The Russian revolution is a vital episode in world history and has had an impact across the globe. It resulted in the formation of the Soviet Union – the first socialist state of the world.
The Russian revolution happened in 1917. The raging workers and peasants rebelled against the autocratic rule of Czars. A new government headed by Vladimir Lenin was formed later on.
A Series of events led to the revolution.
The industrial revolution brought about a lot of social and political changes in Russia. The population kept increasing in urban cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow. The rising population was a major challenge for the nation due to the limited food supply, economic crisis, and damages caused by wars.
For delivering a petition, people marched towards the Winter Palace of Nicholas II on Jan 22, 1905. Better working conditions plus an eight-hour workday were among the reforms mentioned in the petition. However as soon as the crowd entered the palace, the troops opened fire at them. The event came to be known as the ‘Bloody Sunday Massacre’. It served as a major reason for the Russian revolution.
Multiple strikes crippled the Russian economy. Nicolas finally agreed to bring about the reforms (October Manifesto), but later he dissolved the Russian parliament. The revolution of 1905 sparked anger inside the people.
Effects of World War I
Since Russia did not have a modernized army, World War I was disastrous for them.
- The German invasion caused severe food shortages and economic problems in Russia.
- Tsar Nicholas II left for the war front leaving behind his wife to take care of the government. This move was heavily criticized by the public.
- Russian people gradually lost the faith in their government.
The revolution began on March 8, 1917 (23rd February according to the Julian calendar).
Protestors assembled on the streets of St. Petersburg. They were joined by the industrial workers as well. The protestors clashed with the police. On March 12, a new provisional government was formed by the Russian parliament as Nicholas II quit the throne. Alexander Kerensky formed a new government. However, the fighting continued worsening the economic conditions of the nation.
Despite being confined to the metropolis of Petrograd, the February revolution was a mass movement. However the provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet, both favored a democratic form of government.
The revolution happened on October 24 or 25 as per the Julian calendar. Led by Vladimir Lenin, communist revolutionaries staged a coup against the government of Kerensky. Eventually, the world’s first communist state was set up with Lenin as the head of Russia. However the nation had to face civil war and cold war in the following years.
In January 1918, Bolsheviks publicly abandoned the democratic process, declaring themselves representatives of a proletariat dictatorship. This led to the Russian civil war.
Causes of Russian Revolution
- The autocratic rule of the Czars was a major reason for the Russian revolution.
- ‘One Czar, One Church, and One Russia’ by Nicholas II had created widespread unrest in the country.
- The rich and the poor were equally unsatisfied by the proceedings in the country at that time. While feudal lords lost their lands, laborers weren’t happy because of low salaries.
- ‘Nihilism’ started gaining popularity influencing people against Czars and their system.
- The industrial revolution had great influence on the Russian revolution.
- The Russian revolution led to the formation of the new government of the Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Lenin, which later came to be known as the communist party.
- Formation of a secret police known as ‘Cheka’ helped Lenin to establish powers in Russia.
- As a result of the revolution, farmlands were distributed to the farmers and factories to the workers!
- Banks were nationalized.
- With the treaty of Brest – Litovsk, Russia successfully pulled out of World War I.
- The rule of Czars came to an end with the execution of Nicholas II and family.
- Lenin adopted cruel methods for punishing criminals and political prisoners.
- Majority of industrial workers fled the country due to the decrease in industrial production.
- The revolution led to the civil war (1918-1920).
Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky were among the prominent members of the Bolshevik party.
The Cheka/Vecheka was the secret police agency of the Bolsheviks formed post the October revolution in 1917. It functioned as a shield and sword for the government to fight against other revolutionaries. The first leader of the extraordinary commission was Felix Dzerzhinsky.
In this blog, we have discussed about Russian revolution in detail!