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The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union. Russia in 1881: Reaction and Progress Classes in Russia Nobles and bureaucrats (Westernized and wealthy)

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Presentation on theme: "The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union. Russia in 1881: Reaction and Progress Classes in Russia Nobles and bureaucrats (Westernized and wealthy)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union

2 Russia in 1881: Reaction and Progress Classes in Russia Nobles and bureaucrats (Westernized and wealthy) Intelligentsia (educated; not part of either the gov’t. or common people) Serfs Alexander II emancipated serfs (1861) and created local councils to help govern-zemstvos 1881, Alexander II assassinated by People’s Will Alexander III ( ) enacted harsh reforms and Russification w/ worst pogroms to date Alexander’s Assassination

3 Russia after 1881: Reaction and Progress In spite of Russification, culturally Russia begins to look like the West Novels by Tolstoy, Symphonies by Tchaikovsky Russia began to industrialize Railway mileage doubled ( ) Telegraph wire X5 Russian industrial worker in 1890 like English worker in hrs. a day, horrible conditions Russian industrial workers were highly concentrated ½ worked in factories of over 500 workers

4 Russia after 1881: Reaction and Progress The “Cadets” Business/professional classes form Constitutional Democrat party (Cadets) in 1905 More concerned w/creating a constitution than w/ the peasants The Communes (Mirs) No one can leave w/o communal permission Land divided and redivided by community Paid heavy taxes to Tsar High exports meant less food

5 Russia after 1881: Reaction and Progress Peasant Demands More land Communes grow but not fast enough Kulaks (successful farmers) stand above the serfs

6 The Emergence of Revolutionary Parties Emancipated Russian peasants revolutionary in that they were still extremely resentful of the gentry (landed class) The Intelligentsia Hated Russian empire and desired its violent overthrow In constant struggle w/secret police By 1890, no longer attempting assassinations but trying to gain an army through either: Peasants or the factory workers

7 The Emergence of Revolutionary Parties Populism Believed Russia did not need to be capitalist before it became socialist Believed in strength of the peasants and the communes Populists formed Social Revolutionary (SRs) Party (1901) Marxism With the growth of factories and more strikes, many populists turned to Marxism

8 The Emergence of Revolutionary Parties Lenin From middle-class family of bureaucrats Brother was incidentally involved in plot to assassinate Alexander III and was executed by the Tsar’s orders Lenin could longer work in gov’t. so he became a professional revolutionary Arrested and spent 3 yrs. of exile in Siberia, then immigrated to W. Europe where he stayed until 1917

9 The Emergence of Revolutionary Parties The Social Democrats (SDs) Founded in 1898 by Marxists in Russia Saw revolution as international phenomenon Believed revolution would occur in industrialized countries first More oriented towards Europe and most leaders lived in exile Did not see violence/assassinations as helpful

10 Split in the Social Democrats: Bolsheviks and Mensheviks Russian Marxists split in 1903 between Bolsheviks (led by Lenin) and Menshevik factions 1912 Bolsheviks form own party Bolsheviks (Leninists) Party should be small, strongly centralized, revolutionary elite Central committee would act as a dictatorship of the proletariat Mensheviks Favored larger, more open party w/membership for mere sympathizers Recommended cooperation w/liberals, progressives and bourgeoisie democrats

11 Split in the SDs: Bolsheviks and Mensheviks Lenin accepted and added little to Marx’s main ideas: Capitalism exploits the workers History is shaped by economic forces and was moving towards socialism Religion, philosophy, gov’t. and morals were weapons of the ruling class Lenin believed himself a pure Marxist and did not tolerate any deviation from Marxist philosophy

12 Split in the SDs: Bolsheviks and Mensheviks Lenin as activist Lenin was the supreme agitator and organizer Believed (unlike Marx) that small, revolutionary elite could impose its socialist ideas on the masses

13 Split in the SDs: Bolsheviks and Mensheviks The Party Lenin saw the party as the leader of the revolution Embraced the use of secret codes, false names, and clandestine tactics Saw trade unionism w/its day-to-day demands as allied with the bourgeoisie Saw the party as the intellectual leaders and the workers as the muscle of the revolution The insistence on a powerful party elite is a distinct feature of Leninism Marriage of Marxism w/Russian revolutionary tactics became communism

