Russia and Japan: Industrialization Outside the West 

    There are many common facts between the histories of Russia and Japan. They both reacted differently to Western industrialization. Though behind the West, by 1914, both achieved economic independence and were able to join in the imperialist scramble. And unlike China and Middle East, they were not fully resistant to reform. Russia and Japan both defied the pattern of nineteenth century European domination. Moreover, they both had prior experience of cultural imitation; Japan from China, Russia from Byzantium and the West. Learning from outsiders was profitable, without destroying their own cultures. Both also had improved their political effectiveness during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a situation allowing the state to sponsor change, not private corporations like in the West. They were both expansionists, which eventually led to run into each other -- Russo-Japanese War.

     There were differences between the two. While Japan displayed political flexibility, Russia was in internal strains by the spontaneous changes and eventually was led to revolution. Japan, through its reforms, pully away from the West with limited contacts, and also from the rest of east Asia. Russia continuted to interact with Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Holy Alliance: Alliance among Russia, Prussia, and Austria in defense of the established order;

formed by the most conservative monarchies of Europe during the Congress of Vienna.

- signed by the three powers in Paris on September 26, 1815, in the Congress of Vienna after the defeat of Napoleon

- The monarchs of the three countries involved used this to band together in order to prevent revolutionary influence (especially from the French Revolution) from entering these nations.

- against democracy, revolution, and secularism. 

Decembrist uprising: Unsuccessful 1825 political revolt in Russia by mid-level army officers

advocating reforms.

- Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession.

- Because these events occurred in December, the rebels were called Decembrists (Dekabristy, Russian: Декабристы).

- suppressed by Nicholas I

Crimean War (1854 -1856): conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia.

-Began with a Russian attack on the Ottoman Empire

-France and Britain joined on the Ottoman side which resulted in a Russian defeat because of Western industrial


- led to Russian reforms under Alexander II. 

Emancipation of the serfs: Alexander II in 1861 ended serfdom in Russia; serfs did not obtain

political rights and had to pay the aristocracy for lands gained.

- the first and most important of liberal reforms effected during the reign of Alexander II of Russia

- the liquidation of serf dependence previously suffered by peasants of the Russian Empire 

Zemstvoes: Local political councils created as part of Alexander II’s reforms; gave the middle

class professional experience in government but did not influence national policy.

- The idea of the zemstvo was elaborated by Nikolay Milyutin, and the first zemstvo laws were put into effect in 1864.

- The system of local self-government in the Russian Empire was presented at the lowest level by mir and volosts and was continued, so far as the 34 Guberniyas of old Russia are concerned, in the elective district and provincial assemblies (zemstvos).

-consisted of a representative council (zemskoye sobranye) and of an executive board (zemskaya uprava) nominated by the former. The board consists of five classes of members:

§  large landed proprietors (nobles owning 590 acres (2.4 km2) and over), who sit in person;

§  delegates of the small landowners, including the clergy in their capacity of landed proprietors;

§  delegates of the wealthier townsmen;

§  delegates of the less wealthy urban classes;

§  delegates of the peasants, elected by the volosts.


Trans-Siberian railroad: Constructed during the 1870s and 1880s to connect European Russia

with the Pacific; increased the Russian role in Asia.

- longest railway in the world

- one of the reasons why Russia lost the war; the track was a single track and as such could only allow train travel in one direction, which caused strategic and supply nightmares for the Russians, as they could not move resources to and from the front as quickly as would be necessary, as a goods train carrying supplies, men and ammunition coming from west to east would have to wait in the sidings whilst troops and injured personnel in a troop train travelling from east to west went along the line.  

Count Sergei Witte: Russian minister of finance (1892-1903); economic modernizer

responsible for high tariffs, improved banking system; encouraged Western investment in


-  highly influential policy-maker who presided over extensive industrialization within the Russian Empire.

- served under the last two emperors of Russia.

- a precursor to Russia's first constitution, and Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) of the Russian Empire. 

Intelligentsia: Russian term for articulate intellectuals as a class; desired radical change in the

Russian political and economic systems; wished to maintain a Russian culture distinct from that

of the West.

-  a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them (e.g., artists and school teachers) 

Lenin: Russian Marxist leader; insisted on the importance of disciplined revolutionary cells.

-  leader of the Bolsheviks

- headed the Soviet state during its initial years (1917–1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a socialist economic system.

-As a politician, persuasive orator, as a political scientist his extensive theoretic and philosophical developments of Marxism produced Marxism–Leninism, the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism.

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