The Russian Revolution Essay
The Russian Revolution
The Russian Revolution took place in the year 1917 and proved to be one of the major formative international influences of the 20th century. The impact of the Russian revolution was far greater than the similar revolutions for instance in Mexico, China, Persia etc. It can be said that “the Russian revolution set the standards for the revolutions in the twentieth century in the same way the French revolution did in the nineteenth century” (Richards, 2004, p. 37).
The span of the revolution was from the February revolution of 1917 when Emperor Nicholas II was abdicated and a provisional government was set up, and ended in October of 1917 when Bolsheviks took power, though many of the historians put the actual end of the revolution with the Bolsheviks’ victory in the civil was in 1920 (Richards, 2004). One of the major reasons for the revolution was due to the autocratic but very inefficient rule during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II.
While his intentions can be termed as good, all it led to is the political instability of the country. He was liberal in many ways but was almost ludicrous in his ideas of autocracy. After the world war, the solders rebelled against the Tsar who ineffectually ought to repress them as well as the workers. He also tried to dissolve the Russian parliament Duma, but they forced to obey and the revolution stated when the insurgents took over the capital. There was a provisional government put in place of the Tsar (Richards, 2004).
The problem started at this point, because while people welcomed the end of autocracy they were not at all happy with the provisional government who hence had very little support. The Mensheviks who had dominated the provisional governments did have plans to have more liberal Civil rights, but failed to address the two chief problems of continuing in war and the redistribution of land. The necessity of peace forced many of the ministers of the provisional government to resign and the cabinet was then reorganized (Richards, 2004).
When Lenin retuned to Russia in April 1917, he organized the Bolsheviks to organize and advocated to end the war and redistribute the lands to peasants. This further undermined the power of the provisional government. By June, Bolsheviks were an increasing and influential minority in the government. They gained majority by September and then were urged by Lenin to seize power, which started in October, and ended on November 6th when many of the government buildings were captures. Soon Moscow was also taken over and the influence of Bolsheviks extended over the entire Russia.
Bolsheviks had to face a civil war which is said to be a war between Bolsheviks (Reds) and the anti-Bolsheviks (Whites). The war started in 1918 and ended with the Bolshevik win in the 1920 (Fitzpatrick, 2001). The devastating effects of the civil war have been partly attributed to the decline of Soviet democracy and the emergence of the bureaucratic dictatorship which characterized the USSR until 1991. However, many think that the war had a formative effect on the Russians whether they were participants of either the revolution or war or neither.
In addition to the toughening up of people, many of whom gained powerful positions in the 1920s, it also created a revolutionary myth which prompted the goals of willingness sacrifice for nationalistic goals among the Russians. This is considered to be one of the strengths of Communism, which was present in the nature of Chinese due to their ancient philosophies but was markedly absent in Russia prior to the revolution. This enthusiasm and willingness was tapped by Stalin in his seize for power in the1920s (Fitzpatrick, 2001).
Bolsheviks seizure of power in October was the start of their reign which was initially countered by many of the parties against them. The anti-monarchist status started the revolution but due to the thoughts of Lenin, Bolsheviks to take advantage of this political instability and seize power from the hands of Liberals and capitalists. After this the country was plunged into civil war which ended in 1920. Bolsheviks had in consequence taken over a war economy and the first priority was to keep it running.
The country was economically very weak, and there were also many atrocities done by people from both sides of the war on common workers. The emerging policies were termed as “War Communism which was basically an effort to create a single economic plan and to create the institutional basis of communism” (Richards, 2004, p. 44). Lenin talked about both an increase in cultural standards as well as the increase in the economic standard which according to him would take the country forward. However, Lenin died in 1922 and was succeeded by Stalin mostly by bitter internal fights.
He was responsible for reviving the Russian economy through his famous five-year plans. The industry and agriculture were collectivized and a worker state was created. The situation was however far from being good. The industry saw a lot of waste and agriculture which had only twenty percent of the population could not keep up with the industry. The working conditions were deplorable in most of the places and the pay was deplorable. The state religion was atheism and there was religious prosecution of people following religions such as Christianity and Islam (Richards, 2004).
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 April 2017