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1917 Russian Revolution Essay

1255 words - 5 pages

Russian Revolution Essay.
Throughout history there have been many revolutions between the population of a country and its government. People always want change, usually in the directions of freedom, peace and equality and in the lead up to the 1917 Russian revolution; there were a variety of social, political and economic situations that all played their part.
In the years leading up to the revolution, Russia had been involved in a series of wars. The Crimean war, The Russo-Turkish war, The Russo-Japanese war and the First World War. Russia had been defeated in all except the war with Turkey and its government and economy had the scars to prove it. A severe lack of food and poor living conditions amongst the peasant population led firstly to strikes and quickly escalated to violent riots. Tsar Nicholas II ruled Russia with an iron hand while much of Europe was moving away from the monarchical system of rule. All lands were owned by the Tsar’s family and Nobel land lords while the factories and industrial complexes were owned by the capitalists’. There were no unions or labour laws and the justice system had made almost all other laws in favour of the ruling elite. Rents and taxes were often unaffordable, while the gulf between workers and the ruling elite grew ever wider.
After their defeat in the Crimean war (1853-1856), Russia’s leaders realized they were falling behind much of Europe in terms of modernisation and industrialisation. Alexander II took control of the empire and made the first steps towards radically improving the country’s infrastructure. Transcontinental railways were built and the government strengthened Russia’s economy by promoting industrialisation with the construction of factory complexes throughout rural Russia. A great deal of Russia’s industrial advancement could be credited to one man, Minister for finance, Sergey Witte. Witte oversaw the adventurous 35000 mile Trans-Siberian railway project and later went on to write the October Manifesto of 1905, a precursor to Russia’s first constitution. Throughout the 19th century, numerous reform groups tried to change Russia’s social and governmental systems. Revolutions, although mostly suppressed, sporadically continued until the beginning of the 20th century and the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. Although these revolutions’ had two basic causes in common, civil rights and social discontent, they had very differing results.
The 1905 revolution began during a period of industrial change. The labour force quickly grew in numbers in what was previously considered worthless rural land. The living and working conditions of the peasant population (known as serfs) was horrific. It was these poor conditions that created a country wide desire for change and the consequent formation of numerous illegal unions and political parties. During the Russo-Japanese war which lasted from 1904 to 1905, the price of everyday items dramatically increased with the high inflation, due to...

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