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The Russian Revolution
Transcript of The Russian Revolution
By Leo Crepeau, Audrey Lanczynski,
and AJ Clifton
One of the many banners of the Revolution, reading "Freedom! Equality! And Fraternity!
Smele, Jonathan, Dr. "War and Revolution in Russia 1914 - 1921." Http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/eastern_front_01.shtml. British Broadcasting Corporation, n.d. Web.
The Revolution was spurred by widespread unrest across all social classes, but the most powerful of them were the workers, known as the proletariat. The workers were crushed by extremely high taxes placed on them by the Tsar and his provisional government, the Duma. They were also denied access to education, adequate healthcare, and infrastructure.
After the government repeatedly denied basic rights to the proletariat, many went on strike and seized control of local farms and mines. The Duma reacted by sending in soldiers to fire upon crowds and clear the streets.
"The Russian Revolution of 1917." The Russian Revolution of 1917. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.
This was not the first time a situation like this occurred in Russia-in 1905, a lower class rebellion attempted to oust the Tsar. The rebellion ended with the government making concessions to the peasantry and giving them political representation, but he suspended these as soon as the rebellion died down and continued to enforce his rule with secret police and press censorship.
Organization and Execution
The Rebellion of 1905 partly failed because there wasn't a powerful central figure for the proletariat to guide and agitate them. In the Revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, a lawyer inspired by Marxist thought and determined to end the provisional government's reign, took command of the revolutionaries, who were now called Bolsheviks (meaning representing the majority). Under Bolshevik supervision, workers would group up into Soviets, or labor unions, to plan strikes and protests.
Government Response And Change
With the provisional government suppressing all forms of peaceful protests, the only other option was violent resistance. Bolshevik rebels seized control of their local government, assassinated local officials, and bombed restaurants and shops in areas known to support the Duma.
A portrait of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, more commonly known as Vladimir Lenin-the leader and organizer of the Bolshevik Revolution and first leader of the Soviet Union.
"Vladimir Lenin." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.
Alexander Kerensky, leader of the Provisional Government and the White Army which fought the Bolsheviks.
Crisis- With massive amounts of weapons and manpower piling up on both sides, the Revolution soon evolved into the Russian Civil War, a military conflict that began in 1917. After a bloody struggle, the Bolsheviks won in 1922. They abolished the provisional authorities and replaced them with the Soviet Union, a new Bolshevik government dedicated to reversing the policies of the Tsar.
The Union of Soviet Socialist States
After Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power, they began a series of widespread reforms to balance and repair the country. Land reforms distributed the land of the wealthy amongst the lower classes. Wages were standardized and the government took control of the means of production. Lenin also moved away from war communism (in which the government has absolute control over the entire economy) to his new Free Economic Plan, where small businesses could operate independantly and workers could manage their own collectives free from federal interference.
Lenin focused on rebuilding the Soviet Union after the chaos of the Revolution up until he died of a coma in 1924. With Lenin's death, the Politburo (Soviet parliament appointed by the leader) had to choose a successor. The two obvious candidates were Leon Trotsky, a good companion of Lenin's and his understudy, and Joseph Stalin, a hardline, ultraconservative militarist. Stalin was chosen, and he soon exiled Trotsky to Mexico, where he was assassinated by the KGB a few years later. Stalin then dissolved political factions friendly to Leninist ideals and severely cracked down on any opposition parties with military force. The Revolutions key ideas were destroyed, and the USSR entered the Stalinist era, much diffrent from that which Lenin and other early Bolsheviks imagined-an era full of mass famines, rampant militarism, and political oppression of the very lower classes the Revolution intended to protect.
Joseph Stalin, Lenin's successor who wiped out the Leninist-Troskyite parties and replaced the ideas of the Revolution with that of his own communist ideology.
"Stalin: "Bad But Brilliant"" History Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.
Who Revolted and Why
Primary Source-Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor., Anthony Esler, and Burton F. Beers. Prentice Hall World History. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
Ehlers, Betsy. "The Russian Revolution of 1917." YouTube. YouTube, 03
Oct. 2014. Web. 05 May 2016.