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Political opposition groups in the Russian revolution?

Political opposition groups in the Russian revolution?


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Ok, so I do understand that there were the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. In school we learned that Soviets consisted of the peasantry, the industrial workers, and the soldiers. But later on, the soldiers formed together with the workers a worker's government, the Petrograd Soviet, while the Provisional Government still failed to fulfill the demands of the rest of the people, until Lenin was sent back to Russia. What I don't understand is if you count the soldiers as the ones supporting the Bolsheviks or the Soviet. So do the Soviets belong to the Bolsheviks or vice versa or am I completely off track?


Yes, you are almost completely off track:-) The situation was a) much more complicated, and b) quickly changing with time during 1917-1918.

Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were the split parts of the Social-Democratic party, (SD) which in 1917 was a minority party in all respects. So one cannot say that they expressed the views of the majority of workers, peasants or soldiers.

More popular party (on the left wing) was Socialist-Revolutioners (SR) supported by many peasants, and Anarchists, supported by soldiers. The SR party was also split into "right SR" and "left SR". There was plenty of other parties from from liberal democratic (KD) to monarchist.

At the time of October revolution, the Provisional government was headed by a right SR (Kerensky). Many other parties were represented in this government. It was called Provisional because its stated goal was to maintain the order until the Constitutional Assembly, which was supposed to establish a new constitution.

The leadership of the Soviets changed with time between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, and various Anarchists played an important role.

When in November (October, old style) Bolsheviks took the power by a coup, they dissolved by force not only the Provisional government, but also the elected Constitutional Assembly (the largest party represented in this Assembly was SR, but most other parties were represented as well). Constitutional Assembly which was elected by broad popular elections was banned and dissolved by brute force.

All parties except left SR refused to co-operate with Bolsheviks after the this coup.

So the first government after the coup consisted of Bolsheviks and the left SR, but soon (within 3 months) all SR were expelled by brute force and Bolsheviks established a dictatorship of their single party.

To counter popular resistance they introduced Red Terror as their official policy in 1918, physically exterminating all their political enemies. This started a civil war which Bolsheviks eventually won in 1922.

This is a VERY rough outline of what happened in 1917-1918.

I recommend the excellent book Orlando Figes, People's Tragedy. The Russian revolution 1891-1924, which describes the revolution in detail. One of the best books on the subject. The author seems to be genuinely interested in what has happened, rather than in promoting some pre-established views.

(Many books written in 20-th century were strongly influenced by powerful Soviet Communist propaganda, which completely distorted history. This includes many books by Western authors. Other books, much fewer in number, written by the "whites" are also usually driven by their agenda).


Let's start with some basics. A "Soviet"is a "council" and the St. Petersburg (later Petrograd) Soviet was a workers' council started in 1905. (There were Soviets in other cities, but none as influential as St. Petersburg/Petrograd.) In 1915, the Menshevik political group organized a group of workers' mediators called the Central Workers' Group (CWG). These mediators were arrested in January, 1917 by the Tsarist government, and freed in February 1917 by soldiers. This made them heroes with the workers so the (workers') Petrograd Soviet and the CWG (freed by soldiers) essentially merged.

In October, 1917 (actually November, 1917 on the Gregorian calendar) the Bolsheviks began the Russian Revolution with the slogan, "Peace, Land, Bread," which appealed to almost everyone, but particularly to war-weary soldiers. They took over the Petrograd (and other) Soviets, and forced the parties of their enemies to dissolve.

So a brief answer to your question is that the Soviets came first, the soldiers initially supported the Petrograd Soviet, and later the Bolsheviks took over the Soviets, in large part through the support of soldiers that had been won over by the Bolshevik slogan of "Peace, Land, Bread." One important military group that helped the Bolsheviks come to power was the "Lettish Guards" or Latvian Riflemen in St. Petersburg.


Though the Dumas were powerless, accounts of their debates could be printed, overturning centuries of political censorship and popularising opposition parties.

The Octobrists were a conservative group who supported the October Manifesto. In 1913 they were led by Guchkov. Although they were the Tsar’s most loyal supporters, they thought he had gone too far in removing the Duma’s rights, given initially in 1905. They warned that there would be a catastrophe if the Tsar did not make government more respected.

The Kadet Party (Constitutional Democrats) was the Liberal group in the Duma. It was led by Milyukov. It represented many middle-class professionals and businessmen, who wanted a constitutional monarchy. This would mean the Tsar and his government would have to answer to a democratic Duma.

