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Tsar Nicholas II (Nikolai)
Background events:
-1904.-1905. – Russo-Japanese war; Russian
defeat and national humiliation; huge street
protests; Tsar’s positions began to weaken
-27. January 1905. – peaceful protests that lead to Bloody Sunday; hundreds killed.
- Mutinies and riots arround the country, among the soldiers and
sailors as well.
- June 1905. – mutiny on battleship “Potemkin”, in Odessa.
- Workers’ general strikes.
-Tsar Nicholas announced October Manifesto and established
Russian parliament (Duma):
We, Nicholas II, By the Grace of God Emperor and Autocrat of all Russia,
King of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, etc., proclaim to all Our loyal subjects:
Rioting and disturbances in the capitals [i.e. St. Petersburg and the old capital, Moscow]
and in many localities of Our Empire fill Our heart with great and heavy grief.
The well-being of the Russian Sovereign is inseparable from the well-being of the nation,
and the nation's sorrow is his sorrow. The disturbances that have taken place may cause
grave tension in the nation and may threaten the integrity and unity of Our state.
By the great vow of service as tsar We are obliged to use every resource of wisdom and of
Our authority to bring a speedy end to unrest that is dangerous to Our state. We have
ordered the responsible authorities to take measures to terminate direct manifestations
of disorder, lawlessness, and violence and to protect peaceful people who quietly seek
to fulfill their duties.
-1914.-1917. – WWI; huge military losses (defeats at Masurian lakes and Tannenberg)
, economy crisis.
-February 1917. (March) – March revolution; abdication of Nicholas II:
In the days of the great struggle against the foreign enemies, who for nearly three years
have tried to enslave our fatherland, the Lord God has been pleased to send down on
Russia a new heavy trial... The destiny of Russia, the honor of our heroic
army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our dear fatherland demand that
the war should be brought to a victorious conclusion whatever the cost.
In these decisive days in the life of Russia, We thought it Our duty of conscience to
facilitate for Our people the closest union possible and a consolidation of all national
forces for the speedy attainment of victory.
In agreement with the Imperial Duma We have thought it well to renounce the
Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power.
Telegram from American Consulate General in Moscow, to Byrne,
U.S. Secretary of State, March 20, 1917.
No. 1019 American Consulate General,
Moscow, Russia, March 20th, 1917.
Subject. The political and and economical situation in Moscow.
For the information, and as of interest to the Department in following the great revolution
now in progress in Russia, there are enclosed herewith the originals and translations of the
Moscow papers giving a full description of the matter...
At the present writing the street cars are all running, and life has assumed its normal
course. There is an undercurrent of unrest, however, and the shortage of supplies tends to
augment the discontent. Long bread lines stretching for blocks may be seen on every street
awaiting often often to be told that there is none left. The daily allowance is one funt or
nine tenths of a pound. To obtain this one must stand in the bread lines for two or three
hours, and often longer. The supply of flour is short and the revolution of the past few days
has diminished even this. It is known that the Jews have cornered large quantities and are
holding it for higher prices.
-February – November 1917. – Dvoevlastie (Dual Power) – Provisional government and
Petrograd Soviet (Council of Workers Deputies);
Mensheviki. This party includes all shades of Socialists who believe that society must
progress by natural evolution toward Socialism, and that the working-class must conquer
political power first. Also a nationalistic party. This was the party of the Socialist
intellectuals, which means: all the means of education having been in the hands of the
propertied classes, the intellectuals instinctively reacted to their training, and took the side
of the propertied classes. Among their representatives are: Dan, Lieber, Tseretelli.
Bolsheviki. Now call themselves the Communist Party, in order to emphasise their
complete separation from the tradition of “moderate” or “parliamentary” Socialism,
which dominates the Mensheviki and the so-called Majority Socialists in all countries.
The Bolsheviki proposed immediate proletarian insurrection, and seizure of the reins of
Government, in order to hasten the coming of Socialism by forcibly taking over industry,
land, natural resources and financial institutions. This party expresses the desires chiefly
of the factory workers, but also of a large section of the poor peasants. Among the leaders:
Lenin, Trotzky, Lunatcharsky.
(John Reed, “Ten Days that shook the World”, 1919.)
- April 1917. – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returns from the exile in Switzerland.
-July 1917. – armed demonstrations that were not backed by the Bolsheviks; Vladimir Ilyich
Lenin had to go to another exile (Finland).
-September 1917. – general Kornilov right-wing coup; Provisional Government , headed by
Kerensky called Bolsheviks for help; intervention of the “Red Guards”.
- Bolsheviks became a major political power .
The October (November) Revolution
-November 1917. – Bolsheviks were preparing to
take over; Lenin appealed for the second
The Russian Revolution has reached a turning-point. A peasants' rebellion in a country
of peasants against the Government of the Revolutionary Socialist Kerenski, against the
Menshevists Nikitin and Gvozdeff, against the other Ministers - representatives of Capital
and Junkerdom! - that is the situation. The crushing of this rebellion by military force at
the command of the Republican Government - that is the consequence of this situation!
The crisis is approaching its final stage. The whole future of the Russian Revolution is at
stake. The whole future of the International Proletarian Socialistic Revolution is at stake.
The final stage of the crisis is at hand.
V.I. Lenin
J.V. Stalin
Leon Trotsky
Nadezhda Krupskaya
-7. November (24 October) 1917. – Bolsheviks occupied key locations in Petrograd;
Kerensky fled from the Winter Palace in search for supporting troups.
- 8. November (25. October) – Lenin announced he had taken power in Russia.
- Lack of a majority support for the Bolsheviks; Constituent Assembly elections;
- January 1918. – Red Guards dispersed the Assembly.
Lenin on the organization of an extraordinary commision to
fight counter-revolution
[Letter to Dzerzhinskii, December 19, 1917]
In connection with your report today dealing with the struggle against sabotage and
counter-revolution, is it not possible to issue the following decree:
Struggle against counter-revolution and sabotage
The bourgeoisie, landholders, and all wealthy classes are making desperate efforts to
undermine the revolution which is aiming to safeguard the interests of the toiling and
exploited masses. The bourgeoisie is having recourse to the vilest crimes, bribing society's
lowest elements and supplying liquor to these outcasts with the purpose of bringing on
pogroms. The partisans of the bourgeoisie, especially the higher officials, bank clerks, etc.,
are sabotaging and organising strikes in order to block the government's efforts to
reconstruct the state on a socialistic basis. Sabotage has spread even to the food-supply
organisations and millions of people are threatened with famine.
Special measures must be taken to fight counter-revolution and sabotage.
-3. March 1918. – Treaty of Brest – Litovsk; Russia lost Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Ukraine, Georgia and Finland.
-Grain shortage; political unrest – Left-wing revolutionary socialists; assasinations.
- “Red Terror”; actions of Bolshevik secret police Cheka; supression of peasant uprisings
(3000 peasants killed in operations, 6300 of them executed)
- July 1918. – Murder of the ex-Tsar Nicholas and his family (they were imprisoned in
Ekaterinburg, Ural).
-Civil war – attacks of the “White Army” (tsarists, SR, mensheviks...); admiral Kolchak,
general Denikin; they were supported by USA, Great Britain, Japan...
-Modern European History:
Chapter I/5
pp. 22.-34. ,
Chapter III/2 & 3
pp. 79.-89.,
Chapter IV/1 & 2
pp. 108.-115.
-Modern World History:
Part III /16
pp. 339.-360.
- - Marxist Internet Archive
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