Russia revolution 1917
• By the 19th C, most of the countries had become republics or constitutional monarchies. But Russia was still under an autocratic rule.
• Romanov dynasty ruled in Russia. Nicholas II was the last Tsar in Russia. He believed in absolute monarchy.
• The Russian empire was very wide which will become the reason for competition among the colonial powers.
• Russian tsar was also interested in expansionism like the other European countries.
• The Political, economic, social conditions of Russia were miserable which gave birth to a revolution and thus an end to the monarchy
• The Russian revolution not only had impact on Russia but on the entire world !
CAUSES OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
• Despotic rule of tsar : absolute monarchy + divine rights to the King. He was supported by the
nobility, bureaucracy, army and church.
• The royal family was discredited because of number of scandals ; Rasputin, a self-professed
holy-man was a highly influential figure in political matters and Nicholas’ wife Alexandra was
impressed by Rasputin.
• Duma was ineffective : He did not allow Duma (parliament) to work in an organized way. It
was not a truly representative system. Tsar had dissolved Duma four times before the revolution of 1917.
• Political parties were facing repression.
• Russia had faced defeats in wars which had brought humiliation to tsar.
Example : Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05.Later participation in the World War I despite rising expenditures and the defeats faced made the conditions worse in Russia. Besides incompetent leaders and shortage of equipment led to mutiny by the forces and discontent in the public.
• Lack of reforms in political, economic and social sectors led to further problems.
• Tsar’s policy of Russification.
• Economic disparities in the society. Majority of the agricultural land was owned by a minority
• Peasants were in majority and worked on these lands. They suffered problems of hunger poverty and huge debt burdens.
• Failure of land reforms, obsolete farming methods in agriculture and the increasing population
created a sense of discontentment among the Peasants class.
• Industrialization of Russia had taken a long time and was still on an insufficient scale.
• Majorly industrialists belonged to the other European countries and invested in Russia. They
gave employment to the people of Russia which gave rise to the workers class. The conditions in the industries was not conducive to the workers and the government adopted repressive measures which led to unrest among the worker’s class. This led to rise of Socialist ideas in Russia.
• The domestic business class had not emerged in a significant number due to lack of capital and
• Wars had created inflationary conditions in Russia. There was scarcity of bread and it was
turning costly too. The reason for this was lack of transport facilities as trains were monopolized.
RUSSIA MAP IN 1914
ROLE OF INTELLECTUAL IDEAS AND REVOLUTIONARY LEADERHSHIP
• Liberal ideas had travelled from western Europe to Russia.
• The intellectuals of Russia contributed to the political awakening of the masses. Thus the
educated class started demanding their rights.
• A movement called ‘Going to the People’ started in Russia. The intellectuals reached the
masses to preach their ideas to peasants.
• Leadership of a revolutionary named Lenin proved to be boon for Russia.
• Lenin believed that two conditions were necessary for a successful revolution ;
– People should realize that revolution is necessary and be ready to sacrifice.
– The existing government should be in a state of crisis so that it can be overthrown rapidly.
– He spoke for the rights of non-Russian nationalities and called Russian Empire as ‘Prison of Nations’.
REVOLUTION OF 1905 IN RUSSIA
• Russo-Japanese War took place in 1904 in which Russia faced a humiliating defeat from a small
• On 9th January, 1905 a peaceful march of workers, their wives and children was on its way to
Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to present its petition.
• They were fired at on the order of the king.
• This day is known as ‘Bloody Sunday’.
• This revolution led to the formation of ‘Council of Workers’ called ‘The Soviets’.
• After the revolution, Tsar presented ‘October Manifesto’ which aimed at many reforms and formation of ‘Duma’. Its was a step towards bringing constitutional monarchy in Russia but old policies of Tsar overpowered the stated principles and same situation as previous days prevailed in Russia.
• ‘The 1905 Revolution proved to be a dress rehearsal of the Revolution of 1917’.
POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA
– The foundation was laid by George Plekhanov of SDP later SDLP.
Leader of Bolsheviks was VLADIMIR ILYICH ULYANOV ,famously known as Lenin.
Another famous Bolshevik was Leon Trotsky.
|POLITICAL PARTIES||1.SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY||1.BOLSHEVIKS(Majority)
|–WANTED TO BRING THE REVOLUTION WITH WORKERS AND PEASANTS
–WITH ONLY WORKERS
|2.SOCIAL REVOLUTIONARY PARTY||–WITH ONLY PEASANTS
FEBRUARY 1917 REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA
• A spontaneous revolution with no leadership but people themselves against the despotic
government happened in March 1917 (February according to Russian calendar).
• Bread riots broke out in St. Petersburg. : World war I had began in 1914 and Russia had entered the war. Russia was facing defeats at the hands of Germany which led to economic crisis.
• Workers also joined.
• Tsar ordered to the troops to open fire but the army mutinied.
• Finally the tsar was forced to renounce his throne and thus monarchy came to an end.This was end of Tsarism.
OCTOBER 1917 RUSIAN REVOLUTION
• FORMATION OF A PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT : After the end of monarchy, a temporary
government under the leadership of Kerensky was formed.
• But the new government failed to address the problems of Russia.
• It did not discontinue the participation in World War – I.
• Delayed elections + no land reforms promised by it earlier + control of industry was not in the
hands of the workers
• Economic problems : Inflationary condition : costly bread, low wages etc.
• Bolsheviks tried to use the discontent among the public to win their support. They raised the
slogan ‘All Power to the Soviets’.
• Bolsheviks use to spread their ideas through their newspaper ‘Pravda’ (meaning :Truth).
• In November 1917, (October according to Russian calendar) All-Russian Congress of Soviets met and decided to seize the power. Bolsheviks in this situation with the help of its ‘Red Guards’
(the revolutionary army – the Red army ) seized the power. It was a bloodless coup.
• A new Soviet government was set up under the leadership of Lenin.
• Lenin as a leader of Bolsheviks brought Russia on equal footing with the outside world and tried to deliver the promises done before.
• Bolshevik government decided to withdrew from World War – I in 1917 as it was turning
out to be an expensive affair. Lenin wanted to concentrate on the domestic problems.
• As a result of this Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between Russia and Germany in March 1918.
• Bolsheviks adopted Communism.
• After the revolution, civil war followed that was controlled by the Bolsheviks. (Red Army).
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
End of despotic monarchy.
Government of the Proletariats was set up .The era of Socialism begun.
Declaration of Rights of People was issued. Right to Work was given.
Nationalization of industries under the Communist government. Capitalism had no place in Russia.
A classless society was established that inspired other countries of the world.
A very significant change occurred that changed the politics of the world. Now the world was
divided into two blocs : Capitalist and Communist.
Idea of Communism will spread in many countries. Comintern (the Communist International)
worked for promoting revolutions in the world.