Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Russian Revolution

The revolution of 1905.

- Until1900s, Russia was successful in the international arena, against the Ottoman Empire.

- Both Russia and Britain had increased their influence in Persia and Afganistan.

- This expansion was not supported by military power.

- Russian expansion into China. Russo-japanese war. Japan won and moved into Korea.

- The unexpected defeat unleashed massive protests. A peaceful demonstration was masscred on the Tsar’s order, 100 victims, Bloodly Sunday. Russians lost their trust to the Tsar.

- He had to change course and open the duma (assembly), where representation was not equal though. A vote of an aristrocrat was equal with several votes of peasanst

-Actuallys, some reforms were introduced for them. Greater freedom from redemption payments. The intention was to introdude capitalist development in to agricultura production.

- Workers rights were not respected thoug and even the duma was gradually marginalised.

First World War

- Success depended on leaders’ ability to maintain social and political cooperation. Tsar Nikolas II’s authority had been shaky for many years, after the October revolution of 1905

- From the beginning of the war he insisted in personally commanding the troops.

- Although, Russian army was the largest in Europe, it was porly trained and equipped.

- By 1915, Russia produced enough food, clothing, amunition, but the tsarist governemnt tried to direct all provisioning itself. Demoralized, the peasants soldiers started to dessert an masse, returning to their farms to guard their families’ holdings.

- The first revolt started in Petrograd, (St Petersburg) on International woman’s day, February 23, people marched for food, fuel and political reform. Troops joined them.

- Nicoals abdicated the throne on March 2.

- After the collapse of the monarch two political centers emerged.

- a) the provisional government, by leaders in the Duma, constitutional rule, civic liberties.

- b) The soviets, local councils elected by workers and soldiers. The soviets forced for social reform, redistribution of lands, and a settlement with Germany and Austria.

- Bolsheviks, wing of the social democratic movement. They had little to do with the events of February 1917. They managed though to become powerful and overthrow the government.

- Marxism had been quite weak in late -19th c. Russia. In 1903, the leadership of Social Democrats split into Bolsheviks (the majority) favoring a centralized party of revolutionaries. The Mensheviks (minority) wanted to move towards socialism gradually. Since 80% was peasantry they thought proletarian revolution was premature.

- Bolsheviks were lead by Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov, Lenin, of middle class origin, believed that the development of russian capitaism made revolution possible.

- Bolsheviks combineed traditional revolutionary zeal with western marxism.

- Theie calls for ‘Peace, Land, and Bread now’ and ‘all powers to the soviets’ won support.

- They organised an attack, on October 24-25 1917. They took over the winter palace, the seat of the government. Bloodless and quick. Life went on as normal.

- They moved though against any political opposition an even dismisse the Assembly,

- In the countryside, the new regime build upn an ongoing uprising. The bolsheviks approved spontaneous redistribution of land without compensation, they nationalised banks.

- They pulled out of the war. Brest-Litovsk March 1918. They surrended many territories.

- Withdwaing from the war plunged the country to a vicious civil war.


a)the Allies were affected since the Germans won the war at the Eastern front
b)the conservative governments were affected, worried about a wave of revolution
c)the expectations of many socialists were now fulfilled.
d)Russian revolution similar to French revolution.