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October Revolution

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The Fall of Russia;
Why was there a
Communist revolution in
Russia in 1917?
1905 revolution
-October Manifesto 1905: civil liberties,
legislative Duma, broadened electorate
-1906 Fundamental Laws: Tsar has power
over all else, Duma’s reforms are
-BUT - Social reforms (land reform for
peasants; unions permitted)
Russian failures in
the First World War
The weakness
of Tsar Nicholas
discontent of
the peasants
of the
Factors that led to the
Communist revolution
in October 1917.
discontent of
the workers
Rasputin and
February 1917
Revolution and
rising Opposition
Failing Provisional
Weakness of Tsar Nicholas II
Uses secret police, Okrana, to
persecute opponents and enforce
absolute rule.
Censorship of books & newspapers.
The Church supported the Tsar – the
�Little Father of the Russian people’.
Nicholas II ruled a vast country that
was very backwards in comparison to
other countries.
The Tsar’s government was arbitrary
and undemocratic - a major cause of
the revolution.
Russian failures in the First World War
In the first few months of the First World War, Russia fought
better than had been expected. Russian forces attacked
Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1914.
In 1915, as troops faltered, Tsar Nicholas II assumed personal
command of the Russian armed forces.
The Russian soldiers, poorly trained and equipped, lacking in
basic items such as rifles and ammunition (because Russian
industry could not sustain the need), suffered from lowering
morale. Thousands of men deserted.
Without the support of the army, the Tsar’s position became
increasingly precarious.
Failure of the Duma
1905 - Bloody Sunday occurs, Russia loses the
Russo-Japanese war, peasants are hungry, then the
Potemkin Mutiny and strikes in the Russian cities;
the Tsar is losing control.
In the “October Manifesto”, Nicholas II offers to call a Duma, or
parliament, with free elections. This was accepted by the
When the Duma met, it began to criticise the Tsar and demanded
changes. Nicholas II introduced the Fundamental Laws to regain
authority. The Duma was dismissed multiple times and new elections,
controlled by the Tsar, were called.
It became clear that the Duma would be shut down if it criticised the
Tsar. As long as the Tsar had control of the army, his power could not
be broken.
The discontent of the Workers
�The whole day we pour out
our blood and sweat. Every
minute we are exposed to
Union leaflet 1898
The discontent of the Peasants
Russia was a rural society with over 90% of
the people being poor peasants.
In contrast, a small number of upper-class
people held most of the wealth and power.
This aristocracy had large town houses and
country estates.
Very often the peasants do not have
enough allotment land. They cannot feed
themselves, clothe themselves, heat their
homes, keep their tools and livestock,
secure seed for sowing and lastly pay
their taxes.
Police report into country conditions, 1905
Rasputin and Scandal
While Tsar Nicholas II was absent
commanding Russian forces during the
First World War, he left the day to day
running of Russia in the control of his
wife Tsarina Alexandra.
Alexandra came increasingly under the
influence of Siberian peasant, Gregori
Rasputin, a �holy man’ who appeared to
be able to heal the haemophilia of
Prince Alexis, the heir to the throne.
Rasputin was often accused of using his
power to win effective control of the
Russian government.
Rasputin dominating Russian Court
Rasputin was seen by many as a “puppet
master” controlling Nicholas and
There lived a certain man in Russia long ago
He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow
Most people looked at him with terror and with
But to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear
He could preach the bible like a preacher
Full of ecstacy and fire
But he also was the kind of teacher
Women would desire
Lover of the Russian queen
There was a cat that really was gone
Russia's greatest love machine
It was a shame how he carried on
He ruled the Russian land and never mind the czar
But the kasachok he danced really wunderbar
In all affairs of state he was the man to please
But he was real great when he had a girl to squeeze
For the queen he was no wheeler dealer
Though she'd heard the things he'd done
She believed he was a holy healer
Who would heal her son
"This man's just got to go!" declared his enemies
But the ladies begged "Don't you try to do it, please"
No doubt this Rasputin had lots of hidden charms
Though he was a brute they just fell into his arms
Then one night some men of higher standing
Set a trap, they're not to blame
"Come to visit us" they kept demanding
And he really came
Lover of the Russian queen
They put some poison into his wine
Russia's greatest love machine
He drank it all and he said "I feel fine"
Lover of the Russian queen
They didn't quit, they wanted his head
Russia's greatest love machine
And so they shot him till he was dead
(Spoken:) Oh, those Russians...
