Political and social movement that overthrew the imperial tsarist regime during 1917. In this article we will make you aware What caused the Russian revolution of 1917?
The Russian Revolution was a political and social movement that overthrew the imperial tsarist regime that ruled Russia in an authoritarian manner.
It began in February 1917, with the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II , who was replaced by a provisional government headed by the moderate socialist Alexander Kerensky .
In October, the revolution deepened with the replacement of the provisional government by a government led by the Bolsheviks , who promoted the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922.
The revolution began at the end of the First World War , in a context in which the Russian people were exhausted by the war effort, food shortages and the repression that the regime imposed to silence all kinds of protests.
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Stages of the Russian Revolution
The Russian Revolution comprises 2 fundamental stages: the February Revolution and the October Revolution.
In February 1917, a popular revolution brought down the government of Tsar Nicholas II , who had ruled the country authoritatively since 1894.
The monarchy was abolished and replaced by a republic run by a moderate socialist, Alexander Kerensky. This did not manage to consolidate itself in power by not having promoted measures favorable to the workers and by its intentions to prolong Russia’s participation in the First World War.
Kerensky’s power was gradually undermined by a new form of political organization: the soviets or assemblies of workers, sailors and soldiers.
On October 25, 1917 (equivalent to our November 7 because the Julian calendar was still used in Russia), the provisional government was overthrown by a revolution led by the Bolsheviks, who were a radicalized faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party .
Once in power, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin , and supported by the Soviets, abolished the large rural estates, nationalized the banks, established workers’ control over production and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk which, in March of 1918, terminated Russia’s participation in the First World War.
Causes and consequences of the Russian Revolution 1917
The main causes of the Russian Revolution were the following:
- The existence of an autocratic regime headed by the Tsar, who had absolute power, did not tolerate criticism and refused to move towards a political opening.
- The unpopularity of Tsarina Alejandra, who was influenced by the mystic Rasputin.
- The stagnation and paralysis of the tsarist economy , which generated food shortages, poverty and misery.
- The continued defeats of the imperial army in World War I, during which 1,700,000 Russians lost their lives and 600,000 were wounded. The ineptitude and cruelty of the Tsarist officers and the unwillingness to continue fighting caused massive desertions at the front.
- The rebellion in February 1917 of all the regiments of the Petrograd garrison, who joined the popular revolts instead of suppressing them.
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Among the main consequences of the Russian Revolution, the following stand out:
- The imperial tsarist regime was replaced in February 1917 by a moderate provisional government and from October by a Bolshevik government , headed by Lenin.
- The outbreak of the Russian civil war , which between 1917 and 1923 pitted the Bolsheviks against so-called white nationalist and pro-monarchist sectors, and which ended with the triumph of the Bolsheviks .
- The murder, in July 1918, of the Romanov royal family, made up of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alejandra and their five children Tatiana, Anastasia, Olga, Maria and Prince Alexey. The murders were carried out by Bolshevik troops who most likely followed Lenin’s orders.
- The creation of the Red Army on the basis of the Red Guard. This army was the instrument used by the Bolsheviks to fight the White Army, and to assert their authority over all of Russia.
- The creation, in 1922, of the Soviet Union , a state that established a system of planned economy and a one-party political regime.
- The independence of Poland , Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which until 1918 had been part of the Russian Empire.
- The arrests, murders and forced transfers to Siberia of supporters of tsarism and moderate socialists ( Mensheviks ).
- The confiscation of the assets of the Russian Orthodox Church, which supported the White Movement.
- The extension of education and literacy on the triple basis of gratuity, secularism and compulsory nature. The number of schools increased from 38,387 in 1917, to 52,274 in 1918 and 62,238 in 1919.
Protagonists of the Russian Revolution 1917
Among the main protagonists of the Russian Revolution, the following stand out:
- Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) : Russian politician, leader of the Bolsheviks. After the October 1917 revolution, he was left in charge of the Russian government. He promoted the introduction of the first socialist reforms and the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922.
- Iósif Vissariónovich Dzhugashvili (1878-1953) : better known as Iósif Stalin, he was a Bolshevik politician and revolutionary of Georgian origin. He was secretary general of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1952. He promoted forced industrialization, the collectivization of agriculture and the five-year plans.
- Lev Davidovich Bronstein (1879-1940) : better known as Lyev Trótskiy or Leon Trotsky, he was a Russian politician and revolutionary of Jewish origin. Between 1918 and 1924 he held the position of People’s Commissar for War, from which he organized the Red Army. He was displaced from power by Stalin, and went into exile in Mexico where he was assassinated by a Stalinist agent.
- Aleksandr Fiódorovich Kérensky (1881–1970) : Russian social-revolutionary politician who played a central role in the overthrow of the tsarist regime in February 1917. He was in charge of the provisional government, but failed to consolidate his authority, so in October he was displaced from power by the Bolsheviks.