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THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. By the 20 th Century A major crisis was due and had to happen Russia was an unfair society and needed social, economic and political.

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Presentation on theme: "THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. By the 20 th Century A major crisis was due and had to happen Russia was an unfair society and needed social, economic and political."— Presentation transcript:


2 By the 20 th Century A major crisis was due and had to happen Russia was an unfair society and needed social, economic and political reform. WHY????

3 Political Nicholas II – autocratic and ineffective Ruled a country covering one-sixth of the earth ’ s total land surface Massive personal wealth Backed by an army of 1million and secret police (OKHRANA) Political parties banned – critics ended up in prison or exile Press was censored

4 Yet Many Russians worshipped the Tsar and peasants Many Russians worshipped the Tsar and peasants typically had a picture of the Tsar on a wall of their hut.

5 His rule His word was law He appointed his ministers But did not have to listen to them AND could ‘ hire and fire ’ them at will He was a true autocrat.



8 Russia was….. Only 40% ethnic Russians 80% were peasants – subsistence farmers 60%+ = illiterate Life expectancy = 40 Low tech and low investment Land ownership rare OBSCHINA (Commune)Land owned by OBSCHINA (Commune) It also organised taxes and allotted strips of land to each household

9 Peasants cont ’ d Peasants could not leave the commune without the consent of the elders Discipline and punishments harsh – even to exile in Siberia Drought and crop failure common 1891 = famine + cholera and typhus = 400,000 dead 1890 – 64 % of peasants called up for military service were declared unfit.

10 YET..Yet… Some did prosper and it was generally the shortage of land rather than shortage of food that was the irritant. Rural population grew but land owned by peasants and land size failed to keep pace. Faith in Tsar remained strong BUT hunger for land would grow.

11 Industrial and urban Russia had grown industrially but living and working conditions were horrendous Average working day was 14 hours Trade unions banned but some strikes took place Potential for hotbed of political activism


13 Unrest prior to 1905 The passivity of the Russian people had limits May 1896 – riots in St. Petersburg 1902 - Street demonstrations in Rostov on Don 1901-1907 arson of manor houses in rural areas became commonplace

14 Impact of WWI Criticism of the Tsar Poor military commander Poor political leader Left the Tsarina in charge of the government Refused to accept advice from the Duma Criticism of the Tsarina Inexperienced and incompetent ruler Under the influence of Rasputin Unpopular because she was German Role of Rasputin Claimed to be a healer. Disliked by many yet held influence over both the Tsar and Tsarina

15 Economic problems Over 15 million men joined the army not enough workers in factories and farms caused shortages of food and materials Railway system very poor –could not supply the troops –could not supply the towns –food prices rose Impact WWI

16 In 1917, two revolutions swept through Russia, ending centuries of imperial rule and setting in motion political and social changes that would lead to the formation of the Soviet Union. – In March, growing civil unrest, coupled with chronic food shortages, erupted into open revolt, forcing the abdication of Nicholas II (1868-1918), the last Russian czar. – Just months later, the newly installed provisional government was itself overthrown by the more radical Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin (1870- 1924).

17 Russian Revolution: Background By 1917, most Russians had lost faith in the leadership ability of Czar Nicholas II. Government corruption was rampant the Russian economy remained backward Nicholas repeatedly dissolved the Duma, (the Russian parliament established after the 1905 revolution), when it opposed his will

18 First Phases of the Russian Rev The immediate cause of the February Revolution was Russia's disastrous involvement in World War I (1914-18).World War I Economy was hopelessly disrupted by the costly war effort Moderates joined Russian radical elements in calling for the overthrow of the czar.

19 Feb Rev 1917 (known as such because of Russia's use of the Julian calendar until February 1918) began on March 8, 1917 (or February 23), when demonstrators clamoring for bread took to the streets in the Russian capital of Petrograd (now called St. Petersburg).

20 Events of the Revolution Feb 22 20,000 steelworkers on strike Feb 23 Women take to the streets to demonstrate Feb 25 Now over half of Petrograd is on strike Feb 26 Tsar orders troops to fire on crowds- 40 killed

21 Events of the Revolution Feb 26 Tsar closes the Duma Feb 27 Soldiers mutiny and establish the Petrograd Soviet with workers and sailors Feb 28 Tsar returns to Petrograd March 1 Tsar loses support of army March 2 Tsar abdicates March 3 Grand Duke Michael refuses throne

22 Feb Rev continued Supported by huge crowds of striking industrial workers, the protesters clashed with police but refused to leave the streets. Strike spread among all of Petrograd's workers, and irate mobs destroyed police stations. Several factories elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet, or council, of workers' committees, following the model devised during the 1905 revolution.

23 The Provisional Government 1. A 12 member government led by Kerensky (Full of Aristocrats and middle-class politicians) 2. Planned to rule until elections could be held The Petrograd Soviet A council of 2,500 deputies. Determined to share power with the Provisional Government Dual Government

24 Problems facing the Provisional Government Land - Peasants demand land Hunger - The workers in the cities were demanding food The war - fight on or make peace Revolutionaries - how to stop the spread of their influence The Army - needed loyalty of the army

25 Petrograd Soviet issued Army Order #1 Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael, whose refusal of the crown brought an end to the czarist autocracy. Lenin returns from exile and denounces provisional government

26 The Kornilov Revolt Events Aug 1917 General Kornilov attempts a coup (and fails) Kerensky is forced to ask the Bolsheviks for help. Bolshevik leaders are released and the Red Guard is given weapons Bolsheviks defeat Kornilov Results Bolsheviks seen as heroes. Popularity increased Became a well armed force

27 Lenin called for –Overthrow of Government –End to war –Soviets to form new government –Land given to peasants –State to control factories and banks Lenin launched a nearly bloodless coup d’état against the provisional government

28 Lenin and the Bolsheviks Lenin became the virtual dictator of the first Marxist state in the world. made peace with Germany nationalized industry and distributed land

29 More specifically…. The first decrees Peace Lenin ends the war sends Trotsky to negotiate with Germany. Treaty of Brest-Litvosk Establishes the CHEKA Factories All factories put under control of workers committees Land Land taken from Church, Nobility etc and given to peasants. Land not taken over by the State (yet) Press All non -Bolshevik papers were banned

30 Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power? They had a strong political and economic centre in the Petrograd Soviet. They had their own armed forces, the ‘Red Guards’. They were organised and disciplined and had clear planned strategies. They were realistic, practical and clever in setting their short term goals. The Provisional Government was weak and ineffective. Lenin was an inspiring leader with vision, clarity and ability.

31 Lenin continued Beginning in 1918 had to fight a devastating civil war against anti-Bolshevik White Army forces. In 1920, the anti-Bolsheviks were defeated, and in 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established This new government, based on socialism and one-party dictatorship, encouraged worldwide revolution

32 Why were the Bolsheviks successful? Role of Lenin Organised party Published Pravda Avoided capture and organised the coup. Popular slogans to raise moral and public awareness Role of Trotsky Joined Bolsheviks after July Days Masterminded the events of the coup Great military leader organised the Red Guard Provisional Government Kerensky knew of Trotsky's plan but had lost support of the army and so was helpless

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