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Russian Revolution

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Kyle Clark

on 9 March 2016

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Transcript of Russian Revolution

Topic: Russian Revolution
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the 15 republics, including Russia, became independent states.
So where are all of these people from?
Please yell out all of the places you think the following people live.
Under the Russian tsars, from the late seventeenth century through 1917, the Russian empire expanded to include lands of many diverse peoples.
This map shows the largest reaches of the Russian empire in 1914.
Russia refers geographically and ethnically to the large region that dominates the northern part of the Eurasian continent.
All of the people in these slides live in an area that was historically part of the Russian Empire
After 1991, many of them continued to share some political, economic, and military links through a loose union called the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, several of the nations in the Russian empire experienced brief periods of independent statehood, but after a few years almost all of them became Soviet republics and were formally united as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—USSR or Soviet Union—in 1922.
Western nations blockaded Russia so nothing could leave or enter
Lenin concerned new socialist experiment would fail
Long term effects:
Violence was now used to destroy social & political structures
Established state controlled society
How does this revolution compare to the American & French Revolutions?
Results of Civil War:
14 million Russians dead from fighting & famine
Destroyed country, flu epidemics
Red Army crushed all opposition
Bolsheviks seized power & maintained it
Russian Revolution = Bolshevik Revolution
October 25, 1917 as Trotsky’s Red Guard seizes most of St. Petersburg (Petrograd)
Lenin declares Russia is now communist and gives the land to the peasants.
Lenin & the Bolshevik Revolution...
In October 1917, Lenin led an armed uprising against the Provisional Government. His aim was to take control of Russia and turn it in to a communist country.
Lenin & the Great October Rev…
- soldiers ignored orders, mutinied & deserted
- starvation, fuel supplies limited, many wanted an end to war
Within a year, so is the entire Romanov family!?
Did Rasputin have magical powers???
Write your own curse….
“I write and leave behind me this letter at St. Petersburg. I feel that I shall leave life before January 1...If I am killed by common assassins, and especially by my brothers the Russian peasants, you Tsar of Russia, have nothing to fear, remain on your throne and govern, and you, Russian Tsar, will have nothing to fear for your children, they will reign for hundreds of years in Russia...if it was your relations who have wrought my death, then no one in the family, that is to say, none of your children or relations, will remain alive for more than two years. They will be killed by the Russian people...You must reflect and act prudently. Think of your safety and tell your relations that I have paid for them with my blood. I shall be killed. I am no longer among the living."
200,000 workers carried petitions to Czar Nicholas II.
They wanted better working conditions, wages, more freedom & an elected legislature.
Political reforms: Organizes self- governing republics under central gov’t control
1923 USSR - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Bolsheviks rename their party Communist Party
Lenin & Bolsheviks gained Petrograd Soviet & others
People rallied behind him, wanted “peace, land & bread”
Lenin returns to Russia
Germans thought Lenin & Bolsheviks would create unrest & hurt war effort
Lenin returned in April 1917
March Rev…cont
Kerensky continued fighting in WWI; conditions worsened.
- March 1917- workers strike in Petrograd
- 200,000 workers “down with autocracy”
- Soldiers refuse to fire on rioters
March Revolution
Rasputin realizes he’s in danger.
Makes a prophecy, stating, if anyone related to royal family should kill him then the entire royal family would be dead within 1 or 2 years.
Rasputin offers to go bless the Russina troops.
One Russian general replied:
“Yes, please do come. So I can hang you!”
Rasputin didn’t go.
Nicholas II joins his soldiers on the Eastern Front.
Alexandra is left at home in St. Petersburg to rule.
Rasputin attempts to influence/control Alexandra with “advice”
Russians believe Rasputin ruling country...
Rasputin loves this religion
Generals and the Police Chief ordered soldiers to open fire.
Civil War in Russia is won by Lenin, Trotsky and the Red Army!!!!!!
Red Guard
, under Bolshevik control, gains weapons & power
Rasputin and…….friends?
Rasputin & daughters!? (royal staff too)
Alexandra was so grateful, she became increasingly infatuated with him.
Eventually travels, spreading religious ideas
Becomes “notorious”
Romanov family so distraught with son Alexei’s condition, become desperate.
Call in Rasputin for help.
Somehow Rasputin is able to stop Alexei’s bleeding!??
(Mystical powers/hypnotism?) It works!
Russia honors alliances & joins WWI

