The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russiain 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian 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) government. The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd(now St. Petersburg). In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament or Dumaassumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution and TsarNicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia, abdicated. The Soviets (workers' councils), which were led by more radical socialist factions, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias. The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War, which left much of the army in a state of mutiny. In the October Revolution (November in the Gregorian calendar), the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the workers' Soviets, overthrew the Provisional Government in St Petersburg. The Bolsheviks appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and seized control of the countryside, establishing the Cheka to quash dissent. To end the war, the Bolshevik leadership signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918.

The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to theTsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union. It was one of the largest empires in world history, surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongolianempires: at one point in 1866, it stretched from eastern Europe across Asia and intoNorth America. At the beginning of the 19th century the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to thePacific Ocean on the east. With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third largest population of the world at the time, after Qing China and the British Empire. Like all empires it represented a large disparity in economic, ethnic, and religious positions. Its government, ruled by the Emperor, was one of the last absolute monarchies in Europe. Prior to the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 Russia was one of the five major Great Powers of Europe. Though the empire was only officially proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following theTreaty of Nystad (1721), some historians[who?] would argue that it was truly born either when Ivan III conquered Novgorodor when Ivan IV conquered Kazan. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom(Царство) which was used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547 was already a contemporary Russian word for Empire while Peter the Great just replaced it with a Latinized synonyme. Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian settlement of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the accession of Left-bank Ukraineand the pacification of the Siberian tribes.

Causes of the Russian Revolution
The Russian Revolution was one of the most important events in modern world history. Its impact was evident in both Europe and America. Although the Revolution did not directly spread Communism, it did give various other struggling third world countries an enticing example to follow. Decades later, the philosophy/governmental model would gain new notoriety as Russia, now a full communist state, squared off with the United States in the Cold War. In any case, the two Revolutions of 1917 were broken down into two main parts: the overthrow of the tsarist regime (February Revolution) and the creation of the world?s first Communist state (October Revolution). The causes of these two revolutions encompass Russia?s political, social, and economic situation. Politically, the people of Russia resented the dictatorship of Tsar Nicholas II. The losses that the Russians suffered during World War I further weakened Russia?s

view of Nicholas. Socially, the despotic tsarist regime had oppressed the peasant class for centuries. This caused unrest within the lower peasant class causing riots to break out. Economically, widespread inflation and famine in Russia contributed to the revolution. Ultimately, a combination of these three, coupled with the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, led to the Russian Revolution.

The economic causes of the Russian Revolution were based largely on the Czar's mis-management, compounded by World War I. Over fifteen million men joined the army, which left an insufficient number of workers in the factories and on the farms. The result was widespread shortages of food and materials. Factory workers had to endure terrible working conditions, including twelve to fourteen hour days and low wages. Many riots and strikes for better conditions and higher wages broke out. Although some factories agreed to the requests for higher wages, wartime inflation nullified the increase. There was one protest to which Nicholas responded with violence (see Causes: Political); in response, industrial workers went on strike and effectively paralyzed the railway and transportation networks. What few supplies were available could not be effectively transported. As goods became more and more scarce, prices skyrocketed. By 1917, famine threatened many of the larger cities. Nicholas's failure to solve his country's economic suffering and communism's promise to do just that comprised the core of the Revolution.

The social causes of the Russian Revolution mainly stemmed from centuries of oppression towards the lower classes by the Czarist regime and Nicholas's failures in World War I. Roughly 85% of the Russian people were peasants, under harsh oppression from the upper classes and the Czarist regime. Serfdom is most often associated with the Middle Ages, yet it accurately describes the social situation in Russia under Nicholas: A small class of noble landowners controlled a vast number of indentured peasants. In 1861, Czar Alexander II of Russia emancipated these peasants not for moral reasons, but because it was preventing Russia from advancing socially. This newfound freedom was of limited use, however, since they now had no land to work. As a result, the government drafted new terms that gave the peasants set amounts of land to cultivate. However, the amount of land they were given was insufficient, thus mass riots broke out. World War I only added to the chaos. The vast demand for factory production of war supplies and workers caused many more labor riots and strikes. In addition, because more factory workers were needed, peasants moved out of the country and into the cities, which soon became overpopulated, and living conditions rapidly grew worse. Furthermore, as more food was needed for the soldiers, the food supply behind the front grew scarce. By 1917, famine threatened many of the larger cities. Overall, all of the aforementioned contributed to the vast discontent of the Russian citizens, which further motivated the Revolution.

