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Key People in the Russian Revolution

Who were some majors influences in the Russian revolution? What did they do? Who were they and why were they so important?
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Matt Bunney

on 27 March 2013

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Transcript of Key People in the Russian Revolution

Russian Revolution Top 3 + 1 Composed by Matt Bunney Who's was who in the Russian revolution? We'll be looking at some key people... And a person who had not much to do with it. Lenin He was the son of a teacher of the nobility, his father insisting he get a good education. Vladimir Ilich Ulanyov (later to be known as Vladimir Lenin) was born in 1870 into a family from Simbrinsk. When he was still in school, Lenin's older brother, Alexander was executed for being part of an anti-Tsarist group. His brother's ideas influenced the young Lenin. One of Lenin's speeches Upbringing and Education Lenin went to Kazan University (in the south of Russia) to study a degree in Law. Around this time, Lenin read the works of Karl Marx, becoming a Marxist. At university, Lenin joined a revolutionary group, getting expelled for organising a protest. He was allowed to return to finish his degree. Pre-Revolution Lenin become a major player in some revolutionary groups within Russia. His revolutionary activities got him exiled to Siberia and eventually kicked out of Russia. While in exile in Zürich, Lenin started a newspaper, Iskra ('the spark'). Someof his revolutionary friends smuggled the paper into Russia. Also while in exile, Lenin wrote papers, applying Marx's theories to the situation in Russia and creating an outline for the Russian Revolution and it's Communist future. During the Revolution After the February Revolution and the abdication of the Tsar, Lenin was smuggled into Russia by the Germans. He then spent time going around Russia gaining support for the Bolshevik party amongst workers. Lenin at Finland Station when he arrived in Russia The Provisional Government accused Lenin of organising worker's riots, forcing Lenin once again into exile. However, the Russian people's faith in the Provisional Government was waning. The government was failing to do many things the people wanted, including taking Russia out of World War One. The Bolshevik Party became popular, gaining a majority in the many soviets. Around September 1917, Lenin returned and led the Bolsheviks through the October Revolution, overthrowing the Provisional Government. After the revolution, a Communist state was established, with Lenin at the top. He stayed there until he died, causing panic in the country about who would be the next leader. The storming of the Winter Palace Russians mourning for their leader So why was he so influential to the Revolution? Lenin was arguably the key man in the Russian revolution. Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik fraction of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party, the Communist Group in Russia. This meant that he was the mastermind behind all the Bolshevik Party movements, from the speeches made to the storming of the Winter palace. It's also important to remember that while in exile in Switzerland, he formed a plan for the new Communist state he was going to form and the way that the Bolsheviks were going to get it. Trotsky Lev Dividovich Bronstein grew up in Yanovka, Ukraine (then part of Russia). He was the son of a wealthy Jewish farmer. Leon Trotsky as a child He became involved in revolutionary activities as a teenager, getting arrested and sent into exile in Siberia. He joined the Social Democratic Party around this time. He escaped Siberia, spending time abroad. This included some time in London.