Tsar Nicholas II takes personal command of army

Strange monk, Rasputin, gains power with Tsarina back at the court

Army suffers many military defeats
WWI in Russia Conditions
Revolts and strikes spread through Russia.
- Factories double

- Gov’t sought foreign investors & raised taxes

- 1900 = 4th largest producer of steel

- Trans- Siberian RR -worlds longest
Russia Industrializes
Wrap the body in a carpet and throw him in river.
Everyone runs out, start beating him with blunt objects….still breathing!
When his body was found a few days later, doctor who performed autopsy claimed that Rasputin appeared to have been STILL live underwater and clawing to get out of the ropes!!! There was also enough water in his lungs to support this premise, and three bullets lodged in various regions of the body.
Felix empties gun at departing Rasputin, who eventually falls
Felix freaks out as Rasputin starts to run away saying he’s going to tell Tsarina
Felix goes to pick up body, Rasputin lurches up, tries to choke Felix!
Rasputin drops to floor. People celebrate, drink some (good) wine.
Frustrated Felix orders for louder music, grabs a gun and shoots Rasputin
Alexander III was an absolute ruler who was disliked by most of his subjects
Secret police, censored documents, oppressed minority groups
Russian = National language
Targeted Jews (pogroms)
Nicholas II became czar in 1894
Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, hemophilic son Alexi
Russia under Nicholas
politically unstable
Liberals wanted a democratic government
minorities wanted independence

Moderates =
, wanted broad base support
Radical =
= supported small # of revolutionaries willing to sacrifice everything for change
The Russians marched off confidently to war but returned home embarrassed and defeated.
- Russia and Japan were both imperialist powers in the late 1800's.
How did Stalin rule the USSR between 1928-1941?
The Russian
were divided into the Bolsheviks led by Lenin and the Mensheviks led by Trotsky. Lenin believed that the small party of Bolsheviks should seize power and control Russia on behalf of the people. Before 1917 Lenin and many of the other
leaders were in exile abroad, plotting to bring about a revolution in Russia.
Very often the peasants do not have enough allotment land. They cannot feed themselves, clothe themselves, heat their homes, keep their tools and livestock, secure seed for sowing and lastly pay their taxes.

Police report into country conditions 1905
Throughout the 1800's Russia was a rural society with over 90% of the people being poor peasants.
Until 1861 the peasants had belonged to their masters, who could buy and sell them like animals. This was called SERFDOM, the peasants were the SERFS.
When the
peasants were freed in 1861
they were given small amounts of land for which they had to pay back the government. As a result
most farmers were in absolute poverty. Agriculture was in desperate need of modernization.
In contrast, a small number of upper-class people held most of the wealth and power. This aristocracy had large town houses and country estates.
In 1905 Russia lost a war with Japan. This defeat caused strikes in the Russian cities, the Tsar nearly lost control. Nicholas II offered to call a Duma, or parliament, with free elections. This was accepted by the demonstrators.
When the Duma met, it began to criticise the Tsar and demanded changes. Nicholas II did not like this at all. The Duma was dismissed and new elections, controlled by the Tsar, were called.
It became clear that the Duma would be shut down if it criticised the Tsar. As long as the Tsar had control of the army, his power could not be broken.
He was an
absolute monarch
, meaning that he had total power in Russia.
Nicholas was a weak man. He used his
secret police, the Okrana
, to persecute opponents.
Books and newspapers were censored
. The Church supported the Tsar – the ‘Little Father of the Russian people’.
Nicholas II ruled a vast country that was almost medieval in comparison to other countries.
The Tsar’s undemocratic government was a major cause of the revolution.
The effects of Stalin’s rule on men and women
Millions of people suffered in Stalin’s purges – workers, peasants and members of the Communist Party itself.
There was brutality, persecution, executions and forced labour. Millions died of starvation and over-work. The shops were empty ; clothes were dull and badly made and household items difficult to find. Although the USSR was a Communist state, the dictatorship of Stalin was just as complete, and in some ways even more bloody, than that of Hitler.
But despite these appalling tragedies, there were some positive aspects to Stalin’s rule.
For example schools were built and more women were allowed into them. Also, social insurance schemes were introduced. Russia became a modern industrial country.
We are 50-100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make up this gap in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us.

