russian revolution



We explain what the Russian Revolution was, its history, causes, consequences and other characteristics. Also, main characters.

The Russian Revolution created a new state that eventually gave way to the USSR.

What was the Russian Revolution?

The Russian Revolution is understood to be the set of historical events that occurred in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. It consisted in the overthrow of the tsarist monarchical regime and the construction of a new model of Condition Republican Leninist type.

This later became the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Also known as Soviet Russia or Communist Russia, the latter would be the heart of the later Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Commonly, the Russian Revolution comprises two different moments in this historical process, both in 1917:

  • The February Revolution. He put an end to the government of Tsar Nicholas II and formed a provisional government.
  • The October Revolution. Vladimir Lenin and his companions from the Bolshevik Party overthrew the government provisional and established a Soviet-type government (the Sovnarkom or Soviet of People's Commissars), thus restructuring the country to lay the foundations of the coming Soviet Union.

The Russian Revolution was a watershed event in the history from the 20th century and is one of the most studied by historians of this period. It aroused enormous sympathy in the progressive and revolutionary sectors of the entire world, as well as enormous fears and antagonisms once their political and social dynamics were at stake.

In fact, many speak of a "short 20th century" to refer to the cycle started by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and closed by the Fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Background of the Russian Revolution

For centuries, the Russian Empire had been a nation essentially rural (85% of the population lived outside the cities). There was a high percentage of landless peasants, impoverished and receptive to revolutionary ideas. In fact, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), with Japanese victory, unleashed a propitious moment for the demand for change.

But Tsar Nicholas II did not heed the requests of the so-called 1905 Revolution, proceeded to suppress it with fire and blood, resulting in the infamous Bloody Sunday when the Russian Imperial Guard gunned down the protesters. This means that the critical moment for the Revolution and the fall of the aristocracy had been brewing for a long time.

Causes of the Russian Revolution

Russia had suffered numerous defeats in the First World War.

The causes of the Russian Revolution are various, and we can explain them separately as follows:

  • The situation of oppression and poverty to which the Russian peasantry had been sentenced for a long time, sustaining with their lives the absolutist command of the tsarist monarchy.
  • The successive defeats of the First World War that Russia suffered, added to the fact that, at the time of entering the conflict, all the parties were in favor except the Social Democratic Labor Party.
  • Furthermore, the failure to maintain the rate of Russian production during the war unleashed an economic and social crisis that resulted in famine, shortages of goods, and collapse of the structures of the Condition, which led to certain first levels of autonomous popular organization.
  • The arrival of the winter of 1917, one of the bloodiest of those times, in the worst possible conditions for the Russian people.

Stages of the Russian Revolution

During the February Revolution, hundreds of people died.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 includes, as we have said, two other revolutions, in February and October of that year, respectively.

The February Revolution

  • It began with a spontaneous strike between the workers of the Petrograd factories, which were quickly joined by other sectors, such as the women who went out to the streets to ask for bread. When the police became insufficient to contain the demonstrations, the army assumed the repressive role and assassinated numerous demonstrators, but eventually ended up joining the insurgents as well.
  • Pressured by the general staff, before the revolt of all the regiments of the Petrograd garrison, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 2, and his brother, Duke Miguel Aleksándrovich, rejected the crown the next day.
  • A Provisional Government was erected, made up of coalitions of liberal politicians and socialists moderates, across five different cabinets that failed in their attempt to contain the disastrous situation of the Russian people and continue the war efforts at the same time. His task was to govern until the democratic election of a Pan-Russian Constituent Assembly in late 1917.
  • Faced with the delay in the implementation of the reforms that the Russian people demanded, the most radical wing of the revolutionaries, the Bolshevik Party, gained supporters at an accelerated rate by the autumn of 1917, laying the foundations for the October Revolution.