At a congress there for the Social Democratic Party, a dispute broke out which led to a split in the party, the two factions becoming the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. Trotsky initially supported the Mensheviks. A guard tower of a Russian 'gulag', the prison camps. Pre-Revolution However, Trotsky did work with the Bolsheviks and Lenin to create the newspaper Iskra. Little Revolution until 1917 After the 1905 revolution, Trotsky decided to go to Russia, where he was instrumental in the creation of the St Petersburg soviet. He eventually became the leader. Some Members of the St Petersburg soviet After seeing the failure of the Duma in providing what the October Manifesto declared, the St Petersburg and other soviets put pressure on Nicholas II to reform the government. In December 1905, the St Petersburg soviet was wiped out and Trotsky exiled once again to Siberia. He escaped quickly, joining a fellow revolutionary in Vienna to write a socialist j
journal, Pravda. When WW1 broke out, Trotsky was severely against it, calling for all workers to stop working for the fighting governments.
At this time, Lenin asked fellow revolutionaries to try persuade Trotsky to become a Bolshevik, seeing him as an important figure of the revolution. February and October Revolutions Trotsky heard about the February revolution and decided to head to Russia. Upon seeing of how the Mensheviks had joined the Provisional Government and thereby supported the war, he denounced them and joined the Bolsheviks. Trotsky was promptly arrested. At that time, the power of the government was questioned when there was a military uprising. The prime minister of the time, Alexander Kerensky, asked the St Petersburg soviet and the Red Guard (both Bolshevik run) to protect them against the coup. Even though the military takeover was a flop, one of the agreements made between the government and the Bolsheviks allowed Trotsky to be released from prison. Alexander Kerensky Then Trotsky, who was practically second in command of the Bolsheviks, went around organising the October revolution. His role was summarised in one of Stalin’s works (Pravda); ‘All practical work in connection with the organization of the uprising was done under the immediate direction of Comrade Trotsky, the President of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee was organized.’ Post-Revolution After the revolution, Trotsky became the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, leading a delegation to the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, bringing Russia out of WW1. Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk Another major part he played was the Commissar of War, leading the Red Army in the Civil War against the Whites, winning for the Communists. Trotsky addressing Red Army Soldiers After Lenin died, Trotsky assumed that he would take over party leadership. However, Stalin outmanoeuvred him for the leadership of the USSR. Eventually, Trotsky was expelled from Russia and moved to Mexico, where he was assassinated by a Stalinist. Stalin as chief mourner at Lenin's funeral. Trotsky's grave in his house in Mexico So why was he so influential to the Revolution? Trotsky was very popular in Russia, especially amongst the soviets in the major cities. Without this popular support,the Bolshevik may never have got the numbers needed to start the Revolution. Also, throughout the October Revolution and the Civil War that follow, Trotsky was in the middle of it commanding Red Army forces all across Russia. Without the hard work he put in, the Bolsheviks may have been crushed before they started. Tsar Nicholas II Nicholas II was the Tsar of Russia from 1896 until his abdication. He was from the royal family in Europe, with relatives on the thrones of Germany, Denmark and Britain. When he did succeed his father to the throne, Nicholas had little experience in government. The Tsar had an expansionist policy, encouraging the Russian army’s invasion of Manchuria. This act led to the Russo-Japanese war. Pre-Revolution 1905 Revolution and aftermath The Russian defeat in the war, along with food shortages, the violent and oppressive policies of the government and other factors led to strikes and riots of workes in January 1905. ‘Bloody Sunday’ caused a growth in opposition to the Tsar. Nicholas was forced to make changes to the way he ruled, called the ‘October Manifesto’. The manifesto promised the establishment of a parliament (the Duma) and freedom of speech. However, Nicholas still held all the power. If a Duma did not do what he wanted, than he could throw them out of parliament. Also, laws prevented radicals being elected to parliament and the Tsar’s secret police dealt with his opposition. This being said, the Duma did bring about some change, reforming the military and giving a voice to the middle class. Upon the outbreak of World War 1, Nicholas made a bad move by personally taking control of the army. This was disastrous for his image, as every failure was seen as his fault. While he was at the front, his wife took over government affairs. She soon became a scapegoat for the Russian people because of her German background and her confidence in a crazy monk, Rasputin. The 1917 revolution onwards In February 1917, demonstrations broke out in the capital, Petrograd. Nicholas ordered the army to stop the riots, but they refused. Upon seeing that he no longer had the support of his army or people, the Tsar abdicated. A Provisional Government was set up, but in a few months it was overthrown by the Bolsheviks, starting a bloody civil war. Nicholas and his family were arrested by the Bolsheviks, taken to a rural house and executed in a basement. So why was he influential to the Revolution? The Tsar held back on political reform, ignored the pleas of his people and did whatever he wanted. This lead to discontent amongst the people, creating the perfect atmosphere for revolution. His leadership skills (or lack of) led to the downfall of the Tsar, ending a dynasty that continued for generations. Stalin Now for the +1... Upbringing Joseph Dzhugashvili was born in central Georgia. His mother sent him to a local church school, where he gained a scholarship to an Orthodox theological institution. He was soon kicked out of the school; Stalin later saying that he was expelled for trying to convert fellow students to Marxism. Pre-revolution Stalin was part of a few underground groups, including a Georgian Independence Group. He ended up joining the Social Democratic Labour Party, staying in Russia where he organised industrial resistance, whereas most other leaders of the movement were living in exile. When the Socialist Party split in 1902, Stalin sided with the Mensheviks. Stalin continued organising strikes and demonstrations at the time. Lenin was impressed with his work, inviting him to meet him in Finland in 1905. Stalin became a Bolshevik and returned to Russia to continue his work, eventually getting exiled for life to Siberia. Revolution After the abdication of the Tsar, Stalin was allowed to return to normal life. At the time, Lenin was condemning the Bolsheviks who supported the Provisional Government. Stalin, who was working for the socialist newspaper Pravda, printed an article condemning those who supported the government, thus gaining Lenin’s confidence. Post-Revolution Stalin laid low until after the Communists were in power, when Lenin appointed him Commissar of Nationalities, giving him power (over half of the population was not ethnic Russian). After some time, Lenin’s health began to fail. He created a new position to help him control the Communist Party, the Secretary General. Stalin was Lenin’s choice for the job. This position allowed Stalin to appoint and make people step down from positions of power. After Lenin’s death, Stalin used his positions of power to outmanoeuvre others as Lenin’s successor. This started his dictatorship, which included rapid industrialisation at appalling human cost. So why wasn't he one of the influential people in the Revolution? Even though he was part of the Bolsheviks at the time, Stalin had no active role in the Revolution. What he did do was gain loyalty from Lenin, which he used later to gain power. On an interesting note, later on, when he was dictator of Russia, he claimed he did have a part to play in the Revolution. All the paintings painted during Stalin's rule actually show him next to Lenin, taking part of the Revolution! That's it! Thanks for watching my presentation. His father was Tsar before Nicholas, meaning he grew up believing that he was the rightful ruler of Russia. He soon marrieda German pricess called Alexandra. She encouraged Nicholas’ autocratic powers and urged him to resist demands for political reform. Nicholas was a ‘cultural nationalist’, meaning he did not want Russia to become like the countries of the West. Nicholas and Alexandra's official engagement photograph The following defeat in the war weakened moral not only amongst the armed forces but amongst the Russian people. In St Petersburg, the army shot a group of these protesters, nicknamed ‘Bloody Sunday’. Nicholas appearing to Russian soldiers Examples of Propaganda from the Civil War A young Stalin The Georgian Orthodox Tifilis Seminary, where Stalin went to study to be a priest He was arrested several times and exiled to Siberia. He managed to escape several times. Stalinist Propaganda
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