Russian Revolution: AOS1 Causes of Revolution


Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II

26 November 1896

Nicholas and Alexandra were officially crowned as absolute rulers of Russia. The problematic reign of the last Russian Tsar began.

Russo-Japanese War

1904 - 1905

A tense war began between Russia and Japan after crisis in Asia. Russia's military identity and pride were eventually destroyed with a humiliating defeat to Japan's navy in May 1905.

1905 Revolution

January 1905 - October 1905

A series of rebellious events occurred from mutinies to strikes. The most significant was Trotsky's establishment of soviets.

General Strikes

October 1905

These widespread strikes paralysed the economy, which forced the Tsar to respond.

October Manifesto

26 October 1905

Tsar Nicholas submitted to popular demands by granting a political body called the DUMA. By giving the people representation, the Tsar was agreeing to share a portion of his absolute power.

Prime Minister Stolypin

1906 - 1911

His reforms restored a degree of faith in tsarism by limiting the influence of the DUMAs, strengthening the economy and eliminating revolutionary opposition.

Fundamental State Laws

23 April 1906

These were issued by the Tsar four days before the opening of the First Duma. His reassertion of his absolute authority rendered the Duma powerless.

First Duma

27 April 1906 - 21 July 1906

Instead of serving the full five-year term, the Duma was dismissed after only two months for it's radical demands.

Second Duma

20 February 1907 - 2 June 1907

It was similarly dismissed for it's radical demands.

Change in electoral laws

Approx. 16 June 1907

The electoral system was legally changed to ensure that those elected to the next Duma were more conservative.

Third Duma

7 November 1907 - 9 June 1912

It served its full five-year term but had no official influence over government decisions.

Lena Goldfields Massacre


Revolutionary sentiment was reignited after goldminers were massacred for striking for better working conditions.

Russia enters First World War

1914 - 1918

After initial victories, Russia's massive military machine suffered repeated defeats due to poor training and supplies. This lowered the morale of both the war and home fronts. Most significantly, the war devastated the home economy through increased unemployment, inflation, and food and fuel shortages.

Influence of Rasputin

1915 - 1916

Rasputin's repeated ability to heal Tsarevich Alexi's haemophilia earned him the favour of Alexandra. She promoted and dismissed several leading government ministers on his recommendation. Rasputin directly contributed to the loss of faith in the royal government and his own assassination.

Tsar takes personal command of the army

August 1915 - 2 March 1917

Tsar Nicholas's decision to replace Nikolaevich at the war front meant that he now personally shouldered the blame for the continued losses, but also left the inexperienced Tsarina Alexandra (German) in control of the Russian government.

February Revolution

23 February 1917 - 3 March 1917

This spontaneous, leaderless revolution 'from below' resulted in the formation of the Provisional Government and Petrograd Soviet, and, most significantly, the abdication of the Tsar.

Soviet Order No. 1 (Issued by Petrograd Soviet)

1 March 1917

This severely weakened the powers of the Provisional Government by decreeing that military orders were only to be obeyed if approved by the Soviet. It affirmed that the Soviet had the real authority and control of Petrograd.

Abdication of the Tsar

2 March 1917

This unintentionally ended the 300-year Romanov Dynasty and hence tsarism. With power given to the Provisional Government, hopes were raised for an immediate solution to the crisis of the old regime.

Lenin's return and speech at Finland Station

3 April 1917

Lenin's return immediately transformed the political debate with his call for the overthrow of the Provisional Government and catch-cry of 'Peace, Land, Bread!'

Lenin's April Thesis

4 April 1917

Lenin stamped his strong personal and ideological leadership over direction of Russia by delivering a crucial blueprint for revolution:
- that the February Revolution was merely a capitalist coup, not a genuine revolution
- that a second revolution was needed to overthrow the corrupt Provisional Government
- that the Soviet, led by Bolsheviks, was the only possible form of government

June Offensive

18 June 1917 - 20 June 1917

War morale was dealt a final blow with Kerensky's failed attack on the Austrians and Germans. It fuelled Lenin's arguments for withdrawing from the imperialist war.

July Days

3 July 1917 - 7 July 1917

This failed revolt seemingly signalled the end of the Bolshevik leadership and party, and the final victory of Kerensky and the Provisional Government.

Kornilov Revolt

26 August 1917

This revolt exposed Provisional Government weakness and a lack of military support. Allowed out of jail, Trotsky earned great respect by forming the Red Guard to defend Petrograd against fear of Kornilov's attempt to establish military rule.

Trotsky become chairman of Petrograd Soviet

8 September 1917

This crucial event symbolised the Bolsheviks' majority support in the Soviet for the first time.

Secret Return of Lenin

7 October 1917

The timing of, and support and strategies for, the October were implemented through Lenin's persuasion.

The October Revolution

24 October 1917 - 25 October 1917

The Bolshevik's capture if key organisations and vantage points in Petrograd led by Trotsky's Red Guard was the fulfilment of April Thesis as the Provisional Government was overthrown in a Bolshevik takeover.