Russian Revolution Timeline


Karl Marx publishes Communist Manifesto

  • German philosophers Karl Marx & Friedrich Engles founded Marxist theory
  • World's most influential political documents which describes the struggles of the working class; revolution was required for the betterment of the economy
  • Suggests idea of communism to overthrow capitalism


  • Late efforts on Russian industries becoming ultra modern; included workers positions being replaced by machinery
  • Russia was urging industrialization, yet society was built on the peasantry; lack of skilled workforce as well as industry relied heavily on foreign loans and taxes subsidized by the peasants
  • Led to strikes; peasants became more aware for the requirement of political & economic change to achieve their rights which would be granted through communism

Revolution of 1905

1900 - 1905
  • Several strikes took place country-wide as there was an increase in peasant unrest, caused by Tsar Nicholas ll's rule; also included terrorism & assassinations
  • Reform Issues; demand for an elected assembly and civil liberties
  • In 1903 two communist groups formed as a result of discussing a constitutional government ; Bolsheviks (majority; believed revolutionary leaders brought change) and Mensheviks (minority; believed masses must be won over first)
  • Due to this Blood Sunday occurred as the people protested their distress

The Russo-Japanese War

February 08 1904 - September 05 1905
  • Japanese attacked Russian positions on the Asian mainland to establish sphere of influence
  • The Russians were defeated which had devastating effects on the Tsarist Regime; the Regimes political authority was undermined and in need of political change

Summer of 1905

  • Unrest among workers in major cities; b/w Oct. 20-30 all of Russia was on strikes
  • First Soviet (group of Marxist revolutionary workers) was formed in St. Petersburg
  • Labour unrest was addressed by the October Manifesto

Bloody Sunday

January 09 1905 - January 22 1905
  • Workers led by Father Gapon marched in Saint Petersburg to make their demands known to the Tsar
  • In response Tsarist troops opened fire on the protesters; 130 people were killed, hundreds were wounded
  • This demonstrates the incapability of the Tsarist Regime in dealing with the dissatisfied citizens
  • The Tsar's inability to lead his people led to the Russo-Japanese war

October Manifesto

October 30 1905
  • Create Duma (legislative assembly) which provided civil liberties
  • Failure to accomplish these promises led to the Fundamental Laws

Fundamental Laws

  • Applied to October Manifesto (put in effect)
  • Tsar retained huge powers to himself; Moderates (controlled Duma) supported the Tsar
  • Tsar decides to have Russia fight in WW1 despite their internal struggles

World War 1

  • Internal problems were emphasized (politically, militarily, economically); includes food shortages and lack of weapons
  • The Tsar viewed war as an opportunity to forget these struggles, though the troops and people realized he wasn't in a position to organize an efficient war effort
  • This led to the first revolution

Provisional Government

March 1917
  • Power struggle b/w the liberals and Marxists
  • Failed to recognize Russia's condition
  • Democratic leaders saw themselves as an illegitimate gov't as they weren't elected; aware of the problems, but unable to address them
  • Lenin's slogan of "Peace, Bread, and Land" addressed all the stated issues

First Revolution

March 08 1917
  • Increase in strikes and food shortages
  • On March 10 in Petrograd, 200,000 strikers were joined by women to overthrow the Tsar
  • Troops joined the protesters after shooting their commander on March 12
  • By March 14 Moscow had fallen, the Tsar was abdicated, and the Soviet & Duma declared a provisional gov't

April Theses

April 1917
  • Germans smuggled Lenin into Russia as his return from exile would cause trouble for Russia
  • Lenin published the April Theses which included accomplishment of communism, peace, seizure of gentry land, seizure of factories, and all power to the Soviets
  • Lenin was recognized as a leader amongst the Bolsheviks and Soviets

State Conferance

August 1917
  • Major conference involving former and present gov't officials who discussed Russia's problems
  • Underlined the rift b/w Marxists and non-Marxists and figuring solutions to Russia's problems

Kornilov Affair

August 1917
  • Two alliance groups; Socialists (led by Kerensky) and Constitutional Democrats (led by General Kornilov)
  • Kornilov & Kerensky sent troops to protect the gov't; Kornilov betrays Kerensky and attempts an army- led coup which was lost
  • Kerensky appealed the masses; Bolsheviks demonstrated their power
  • Bolsheviks gained a majority in Petrograd & Moscow Soviets; gained a military/ armed forces

The Bolsheviks Revolution

October 1917 - November 1917
  • Oct 13, Bolsheviks gained control of Petrograd
  • Oct 23, Bolseviks took Moscow (Lenin returned)
  • Nov 7, Bolsheviks with Trotsky & the Soviets arrested the provisional gov't (with limited resistance)