14 The Revolution of 1905: Background and Revolutionary Events Growing Discontent Formation of SDs, SRs and Cadets was a sign of intelligentsia’s discontent After 1900, popular discontent too Peasant rebellions against tax collectors and landlords No connection between popular discontent and political parties Tsar Nicholas saw autocracy as the only way to rule Russia and offered no concessions

15 The Revolution of 1905: Background and Revolutionary Events Response to Military Defeat Russo-Japanese War exposed Russian gov’t. as incompetent Bloody Sunday In Jan Father Gapon, a priest, led a group of 200,000 peaceful protestors to the Tsars’ palace asking for: An 8 hr. day A 50 cent minimum daily wage An elected constituent assembly Tsar was away, several hundred protestors were shot dead by troops

16 The Revolution of 1905: Background and Revolutionary Events Reactions to “Bloody Sunday” Peasants’ emotional bond to the Tsar is broken Peasant rebellions occur throughout Russia Gentry lands overrun, manor houses are burned Councils of workers or “soviets” were formed in Moscow and St. Petersburg SRs, Cadets and SDs (mostly Mensheviks) try to lead rebellions w/limited success All agree there needs to be more representation in gov’t. Tsar grudgingly gives vague promise of democratic legislature In response St. Petersburg soviet (led by Mensheviks) calls general strike across Russia Tsar issues October Manifesto promising constitution, civil liberties and a Duma (parliament) elected by all classes

17 The Revolution of 1905: Background and Revolutionary Events Reaction to the October Manifesto Manifesto divides opposition Cadets got the Duma and were somewhat satisfied Liberals were now afraid of revolutionaries Workers/peasants still want demands met Intelligentsia believe, rightly, that October Manifesto is a ruse In the end, gov’t. is able to maintain itself through: Contenting of middle class liberals Crackdowns (arrests and executions) of revolutionaries Peace w/Japan (reliable soldiers brought in from Far East)

18 The Results of the 1905 Revolution The Duma Created in 1906 and gave Russia (at least superficially) a parliamentary body Tsar forbid Duma any say in: Foreign policy Gov’t. budget Gov’t. hiring and firing Both extreme right (Black Hundreds) and extreme left (SDs and SRs) boycotted Duma

19 The Results of 1905 The First Duma Unequal voting Landlord votes outweighed peasants/workers Kadets win majority and press for universal male suffrage and more authority for Duma Tsar dismissed the Duma within 2 months Second Duma had 83 SR and Menshevik deputies, but 50 were arrested by the Tsar Due to electoral change, 3 rd and 4 th Dumas had conservative majorities who managed to keep up the appearance of constitutional gov’t. w/o addressing any of Russia’s underlying issues

20 Stolypin Reforms Stolypin was a moderate who acted as Tsar’s chief minister Believed that spread of private property would quell revolutionary tendencies Reforms included: Broader powers for the zemstvos Allowed peasants to sell their shares of land in the commune and leave the villages Allowed peasants the ability to buy land from the communes and the gentry

21 Success of Stolypin Reforms Between 1907 and 1916, 6.2 million families out of 16 million eligible applied to opt out of the communes Most peasants, however, stayed w/ the Communes Kulaks increased in number and gentry still held a huge amount of land Stolypin assassinated by left wing revolutionary double agent in 1911.

22 Westernization On the eve of WWI, Russia looked to be modernizing Railways expanding Growing exports Freedom of press (limited) This fragile modernization was constantly threatened by extreme right and extreme left

23 Events of the Revolution February 1917 Spontaneous uprising of peasants Protesting shortage of bread: Industrial strikes Tramcars (city transit) forceably stopped Breaking of shop windows Waving red flags that read, “Down with war!”

