Russian Revolution

Russia: Reform and Reaction

Russia's Social Structure

1815 - 1861

Rigid social structure
Landowning nobles dominated
Middle class-small and weak
Majority were serfs or laborers bound to land. (some were servants, artisans or soldiers forced into the tsar's army)

Alexander II came to the throne


Started reign during the Crimean War
Crimean War- tried to seize Ottoman lands along the Danube River. Russian defeat

Freeing the Serfs


Alexander II finally agreed to reform
1861- royal decree EMANCIPATION (freeing of the serfs)
Former serfs had to buy the land they had worked
No change because many were too poor to do so
Peasants remained poor and discontent.

Zemstvos and other reforms


Alexander II set up a system of local government
He had elected assemblies ZEMSTVOS who were made responsible for matters such as road repair, schools, and agriculture.
Trial by jury.
Eased Censorship.
Military service reduced
Brutal disciple limited
Growth of industry.

Alexander III comes to power

1881 - 1894

Alexander III in response to his father's assassination adopted the harsh methods of Nicholas I.
Secret police, restored strict censorship, exiles.
Russification (suppressing the cultures of non-Russian peoples)
Persecution of Jewish people.
A large number of Russian Jews went to the United States

Alexander II assassination

March 13, 1881

Alexander's reforms failed to satisfy.
Peasants: freedom but no land
1870- socialists preaching reform and rebellion (not effective)
Some turned to terrorism.

Russian Industrial Age


Started under Alexander III and continued to Nicholas II.
Railroads, iron, coal mines, factories
Nobles and peasants opposed the industrial revolution (fearing change)

The Revolution of 1905


Revolted and demanded land
autonomy from Russia

Bloody Sunday

January 22, 1905

Chanting prayers and singing hymns
petition for justice and freedom
tsar had fled
gunfire rang out
turning point for Russians
killed the people's faith and trust in the tsar

October Manifesto

October 1905

"freedom of person, conscience, speech, assembly, and union
Duma (elected national legislature)

Peter Stolypin

1906 - 1911

Nicholas appointed Stolypin as the new prime minister
He thought Russia needed reform.
Moderate land reforms, zemstoves, and improved education.
But people were dissatisfied with the slow change and they assassinated him in 1911.



First time they met but tsar quickly dissollved it

Russia Leading to the Revolution


simmering with unrest
russia slow to industrialize
landowning nobles, priests, and an autocratic tsar controlled the government and economy
small middle class and an urban working class emerged

Revolution and Civil War in Russia


1890 - 1920

Lenin read the works of Karl Marx
1895 was arrested
worked constantly to spread revolutionary ideas
Lenin called for an elite group to lead the revolution and set up a "dictatorship of the proletariat"
Only revolution could bring about need changes

After Revolution of 1905


Nicholas failed to solve Russia's basic political, economic, and social problems
Duma-no real power
Nicholas II- weak and ineffective leader
Corrupt bureaucracy
Overburdened court system

Marxists tried to ignite revolution

1905 - 1906

Marxists tried to ignite revolution among the proletariat
Proletariat-growing class of factory and railroad workers, miners, and urban wage earners

Impact of World War I


war in 1914
United Russians
Quickly strained resources
Transportation system broke down
Gregory Rasputin- illiterate peasant and self-proclaimed "holy man". Miraculous powers because he helped the Tsarina's son

The Tsar Steps Down

March 1917

Marchers shout "Bread! Bread!"
Government helpless
the tsar abdicated
Led to the soviets or councils of workers and soldiers
Worked democratically and then a radical socialist group (Bolsheviks took charge)

Kerensky offensive

July 1917

disastrous Kerensky offensive against Germany
provisional government greatly weakened

Bolshevik Take Over

November 1917

Red Guards- armed factory workers, sailors from Russian fleet
They attacked provisional government
Lenin's forces overthrew the provisional government
union between workers and peasants
Bolsheviks -> communists

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

March 1918

sought peace with Germany
Huge chunk of territory and population and with great costs signed it.

Civil War Reds vs. Whites

June 1918 - 1921

Whites-counterrevolutionary (tsarist imperial officers, Mensheviks, democrats, and others who were united only by their desire to defeat the Bolsheviks
Allies intervened to help the Whites
Allied invasion fed Communist distrust of the West

War Under Communism


Communists used terror to control
Cheka- secret police force, executed
Communists labor camps
"War Communism"- took over banks, mines, factories, and railroads
Peasants were forced to feed the army and the hungry people in the cities
Peasant laborers were drafted into the military or forced to work in the factories
1921 The communists had managed to defeat their scattered foes
Red >White

Provisional Government's Mistakes


provisional government's mistakes-war effort, no land reforms, disastrous Kerensky offensive against germany, peasants seized land over fearful landowners.

New Economic Policy


state kept control of banks, foreign trade, and large industries, small businesses were allowed to repon for private profit
Peasants held on to small plots of land and freely sold their surplus crops

New Government, Same Problems


Old Russian empire->Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)-soviet union.
Elected legislature-Supreme soviet
Over 18 all citizens had the right to vote
All political power, resources, and means of production would belong to workers and peasants

Stalin Takes Over


lenin died in 1924.
His death set off a power struggle among Communist leader
Trotsky urged support for a world wide revolution against capitalism
Stalin wanted to concentrate on building socialism at home first
Trotsky fled the country in 1929 and murdered
Stalin came to power but used ruthless measures to win dictatorial power