Stalin 1931
The Five Year Plans
Stalin believed that industry could only develop through state control. Under GOSPLAN, three Five Year Plans set targets between 1928-1941 to increase production.
Russian industry changed enormously. New towns such as Magnitogorsk grew up and large projects such as the Dnieper hydroelectric dam were developed. The USSR became a major industrial country.
The human cost was high. Forced labour killed millions, working conditions were poor and hours of work were long.
1928 = 73.3 million tons
1934 = 67.6 million tons
1929 = 70.5 million
1934 = 42.4 million
1928 = 26 million
1934 = 22.6 million
Sheep and goats
1928 = 146.7 million
1934 = 51.9 million
Collectivisation had limited success and a terrible human cost, millions of people died as a result. Between 1931 and 1933, there was a famine in Russia as not enough food was being produced. By 1939, Russia was producing the same amount of food as it had in 1928. Collectivisation was clearly a disaster and the problem was even worse as its population had increased by 20 million - all of whom needed feeding.
In the late 1920s, Russia suffered a food crisis. To feed starving workers, Stalin ordered the seizure of grain from the farmers. But, just as happened under War Communism, the peasants hid food or produced less. In 1929 Stalin announced the collectivisation of farms.
The most common was the Kolkhoz in which land was joined together and the former owners worked together and shared everything. Stalin persuaded peasants to join by attacking the Kulaks, peasants that had grown rich as a result of the NEP.
Stalin in 1928
A foreigner describes the glorification of Stalin in the USSR.
Stalin’s face is seen everywhere. His name is spoken by everyone. His praises are sung in every speech. Every room I entered had a portrait of Stalin hanging on the wall. Is it love or fear? I do not know.
Communists aimed to replace religious teachings with the ideals of communism.
The Russian Orthodox Church was the main target of persecution.
Other religious groups also suffered greatly.
The police destroyed magnificent churches and synagogues; and many religious leaders were killed or sent to labor camps.
Stalin’s dictatorship: purges and propaganda
Even with his opponents removed, Stalin still felt insecure. He conducted a policy of purges between 1934-1938. Millions were arrested, executed or sent to labor camps (gulag).
Stalin used the NKVD, the secret police, to undertake the ‘Great Terror’.
Stalin purged:
90% of the army’s top officers,
every admiral in the navy,
1 million Communist Party members,
some 10 million ordinary Russians.
At the same time Stalin encouraged a cult of personality. Propaganda was used to make people aware of the part Stalin was playing in every aspect of life – work, home and leisure.
In contrast Trotsky was much less popular. He had been a Menshevik and had only joined the Bolsheviks in 1917. Trotsky was dismissed as Commissar for War in 1925 and from the Central Committee in in 1926. In 1927 he was expelled from the Communist Party and forced into exile in 1929. Stalin had Trotsky assassinated in Mexico in 1940. Other leading figures of 1917, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin, were also removed by Stalin.
Comrade Stalin, having become General Secretary, has great power in his hands, and I am not sure that he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution.
Comrade Stalin is too rude.
Reasons for Stalin’s success
When Lenin died he had warned the Communist Party of Stalin’s threat in his ‘Political Testament’.
Stalin had not played a significant part in the revolution of 1917, but since then he had gathered control of a number of key posts in the Communist Party. Stalin was determined to win control of Russia for himself. He was not interested in international communism, he wanted to make Russia strong and with himself at its head.
By 1928 Stalin emerged as the successor to Lenin and Trotsky was forced into exile.
The Struggle for power: Stalin v Trotsky
After the death of Lenin in 1924, there was a four year power struggle between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky over the succession to the Russian leadership.