Communists called themselves Social Democrats at this stage, but were split into several different groups. All believed in Karl Marx’s historical interpretation of politics.

In 1903 the Socialists had split into the Mensheviks (Men of the Minority) led by Martov, and the Bolsheviks (Men of the Majority) led by Lenin. They were supported mainly by the industrial working class. Their leadership was mainly middle class.

The Mensheviks represented the majority of Socialists. They concentrated on making life better for the working masses.

They were not opposed to revolution, but did not think it had to happen before conditions could be improved.

The Bolsheviks were in the minority. Lenin said conditions should not be improved in the present because this would lessen support for revolution. Revolution was the most important aim. Revolution would be followed by a period of change in which society and the economy would be put right (socialism), followed by a communist future.

Socialist Revolutionaries

The Socialist Revolutionaries, led by Chernov, enjoyed mass support from the peasantry. They were the most popular party in Russia. Some believed in assassinations to weaken the government many believed in revolution. They were united in their determination to redistribute land so everyone would have a fair share.


Worker Discontent

The social causes of the Russian Revolution mainly came from centuries of oppression of the lower classes by the Tsarist regime and Nicholas’s failures in World War I. While rural agrarian peasants had been emancipated from serfdom in 1861, they still resented paying redemption payments to the state, and demanded communal tender of the land they worked. The problem was further compounded by the failure of Sergei Witte’s land reforms of the early 20th century. Increasing peasant disturbances and sometimes actual revolts occurred, with the goal of securing ownership of the land they worked. Russia consisted mainly of poor farming peasants, with 1.5% of the population owning 25% of the land.

Workers had good reasons for discontent: overcrowded housing with often deplorable sanitary conditions long hours at work (on the eve of the war, a 10-hour workday six days a week was the average and many were working 11–12 hours a day by 1916) constant risk of injury and death from poor safety and sanitary conditions harsh discipline (not only rules and fines, but foremen’s fists) and inadequate wages (made worse after 1914 by steep wartime increases in the cost of living). At the same time, urban industrial life was full of benefits, though these could be just as dangerous, from the point of view of social and political stability, as the hardships. There were many encouragements to expect more from life. Acquiring new skills gave many workers a sense of self-respect and confidence, heightening expectations and desires. Living in cities, workers encountered material goods they had never seen in villages. Most importantly, they were exposed to new ideas about the social and political order.

The rapid industrialization of Russia also resulted in urban overcrowding. Between 1890 and 1910, the population of the capital, Saint Petersburg, swelled from 1,033,600 to 1,905,600, with Moscow experiencing similar growth. This created a new proletariat that due to being crowded together in the cities was much more likely to protest and go on strike than the peasantry had been in previous eras. In one 1904 survey, it was found that an average of sixteen people shared each apartment in Saint Petersburg with six people per room. There was no running water, and piles of human waste were a threat to the health of the workers. The poor conditions only aggravated the situation, with the number of strikes and incidents of public disorder rapidly increasing in the years shortly before World War I. Because of late industrialization, Russia’s workers were highly concentrated.


Opposition to Tsarist Rule

Opposition to Tsarist Government had long been a feature of Romanov rule. Prior to the 1905 Revolution the main source of revolutionary opposition was the Social Democrats. This group split in 1903, following a disagreement between its leaders about the way forward. The result of this disagreement was the formation of two revolutionary groups, the Social Revolutionaries (later called the Mensheviks) and the Bolsheviks.

The 1905 Revolution was not a pre-planned attempt to seize power. It began when 150,000 people, led by Father Gabon, marched to the Winter Palace to ask the Tsar to help them cope with the hardships they faced. The army was sent out to meet and control the crowd, whose petition called for help, assistance and ‘justice and protection’ from the Tsar. Instead of the protection they asked for, they were forced upon by the army. It is not known why the army fired, or exactly how many died, but the day became known as Bloody Sunday and news of the massacre spread quickly throughout Russia.

Image – An artists impression of Bloody Sunday

As a consequence of this, strikes were called in Russian cities and the peasants love of the Tsar was dealt a severe blow. Shortly after the massacre, Russian soldiers and sailors who had been defeated in the Russo-Japanese War returned home. Some of these men, most notably on the battleship Potemkin, mutinied. The Tsar introduced some reforms, issued the October Manifesto promising representation and civil liberties. Whilst offering reform with one hand, the Tsar also used lethal force with the other. Loyal troops were used to crush the mutinies, to force strikes to end and to safeguard the nobility in the countryside.