The Political aspect of the Russian Revolution is essentially the combination or result of the Social and Economic problems created by the dictatorship of Czar Nicholas II. Since at least 1904, Russia's lower class workers had faced a dire economic situatio Most of them were working 11 hour days. Health and safety provisions were dismal, and wages were falling. There were numerous strikes and protests as time went on. Almost all of these were either ignored by Nicholas or broken up, often in a violent and deadly fashion (see Bloody Sunday). His failed attempt at conquest in and around Manchuria was also very unpopular with the people. Some in the educated classes (many educated in the West) of Russia also resented the autocracy of Nicholas. In 1915, things took a critical turn for the worse when Nicholas decided to take direct command of the army, personally overseeing Russia's main warfront and leaving his incapable wife Alexandra in charge of the government. By the end of October 1916, Russia had lost between 1.6 and 1.8 million soldiers, with an addition two million prisoners of war and one million who had gone missing, which likely did little for the army's morale. Mutinies began to occur, and in 1916 reports of fraternizing with the enemy started to circulate. Soldiers went hungry and lacked shoes, munitions, and even weapons. Rampant discontent lowered morale, only to be further undermined by a series of military defeats. Nicholas was blamed, and what little support he had left began to crumble. As this discontent and utter hate of Nicholas grew, theState Duma (lower class of Russian parliament comprised of landowners, townspeople, industrial workers, and peasants) issued a warning to Nicholas in November 1916 stating that disaster would overtake the country unless a constitutional form of government was put in place. In typical fashion, Nicholas ignored them. As a result, Russia's Czarist regime collapsed a few months later during the February Revolution of 1917. A year later, the Czar and his family were executed. Ultimately, Nicholas's inept handling of his country and the War destroyed the Czarist regime and cost him both his rule and his life

Role Of Karl Marx
Karl Marx could be considered the intellectual and philosophical leader of the Russian Revolution. Although he had died long before the revolution it was his ideas (along with Friedrich Engels) that sparked the political movements to overthrow the capitalist and autocratic government that was in place in 1917. His ideas on the evils of capitalism, the need to overthrow it in favor of socialism and the eventual conversion of socialism into communism led many to believe that the forms of government in place in many industrialized countries had to be replaced. These Marxist thoughts led to the creation of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) whose members advocated the overthrow of capitalism in favor of socialism. One faction of this party was the Bolshevik Party led by Vladimir Lenin. When the first Russian Revolution occurred in February 1917, the Marxist RSDLP and other anti government parties, socialist and non-socialists) banded together to form the capitalist based Provisional Government. But by that time in Russia, the workers, soldiers and peasants were not content to remain under a capitalist system. Lenin used Marxist ideologies to convince the people that a Marxist system led by him and the Bolsheviks would be better than a capitalist system led by the ministers of the former government. Using Marxist propaganda, Lenin engineered the Bolshevik/Communist Revolution in October 1917.

In 1848, Western Europe was swept by a wave of revolutions. Marx wanted to use this chaos to his advantage and used a newspaper, the ‘Neue Rheinische Zeitung’ to launch his ten points: 1) The abolition of the property/ownership of land. 2) Income tax to be graded to income – the more an individual earned, the more they paid. The less you earned, the less you paid. 3) Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4) The confiscation of all property of immigrants and rebels. 5) The centralisation of all credit into the hands of the state by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive economy. 6) Centralisation of all means of communication and transport into the hands of the state. 7) The extension of factories and the instrument of production owned by the state. Bringing into cultivation all land not being used that could be and an improvement in the fertility of the soil. 8) The equal obligation of all to work and the establishment of an industrial and agricultural armies. 9) The combination of agriculture and manufacturing industries with the gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by the more equable distribution of the population over the country. 10) Free education for all children in public schools. The abolition of child labour in factories; an educated child would be better for society in the long term, than a child not educated.

