WHAT IS RUSSIAN REVOLUTION?
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a
series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which
dismantled theTsarist autocracy and led to the
creation of the Russian SFSR
The Emperor was forced to abdicate and the old
regime was replaced by a provisional government
during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in
theGregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was
in use in Russia at the time). In the second revolution,
during October, the Provisional Government was
removed and replaced with a Bolshevik (Communist)
How was Russia governed?
Tsar; Romanov family since
Nobles and Clergy:
Serfs: 90%, lived in 750,000
No political parties
What were the political groups struggling for?
Largely supportive of the Tsar
Generations of repression and
suffering left intellectual groups
Non-Russian minorities (Poles,
Jews, Finns, Ukrainians) wanted
to free themselves from tsar
Groups roughly divided into
Many sections of the country had reason to be dissatisfied
with the existing autocracy. Nicholas II was a deeply
conservative ruler and maintained a strict authoritarian
system. Individuals and society in general were expected to
show self-restraint, devotion to community, deference to
the social hierarchy and a sense of duty to the country.
Religious faith helped bind all of these tenets together as a
source of comfort and reassurance in the face of difficult
conditions and as a means of political authority exercised
through the clergy. Perhaps more than any other modern
monarch, Nicholas II attached his fate and the future of his
dynasty to the notion of the ruler as a saintly and infallible
father to his people
WORLD WAR I
The outbreak of war in August 1914 initially served to quiet
the prevalent social and political protests, focusing
hostilities against a common external enemy, but this
patriotic unity did not last long. As the war dragged on
inconclusively, war-weariness gradually took its toll. More
important, though, was a deeper fragility: although many
ordinary Russians joined anti-German demonstrations in
the first few weeks of the war, the most widespread
reaction appears to have been skepticism and fatalism.
Hostility toward the Kaiser and the desire to defend their
land and their lives did not necessarily translate into
enthusiasm for the Tsar or the governmen
Between February and throughout
October: "Dual Power"
The effective power of the Provisional Government was
challenged by the authority of an institution that claimed to
represent the will of workers and soldiers and could, in fact,
mobilize and control these groups during the early months of
the revolution – the Petrograd Soviet [Council] of Workers'
Deputies. The model for the soviet were workers' councils that
had been established in scores of Russian cities during the 1905
revolution. In February 1917, striking workers elected deputies to
represent them and socialist activists began organizing a
citywide council to unite these deputies with representatives of
the socialist parties. On 27 February, socialist Duma deputies,
mainly Mensheviksand Socialist Revolutionaries, took the lead
in organizing a citywide council. The Petrograd Soviet met in
the Tauride Palace, the same building where the new
government was taking shape.
Communist Manifesto, 1848; Capital,
History is struggle between class
Fundamental crisis between property
owners and those who labor on that
Stages of economic development;
industrial capitalism is last stage
In each stage, oppressed class rises
up against owners,
Eventually, private property
abolished and collectively owned
Birth: April 10, 1870, in Simbirsk, Russia
Death: Jan 21, 1924, in Moscow, Russia
Vladimir was the son of a school and civil service official and
was drawn to the revolution at a young age when his brother,
Aleksander I. Ulyanov, was executed in 1887 for his
participation in a plot to kill Alexander III.
Lenin's studied law at the University of Kazan but was
banished from the school because of revolutionary activities.
He completed his studies independently and practiced law
briefly. He soon gave up his legal practice, and turned to
studying the teachings of Karl Marx.
Lenin was exiled to Siberia in 1895, his exile ended in 1900.
He was founder of the Bolsheviks, and was the leader of the
He was the first head of the Soviet state from 1917 to 1924.
Lenin’s speeches and writings were highly regarded by his
successors and followers. He contributed to Marxism in
many ways. Lenin was known as one of the greatest and most
practical revolutionists of all times. He combined his theories
with his political instincts. Although he attacked any
theoretical revisionism or gradualism, he supported
opportunistic compromises to further the establishment of
Who were the Bolsheviks?
Bolshevik means "majority" in Russian. A Bolshevik was a
member of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party,
which was a Marxist political party. They were led by
Vladimir Lenin. They made lots of promises such as
withdrawing Russia from WWI, they said they would give
land and power to the peasants, and said that they would
improve working conditions and lifestyles of those who
worked in the industrial cities. This gave them popularity
all over Russia. They believed in day to day practical issues.