This sequence of events led to an increase in support for revolutionary groups. In 1905 the Social Revolutionaries claimed 10,000 supporters in St. Petersburg and the Bolsheviks just 200.

Opposition to the Tsar before 1914

Click here to go to an exercise that helps to model your understanding of the nature of opposition to the Tsar and which assesses weaknesses in his government.


Russia outlaws Putin critic Alexey Navalny's organizations as 'extremist'

The move means public support for Navalny risks long prison sentences.

Alexei Navalny plans to end hunger strike

A Russian court has outlawed the organizations of the opposition leader Alexey Navalny by labelling them "extremist" as the Kremlin moves to crush Navalny's movement following his jailing earlier this year.

The ruling by Moscow's City Court puts Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, the FBK, and its regional political offices alongside terror groups like the Islamic State and means that anyone publicly supporting Navalny could now face lengthy prison sentences, as well as being barred from running in elections.

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic, was sentenced to two and half years in a prison camp in February after surviving a nerve agent poisoning last summer that independent investigations, like the one led by Bellingcat, have linked to the Kremlin.

The move to outlaw Navalny's movement is part of a sweeping and unprecedented crackdown under Putin to stifle dissent that has intensified in recent months. It is widely seen by rights groups and independent observers as an effort to clear the field of anti-Kremlin opposition ahead of Russia's parliamentary elections in September.

The court accepted a request by Moscow's Prosecutor's Office to designate the Anti-Corruption Foundation and his regional offices, known as "Navalny Headquarters" as "extremist" under legislation nominally intended for violent terrorist groups, but which has also been used against opponents of the Kremlin.

Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation produces his spectacular investigations into alleged corruption among Putin and powerful Russians that have helped create his grassroots following in Russia.

It organizes campaigns and peaceful protests that call for free elections, an end to corruption and to free political prisoners.

The ruling means that anyone working for the organizations or financing them could now face up to six years in prison. But even those expressing support for Navalny publicly or organizing demonstrations associated with him could also risk similar sentences.

"It's historic. Russia. A descent into the abyss. This impacts us all," Anti-Corruption Foundation Director Ivan Zhdanov wrote in Russian on Twitter.

After the ruling, Navalny's team posted a message from him in prison calling it a naked attempt to protect Putin's power and defend he and his allies' ability to enrich themselves.

"When corruption is the basis of state power, fighters against corruption are extremists," Navalny wrote in Russian in the statement posted on his official Instagram.

Navalny said despite the ruling the movement would find ways to continue its fight.

"We are not a name or paper or an office. We are a group of people who are united and organize those citizens of Russia who are against corruption, are for honest courts and equality before the law," he wrote. "There are millions of them. You are them. And while you are there, we aren't going anywhere."

The court hearings were held partly behind closed doors because some of the case evidence against the Anti-Corruption Fund was classified as secret.

Prosecutors accused Navalny's organizations of "under the cover of liberal slogans" trying to create the "conditions for destabilizing the social and civil-political situation." They alleged the groups are attempting to change Russia's "constitutional order," including through a supposed foreign-backed revolution.

The hearing Monday lasted 12 hours, and late into the night, as Navalny's team suggested the authorities were trying to rush through the ruling.

The United States also condemned the decision on Wednesday, calling it "particularly disturbing."

"This designation puts staff members, volunteers, and thousands of supporters across Russia at risk of criminal prosecution and imprisonment for exercising fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Russian Constitution, and it further restricts the ability of opposition candidates to appear on the ballot in the September Duma elections," State Department spokesperson Ned Price sad in a statement. "With this action, Russia has effectively criminalized one of the country’s few remaining independent political movements."

This decision to outlaw Navalny's movement is a strong challenge to President Joe Biden, one week before he and Putin are scheduled to hold their summit.

The crackdown on dissent in Russia in the past year has become more intense than at any other time during Putin's two-decade rule, with the Kremlin no longer seeming willing to tolerate any political opposition.

Putin's ruling party, United Russia, is polling badly as the parliamentary elections approach and Navalny's team has planned to target them as an opportunity to embarrass the party by inflicting losses through tactical voting.

Ahead of the vote, authorities have taken steps to bar anti-Kremlin opposition from taking part. This week, Dmitry Gudkov, one of the few prominent opposition figures not under criminal investigation or in exile, fled Russia to Ukraine after police detained and questioned him, saying he feared he and his family could face arrest.


