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what caused the russian revolution

Lenin on the TrainBy Catherine Merridale As McMeekin puts it, “The world’s first proletarian government was thus forced to devote its primary energies to strikebreaking.”. The movement from capitalism to socialism (and vice versa) is not inevitable and can be reversed; teleological thinking leads to strategic blunders and gross misinterpretations of reality., Rasputin (1871-1916) russian adventurer healer of czarevitch , protege of the czarina, he was murdered by prince Ioussoupov here in 1908 colourized document / Photo © PVDE, Tsar Nicholas II with the Tsaritsa Alexandra and Tsarevich Alexis (sepia photo), Russian Photographer (20th century) / Private Collection / Peter Newark Military Pictures, Rasputin between Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra, caricature, Russia, 20th century, Police photograph of Rasputin’s corpse, 1916 Private Collection, 1917 – The beginning of the Russian Revolutions. People had nothing to lose any more, the essential ingredient for any revolution, Famine-Stricken Villagers who have left their Homes on the Way to St Petersburg (engraving) by Johann Nepomuk Schonberg (1780-1863) (after) / © Look and Learn / Illustrated Papers Collection, 1887 May – Lenin’s brother, Alexander Ulyanov, is hanged for plotting to kill Tsar Alexander III, Lenin (1870-1924) and his mother learning of the execution of his brother, 5th May 1887, Russian School, (20th century), 1894 October – Tsar Alexander III dies and his son, Nicholas II, becomes the ruler of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and Tsaritsa Alexandra in full coronation regalia, May 1896 by Russian Photographer, (19th century) / Peter Newark Pictures, 1905, January 22 – Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg – The first Russian Revolution. This philosophy produced one of many historical examples indicating that while violence is often the most effective way of seizing power, antidemocratic coups do not usher in utopia; more often, they devolve into terror. He takes the long view, privileging large-scale economic, social, and political trends over individual actors and contingent circumstances. While McMeekin stresses the economic gains under Nicholas II, Smith focuses on the suffering caused by the demands of wartime, which angered the workers as well as a peasantry already disappointed by earlier land reforms. Nicholas II believed in the power of the Russian autocracy; however, he was unable to maintain the traditional power of the Tsar during his reign. Tsar Nicholas took command of Russian Army, read about the most popular grammar mistakes, Art Exhibitions & Shows – October / November, Art Exhibitions & Shows – September / October, Art Exhibitions & Shows – August / September, Once Upon A Time: 10 life lessons from fairy tales, REMIX London: A glimpse into future technologies with Bridgeman images. But different historians—often with distinct political allegiances—offer very different answers to the question of why many of these events happened in the way they did. The famous bread shortages of Petrograd in the winter of 1917 were “mostly mythical.” Drawing on newly discovered archival sources, he even argues that in 1916–17, morale in the army was on the rise, and that Russian soldiers were better fed than their German counterparts. His decisions during World War I were almost all remarkably bad. He enumerates the ways in which violence was ingrained in the czarist order, especially for the lower classes. They wanted relief, but not rebellion. Dismissing him as “out-of-touch,” McMeekin argues that Lenin would have had “little impact on the political scene had he not been furnished with German funds to propagandize the Russian army.” Lenin and the Bolsheviks, he adds, “played no role worth mentioning in the fall of the tsar.”. He promised them lots of things that they wanted - his slogan was peace, bread and land. War cabinet of the Provisional Government of Russia. Rejecting the Western tendency to see 1917 as the precondition that made the nightmare of Stalinism inevitable, Smith reminds us of the inspiring hope of socialism, the justified rage at an unjust order, and the roads not taken that might have led to a happier result. Though the lot of the Russian worker was difficult, it was nevertheless comparable to that of workers throughout Europe. On the 30th December 1916, Grigori Rasputin was murdered. (Germany’s support would remain a closely guarded secret throughout the Soviet period. Around the time of his coronation, he told a friend he never wanted to be Tsar. As the French socialist leader Jean Jaurès, assassinated in July 1914, warned, “If the social revolution emerges from this chaos instead of coming about as the supreme expression of progress, as a higher act of reason, justice, and wisdom, it will be part of this universal mental crisis, an excess of the contagious fury brought about by the suffering and violence of war.”. The next day, nearly 75,000 people were on strike. S.A. Smith’s Russia in Revolution takes a more familiar line than McMeekin’s, linking the origins of the revolution to czarist abuses. Due to Rasputin‘s influence over the Tsarina and his involvement in government decisions, he was blamed for the failings. comment remonter sur son autheticité? It wasn’t a surprise that these latter groups welcomed the more radical Bolshevik position. The provisional government and the workers’ council settled on an uneasy system of “dual power.”. The city was on fire. In October, Lenin returned to Petrograd in disguise and argued forcefully that the Bolsheviks should seize power before the November elections. Copyright (c) 2020 The Nation Company LLC. In September, the Bolsheviks won a major electoral victory, a sign of their surging popularity. Join the Nation Festival for four days of essential conversation and commentary in the wake of the 2020 election. From his exile in Zurich, Lenin expressed his disgust at the new arrangement. You may unsubscribe or adjust your preferences at any time. Lenin’s refusal to compromise with the provisional government or the pro-war “revolutionary defencists” made the Bolsheviks the only political party offering an alternative to dual power, which came to seem like a form of impotence or treachery in its failure to end the war, food shortages, and general disorder. But the notion of Lenin, or communism, as a bacillus betrays a willful blindness to the larger constellation of factors that make profound social change possible. October 17th, 1905 by Ilya Efimovich Repin (1844-1930) / State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1906 July 21 –  Due to the growing tensions between the State Duma and Emperor Nicholas II’s Council of Ministers, the assembly was dissolved, The opening ceremony of the first State Duma, 1906 Russian Photographer / Private Collection, 1908 Rasputin is introduced into the aristocracy. The Bolsheviks’ victory was brought about by Lenin’s skillful but risky effort, at a moment of Russian vulnerability, to transform the “imperialist war” into a civil war by infiltrating the armed forces and “turning the armies red,” spurring mutinies and mass desertions by soldiers who took their weapons with them. But the economic situation was deteriorating rapidly, with factory closures and rampant inflation. (Lenin brought his wife and mother along and hired a maid when he arrived.) The planned coup was an open secret: Kerensky begged the British to help him negotiate an armistice in the war, understanding at last that peace offered his only hope of remaining in power. The provisional government, the Petrograd Soviet, and others argued over whether the country should continue fighting the war—and, if so, on what terms. The police boarded streetcars, expelling anyone with calloused hands, and blocked the bridges across the frozen river, but the workers walked across the ice. With his typical pragmatism, Lenin decided to make the trip, but he insisted on a “sealed train”—a fiction that would allow him to plausibly deny charges of collusion with the German enemy.

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