When we hear about the Russian revolution, the names that quickly come to mind are Lenin, Stalin and Communism . But this revolution is something more complicated than one can imagine, communism being one of its main manifestations, which ended up being politically victorious, but not necessarily the most representative.
The Russian Revolution consists of a series of revolutionary processes carried out from March to November 1917, which would entail the deposition of the tsar and the change of government, as well as a social model in the Russian Empire, which would precede the subsequent civil war.
Russia and its empire, despite being a power at the time (end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century), was a country in which the majority of the population lived in a miserable way and anchored in a tradition that did not know how to surpass the time of feudalism, with a peasantry that despite being liberated in theory, in practice continued to serve as if it were the property of its lord. Russian Revolution
In cities, living conditions were not necessarily better, just as workers were exploited by large factory owners. On the other hand, the noble class was unproductive, not to mention that the Orthodox Church was only in the shadow of power, very open and with little dissimulation.
These conditions constituted the favorable terrain to strengthen leftist and revolutionary ideals, especially in the big cities, where there was more access to books and news and ideas circulated more quickly and fluently.
The entry of the Russian Empire into World War I was a decisive factor in the emergence of the conflict
The participation of the tsarist empire in this conflict was marked by the use of the popular classes as “propaganda material”, the uselessness of their commands (which resulted in ostensible defeats and large killings), as well as the difficulties caused both in the trenches that came from back and front. Russian Revolution
This aggravated a situation that had been known since the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (from February to September 1905), a defeat that would lead to a first revolutionary attempt.
The attitude of the royal family, with Tsar Nicholas II at the helm, did not help to appease the people’s spirits.
In February 1917, a series of strikes in the factories of Petrograd (St. Petersburg, imperial capital) gradually heated up until it reached a violent explosion. The tsar made the army intervene, but the soldiers began to band together like the revolutionaries.
Finally, all the Petrograd troops sent to quell the rebellion ended up changing sides and joining their countrymen; after all, the armed forces were also part of the people they were asked to attack.
The triumph of the revolution in the capital forced the tsar to abdicate, not so much because of popular pressure, but because of politics .
The leaders saw a risk in the revolution, where it could spread to more cities and consequently become uncontrollable. In this way, they hoped to implement reforms, while maintaining the order that interested them (in addition to their positions).
The problem is that this smooth, peaceful and, above all, controlled transition plan didn’t go very well.
The common people wanted power, they didn’t trust the leaders and that’s why they organized themselves into so-called soviets, popular committees
Far from their approval with communism and their subsequent bad reputation, the soviets were nothing more than a form of organization to allow society to function normally, taking on tasks that the government could not perform (such as providing food) or that leaders in certain areas did not want or impede. Russian Revolution
At the tsar, after abdicating his brother (who, in turn, rejected the crown) he was succeeded by a provisional government that from the first moment was overcome by events.
The provisional government did not satisfy one of the main demands of the revolutionaries: to get out of the war. This aspiration was capitalized on by the Bolshevik party , led by Lenin.
Lenin knew how to channel the discomfort of many towards the ruling class. His “game” consisted of becoming a defender of the most radical opinions and currents, such as requesting the expropriation of lands in the hands of large landowners.
Meanwhile, at the front, the army was disintegrating for a moment.
The pressure exerted by the Bolsheviks was reduced by a persecution that forced Lenin to take refuge in Finland.
Thus, the provisional government was trying to restore order to the situation and to dispose of an army that, at least, could withstand a Germany that would not miss the opportunity to launch itself on the Russian Empire.
But the people were already excessively displeased and suppressed. The Bolsheviks, initially in the minority, were gaining positions thanks to their defense of radical postulates, with a larger part of the people becoming radicalized as the only way to achieve their purposes.
Despite this growth and consequent influence it was notable that Petrograd and Moscow (much more than the rest of the country) were the cities at the center of power.
In October 1917, Lenin saw the time to take power by force. This established the beginning of the October revolution. Russian Revolution
On the night of October 24-25, 1917 (governed by the Julian calendar in Russia; November 6 and 7 of our Gregorian calendar), the Bolsheviks seized control of Petrograd and stormed the Winter Palace, an action that would become famous
The next step for Lenin and his allies was to dissolve the provisional government and create their own government, which would immediately begin negotiating peace with the German Empire, from which the Brest-Litovsk treaty would be sealed.
This treaty established territorial losses, which would lead to several war conflicts after World War I.
The opposition was also organizing, rallying from tsarists to democrats. A military organization.
We left the revolution behind, with a constituted government, and moved on to a new episode, the Russian Civil War. But that’s another story. Russian Revolution