The Russian Revolution: History, Chronology and Causes (2023)

The Russian Revolution: History, Chronology and Causes (1)

In 1917, one of the biggest revolutions occurred when Russia went from being a monarchy to a communist or socialist government. In this revolution, the peasants and the working class of Russia revolted against the government of Tsar Nicholas II. These people were led by Vladimir Lenin and a group of revolutionaries called the Bolsheviks. It was after this war that the Soviet Union marked its origin. Before the revolution, Russia was ruled by a powerful monarch known as the Russian Czars. The tsar had total power in Russia and commanded the army, owned vast areas of land, and even controlled the church.

During the time the Tsar ruled, life for peasants and the working class was very difficult, working for much less, starving and even being exposed to dangerous work environments. The aristocratic class (a class of people with exceptional status and privileges) treated peasants like slaves, treating them like animals and giving them few legal rights. This article looks at the entire timeline of the Russian Revolution. But first, let's start with Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday

One of the main events leading up to the Russian Revolution was on January 22, 1905, when several workers marched on the Czar's palace to petition for better working conditions and the environment. As a result, the soldiers opened fire on the workers, killing many of them. So that day was called Bloody Sunday. Before that day, people thought that the Tsar would always be on their side, but after that incident, the government was blamed and the Tsar made many enemies among the working class, so the revolution began to spread.

World War I and the Russian Revolution

During the Russian Revolution, the world was already witnessing the great war: World War I and Russia in this first world war supported the allied powers such as the Serbian, French and British allies in declaring war against the Central Powers of Austria, Germany and Ottoman Turkey in August 1914.

This World War I pitted the Central Powers against the Allied Powers (the US joined the Allies in 1917) which ended with the defeat of the Central Powers.

  • Central Powers- Germany, Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire (Turkey)- Austria- Supporters of Hungary

  • Allied Powers - Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, Romania, Greece, France, Belgium, the United States, Canada, India, Portugal, Montenegro and Poland - supporters of Serbia

Russia's army was not modernized because the war was disastrous for Russia. Even their casualties were far more than any other nation. Germany seized important Russian territories which caused even more food shortages, which affected its economy. To rally the Russian troops and people, Tsar Nicholas II personally took command of the army, leaving his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, in charge of the government.

The tsarina had German heritage, so the Russians hated her. She began firing elected officials on the alleged advice of the controversial monk Rasputin. Rasputin's influence on the Russian imperial family was well known at the time. In an effort to get rid of Rasputin so that his influence over the country could end, he was assassinated by a group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yussupov (Russia's richest man), husband of the Tsar's only niece, and the Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich. (first cousin of the tsar) on December 30, 1916. Many ordinary Russians lost faith in the tsarist government. Soon this resentment turned into a total revolution.

Now, discussing the main parts of this revolution: The February Revolution and the October Revolution.

the february revolution

The February Revolution began on March 8, 1917, when Russia used the Julian calendar at the time, known as the February Revolution. The date of the revolution in the Julian calendar is February 23. So this is the February revolution.

Protesters took to the streets of the capital, St. Petersburg, supported by industrial workers. On March 11, the troops defending St. Petersburg opened fire on them, but the uprising continued. So ultimately the Russian Parliament; The Duma formed a caretaker government on March 12 and Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, ending centuries of his family's rule of the country.

The new government was now under Alexander Kerensky, who established statuette rights such as freedom of speech and the rights of unions to organize and strike. In addition, on the other hand, the country continued the war with Germany inFirst World War, so the situation in Russia worsened with food supply problems and peasants looted farms (food riots began).

the october revolution

The revolution began on November 6 and 7, 1917 (but it is considered October 24 and 25, again according to the Julian calendar, which is why it is known as the October Revolution). In this revolution, now the communist revolutionaries led by Vladimir Lenin carried out a coup against the government of Alexander Kerensky.

Lenin's new government consisted of a council of soldiers, peasants and workers. The Bolsheviks and their allies seized key sites in St. Petersburg, and eventually all of Russia formed a new government with Lenin at its head. Lenin became the dictator of the world's first communist state.

The fight was not yet over with regard to the new government. The Civil War broke out in Russia at the end of 1917, where the red faction, made up of communists and socialists, fought against the white factions, made up of royalists, capitalists, and democrats.