Trotsky believed that under his leadership Russia would become a catalyst for the spread of communism across the world. He had been very successful as commander of the Red Army in the civil war and appeared to have Lenin’s support.
The Kronstadt Revolt 1921
War Communism made Lenin’s government very unpopular. Discontent amongst the peasants led to violence in the cities. Workers went on strike, in spite of the death penalty for striking.
The most serious opposition to Lenin’s government came in March 1921. Sailors at the Kronstadt naval base near Petrograd revolted. They accused Lenin of breaking his promise to help the workers.
Lenin ordered the Red Army to put down the revolt. This caused 20,000 casualties and the leaders of the revolt were executed. However, the mutiny was a warning to Lenin that he might have to relax War Communism.
To win the Civil War and impose
in Russia,
needed a strong
Red Army
supplied with weapons and food.
The state took control of the factories and appointed managers to run them. Work was hard and long, food was rationed to only those who worked and trade unions were banned.
To get enough food, the
seized all surplus grain from the peasants. The peasants hid food or preferred to grow less rather than give it away free to feed the towns.
Drought and famine hit Russia in 1921 – millions of people died.
Leon Trotsky
– founder and commander of the
Red Army
Although in a very dangerous position, the
were able to win the Civil War. This was because the Whites were divided, while the
controlled the key cities, industrial centres and communication links. Trotsky’s tough leadership of the new
Red Army
proved decisive in the victory over the Whites.
The opponents of the ‘
’, Lenin and the Communists, were known as the ‘Whites’. The Whites were a mixture of aristocrats, royalists, churchmen, army officers and many others.
The Whites were supported by Britain, France, Japan and the USA, countries that were alarmed at the possible spread of communism. At the same time, Lenin fought a war against Poland, a new country formed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
To successfully impose Communist control in Russia, Lenin realized that he would have to bring Russia out of the First World War. He feared that the war might bring about an end to Communist rule.
By this time the Russian army was weakened by poor morale, desertions and a break down in discipline. It was incapable of resisting the Germans.
In March 1918 Russia signed a humiliating peace treaty with Germany. Russia lost a huge amount of land in the West. This included about one-sixth of the population (60 million people), three-quarters of its iron and coal and over a quarter of the best farmland in Russia.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk came at a high price for Russia, but Lenin knew he could not defeat Germany and his opponents in Russia at the same time.
Many middle-class Liberals and Social Revolutionaries (who supported the peasants) opposed the rule of the Tsar, but the most revolutionary were the Social Democrats or
believed in the ideas of
Karl Marx
claimed that history is all about the struggles between the classes. He claimed that the capitalist system was unfair because the factory owners (
) made profits from the toils of the workers (
predicted that the proletariat would violently overthrow the bosses and take control of the country on behalf of the people.
In the first few months of the First World War, Russia fought better than had been expected. Russian forces attacked Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1914 and were only pushed back after fierce fighting at the battle of Tannenberg.
In 1915, Tsar Nicholas II assumed personal command of the Russian armed forces. This was a risky policy; any defeats would be blamed on him. As it turned out the Tsar was a poor commander. The Russian army lost confidence in the Tsar after a string of serious defeats. The Russian soldiers, poorly trained and equipped, lacking in basic items such as rifles and ammunition, suffered from lowering morale. Thousands of men deserted.
Without the support of the army, the Tsar’s position became increasingly precarious.
‘The whole day we pour out our blood and sweat. Every minute we are exposed to danger.’

