The Russian Revolution
The history of the Russian Revolution. Covering all major incidents like the Bloody Sunday, and the heroes of this revolution like the Lenin, Nicholas II, Rasputiin, Father Gapon, Leo Tolstoy, Pushkin, Maxim Gorky...
Prior to the revolution, the Romonov dynasty had ruled Russia for about 300 hundred years. The Russian Empire had expanded in all the four directions during the Romonov rule. The emperor, or the ‘Tsar’ as he was called, enjoyed unlimited power and authority. The liberal reforms and scientific and technological progress witnessed elsewhere in Europe was conspicuously absent in Russia. The country was economically, politically and scientifically backward. The Russian economy was feudal in nature. The Tsar and his nobility owned most of the arable. This had resulted in economic inequality. There were only two classes in Russia first wealthy nobles and second common masses living in utter poverty. The Russian nobility dominated all administration, judicians and education. The tsars carried on their unrestrained rule with the help of the nobles.
The Russian intellectual played an important role in arousing people against the autocratic rule of the tsars. Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Pushkin and Maxim Gorky were some of the great thinkers of this period. Liberalism and humanism influenced their literature. Since these ideas influencing the Russian people, the Russian government was annoyed with them intellectuals. The tsarist used to disrupt the meetings of the University teachers, students and other intellectuals. The Russian tsar exiled many. Lenin, the great leader of the Russian revolution was one such exiled intellectual. Industrialization had emerged in Russia in later half of 19th century. But the capital was lacking and was to be imported. European capitalists earned huge profits from their investments in Russian industries, which didn’t benefit the Russians at all.
The condition of the workers engaged was no better than the Russian peasantry or the serfs. Russia was suffering from all evils such as inadequate wages, long hours of work, insecurity, low standard of living and the wretched life of the industrial towns. The tsar administration was unsympathetic towards the workers welfare. They were therefore, left with no other alternative but to unite for protecting their interest. Though the government had banned all such organizations, workers unions were functioning secretly. In 1898, many such unions came together to form the Russian social democratic labor party. Two groups formed within the party in course of time- the extremist group was called Bolsheviks and the moderates were called the Mensheviks.
The Russian Empire included people of different nationalities, races, religions and languages. The Tsars tried to impose Russian culture on these, heterogeneous groups, which led to discontent among them. Nicholas II was the tsar of Russia when the revolution broke out in 1917. Nicholas and his wife were under the influence of Rasputin, an imposter and a corrupt monk. There was total anarchy in Tsar’s administration. The emperor was protagonist of absolute monarchy. The Tsar was of the view that his only duty was to expand his empire. Russia ‘the European Giant’ was defeated by Japan, ‘the Asian dwarf’. it was not a defeat of Russian emperor alone, but of the Russian administration system. This defeat proved to be the first salvo against the Tsar’s regime. On Sunday of 22nd January 1905, a priest named Father Gapon, led a group of people and marched to the Royal palace, to present their petition of demands to the emperor. The palace-guards fired at the processionists. Many were killed. This day is known as the ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Russian history that enraged the people.
In order to pacify the people, the Tsar summoned Duma, the Russian parliament. The Tsar turned down many demands put forth by the People’s representatives. This worsened the situation and workers rose in revolt at many places. Russia had joined the First world on the side of the allied powers to oppose Germany. Many from the workers and peasants’ class were enlisted in Tsar’s army. The Russian army greatly suffered due to shortage of food and war material, corruption, of the military officers and the military administration. The Petrograd workers struck work in March 1917. They demanded peace, food and an end to the war. People at St. Petesberg, took out a silent procession. The Tsar ordered his soldiers to fire at the processionists, but they refused to obey his orders but joined them. Having realized that the situation had gone out of his hands, the Tsar abducted the throne. The soldiers joined the workers in hoisting the red flag in the capital. Provisional government was installed and Mensheviks leader Kerensky, assumed reins of Government.
Kerensky’s government was under the influence of capitalists. Instead of ending the war, Menshevik government continued the conflict by counter attacking the Germans. Revolutionary leader along with many comrades now returned to Russia. Armed rebellions broke out on 25th October 1917. Kerensky’s government was dissolved. Lenin firmly believed that supreme power must vest in the workers and peasants. He soon became popular with his orating skills. All power was transferred to the Soviets or people’s representatives. Lenin accomplished the important task of establishing a government of the working class. The revolution aimed at raising the standards of living, bringing about prosperity and establishing social equality. He strove hard to turn this into reality. His government nationalized all means of production to pace up the industrialization. Collective farming and other experiments were carried out to increase the agricultural production. Foundation was laid for development of economic condition, trade, and commerce.
The Russian revolution is an epoch of the present century. It was in Russia that the concept of planned economic development was successfully experimented, for the first time in history. Later it was adopted by countries, which had attained freedom from imperial powers. The Russian revolution proved to be source of inspiration to the people who suffered under imperialistic rule. The colonial people struggling to gain their independence were greatly inspired by the Russian Revolution. The newborn nations of the world have realized that the political freedom alone is not enough. Socialism has developed from Marx’s teachings. Its influence has been universal. It has brought in its wake, significant changes in international politics. Emancipation of man from all bondage is the great message of the Russian revolution.