Does the opposition stand a chance of unseating Mr. Putin?

Not in the near future. Members of the opposition view the short-term prospects for political change as limited, but they keep alive the post-Soviet promise of a democratic Russia.

Midlevel opposition figures, including several in Mr. Navalny’s organization, remain active and defiant. Mr. Navalny himself chose imprisonment in Russia over exile when he returned from medical treatment in Germany this year, facing certain arrest.

A severe blow to Mr. Navalny’s movement came on the eve of the summit between Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden, all but certainly occurring with the approval of the Kremlin, in a signal that Mr. Putin will not bow to foreign pressure. A court in Moscow this week banned Mr. Navalny’s nationwide political organization as extremist.

The move will drive anyone supporting Mr. Navalny to cease their political activities or go underground or into exile. This legal dismantlement of an opposition group marked a new phase of a crackdown on dissent, relying on a formal process rather than on pretexts as before.

Mr. Putin has remained popular with many Russians, though independent polling has shown some slump in his ratings beginning in 2018, as the economy stagnated.

Hard-liners then sought to guarantee stability with an iron fist, some analysts say, a task made more urgent last year by the possibility of pandemic-related unrest and the looming parliamentary elections scheduled for September.

Still, the current crackdown, expected to come up at the summit meeting next week, is not a sharp break with history: Russia held its last national election deemed by international observers to be free and fair nearly 20 years ago, with a parliamentary vote in 2002.


Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution Class 9 MCQs Questions with Answers

Choose the correct option:

Question 1.
The leader of the Bolshevik party was
(a) Stalin
(b) Lenin
(c) Karl Marx
(d) Louis Blanc

Question 2.
Tsarist power in Russia collapsed in the year
(a) 1905
(b) 1916
(c) 1917
(d) 1920

Question 3.
Tsarina Alexandra was of the
(a) German origin
(b) French origin
(c) Russian origin
(d) Dutch origin

Question 4.
Jadidists were ………………… within the Russian empire.
(a) Muslim reformers
(b) Muslim educationists
(c) Parsi reformers
(d) German refugees

Answer: (a) Muslim reformers

Question 5.
The main occupation of the people of Russia in the beginning of the twentieth century was
(a) manufacturing
(b) poultry farming
(c) fishing
(d) agriculture

Question 6.
A Labour Party in Britain was formed by socialist and
(a) trade unionists
(b) peasants
(c) industrialists
(d) young students

Question 7.
The Central powers during the First World War included countries like Germany, Turkey and
(a) France
(b) Austria
(c) Britain
(d) Russia

Question 8.
The name associated with April Theses is
(a) Karl Marx
(b) Robert Owen
(c) Lenin
(d) Stalin

Question 9.
The successor of Lenin was
(a) Stalin
(b) Kerenskii
(c) Trotskii
(d) Louis Blance

Question 10.
Budeonovka was the name given to the Soviet
(a) boots
(b) coat
(c) scarf
(d) hat

Question 11.
Which among the following groups was against any kind of political or social change?
(a) Nationalists
(b) conservatives
(c) liberals
(d) radicals

Question 12.
Which of these statements is/are correct about Europe after the French Revolution?
(a) Suddenly it seemed possible to change the aristocratic society of the 18th century.
(b) However not everyone wanted a complete transformation of society.
(c) Some wanted gradual shift, while others wanted complete change of society.
(d) All the above

Question 13.
Which of the following factors made autocracy unpopular in Russia?
(a) The German origin of the Tsarina Alexandra
(b) Poor advisors like the Monk Rasputin
(c) The huge cost of fighting in the World War I
(d) Both (a) and (b)

Question 14.
How can you say that the ‘liberals’ were not ‘democrats’?
(a) They did not believe in universal adult franchise
(b) They felt that only men of property should have a right to vote
(c) Women should not have right to vote
(d) All the above

Question 15.
What kind of developments took place as a result of new political trends in Europe?
(a) Industrial Revolution occurred
(b) New cities came up
(c) Railways expanded
(d) All the above

Question 16.
Who conspired in Italy to bring about a revolution?
(a) Bismarck
(b) Karl Marx
(c) Giuseppe Mazzini
(d) None

