First World War CentennialFirst World War Centennial

Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution took place in 1917. The end result of these actions was that the emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, was forced to abdicate and a communist government was installed.

There were many reasons why the Russians had lost confidence in their Tsar. Russia had not been doing well against Germany in the war. In response, Tsar Nicholas II had named himself commander-in-chief of the armed forces and devoted his efforts towards the war, leaving his wife, Empress Alexandra, to govern in his absence. Alexandra was rather unpopular with the people, however. The heavy losses that the Russian army sustained with Nicolas in charge did not help matters either. Russia was also dealing with economic problems such as shortages and inflation.

Starting on March 7, 1917 (February 22 according to the Julian calendar in use in Russia at the time) a series of strikes broke out in Petrograd, shortly shutting the city down. When the Tsar ordered the army to suppress the strike, they mutinied instead. On March 15, Nicholas abdicated the throne. the next day a provisional government was established, initially led by Prince Lvov (who was replaced with Alexander Kerensky on July 21). The provisional government continued with the war effort as before.

Meanwhile, socialists had established the Petrograd Soviet, which competed with the provisional government for power. Initially, Bolsheviks were not represented in the Petrograd Soviet; however, in April, Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin returnted to Russia with German assistance, and over the next few months, support for Bolshevism increased significantly and the Petrograd Soviet began embracing it more. In October a Military Revolutionary Committee was formed which, on November 7 (October 25 according to the Julian calendar) began the October Revolution by seizing key buildings in Petrograd. The provisional government fled, and the Bolsheviks seized power.