But when his drinking and lusting and his hunger
for power became known to more and more
the demands to do something about this
The Death of Rasputin
man became louder and louder.
By: Boney M
The opposition of the Communists
Many middle-class Liberals and Social Revolutionaries (who
supported the peasants) opposed the rule of the Tsar, but the
most revolutionary were the Social Democrats or Communists.
The Communists believed in the ideas of Karl Marx and felt the
government needed to be overthrown.
The Russian Communists were divided into the Bolsheviks led by
Lenin and the Mensheviks led by Trotsky. Lenin believed that the
small party of Bolsheviks should seize power and control Russia
on behalf of the people. Before 1917 Lenin and many of the
other Communist leaders were in exile abroad, plotting to bring
about a revolution in Russia
The February Revolution 1917
Russia fared so badly in the First World War
there was a spontaneous uprising against the
Tsar in February 1917.
This was sparked off by food riots, poor
working conditions and the failure to win the
war. The Russian army refused to shoot at
the demonstrators and joined forces with
Lenin, in exile in Switzerland, raced to
Petrograd so that he could attempt to seize
control of the revolution.
Abdication of Nikolai II, March 15, 1917
By the Grace of God, We, Nikolai II, Emperor of All the
Russias, Tsar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, and so forth,
to all our faithful subjects be it known:
In the days of a great struggle against a foreign enemy who
has been endeavouring for three years to enslave our country,
it pleased God to send Russia a further painful trial.
Internal troubles threatened to have a fatal effect on the
further progress of this obstinate war. The destinies of Russia,
the honour of her heroic Army, the happiness of the people,
and the whole future of our beloved country demand that the
war should be conducted at all costs to a victorious end.
In these decisive days in the life of Russia we have thought
that we owed to our people the close union and organisation
of all its forces for the realisation of a rapid victory; […]
we have recognized that it is for the good of the country that
we should abdicate the Crown of the Russian State and lay
down the Supreme Power.
[…] we bequeath our heritage to our brother, the Grand Duke
Mikhail Alexandrovich, with our blessing for the future of the
Throne of the Russian State.
We bequeath it our brother to govern in full union with the
national representatives sitting in the Legislative Institutions,
We call upon all faithful sons of our native land to fulfil their
sacred and patriotic duty of obeying the Tsar at the painful
moment of national trial and to aid them, together with the
representatives of the nation, to conduct the Russian State in
the way of prosperity and glory.
May God help Russia.
Why? Who/what is to blame?
пЃ® War?
Have’s and Have Not’s…
Social discontents?
May Day 1917
Opposition parties and leaders?
– April Theses – Lenin and Bolsheviks:
“Bread, Peace, Land”
– Germans had secretly helped smuggle
Lenin back into Russia
Provisional Government
Established in March – Kerensky and Lvov
take control of country until new
government structure is decided upon
July Days
• Bolsheviks attempt a coup – it fails and
Provisional Govt stays in power. Lenin
exiled again!
August – the Kornilov Affair
General Kornilov (Commander in Chief of
Army) tries to overthrow Provisional Gov’t
in an attempt to bring in Conservative,
Authoritative order.
пЃ® Kerensky recruits Bolsheviks for help,
liberating those who are imprisoned and
providing them with weapons… uh oh!!
пЃ® Kornilov is removed from power and
October Revolution
First the Bolsheviks win the majority of
seats in the Petrograd Soviet, Lenin
пЃ® Lenin, with Trotsky and the Red Guards
seize control, Kerensky flees, Petrograd
and Moscow Communists are in control
III. The Bolsheviks’ dilemma
Coming to power: draw support from
popular opinion and values (Need the
In power, having to contend with;
– Ideas and values about the revolution
– Class suspicion of all elites
– State must serve interests
(Manage the people)
“Days of monstrous contradiction”
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924)
Early Bolshevik political practice “Dictatorship of the proletariat”
Centralizing and authoritarian
– One-party government
– Press control
– Cheka (Extraordinary Commission for
the Struggle with Counterrevolution,
Sabotage, and Speculation)
– Controlling economy and labour
– Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Civil War
How did
Lenin impose
control in
•The abandonment of the Constituent
Assembly 1917
•The Cheka (or secret police)
•The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918
•The Civil War 1918-1921
•The execution of Tsar Nicholas II
July 1918
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