Answer: (c) Giuseppe Mazzini

Question 17.
What were the demands made by the workers in St. Petersburg who went on a strike?
(a) Reduction of working time to eight hours
(b) Increase in wages
(c) Improvement in working conditions
(d) All the above

Question 18.
In the World War I, which started in 1914, Russia fought against
(a) Britain and France
(b) Germany and Austria
(c) America
(d) All the above

Answer: (b) Germany and Austria

Question 19.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) By 1916, railway lines in Russia began to break down
(b) There were labour shortages and small workshops producing essentials were shut down
(c) Large supplies of grain were sent to feed the army
(d) All the above

Question 20.
On 27th February 1917, soldiers and striking workers gathered to form a council called
(a) Soviet Council
(b) Petrograd Soviet
(c) Moscow Union
(d) Russian Council

Answer: (b) Petrograd Soviet

Question 21.
Which of these demands is/are referred to as Lenin’s ‘April Theses’?
(a) World War I should be brought to an end
(b) Land should be transferred to the peasants
(c) Banks should be nationalised
(d) All the above

Question 22.
Who led the Bolshevik group in Russia during Russian Revolution?
(a) Karl Marx
(b) Friedrich Engels
(c) Vladimir Lenin
(d) Trotsky

Question 23.
Socialists took over the government in Russia through the?
(a) October Revolution in 1917
(b) November Revolution in 1918
(c) December Revolution in 1919
(d) February Revolution in 1920

Answer: (a) October Revolution in 1917

Question 24.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of Russian people worked in the:
(a) Industrial sector
(b) Agricultural sector
(c) Mining sector
(d) Transport sector

Answer: (b) Agricultural sector

Question 25.
The commune of farmers was known as:
(a) Tsar
(b) Duma
(c) Mir
(d) Cossacks

Look at the picture (NCERT Text book page 30) given below and write a few lines about him.

Answer:
He is Tsar Nicholas II who ruled Russia and its empire till the revolution. He proved to be a very corrupt and inefficient Tsar who never paid attention to the welfare for his people. His weak personality and failure in the assessment of the situation led to his downfall.

We hope the given NCERT MCQ Questions for Class 9 History Chapter 2 Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution with Answers Pdf free download will help you. If you have any queries regarding Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution CBSE Class 9 History MCQs Multiple Choice Questions with Answers, drop a comment below and we will get back to you soon.


E Associational and Organizational Rights

The government restricts freedom of assembly. Overwhelming police responses, the excessive use of force, routine arrests, and harsh fines and prison sentences have discouraged unsanctioned protests, while pro-Kremlin groups are able to demonstrate freely. Despite the risks, thousands of people have turned out for a series of antigovernment demonstrations in recent years.

Obtaining permission to hold a protest or rally by groups opposing the Kremlin is extremely difficult. At the regional level, extensive territorial restrictions prohibit assemblies in as much as 70 percent of public space. While some of these restrictions have been invalidated over the years—in prominent Constitutional Court cases in 2019 and 2020—authorities can ban rallies based on “public interest” grounds. In December 2020, two new laws were adopted by the Duma prohibiting single-person pickets and requiring protest organizers to fill out extensive paperwork.

In May 2020, the parliament increased the penalties under Article 212.1 that regulate public gatherings. The Investigative Committee used the updated code in July to file charges against Yulia Galiamina, a member of the Moscow city council and frequent critic of the Russian president, for participating in several protests. In December, Galiamina was convicted and given a two-year suspended sentence.

Unsanctioned protests in Khabarovsk lasted over 150 days, spurred on after the arrest of Governor Sergei Furgal in July 2020. Although the authorities ignored many of the demonstrations, they began arresting activists in October. Furgal, a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s opposition party, had defeated a United Russia candidate in the 2018 elections.

Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work? 0.00 0 4.00 4

The government continued its relentless campaign against NGOs in 2020. Authorities impede activities in part by requiring groups that receive foreign funding and are deemed to engage in political activity to register as “foreign agents.” This designation, which is interpreted by much of the Russian public as denoting a foreign spying operation, mandates onerous registration requirements, obliges groups to tag their materials with a “foreign agent” label, and generally makes it extremely difficult for them to pursue their objectives. In December 2020, Putin extended the provisions of the foreign agent law to recognize individuals and informal organizations as potential foreign agents.

Political activities addressed in the law include organizing gatherings, observing elections, issuing public statements aimed at changing legislation, distributing opinions about government decisions, and conducting and publishing public opinion polls. The law also expands the definition of “foreign support” beyond financing and makes it the responsibility of individuals to self-declare their status as foreign agents, or risk fines or prison time. New punishments for violations of the law include up to five years of forced labor in a colony.