Union leaflet 1898
Industrialisation began much later in Russia than in Western Europe.
Huge iron foundries, textile factories and engineering firms were set up. Most were owned by the government or foreigners, and were located in the big cities such as St Petersburg or Moscow.
By 1900 20% of Russians were workers living in cities.

Working conditions in the new industrial towns were hard. Pay was very low.
Although strikes and demonstrations were illegal, they often took place.
Strikers were frequently shot by the Tsar’s soldiers or secret police.
The Great Patriotic War 1941-1945

When Germany attacked the USSR in 1941, Stalin used the same ruthlessness to defend his country.

The defence of the USSR was the bloodiest war in history and cost the lives of millions of people and the destruction of thousands of villages, towns and cities.

The final victory in 1945 was, like everything else, put down to the personal leadership of Stalin by the Soviet propaganda machine.

After the war, Stalin built up the USSR as a superpower, in opposition to the USA. This conflict was known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953.
On August 20, 1940, Trotsky was successfully attacked in his home by a NKVD agent, Ramón Mercader, who drove the pick of an ice axe into Trotsky's skull.
The blow was poorly delivered and failed to kill Trotsky instantly, as Mercader had intended. Witnesses stated that Trotsky spat on Mercader and began struggling fiercely with him. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky's bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader, but Trotsky stopped them, shouting, "Do not kill him! This man has a story to tell."
Trotsky was taken to a hospital, operated on, and survived for more than a day, dying at the age of 60 on August 21, 1940 as a result of severe brain damage.
Mercader later testified at his trial:
“I laid my raincoat on the table in such a way as to be able to remove the ice axe which was in the pocket. I decided not to miss the wonderful opportunity that presented itself. The moment Trotsky began reading the article, he gave me my chance; I took out the ice axe from the raincoat, gripped it in my hand and, with my eyes closed, dealt him a terrible blow on the head.”
According to James P. Cannon, the secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (USA), Trotsky's last words were "I will not survive this attack. Stalin has finally accomplished the task he attempted unsuccessfully before."
After his abdication in March 1917, Tsar Nicholas II and his family were arrested and sent to Siberia.
In July 1918, the Romanovs were in Ekaterinburg, with a
army closing in on the town. Local communists were worried that the Tsar might be a rallying point for the
As a result, Tsar Nicholas, his wife, their five children and four attendants were shot and bayoneted.
Russian territory ceded to Germany and Austria-Hungary
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918
In December 1917 Lenin set up a secret police force known as the Cheka. Cheka agents spied on the Russian people in factories and villages.
Anyone suspected of being anti-Communist could be arrested, tortured and executed without a trial.
When opponents tried to assassinate Lenin in 1918, he launched the Red Terror campaign against his enemies. It is said that 50,000 people were arrested and executed in this period.
Stalin – Commisar for
Trotsky – Red Army
Commander and
Commisar of Foreign
Who would succeed Lenin?
- They competed for control of Korea and Manchuria.
- Eventually sign a series of agreements over the territories, which Russia eventually broke.
- Japan attacked the Russians in 1904
Weakness of Tsar Nicholas II
The Discontent of the Workers
The Discontent of the Peasants
Russo-Japanese War:
The Opposition of the Communists
1000 people wounded
500 - 1,000 killed
Tsar’s minister Stolypin attempts land reform and is assassinated
Tsar concedes democratic powers, in the form of a legislature called the Duma, then takes those powers back
Radicals organized workers’ councils
Failure of the Duma
Russian failures in the First World War
While Tsar Nicholas II was absent commanding Russian forces during the First World War, he left the day to day running of Russia in the control of his wife Tsarina Alexandra.
Alexandra came increasingly under the influence of Gregory Rasputin, a ‘holy man’ who appeared to be able to heal the hemophilia of Prince Alexis, the heir to the throne.
Rasputin and Scandal
The "Mad" Monk
Grew up as a poor peasant.
Constantly in trouble.
Drinking, partying, sexual relations, etc.
Learned about a religious sect that promoted “sin to remove sin”
More sinning=relieving soul of evil spirits
Nicholas is not impressed. So he sends Rasputin away.
Alexei's bleeding starts again.
Rasputin is called in and the bleeding stops.
Rasputin is allowed to stay.
Rasputin becomes notorious around the capital...many affairs, drunken parties, etc.
Rumors begin: Rasputin & Alexandra
Something Must Be Done...
Relative of Nicholas II the
Grand Duke Dmitri Pavolich
and Prince Felix Yusupov decide to kill Rasputin.
Invite him to a party
Rasputin says he is busy.
Rasputin is promised he can have “relations” with attending wives.
Rasputin comes.
Offered (poisoned) sweets & wine.
Refuses at 1st, eventually consumes much of each.
Felix and others wait. And wait….and wait…Rasputin seems fine?!
Something Must Be Done!!!!!!
War Front