The Bolsheviks executed Nicholas's entire family on July 16, 1918, and the war would end in 1923 with Lenin's Red Army claiming victory. This turned the country into a communist superstate that marked the origin of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union became an intimidating player during the Cold War events of the following decades.

Timeline of the Russian Revolution

The dates marked in parentheses correspond to the Julian calendar.

  • March 3, 1861 (February 19)

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Tsar Alexander II passes the Emancipation Edict, ending slavery or labor in Russia. However, he kept the peasants tied to the land through continuous labor obligations.

  • February 17, 1880 (February 5)

After several failed attempts to assassinate Czar Alexander II by blowing up his palace dining room which killed and injured many, he still managed to survive when he was late for dinner.

  • March 13, 1881 (March 1)

Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by a member of the radical People's Will group. He was later succeeded by his son, Alexander III, who enacted anti-terrorism measures that restricted civil rights and press freedom.

  • 1882

Anti-Jewish pogroms (a pogrom was a violent riot incited with the aim of massacring or expelling an ethnic or religious group, specifically Jews) spread throughout the Russian Empire, resulting in the emigration of the Jewish population.

  • 1891–1892

The famine in Russia killed an estimated 375,000-400,000 and affected millions more as well.

  • November 1, 1894 (October 20)

Tsar Alexander III died after a sudden illness and after him his son Nicholas II ascended the throne.

  • December 20, 1895 (December 8)

Vladimir Lenin (future leader of the Bolsheviks) was arrested to be held in solitary confinement for 13 months and then exiled to Siberia.

  • May 30, 1896 (May 18)

The Khodynka Tragedy: A stampede in Moscow occurred during the festivities following the coronation of Nicholas II (when he was taking the throne), as the crowds were worried that supplies of free souvenirs would run out, so they rushed to the posts to catch them. This resulted in the death of thousands of people.


  • January 22, 1905 (Jan 9) – June 16, 1907 (June 3)

This period began with Bloody Sunday and then civil unrest, ending with the coup of June 1907.

January 22, 1905: Bloody Sunday - when several workers marched on the Tsar's palace to present a petition for better working conditions and environment. As a result, the soldiers opened fire on the workers, killing many of them. The liberal press blamed Nicholas II.

October 30, 1905: October Manifesto – Tsar Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto, promising civil liberties such as freedom of speech and an elected parliament (Duma). Consequently, certain restrictions on the absolute power of the Russian monarch were put in place and a de facto constitution was issued.

June 16, 1907: The June 1907 coup led to the dissolution of the Second State Dream of the Russian Empire and major changes were made to Russian electoral law.

(Video) 1917: Russia's Two Revolutions

  • 1914

Outbreak of World War I: In this Great War, Germany declares war on Russia, and Russia enters World War I. Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd to sound less German.

  • December 30, 1916 (December 17)

Grigorii Rasputin, the controversial "holy man" and close family friend of Tsar Nicholas II has been assassinated.

  • March 8 to March 16, 1917 (February 23 to March 3)

February Revolution: A series of public protests began in Petrograd that lasted 8 days and culminated in the abolition of the monarchy in the Russia of the Tsars. On International Women's Day (March 8), protesters and striking workers, many of them women, took to the streets to protest food shortages. As discussed, Tsar Nicholas II resigned and withdrew his son from the succession. A provisional government replaced the Tsarist government, with Prince Lvov as its leader.

  • April 1917

Lenin has now returned from exile, traveling from Switzerland to Petrograd via Germany and Finland.

  • May 1, 1917 (April 18)

Milyukov's note: A telegram sent to the Allied Powers by Foreign Minister Pavel Milyukov declared the intention of the Provisional Government to continue the war. This leaked note sparked protests and increased support for the Bolsheviks.

  • July 1, 1917 (June 18)

June Offensive: It was Russia's greatest feat of arms during World War I. Russian War Minister Alexander Karensky launches an offensive (the most lethal) against the Austro-Hungarian forces in Galicia (as Russia did against the Central Powers).

Although the Russian effort was initially successful, the soldiers soon refused to leave their trenches and fight, due to low morale caused by the Russian revolution. The soldiers' committee even disobeyed the officers and went home. The offensive failed four days later, and Russian troops responded to the Austrian and German counteroffensive.