24 Revolutionaries Take Over When revolutionary leaders realized the revolution was actually happening, they tried to organize the events to their benefit. Leaders of Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and Social Revolutionaries all joined together calling a three-day general strike At least 60,000 soldiers join the revolutionaries These leaders, together with soldiers set up a Soviet (council) Take control of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) Duma disobeys Tsar’s orders to dissolve and form the Provisional Government to run Russia Tsar Nicholas II steps down in favor of his son, Alexis, with Tsar’s brother acting as regent Tsar’s brother refuses succession Romanov line to Russian throne ends Romanov family placed under house arrest (confined to palace) Russia now governed by a Provisional Government

25 Provisional Government Declared all Russian citizens equal Freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly given to all citizens Unions and strikes legal Planned on continuing war Provisional Government made these promises, but asked people to wait People tired of waiting and listened more and more to the revolutionaries

26 Alexander Kerensky Leader of small socialist party became Russia’s Prime Minister in July Wanted to establish Parliamentary Democracy Well educated and an excellent speaker, he lacked strong leadership abilities

27 Kornilov Affair General Kornilov attempted to overthrow Provisional Government with military takeover To prevent this takeover, Kerensky freed many Bolshevik leaders from prison and supplied arms to many revolutionaries

28 Bolshevik Revolution By end of September, there was widespread peasant rebellion in Russia Lenin left Finland in disguise and attended a secret Bolshevik meeting in Petrograd Bolsheviks held mass meetings with thousands in attendance Kerensky declares Russia to be in a state of emergency and orders arrest of Trotsky and other Bolshevik leaders

29 Events of Bolshevik Revolution 1. Cruiser Aurora listens to Trotsky and disobeys Governments order to go out to sea 2. Trotsky orders the removal of thousands of guns from the Fortress of Peter and Paul to arm the Red Guards (Bolshevik troops) 3. Small bands of armed Bolsheviks seize important buildings (rail stations, telegraph exchanges, banks, printing plants, and powerhouses). Most regiments in Petrograd did not get involved. 4. Trotsky declares Provisional Government overthrown, power now in hands of Soviets 5. Kerensky escapes in American Embassy car 6. Bolshevik troops surround Winter Palace and give ultimatum to surrender or be shelled; ministers would not surrender 7. Cruiser Aurora fires blank shells at Winter Palace to signal beginning of attack 8. Bolsheviks (composed of soldiers, sailors, and workers) storm Winter Palace 9. Bolsheviks encounter little resistance, mass confusion but few injuries 10. Bolsheviks control Government, Lenin was new leader

30 How Did Bolsheviks Win? Kerensky not a strong leader Provisional Government disorganized Other parties not as organized as Bolsheviks Bolsheviks composed of professional revolutionaries dedicated to their goals and capable of carrying them out

31 What Did Lenin Do Upon Coming to Power? Immediately proposed an end to War (WWI) (what peasants wanted most was peace) Proposed the distribution of all land to peasants, landowners would not be paid for land taken from them Lenin’s proposals adopted

32 After the Revolution Bolsheviks encountered stiff resistance in some cities Bolsheviks defeated in Kiev (Ukraine) Bolshevik power weak in Siberia, Georgia, Armenia, and Central Asia Strongest in Central Russia and in large cities where many workers lived

33 Democracy? November 25 elections held to form Constituent Assembly in Russia Socialist Revolutionary Party got more than twice the votes of the Bolshevik Party (peasants liked SRP’s idea of peasant ownership of land) When Constituent Assembly met on January 18, 1918, Bolsheviks posted their soldiers at the entrances preventing many Socialist Revolutionaries from entering During meeting, Bolsheviks were disorderly and succeeded in closing down the assembly Russia’s first chance at democracy short lived

34 Ending WWI Bolsheviks needed peasant support to stay in power Lenin decided to get Russia out of WWI and send peasant soldiers home In March of 1918, Lenin signed treaty with Germany accepting German occupation of Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, and Finland Russia lost over one quarter of its farmland and one third of its population, almost all its coal mines, and more than half its industries Huge loss to Russia’s economy

35 End of Romanovs Taken to Western Siberia After Bolsheviks took power taken to Ekaterinburg (in Ural Mountains) Lenin sent telegram authorizing their execution Taken to cellar at 1:30 a.m. with family doctor and servants Nicholas and Alexandra fell first under the hail of bullets Bullets bounced off the daughters, diamonds found in their corsets Those who survived the bullets were killed by bayonets Bodies loaded onto truck, stripped of jewels, thrown into a mine Mine not deep enough to hide them, bodies dumped into a pit in a marshy area Even the family dog was killed


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