They ruled Russia completely after the Russian Revolution.
What was the Bolshevik Revolution?
In October 1917, Lenin convinced the Bolshevik Party to form an immediate
revolt against the Provisional Government. The Bolshevik leaders felt it was
important to act quickly while they had the strength to do so. The armed
workers known as Red Guards and the other revolutionary groups moved on
the night of November 6. They were under the orders of the Soviet's Military
Revolutionary Committee. The Red Guards seized post and telegraph offices,
electric works, railroad stations, and the state bank. Once the shot rang out
from the Battleship Aurora, thousands of people in the Red Guard stormed the
Winter Palace. The Provisional Government had officially fallen to the
Bolsheviks way of government. Once the word came to the rest of the people
that the Winter Palace had been taken, people from all over came and filled it
up. Lenin announced his attempt to construct the socialist order in Russia.
This new government was made up of Soviets, and led by the Bolsheviks. By
early November, the factory workers were definitely backing up the Bolshevik
motto: "All power to the soviets!"
The October Revolution
The October Revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin
and was based upon Lenin's writing on the ideas of
Karl Marx, a political ideology often known as
Marxism-Leninism. It marked the beginning of the
spread of communism in the 20th century. It was far
less sporadic than the revolution of February and
came about as the result of deliberate planning and
coordinated activity to that end.
Death of the imperial family
In early March, the Provisional Government placed
Nicholas and his family under house arrest in the
Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, 15 miles (24 km) south
of Petrograd. In August 1917 the Kerensky government
evacuated the Romanovs to Tobolsk in the Urals, allegedly
to protect them from the rising tide of revolution during
the Red Terror. After the Bolsheviks came to power in
October 1917, the conditions of their imprisonment grew
stricter and talk of putting Nicholas on trial increased. As
the counter revolutionary White movement gathered
force, leading to full-scale civil war by the summer, the
Romanovs were moved during April and May 1918 to
Yekaterinburg, a militant Bolshevik stronghold.
General Kornilov attempts
to take Petrograd, seeking
Provisional gov’t sought help
from Red Guard, the
Red Guard easily defeats
military troops, gains
weapons, respect and
Three weeks later, Red
Guard overtake the
Only Bolsheviks were
selected to lead
formed in provinces,
Lenin nationalized all land
(no private property)
Peasant farmed in the name
of the party
War Communism: State
could seize grain from
peasants to help Red guard
and city workers
Harsh police-state tactics
Secret police: Cheka
Results of the Revolution
Within days after the revolution, Lenin began to take charge. He ordered all the farmland to be
distributed to the peasants . The Bolsheviks decided to give control of the factories to the workers.
They also signed a truce with Germany to stop all of the fighting in Russia during WWI, and they
began peace talks. In March of 1918, Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. This treaty made
Russia surrender large parts of its territory to Germany and its allies .
Russians were very angry about the embarrassing terms of the treaty, and they objected to the
Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks now had to deal with solving more problems. Their opponents were
known as the White Army. The White Army was made up of different groups, some wanted the czar
to return, some wanted a democratic government, and there were socialists who opposed Lenin’s
form of socialism. The three groups didn’t get along very well, the only thing uniting them was their
desire to defeat the Bolsheviks. Leon Trotsky commanded the Bolshevik Red Army. For about three
years there was civil war in Russia. Many died in the civil war, around 14 million.
Russia was left in chaos after the war, there was loss of life from fighting, hunger, and a flu epidemic.
The Red Army won on the end, and defeated all its opponents. This showed that the Bolsheviks were
able to seize power and keep it.
War and Revolution destroyed Russia’s economy, Lenin started to revive the economy and
restructure the government. Russia slowly recovered because of new policies and the peace that
followed the civil war. Russia was organized into several self-governing republics all under the
The Bolshevik revolution tried to destroy the existing political structures. They used violence to
control people, and millions were killed. A positive effect was that Russia had established a state
controlled society that lasted for decades.
B. Bergey, (2007). Russian Revolution:
Study Guide Part I.
S. BALI. RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
Miss Houlson. Russia : 1917