The October Revolution

  • The plan devised by the Bolsheviks was to seize power in the country during the Second Congress of Soviets, classifying any attempt against them as a counterrevolutionary act.
  • The Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee (CMR) was established, controlled by the Bolsheviks, giving them all control of the force and thus in a short time cornering the Provisional Government, from which the can In a few weeks. However, fighting continued throughout Russia in various stages.
  • With the power under the command of the Bolsheviks, the votes of the Pan-Russian Constituent Assembly were carried out, in which the Revolutionary Socialists were victorious by a wide margin (380 seats), followed by the Bolsheviks (168 seats) and then the rest of the parties.
  • Reluctant to hand over power to the Constituent Assembly, which Lenin considered less democratic than the Soviets, the Bolsheviks launched a campaign claiming that theirs was "a superior democracy" and through a series of clashes lit the fuse for the coming Civil War. Thus the legitimately elected Constituent Assembly was dissolved in January 1918 and the Soviets were expelled to the socialist parties. spring following.

Characteristics of the Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution shook the foundations of the European and Western world, because in a very short time it deposed a long-standing monarchy and transformed the state in a violent and significant way in a span of just one year. There are those who compare this revolution with the one that occurred in France in 1789, given the profound impact it had on the powers of the day.

Not in vain did Adolf Hitler himself, in his most desperate moments of life, WWII, hoped to the end that the other Western powers would take their side, realizing that the Third Reich was the only force capable of stopping the advance of the communism from Russia.

Consequences of the Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution spelled the end of the Tsarist government.

The consequences of the Russian Revolution can be listed in:

  • The fall of the tsarist monarchy and the beginning of the communist history of Russia, which would last until the fall of the USSR in 1991.
  • The start of the Russian Civil War, which pitted the Bolshevik side (red) against the anti-Bolshevik movement (white) between 1918 and 1921, with the victory of the red side.
  • Significant cultural changes occurred in Russia, especially with regard to the role of the family traditional bourgeois, allowing the abortion legal, divorce and the decriminalization of homosexuality (although it was banned again in 1934). This also translated into social improvements for women. The triple principle of secularism, gratuitousness and obligatory nature of the education formal.
  • Transformation of the old feudal structures inherited from Tsarist Russia, which led to a slow process of modernization that initially subjected entire populations to famine, resulting in millions of deaths, especially in the years 1932-1933, when produced the Ukrainian Holodomor.
  • Rise of the Leninist police state, which would inspire the coming Soviet Union.

Important figures of the Russian Revolution

Lenin contributed to Marxist thought and was one of the greatest revolutionaries.

The most significant characters of this historical period were:

  • Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918). Named Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov, he was the ruling monarch of Russia during the Russian Revolution. He had ascended to the throne after the death of his father in 1894, and ruled until his deposition in 1917, being nicknamed by his critics as "Nicholas the Bloody", due to the brutal repression experienced during his rule. Caught next to his family by the Bolsheviks, they were all executed in the basement of their home in Yekaterinburg in July 1918.
  • Mikhail Rodzianko (1859-1924). One of the key politicians of the February Revolution of 1917, tried to negotiate a peaceful transition between the parties without success. He was elected deputy in the Third State Duma of Russia, and represented in subsequent events the Russian political right, favorable to the politics of the Soviets and a transitional socialist-bourgeois government. In 1920 he emigrated to Yugoslavia, where he died four years later.
  • Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov - Lenin (1870-1924). He is one of the great thinkers and orators of the revolutionary Left of all time. He was a politician philosopher and important theorist, appointed president of the Sovnarkomen in 1917, and therefore leader of the Bolshevik faction. In 1922 he became the first and foremost leader of the USSR, and his contribution to the thought Marxist It is such that there is a branch that bears his name: Leninism. After his death, his legacy was the subject of disputes among his followers, especially between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. He is considered one of the greatest revolutionaries of the 20th century.
  • Leon Trotsky (1879-1940). A Russian politician and revolutionary of Jewish origin, he was one of the key players in the October Revolution, and during the Civil War he held the position of Commissioner for military affairs in the communist government. It was he who negotiated the withdrawal of Russia from the First World War and later led the left opposition in the Soviet Union, having to go into exile in Mexico, where he was assassinated by Soviet spies in the service of Stalin.
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