Causes Of First World War
The causes of World War I, which began in central Europe in July 1914, included many intertwined factors, such as the conflicts and hostility of the four decades leading up to the war.Militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism played major roles in the conflict as well. However, the immediate origins of the war lay in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the July Crisis of 1914, casus belli for which was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of [1] Austria and his wife by Gavrilo Princip, an irredentist Serb. The crisis came after a long and difficult series of diplomatic clashes between the Great Powers(Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Austria-Hungarian Empire and Russia) over European and colonial issues in the decade before 1914 that had left tensions high. In turn these diplomatic clashes can be traced to changes in the balance of power in Europe since 1867.[2] The more immediate cause for the war was tensions over territory in the Balkans. Austria-Hungarycompeted with Serbia and Russia for territory and influence in the region and they pulled the rest of the Great Powers into the conflict through their various alliances and treaties.

Some of the most important long term or structural causes are:  The growth of nationalism across Europe  Unresolved territorial disputes

        

Intricate system of alliances The perceived breakdown of the balance of power in Europe Misperceptions of intent – e.g., the German belief the United Kingdom would remain neutral[11][12] Convoluted and fragmented governance Delays and misunderstandings in diplomatic communications Arms races of the previous decades Previous military planning[13] Imperial and colonial rivalry for wealth, power and prestige Economic and military rivalry in industry and trade – e.g., Pig War (Serbia)

Febuary Revolution
At the beginning of February, Petrograd workers began several strikes anddemonstrations.[citation needed] On March 7 [O.S. February 22], workers at Putilov, Petrograd's largest industrial plant, announced a strike.[12] The next day, a series of meetings and rallies were held for International Women's Day, which gradually turned into economic and political gatherings. Demonstrations were organised to demandbread, and these were supported by the industrial working force who considered them a reason for continuing the strikes. The women workers marched to nearby factories bringing out over 50,000 workers on strike.[13] By March 10 [O.S. February 25], virtually every industrial enterprise in Petrograd had been shut down, together with many commercial and service enterprises. Students, whitecollar workers and teachers joined the workers in the streets and at public meetings.[citation needed

To quell the riots, the Tsar looked to the army. At least 180,000 troops were available in the capital, but most were either untrained or injured. Historian Ian Beckett suggests around 12,000 could be regarded as reliable, but even these proved reluctant to move in on the crowd, since it included so many women. It was for this reason that when, on March 11 [O.S. February 26], the Tsar ordered the army to suppress the rioting by force, troops began to mutiny.[14] Although few actively joined the rioting, many officers were either shot or went into hiding; the ability of the garrison to hold back the protests was all but nullified, symbols of the Tsarist were rapidly torn down around the city, and governmental authority in the capital collapsed – not helped by the fact that Nicholas had prorogued the Duma that morning, leaving it with no legal authority to act. The response of the Duma, urged on by the liberal bloc, was to establish a Temporary Committee to restore law and order; meanwhile, the socialist parties establish the Petrograd Soviet to represent workers and soldiers. The remaining loyal units switched allegiance the next day.[15] The Tsar took a train back towards Petrograd, which was stopped on March 14 [O.S. March 1],[14] having been instructed to divert by a group of disloyal troops. When the Tsar finally reached his destination, the Army Chiefs and his remaining ministers (those who had not fled under pretense of a power-cut) suggested in unison that he abdicate the throne.[citation needed] He did so on March 15 [O.S. March 2], on behalf of himself, and then, having taken advice, on behalf of his son, the Tsarevich.[14] Nicholas nominated his brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, to succeed him. But the Grand Duke realised that he would have little support as ruler, so he declined the crown on March 16[O.S. March 3],[14] stating that he would take it only if that was the consensus of democratic action.[16] Six days later, Nicholas, no longer Tsar and addressed with contempt by the sentries as "Nicholas Romanov", was reunited with his family at the Alexander [17] Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. He was placed under house arrest with his family by the Provisional Government. The immediate effect of the February Revolution was a widespread atmosphere of elation and excitement in Petrograd.[18] On 16 March [O.S.3 March], a provisional government was announced. The center-left was well represented, and the government was initially chaired by a liberal aristocrat, Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov, a member of the Constitutional Democratic party (KD).[19] The socialists had formed their rival body, the Petrograd Soviet (or workers' council) four days earlier. The Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government competed for power over Russia.