By the end of 2020, the Justice Ministry had classified 75 groups as “foreign agents.” Among the new designees are No to Violence, which works to recriminalize domestic violence and help its victims. Separately, a total of 29 foreign NGOs have been deemed “undesirable organizations” on the grounds that they threaten national security, including the Jamestown Foundation, Project Harmony, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, and groups related to Falun Gong. This designation gives authorities the power to issue a range of sanctions against the groups and individuals who work with them. In December, the Justice Ministry added five individuals to its list of mass media foreign agents, two of whom are not members of the media: human rights defender Lev Ponomarev and artist Daria Apakhonchich.

Other forms of harassment and intimidation hinder NGO activities. Aleksey Navalny had to close his Anti-Corruption Foundation in July 2020, due to a lawsuit filed by Putin associate Yevgeny Prigozhin. Navalny released videos that revealed Prigozhin’s company sold spoiled food to Moscow’s schoolchildren.

While trade union rights are legally protected, they are limited in practice. Strikes and worker protests have occurred in prominent industries, including automobile manufacturing, but antiunion discrimination and reprisals are common. Employers often ignore collective bargaining rights. The largest labor federation works in close cooperation with the Kremlin, though independent unions are active in some industrial sectors and regions.


World History: Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution was a series of revolutions in early 20th century that ultimately resulted in the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II and the establishment of a communist government. During the revolution of 1905, on Bloody Sunday, the Tsar’s guards fired upon peaceful protesters, killing hundreds. Concerned his authority might topple, the Tsar conceded to reforms, including the establishment of the Duma, a legislative assembly.

Things calmed down until early 1917, when the February Revolution resulted in the Tsar abdicating the throne and the installation of a leftist provisional government. In October same year, Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the provisional government and established a communist in the October Revolution. Shortly afterwards, Vladimir Lenin moved to end Russian involvement in World War-I. On March 3, 1918 the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed, formally ending Russia’s participation in the war.

Summary of Causes and Events

Following is a summary of the causes and events of Russian Revolution.

Growing Discontent against Tsars

There was a widespread discontent among the people against the Tsars in the entire 19 th century. The most discontent community was peasants. Further:

  • Slow pace of Reforms under Tsar Alexander II. This Tsar was assassinated by revolutionaries in 1881. He was succeeded by Alexander III, who was completely anti-reforms.
  • Alexander III clung to the principles of autocracy, orthodoxy, and nationality. He considered dangerous to all who spoke a different language then Russian and worshipped outside the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • He imposed strict censorship codes on published materials and written documents, including private letters.
  • His idea was to establish a uniform Russian culture so he oppressed other national groups in Russia. Russian was made official language and other minority languages such as Polish were banned from the Schools.
  • Further, Jews were targeted for persecution. Jews could not buy land or live among other Russians. Universities set strict quotas for Jewish students. Due to his policies, a wave of Pogroms broke out in many parts of Russia.

Alexander III was succeeded by Tsar Nicholas II who stubbornly refused to surrender any of his power.

Pogrom refers to the organized violence against Jews. This term is particularly associated with the Russian empire and also Germany.

Industrial Revolution

Despite of growth in the number of factories in Russia, the country lagged behind other European countries. To take the country forward, a programme was launched which included higher taxes and foreign investments, to finance the build-up of Russian industries. The economic growth made Russia one of the largest producers of steel in the last decades of 19 th century. The World’s largest Railway line was launched in 1904 as Trans-Siberian Railway. Rapid industrialization stirred more discontent among the people of Russia. Growth of industrialization brought gruelling working conditions, poor wages, child labour and other such problems. The government outlawed the Trade Unions. There was enormous gap between rich and poor.

Mensheviks and Bolsheviks

Various revolutionary movements grew in the Russian Society inspired the thoughts of Karl Marx. They had a belief that the industrial class of workers would overthrow the Tsar and then would form a dictatorship of the proletariat.

In 1903, the revolutionaries got split into two groups viz. Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.

  • Mensheviks wanted a broad base of popular support for revolution
  • Bolsheviks wanted a small number of committed revolutionaries who could sacrifice everything for a Radical change.