Russia fared so badly in the First World War there was a spontaneous uprising against the Tsar in February 1917. This was sparked off by food riots, poor working conditions and the failure to win the war. The Russian army refused to shoot at the demonstrators and joined forces with them.
February Revolution 1917
Lenin, in exile in Switzerland, raced to St. Petersburg so that he could attempt to seize control of the revolution.
In March 1917, without the support of the army, the Tsar was forced to abdicate and a Provisional Government was set up under Prince Lvov and Alexander
. Lenin believed that this new government was weak and would not impose communism on the Russian people.
Soviets: Local councils consisting of workers, peasants & soldiers
Local Soviets seem to have more power than the Provisional Government
Provisional Gov’t crumbles:
1917 workers storm palace in Petrograd, called the Bolshevik Red Guard
Took gov’t offices, arrests provisional gov’t leaders
Kerensky disappears
Bolsheviks in Power: Lenin takes over
Ordered all farmland over to peasants
Workers gain control of factories
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918



Every scoundrel who incites anyone to retreat or to desert will be shot!

Every soldier who throws away his rifle will be shot!
The Execution of Tsar Nicholas II July 1918
Long Term Effects of
Bolshevik Revolution
Russia was devastated after WWI & Civil War-
Lost one half of its population
By 1922 wages dropped to one tenth of prewar levels
The Soviet Union
Under Lenin
Lenin Restores Order
March 1921, reforms allowed peasants to sell surplus crops (instead of handing over to gov’t)
Gov’t kept control of industries, banks, communication
BUT allowed small businesses, factories & farms
Peace was restored, 1928 factories were again producing at pre WWI levels
The Cheka (secret police)
New Economic policy (NEP):
Lenin Restores Order..cont
Came from Karl Marx: classless society
created a constitution
Communist party
=ALL power;
dictator of the

When Lenin died in 1924, he had been very successful in imposing a communist dictatorship in Russia.
He had defeated all of his opponents and established a strong communist government. As each of the areas formerly belonging to the Tsar came under communist control, they were turned into socialist republics. In 1923 these became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
But, Lenin failed to provide a clear successor on his death. This led to four years of bitter struggle.
Signed Treaty of Brest-Litovsk w/ Germany
Triggered anger b/c of humiliation
Many objected to Bolsheviks & polices.
Essential Question: Describe the causes and effects of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
Czars Resist Change
How did the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II help pave the way for revolution?
A. They both upheld an autocratic government without reform.
B. They supported rapid industrialization at the expense of the treasury.
C. They instituted pograms to weed out revolutionary thinkers.
D. They saw to it that the poor were imprisoned for debts
is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single individual.
Reign of Nicholas II
Revolutionary Movement Grows
Killed for trying to help the peasants!!!!!
Alexander II
Crimean War 1853-56 showed the ineptitude of the Russian military
1861: freed the serfs
Nobles kept best land
Peasants remained in poverty. 47 year mortgages.
Introduced jury trials
Relaxed censorship laws
Nicknamed "Tsar Liberator"
Promoted industrialization.
Expanded railroads.
Populists opposed industrialization.
Destroyed the peasant commune.
Opposed working conditions.
Unable to convince the peasants to rise up and revolt, many populists went underground and turned to violence.
In 1879,
, an extreme terrorist group of populists, secretly formed.
After six unsuccessful attempts on Tsar Alexander II's life, the group finally achieved its goal.
In 1881, The People's Will assassinated the tsar.
Rasputin is dead….finally!
War Communism
Bolshevik Revolution
Real name was Grigori Yefimovich Novik
Took the name Rasputin whic his Russian for 'debauched one'
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