October revolution:

The October Revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin and was based upon Lenin's writing on the ideas ofKarl Marx, a political ideology often known as Marxism-Leninism. It marked the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth 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. Though Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Party, it has been argued that since Lenin was not present during the actual takeover of the Winter Palace, it was really Trotsky's organization and direction that led the bloody revolution, spurred by the motivation [citation needed] Lenin instigated within his party. Critics on the Right have long argued that the financial and logistical assistance of German intelligence via their key agent, Alexander Parvus was a key component as well, though historians are divided, for the evidence is sparse. On 7 November 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show a 25 October date). The October revolution ended the phase of the revolution instigated in February, replacing Russia's short-lived provisional parliamentary government with government by soviets, local councils elected by bodies of workers and peasants. Liberal and monarchist forces, loosely organized into the White Army, immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks' Red Army. Soviet membership was initially freely elected, but many members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, anarchists, and other leftists opposed the Bolsheviks through the soviets. When it became clear that the Bolsheviks had little support outside of the industrialized areas of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, they barred non-Bolsheviks from membership in the soviets. Other socialists revolted and called for "a third Russian revolution." The most notable instances were the Tambov rebellion, 1919–1921, and the Kronstadt rebellion in March 1921. These movements, which made a wide range of demands and lacked effective coordination, were eventually defeated along with the White Army during the Civil War.

Vladmir llyrich Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (22 April 1870 – 21 January 1924), was a Russian revolutionary, author, lawyer, economic theorist, political philosopher, creator of the Soviet Communist Party, leaderof the 1917 October Revolution, and founder of the USSR. As head of the Bolsheviks (1917–1924) he led the Red Army to victory in the Russian Civil War, before establishing the world's first officially socialist state. As a theorist, his extensive theoretical and philosophicalcontributions [1] to Marxism produced Leninism.
Lenin Possesed neccassary leadership skills that enabled him to influence the masses, like charisma and good oratorical skills.He provided the vision to people, in ways such as the April Theses, clearly stating his stand in many areas, and his promise to overthrow the provisional government.He was able to identify and address the problems the population faced, which were, starvation, war and improper distribution of land, which encompassed in his slogan ,"Bread, Land, Peace". He unified the Bolsheviks by his return to Russia in April 1917, re-radicalizing the party, as well as providing the leadership for revolution Vladimir I. Lenin was a driving force behind the Russian Revolution of 1917 and became the first great dictator of the Soviet Union. After his brother was executed in 1887 (for plotting to kill the Czar), Lenin gave up studying law and became a full-time revolutionary. He studied Karl Marx and formed workers' groups, but was arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1895. In 1900 he went to Europe, and in 1903 he led the Bolsheviks in the split of the Russian SocialDemocratic Workers' party. When revolution broke out in Russia in 1917, he led the Bolsheviks to control the government. Lenin had complete political control over the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) until his death, and is remembered as the man who put Marx's ideas to practical use.

Influence on the world
Leon Trotsky said that the goal of socialism in Russia would not be realized without the success of the world revolution. Indeed, arevolutionary wave caused by the Russian Revolution lasted until 1923. Despite initial hopes for success in the German Revolution, in the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic and others like it, no other Marxist movement

succeeded in keeping power in its hands.

