals wanted a uniform State flag, but they didn't agree on what the flag should look like. The conservatives were in favour of a black-yellow-white tricolour, which symbolized the Romanov dynasty.



The liberals were in favour of the white-blue-red tricolour, previously used by several liberal revolts in the nation and widely seen as "The People's Flag". However, to underline that the Liberals didn't wish to overthrow the monarchy, the Imperial coat of arms was added to the upper-left corner.



On the 3rd of February 1841 the election results were in, signalling another victory for the conservative Slavophile Party of Russia. However, they had lost several seats to the liberal Westernizer Party. The Slavophile Part had won 75% of the votes, which gave them 263 seats in the First State Duma. The Westernizer Party had won 18% of the votes, earning them 63 seats. The new Social Democrat Party of Russia, socialists who were driven by the ideology pioneered by several young French and German philosophers, had out of nowhere received 7% of the votes, giving them 24 seats. The sudden rise of the Social Democrats was a big suprise to both the conservatives and the liberals, but they took no notice. They were too busy combating each other than to worry over such a minor party.



The new seats in the First State Duma:


The new seats in the First State Duma

The same cabinet from 1837 retained power, but with a reduced majority. For the first time since the inauguration of the State Duma in 1837, there would be an opposition they had to reckon with. It wouldn't be so easy anymore.

 
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