  • July 16–20, 1917 (July 3–7)

These days were a series of continuous anti-government armed demonstrations by industrial workers and soldiers, beginning in Petrograd. Lvov resigned as leader of the provisional government, and Alexander Kerensky replaced him. Also, this time the death penalty was reintroduced and women were given the right to vote and hold public office.

Kerensky issued the arrest of Lenin and the printing presses of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda, the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee, were raided. The aborted uprising resulted in the Soviets losing their control over the Provisional Government.

  • September 9, 1917 (August 22–27)

The Kornilov affair: there was a failed coup by General Kornilov, commander of the Russian army, when he ordered troops into Petrograd to counter the Bolshevik threat. But Prime Minister Kerensky presented General Kornilov's actions as a right-wing coup attempt.

This gained power for the Bolsheviks among the Petrograd working classes, workers and soldiers, and crushed the credibility of a provisional coalition government between socialists and liberals because the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats) and even Kerensky himself were involved in the affair. .

  • September 14, 1917 (September 1)

Russia officially declared a republic.

(Video) The Russian Revolution (1917)

  • November 7–8, 1917 (October 25–26)

October Revolution: The Bolsheviks take control of Petrograd and take control of the Winter Palace, the last remaining stronghold of the Provisional Government. The Land Decrees (which proclaim the abolition of private property and the redistribution of land among peasants), etc. along with eight hours of work a day, they were adopted. But, once again, the death penalty was abolished.

  • November 9, 1917 (October 27)

The Decree on the Press, the first Bolshevik censorship decree, suppresses the “bourgeois” press.

  • November 25, 1917 (November 12)

The Constituent Assembly election took place and the Social Revolutionaries won a majority of the seats, while the Bolsheviks won less than a quarter of the votes.

  • December 15, 1917 (December 2)

An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers and fighting ceased.

  • January 18 and 19, 1918 (January 5 and 6)

The Constituent Assembly meets, but is dissolved by the Bolsheviks.

  • January 28, 1918 (January 15)

The Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom) issued a decree forming the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.

  • February 14, 1918

Russia adopted the Western (Gregorian) calendar.

  • March 3, 1918

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Finally, Russia ended its participation in World War I. Bolshevik Russia loses 1/3 of the population of the former empire, 1/3 of its railway network, half of its industry, three-quarters of its iron ore supplies, 9/10 of its coal resources and supplies. food.

  • March 8, 1918

At the 7th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party, the Bolsheviks change their name to the Russian Communist Party. The Russian capital is also moved from Petrograd to Moscow.

  • July 10, 1918

The first constitution of the Russian Federative Soviet Socialist Republic granted equal rights to men and women.

  • July 16–17, 1918

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Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg.

  • August 11, 1918

Lenin sends a telegram to the communists in Penza, in Central Russia, complaining about the uprisings in the area and demanding the public execution of 100 kulaks (rich peasants).

  • August 30, 1918

Beginning of the 'Red Terror': An assassination attempt on Lenin by Socialist Revolutionary Fanny Kaplan leaves him wounded. The attempt, combined with the murder of Uritskii, led to mass arrests and executions dubbed the "Red Terror."

  • March 1919

The Comintern (or Third International) is formed in Moscow with the aim of spreading the revolution throughout the world.

  • 1920

Communist parties were formed all over the world.

  • November 1920

The Red Army invades and conquers the Crimea and the White Army is forced to withdraw

  • March 1921

There was a failed uprising, the Kronstadt mutiny, against the Bolsheviks.

  • March 1921

End of 'war communism' and introduction of the 'New Economic Policy' (NEP).

  • April 3, 1922

Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party.

  • December 1922

Creation of the Soviet Union.

  • January 21, 1924

Lenin died, sparking a power struggle within the party and Stalin emerged as party leader with his rival Leon Trotsky being sacked, exiled and assassinated in 1940.

(Video) Causes of the Russian Revolution 1917 | History Simplified

conclusion of the revolution

After the revolution, Russia withdrew from World War I by signing a peace treaty with Germany called the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Then the Russian economy underwent a shift from rural to industrial due to the new government taking control of all industries. The landowners' lands were confiscated and distributed among the peasants. Women were granted the same rights as men. From 1918 to 1920, Russia witnessed a civil war between the Bolsheviks ("Red Army") and the anti-Bolsheviks ("White Army"). The end result was that the Bolsheviks won and the new country was called USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).


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