The Russian Revolution
(1905 and 1917)
1905 Russian Revolution describes
the wave of political terrorism, strikes, and peasant unrests that swept
through vast areas of the Russian Empire, leading to the establishment of the State Duma and
the Russian Constitution of 1906.
At the beginning of 1917, Russia was once again on the
doorstep of a revolution.
Even though the cities were growing rapidly and jobs
were being created, the peasants were struggling. A new middle class was on the
rise and people were becoming transformed by a commercial culture (people were
becoming more materialistic).
Absolute monarchist, Nicholas II, did not take the
necessary steps to reform the government, despite advice from other world
leaders. The people saw the monarchy as being corrupt, inefficient and out of
touch with the needs and aspirations of the common man. Even though some
advancement had been made, Russia
was still far behind the rest of Europe in
industry and farming, leading to extreme poverty. Inflation and food shortages
were also affecting Russia’s
Between 1890 and 1910, the capital city of Saint Petersburg grew by
almost one million people; this led to overcrowding. The influx of people also
made it easier for workers to protest their unsafe and unsuitable conditions.
Many strikes and protests took place by Russian workers.
In 1917, the absolute
monarchy of Czar Nicholas II was overthrown and replaced with a provisional
government during the February Revolution.
Later that year, the
provisional government in Petrograd (formerly Saint Petersburg) was overthrown by the
Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, during the October Revolution. Lenin was highly influenced by the communist
philosophies of Karl Marx.
Communism: the belief in government ownership of land, businesses, and
industries. It is the opposite of
capitalism or private enterprise.
Communism is based upon the philosophy of Karl Marx, who believed in the
concept of a ‘classless society’.
1. The Russo-Japanese War
-Russia lost this war to Japan in 1905. This win for Japan
signified the first time Japan
had overtaken a major world power.
-it was a conflict that grew out of the rival imperialist
ambitions of the Russian Empire and the Empire of
Japan over Manchuria and Korea.
-The Russians were in constant pursuit of a warm water
port on the Pacific Ocean, for their navy as well as for
maritime trade. Port Arthur was a valuable port that would be operational all
-The resulting campaigns, in which the competent Japanese military
consistently attained victory over the Russian forces that were against them,
were unexpected by world observers. These victories, as time transpired, would
dramatically transform the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a
reassessment of Japan's
recent entry onto the world stage. The embarrassing string of defeats increased
the Russian citizen’s dissatisfaction with the inefficient and corrupt Tsarist
government and proved a major cause of the Russian Revolution of 1905.
woodblock print of the night attack on Port
2. Bloody Sunday ~ Sunday,
January 22, 1905
-After years of economic
hardship amongst peasants, Bloody Sunday occurred. Japan
had just defeated Russia
in the Russo-Japanese War, and relations were obviously strained.
troops fired on unarmed, peaceful demonstrators, killing several hundred and
wounding many others. This led to
further unrest and forced Czar Nicholas II to form the Duma
(parliament). This had little influence
over the policies of the Czar.
3. World War I
-The poor economic conditions of 1914-1918
caused the Russian soldiers to be treated very poorly. They were not equipped for battle, and often
had to fight even though they were starving. Continued unrest and tremendous Russian losses
during WW I forced Russia to
make a separate peace with Germany.
War erupted in 1918.
the ‘Reds’ and the ‘Whites’
for several years, but ultimately the Bolsheviks were victorious.
became the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) in 1922 until 1991.