Leader of Bolsheviks was Lenin. In the early 1900s, Lenin fled to WesternEurope to avoid arrest by the Tsarist regime but he maintained contact withother Bolsheviks. Lenin then waited until he could safely return to Russia.

The Russo-Japanese War 1904

The Russo-Japanese war of 1904 was one event that showed the Tsar’s weakness and paved the way for revolution. Russia and Japan both were imperialist powers. They both competed for control of Korea and Manchuria. The two nations signed a series of agreements over the territories, but Russia broke them. In retaliation, Japan attacked the Russians at Port Arthur, Manchuria, in February 1904. Though Russian soldiers and sailors went confidently to war, the Japanese defeated them. Defeat by a small country like Japan increased unrest in Russia.

Major Events

Bloody Sunday 1905

On January 22, 1905, some 200,000 workers approached the Tsar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg with a petition asking for better working conditions, more individual freedom, and an elected national legislature. The Tsar Nicholas II was not present at the palace but his generals were there, who ordered the soldiers to fire on the crowd. Hundred of unarmed workers were killed. This event was called the Bloody Sunday. The event provoked a wave of strikes and violence across Russia.

The Tsar Nicholas II opposed reform but in October 1905, he reluctantly promised more freedom. He approved the creation of the Duma, Russia’s first parliament. The first Duma met in May 1906. Its moderate leaders wanted Russia to become a constitutional monarchy like Britain. Hesitant to share his power, the Tsar dissolved the Duma after ten weeks.

Entry in World War-I

In 1914, Nicholas II decided to drag Russia into World War I, despite the fact that Russia was unprepared for a war. More than 4 million Russian soldiers were killed or wounded or taken prisoners. In 1905, Nicholas shifted his headquarters to the War Front to encourage his soldiers. The real government back home came into the hands of his wife Tsarina Alexandra. She ignored the Tsar’s chief advisers and came under the influence of one mysterious Rasputin, a self proclaimed holy man.

Rasputin claimed to have magical healing powers. He was neither a monk, nor he was ever officially connected to the Orthodox Church. Nicholas and Alexandra’s son suffered from haemophilia and Rasputin seemed to ease the boy’s symptoms. To show her gratitude, Alexandra allowed Rasputin to make key political decisions.Rasputin opposed reforms and obtained powerful positions for his close ones and spread corruption. He was assassinated in 1916.

March Revolution 1917

Neither Nicholas nor Alexandra could tackle the enormous problems on war front as well as domestic fronts. In March 1917, women textile workers in Petrograd led a citywide strike.

Thereafter, the riots flared up everywhere. Nearly 200,000 workers swarmed into the streets and government ordered to shoot the rioters. The soldiers initially obeyed the orders but soon sided with them. They fired at the commanding officers and joined with the rebels.

The March revolution was a general uprising which forced Nocholas II to abdicate his throne. A year after, he was executed by the revolutionaries. The leaders of the Duma established a temporary government under Alexander Kerensky, who decided to continue with the war. The decision to continue with the war cost him support from army as well as civilians.

Meanwhile, the Social revolutionaries, competing for power, formed soviets i.e. the local councils which consisted of workers, peasants, and soldiers.

Return of Lenin – October Revolution

Meanwhile Lenin returned from Germany after many years in exile. He reached Petrograd in April 1917. Along with Bolsheviks, he soon gained the control of Petrograd soviet, as well as the soviets in other major Russian cities. Lenin’s slogan—“Peace, Land, and Bread”—got widespread appeal.

During October, 1917 (November as per Gregorian Calender), the Provincial Government was removed and replaced with a Bolshevik government in Russia which led to formation of USSR. This was the October revolution which got over in a matter of hours. Kerensky and his colleagues disappeared from the scene.

Within days after the Bolshevik takeover, Lenin ordered that all farmland be distributed among the peasants. Lenin and the Bolsheviks gave control of factories to the workers.

Withdrawal from War

Boleshevik government also decided to withdraw from the war. In March 1918 Russia and Germany signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Via this treaty, Russia surrendered a large chunk of its territory to Germany and its allies. The humiliating terms of this treaty triggered widespread anger and objection to the policies of the Bolsheviks.

Russian Civil War

The opponents of the Bolsheviks formed a White Army. From 1918 to 1920, civil war raged in Russia between the Red Army of Bolsheviks and White army. Several countries of West including United States sent military aid and forces to Russia to help the White Army. The civil war and the famine that followed claimed 15 million lives in three-year struggle and in the famine that followed.

