The introduction examines the conditions underpinning the participation of tsarist elites in the Russian Revolution. It outlines the composition of the elite on the eve of the First World War, with a particular focus on nobles, landowners, and officers. It notes that elites were far from united and that, increasingly, occupational interests played a greater role than class loyalties. This paved the way for their participation in 1917, when the corporate nature of democracy influenced a range of social and professional groups, regardless of their size. Whilst most elites were conservative in their political outlook, very few were reactionaries, but they lacked a widespread desire for change prior to 1914.
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