This issue is subject to conflicting views on the communist history by various Marxist groups and parties. Joseph Stalin later rejected this idea, stating that socialism was possible in one country. The confusion regarding Stalin's position on the issue stems from the fact that he, after Lenin's death in 1924, successfully used Lenin's argument—the argument that socialism's success needs the workers of other countries in order to happen—to defeat his competitors within the party by accusing them of betraying Lenin and, therefore, the ideals of the October Revolution. SOCIALISM Bernstein coined the aphorism: "The movement is everything, the final goal nothing". But the path of reform appeared blocked to the Russian Marxists while Russia remained the bulwark of reaction. In the preface to the 1882 Russian edition to the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels had saluted the Russian Marxists who, they said, "formed the vanguard of revolutionary action in Europe". But the working class, although many were organised in vast modern western-owned enterprises, comprised no more than a small percentage of the population and "more than half the land is owned in common by the peasants". Marx and Engels posed the question: How was Russia to progress to socialism? Could Russia "pass directly" to socialism or "must it first pass through the same process" of capitalist development as the West? They replied: "If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development."[33] In 1903, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party began to split on ideological and organizational questions into Bolshevik ('Majority') andMenshevik ('Minority') factions, with Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin leading the more radical Bolsheviks. Both wings accepted that Russia was an economically backward country unripe for socialism. The Mensheviks awaited the capitalist revolution in Russia. But Lenin argued that a revolution of the workers and peasants would achieve this task. After the Russian revolution of 1905, Leon Trotsky argued that unlike the French revolution of 1789 and the European Revolutions of 1848 against absolutism, the capitalist class would never organise a revolution in Russia to overthrow absolutism, and that this task fell to the working class who, liberating the peasantry from their feudal yoke, would then immediately pass on to the socialist tasks and seek a "permanent revolution" to achieve international socialism.[34] Assyrian nationalist Freydun Atturaya tried to create regional self-government for the Assyrian people with the socialism ideology. He even wrote theUrmia Manifesto of the United Free Assyria. However, his attempt was put to an end by Russia.

Collectivization in the Soviet Union was a policy pursued under Stalin between 1928 and 1940. The goal of this policy was to consolidate individual land and labour into collective farms. The Soviet leadership was confident that the replacement of individual peasant farms by kolkhozy would immediately increase the food supply for urban populations, the supply of raw materials for processing industry, and agricultural exports. Collectivization was thus regarded as the solution to the crisis of agricultural distribution (mainly in grain deliveries) that had developed since 1927. This problem became more acute as the Soviet Union pressed ahead with its ambitious industrialization program. Before the revolution, peasants controlled only 2,100,000 km² divided into 16 million holdings, producing 50% of the food grown in Russia and consuming 60%. After the revolution, the peasants controlled 3,140,000 km² divided into 25 million holdings, producing 85% of the food, but consuming 80% of what they grew. In the early 1940s over 90% of agricultural land was "collectivized" as rural households entered collective farms with their land, livestock, and other assets. The sweeping collectivization often involved tremendous human and social costs.

Upon seizing Petrograd, Stalin was appointed People's Commissar for Nationalities' Affairs. Thereafter, civil war broke out in Russia, pitting Lenin's Red Army against the White Army, a loose alliance of anti-Bolshevik forces. Lenin formed a five-member Politburo which included Stalin and Trotsky. In May 1918, Lenin dispatched Stalin to the city of Tsaritsyn. Through his new allies,Kliment Voroshilov and Semyon Budyonny, Stalin imposed his influence on the military.[citation

Stalin challenged many of the decisions of Trotsky, ordered the killings of many former Tsarist officers in the Red Army and counter-revolutionaries[citation needed] and burned villages in order to intimidate the peasantry into submission and discourage bandit raids on food shipments.[citation needed] In May 1919, in order to stem mass desertions on the Western front, Stalin had deserters and renegades publicly executed as traitors.

Disintegration Of USSR
On August 19-22, 1991, a group of high political and military officials from the USSR and the Communist party conservative leaders tried to seize power and stop the reforms. These actions became known as the August coup, the event that led to revolts in Moscow, Leningrad, and some other cities. Aimed at stopping the reforms, the coup only proved that the USSR was definitely heading towards disintegration. On December 8, 1991, the leaders of Belarus, Ukraine, and the president of the Russian Soviet Republic, Yeltsin, announced the USSR dissolution and proclaimed the creation of a new union – the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Other former Soviet republics supported this decision. On December 26, 1991 the Soviet Union dissolution was officially acknowledged by the Soviet parliament, the Supreme Soviet. The USSR’s existence came to the end. The Russian State got an official name of the Russian Federation.

See L. Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution (tr. 1932); E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917–1923 (3 vol., 1950–53); R. Medvedev, The October Revolution (1985); L. Schapiro, The Russian Revolution of 1917 (1986); W. B. Lincoln, Red Victory (1990); O. Figes, The People's Tragedy (1997).


Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.