David Saunders refers to the Decembrists on December 12th, 1825 as radiating “desperation rather than determination,” and comments on how although the Decembrists had ideas (that were not fully fleshed out and not all Decembrists agreed upon them across the board), they did not have the fortitude to succeed in establishing those ideas (Saunders 110). This feeling of desperation stems from the fact that the Decembrists felt the need for change and understood that Russia’s governmental structure needed to be altered, but it comes off of desperate because they were not unified. After the Moscow conference of 1821 and the League of Welfare split into a northern faction and southern faction, the movement struggled to have power. To topple a government, a movement needs the greatest amount of support and reliability on its members, but when members on December 12th were not wholeheartedly for revolution, instances like Baron Rozen stopping his troops on that bridge instead of encouraging them forward towards Senate Square, occur which illustrates how flimsy the Decembrists unification was. Even Saunders writes, “If the leaders had been resolute, their efforts might just have been crowned with success, for they managed to get 3,000 men on to Senate Square” (Saunders 110). The drop in members of potential Decembrists from 1820 to 1825 as the movement shifted towards radicalism shows how movements lose energy when there are schisms and the consideration of reality.
Would the Decembrists have been successful if they had assassinated the tsar instead of revolting during the unexpected time of interregnum?
How effective were the Decembrists in influencing Russia’s culture of revolution?