Why Were There Two Revolutions In Russia In 1917?
Introduction:In 1917, there were two revolutions in Russia : the February revolution, and the October revolution. The February revolution overthrew the monarchy. It was spontaneous and involved uprisings by workers, peasants and soldiers throughout the country. Those uprisings were often led by Soviets (councils.) The October revolution, which was also known as the 'Bolshevik Revolution' was carefully planned. It created the world's first communist state.
Obviously, the revolutions were closely linked and the second one could not have existed without the first one. The essence of the revolutions was found in various events and causes, which had sometimes happened decades earlier.
Russia in 1917In 1917, Russia was the largest and the most populated country of Europe. However, it was out of date and ruled by a tsarist regime. All the institutions that supported this monarchy (the Church, the nobility and the peasants) came from the Middle Ages. Meanwhile, new modern forces (such as the middle class) were being a threat to the monarchy. There were already a few revolutionary parties such as the Social Revolutionaries, split into the Mensheviks (who wanted peaceful change) and the Bolsheviks (who wanted revolution).
The industry was old fashioned and poorly effective, which gave the country the name of "backward Russia". Russia was also disunited: there were ethical differences and many nationalities around the country. Minority groups such as Jews and Poles were often persecuted. Only 43% of the population was Russian, and it was the only part that could have had their say in the governing elite of the tsarist regime.
PeasantsVery little of Russia's land was taken for useful purposes. About 85% of the population was rural, and this huge number of peasants was unsatisfied because it wanted more cultivable land. Not surprisingly, when it came to domestic issues, everything was blamed on the government (rightly or wrongly) which was considered incompetent. They also distrusted it because when it was needed, taxes were increased on peasants. This was the case in 1892 when following its expansion with Sergei Witte's industrialization program, Russia had huge overseas debts. It produced famine and contributed to tension and discontent in the lower classes, starting a wave of revolutionary spirit.
IndustryFinancially, the country was heading to disaster. Industrial development had been all around Europe in the 19th century, but the Tsarist regime had neglected to follow it properly. There was a great gap between "modern Europe" and "backward Russia."Although it wasn't as quick and effective than the rest of...
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The Reasons for the Second Revolution in Russia in 1917
- Length: 568 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
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The Reasons for the Second Revolution in Russia in 1917
There was a second revolution in Russiain 1917 for a variety of
different reasons. It was particularly the mistakes made by the
provisional government and the problems caused by the dual government
and the previous revolution in February which had allowed the
Bolsheviks to make a leap to power in this revolution. If the February
revolution had not taken place, the Czar would most likely still be in
power, there would be no provisional government and therefore it would
have been almost impossible for the Bolsheviks to plan an uprising.
The February revolution left Russiain a state of confusion over who
was in power, and most people were still dissatisfied as most of their
grievances were still outstanding.
The provisional government that had been set up after the February
revolution had been doomed from the start. As they wanted to turn
Russiainto democratic country, they were only set up temporarily,
until a real government was elected. As they were only in place for a
short amount of time, they felt they had no official power to enforce
any decisions that they made. This caused a great deal of resentment
from many people, particularly the peasants who had hoped for
immediate land redistribution, and were very dissatisfied with the
As the PetrogradSoviet had so much more support than the provisional
government, they had to consult it before making any decisions, (i.e.
a dual government). This was a very dangerous situation as if the two
bodies disagreed the provisional government would be unable to stand
up alone without the support of the PetrogradSoviet.
When Lenin was allowed to return in April by the Germans (in the hope
he would help with Russian withdrawal from the war) he encouraged the
Bolsheviks to oppose everything the provisional government did,
ensuring that as the provisional government lost support the
Bolsheviks would gain popularity, and not be associated with any
mistakes that the provisional government made. Therefore the return of
Lenin was a very important factor in the revolution as he initiated
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the separation from the government.
Joanna Vickers LVN
Lenin was right, the provisional government made many mistakes that
lost them a great deal of respect and support. This made it much
easier for the Bolsheviks to gain supporters of angry Russians who
wanted to remove the provisional government from power. Lenin's
promises of, "Peace, Bread and Land," seemed very attractive, as at
this time the Russians were suffering desperate food shortages due to
the continuation of the war. The provisional government would not pull
out of the war, despite horrendous losses and mass desertion. They had
lost many military offensives and the army was lacking arms and food.
Also, the peasants began to claim land for themselves as their demands
were not being met. This led to chaos in the countryside due to land
changes and chaos in the towns due to food shortages. The provisional
government also postponed elections until November, which made them
look as if they did not want a democratically ruled country. This led
to a great growth in Bolshevik support as most people were anti-
When an army general, Kornilov, appeared to be preparing to attack
Petrogradand take over power, Kerensky (vice chair of the provisional
government) released the Bolshevik leaders from prison and armed their
supporters. However, Kornilov never reached Petrograd, and so the
Bolsheviks were left free and armed in Petrograd, leaving them in a
perfect position to begin a rebellion.
Soon after this, the Bolsheviks won control of the PetrogradSoviet,
and demanded that the soldiers must obey the Soviet. This gave them
power to up rise, on the 25th October the WinterPalacewas stormed, and
a week later the Bolsheviks won control in Moscow.
Altogether, I think it is fair to say that the February revolution was
the long term cause for the second revolution, as it left Russiaunstable
and confused over who was in control. The short term reasons were the
mistakes made by the provisional government and their increasing
unpopularity, and also Lenin's cunning plans to attract support away
from the provisional government to the Bolsheviks.