The term Russian Revolution is a collective term for the series of revolutions which were staged in Russia against the Tsarist autocracy in 1917. It was this revolution that paved the way for the creation of the Soviet Union. In a broad sense though, the term is also used to refer to the revolutions of 1905 and the third Russian revolution in 1918.
Russian Revolution Causes
The factors which contributed to the Russian Revolution are broadly categorized into economic, social, and political factors. The World War I had left Russia in dire state as several individuals joined the army, thus leaving other sectors with insufficient number of workers. Working in rather miserable conditions, industrial workers put forth some demands through their union. However, the Tsar was in no mood to pay heed to them and the workers were left with no option but to go on a strike.
Social oppression was at its peak during the beginning of the 20th century and participation in the World War just made things worse. Several peasants moved to the industrial areas, as industries were looking to fill manpower they lost heavily during the war. Tsar Nicholas II and his autocratic rule became quite infamous as time elapsed. Things worsened further when he decided to bring army under his direct control. At this point of time, the State Duma stepped in and issued a warning to the Tsar. It was this inept handling on the situation by Nicholas II that brought Russia to the verge of an uprising.
The Timeline of the Russian Revolution 1917
- February 22: The beginning of the February Revolution marked by the strike of workers at the Putilov Plant in Petrograd.
- February 23: Series of demonstrations demanding an end to autocracy in Russia and withdrawal from the World War I.
- February 25 - 27: An army battalion is sent to Petrograd to end the rebellion, however, the disgruntled army personnel themselves join the rebellion.
- February 27: Petrograd Soviet is formed as Menshevik leaders are released from the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.
- March 2: Nicholas II gives up the throne.
- March 15: Provisional Government takes the reins of the nation in its own hands.
- July 3: An unplanned pro-soviet demonstration takes place in Petrograd.
- July 6: The rebellion is crushed and several Bolshevik leaders are arrested.
- August 27: The Provisional Government prepares for the attack after General Lavr Kornilov orders the army corps to take on Petrograd.
- August 31: General Lavr Kornilov is arrested by the orders of Provisional Government.
- September 4: Under tremendous public pressure, the Provisional Government is forced to release Bolshevik leaders.
- October 25: The rule of the Russian Provisional Government comes to an end as the Military Revolutionary Committee troops capture the winter palace. (This date, which marked the end of the October Revolution, also marked the proclamation of Soviet Russia.)
- October 26: The Decree on Peace issued by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets brings an end to the Russian participation in the war.
The 1905 Russian Revolution was a mass unrest in several parts of the Russian Empire, which was―though not entirely―directed at the then government. It resulted in constitutional monarchy and multi-party system in Russia. Almost a decade later, the revolution of 1917 created a similar picture of social unrest in the nation. Two of the most prominent incidents of 1917 revolution came in March and October respectively. In March 1917, the Russian Provisional Government took the reins in its own hand after the Tsar was deposed. In October the same year, the Provisional Government was replaced by the Bolsheviks. What we refer to as the third Russian Revolution was in fact a failed attempt to overthrow the Bolsheviks in 1918.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 altered the course of history, not just for Russia, but the entire world. On the Other hand, the third revolution, which was won by the Bolsheviks, brought about large-scale destruction in the nation and hence, is considered one of the darkest chapters of the Russian history.