ROBERSON MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER

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1 ROBERSON MUSEUM AND SCIENCE CENTER Pre-Visit Anastasia: Countdown to the Russian Revolution Grade Level: 6 through Adult New York State Standards: M S & T 2, 4, 5, 7 Pennsylvania State Standards: S & T 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.7 Objective: Students will learn about the late 1800s in Russia and what set the stage for the infamous revolution. Students will be introduced to the various parties involved in the revolution: peasants, royalty, and proletariats. Students will apply critical thinking skills while interpreting several works of art depicting this time period. Materials: Pictures for student analysis (see attachment) Procedure: 1. Explain to students that you will be telling them a little bit about Russia during the late 1800s in order to prepare them for their trip to Roberson Museum and Science Center. 2. Tell your students a little bit about what Russia was like just prior to the infamous Russian Revolution. You may want to ask if any of your students emigrated from Russia, and listen to their personal story first. 3. During the late 1880s and 1890s, Russia witnessed rapid changes. This was a period of industrialization and capitalism. These changes created social change that resulted in tensions between the classes. The growth of capitalism gave rise to two social classes, the royalty of old and the growing middle class or proletariat. The new proletariats were eager to participate in politics and many held jobs as professionals. Behind both of these groups, was an ocean of peasants. Discontent and disparate as ever, these bitter individuals had risen in uncounted numbers. For these individuals, life was grim; In 1900, one in four peasant babies died before the age of one. There was a large famine from Meanwhile, the peasant population grew from fifty to seventy-nine million between 1861 and This resulted in a shortage of land. Criticism of the regime began. Social and political activism began against the opposition. 4. The Revolution: Discontent was widespread. Russia did not have a constitution and the Tsar s power was unlimited. There was a strong secret police; therefore, reformers were forced underground during the late 1800s. At the time of the starvation, people began to revolt. The people sought an end to Tsarist absolutism. Farmers wanted fertile land that was owned by the nobility. The small Russian middle class wanted more of a voice in the government and better living conditions. Page 1

2 5. Bloody Sunday, the Revolution of 1905, was the last peaceful effort by the people to seek reform. These peaceful protests were met with violence by the Tsar s Troops. Thousands were shot, hung and imprisoned. Reports at home about the war effort (World War I) were not positive. Russian soldiers were receiving poor supplies, the Russian nobility serving as officers were poor leaders. Many defeats led to low morale and causalities were extremely high. On the home front industry lagged and people suffered. In fact, the Russians were totally unprepared for war. With the war going poorly the Tsar made the decision to leave the capital, Petrograd, and take personal command of the front. While the Tsar was gone, The Tsarina, Alexandra was in charge and she was heavily influenced by the monk Rasputin. In December of 1916, he was assassinated. In March of 1917, a Woman s Day parade led to unrest. The police and Tsarist Troops were called to stop the rioting, but instead they joined them. This event led to the Duma (Legislature) calling for a Temporary Government. Tsar Nicholas abdicated the throne on March 15, While the Tsar abdicated the throne, the leaders of a small Socialist party that had begun in 1903, the Bolsheviks, arranged to take over. In November of 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government that was in place when Nicholas abdicated. The Bolsheviks then formed the Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia. 6. To find out what happens to Nickolas and Alexandra, come to the Roberson Museum and Science Center and solve the mystery! 7. To understand more about what this time period in Russia was like, students will examine one or more of the pictures attached to this document. 8. Ask your students to take a few moments to look at the copy of the work of art you have either just Xeroxed or projected on an overhead projector. Students should spend a good seconds looking at the picture. 9. This is a student centered analysis to interpreting art, so begin by asking students, What is going on this picture? 10. Call on students one at a time. Point precisely to what students mention on the painting. Paraphrase each comment. This gratifies students. Be sure to change only the wording and not the meaning of what the student said. 11. The second question you may ask is What do you see that makes you say this? This requires students to provide evidence for their observations. There may be times when this question does not need asking. 12. Link related students comments. This will allow students to feel part of a conversation about the painting and allow the group to come together. Follow up each comment with What more can we find? This requires students to look more deeply at the work of art. The entire process should take about minutes per picture. Developed by: Barbara Betza, Katherine Bouman, and Dawn Young Date: July 16, 2008 Page 2

3 Document 1 Photograph from the Samuel N. Harper Papers, Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library. - Russian Peasant (ca. 1915) Page 3

4 Document 2 Karp Demyanovich Trokhimenko - Stalin as an Organizer of the October Revolution (date unknown) Page 4

5 Document 3 World October Revolution poster (date and artist unknown) Page 5

6 Document 4 Ilya Repin - 17 October 1905 ( ) Page 6

7 Document 5 Ilya Repin They Did Not Expect Him ( ) Page 7

8 Document 6 Ilya Repin - The Volga Barge Haulers (1873) Page 8

9 Document 7 Russian Coat of Arms 1883 Page 9

10 Document 8 Laurits Regner Tuxen - Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II (1898) Page 10

11 Document 9 Ilya Repin - Emperor Nicholas II (sketch) (1896) Page 11

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