The Red Army emerged winner and crushed all opposition to Bolshevik rule.

The Measures taken by Lenin

Economic Reforms

In March 1921, Lenin launched the New Economic Policy (NEP). In this policy, he temporarily put aside his plan for a state-controlled economy. He resorted to a small-scale version of capitalism. The reforms under the NEP allowed peasantsto sell their surplus crops instead of turning them over to thegovernment. Individuals could buy and sell goods for profit. Thegovernment kept control of major industries, banks, and means ofcommunication, but it let some small factories, businesses, andfarms operate under private ownership. Lenin also tried to encourageforeign investment.

Political Reforms

Russia was a conglomeration of many nationalities and this was seen as an obstacle to national unity by the Communists. Moreover, the Communist leaders also saw nationalism as a threat to unity and party loyalty.

So, to check nationalism, Lenin organized Russia into several self-governing republics (Soviets) under the central government. Thus, in 1922, the Russia was named the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), in honor of the councils that helped launch the Bolshevik Revolution. The new capital of the union was Moscow. The Bolsheviks also renamed their party to Communist Party.

In 1924, the Communists created a constitution based on socialist and democratic principles but the Communist Party held all the power. Thus, Lenin had established a dictatorship of the Communist Party, nota dictatorship of the proletariat,” as Marx had promoted. However, due to the new policies and peace that followed, USSR slowly recovered. By 1928, the country’s farms andfactories were producing as much as they had before World War I.


A Timeline of the Russian Revolution From 1914 to 1916

In 1914, the First World War erupted across Europe. At one point, in the early days of this process, the Russian Tsar was faced with a decision: mobilize the army and make war almost inevitable, or stand down and lose massive face. He was told by some advisors that to turn away and not fight would undermine and destroy his throne, and by others that to fight would destroy him as the Russian army failed. He seemed to have few correct choices, and he went into war. Both advisors might have been right. His empire would last until 1917 as a result.

• June - July: General Strikes in St. Petersburg.
• July 19th: Germany declares war on Russia, causing a brief sense of patriotic union amongst the Russian nation and a downturn in striking.
• July 30th: The All Russian Zemstvo Union for the Relief of Sick and Wounded Soldiers is created with Lvov as president.
• August - November: Russia suffers heavy defeats and a large shortage of supplies, including food and munitions.
• August 18th: St. Petersburg is renamed Petrograd as 'Germanic' names are changed to sound more Russia, and hence more patriotic.
• November 5th: Bolshevik members of the Duma are arrested they are later tried and exiled to Siberia.

• February 19: Great Britain and France accept Russia's claims to Istanbul and other Turkish lands.
• June 5th: Strikers shot at in Kostromá casualties.
• July 9th: The Great Retreat begins, as Russian forces pull back into Russia.
• August 9th: The Duma's bourgeois parties form the 'Progressive bloc' to push for better government and reform includes the Kadets, Octobrist groups and Nationalists.
• Auguest 10th: Strikers shot at in Ivánovo-Voznesénsk casualties.
• August 17-19th: Strikers in Petrograd protest at the deaths in Ivánovo-Voznesénsk.
• August 23rd: Reacting to war failures and a hostile Duma, the Tsar takes over as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, prorogues the Duma and moves to military headquarters at Mogilev. Central government begins to seize up. By associating the army, and its failures, with him personally, and by moving away from the centre of government, he dooms himself. He absolutely has to win, but doesn't.

• January - December: Despite successes in the Brusilov offensive, the Russian war effort is still characterised by shortages, poor command, death and desertion. Away from the front, the conflict causes starvation, inflation and a torrent of refugees. Both soldiers and civilians blame the incompetence of the Tsar and his government.
• February 6: Duma reconvened.
• February 29th: After a month of strikes at the Putilov Factory, the government conscripts the workers and takes charge of production. Protest strikes follow.
• June 20: Duma prorogued.
• October: Troops from 181st Regiment help striking Russkii Renault workers fight against the Police.
• November 1st: Miliukov gives his 'Is this stupidity or treason?' speech in reconvened Duma.
• December 17/18th: Rasputin is killed by Prince Yusupov he has been causing chaos in the government and blackened the name of the royal family.
• December 30th: The Tsar is warned that his army won't support him against a revolution.


Watch the video: Πως χάθηκε η Ρώσικη Επανάσταση 100 χρόνια από τη Ρώσικη Επανάσταση (November 2022).

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