Due to the Tsar's displeasure at his remarks, Skobelev was faced with the loss of his commission. But after his Central Asian campaigns and his successes in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, he was immensely popular amongst both the troops and the general populace. This forced the Tsar to moderate his decision, instead sending Skobelev to East Asia to organize the forces there, to keep up Russian influence in a region of high importance to Russia . He played a key role during the Russian military involvement during the Boxer Rebellion and therefore, in October 1901 was appointed as supreme commander of Imperial Russian forces in the whole East Asia region. Skobelev proceeds to make important and in some cases vital changes to the organisation of his forces. He introduces a new hierarchical system and strengthens the officer corps and the chain of command. He also allows his naval commanders to bring new innovations to the Pacific Fleet, which came under his command. As a result when the Japanese surprise attack on Port Arthur came in 1904, the Russian forces were prepared much better, although they were initially taken by surprise. After more than a year of fighting which swung both ways, both sides were exhausted. In the meanwhile, the Tsar who had previously decided against sending additional reinforcements to fight the 'impudent and incompetent' Japanese was instead faced with waves of massive protests and strike across the whole nation due to the economic burden of the war. During this time the Bolshevik movement starts to slowly spread across the empire, greatly encouraged by the unrest and dissatisfaction of the still largely rural populace.
The war came to its end in May 1905 with the naval battle of Tsushima which results in a tactical draw but a strategic Russian victory. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire and the formal peace agreement (which was the Treaty of Portsmouth) was duly signed by both parties. The treaty was basically the same as in OTL just without any Russian concessions, although they did eventually withdraw from the Korean peninsula. Despite failure to obtain a direct victory, Skobelev is seen as a great leader by many of the Russian forces and his popularity skyrockets. This causes the Tsar to revoke his decision and Skobelev is summoned back to be given the position of deputy Minister of War.
Meanwhile, the Russian Revolution of 1905 takes place, but this has a greater effect than in OTL. The Tsar is forced to make more concessions, and the eventual Constitution of 1906, means Russia now has a constitutional monarch with considerably reduced powers, although the Tsar still has command of the Imperial Armed Forces. In March 1906, the elections to the Imperial Duma (the lower house) are held. The centrist coalition of the Liberal Democratic Alliance gain the most seats, with the newly formed Bolshevik party second. Due to there being no defeat in the 1904-1905 war, there is no subsequent loss of Russian prestige and influence and this has an effect on many things that occurred before 1914. The biggest of these divergences is that there is no British puppet state established in Afghanistan as prescribed in the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.
Ayaa 12:15, April 4, 2011 (UTC)