Jewish men view the damage done to their sacred Torah scrolls during an 1881 pogrom. Pogroms targeted Jewish communities in Russia.
The tsar limited the number of Jews allowed to study in universities or practice certain professions. He revived old laws that forced Jews to live in restricted areas.
Official persecution encouraged pogroms, or violent mob attacks on Jewish people. Gangs beat and killed Jewish people and looted and burned their homes and stores. Faced with savage persecution, many left Russia. They became refugees, or people who flee their homeland to seek safety elsewhere. Large numbers of Russian Jews went to the United States.
Why did emancipation fail to meet the needs of the serfs and lead to continued discontent?
By the late 1800s, Russia had finally entered the industrial age under Alexander III and his son Nicholas II. Russia had several factors of production needed to industrialize. It had vast natural resources, including land and minerals. Its large population included peasants and the beginnings of an urban working class. Over time, a new industrial class emerged with the capital and drive to invest in economic development.
An iron foundry in Lysva, Russia, in 1900.
How did industrialization affect demands for reform in Russia?
In the 1890s, the government focused on economic development. It encouraged the building of railroads to connect iron and coal mines with factories and to transport goods across Russia.
It secured foreign capital to invest in transportation and industry. Loans from France helped Russia build the Trans-Siberian Railway, which stretched 5,000 miles from European Russia to the Pacific Ocean.
Industrialization increased social and political problems. Government officials and business leaders applauded economic growth. Nobles opposed it, fearing the changes it brought.
Industrialization also created new social ills as peasants flocked to cities to work in factories. Instead of a better life, they found long hours and low pay in dangerous conditions. In the slums around the factories, poverty, disease, and discontent multiplied. These conditions provided fertile ground for radicals, who sought supporters among the new industrial workers. At factory gates, Socialists often handed out pamphlets that preached the revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx, who won support among the new industrial workers.