What Was the Russian Revolution?

Diana Bocco

The Russian Revolution refers to a series of political upheavals that occurred in 1917 and led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, which would be involved in official government issues until 1991. It wasn't a simple process, and in fact, it took the Bolshevik party several attempts before they finally got control of the government.

Vladimir Lenin led the Soviet state that grew out of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
Vladimir Lenin led the Soviet state that grew out of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The first step of the revolution was overthrowing Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, exiling the family to Siberia, and eventually killing all members of the Romanov family. The Russian Revolution started in February 1917 and was a direct result of the disastrous socio-economic conditions the Russian people were living in. Deplorable working conditions and overcrowding led to social unrest, and the strain of World War I only furthered the turmoil.

A map of the Soviet Union, with the star, sickle, and hammer that appeared on its flag.
A map of the Soviet Union, with the star, sickle, and hammer that appeared on its flag.

At the beginning, the revolution did not have a specific goal. On 23 February 1917, workers simply took to the streets of Petrograd to complain about shortages of food. In a matter of days, most local shops and factories had shut down to join the protest. Soldiers and police officers eventually joined the protest, and all attempts to restore civil order were crushed. On the first few days of March 1917, Nicholas II abdicated and was quickly replaced by a provisional government put together by the Duma Socialist Party.

By October 1917, raising concerns over the future of the country resulted in a second Russian revolution. Led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party, this resulted in the overthrowing of the Russian provisional government. Civil war followed, but it was clear that the Bolsheviks were there to stay. Nonetheless, millions of people tried to keep the revolution alive by fighting ardently to overthrow the Communist government.

The White Army, a mix of moderate socialists and liberals who opposed the strict regime of the Bolsheviks, eventually lost the civil war, and many emigrated to Berlin and Paris. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR, was formerly established in 1922, and recognized as the official government by most countries except the US, which did not accept the regimen as official until 1933.

Joseph Stalin led the USSR beginning in 1929.
Joseph Stalin led the USSR beginning in 1929.

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Discussion Comments


They overthrew Tsar Nicholas II to remove the monarchy and create a communist government under Lenin and the Bolsheviks.


@ anon5257: The Bolsheviks contrasted to the Social Revolutionaries in the way they jumped from an autocratic government to a communist form of government. Because they had such a powerful, kind of manipulative in ways leader as Lenin, they were able to overthrow Tsar Nicholas II.


what happened in the march revolution?


So I'm confused. Did the Bolsheviks overthrow Tsar Nicholas II to form the Soviet Union, a communist government? So they basically went from an autocracy to a communist government?


this sums it up: Russia was the most backward country in Europe back in the early 1900s. Added to that the debt from World War I, the country was starving and starving people are ripe for revolution. Lenin and his people were in positions to push the people for revolution and bring in communism. Russia didn't have enough of a middle class to push for capitalism.


hey guys what were the main goals of the russian revolution exactly?

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